This long weekend was a very welcome rest from the busy quarter we’ve had so far. We made it to Railey much faster than we expected on Wednesday, but getting back to Surat Thani on Sunday was frustrating and slowwww. Here are some tips so that your journey is hassle-free for your next trip out there:
Motorbike parking at Talad Gaset
- After a year and a half of living here, I had no idea you could park your motorbike in that small alleyway in Talad Gaset. It’s only 20 baht a day! This saved us the annoyance of getting a tuk-tuk from near Koh Lamphu, which seems nearly impossible. In the end, the cost was the same and our stress was lower (usually tuk-tuks cost 20 per person both ways = 80 baht / 4 days x 20 baht = 80 baht). WIN-WIN.
- The day before we wanted to leave, I bought minivan tickets left from a travel agency that’s very close to the above-mentioned alley – next to what used to be Tangmo’s/Nung’s shop. The tickets cost 200 baht per person, and the ticket agent told me that the first minivan left at 8:30 a.m. but that I should arrive around 8:10 a.m. We got there at 8:10, wandered to Tops to get some snacks, and she called my phone at 8:15 to tell me that the minivan was there to pick us up.
- I had previously told the travel agent I wanted to get to Ao Nammao Pier in Ao Nang, but she explained that we could only go to Krabi town first and then take a songtaew. The minivan driver dropped us off at a designated songtaew, and it was 50 baht for a long ride to that pier (you have to go through Ao Nang first). The songtaews usually wait until they’ve got 8 people before they can take off.
- Once at the pier, it took us approximately 5 seconds to pay 60 baht to get on a longtail boat to Railey’s East Beach. Again, these boats usually leave when they have 8 people, and we were just in the nick of time.
- We checked-in to our guesthouse at 12:15 p.m. Not too shabby. Total cost to Railey: 310 baht.
Returning to Surat Thani:
- We checked out of our guesthouse at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, and the travel agent told me they had trips to Surat at 9:30 a.m. (oops, too late) or 2:30 p.m. The combined ticket price (boat to Ao Nammao, minivan to bus station, VIP bus to Surat) was 350 baht. The problem wasn’t the price or anything; we simply didn’t want to wait until 2:30 p.m. If only we knew…
- I thought it’d be easy if we returned the way we arrived, so we took the longtail back to Ao Nammao (again, 60 baht) and then another long songtaew ride to the bus station (60 baht instead of 50 baht this time). We arrived at the bus station at 1:15 p.m. — fifteen minutes too late for the 1 p.m. bus, so we waited until the 2:30 p.m. bus. For some reason, there weren’t any minivans, which should have been a warning sign right then.
- 2:30 arrived; we got on the air-con Phanthip bus. I looked at my ticket and saw the following: Krabi – Nueklong – Kowpanum – Chaiburi- Parsang – Bansong – Nasarn – Surat Thani. All of these are small towns I’d never heard of; we were going to have to pass through to each of them to get back to Surat, picking up passengers the whole way.
- It took us another 4 hours to get back to Surat on that infernal bus — conversely, that 2:30 p.m. trip would have taken 3.5 hours in all.
- Lessons learned: book your tickets the day before and never ever take the local bus!