13.01.2013 - 14.01.2013 33 °C
Yesterday was a full day and nights travel from Ko Phayam to Bangkok. We got up early, packed and checked out of Hornbill Huts. We had a walk down the beach and had some lunch and a fruit shake before getting a motorbike taxi to the jetty. We bought our slow boat ticket for 150 baht each and boarded the afternoon boat which left on time at 2pm for Ranong. We were both sad to leave Ko Phayam as we loved its relaxed atmosphere and slow beach life but we are relieved to be leaving the bamboo bungalow and all its insect and reptile inhabitants. The slow boat is a nice way to travel, it is smooth and quiet and we read our books and admired the view. It seemed to take no time at all but it takes just more than 2 hours. When we docked there were several pickup trucks trying to overcharge to take people into town so we walked a bit further and got on a sawngthaeuw that took us to the bus station for 20 baht each. It was packed and there were people hanging on and sat everywhere on it but the driver still kept picking more people up and squeezing them on.
Ranong bus station is quite nice. It is easy to navigate and set pricing on the busses so you can’t get ripped off. We decided to get the 2nd class night bus to Bangkok that leaves at 7.30pm for 335 baht each. There is also a first class bus and a VIP bus that leaves at 8pm and is more expensive. We had quite a few hours to wait so we got some dinner at the station, Chelsea a pork rice dish, Liam a pork noodle dish and we had an ice cream. The 2nd class bus is not as bad as expected. The seats recline quite far back so you can sleep and the air con is cold, so cold you get a blanket. The only downside is that is stops and picks people up along the way so you are kept awake by the horn and the lights going on and off. The bus took 9 and a quarter hours and we arrived at Bangkok station at 4.45am. Neither of us slept very well.
As soon as we stepped off the bus this morning we were instantly approached by a group of taxi drivers touting for business. We said no thank you and went to find a spot to sit down and wait until it was at least light. Around half six we decided to make a move. We had researched the buses we could get, to take us into the centre, but we couldn’t find where to catch them from and no one we asked seemed to know what we were talking about. After a long time aimlessly wandering a man told Chelsea we could get the 511 ‘over there’ and pointed in a general direction. The bus station serves all of southern Thailand and the local buses which go in and around Bangkok are in a different area. There are no signs so we would never have found it.
We got on the bus and showed the ticket lady the street we needed, it was 15 baht each. After a while Liam thought he had seen where we needed to be so we got off the bus. Just a word of warning you have to be quick when getting off, you get about a second flat to run off before they set off going again, it took us two attempts. We tried to find out where we were but none of the street names were on our map. It was crazy busy for so early in the morning and we walked aimlessly again for about an hour or more before we decided to get a taxi. Chelsea spoke to 3 taxi drivers and one of their wives on the phone before one knew the area we needed to be in and even then he didn’t look confident about where we were going. He took us to the street we needed which was nowhere near where we were walking and we found our guest house, New Siam I. The place is ok, it is clean and the area is ok and it is one of the cheapest we could find that had good reviews.
We had a rest and went out to explore. We stayed close by to our guest house. The streets around us are smaller and we had some breakfast at a small hawker stall. We walked around the streets, looked in some shops and had a drink. It is extremely busy and Khao San Road is as manic and lively as we expected. The street is filled with shops, cafes, restaurants and small vendors selling fruit shakes and Pad Thai and every few steps Liam was asked if he would like a made to measure Armani suit. Even above the street is a maze of wires and neon signs. After a few hours of walking the streets in the sun we were exhausted and went back to the guest house to recover from the journey.
After some much needed sleep we showered and went out. The hot streets come alive at night, lots of people, market stalls and street vendors all take to the streets which are lit up with bright signs as well as fairy lights and lamps from bars. Ther are lots of bars and some of the streets are big and still full of traffic while others are smaller and are full of stalls selling all sorts of things from clothes, to light fittings to books. We had a walk and went into an Indian place for some food as we were craving Indian not having eaten it since Langkawi, unfortunately it was a little disappointing. We went to a lovely bar called Madame Musur for a beer as the WI-FI is free and wrote our blog. So far we have only seen a small area of Bangkok around our guest house but it looks exciting. After the initial stress of finding our guest house I think we will enjoy our stay here. Tomorrow we are hoping to see the Grand Palace and a few temples.