Day 12 – Surat Thani, Thailand

Another day another flight. Today was just another travel day. After spending almost a two weeks slowly traveling through Bangkok and Chiang Mai, I am switching up the pace as I hop around the Thai islands. Packing my backpack is like a never-ending game of tetris. Packing and unpacking, always struggling to zip the bag closed and praying that it will not be overweight for the airline. I took a short taxi ride to the Chiang Mai International airport and waited for my two hour flight to Surat Thani to board.

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Street vendors at a night market in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Upon arriving in Surat Thani, I wandered around the airport with all my bags strapped around my shoulders and tried to find the best option into the city. Carrying 40+ pounds on your back with another 14 pounds strapped to your front, while sweating and hungry makes your brain a little short-circuited. I finally decided the on a shuttle bus into town for 100 baht ($3) and was relieved to be in the air-condition and remove my bags.

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From the tarmac at Chiang Mai International Airport, bound for Surat Thani!

The shuttle bus stopped right in front of my hotel, which would have been nice, but I thought that the bus would only make specific stops, once at the ticketing office in town and then the pier. So instead of asking if I could get off while the bus was stopped in traffic, I decided to ride it out past my hotel until the bus stopped further down the street. Then I started noticing people getting out of their seats and walking to the lower level (maybe using the bathroom I thought), but it wasn’t until the bus turned towards the pier that I realized the bus was stopping along the street and passengers were getting off. Great, so I got off by the pier and started walking back towards the hotel with all my stuff again. Surat Thani is a little town along the east coast, even smaller than Chiang Mai, and I did not see any taxis on the road. I stopped inside a Pharmacy and asked the clerk what my best options would be for public transportation and she kindly walked with me outside and flagged down a tuk tuk for me. The tuk tuks in Surat Thani are different than the ones I’ve seen in either city and there are far fewer on the streets. I got dropped off in front of my hotel and checked-in.

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Sometimes travel ain’t all about the glitter and glam

After cooling down in my room, I went back to the desk and asked the staff to help me call a tour company to set up my boat ride to Koh Phangan tomorrow morning. Since I arrived in Surat Thani in the afternoon, it would be too late to get a quick boat over to Koh Phangan, so I booked a hotel ahead of time. Although there was a bit of a language barrier, the staff was very helpful and we were able to arrange pick-up tomorrow morning. I grabbed dinner at the 7-11 and have spent the rest of the night watching Netflix and winding down from the past three jam-packed days.

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