Overland from Khao Lak to Chiang Mai
Things were kept very low key for our two days in Khao Lak after diving the Similans. Mainly chilled out in our hotel, basically going out just to eat and have a cheap massage 🙂 We were expecting Khao Lak to look like an old town with deteriorating buildings, damaged roads, and dirty stalls everywhere. To our surprise everything in town looked quite new. We didn't realize that Khao Lak was practically wiped out by the tsunami back in 2004. As a major gateway to the Similans, it didn't take long for the town to re-establish itself here.
Dinner at Smile Restaurant
Their popular spring rolls with cheese. Thumbs up!
Chicken with cashews
We stayed at Jerung Hotel which we liked for its value. The room was spacious and clean. We had a balcony and a fridge (both are luxury items for a budget stay!). They had very reliable wifi as well so that always gets extra bonus marks 🙂 Would definitely recommend this place.
From the South we make our way to the North to Chiang Mai. The plan was to reach Surat Thani and take the train to Bangkok and another train to Chiang Mai. This method would cost less than $60, considerably less than flying. To get to Surat Thani, we booked a minivan ride from our hotel rather than taking the local bus. The reception said its the less painful way to get there. The local bus gets crowded and takes a while to reach the destination due to the amount of stops the bus has to make. The only stop the minivan makes is to Krabi.
The minivan grabs us in the morning and we're on our way. After two hours of winding through he mountains, we ended up at a stop area in an inside road 'somewhere' before Krabi. We were required to switch vehicles as travelers need to be re-distributed according to their destination. One of the travel agents asked us where we were going and we told him Surat Thani to take the train to Bangkok. Our plans was to purchase train tickets when we arrive at the station. The agent said we can book through him so he went to call for us on ticket options. After the phone call he motions us over and said there we no more sleepers available on any train today, only seats left. He said the trains are generally busy since its the weekend which made some sense. His solution was to take the overnight bus in Krabi as it was closer, cheaper, and left earlier than the train. You wonder if he lied in order for us to buy bus tickets from him. But we thought about it and decided to go ahead with the new route.
We hop onto the back of a truck to get transferred to the Krabi bus terminal. We had a few hours to kill before the bus departs so we walked around Krabi town, had lunch, checked out the street market, and got a massage. We got back to the bus terminal and got on the bus as scheduled. The dumb thing is that we had to stop in Surat Thani to switch buses again anyway! We should of checked the Thai railway website to see if it really was true that all sleepers were taken today. Oh well, sometimes you end up making the wrong decision but it happens.
What goodies can we find here?
Other desserts in a bag. The barley with young coconut was pretty good
If you're hungry…
The drive to Surat Thani took 2.5hrs and another 9hrs to Bangkok. So hard to sleep on overnight buses when the roads sway back and forth. We arrived in Bangkok at 4:30am with about 4hrs to spare before boarding. Definitely needed to shower up as we felt sticky all over from sweating so much throughout the day. Just filthy lol The train station had public shower facilities so we had a lot of time to clean ourselves up.
Had to have this stewed pork leg on rice again. Yum!
Jumped onto the train on time and it's another 12hr journey before reaching Chiang Mai. Seated on the last two seats on the last cart of the train, not exactly the smoothest ride we were hoping for. The train jolted back and forth constantly. Sigh, guess no nap here either.
The toughest part of traveling? Is you guessed it, the traveling!