Day 86: Koh Lipe > Koh Samui
We’ve been dreading today’s journey all week. In short, we messed up our route (first time so far!) which meant a 12hour journey to our next destination Koh Samui as there’s no direct route, via plane / bus / boat.
After some extensive research we decided to break the journey up over 2 days to minimise any room for error, should one of the connecting transits get lost in Thai time and we missed anything. We would get a 2hr speed boat to mainland and a 6.5hr bus to Surat Thani. The next day we would get our ferry to Koh Samui. So it went a little bit like this... (written en route via my phone)
08:45 - Tuk tuk to the beach
This part was free or we’d have walked (as it only would’ve taken 10mins).
09:00 - Longtail boat to speedboat platform
When we arrived on this sunny tropical island the speedboat came right up to the beach, so we just walked the 10 metres or so in shallow sea. For some reason, when you depart the island the boats can’t do this. So you have to pay 50 baht (£1.25) pp to get a longtail boat to platform in the sea. Okay.
09:40 - Speedboat departs for Pak Bara
The sea was really rough today, worse than the other day! But thankfully our captain was more skilled we actually felt safe this time. I joked to Gav that it would be terrible if you suffered from sea sickness... and Sod’s law, shortly after I felt terrible. I’m not sure if it was the two Oreos I’d eaten just before boarding, or the fact I couldn’t see anything as the seats were so low so the movements were playing havoc with my brain. Or if it was because I wedged between two men (Gav was one) I had no air or space to breathe. But either way, I now know what sea sickness feels like. Urgh!
11:45 - Wedged in a bus to trang
Our speedboat was 40mins late due to the conditions and we worried we’d missed the bus. But just as our ticket seller promised, there was a friendly lady awaiting us on the pier with a sign. Hurrah! Although we’re now told it’s not a direct bus to Surat Thani as we have to change in Trang. She took our ticket and waved us off (we’re really hoping we don’t need that ticket!!).
13:50 - Arrive in Trang
We pulled up next door to another minibus with the same company logo on. That’s a good sign! Our driver instructs the new driver and we move our bums and bags across.
13:55 - Gav has lunch in a lady’s living room
Pad Thai for 30 baht. That’s 75p. There was a hair in it.
14:15 - Depart for Surat Thani
It was just us and a Swedish guy who moved onto this new bus so we got chatting. He’s going straight to Don Sak pier to get the ferry to Koh Samui today and asked why we weren’t. We’d explained we’d read some nightmare stories and it would be a long day travelling and too much could’ve gone wrong.
15:55 - Change of plan
We’re going to Koh Samui today!!! Judging from the route the minibus is taking we’re going to Don Sak pier BEFORE Surat Thani. So it actually makes no sense for us to go right into Surat Thani this eve to go back to the pier in the morning (they’re about 30mins apart). We’ve booked a hotel already but it’s a cheap one so we don’t mind losing that if it means we get there faster and with a lot less stress of sorting it all out this eve and waking up for more travelling tomorrow!
16:25 - Toilet break
We tell the bus driver we’re changing route. He asks us if we’ve bought our ticket yet and we say no. He excitedly says he can ring and sort it for us now. 300 baht each (£7.50). Deal. He was so excited, he must’ve made some commission on that!
18:05 - Arrive at ferry port
Oh we're on the car ferry. He's done on a sly one on these tickets, we know they're only 200 baht.
20:20 - Touchdown on Samui
Hassled by half a dozen angry shuttle bus drivers pushing us into their vans. One tells us it's 1hr to get to our destination, we know it's just 20mins, he's having us on but we're in the middle of bloody nowhere! Our plan to park up in a coffee shop with wifi and book a hotel had gone right out the window as all we can see round the ferry pier is blackness. We finally give in and agree to the shuttlebus driver taking us to our not-yet-booked hotel.
20:45 - En route to hotel
Our nice Swedish friend lends us his free internet to book a hotel. I find one for £13, that'll do. It's one night.
21:05 - HERE
Hotel is rubbish. Gav is hungry. I am shattered. But at least we're HERE.
A summary of day 86. By Gav