31.01.2010 - 04.02.2010
We left Koh Samui on Sunday 31st January at 12.30 noon. We had another long day of travelling ahead of us. As far as we knew we were getting a minibus to the ferry terminal and then a big coach from the other side straight to Bangkok...wrong again!! These people don’t like telling you the truth or what to expect. A taxi picked us up from the resort, took us to the ferry terminal, where we had to get onto a coach, which took us to another ferry terminal, then we had to get back off the bus to get on the ferry! Bit of a carry on, just the start though! The ferry took about an hour to get us to the other side and just as we were coming up to the pier the ferry driver hit something and we jerked forward. We don’t have a clue what he hit but it was pretty scary, I was imagining us having to jump overboard. We managed to get off the ferry in one piece...I doubt they checked the ferry before they set off with the next lot of people waiting to go though!
We got back on the coach which drove us to surritani, about an hour and a half away. We pulled up at the wee shack they call a bus station and shouted for everyone to get off the bus. We were then given stickers to wear saying where we were headed and told to wait an hour and a half for the next bus. Starting to feel a bit like sheep getting herded around the place. 6.30pm came and we then got shoved into a tiny tuk tuk!!! 6 of us and our luggage!!! There were a German couple (I think) getting put on the tuk tuk with us who started shouting and demanding to know where the big bus was and saying that this wasn’t good enough, blah, blah, blah. They eventually squeezed into the tuk tuk and asked us where we were from and if they did this kind of thing where we came from. They were outraged, saying ‘this doesn’t happen where we come from’. Ehhh hello, that’s kind of the whole point of going to different places, to see them and learn how they live. Not everywhere is like home!
Anyway, they moaned the entire way to the next shack/bus station. We were herded off again and got new stickers to wear and told we had another hour to wait until the big bus came. We were assured this time that we would be getting on the coach and it would be going straight to Bangkok.
The bus eventually turned up and I thought the woman from before was going to hit the guy in charge. She was trying to push her way onto the bus before it had even stopped and the guy was trying to keep her back. A few heated words were exchanged then we all got on.
We arrived in Bangkok at 4am, an hour ahead of schedule. We were shouted at again to get off the bus and had our bags thrown onto the pavement. We were then bombarded by guys trying to get us to take their tuk tuk or taxi. We had no idea where we were or how to get to the hostel so we just got in a taxi...he didn’t have a clue either. He drove around jabbering in Thai and eventually he had to phone the hostel to get directions. It ended up only being a ten minute walk from where the bus had dropped us off!
When we rang the bell at the gate of the hostel the guy wasn’t going to let us in, he said we couldn’t be there because it was full. He didn’t speak very good English but we eventually got him to see that we had a booking for the morning. We were hoping that we could have wangled our way into the room early. No such luck, we were lead into the wee courtyard just inside the grounds and offered a concrete bench to sleep on! We managed to get a couple of hours sleep before waking up at 8am. We were getting some odd looks from the staff, the night porter had told them why we were there or that we had a booking! We sorted all that out and were told that we would have to wait until 1pm to get into our room because check out wasn’t until 12 noon. Nooooo!!!! We dragged ourselves onto the streets and headed for Khaosan Road. We had read that it was the main street for everything from shopping, to eating, to partying. It was horrible. The street was crowded with market stalls, people falling over themselves trying to get us to buy something and tuk tuk drivers trying to get us to take a ride. Plus the place was filled mainly two types of Westerners, hippies or just plain trampy. They were already sat in the pubs drinking and it hadn’t even gone 9am yet. A lot of them looked like they were high as kites too. We quickly headed for the safety of McDonalds and ordered some breakfast, then we killed a few hours in a coffee shop right next door. We decided to brave it and head back to the hostel at about 12 noon, we could hardly keep our eyes open any longer.
I think the walk back to the hostel got our adrenaline going because by the time we got back they had a room ready but we were too awake now to sleep. We just took sanctuary in our room, reading books and going online. I eventually got a couple of hours sleep before having to head back out to the hustle and bustle of Bangkok to get some dinner. In Thailand you pretty much go round the stalls choosing what you like the look of and eating on the go. We could not be bothered having to deal with the crowds whilst trying to chose something that looked edible so we ended up grabbing a kebab and heading straight back to our room.
We were hoping that we just needed an early night and that things wouldn’t seem so bad in the morning...
We were a bit more prepared for the invasion of personal space and constant harassment but it wasn’t much better than the previous day. We thought that we would have a walk to what was described as a shopping centre and then go on from there to see a temple. There was no shopping centre, only street markets and lots of them selling anything you could imagine. They even had stalls displaying dentures! The signs were written in Thai so I don’t know if they were advertising that they could make you a set of dentures or if those ones were actually for sale. Could you imagine if they were for sale how many people would have tried them to see if they fit....eeeeeeewwww!!!
We braved trying a few nibbles from the stalls but they didn’t seem too big on hygiene and we didn’t fancy getting sick so we headed for yet another coffee shop and had coffee and a packet of biscuits.
We noticed that there was a palace next to temple so we decided to go see that too. Going through the gates we were greeted by a big sign saying we had to cover our legs completely. I had worn a long sleeved top and shorts that went past my knees because I thought that was all you had to cover to be respectful and Kev had worn long shorts. Not good enough, we had to rent some clothing before we were allowed in. I had to wear a long wrap around skirt that I kept tripping over and Kev had to wear long baggy trousers with the crotch down to his knees. After going through all of that we didn’t end up going into the palace or temple because they were charging an absolute fortune. We quickly got changed and left...heading back to the hostel. We had had enough and only ventured out again to get dinner. This time we were a bit more adventurous with the food and ended up having quite a good meal. We took it back to the hostel though because we don’t like eating and walking at the same time.
Today, Wednesday 3rd February, we got a taxi to a real shopping centre the other side of the river. That was more like it...proper shops under one roof, air conditioned and away from tuk tuk drivers! We spent a few hours wandering around and got some lunch there before heading back to the hostel.
Tomorrow is our last day in Bangkok...thank God. We are just going to spend it at the hostel chilling out reading and not doing much. Some people may love Bangkok but it’s just not for us, I can safely say that we won’t be back. Once is more than enough for us.