In September Becky and I split. We had vacation coming up at the end of the month and I needed to get away. I ended up heading to Thailand with a small idea of what I was going to do. The main goal was to get to Ko Phi Phi, an island off the west coast of southern Thailand. From there I would decide what to do next.
I figured this would be the best tale for my first rather large post. Enjoy.
I took a ferry over to Penang, Malaysia on Saturday the 27th. I was hoping to catch a bus headed up to Thailand the next day but the company I was going up with was booked full for that day. So I was in Penang for an extra night, it wasn't the end of the world, I just wish I could of been heading up there ASAP. I made sure not to waste any money there just so I had it all for Thailand. So Monday morning I got on a minibus about 5am, they picked me up from the guest house I was at, then we headed to up to Thailand. Destination: ferry to Ko Phi Phi. (punch Ko Phi Phi into google maps if you want to see where it is.)
Ko meaning Island, and Phi Phi pronounced as Pee Pee. The money I paid for my bus also included the ferry boat over to the Island. There are a few Phi Phi islands, but the larger of the few and more popular are named, Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Lay. I was thinking it was going to go to Phi Phi Lay cause it has the beach from the movie "The Beach" based off an even better book by the same name. The ferry in fact headed to Phi Phi Don, the larger of the two. It didn't really matter to me but I think if I am ever heading to those islands again I will make sure I get to Phi Phi Lay somehow. I looked around for guesthouses to spend a few nights in and most things around the main area were all near really noisy bars and the small clubs. I walked to the end of where the guest house trail stopped, and found some stairs that went up to a look out point. I walked up all 300 or so of them and found some bungalows there. I asked about the price and he wanted 500 Baht for a night, but I told him I was staying 2 nights so he gave one to me for 400 a night. 400 baht would a little over 12 canadian dollars. If I was on the mainland of Thailand like Bangkok I would probably pay half that for a nights stay. I knew it was going to be a bit pricier cause of it being on an island. No biggie.
If I were to get something for 400 baht on the lower part of the island where all the noise was I would of got a very small bachelor type room. With the 400 I paid I got a full bungalow on the side of a mountain, with double bed, shower and bathroom. It had a nice porch too where I could sit and view the middle of the island which has two beaches on either side of the mainland. I spent 2 nights on that island and then I wanted to head out before I got way too comfortable there.
My next stop originally was going to be Phuket Thailand. My last night on Ko Phi Phi I changed my mind because I liked the idea of seeing another one of Thailand's popular islands instead. I bought a ticket Tuesday night that would take me on a ferry to a bus to another ferry to Ko Phangan (pronounced Fa-Nang). I think that ticket was about 800 baht so about 24 bucks. Left Ko Phi Phi around 9am then got to the other island around 6. There was a bit of a mix up at the ferry though. I asked the lady which boat I needed to get on and she pointed to the only one that was there. I hopped on and we headed out for what I though was Ko Phangan. Turns out it was the island just south of it called Ko Samui. (pronounced Sa-Moi). I didn't find out though until I was in my room at night and I was finally looking at this map I was given. Again not a big deal, but I wished I was on the other island because I had heard so many good things about it. I thought I might as well feel out this Island the next day and decide if it still is worth going to the other island.
I was asking around for rides to different parts of the island but all the local drivers and bus systems were run a bit crazy there and they wanted ridiculous prices to get anywhere and they wouldn't bargain. I was then frustrated so I figured I would walk the few hours north to get to some ferrys that I knew might be heading to Ko Phangan. Took about 2 hours to walk there from where I was so it wasn't too bad. I popped out on some beach and just a bit further down the beach I saw a bunch of white people getting on to a ferry so I headed down there to see where it was going. It was heading to Ko Phagnan so I payed the 200 baht to get me there. About 6 bucks. About an hour or so later I arrived on the proper island.
I didn't walk too far to find a place to stay due to being a bit tired and overly sweaty from my walk earlier. Found a place called Rainbow Bungalows. I paid for 2 nights there in advance and it was 300 a night, so about 9 bucks or so. I was in a town called Haad Rin and after strolling around there and heading to the beach, I stopped at one of the bike rental shops to see how much it would be to rent out a motorcycle. It was 150 baht for 24 hours. Average price for renting a bike in Thailand. I decided that I wanted to get one for the next day. I just told the lady at the guesthouse that I wanted my 2 nights paid to pay for Thursday night and Saturday night. My plan for Friday morning was to have a good breakfast in the morning and a decent swim then rent out a bike. I knew if I went around the Island I could find an even nicer place to stay for Friday and I thought it would be cool to see the rest of the Island. Once I got the bike I went flying around the whole island. Doesn't take a long time to get around it but I went around like 2 times cause the bike was dope. I stopped at this one place called Cookies bungalows on the North west side of the island. The lady took me over to see the bungalow and I almost said yes before she even told me the price. The bungalows were tucked down in this spot where they pretty much had a private beach. This was the view...
My bungalow was about 20 steps away from the water and it was only 300 baht so again about 9 dollars or so. After dinner there, I ended up going for another long cruise on the island.
When I woke up Saturday it was pouring like mad, couldn't go for my morning swim that I had gotten so use to doing. It was the only day it rained for more than the few half hour spurts I saw on Ko Phi Phi, so I can't really complain. Once it stopped I flew back to the other end of the island cause the bike had to be back by 12. I got there early and enjoyed a decent "American breakfast" even though it looked quite Canadian to me, then returned the bike. With my last day there on Saturday all I did was swim, relax, and read. Most relaxing week ever.
