Friday, 31 January 2014

The Journey South

Our journey down south was surprisingly pleasant considering it was over 1400KM. We started by taking the sleeper train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok which was awesome, you pay just under 300 Baht more than the bus but my god is it worth it. You get your own little bed with a curtain for privacy and it is pretty comfortable too, they have a restaurant carriage where we popped in for a few drinks and that basically turned into a party where we got chatting to lots of people. The restaurant/bar closed though at a reasonable hour (probably a good thing) and it was time for bed. We got woken at around 5AM the next day by the conductors and checked the GPS to see where we were in the world. We decided we needed to jump off at the next stop rather than go all the way to Hua Lampong (Bangkok's Railway Hub) so we got off, got straight into a taxi and headed for Don Mueang Airport where we had a flight to take us to Surat Thani. I didn't plan on taking any flights while I was out here but its a hell of a distance going all way by land so I thought I could splash out on this one.

When we got to check in they told us we would have to pay 900 Baht each if we wanted to check in luggage. What!? We had checked the small print (well we thought we had) allowing 15KG free but realized we went with a different airline in the end which didn't offer free luggage. After some smooth talking to the lady she told us she would allow us to take all of our stuff on as hand luggage so that we did. It was at that point Dave and I realized how many banned items we were carrying (scissors, liquids more than 100ml, aerosols etc) but we thought we'd 'test' their security and just chance it. Sure enough though we were pulled and they went through all of our stuff, I blagged quite a few bits as I politely argued that the stuff was probably under 100ml but in reality almost certainly wasn't. The main thing I needed to keep though was my medicinal shampoo for my psoriasis as I'm not sure how easy it is to find in Thailand, it was way over 100ml but after a bit of pleading he checked no one was looking and put it back in my bag for me. What a guy! Dave unfortunately though lost his special Thai rice whiskey which we hadn't even had chance to taste.

We had a few hours to wait now before our flight so had a little nap in the departure lounge. It was then time to board, up in the air we then went and one hour later we arrived to Surat Thani. From the airport it was all smooth sailing, we bought a joint bus and boat ticket from the airport to get us to Koh Samui. The bus was ready and waiting and took just over an hour to get to the pier. It was then 1.5 hours on the water until we arrived on Koh Samui. Sweet!

All in all this is the furthest distance travelled in one sitting it took exactly 24 hours on the nose from the train leaving Chiang Mai to us arriving in Samui. I was dreading it before we left but it fact it was all rather quite fun.

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