After the polar vortex in Illinois, I’ve been looking forward to some beaches and sunshine. Thailand seems to have that in spades, especially down south, near Malaysia and Sumatra. After consulting the map, and various guidebooks, we decided on Krabi (slightly east of Phuket) due to its proximity to multiple islands, beaches and fabulous nightlife. This journey required an overnight train ride, followed by three buses, a taxi, and then walking up a hill with all our bags.
First things first…actually getting to the train station. Our friend, Ms. Bee from the Smile Society Hostel, helped us book an overnight train ride from Bangkok to Surat Thani, and then a bus ticket to a depot in Krabi province. To get to the train station, we needed to hoof it to the subway with all our belongings (it was at least 90 degrees F and 100% humidity), and then negotiate the train station. At this point, I’d like to admit that I have WAY too much stuff (even after sending 10 pounds of clothes and bulky items home in the mail) and the wrong bag for backpacking. I looked and felt ridiculous, tired and sweaty. My husband looked fresh, spritely and athletic. I aim to change this situation ASAP.
There are pros and cons of overnight train journeys. On the bright side, they’re a relatively cheap way to get from one point to another in SE Asia, and there are no baggage restrictions as the airlines have. There is a place to lay down and sleep (theoretically). You get to meet interesting people along the way because you literally sleep next to them. They will serve you a decent dinner and breakfast if you pay for it. On the not-so-bright side, we seem to have the super luck of getting the beds right next to the public toilet (which, in this case, stunk to high heaven). This also means that everyone and their brother is hanging out near your face (if you’re on the bottom bunk like I was) waiting impatiently to use the hole in the ground (aka the moving target in the dark). There are curtains that give some semblance of privacy but also serve to trap the diesel fumes and oppressive heat inside the coffin-like space. Between the multiple fumes, fantastical snoring chorus and lurching bed movement, I’m not sure I slept at all. But hey, if you’re traveling on a budget, we traveled across the country for less than $50…that’s the cost of a tank of gas in the US!
We arrived in Krabi after six more hours of various bus and taxi rides. We learned about Your Hostel (facebook@yourhostelkrabi 800 baht/night for a deluxe double) from a friend we met in Bangkok and booked online the day before. I’ve never been so happy to see a nice (stationary) bed, private bathroom and air conditioning! I took one of the most glorious showers ever and then stretched out on the clean, soft bed. 🙂
Our new friend Joe (the night shift manager) has been exceptionally nice and helpful. He brought us a sample of the local breakfast food and hooked us up with an island tour. He’s gone above and beyond to make our stay comfortable and fun! I’d suggest shooting him an email if you’re ever interested in coming to this area as well as staying here at Your Hostel.