Taxis, Vans, Trains, and Buses: How Many Modes of Transportation Does it Take to Get to Khao Lak?

The trip from Battambang, Cambodia to Khao Lak, Thailand took 29 hours.

I started at 8 am December 22nd with a shared taxi from Battambang to the border. 7 people shoved into a Toyota Camry for 2 hours. Somehow I slept against the window.

The line to get my exit stamp from Cambodia was less than 10 minutes. I walked across the border past casinos and street stands. I wasn’t even in a country right now and I could buy all sorts of things. The line to get my entry stamp for Thailand was much longer; I made it out in 45 minutes.

I hadn’t even had my bag scanned yet when a man asked if I needed transport to Bangkok. I was ushered to a shared van. This time we all had seats at least. The van stopped for gas and we all had to get out. They told us we’d have to wait an hour for another bus. 10 minutes later we all got back in the same van. Don’t ask me to explain this, I can’t. We stopped again for gas, got out, back in the same van. We were in Bangkok in 4 hours.

Then we drove around in Bangkok traffic for over an hour to our drop-off point. We never made it to the drop-off point because we all got so frustrated that we told them to just let us out, we’d get in cabs. I was trying to get to the Southern Bus Station to get an overnight bus to Khao Lak. I asked how far it was. “Far.” “Ok but how far?” “Very far.” “Like 15 minutes? An hour?” “Very far.” So helpful.

A Russian girl was trying to get down to Koh Phangan and was headed for the overnight train. I knew this was an option so I made a snap decision and jumped in a tuktuk with her to the train station. We got tickets in the sitting cabin; sleepers were all full. We had Thai food in the train station for dinner and she grabbed a couple beers to help us sleep better.

Overnight train to Surat Thani. Our cabin was full of backpackers. The conductor told us we couldn’t drink our beers; I hid mine behind me when he came to check my ticket, it spilled, and I spent the rest of the ride in beer-soaked pants. The windows weren’t all closed and they never turned the lights off. It was loud and cold. Somehow I slept.

We arrived in Surat Thani an hour late so I missed the first bus. The next one left at 9:30, it was 8, so I had an awful breakfast in some cafe near the station. At least there was wifi so I could get out a blog post and tell the guys I was at least closer than Cambodia, the last time they’d heard from me.

I got on the bus. A friendly mother and child were going the same direction. She had lived there 9 years ago and was back for the 10 year anniversary of the tsunami. She looked like a giddy child returning home. A friendly Brit sat next to me for a while, and we passed the time in conversation.

I arrived in Khao Lak shortly after 1 pm on December 23rd. The bus dropped me off just outside the hostel. Thank god. I showered immediately.

Pascal and Chris arrived half an hour later. I gave them huge hugs. Reunited!

29 hours of pure transportation to see these boys. Lucky for them I felt like it was worth it.

Guess how much all that cost me.

$28.

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