Farewell Malaysia and the Sea crossing into Thailand!
Met up with 'raster' Joe at Babylon before we left, reminisced about our time in Malaysia, it had been amazing! Loved every minute.
I was glad Nat was coming with me, I had never crossed a border via boat before (well unless you count cruise ships with mum). The boat ride was fine apart from the fact that it kept leaning to one side, and it was basically like a capsule, so if it tipped over completely we would just be trapped. I tried to put this aside in my mind, althought Nat and I looked at eachother ever time it lurched to one side. Im sure we were probably being a bit dramatic, but you never know in asia, anything can happen! Once we got there, border control was very relaxed and my visa I had pre purchased worked fine! We got through and Nat knew a bit of Thai so I left her to the organising, although I hated not being able to converse atall in the local language, I was so used to Malaysia and the people. This was all a bit weird. We got through and stayed in a relatively cheap hotel. We went to a night market that night in Satun, and it was brilliant, we tried loads of new foods, I had fish in a really spicy sauce. We didn't know how to say any of the food but we managed just pointing and nodding at various things.
The con and the haggle
Following day, we had decided to make our own way to the island as the tours seemed stupid prices. We took a songthaew, an open back taxi thing, which picks up loads of people on the way. These things are ingenious and a fraction of the cost for a normal taxi. We had such a fun time, we met some locals in the back, they couldn't speak any English and we not any thai in my case so it was kindof awkward but we all laughed politely and ended up using hand gestures to communicate.
The songthaew driver wanted us to buy tickets from a lady in a shop, so I sent Nat in to discuss the prices with her, but we both immediately realised this was a con, she tried to tell us that the boats were not running today, luckily I had read about this and we were having non of it. We got back in the songthaew, and within minutes we were at the boat dock! We ended up haggling some more with the people there, I asked someone else what they had paid for theirs and we managed to beat it. We had probably paid only about a quarter of the price the tour companies were offering, so we had a nice sense of achievement. I love how they tell us the local price and say they cannot give it to us, because we are tourists, so open with it.
The speed boat ride itself was worth the money we paid, it was so fast and the waves were huge, although after an hour I had had enough.
Picture perfect: 'Dog Island' (Koh Lipe)
We arrived at the island, first impressions were absolutely breath taking, I was astounded at the fluorescent blue colour of the water and the whiteness of the sand. There were hundreds of long boats with the coloured tethers, you know the ones you always see on postcards and on peoples walls and you dream of far off lands that you don't really believe to be real, I had one on my bedroom wall for quite a while and thought it must have been really clever photography, but even I could achieve this effect on Auto!! Sadly there was a damper to this amazing moment, Nathalie handed her bag to a lady who was helping us get off the boat and she dragged it through the water by mistake (I think!!),which killed all of her electronics including laptop ipod etc. She held it together surprisingly well though! I later discovered that this was just the beginning of Nats bad luck. I think she might be 'disaster girl'...
We were greeted on the island by lots of lady boys trying to get us to stay in their accommodation, they told us the other side of the island was under construction and not much was open, but we thought ha that must be a con, I mean we knew it was low season and some things would be closed.. but the he- shes were right! We traipsed over there with our backpacks- it wasn't too far but in the midday heat it was pretty hard going. We turned a corner and heard some shouting and realised it was from above. There was a Thai guy stood on the top of his pointed roof, almost teetering on the edge. He was shouting to us "I am here!!!" (we later realised he was showing us there were other people other than dogs on the island!) we ended up talking to him for a few moments until he headed us in the right direction for Pattaya beach. We ended up making friends with some canine friends (there are dogs of all types, everywhere! They all looked shiny and well cared for) and found some miniature bamboo huts complete with a little bathroom for two people.
The days went pretty quickly, relaxing and walking around the island (which took about 20 minutes). We followed one dog with a number 54 drawn on his backside for half a day, he was basically our doggy tour guide (better than most tour guides I have come across if im honest) he waited for us to catch him up and he was very obedient, we threw him a stick every now and then, he even warded off other dogs for us baring his teeth and chasing them off.
Disaster Girl: Adventures continued
Nat (disaster girl) had decided to fly back to Bangkok (instead of catching the bus) so she could have a little longer on Lipe. This seemed like a great plan at the time… we went to the internet café and she printed off her flight tickets, but didn't check the pages so she ended up paying something like 10 pounds for printing, and in Thai Baht this is sickening! Then she nearly lost her fire stick thing leaving it in the print place. So we got over all this. The next day when we left the island we caught the morning boat, and she had to catch her flight at 2pm that day, I hadn't realised it was this soon! The boat was even rougher than the way over, I actually had to concentrate on not feeling sea sick, but it was fine in the end. We arrive on the mainland at about 12, leaving us just two hours for her to get to the airport to catch her flight, which connected with the one to get back to London from Bangkok. We asked how long the bus was to the airport and was told it was 2 hours, which in Thai time is usually substantially longer! I didn't know what to do, because I was going in a different direction to Krabi, but she seemed pretty sure she would be ok. I said goodbye and wished her well, we had such a good time together I would miss the little fire dancing disaster girl.
On my bus to Krabi I started thinking about it afterwards, none of her electrical equipment worked due to the water accident… so how was she going to book another flight with no money in her account?!? I couldn't even call her!