We’ve been trying out all the public transport that Thailand has to offer recently! After about a week in Koh Tao, we decided it was time to move on. We couldn’t decide whether to try another island in the Gulf of Thailand or to go an island on Thailand’s Andaman coast. We decided that Koh Samui or Koh Phangan (Gulf of Thailand) would probably be more of the same (same same but different – common Tinglish phrase), so we decided we’d check out what the Andaman coast had to offer. We booked tickets for the sleeper ferry to Surat Thani and then a minivan to Krabi.
We weren’t quite sure what to expect of the sleeper ferry to Surat Thani. Earlier in the day before our trip we’d read reviews on tripadvisor and people were saying it was the worst experience of their lives. We also got talking to a Brazilian guy who said he found a cockroach in his bunk, but that he wasn’t sure whether it had come from his backpack as he’d just been trekking or whether it was from the ship… We got to the port pretty early and exchanged our tickets for bunk tickets. We were each given a number to a bunk. When we went upstairs, we came to a room with rows and rows and rows of orange bunk beds. We found our bunks and some of them were doubles – each half of the bed was assigned to someone. Luckily two of us had been put together. Can you imagine if you were sharing a double bed with someone you didn’t know?? It was strange. It was also so so so SO hot in the sleeping quarter – I thought I was going to melt. I wasn’t quite sure how we were going to manage 8 hours on the ferry to Surat Thani.
The ferry had three floors, the bottom floor was cargo and the top upper decks were sleeping quarters. That was it. There were also stand up toilets and no sink to wash your hands, which was really strange. The toilets were pretty clean though. I overheard an English guy asking where the bar was on the ship. He said there’s got to be something on this ship!! I think he must have thought he was on a P&O Ferry or a luxurious cruise in the Caribbean… it was not. (The sleeper ferry is usually taken by the locals)
The air con finally kicked in the sleeping quarters and it actually got pretty damn cold in the cabin. The blankets, which in the beginning I thought were a waste of time, actually came in pretty handy. It was freezing.
When we arrived in Surat Thani, we were taken to an office where we’d get our VIP Coach to Krabi. The so-called VIP Coach with comfortable seats and air con included in our ticket turned out to be a shady minivan. The van was packed like sardines – people had luggage on their knees! Luckily the driver let the two small people (me and Kyle obvs) sit up front with him (for once being small has its advantages!!!). Off we went to Krabi listening to both some terrible Thai music and our driver’s own rendition of it. It became apparent that our driver had some errands to run along the way… we stopped at various places in shady areas and he’d get out, talk to someone or hand over some money and then get back in the van and turn around.
We arrived at Ao Nang Beach. The Krabi province is quite famous for its limestone cliffs and some of the islands were in the James Bond film ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. It was very beautiful and very different to the Gulf of Thailand. We arrived without prebooking any accommodation as it’s low season here and easier to negotiate rates in person. We found a room in a hostel with 20 beds and no windows for 200 baht a night, but we decided to give it a miss and try our hand at negotiating at other places until we settled for a little bungalow with amazing views of the limestone cliffs for about 5 pounds each a night – a steal!
We spent the rest of the day walking around and munching on 50 baht pad thai street food. It was oh so yummy.