The final rip-off: Minibus across Thailand.

Krabi Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 4 › view all entries
After five nights on Koh Tao, I was ready to move on to Ko Lanta, where I planned to stay a few nights before heading to Phi-Phi. The day before my planned departure, I purchased a joint ticket from Tao via ferry to Chumpon, minibus to Lanta from the reception at the hotel for 1200bht. I was told the buses held a pretty high standard, and remembering the very nice bus I had taken down from Bangkok, I really didn't have any reason to believe otherwise.

The bus that met us on the Pier in Chumpon this time though, was a complete scrap heap without any working air condition, and it was filled to the brim. Luckily we was only on this old bus for half an hour or so, into the center of Chumpon, where we, after an hour or so, were loaded onto smaller buses depending on where we were off to.
I got on the minibus to Krabi, and as I was travelling alone, I was lucky enough to get the front passenger seat, as this bus also were completely packed. But at least the aircon worked nicely, and the driver was a really cool guy who loved practicing his rather limited English.
When we after many, many hours finally got to Krabi, the minibus stopped once more at the travel agents local office to distribute passengers to where they were going in the area. I was the only one going to Koh Lanta, so my travel mates for the day said their goodbyes and was divided onto two other buses.

After the rest of the tourists had departed, the boss of the travel agency told me that the last bus to Ko Lanta had already left, because we were to late. There is no way that little minibus could have made the trip from Chumpon to Krabi any faster, and according to the first driver, we left Chumpon on time. They were obviously not very keen on driving only one person out to Ko Lanta, so they saw the opportunity to screw me out of some more money. The boss then told me that I had to hire a boat taxi and that he of course could help me with this. He also wondered where I was staying, and when i told him i didn't have anything booked yet, he gave me an offer of 1500bht for boat taxi and one night at what he said was a really nice hotel. I told him that I was planning to stay at the Long Beach area at Lanta, and he said the hotel was near that. I was very reluctant about this, but realized that I really wouldn't get anywhere arguing with these guys, so I accepted. I had earlier read that transfer with boat from Krabi to Lanta could cost up to 1500-2000bht, so I guessed it wasn't that bad.

Of course, there wasn't any boat taxi; Just a guy in another minibus (probably the same one they said I had missed), who drove the normal route over to Koh Lanta. The driver didn't speak a single word of English, so when I asked him abut the speedboat I had paid for, he just raised his shoulders and smiled. Even though I was slightly pissed off for being framed, I still couldn't do anything else but smile myself.

So after about 90 minutes including two ferries, it had gotten dark before we finally got over to Lanta, and we drove pretty far down the island. After what I thought was way to long, we left the main road, and into Green Garden Hotel - Nowhere near Long Beach. The driver ran out, carried my backpack into the reception, spoke to the receptionist for 20 seconds, and ran out again. I feared for a moment that I was screwed again, but the nice lady behind the reception handed me a key, and another guy popped out and carried my bags to my room.

15 minutes later, halfway through my second Chang at Majestic bar next to the reception, my generally good mood started to come back, 30 minutes and a giant bowl of curry after that again, everything was forgiven and forgotten.

More to come.
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photo by: forevert2