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Day 6- Surat Thani

THAILAND | Wednesday, 29 April 2015 | Views [273]

Due to our checkout time and how it lined up with the train times we faced ourselves a 3 hour wait in weather I wasn't adjusting very well to. As we had overslept breakfast I went on the hunt for food at the train station, proudly returning with a tube of Pringles. Our train from Chumphon to Surat Thani cost us B100 (£2) but unlike Bangkok we weren't able to book the later ticket we had the day before. After the long wait we boarded our train and it was a lot busier and stuffy than our first train ride, the air conditioning wasn't on instead the many fans blew hot air around the train. I decided to get some rest and fell asleep, I only found out later that day that the young boy realised I was asleep so leaned over and shut the curtain for me so I wouldn't be in the sun. I don't know why this surprised me so much but I was touched by the simple act of kindness which I don't think would ever happen back at the uk.

 

Arriving in Surat Thani's station (which is actually in Phunphin) we faced the worst of the tourist pestering. As soon as we left the train we were bombarded and continued to be pestered by what I assume were touts. The issue rose when we didn't know how to cross to the platform and while we waited with the locals the touts told us to follow them. I seemed to be the only one questioning why only tourists were going in this direction. They kept showing us a sign of tourist locations asking where we were going and not listening when we said none on the list. I had read that there were many reports of scams in Surat Thani and wasn't keen on being scammed the minute we arrived. After herding the tourists of the train they tried to cram a group of about 10 of us into one songthaew (all with big backpacks for travelling). It was obvious we were never all going to fit and being at the back of the queue we were quickly moved to the other side of the road to another songthaew where we were able to escape and find our own means of transport.

In our case this was a rickety, very narrow and cramped bus. To get to Surat Thani cost us B20 (39p). After about 30mins on the bus we realised we had NO idea when we were meant to get off, the only reason we didn't end up on the wrong side of the river was a man with good English on the bus told us to stay. It got to the stage where we decided to just get off and see where we were. Due to this bus not having anywhere to put bags, our backpacks were in the main section and had to get past the narrowest bus door I have seen. This was where my bag got stuck. Have to say being stuck unable to even jump off in a country I don't speak the language with the person travelling with me stood on the pavement terrified me. The people on the bus stopped the bus, I got off, and it turned out we were on the right street after all just got off too early and made our way down Taladmai road. We were chased down the street by a dog and that along with the bus incident had done it for me, I had had enough.

 

Although my first impressions of Surat Thani were terrible, my day and the city picked up once we headed for the night market between Ban Don road and Namuang road next to Tonpor road (marked on the rough guides book). The night market was lit with lanterns down the street and it was here I had my best phat Thai in Thailand, it was amazing. Cost B26 (50p) and was covered in some sort of sweet sauce which was the best part of the dish. There was a stand (higher than most) where you placed your order, with bits of food also on the stand, and then the woman cooking on the side. We were so tempted to buy second helpings as we couldn't get enough. I also got a drink further down the market which was pure sugar- sweets(?) mixed with strawberry syrup and water with ice. It was ridiculously sweet and I struggled to finish.

Tags: food, night market, surat thani, transport

 

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