Officially the first day of our Andaman Coast Vacation
We arrived at the bus terminal a little earlier than we expected. It was close to a 12 hour drive after the breaks were factored in. A few facts about our bus ride:
- Turned out the ticket attendant who couldn’t find our seat also sat at the very back of the bus and would take his jacket off when he wasn’t working. He was seated perpendicular to our seats so we would see him lying across the two chairs sleeping and then suddenly jolt up if the bus stopped. He would rush to put his jacket on and hurry down the steps to see what was happening. We found it odd that he would be seated on the 2nd floor at the very back of a double decker bus.
- There were a lot of sketchy stops. Through the darkness we would feel the bus slow down but wouldn’t be able to see any buildings or markings of a bus stop. We would sometimes catch a glimpse of people standing next to suspicious looking packages. Some big, some small. Packages were quickly loaded onto the bus and we would continue our driving. I don’t think we would have found it so odd there was some consistency. Sometimes money was quickly passed to the driver and the sizes of the packages were unpredictable….
- Another thing to note is our coworkers and travel books/websites all warned us about locking our luggage and bringing all our valuables on the bus with us. We made the decision not to lock our bags to show we had nothing of real value in our luggage. We stayed nervously confident that all our belongings would be accounted for -and they always were!! yay.
- Our exhaustion quickly turned into hyper-ness which I captured in this short clip: Megs uncontrollably laughing and me encouraging her giggles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kvk9o42ahQA
We were excited to get off the bus and start seeing Krabi Town! We had a decent amount of sleep on the bus and were eager to check into our hotel and begin sightseeing. We easily got our bags off the bus –but then the confusion set in. We did not see any taxis waiting. There were no visible forms of public transit. There were just locals repeatedly asking us if we needed a ride or to book a tour. All we really wanted was a map and to go to our hotel. We finally figured out that the locals were the ones that charged taxi fare but drove their own vehicles at an outrageously set price. Sheer genius on their parts; we really had no other viable options. We felt like helpless tourist. No matter how near (or far) the location was we were at the mercy of the driver. We paid the set rate and quickly discovered how close our place was to the bus depot. If it had been a metered taxi the fare would have been at least half of the outrageous rate we were quoted.
Our suggestions to all those who work at the Krabi Town Bus Terminal:
- To all the taxi drivers trying to strum up business -don’t swarm the bus and start grabbing at peoples’ luggage. Passengers have been on the bus for nearly 12 hours– we don’t want to get off a bus and see a bunch of people touching our belongings.
- Wear name tags or something to distinguish yourself as employees. The taxi drivers and the ticket agents just blended in with all the other passengers and other people at the terminal. (People kept approaching us asking if we wanted to book tickets. One man was carrying around a mug and cellphone. We weren’t looking for a scenic tour of the town by some local with extra seats in his car. We wanted a taxi driver to drop us off at our destination.) Ironically, we asked somebody else for a ride and he directed us towards “mug man”. So in the end he DID get our business.
We were disappointed to arrive at The I Talay Room and Souvenir Guesthouse only to discover that they were closed. The rooms are located above the souvenir shop. The shop’s tables were all covered in cloth but we could see that they did have some cute souvenirs for sale. Judging by the exterior of the building we were not having high expectations for indoor facilities. We sat outside in the gorgeous sunshine trying to be patient. It was a little frustrating that one of the staff members came up to us to tell us their English speaking staff member would arrive at 10am and we could then check in. She was puttering around in the background which made us wonder why she came into work if couldn’t check us in or open the store? Things that make you go hmmm.
We did some Lonely Planet Travel Guide reading and lots of Candy Crushing (iphone game app) to pass the time. When the staff member did arrive after 10am we struggled to understand that we were still unable to check in. I noticed a sign was in Thai but had the numbers 1:30pm. I groined and relayed the message to Megs. Neither of us saw a MESSAGE anywhere on agoda.com (where we made the reservation bookings online) about 1:30 book in time. After patiently conversing in Thenglish (Thai-English) Megs was brilliantly able to communicate the time 11:30am. We now had hopes that our room would be ready at 11:30am. Megs was adventurous enough to go off on her own in search of food and a quick sight-see. My lazy-ass volunteered to stay with the bags and bask in the sunshine.
Finally checked in around noon. Not the way we had planned our first day of vacation. Our plans of spending Christmas lounging on the beach while drinking refreshing cold drinks was a bust!! We had lost half the day and were now exhausted from sitting around in anticipation. We got to our room and it smelt awful. A mix between: dust, mold…just overall staleness. We were told THERE WAS HOT water, just not on our floor we had to go upstairs. (I don’t have hot water in my apartment so I was really looking forward to some hot showers on my vacation) Our air-conditioning didn’t work and our windows were sealed shut by screws. Please enjoy our room review. (If you are wondering about our accents: Megs is from the United States of America and I am from Canada).
While Megs unpacked I told her I was just going to relax and lay down. I accidentally (but by no means fought NOT TOO) fell into a deep sleep and Megs saw that I had dozed off so decided to join in on the fun. We didn’t mean to NAP until 4pm but boy was it wonderful. We deserved it. We felt so relaxed and refreshed when we woke up.
We got dressed and were now pumped for our Krabi Town adventures. We walked along the water and inquired about boat fares over to Koh Phi Phi. We booked return tickets that also provided us with a minivan shuttle to the boat dock. The agoda.com reviews were right in saying the night market were very close to our place. It was definitely within walking distance of the hotel and we enjoyed looking at all the stalls. I am always on the lookout for fresh coconut water and I was not disappointed when I finally found some.
During our very leisurely walk we stumbled upon the Hotel/Restaurant Good Dream that was featured in the Lonely Planet in 2008. They were showing a Christmas movie in English at 7pm. Their sign advertised that it was the only English movie they owned. We glanced at the menu and were intrigued by the style of it. The dry sense of humor throughout the menu is ultimately what sold us on the place. For my Christmas dinner I ordered fried rice and Megs ordered the special of burger/fries/soda pop. (A fun fact about Megs that I learned very early on is that she is addicted to Coke. Not diet coke not pepsi –Coke. I am not a big soda pop drinker but I can appreciate her addiction and have joined in on it on numerous occasions…She thinks it is funny how I have to let it sit for a while to let the fizz die down. (Unlike most people I much prefer flat pop! She won’t drink it once it has lost its fizz.) Sadly Megs did not enjoy the burger as much as she had hoped to. She tried to coaxed me into taking a bite but I kindly declined…after expressing her thoughts on it tasting funky I thought it best to skip that offer.
After our leisurely dinner we walked around the town and grabbed some fresh fruit from the market. We were going to be having an early morning so I bought some breakfast foods. We decided to have a chill night and just hang out back at the hotel. DESPITE our super un-high-speed-internet Megs was able to skype with her family in America. Her Mom’s story about how she broke her wrist was (tragically) hilarious. In my humble opinion the Selby’s are gifted storytellers. They can find the humor in anyyyyyy story!
This was a pretty long blog for not having done much on day one of Krabi! Sorry for those who aren’t speed readers. Happy Holidays!!!!
Thanks for reading!
(with help from Megs)
***A reminder that any picture on the blog can be enlarged by double clicking over it*** I upload them at a medium or small size to save on data storage***