Arrive in Trang
Book to Koh Mook
Bus and Ferry
Thai Transport. Gurr. The train was late. Thais used to have good transport. They ran on time and everything. Now they don’t. Not as bad as Cambodia, but still. We were supposed to arrive at 8:00. Right. We were in after 10:30. Bleary eyed and in desperate need of a toilet. This train wasn’t even the worst in that respect.
At the station we were pulled up straight away by a woman with a booking agent and guest house. We were still delirious from the train ride so we followed her. Every instinct that was still working was saying “RUN!” but no. We followed her to the guesthouse/agent. At least it wasn’t that far away. Here we were subjected to the where are you from? What are you doing in Trang? Can I help you? She pulled out her maps, and our plans on going to Krabi flew out the metaphorical window. Did we say we wouldn’t be suckered into another tour again in Thailand? Now we know why the trains are late. Make them vonerable. Oh well, whats done is done. We booked a hotel on Koh Mook. It wasn’t where we wanted to go. Andrew had wanted to show Anna the island mountains sticking out of the water. Krabi is the spot for this. Yet here we are booking three nights in a resort owned by a foreigner. Hadfarang Bungalows. Foreigner Beach Bungalows. They looked ok, and where 300 baht a night. This is reasonable. It is a two minute walk from the beach. Has Wi-Fi for our updates (she called to confirm this one) and a restaurant that has reasonable prices. Well, we only wanted to chill on the beach for a few days before we leave Thailand, so why not? Booking agent. That’s why not.
After arranging all this we dropped our bags and went back to the station to book our return ticket for the 16th overnight train. This way we only have to spent the day in Bangkok, and not another night. Anna had a suspicion and wanted to check the tickets. No worries. We fly on the 17th. As we were booking the ticket we both realised that the plane was early in the morning. About midnight. This ment that if we booked our ticket to arrive on the 17th, the plane would have already left. We asked the man at the station to wait, and ran back to check our tickets. A good thing to. The plane did leave just after midnight, so the day up our sleeve was gone. Just like that. Oh well, at least we picked it up before we had paid for the train ticket. Back at the station. Booking for the 15th, to arrive on the 16th. We are upper bunks again. However we at least know about the dining car this time!
That ate up our free time in Trang, and we were back to the agent to catch our mini bus out to the ferry. This drove us around for a while, then boarded a ferry itself. Service. No, it was just to cross the river. After a bit longer a drive we were dumped at the pier to go out to the island.
We boarded the boat, and it seems like things are done here quickly so you cannot look around at prices before you are wisked off again to somewhere. However the bus was early. We sat on the ferry for a while, then got sick it. We were not going anywhere. We unloaded ourselves, and went to sit on the pier itself. Looking at crabs, and a morsel of food floating around in the water. There were fish eating it. I think they are a form of pike as they have a very long snout. Almost as long as the rest of the body. At the end of this was a yellow blob. Not sure what that is for, other than to attract prey? Still they were fun to watch for a while.
The boat was about ready to go. Sitting in the back we could see the engine. This was against all australian OH&S. To get the bilge pump working the guy just connected some loose wires and twisted them together. To fill the fuel tank, he removed a wooden board and just poured the fuel into a big container with the engine going. I know we are strict in Oz, but this was something else. The ferry started to move away from the pier and out towards the ocean.
There was a fantastic view. There were the mountains covered in jungle. There were the hills popping out of the water, and the sandbars. The only problem was that it was a bit hazy and anything in the distance was shimmering to inexistence. On a clear day with blue sky and green water it would be stunning. On a clear day with brown sky, brown water and a salt haze over everything it was still impressive.
