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Published: February 8th 2019
Well not exactly woes, but it could have been! Last night I had to try a few exchange places as most only wanted to give me 1000b notes, and they are very annoying to a solo traveler. I ended up at the place just before the corner where the taxi boat ticket office is, and this time there was a young guy in there as well as the usual lady. The rate was below 40b for the first time, and so for £100 I was getting 3970b. i asked for some 500s and he handed over the cash. Luckily I didn’t pick it up or take it off the counter. The receipt had the right amount but I was 400b short. I said it wasn’t right and he straight away handed over the extra. He didn’t have to count, he knew exactly how much it was short! Hah!
Going to Poda Island by longtail boat was really easy. The tickets to Railay are single ones, as you can get any boat back, but for the others the price is return, so half what I was expecting. 300b plus the national park fee, which is 400b. I was waved over to
the right and waited with a few others, all of whom were going on to Chicken Island, so I was dropped off first and alone. You get the same boat back and the number is both on the boat and the guy’s T-shirt. Number 60. The Swedish family saw that I was a bit alarmed but said they’d make sure he came back for me. I had to hand over my 400b to the guy and he went to the park kiosk and paid, or he said he did. I’m sure some kind of scam was going on as I could have done that myself. He didn’t give me a ticket but nobody asked me for one all day, although there are plenty of rangers around.
Can’t remember if I’d been to Poda before. I walked round to the left and there were some roped off swimming areas and the rest of the beach was where boats could pull up. I wasn’t sure where the sun was going and wanted to be in the shade, so settled in front of the boat area. Big mistake! At one point there were 14 longtail boats and 6 speedboats in front of
me. As soon as one left another came. The tour people piled off, carrying the lunches included in the tours in polystyrene containers. I dread to think just how many are used every day. You do need to take your own snacks there, there is nowhere to buy anything, but there are toilets and places to sit under the trees. At one point 4 boats of local teenagers arrived. One boy, aged about 12 at the most, had a T-shirt with ‘I love boobie’ written on it......... The water is really lovely but it wasn’t a relaxing place to choose to sit. An hour before my pickup time of 4 I walked back to where I’d been dropped off, to see if it was more peaceful. It was, but a huge monkey droppEd out of the tree above me and raided the rucksack of a nearby family, who’d foolishly left their bananas in full view. Then it ambled down to the sea and lollopped towards a Chinese family group. They shrieked their heads off and formed a family killing circle. So I’m glad I didn’t choose to stay there, although in readiness my bag had a big bottle of water
to weigh it down and a padlock! I piled rocks on the top to make sure, even though I was sitting right next to it. There is a snorkel area which looked Ok, although no doubt the coral is dead.
The boat came back early to get me and parked round the corner, but the guy came along the beach and saw me sitting waiting. Phew! It’s only about 20 mins back to Ao Nang.
Back to the local beach yesterday and a family with 2 little kids arrived and set up on the beach with their own parasol. Ché Guevara, the slightly scary sunbed guy, marched over and in no uncertain terms said it wasn’t allowed. I heard the word ‘police’ and then he graphically mimed being handcuffed. They took the parasol down. You aren’t allowed anything like that on the beach. There were more vendors around yesterday, sunglasses mainly, although that definitely isn’t allowed and today none, as the police were around again. It was really busy today and every sunbed was taken. Hut number 9 had bought a birthday cake Nd flowers for one of their regulars, and the ladies sang to him. The tide
was out at 9.30am when I arrived, and walking to the end of the beach the runoff from the stream behind the huts is glaringly obvious and literally midnight black. Best not think about it.
Tomorrow, maybe Nopparat Thara beach, a 30 min walk from here (or a tuktuk), or Chicken Island by boat. Or Tonsai. So many to choose from.
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