Thursday, April 19, 2007

The 400 Bhat Room ($12) in a No-Taxi Town.
Finally I've started to mingle with the people. First, the story of arriving to this glorious point. Took the ferry to Surat Thani from the island of Ko Samui. I was surprised to be standing 100 meters from the boat and be told to get on a bus. Why? The bus got on the ferry, we got off, then boarded again 1.5 hours later at the mainland dock. Then an hour ride to Surat Thani. I didn't know I was getting a bus ride when I bought the ferry ticket. A bonus! It is fun to travel like this - no one spoke English so I just followed the crowd and knew I'd end up somewhere near my destination!

View from the ferry between Ko Samui and Surat Thani - Buddha on the hill

Sooo, this Indian shop owner recommended the Hotel Tapee near the center of town, and I went for it. Safe, secure, and clean - well, except for a bit of rust in the shower. And, worth the extra 100 Bhat for air conditioning over a fan-only room ($3). Surprise! The restaurant is fabulous.
So, I've gone from $194/night in Phuket to $113 in Ko Samui, to $12 for a room here. Best, better, budget... The difference? No pool, little English at front desk, one knob for cold water in the bathroom sink, and no hangers. But, right downtown in the action, quiet (except for an annoying noise coming from machinery outside somewhere), and one of the best beds than I've had so far (not so hard). I am back to my hippie roots. Far F#@cking Out, dudes and dudettes.
PS. I wrote the above on the train, and now that I'm back in Bangkok at the Pathawaman Princess ($114 hotel) I most admit to loving the luxury of crisp sheets, western food, and exquisite service. The aging hippie...

Surat Thani is not a tourist town, so there are NO taxis and few English speakers. I got stranded at a Wat (temple) an hour north of town around 5:30 p.m. and was told that the public busses stop running at 5 and no taxis. This is because the people go back and forth to work and then no one needs a ride. I was about to stick out my thumb when a wonderful woman staying at the Wat called someone and he took me back to Surat Thani. I gave her a Reiki treatment in appreciation because she was complining about her throat.

The truck was full of kids and the fee was $600 Bhat - more than my room :-). Hey, I'm not complaining.
I wandered around Surat Thani a bit, down back alleys, and felt totally lost in the culture. It was wonderful. I love these Thai people. I think I'll return to Thailand sometime.The 400 Bhat Room ($12) in a No-Taxi Town.
Finally I've started to mingle with the people.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, this is my favorite post so far. Out of tourism and into the kind of travel!