05.01.2013 - 05.01.2013 32 °C
We were up and checked out of our Krabi guesthouse by 6:45am and on our way to the bus station as we were not sure what time the bus left for Ranong but we knew it was early. We hopped on a Songthaew that happened to be passing our guest house and we were there in no time as it is just a few kilometres out of town. In Thailand local people and tourists ride around in songthaews. They are basically pickup trucks that have two benches on them to sit down and a roof on. They pip as they drive around and you can flag one down anywhere, you tell the driver where you are going and if it is on his way he drops you off. This morning it cost us 30 baht each (60p). When we arrived at the station we were surprised and relieved that it wasn't a free for all of touts trying to sell you tickets to places as all the other stations have been so far. We went to the counter and bought our ticket to Ranong and it cost us 210 baht (£4.20). The bus left at 8:30am so we had a bit of time to kill. We went to a cafe a had a coffe and some 'complimentary hot water' which we think was very weak tea. A man was making waffles so we shared a hot waffle with nutella on..... A healthy wholesome breakfast we know.
The bus was a big air conditioned one and was really busy. We had read that it takes 4 hours to get to Rangon so we read our books and admired the scenic drive. We drove through several small villages and through huge limestone cliffs. Thailand is extremely green from what we have seen so far and everywhere is lush tropical forrest. After around three and a half hours we pulled up in a town and the man said we had half an hour to get lunch. We realised we must only be half way there.
We went to the toilet (which was an experience of its own) and sat in a local food court for lunch. No one spoke English and all the signs we in Thai so we picked one at random and the man behind the counter said 'pork' so we just said yes please. We ended up with some rice with some slow roast pork on top with a sauce on. He boiled an egg each in the sauce and these went on the plate as well as what we think was some pickled cabbage. The pork was delicious. We boarded the bus with some water and biscuits and carried on the journey. It took seven hours to get into town and when we arrived they just pulled over at the side of the road and dropped you off. As our guide book had no map and no one except an extremely overpriced taxi driver that was trying to rip us off spoke English we just set off walking in a direction we though might be right. We spotted a Songthaew beeping his horn and flagged him down. Chelsea tried to ask him if he went down the main road and showed him the name of the street in our guide book but he didn't speak any English. We decided to just risk getting in as we though he must be heading into town but the man said 'no no you wait'. He dialed a number on his mobile and Chelsea spoke to his wife on the phone who asked us where we wanted to go and we passed the phone back and he said yes get on. He was really lovely and helpful but the passengers on the pickup truck looked a little annoyed to be waiting.
He pulled over on a street in town next to a market and said this was our stop at it cost 20 baht each, a lot better than the 100 baht each the taxi driver was trying to sell us. We said thank you and he carried on his route but we had no idea where we were. We walked down the street for a while and spotted a guest house we had seen in our guide so we could find the street we were on. By chance the street we wanted was adjacent so we climbed the hill to the guest house we had seen that looked the nicest in our budget. We are staying at Palmy Home guest house and it is the nicest place we have stayed so far. It is only for one night but it has hot water, a fridge, a tv, a table and chairs, complimentary drinking water and toiletries and wifi. We would definitely recommend it.
We spoke to Chelsea's mum and dad and then had showers and went out for dinner. We walked down to the market area and picked a street food stall. Chelsea had a sort of pork and vegetable dish with a thick sauce and fat flat noodles and Liam had spicy pork and chilli with rice. We shared it as Chelsea wasn't overly keen on the slippery fat noodles. We did some shopping for Ko Phayam (mainly mosquito repellent items) and withdrew all our money for our week on the island as there are no cash machines.
We came back for an early night and to speak to Liam's mum. The boat leaves Ranong at 9:30am so it is another early start for tomorrow in preparation for our island relaxation.
Ranong seems like a relaxing place to stay for a few nights. It is a working town with lots of shops and we were surprised to find a street full of bars as we didn't expect there to be much here. Lots of people make the trip here to renew there Thai visas as it borders Myanmar but there are signs for different attractions and sights so we assume there must be more to see here than any of the guides we have make out. The countryside is in easy reach and there are hot srpings and a national park close by.