Before I go on with this blog entry, I would like to warn anyone from using notepad. It may seem retro, but this is now my third time typing this blog out, in full! Both previous editions were saved incorrectly and only the title remained, causing obvious pain from the following ten minute head banging. My now reliable tool is Word and I’m not changing.
Anyhow – Tuesday 27th of January – the day we finally left our first volunteering location on our travels. It certainly wasn’t going to be the longest time we’d spend somewhere, but it was our first and will hold some good memories.
Like learning how to do some basic movements on silks, thanks to the teachings of Noli and Debbie (the Argentinian girls),
Or playing Monopoly deal with Max, Jess and Mikey.
Or doing some hard graft like moving huts around in 35 degree heat.
All will all be missed.
At about 11:00 am we were ready to go. Bags packed, water bottles filled up and all of our stuff waiting by the mopeds which were ready to take us to the ferry port. As we had decided to skip getting the boat all the way to Krabi in favour of hitch hiking our way there, we needed a lift to the ferry port where all the cars queue up to get off the island, and luckily Max and Mikey offered to take us and our 85 litre backpacks on their mopeds and whiz us to the other side of the island.
Ready to say our goodbyes we tried to get some attention and get moving, until all hell broke loose. A slight exaggeration maybe. It started with a thrown water bottle (all in good jest), then a bucket of water in revenge as the Argentinian girls chased each other around endlessly. Once they were drenched and bored of the one on one fight they teamed up, until there were about 8 of us in an all-out water skirmish. We then teamed up to try and lure Neng (the owner) out of his hut and drench him too, despite our shouts of “Sonkran!!” (A water festival held in Thailand each April to celebrate their New Year), he was wise to this and would not budge or get involved. After a while however, more people at Clayzy turned up and joined in amounting to about 12 of us, obviously Mel and I were more than happy to oblige in a hidden attempt to prolong our goodbyes. Luckily as we were hitch hiking we had nowhere to rush to. Buckets of water slapped unknowing victims in the face as they hid round corners and bottles squirted others in revenge for the previous attack. Obviously as time went by everyone was pretty much as wet as wet can be. As Mel and I stepped back to dry off, aware that we could not get into a random person’s car absolutely soaked, the mudslinging began, which escalated to some mud slapping, until eventually Mikey drew a circle which would then house the mud wrestling, ensuing in some comical fails and “ouch” provoking tumbles.
It was now 1:30pm and although we had nowhere to be in a hurry, we had already delayed this goodbye for two hours. Aware of this Max led the fighters on a sprint down to the sea to wash off, and in all the excitement it was decided that a human pyramid was a great idea. The picture below is after about 5 failed attempts and roping in two passers by off the beach to complete the structure.
With Max and Mikey mud and clay free and now dried off, our journey began. Waving goodbye we throttled away from Clayzy House and over to the ferry port, only ten minutes away – thankfully, as being on the back of a moped with an 85 litre backpack strapped to my back was scary to say the least. Mel luckily had space as a passenger on her moped to put the bags up front. We arrived at the port and as the mopeds stopped the wind did too and suddenly we felt the blistering heat.
Scared we could be there for a while we took some tips from the two veteran (compared with us they were) hitch hikers before they rode away in search of food. Luckily for us our wait was not long and as we approached the fourth vehicle, the driver wound down his window and nodded us on board. Luckily we had Neng make us a sign up in Thai, explaining our destination. We hoped it was where we wanted to go as we had no idea what it said. The vehicle we had been given by the hitch hiking gods was an Ice Van. Which was fine as our bags were kept refreshingly cool in the back. However the front, even though as cool as the back thanks to air conditioning, was definitely not as roomy. The driver’s seat was accompanied by two smaller seats and there was already one other passenger. So Mel squeezed on to my lap and we nestled ourselves between a window screen and a Thai guy, needless to say the journey was accompanied with cramp and some harsh pins and needles along the way, apart from our little rests whilst crossing the ferry line.
Both the driver and other passenger were Thai and spoke absolutely no English, they both just burst into laughter whenever Mel tried to evoke any type conversation. 90 minutes later we had arrived in Krabi, about 10 miles short of where we had hoped but a good drop off point thanks to our ice delivery aides. We hopped on a local bus to Au Nang, paying 100 Baht for the two of us, although the locals seemed to pay 1/5 of this, oh well, and as Mel and I had taken up a bit of space on the bus, (a pickup truck with an open back seating area) some kids on the way home from school were left clinging to the rails and standing on the back bumper, but they seemed happy. After 20 minutes going through Krabi with wonderful backdrops of mountains and forestry we arrived in Au Nang, the port where we would jump on a long tail boat to Ton Sai.
We bought our tickets for the long tail boat and were informed that they ran until 6pm, but they don’t disembark until there are 8 customers. So we had to be sure either to not miss out or to not be stuck there waiting for over an hour. So we decided to explore a little, however this took us only 200m up the road as we stumbled across some familiar looking golden arches. With our stomachs grumbling, obviously recognising those famous icons of capitalism, we decided to treat ourselves – we had just saved a fair bit of cash hitch hiking. Mel with a Big Mac and myself with a Triple Mac, a burger invention I hadn’t laid witness to since I was about 12, we were a happy couple for about ten minutes. We even got the chance to Supersize too, look how big they are!!!
Then the imminent regret followed. Somehow this always slips the mind when you see the big M or the Colonel staring at you from a distance, but it still arrives shortly after, the knowing that is, that you have just wasted money on a meal that will keep you satisfied for only an hour or two, but make you feel sluggish for even longer. Even worse we knew that for a quarter of the cost we could have had a tasty Pad Thai and that would have sufficed. Never again we vowed, but I’m sure I myself have said these words before. Nostalgic moment over, we staggered our way down to Au Nang peer and waited for our long tail boat. It’s not a far journey to Ton Sai and within 5 minutes we could see the bay of our next beach destination. A small and serene little peninsula, surrounded by luscious greenery and white edged cliffs, a climber’s paradise we had heard!
All trips are per passenger and one way
- Koh Lanta Ferry – 26 Baht
- Bus – Krabi to Au Nang – 50 Baht
- Long tail Boat – Au Nang to Ton Sai – 100 Baht
- 2 MacDonald’s Meals – approx. 500 Baht (not worth it)
- When Hitch hiking make sure you have enough room in the vehicle, otherwise it could be a very long and painful journey
- Get a local to write you out a sign, you’ll be picked up within 10 cars at the most, apparently this is the best rule of thumb
- Opt for local food, even if you are partial to western junk food joints. It’s 1/4 of the price and will leave you satisfied for much longer, don’t make the same mistake as us!
- Add some electrolytes to your water, most of the drinking water lacks the minerals we need so you can get pretty lethargic after a while