Wednesday, December 24, 2014
12/4/14 Day 322 The Eternal Journey-21 Hours of Travel to Koh Pha Ngan
It took us just a few hours short of an entire day to get to Ko Pha Ngan or Koh Phangan-it seems every city in Thailand has a minimum of 7 different spellings. We choose to book an all-inclusive train-bus-ferry ticket. All of these connections can be setup independently but we took the easy way out and went to the travel agent at the train station for a total of 958 baht from Bangkok to Ko Pha Ngan. It was expensive compared to the 700 baht price tag you can bargain for on Kao San road, but it was hot, we were tired and 10$ is not going to break our banks this time. Our train left Bangkok at 5:30, as it does everyday on its journey down the coast where it bumps and thumps and screeches all the way through Malaysia. Since we were late to book and all of the second class sleepers were full we were stuck with 2nd class seats which feel very...local. The train is loud and hot for the most part, so everyone opens their windows, and at night heaps of moths and bugs are wind-tunnel vacuumed into the car and twirled about until they find a shirt or face to cling to. Oh and definitely some smallish cockroaches casually cruising about the floor, so many bugs! When we finally arrived at Surat Thani it was around 6:00 a.m. my fantasy of getting any sleep was unrealized and it was time for the journey to continue. Another sleepless hour to wait for the next train to arrive so they could fill the onward bus to capacity instead of making two trips. The bus finally fills enough for the tour operators satisfaction and we were able to drive the 11 kilometers into town (the train station is on the outskirts of Surat Thani) and from there further towards Don Sak, an extra 50 kilometers away. From Don Sak Pier a ferry takes you to Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan and lastly to Koh Tao. Destined of course for more waiting we finally board the Songserm ferry (the slower and cheaper option than operators: Seatran and Lomprayah, but not quite as cheap as Raja, the local ferry that could have been booked independently). We stumbled through the huge pile of backpacks and finally stepped onto the dock of Ko Pha Ngan.