The joys of travel in South East Asia (Koh Chang to Bangkok)

It’s days like this day that remind me why last time I was here I spent the majority of my travel time on a tour bus (Stray Asia). A lot of people look down on organised tours but I love them for their convenience and ease of use – you never have the stress of trying to figure out how to get from A to B and you don’t have to worry about poor modes of transport either. Yesterday was one of the worst journey’s I’ve done while I’ve been travelling.

I woke up to my alarm at 8am after very little sleep with stomach cramps and feeling sick. Hoping they would go away I got packed up and headed to reception to check out. I had about 10 minutes until my tuk tuk arrived on the main road at that point and it’s then the receptionist decided to inform me I hadn’t paid for my stay the night before. I had. I had explained to the other guy that works there 2 days before that I was already booked in that night and I wanted to book the night after. I paid and as far as I was aware everything was fine.

I think it was a genuine mix up and she wasn’t lying to try and get money out of me, but I was pretty p*ssed off when she demanded money off me that I’d already paid. I think the guy I’d spoken to before was probably too stoned to put the information in the book properly or he thought I was paying for that night and not the night after (which surely he should have been able to tell from the bookings anyway). By the time she had phoned him and he had confirmed I hadn’t paid (idiot) I had 1 minute to go until my tuk tuk arrived and no time to argue (it was my word against his so there’s not much I could have done). So I just threw the money at her, told her I was p*ssed off and ran up the road (not easy feeling sick and with a heavy backpack). That didn’t start my day off very well as you can imagine. I would have argued if I had had the time to do it but missing my tuk tuk would have meant being stuck there another day and losing out on my travel fee.

I stayed at the Sunflower resort in Koh Chang and I will be giving it some pretty bad reviews for that one. Not only did they do that but the accommodation was pretty shabby and expensive compared to others on the island (it was out of sheer laziness that I didn’t move). I wouldn’t recommend it.

Anyway so I just about managed to make the tuk tuk and by this point I was feeling really sick and faint. Luckily someone helped me pass my backpack to the top of the tuk tuk as I think he could see I just didn’t have the strength in me. As always it was cramped and I ended up squished against the drivers side (which smelled really badly) with no way of making a quick exit. A bumpy, one hour tuk tuk ride in the heat was really not what I needed and I spent the whole time praying we would get there soon and trying to think of anything other than needing to be sick. By some miracle I managed to get there without that happening (I think the girl opposite me was a bit worried – I must have gone quite white!).

leaving Koh Chang on a beautiful day

leaving Koh Chang on a beautiful day

After that I had a 40 minute ferry ride which didn’t help as I get seasick as it is. Annoyingly it was a beautiful day but I felt too sick to get my camera out (on the way over when I was snap happy it had been miserable!). I got off the ferry feeling awful and just wanting to be on the mini bus. It was stressful. There were several Thai ushers shouting at me and trying to get me to go in the right direction. Eventually we all got piled on a bus (I’ve never seen so many people crammed into one space before and that’s saying something in Thailand). Again someone helped me with my bag which I was grateful for.

the other side of the crossing

the other side of the crossing

packed tuk tuk bus from the ferry

packed tuk tuk bus from the ferry

Somehow in my dazed state I ended up on the right mini bus and I actually felt like crying when I got piled into the back, corner seat. I practically had to sit on someones lap to get there too but I think he understood! The girl who got on after me got the seat at the front next to the backpacks which she could comfortably lie across and I could have killed her I was so jealous! I uncomfortably tried to pile my daypack on my lap while making space for my legs (there was none) before the guy in a family next to me kindly offered to put the bag at his feet (he had a lot more space). It made him a bit more uncomfortable so was pretty sweet of him. That’s one thing I liked about yesterday. It reminded me of the sense of community amongst travellers and how we all go out of our way to help each other. It’s not something you get at home but it’s everywhere out here and I love it.

From there on I spent almost 7 hours folded into my little space in the corner with minimal air conditioning and no head rest. I could rest my head against the window but every time we went over a bump I would bang it on the ceiling. It was not ideal, especially since the back seat is also the worst place for a bumpy road and I went flying a few times! I also had the sun beating down on me from the window. This was not fun.

Lovely view from my space on the mini bus

Lovely view from my space on the mini bus

I had arranged to meet jess at 6 and the bus arrived an hour late and to my disappointment dropped us off in the middle of nowhere. The driver pointed me in a random direction to get the Khao San road and a stressful 30 minutes later (walking around in the heat with my heavy backpack looking very confused) I finally arrived. I was so worried I had lost Jess completely and would need to check into a hotel for the night but luckily I found her in the nearest internet cafe to the meeting point.

It was a relief to see a familiar face again and now I’m staying at her lovely apartment (no thumping music all night – luxury) and basically have a Bangkok tour guide. Yesterday was a pretty awful day but I know when you’re travelling you have to take the rough with the smooth and that the bad days are worth the good ones. I have no doubt today will be better! I don’t have the internet at Jess’ and think I’m already suffering from withdrawal (sadly enough) but it’s probably a good thing as I was using it too much. It does mean that I’m even more behind on the blog front but hopefully I can get these up some time soon.

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