Tuesday, December 30, 2014

12/14/15 Day 332 Boat, Train, Bus: Ko Tao to Krabi

Alright time for a travel day. With just a few hours to kill before our boat left we ran into some friends we met the other night and they invited us along to the High Bar, which we have heard about all week long. You can buy and smoke joints for 200 baht and sip mushroom shakes (700 baht) while ogling the view overlooking Chalok Baan Thai. Saying our final farewells to our friends and the island we gathered our things and stepped onto the night boat around 22:00 for a 23:00 departure to Chumphon. The original plan was to take a night boat back the way we came to Surat Thani with inclusive transport to Krabi for 650 baht but with the approaching storms no boats will go for a few days. So our alternative, take a night boat to Chumphon for 400 baht from the honest and helpful sales agent at JJ Travel who has been assisting us from the start, tickets can also be purchased at the dock starting at 21:00. Packs tossed into the loading bay we are ushered past the first two floors of thin leather mattress bunks, with heavy leather pillows to our top floor suite with half the quantity of bunks and a few other obvious backpackers milling about. For an extra 50 baht or so our bunks have fitted sheets, blankets and pillowcases to make us non-locals more cozy, seems to have worked like a charm as we slept almost entirely though the 6 hour boat ride through tumultuous roller coaster roaring waves before arriving in Chumphon just before sunrise. Off the boat and crushed onto a songtheaw, one of those small truck converted taxis with 11 locals we are about 40 minutes behind schedule creating a tight time constraint, by the time we reach the train station we are 45 minutes past due and our tight squeeze for time turns out to be perfect thanks to the train following suit in a tardy nature, we settled into second class seats and snoozed our way for the two hour journey to Surat Thani for 100 baht. Filing off the train it is almost 9:00 in the morning now as we slide past all of the skeezy touts trying to "sell" us tickets to Krabi, prices inflated by hundreds of baht. Keeping to the left our of the station we find the big orange local buses that drive directly into town for the bargain of the day at 15 baht each. Terminating at the main bus station Kaset 1, we venture across the street to soi 31 where Kaset 2 (bus station 2) contains the more long distance vehicles. Again reeling around all of the desperately anxious ticket sellers we find the government bus, just a few doors down with clearly marked prices just behind the blue bus that looks as official as you could imagine a run down Thai bus to be. For 150 baht we have four hours more of traveling in a decently comfortable air conditioned bus with fully-functioning reclining seats, not too shabby for 150 baht (5$)
We find a tired little guesthouse with wifi in our room and a hot shower, luxuries for only 900 Baht for three nights. Krabi town is a nice change of pace, hardly any tourists and significantly cheaper than the prices we have become accustomed to. We spent most of our time cruising the street markets, both the night and morning markets in town are fantastic!

Leg 1: Ko Tao-Chumphon ferry
The smaller, cleaner, backpacker suite
Leg 3: local bus from Surat Thani to Krabi
The bus was really local
We chose to walk the 4 kilometers to town rather than to take transport from the bus terminal
Krabi night market
Calamari skewer
Dragon fruit and starfruit, must be somewhere tropical
Teaching the next generation tricks of the trade
Jackfruit

New generation learning traditional dance
Then there's Kevin with his freshly acquired Croc-0ff knockoffs 
Wat Kaew or white temple in Krabi town




Traditional longtail boat
Bikes on boats


Krabi crabs

Spirit houses contructed to provide shelter and appease local spirits
Water machine

The Krabi Maharat morning market







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