We were a bit anxious about the 14 hour night bus that we were booked onto for last night. We went to the Paragon shopping center in a taxi (100 baht) and had some amazing sushi (250 baht) and we watched James Bond. If you haven’t seen it yet, I thought it was the best one yet… but I haven’t seen all the old ones.
We got a tuk tuk back at 5pm and grabbed some more pork noodle soup, got 200 quid out the ATM and picked up our washing for the lady down the ally near our hotel that we’ve always gone to when in Bangkok. We we ready at the hotel for 6pm and at at about 6.45 the bus guy came power walking past the hotel shouting “Krabi! Krabi!” with a stream of around 20 other tourists with backpacks on following him like the pied piper, and we were off.
When we got on the bus, which was a double decker (all luggage underneth behind the driver and passengers on top) it was oven like, but the engine wasn’t on so when we set off and only warm air blowed out it was really hot. We were sat at the front and we could see that the driver had the door open, obviously no air-con (Our big bags were underneath and our little valuables bags right in front of us) He was sat down there with 2 other thai guys. We asked the driver to turn the air-con on and he said it was on. He came upstairs, obviously felt the heat (there was also a big thermo on the dash that said our temp upstairs was 32 degree and downstairs where he was it was 19 so he may not have noticed?!). They stopped the bus 2/3 times and tampered with a few things. Still no aircon. After 3 hours of boiling to death a man that I think may have been german and in his 50’s stormed down the stairs, demanded to be taken to a garage immediately and get this fixed – this was at 11pm! So shortly after we pulled up at this tiny garage and they open the back of the bus and see that 1 out of 4 fans is running. They tamper some more and 3 fans are running. Then they reverse the bus closer into this mans tiny garage and start welding. Comical!
Anyway at this point we’re all off the bus stretching our legs and when we all get back on the bus the cold air is blasting out. Sorted! We didn’t get much sleep, but we both must have got at least some as we’ll find out later. We watched a film and listened to music until 6am.
At 6am they shout “Krabi, Krabi” and they chuck our bags out from underneath the bus and shovel us onto a mini van. For 20 minutes. Then we get ushered onto a local thai bus, where we are until 9.30am when we get a bit of shut eye and wake to find that only us and 6 other tourists are left on this bus and they;re dumping us at a “tourist office” in the middle of nowhere with only the “tourist operators” services to get us out of there. So we share a crap open sided taxi for 100 baht each to Ao Nang.
When we get to Ao Nang, sweaty, tired and disgusting, but relieved to be where the limestone is, we get a McDonald’s breakfast (terrible I know) and find that we are 120 quid down. We rummage through our small valuables bag to see if it has been misplaced but it’s nowhere to be found. Stumped! We considered being robbed on the bus but the bag with the money inside, which was in Taz’s wallet and still had other notes in it, was right in front of our feet the whole journey. Surely not?!
We brush it off, knowing that we can probably claim this on our travel insurance and there’s not much point getting stressed about it, we’d had a shit bus ride and just wanted to get to a hotel.
After breakfast we lug all our bags around and settle for a big air-con room with a safe for 600 baht. We get a quick shower and open our big bags to get new clothes to find Taz’s bag is literally upside down. It had been emptied and rummaged through and everything was stuffed randomly in. Taz is a tidy packer, his clothes normally come out looking ironed but this time they’re stuffed into balls to “make them fit back in”. Worst bit was he’d padlocked his so they cut the zip to get in instead, I presume using a knife, using a strap under his waterproof cover to disguise the damage. So his rucksack’s beyond repair I think. There’s also a charger in there that isn’t ours so they’ve been in other bags too and got some belongings that they didn’t want to steal mixed up. I don’t think anything has been taken from Taz’s big bag, they didn’t take our climbing gear out of there which is a reliefe but they did go in the rope bag for some reason, because that has a snap catch on it, which was open.
So sickeningly we know we didn’t lose the money from Taz’s little bag either, they’ve robbed it from under our noses. They literally would have to have times it perfectly because I hardly slept and neither did Taz.
But you can’t tar all Thai’s with the same brush. If you get pick pocketed in Camden it’d be daft to label all Londoners thieves. So we’ll just learn from it. Thankfully we’ll get the money back soon from the insurance, we called them from the hotel after filing the necessary police report.
Moral of the story… some wild traveler stories of people rummaging through bags underneath buses while you’re moving are true. So if you can fly, fly! We will, on the way back up 🙂
We’re staying in Ao Nang tonight and will be going round the corner on a long tail boat for the climbing in the morning… I think we need cheering up with a few beverages tonight!