Here we are then ladies and gents. A double century. Today marks the 200th consecutive day of our travels. What an adventure we’ve had. We’ve done enough to satisfy the most avid of travellers. In the last 100 days (since my 100 days update) we’ve visited some of the most beautiful islands in the world, we’ve snorkelled with exotic sea creatures, we’ve explored vast jungles, and stayed in one of Kuala Lumpur’s most luxurious hotels. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As I’ve said before, I am so grateful to be on this adventure, everyday I am grateful for the new experiences I’m having, and what’s more I am fortunate enough to share them with my girlfriend. I’ve already bagged enough stories to keep my future grandchildren entertained for years. This truly is a lifestyle choice I wish everyone gets the opportunity to experience, as its only when you leave it all behind that you wonder just how you managed to work a 9 to 5 for so long. Like the age old cliche, “Life really is too short, and you have to grasp each moment you can with both hands”.
• To say this was our 200th day we didn’t really celebrate it in a grandiose fashion, we couldn’t. The best part of it was spent on the road. The beginning of the day looked promising. As I stirred around 5:50am on our uncomfortable coach, I looked out the window to see the most stunning sunrise. It was so powerful that it turned the whole sky orange, and the clouds a rich purple shade. After seeing that I thought the day was going to be great, until we reached our destination in Surrathani.
• We spent 19 hours travelling by bus in total today. It transpired we were sold bad information when we purchased our ticket. We were originally told that when we arrived in Surrathani we’d only have to wait a short while for a minibus to take us to Koh Lak, and the journey wouldn’t last any longer than 2 hours. What actually happened was, because Sarah and I were the only 2 people going to Koh Lak, everyone else boarded minibuses to the more popular Thai islands. This meant we didn’t get the minibus we were promised, and we ended up being driven to the local bus station instead. When we arrived our driver ran to the ticket counter and purchased two tickets for us. He told us it would leave in half an hours time – that was the first lie. It turned out it wouldn’t be leaving until 8:30am (that was an hour and a half away). And we didn’t get a minibus as promised, instead we were shoved aboard a public bus for a 4 hour journey!!!!! By then there was nothing we could do, we just had to go with it, and hold onto the resentment we felt for the ticket salesman who’d sold us this trip.
• It felt like days before the bus started up and began pulling away from the station. I didn’t get a very good nights sleep on the previous coach, on accounts of all the points I made in yesterday’s post. So by now I was feeling clammy, tired, and like usual, my back was in pieces. The most frustrating thing about the public bus we’d be riding for the next 4 hours was the little amount of legroom I had. It had even less than the coach, and I couldn’t recline because if I did it forced the part I was sat on forward, reducing my legroom all the more. The only thing I had to be thankful for was that nobody reclined the seat in front of me. I was going to write this post at the time of the journey so I could fully unload my frustrations, but I’m trying to be more positive about things. So instead of writing, I watched tv shows. We took it in turns to sleep. Sarah went first, then after a couple hours she woke up and read her kindle. She let me borrow her neck pillow, then I slept for a couple hours. Around 12:20pm we stopped at a service station for a 20 minute break.
• Sarah and I both enjoyed an ice cream and a fizzy drink, then climbed back on the bus. When the driver was ready he took us the remaining 40km to Koh Lak. Typical, to add to the day’s series of unfortunate events, it was raining. When we got off the bus the driver’s friend opened the storage doors, allowing me to grab our bags, then we found a nearby taxi. The taxi driver was waving at us to get our attention, we told him the name of our resort and he told us it would cost 100 baht to go there. Once again we were ripped off. Because we didn’t know the area yet, we accepted his price at face value. It turned out we could have walked there. I don’t think we were in that truck anymore than 5 minutes before we reached the front doors of Suwan Palm Resort. Reluctantly we paid the man and checked in.
• More bad news, after checking in we were told the resorts Internet was down, and the man who fixes it was at a wedding. The two women behind reception then went on to say that if we wanted to extend our stay it would cost 1000 baht. That was 250 more than we’d paid online. When we told them this one of the ladies simply said,
“ok for you I give discount price, 800 baht”.
We still weren’t happy about it, but smiled and told them we’d think about it. Then headed up the stairs to our room. Positive, positive, positive.
