Krabi to Chiang Mai
Our trip from the south of Thailand to the North was not a very well planned trip, but it was an experience. We decided to take an overnight bus from Krabi to Bangkok and then catch the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. It was a pretty cost effective way to travel especially because it included 2 nights accommodation.
We left Ao Nang around mid afternoon in a mini-bus until the town of Krabi where we were given an orange sticker to put on our chest, because we were going to Bangkok. Others were given a different colour for the Airport. The Airport peeps were put back on the same mini-bus, even though they unpacked all our luggage and all of us had to get out. The Bangkok group were shuffled into another mini-bus that was going to do the 2 hour trip to Surat Thani, which was where we were going to get onto the big bus. All along we had no idea what we were meant to be doing, we just booked a bus ticket from Krabi to Bangkok… Nevertheless in all the chaos around us the people who were telling us where to go and what to do seemed to know what was happening. It was like organised Chaos!
In Surat Thani there was some mix up with 2 Spanish girls who had misunderstood some instruction along the way and had landed up in the wrong place, and they had a flight to catch. The “bus stop” where we were waiting for the big overnight bus was rather dodgy. It was like a private house with a mini-mart in the front and a canteen style restaurant at the back, in amongst a mechanics workshop. I would be lying to you if I didn’t feel like we were possibly going to be caught up in some kidnapped/trafficking situation, it was slightly scary. A little late, but the double decker sleeper bus did pull up outside the ladies house and we jumped on.
It was around 7pm when we jumped on the bus and it stopped a couple of times along the way, including at midnight for…… dinner? Breakfast? Some meal. I found it quite comfortable and slept most of the time. The seats reclined almost completely horizontally but the aircon was on full blast the entire trip. I woke up for the meal, of course, and when the bus swerved wildly for an oncoming car. Jo read and slept and covered the seat with her towel because she was convinced it had not been cleaned, ever.
We arrived in Bangkok at around 4:30am. We had nowhere to go but to the Train station. We used a Taxi who we had to negotiate with until we reached a figure of… Too Expensive. But we were tired and after convincing us we could not walk, we agreed. It was about 5km.
The ticket office where we bought our tickets from online and had to collect was not open, but we were only leaving at around 3pm. What the hell we thought we were going to do for 11 hours we do not know. It was the longest day of my life, sitting in the station drinking coffee and twiddling our thumbs!
Finally we boarded the train and sat in pretty comfortable chairs which later converted into a bunk bed. We met a very nice older man, Robert, who is from Belgium. He was a well travelled man and was in his early 60’s. He knew a bit of every language that came up in our conversations, including Afrikaans, which was amazing. He also knew more about South Africa than just Nelson Mandela’s name and Oscar Pistorius. He was an extremely interesting man. He had fallen in love with Thailand and had worked out that with all the unrest happening in Europe and also the high cost of living, it would be easier, safer and cheaper to get his Govt pension from Belgium but live in Thailand.
It was an odd train trip. The beds were assembled at around 6pm, so bed time it was. It was the most uncomfortable night ever. We had opted for the Non-Aircon option and had a fan that blew air softer than a Butterflies Fart. Jo had an awesome blanket made from live mosquitoes and miggies which had blown in through the window. We managed to close the netting window properly and block the other random holes with tissue, and then the critters stopped being an issue. We did get an amazing sunset and also some really nice scenery whilst it was still light.
We finally arrived in Chiang Mai at around 5am… We had not showered or slept properly in 2 days and we could not go anywhere because the hostel we booked only “opened” at 7am, but check-in was only at 2pm. So we sat in the train station again and drunk coffee and spoke kak with Robert until 7!!!!
Hello Chiang Mai!!!