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.

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 to take a shuttle bus into town for 100 baht ($3) and was relieved to be in the air-condition and remove my bags.

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.

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 nearby 7-11 and spent the rest of the night watching Netflix and winding down from the past three jam-packed days.

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