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Published: March 1st 2018
Sunday 24 February, 2018
Woke about 8.30 am. This morning we were due to change rooms, at the hotel's request.
We got our coffees and started putting things in bags to move four villas down to number 3.
At about 11 am Nadege came to the room and said the other villa would be ready in 10 minutes.
Shortly after we noticed a small green snake climbing along the roof and heading down the rope into the hammock. We don't have a problem with snakes, at home we know which is which. Here they are unknown to us. So I popped to see Nadege who came back to the villa and said it was a coconut snake and harmless.
So, we moved the stuff with a bit of toing and froing, to a better villa as it happens and then a heavy downpour started. We nested and then chilled.
Lunchtime came and the rain had eased by this time, so we went across the road to Fish Pacific and we both had breakfasts about 1 pm. Mr Hinkong arrived and we received our train tickets. They were not quite we wanted but he said to come back later.
We walked along the beach going North just ambling along and picked up some stuff from the 7eleven. Then went back to the room about 3.15 pm.
Late afternoon early evening Pat remarked that we had not viewed a sunset in Thailand. So we looked it up and it was due to be 1830 hrs.
Plenty of time to ready ourselves and pop over to L'Alcove for a sundowner. Pat ordered a “Zow” - Bombay Gin, ginger, lime and sprite. I had a “Saparot”, a pineapple juice drink.
The sun duly departed in a very pretty fashion, with lots of photographs taken.
Neither of us were particularly hungry, so we just had the drinks and ambled to see Mr Hinkong in the travel office.
Basically the first class sleepers were fully booked and we were going to be in second class. He refunded the difference in cash, because we had already paid him. C'est La Vie, as they would say in L'Alcove.
Back to the room at 7.30 pm, we nibbled on some stuff and had a quiet night.
Monday 26 February 2018
Woke and started stirring about 9.30 am. No housekeeping on a Monday we later found out.
Late yesterday we had thought to hire a car. The main form of transport for everyone around the island is small motorcycle. Neither of us were keen on that, not least because we have seen a number of people covered in bandages and grazes, from falling off motorbikes we assume.
The other day we had spotted a hire car at L'Alcove and after looking on the internet, prices seemed not to stupid.
So, we asked Nadege if she could help and thought that having the car Tuesday was best for us, with sunshine forecast and then we leave on Wednesday.
It ended up the car is for 24 hours, so we should have it 1630 hrs Monday until 1630 hrs Tuesday. Price is 1500 baht (£35) for the day. They hold your passport as security and I didn't want to mess about going in to Wednesday, as we are due to be picked up at 11 am.
Anyway, after a slow start we ambled up to 7eleven as my throat was tickly again overnight to see what they had in the way of throat sweets etc.
We walked on the road, then back via the beach. The 7eleven had a number of things available, so I managed to get strepsils - which I think are a waste of time - and some cough medicine. The cough medicine writing was in Thai and Chinese, with a couple of English words, one of which was opium, so goodness knows what I am taking. It tastes like cough medicine and it seems to work.
We strolled South down the beach and the returned to Mr Hinkong for some breakfast. Pat likes their coffee, but found out today, they do iced coffee so she had two.
We had breakfasty food in a leisurely manner and got a map to discuss where we would hope to go with the car. Returned to the room at 1.45 pm.
The car was due to arrive at 4.45 pm, timed because Nadege was due to finish at 5 pm.
We had a quiet afternoon and prepared some stuff for the car. We hung around reception from 4.45 pm. Some other guests came to book other stuff with Nadege, which confused things a little. There were calls made to where the car was but eventually it turned out there was a misunderstanding and the car people thought we were picking up from their place in Thong Sala.
They came to Alcove, and took us back to the office to sign paperwork etc. It was a little Mitsubishi Mirage and an automatic. Thong Sala is about 15 minutes from Alcove and when we had control of the car we decided to still head North and see where the road led.
We drove North and followed the road and kept at a slow pace to take in the sights. We had a simple tourist map, but lost our way on it, so didn't have much of a clue where we were. Eventually there was some new road being laid and we thought to turn back. At this point we realised we were actually approaching Thong Sala, proving it's not a very big island!
We wiggled through town and found our road back. Back to Alcove about 7 pm and straight over the road for food and refreshments. In the room and settled down 8 pm.
Tuesday 27 February, 2018
Our last full day on the Island. Weather hot and sunny. Our plan today was to travel around the island as much as possible. The road network does not cover the whole island and some touristy coastal locations are only accessible by boat.
We woke and packed some stuff, left the room about 9.45 am. As we left I wasn't sure about the tyre pressures and stopped a couple of times to check them. Not a lot of tread by the way. They were sort of ok!
We headed North again and after 20 minutes or so, managed to find a track down to the beach at Haad Son, which we believe is also known as Secret Beach. We headed for refreshments first and the location was gorgeous. White sand, blue sky, blue sea, in a bay, all very picture postcard. The beach bar called something Raham took ages to provide two lightly toasted pieces of bread for Pat's breakfast.
I popped back to the car and got our beach stuff, we found a spot and Pat went into the water, which was colder than expected. We left shortly after.
Back on the road and we tried to see some places on the top North West coast without a great deal of success.
As we were driving along we saw a proper petrol station. Nearly everywhere sells litre bottles of petrol for the motorbikes just by the roadside. but not a proper petrol station. So I stopped and we were now dropping below half a tank.
We needed to return the car with the same petrol as we took it, so we did a very rough calculation and we put 300 baht, which took the pressure off trying to find a petrol station later.
The road swung round to head South and our next destination was the South East corner. The famous full moon party beach at Haad Rin. We found our way better this time and parked by the Port area.
