06.05.2010 - 12.05.2010
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We got to Bangkok airport at 11.30pm on the 6th May but some French airline had parked in the Qantus flights spot, so we had to wait on the plane for half and hour until they sorted something. Unknown to us it was not such a bad thing with the air con full blast, because as soon as they opened the doors it hit us. Heat!!! Lots of it in fact, not just heat but humidity and it was unbearable. I dont think we wanted to get into an air conditioned hotel room so badly. Luckily it was only 10 mins from the airport and was reasonably tidy.
We had thought of only staying in Bangkok for a couple of nights so worked out our next stop. We had no plan and had not done much research so we based our decisions on what we had been told. We squeezed in a visit to the Grand Palace and the Sleeping Budha in the centre of Bangkok. Although the Palace and surroundings were spectacular it was far too hot and claustraphobic for us.
Next day, 8th May, was the most chaotic collection of journeys we have ever been on. We had decided to travel to a place called Ban Phe on the Eastern Gulf coast although we never actually ended up there. An easy 7am start to avoid some heat, although still 27degrees by then, by taxi to the eastern bus station. Hair raising journey that should have taken 1 hour but took 35 mins where the driver certainly used all of the road available to him. Everywhere you go seems to be infested with touts wanting your money and the bus station was no exception. We wanted a bus to Ban Phe but was told it was going to be an hours wait and would cost 146 tbt ( 3 pound). However we were advised to take a taxi to get there quicker and more comfortabler for 2500tbt (50 pound). It was a no brainer really and we eventually got our message across. However, and this is what the Thais seem to do very well, when we turned the offer of a taxi down and walked away the same man said we could get a bus in 5 mins to Rayong ( a town next to Ban Phe) and then a short taxi ride to Ban Phe. Total cost 5.50 pounds. Quite stressed by now but on our way. There did not seem to be much in Ban Phe when we arrived so looked into going to an island called Koh Samet. A simple half hour ferry ride was going to get us there although still no idea of where we was going to stay. It was that simple. There seemed like hundeds of boats, ferries, speed boats and even rowing boats. But which one should we take? At this time we are a bit dubious about asking someone so as not to get ripped off but there is not other way because virtually everthing is written in Thai. We eventually decided on a boat and a time and was told to wait until someone came to get us. We were not convinced that someone would and at the ferry departure time we headed off in search of it. We ended up at the end of the pier where no one seemed to know what our ticket was for. Then suddenly the woman who sold us our tickets showed up with someone else on scooters. We were in the wrong place and had to be driven by scooters with our backpacks on our backs to the ferry. A pleasent ferry ride, only really because there was a cool breeze and we arrived in Koh Samet. That brief pleasure turned into more stress when we saw a jungle of green taxis, or what we would call converted pick up trucks with two benches facing each other, parked at all angles and jostling for position. Who was going to take us to our accommodation, nobody seemed to know! After 10 mins we thought we heard someone say our accommodation name so we jumped on and took our chances. Still incredibly hot and with no sign of a tar mac road the 10 min journey was very rural. So after 7 hours of pure heat and stress we made it to our bungalow accommodation, and the high light of the day, it only cost 4 pound a night each. An amazing days travelling and all we could do was dump our bags and make the long 2 min walk to the beach and sea!! The thought of all that hassle travelling back off the island i think has kept us here for 5 days in total and the stress of having to relive the journey from hell again may mean you may not hear from us for a couple of weeks now.