Originally uploaded by roupiesontour
We only stayed 1 night in Bangkok as wanted to venture South to the islands. We have decided on Phuket as it is our first time and it looked like a good base from which to explore. Just before we set off we finally managed to persuade Josh to tame the Gardens Of Babylon which are growing on his head. He almost looks human again. I don’t think the Thai lady who gave him his hair cut quite understood what we were saying but a style has evolved. The hostel arranged a bus trip and so we started our journey being picked up by mini bus at 4.30pm. Having been advised that the trip would take about 13 hours we had no idea as we set off what a nightmare we were in for.
The bus left from a road near Khao San road. We had to queue on the road and wear stickers. Everyone was a tourist – I was already a bit wary and should have known to trust my instinct. The coach turned up and looked fine – the seats were a bit of a squeeze and you were told where to sit – no choice but ok. I sat next to Josh and behind us we a German couple – the guy had such long legs that there was no way Josh could put his chair back at all. This did not stop the couple in front who put their seats right back giving poor Josh hardly any room at all. I had to tell her to stop pushing her seat as she was going to break Josh’s knees but that didn’t stop her. The German guy behind us said he could put his knees up on the seat and it was ok fro Josh to put his seat back but bless him he would not and tried to sleep completely upright. The couple in front who were of course English and very young had eyemasks and earplugs and kept giving us filthy looks, I really could have smacked her for being so selfish.
The bus stopped at 2am and people got off which meant we could escape from the Mighty La’s in front. 3 hours later though and a very loud boy in Thai accent comes up and shouts everyone off the bus! We had to change, bleary eyed and tired we stagger off and look at the bus schedule – there is only one and we seem to be in the middle of nowhere. After my eyes had focused and registered what it said I was sure I was reading it wrong – bus to Phuket 10am. Only 5 hours to wait then. OMG it was awful, some guy turns up and opens up the tourist office so you can exchange your ticket from your onward journey. Of course they try to sell you an earlier time and accommodation at your destination. The whole thing is such a rip off and makes me so mad as we have travelled on the government buses and they are excellent.
We squash in some kind of taxi and get taken to another bus station at 9am. The bus is not as advertised, stops to pick up anyone who asks along the way and has no air conditioning. The conductor also plays Thai music so loudly my head is vibrating. We finally arrive in Phuket at 3pm – yes that is correct it takes 6 hours. It has been an awful journey in the heat but the kids have been great – my sister looks a bit bewildered though! At the bus station in Phuket we immediately book our VIP government tickets for our journey home – direct and 12 hours.
We had not booked anywhere to stay but luckily the first choice in the guide book had free rooms. We have chosen Hat Karon as it is away from the strip clubs and go go bars of Patong but busy enough to have some life. The place seems to be filled up with Scandinavians who are browner than the locals. Little stick markers are posted intermittently along the road “Tsunami Evacuation Route”, apart from these there is no clue to the devastation that happened here. On the trip down I saw a huge expensive looking building “Samsung Centre Of Hope” – it looked completely deserted and as though it had not been used since it had been built. I wonder how many goodwill projects have been devised by westerners and because they did not really take into account the needs of the locals are just standing unused – it is such a shame.
We walked down to the beach and my sister ran straight into the water to have a splash. The view of the bay is nice and the waters are unbelievably clear – looks like a day for the beach tomorrow.