We walked back to the beach which was another beautiful location. A definite buzz about the whole place. We had a light lunch and refreshments at Tommy's resort beach bar. All very pleasant and a lovely location.
Next was North West and a place called Haad Nai Ban Yai. This was not as easy to find for us, as we took a few wrong roads, but we did eventually stumble across the road we wanted.
Again we found a track and the beach was beautiful, we walked along taking in the views and again decided on refreshments at a place called Dreamland.
Off again and a quick side trip to a waterfall, Thad Salet which we weren't to keen to go clambering around once we had found it. So after that we headed back to Thong Sala, to drop the car off.
We had only been to Adam Big Bike once but we managed to get straight to it.
The shop was frantic when we arrived, some people hiring bikes, some people trying to return a bike with issues as far as the office was concerned. A German lad trying to get his friends passport, because he was either in Hospital or jail and without the motorbike the shop were not letting him have the passport!
We waited patiently and after a while, the lady who had at least earlier acknowledged our prescence , asked what we wanted.
With the goings on in the office during our wait, I had become a little cautious mentally about what might happen with us. “Return car” I offered, to which she started to very quickly check the vehicle, then found my passport and returned it to me. She checked the petrol as she had forgotten and saw it was above when we had taken it. She thanked me and offered us a lift back to the hotel, which we declined as we wanted to see more of Thong Sala. So, all was well and we got out of there quickly.
We headed to a coffee shop to gather ourselves and refresh. Dots was the name and it was lovely, Pat had an iced Latte and I had a passion fruit drink.
We wandered some more and made a souvenir purchase, then into Soho's again for our dinner. Dinner was good and they have mayonnaise sauce so Pat was happy.
We were wearying by this time and going home was next. We walked to the junction for the road to Hinkong and a taxi came within 1 minute. 300 baht to get home. Picked up the laundry next door and back to the room for 7.30 pm.
Then Pat packed our stuff and I again gave moral support and guidance.
What a day!
Wednesday 28 February 2018
Not a good night's sleep. Thai tummy caught up with me a little through the night. But nothing too serious, I seem to have also acquired a mild fever, which is fun in the temperatures here!
Anyway we were awake early and showered and packed our final things.
Then off across the road at 9.20 am to Fish Pacific for some breakfast. We both had toast and two boiled eggs. Mr Hinkong gave us some extras, fruit and juices as it was our last time. Sadly with my tummy caution is the word.
Back to the room and the maid had already cleaned. We hung around for a while, moved our bags to reception and said goodbye to Nadege. The taxi transport we had arranged was directly through Mr Hinkong and a truck came just after 11 am to move us to Lompraya drop off.
At the drop off we had a better idea of what goes on and checked in, then waited for the cattle truck to transfer us to the Port.
They way it worked out, we were the last on the boat and it untied and set off at 12.15 pm. It was busy again.
We stopped and discharged passengers at Koh Samui, a few less joined.
The journey was uneventful and we arrived at Lompraya port in Surat Thani around 3 pm. The next leg was by minibus to the train station. Again the organisation was excellent. All the buses numbered and tannoy announcements, telling people what was what.
The traffic was dreadful, but our train wasn't until 1837hrs so it didn't matter. We arrived at 3.45 pm.
At the train station we had look around and then settled. There was a left luggage, but we didn't feel the need.
When the ticket queue died down, I went to ask about first class sleeper availability. Our slightly unreliable Mr Hinkong said first class was booked. When Pat checked online the website said there were cabins. So, I gave it a shot. The young lady spoke a litlle English and lo and behold there were cabins. So, I handed over some cash for the upgrade and we now had our own first class sleeper cabin.
The train station had tourist assistants to help answer any questions. Great idea.
The time passed by and the train came in at 6.50 pm. We boarded and were shown to our cabin. The cabin attendant asked if we wanted food or breakfast, which we declined. The train was on it' s way again at 7.05 pm.
The cabin is basic but fine. After setting off the attendant came in and made the beds up. We settled down and then had an early night.
At one stage a family came into the next cabin at another stop and were initially quite noisy, but they settled down.
Thursday 1 March 2018
As the train rumbled on through the night I did manage to get some sleep. Pat slept quite well.
Our coffee arrived about 6.30 am with a muffin and the cabin attendant stripped the beds a little later.
The train was due in at 6.37 am. However it finally arrived about 9 am. During the delay we were stopped for long periods and some people got off and over to a road, to jump in taxi's.
We were in no hurry at all and simply stayed where we were.
Finally we arrived at the train station and headed for the Metro MRT, purchased a card which we can use contactless and top up when needed. We took a little while to orient ourselves, but sought advice from a human as the signage wasn't showing what we wanted.
We knew we needed the Skytrain service but the Metro information didn't show what train stations they connected with.
After getting the Metro to Sukhimvit we then headed to the Skytrain and purchased another contactless card. We changed at Siam and took a coffee break, for internet access to gather better information on our Hotel location.
Then back on the Skytrain to Saphan Taksin.
Our destination was across the river and with suitcases we decided the boat crossing was the easiest and at 5 baht each was good value.
Then more trundling with cases and Pat led us straight to the Hotel. A warm welcome and we were checked in.
In the room at 12.01 pm. 25 hours of travel.
We both needed a shower and after finding the shower gel, razor, lotions and potions. We got clean and also felt a lot more human.
After minor recovery time, Pat was hungry and a KFC was spotted on the way to the hotel, so at 3 pm we ventured out. There was a small Mall and we looked at the various shops. Eventually we had our KFC meal, then into a supermarket for milk. The 7eleven on the corner by us, doesn't sell beer, so Pat missed out.
The rest of the day was more recovery time.
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