MP3 track of the day: Silent Night - Olivia Newton-John
Weather: hot with light rain showers
My mini-van to Krabi was going to pick me up at 8:30am and so I got up pretty early. Having experiences of mini-van and coach journeys within Malaysia I know that rest stops are few and far between (usually with no prior warning and the length of stop is a little unpredictable to say the least) and so I stuffed myself with the free breakfast provided at the hostel and boarded my van. On there was a French traveler called Matt and so we chatted for most of the trip; I found out he had paid ten ringgit less than me for the trip (done like a kipper again!) and this wouldn't be the last time that he got a better deal today.
The first leg of the trip was up and out of Malaysia and into Thailand. Once in Thailand we would have to change to another mini-van that would take us to Krabi. The mini-bus was packed, however it was reasonably spacious and so the first part of the journey was pretty pleasant. Just before the boarder, without warning, we had a rest stop which also involved me surrendering my passport to the driver. I did ask why butI never got an answer.
I wasn't particular hungry but again I had no idea when the next stop would be. I therefore purchased a bag of biscuits and a drink. Once back at the mini-van I got my passport back with a Thailand customs card with my details printed out on it (so that's why he wanted my passport).
Thailand Immigration was a joke; we had to get out of the van and proceed to an area with Thai immigration staff in cubicles checking our passports, stamping us in and taking our arrival card. The mini-van however never got checked and neither did our stuff; I could have smuggled in 16x 'AK47's', a nuclear warhead and 'Cannon and Ball' into the country and they would never have known.
The first thing I noticed about Thailand was that the photo of the king is everywhere ... and I mean everywhere. It's hanging from houses, shops and big placards in the middle of roads, you can't go fifty yards without seeing his Highness's face. The Thai's are very proud of their royal family and if you speak in a negative manor about them then you could end up in jail. I would just like to add (just encase Thai officials are reading this) that I think erecting photos of the king everywhere is a superb idea and that he, and his wife, look lovely ... they seem really great to.
passengers from the mini-van started departing left, right and center after we crossed the boarder. I was happy as I thought that Matt and I would pretty much have the mini-van to ourselves as we got nearer to Krabi ... until we had to switch vans.
The new van was packed; worst still the roof was very low and every time we went over a bump (which was very often) I hit my head on the roof. Due to some guy using this twelve seat mini-van to move house (i.e. he had loads and loads of bags) I had to have one of my bags on my knees for the remainder of the journey. It was all pretty rubbish really and I tried to fall asleep, however another bump would come along and I would be wide awake again.
Just before entering Krabi I witnessed the most strangest delivery of mail on earth. We were on a three-lane carriage way, in the left hand lane, when the driver stopped and signalled to the shop across the road that he had a parcel for them. He then proceeded to drop said parcel in the middle of the left-hand lane and continue on his way. I looked out of the rear view mirror to see the carnage behind as lorries, mopeds and cars swerved this way and that to avoid said box ... health and safety isn't big around here.
Once in Krabi I was given instructions by the driver where to find my hostel ... which were rubbish. Matt, the French guy, followed me and it wasn't until we found a local, but English born, bloke who actually gave me decent directions. Matt was looking for the cheapest hostel in town and so the guy told him; it turned out that it was brand new and that it was 100 bhat (£2) cheaper per-night than mine ... and only a further two minute walk away. As I checked into my hostel Matt went to his and we said that we would meet up in an hour or so for tea.
My hostel is okay; the staff seem friendly and there is only two beds in my dorm (and the other is empty, so effectively I have a room to myself) however there isn't any atmosphere, and the hallway looks like the hallway from the film 'The Beach' ... just a little cleaner and darker.
Matt came around and as we walked to the night market he chatted about how is hostel is pretty amazing. It did sound brilliant and so I was glad that I had only booked two nights at mine as I think I'll move up to his. Once at the night market we sat down and had something to eat which consisted of noodles and a spicy sausage before I headed back to his hostel to a) check it out and 2) use the bar there for a drink.
Okay I had been done like a kipper again, the hostel was perfect, so much better than mine and at only £3 a night it was a steal. We had one drink before I headed back to my hostel with a bit of thinking to do. I have two nights booked here in Krabi with four left to play with before heading to my Christmas retreat; I really fancy heading to Ko Phi Phi (the island where 'The Beach' was filmed) but should I only go for a day trip, or should I stay there two or three nights? I haven't herd from my German friends, and they should be on that island. Tomorrow I will have to sort it all out but one thing is for certain, I shall be going to Matt's hostel for at least my final night in Krabi before taking the coach to Khoa Lak.