• Finally, our bad luck was changing. Our room was nice, very spacious and clean. It had a large bed, a tv, an en suite bathroom, and a balcony. After dumping the bags I made a beeline for the bathroom. Having travelled for so long, all I wanted was a hot shower to feel human again. It worked a charm. After showering I put on my newly purchased shorts and a vest, then got into bed to relax. The pair of us then watched some tv shows to pass the time. Eventually we decided to go outside to find somewhere to eat. Our resort was tucked away from the Main Street, and situated directly on the beach. So first of all we decided to see what it looked like. It was beautiful, other than the cloudy sky above, we couldn’t ask for more. There was a small lighthouse situated on some rocks just a little way from the shore, the sand was a lovely yellowy orange colour, and best of all the beach was free of rubbish. I couldn’t help feeling it would’ve made for a nice painting. If it should be sunny the following day I presumed Sarah would want to spend the day there. As we walked a little farther Sarah spotted something washed up on the shore. It was a fish of some sort, it was long and brown with black spots. Its tail had rotted to bone, and in its mouth were razor sharp teeth. We didn’t recognise the breed, but for blogs sake I took a picture hoping someone might know what it was. After a while we found ourselves back on the road and walked to the main area.
• On the way we passed many dive shops and restaurants, all of which were closed. At first we were concerned that we’d come to a ghost town, but later on they were all open. They mustn’t open until later in the evening we guessed. Sarah really wanted to go snorkelling one more time, and from Koh Lak you can go on day trips across the Andaman Sea to visit the Similan and Surin islands. Both of which are astonishing looking locations, and the Similan island in particular is rated one of the best places in the world to go diving. The only thing that might affect it for us would be the weather. If it didn’t pick up soon it would be a massive waste of forty plus pounds. It would only be worth it on a clear sunny day when the waves weren’t choppy. As otherwise the visibility, and the experience would be rubbish. After collecting a few pamphlets we located a restaurant to eat our first cooked meal. We both enjoyed a Massaman curry, and used their wifi to go online. Where Sarah discovered the weather didn’t look promising over the period of our stay. The only thing we could hope was that they were wrong. We also used the Internet to find other accommodation. If the weather was set to be bad the whole time, staying somewhere with a pool like we were would be pointless. Sarah found one which was supposedly 300m down the road. So after paying for our meals we went in search of it.
• We walked, and walked, and walked. I think we probably covered double the distance we were supposed to. By the time we stopped, we’d reached the place we were dropped off earlier that day. We didn’t bother walking any farther as It looked kind of dead beyond that. So we decided we’d stay at Suwan Palm Resort instead, but we’d either have to haggle with our receptionist, or book it online again to get the good price. In the distance, towards the beach, we could see the sunset, but it was too far away to get to in time. When we eventually got there we’d just missed the sun in all its glory. There were a dozen or so people gathered on the beach taking photos. It was obvious it was going to be a good one judging by the amount of clouds in the sky. Each one picked a different colour as the sun quickly fell the final few feet behind the horizon. As we continued along the shore we ended up passing the lighthouse. It was one of the most spectacular sights I’ve ever seen. The solemn lighthouse and the smorgasbord of colours in the background worked together to create a truly astounding image. Sarah and I took it in turns to capture the sight on my phone, before continuing up the beach towards our resort. Every time we turned around to catch one last glimpse of the phenomenal sight, it appeared as though the colours in the sky changed.
• We got lost temporarily and ended up cutting through a neighbouring resort before we got our bearings. It didn’t take long before we located Suwan Palm Resort and were back in our room. Before we left we did something a little naughty. We knew it was going to be humid outside, so in order to come back to a nice cold room we separated the room key from the key tag. The tag is what you put in the electric socket to power the room. By removing the key we were able to leave the a/c running in our absence. When we returned it was heaven, like walking into a giant fridge. It probably wasn’t any good for the unit though, as when I turned the fan speed up water spat at me. I turned it down for a bit allowing it to rest, then began working on my blog. While Sarah left the room to work on her cv using the resorts computers.
• When I’d written up to the present point I joined Sarah. I sat with her for at least an hour, watching her type and compress all her vast educational and professional background information into easy to read bite size chunks – by the time we left she still hadn’t finished it. While I waited I used that time to edit photos on my iPhone. After a while Sarah called it a day and saved her evenings work. The pair of us then returned to the room where I finished the blog and we watched some tv shows. It had been a long day, and by the end of it even Sarah couldn’t ignore the negatives we’d endured. I think now, more than anything, we were looking forward to a good nights sleep in our king sized bed.