I had paid for a ticket earlier in the week to get me from Ko Phagnan all the way to Penang Malaysia on Sunday. I needed to catch my ferry back to Indonesia Monday morning for 8:45. The ticket back to Penang from the Island was 1200 baht so 36 bucks. After a ton of driving we got to Haydai Thailand. The bus driver had us get out and get into a local minibus that would take us to our next connecting bus. When I got dropped off at the company that was taking me the rest of the way the lady just looks at me and asks me "Where have you been?"
I explain to her that I just got here and then asked where the bus was.
She then tells me that I am an hour and a half late for the bus and there won't be any buses heading down there until tomorrow morning.
I ask her how they are going to compensate me for there mistake with getting me to her late. EXTREMELY rare to get compensated for anything like that anywhere in Asia.
She tells me that they can't do anything, and if I want to get to Penang, the next possible bus is in the morning and is another 300 baht. At that point I only had 100 baht with me. That was suppose to pay for my last meal and night in Penang that day, and I wasn't about to give this lady and her shitty company anymore of my money. I didn't have any more money with me, and no debit card or anything to take money out. I did call the companies head office but they weren't going to give me anything or a free ride anywhere.
I talked to this nice lady at this hotel and she tried to see what she could do to get me a cheap ride that way. I think she even called a friend who she thought was heading there. But with no luck I told her that I needed to know the quickest way out of the city to the main road heading for the border. She gave me a map and wished me luck and off I went.
I headed to the main road towards the highway and just started walking south, very pleased with myself for purchasing a compass a week prior. After walking for about an hour a younger guy on his motorcycle stopped to ask me where I was going but he wasn't headed that way. He felt bad for me and offered me 100 extra baht to maybe catch a bus headed in that direction. I refused to take his money and told him I could find my own way. After some arguing he forced it on me so I took it.
After waiting for a few local buses and finding out none of them were going to the border I continued to walk south. After about 20 minutes or so a Chinese guy and his wife picked me up and took me about 50K which was 10K away from the border. Right when I got dropped off I met this security gaurd on his motorcycle headed to this bar he works at near the border. I jumped on the bike and off we went the last 10 K to the border. Did all the customs nonsense then talked to a few border patrol people for a while who all had a good laugh when I told them I was walking to Malaysia. Shortly after the border this cab driver who was talking to the same border people came over to me and offered me a free ride a little ways down the road. He works at the border too and the other guys told him I was walking to Penang. He gave me a ride for only about 5K. We stopped at this restaurant where I lot of trucks and buses coming out of Thailand stop for food. He thought we could maybe find a cheap bus or truck heading that way. The crazy one eyed bastard actually stayed with me for 2 hours trying to help. Wicked dude. after about 2 hours or so we had no luck and he decided he would head back to the border and see if anyone that worked there was heading that way.
After about 45 minutes of waiting I just felt like I needed to move just to be making some headway. At that time is was about 1 in the morning and I had to cover another 300 k in 7 and a half hours. So I kept heading south.
About 20 minutes or so a young guy pulled over, said he saw me outside the restaurant and was heading my way. He drove me about 40K or so to this town called Alor Star and said I might be able to get a cheap bus there or a taxi with a few people. He dropped me off then I soon found out that the buses were way too expensive, but there was a taxi heading to Penang. The driver couldn't find the other 2 people that were there and wanted to go to Penang, so the price tripled on me in 5 minutes. I told him no deal and started walking south towards the highway.
30 minutes of walking and another car stopped. Two guys who looked and sounded 25, but were actually 32 year old construction workers gave me a lift. Told them my story and they said they could head that way for a bit. At that point I had about 180 baht to my name and half jokingly told the guy driving that he could have it all if he could get me all the way there. The two guys told me they were just out driving with nothing to do, I figured I had nothing to loose with throwing this out there. The driver, I forget his name, asked me if I was serious and I said ya man I need to get there. Right away he was like ok then, looks like we are going to Penang. I thought the guy was fucking with me, we had over 200K to cover but he didn't seem to care. Off we went to Penang. I did only tell him I had 160 baht though so I could still maybe get a really cheap place to stay to sleep for a few hours if I needed. We arrived in Penang right around where I needed to be a little past 4. We got a little lost in the town looking for the guesthouse area I was at a week earlier. We pulled out the wrong way on a one way street by accident and of course there was a cop car there. Cops are incredibly crooked out here in Asia. The crookedness varies from country to country. They usually just ask for money in Indonesia, probably ended up being the same way with the 2 dudes that drove me. The 3 cops that were in the one car talked to the 2 guys for about 10 minutes and talked to me for about 2. Searching the car and all this bullshit. The two guys that drove me got back in the car and said the cops wanted us to follow them. We did and we ended up at the Ferry that I mentioned I needed to catch. The cop then lets me know it's closed now and that it didn't open till 6. Information I already knew, what a fool. The driver then mentions that the cops wanted them to follow them down to the station next. That was my cue to leave. Told the dudes there was no way I am going down there and that I would walk over to the guest house area. I gave the dude the money I promised them, then gave the cops a salute and headed the hell out of that chaos.
Once I reached the guest house area I saw the the sun peeking over the clouds. It was a bit after 5 and I only had a few hours till I needed to check in for the ferry. With the little money left I had 2 options. Sleep in a bed for a little less than 3 hours or have a good breakfast and try to sleep on the ferry back to Indonesia. Breakfast it was. I walked around for a bit looking for a place that was actually open, then once I ate I headed to the ferry.
After that it was much smoother than it had been on my 11 hour hitch hiking journey. On a boat for a few hours then a bus back to home. I was surprisingly very awake considering how long I had been up.
So ya, that was my trip to Thailand. I need to go back and see more of it and I am sure I will in the next few years that I am out here.
Anyone wanna join??