• Dec22

    Day 13 - Rookie Error Nearly Disastrous

    December 22, 2021 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Had an itchy night, waking up at 2.30am & not really getting back to sleep again. At 7.30am, we dragged ourselves out of bed, had a cold shower & packed our rucksacks. I had a dickey stomach, which is the last thing I wanted on a travelling day!

    An hour later we were ordering breakfast, banana porridge with honey for me & Jackie ordered the smallest in the world cheese & ham toastie with a pot of fresh coffee. Having paid up, we said our goodbyes to the characters I’ve previously referred to and we hiked down to the pier for the 10am speedboat back to the mainland.

    The speedboat was a 40 minute bumpy crossing to Ranong Port, then a taxi transferred us to Ronong Bus Station, where we bought some random snacks - a honey & a strawberry pop drink, some Thai equivalent of pork scratchings and some unidentifiable sweet pastries.

    At 11.30am sharp, the coach departed & headed south. Despite being only 25% full, a young junior Hitler ticket collector kept coming back to check that everyone was sitting in their allocated seats. We also had the army again check our passports & the travel documents of our fellow Thai travellers halfway through our journey.

    As of today the Thai Authorities are clamping down on the movement of new tourists to Thailand. We understand that the Thailand Pass scheme that had allowed us to travel after our test & go procedure has been scrapped. Now all tourists without a previously issued Thailand Pass can only fly directly into Phuket & now take 2 PCR tests & must remain on the island of Phuket for at least 7 days before being allowed to travel elsewhere in Thailand. This clearly has a serious impact on those tourists who have booked a 1 or 2 week holiday somewhere in Thailand other than Phuket. No wonder British Airways & TUI have cancelled all their Thai holidays & flights!

    Nearly 3 hours later we arrived at Takua Pa Bus Station & the driver announced that we’d be stopping for 15 minutes. We decided to get off for a leg stretch & Jackie went to the toilet. Whilst waiting for her my stomach suddenly gurgled uncontrollably & I dashed to the Gents. There were 3 cubicles each with a different height toilet set in the middle of the cubicle. One was a hole in the floor, one was a normal size bowl & the 3rd was of a height somewhere between the other two. More importantly to me at this moment was that none had any toilet paper. What an idiot for not packing any in our hand luggage.

    In panic I scampered to the food hall grabbed a large handful of tissues from a ladies food stall. I asked if I could take them, but scampered back before she could reply & I made it back to the Gents just in time!!!

    Twenty minutes later we unceremoniously dumped at our schedules stop at the side of the main road through Khao Lak. No one was around to offer us a lift, so I walked down the road until I found a lovely little lady, Chanika, in a tour shop. After explaining my predicament, she offered to close her shop & drive us to our hotel for 150 Baht (about £3.50). She explained it was really quiet & I had been her 1st customer in three days. When we arrived at our new hotel, Fanari Khaolak Resort, Jackie & Chanika, who couldn’t have been more helpful, swapped mobile numbers as we would definitely use her for any future business we had in the area.

    Our new receptionist was not particularly warm & welcoming. She walked us to our room, plonked the key fob in the slot to activate the electric, said “OK” & walked out. Our hearts sank. The room smelt musty as if it hadn’t been lived in for 2 years, which it probably hadn’t & there was dirt between the floor tiles on our terrace. I asked for a broom, which didn’t do the trick, so she took some photos & promised to get properly cleaned in the morning. As she was leaving I then told her we didn’t have any coffee-making or tea-making facilities. When she returned with a kettle, cups & sachets, I asked if we could have a couple of extra harder pillows. She smiled sweetly and later returned with 2 satisfactory pillows. A quick squirt of citronella around the room & we were sorted! We really can’t complain too much when we are paying just £167 for 6 nights over Christmas.

    At 5pm, we went for an explore & found a German reggae bar called Mr Chay Bar. It was quiet when we arrived, but in the hour that we were there it had transformed into a lively bar, which apparently also has live music in the evenings. We have already earmarked this as potentially the place to be on Christmas evening.

    We went home, showered & went straight back out. The restaurants in Khao Lak are much more westernised than at Koh Phayam & clearly aimed at the western tourists. They also come with western prices, on average 50 - 100%, but when I mentioned it I was accused of being a cheapskate!

    We settled on a restaurant called Siam. The staff were ultra polite & the food was beautifully presented. Jackie had red chicken curry & rice, whilst I had chicken & cashew nuts, which was nice but not sensational. After a quick G & T nightcap on our terrace we had a very early night.

    Song of the Day: Clampdown by The Clash.
    Cheapskates by The Clash.

    (In tribute to Joe Strummer who died on this day in 2002 aged just 50.
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    Glad you were able to get into Thailand before the new restrictions were imposed. Would've been a nightmare!

    Simon and Jackie Annals

    Absolutely. Thanking our lucky stars!