The ferry ride was not that long,and soon we were pulling up at a large concrete jetty that jutted out into the water for about 500m. There were bikes at the end waiting for people, or produce. There was a bike there waiting for us as well. This was to take us to our bungalow. It had a very basic sidecar that was held together by rust. Still it fitted Anna and I with our bags, and we raced off around the island. The road to where we are staying is only about 2.5km long. It goes through the fishing village on the quiet side of the island, past the clinic, and over a saddle in the hills. At the top of this the road ends. Right beside the hilltop restaurant. (Apparently it is only open until 5pm.) Past this the road turns to a muddy goat track, and the guy on the bike showed considerable skill in negotiating it. At the bottom of the track we reached Hadfarang Bungalows. Our home for the next three nights. They showed us to our room. It didn’t seem too bad on first appearances, so they left us to settle in. It is a fan room. Double bed. Powerpoint (we had worked out by now that this is essential if you want updates, even if they are sporadic we still need to charge things to type them.) the bathroom had a western toilet (essential) It also had a lot of mold, still this is Thailand, and we are yet to have a mold free room. If you want to pay 1000 baht a night it may be different, but at the 300 mark you cannot avoid it.
Here is where Andrew goes to the toilet. I am sure you don’t need a blow by blow description. Needless to say the room is a sauna. Really. If you want to sweat for a bit go stand in the bathroom for 30 seconds. It is HOT. There is no ventilation, and did I say it was hot? The second issue. It is a western toilet. Fine. Did we look to see if it flushed? No, you do kinda assume that it will. It doesn’t. You need to fill the bucket and use a bowl to flush water down the loo. I did work out a trick though. Stuff using the bowl three or four times. Just fill the bucket and use that once. Then there is the issue that the tap on the basin leaks into the garbage bin. Ok, so that one isn’t a big issue, but I am describing the room after all. Finally the shower. Its cold. The water is a murky brown. It looks clear coming out, but the water itself leaves more dirt on the ground than you wash off your body. Anna said that as seasoned travelers (if such a thing exists) we should know more and ask better questions. Andrew thinks that as seasoned travelers we have put up with worse in a lot of places and we can deal with anything. Still, for the price, we had expected better. This is no $2 shack on the waters edge. This is supposed to be a proper bungalow. And the worst thing? What could that be? you are asking yourself. The worst thing is that we are here to relax, sit around, go swimming, have a few drinks, and lie in a hammock and type updates. Kinda cool really, when you type it. So the worst thing? No HAMMOCK! Seriously we booked a place with a private balcony, stating that I wanted to drink Thai rum and lie in a hammock, and THERE IS NO HAMMOCK! SERIOUSLY!
Well to make the most of it we now needed lunch. The restaurant of the place we were booked into was closed due to off season. There was the hilltop still open till 5, but that’s a bit of a walk. There is another guesthouse nearby, so we stopped off at their restaurant. It’s only open after 5:30. Hence we had to go to the proper resort right on the beach. This sounds really nice. The restaurant is on the sand looking out over the water itself. If there hadn’t been green gauze spread everywhere making it impossible to see anything. Still we could hear the waves, and they were open. We got the menu and saw the prices. Holy Sugar! It is a resort, I know. Still. 1000% markup on any restaurant we had been in. 35 Baht for 5 baht water. 90 baht entrees that should have been 10. Mains. Well, needless to say they were expensive. still, it’s an island and we are hungry with nowhere to go. What do you do? After ordering, we had to wait for over an hour for the food to arrive. The service was horrendous, or non-existent at best and they even managed to get the order wrong. This is after having it repeated back to us. (We know language barriers, and have had interesting meals due to this, but today was something different)
So the beach. The beach is nice. Across the water is Koh Kapang, a different island, and on the side we still have vertical rock formation in the water. A few lucky locals still have a shack hide out on the left end of the beach. We walk a bit that way and decide to go for a swim. The water is surprisingly warm. Anna is not that used to the waves, and keeps getting almost knocked over, even though the waves are not that big. (beginner surf waves) It was fun the mess about in the water for half an hour. We lounged around and studied the hermit and ghost crabs. The resort staff is going around clearing the beach one leaf at a time, a good way to keep people employed. We enjoyed having a whole beach to our selves!
For dinner we went to the place that’s only open after 17.00. This place at least has reasonable prices. Dinner was good, and we discovered there were 2 other couples at this side of the island. A Dutch-Thai couple and a mother-daugther team from Canada. As this seems to be the only place open for dinner, we guess this is it for the tourist here.