In the past we could go to the local bus station, check out the most comfortable bus and see where it will take us for a 4-5 hours drive, and there you had our next destination, an easy and fun way of travelling. This time we have not yet got this adventure spirit, maybe because we are carrying a little to much packaging with us, so instead we try to create some kind of travel plan. Meaning we had to exit Thailand on December 2nd and we would like to go to Langkawi in Malaysa. So either we end up in Hat Yai to take the ferry between Satun and Langkawi, or we end up in Phuket to catch a flight to Penang or we head back to Bangkok for a flight wherever we want.
First stop for us is Chumphon and we go by train, 2nd class aircond. And the train is not only on time, it actually arrive ahead of schedule, something we never have experienced before. When it comes to comfort and price, the VIP bus are often a much better alternative, except that they mostly depart and arrive from the Highway, while the trainstation is located in city centre.
Nothing has really changed here since our last visit four years ago. Good accomondation is still easy to find, we paid 590 baht for aircond room including free wi-fi, hot water, daily cleaning and breakfast for two at the Euroboutiqe Hotel. And it was on a walkable distance from the train station so we didn’t even need a tuk-tuk. Chumphon is a great place for some daily business like going to the dentist and to the hairdresser. We found the same dentist office used before, but this time we thought the service provided was a bit more ecpensive and of less quality, but the teeths get cleaned and zero hole so why complain?
One reason for going to Chumphon was the Bach of Thung Wualen, to see if some of the “regular” visitors had arrived yet. They had not, and on a Friday morning the beach and the surroundings gave a rather closed approach. In the middle Nana Beach hotel was expanding in all directions, at the Northern part all placed was closed, at least during day time, but in the southern part of the beach there was a lot more cheap beach stalls serving thai visitors. But the beach itself was still as white and untouched as we remember it to be. But we decided to continue to stay in Chunphon instead of moving to the beach this time. And spend our days by cruising around on motorbike on small and scenic roads.
Back in Chumphon we entered the bar “Old Time” to grab a coffee, ending up with delicious lunch and good coffee + some sweet dessert . Looking around inside the bar, the decoration looked very familiar, as a typical Swedish second hand shop, with a display of Swedish tourist souvenirs, swedish books, swedish records etc, even the dry flowers was the same as I used to have in my student apartment back in the late 80’s. On one of the other walls, the decoration could have been unpacked from a box in my garage – I had owned the same kind of instamatic camera and hifi casette rack as those on display.
Can’t sit and drink coffee every day, so time to move on. We walk down the street to the mini-bus station, and wait for the one to Surat being filled up. This one has no time table, it levers when full. Perfect for us this time, as it require no travel planning.
Except of being a major travel hub for those going to the Islands it is also a city with lots of old wodden house, and I had never visited this town before (changing mini- bus here back in 2003 when travelling from Koh Samiu to Penang does not count).
One of the “do not miss” things is going on a boat trip with Mr. Lek. First we thought it was a bit expensive as he charged us per number of passanger and not per boat, but this was the longest one hour trip we have had, including a stop under the bridge while waiting for the heavy rain to pass by.
It was extremely beatiful, but at the end we went through the small fishing village where our boatman lived himself.
Experienced a new trick for how to walk around in a town when it is more than 30 degrees outside. Go to the nearest seven eleven shop and fill up a large mug with ice, add some thai ice tea or ice coffe and you are ready. The ice keep you cool and the drink contains enough sugar and milk to give you energy for the next 30 minutes of strolling around.
We stayed at “My Place@surat” actually a little to cheap place for us, it was a bit to noisy but for 540 baht for a double with aircond and wi-fi it was fair enough. And we didn’t need to pre-book, got a room just by walk by. The location on the other hand was fantastisk, next to the night market. And this was a real night market, reasonable priced and with a variety of all tastes.
A couple of days in Surat was still enough so now it was time to decide where – and how – we wanted to go. Public bus depart to Hat Yai 11.30 and no need to buy your ticket in advance, 5,5 hours ride seem bearable, so what are we waiting for?? Should just make a reservation on Lee Plaza hotel in Hat Yai where we have stayed several timme before. The location of this hotel is very good, on top of a shopping mall, but before we completed our reservation we browsed some of the recent guest reviews – and then we had a second thought. For the same price we could get a luxery hotel on the beach in Phuket, shorter travel distance so why not, we had still 7 days left before we needed to leve Thailand for this time. So hotel in Phuket is booked (good discount on Agoda this time when booking the same day) and so are the flight from Phuket to Penang. We just need to find out how to get there. The reception is helping us out, public bus to Phuket exist, but it has already departet and the next one dosen’t leave untill 16.00 so they helped us arranging a private car / taxi instead. 20 minutes later we are on our way.
Patong beach, Phuket
And some hours later we have checker into our hotel, and found out that we have been upgraded to a pool-access room, not bad at all, specially when not paid for.
The room is spacious with a bathroom bigger than the room we stayed in last night. But maintainance is totalt lacking and so many parts is broken and out of order and bed linnen so old and washed so many times that they are tearing. But we are on vacation and are enjoying the location and our pool access, and the price we are paying inclusive breakfast is less than the cost of the breakfast itself (breakfast cost 650 baht per person!!!).
Patong is expensive, far to much traffic and polution and no public songthaews but the beach is still beautiful and so are Phuket as soon as you are off the main roads. And the beaches are surprisingly clean and the sea is so clear and fresh so 7 days spend here was not bad at all.