Days 347-348 Tuesday-Wednesday April 1-2, 2008 – Koh Sukhorn to Krabi Town, Thailand
Getting back to the mainland from Koh Sukhorn involved repeating the process of what we went through when coming to the island. The hotel had a budget transfer option that left at 7am, but this was too early for us, so we were told that they would drop us at the pier where we could then hire a boat across to the mainland. From there we would have to somehow hire a songthaew to Trang. After weighing the options, we decided that getting the extra sleep was worth going through the trouble of coordinating our own transportation.
After having breakfast we were preparing to leave when we had a nice surprise. Shawn Reece’s Thai friend and his family were leaving the island at the same time as us. We all rode to the pier together and agreed to share the cost of the boat instead of paying for separate long tails. The cost for the 20 minute journey was 200Baht with each group paying half.
Once on the mainland, we were prepared to find our own songthaew when the Thai family told us to wait a minute. They told us that they would ask their friend if we could ride in the back of her pickup truck back to Trang where they were also headed. This sounded great to us, so we waited with them. Fifteen minutes after arriving at the pier, their friend (whom we had met on the island a few days before) pulled up and insisted that we ride in her truck. Jasmine and I rode in the truck’s bed for the 35 minute journey while Shawn Reece stayed inside for safety.
As we pulled into Trang, the lady stopped and told us that she would be right back. We saw her go to a bakery and buy a box of cake. A minute later she returned to the truck and we continued on. Eventually, she brought us to the taxi stand where cars were available for hire to Krabi, but ultimately we decided on taking the bus. During the whole decision making process she was right there trying to help translate for us. In fact, she wouldn’t leave before everything was settled.
Once everything was taken care of, the lady went to a nearby convenience store and bought Shawn Reece and Jasmine each a bottle of green tea and then turned to Shawn Reece and gave him the box of cake that she had bought earlier. Of course when we tried to pay her for the ride, she sternly refused our money. If this isn’t a prime example of Thai hospitality then I don’t know what is. The Thai people have been incredibly kind to us so far.
While the Thai family left, we walked a block to the bus station. Just outside of the terminal, we flagged down a departing bus and were quickly ushered on board. Two hours later we were dropped off at a dusty bus station outside of Krabi Town. To get into town we had to take a songthaew. The songthaew driver insisted on charging us double fare and with us in an unfamiliar place, we had to go along with it. (The touts and taxi drivers here are among the most unpleasant people we have seen anywhere, while the non tourism related locals are among the nicest.)
The songthaew driver had promised to take us directly to our hotel, but it turned out he was on a route and the spot where he dropped us off was a good fifteen minute walk from the hotel. After walking around and figuring out how far it was, we looked at a couple of hotels nearby and settled on one for a reasonable price.
The majority of tourists in the area stay at Ao Nang beach about thirty minutes away from Krabi, so the town isn’t overrun with tourist traps. In addition to a thousand and one travel agencies in town, we found a nice selection of restaurants. For dinner, we splurged a bit and ate at an Italian restaurant recommended by our guidebook. Considering it is Thailand, the restaurant was pretty good.
Wednesday morning we decided to switch to another hotel that we had seen the day before. After accomplishing this task and getting some breakfast, we set out to visit some of the countless travel agencies in town to price out a one day tour to some of the islands in the area. While going around, we found that most of the agencies had the same prices and tours available. For the Four Islands tour by long tail boat, we were quoted either 400 or 450Baht everywhere. Finally after visiting several agencies, we picked one charging 400Baht and moved on with our day.
The remainder of Wednesday turned out to be a bit of a waste. For some of the day, we walked along the river for a bit before spending some time on the internet. We also took a ride on a songthaew out to a shopping center to pick up some supplies. (This time insisting that we pay the correct fare!) Krabi Town seems to be a nice enough place that hasn’t been too spoiled by the explosion of tourism in the area. With that said, we can’t wait to get out of town and onto the water tomorrow!
We want to thank everyone for the comments and emails. Your support is truly appreciated and keeps us going.
The Coomer Family