Decide today, go tomorrow

Koh Tao Travel Blog

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With Lompraya bus
 
Saturday was my birthday and Friday was a public holiday so I was thinking about having a short trip somewhere in Thailand but sure should be the beach. We (Ale and I) knew it since long time and tried to plan but didn’t work. I was busy, Ale was busy so we just made a quick decision on the night before we left that we’d go to Koh tao.

I’ve traveled to many beaches in Thailand but never been to Koh Tao which is near Bangkok than others at South. I've been told in many directions about this island, some said 'it's really beautiful', some said 'it's too touristic', some said 'the beach isn't nice at all', some said 'it's really good to dive there'. When I have a long holiday, I always go to the beach at southern Thailand - far like Phangan Island, and when I have a short holiday, I always go to the beach at Eastern Thailand like Samed Island. Koh Tao is about 5 hours from Bangkok, I visited Chumphon province but never want to visit Koh Tao yet.

Ale with our luggage.
For me, it's like a place to connect to other islands and also a place to dive not to stay. Maybe I'm wrong?

Anyway we headed to Koh Tao with no booking. We had to leave on Thursday night but we didn’t buy any ticket yet. Flight to Chumphon was full. A first class train was full so one choice left was the bus.  

Ale went to search and buy tickets for us, I was at work, busy, could get out after 5pm, I couldn’t help him but he did it good. My friend joked me that he’s a foreigner but I let him went to Train Station, Bus station, asked people, bought tickets? They said I could do it - not better but not too complicated. Anyway, Ale did great. And I think most of tourists can manage things like this better than Thais sometimes. (or at least than me).

It’s a pity that about 5 years ago the bus terminal to Southern Thailand moved from Pinklao to 20 kilometers far away. Ok, the pros are A) The new one is bigger B) Far from traffic C) More close to the beginning of the south road but the cons are A) Bigger, walk more B) It was far from traffic but now it’s really make its own traffic C) it’s too far to get there easily, if you stay around Kaosarn Road, ok one hour to go but if you leave in town or the other side of it, 3 hours if it’s traffic.

Tha Ma Kam Pier-to go to Koh Tao.
Last time I took about 4 hours from my home to that station: Traffic, traffic, traffic and far D) The best way to get there is taxi or by your own car. If you take a bus, forget about your trip.

I’m sorry for Ale. He went to buy the ticket since 1pm. First he went to the train station and tried to communicate and search for the train to go/back, he lost about 2 hours there but got the train ticket back to Bangkok. Then he had to go to The bus Station, I told him to go tonight but he’s afraid that the seat would be fully booked so he should go now. Ok, he got the bus ticket VIP 32 Seats then he went back home but he stuck on the road about 2 hours. So he arrived home around 6pm. The bus leaved at 9.30pm. I wasn’t sure that we could make it on time.

Anyway, we met up at Hualampong Subway Station and took a taxi from there to The Southern Bus Terminal (nickname : Sai Tai Mai). It’s about 250THB with meter but lucky we’re still on time. We arrived at 9pm.

Note

1.

Our stuff.
    By bus to Koh Tao has the other services

A)    Lompraya Company at Kaosarn Road, and you can buy the boat ticket from there - sometimes they have a package price, cheaper.

B)    Train station -  they have bus + boat ticket too

2.

Going to the boat
    By train they have a package with the first class train and boat also.

 

Waiting!

We were on the bus, I slept immediately. Ale can’t. We sat at the last seats for customer but behind us is a one long seat maybe for the second bus driver or staff but we didn’t see anyone comes to sleep so Ale went there. He can stretch his legs and I had two seats - slept well. Around 1am the bus stopped in the middle route to let us having dinner. When you buy ticket, you’ll get the dinner ticket included. The food is normal. If you don’t want to eat, you can change to one drink in the list.

Our boat
You have only 20 minutes there, if you want to go to the toilet, do it. Then back to the bus, and sleep.

Usually from Bangkok to Tah Makam Pier at Chumphon (to take the boat to Koh Tao) takes about 5 hours by car but with bus, the one I took was about 7 hours. We arrived there about 5am and Lompraya cab picked up us at the Bus station to Lompraya office, Chumphon. Then we had to wait for another bus to take us to the pier, sound like a mess, and it was a mess.

Our boat is at 8am. We stuck at Lompraya office for almost 3 hours then the bus came to pick up us. A lot of people there! It’s a long weekend for Thai people so the bus was full - more than full. They should have enough seats for people but they carried a lot of people than the seats so some of them had to stand up. Lompraya Boat always carries people more than the boat can take. Some people had to sit on the ground or the extra-chairs.

We’re at the pier waiting for the boat.

It's hot.
We didn’t have a place to sleep yet. We didn’t have time to prepare. We didn’t know much about Koh tao, maybe we didn’t know anything at all. Normally I’m not the perfect planner for my trip but this time was worst. I didn’t plan anything. My job was really busy that week and we just made a decision one day before we left, no chance to plan. Let's see what we would have then.

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With Lompraya bus
With Lompraya bus
Ale with our luggage.
Ale with our luggage.
Tha Ma Kam Pier-to go to Koh Tao.
Tha Ma Kam Pier-to go to Koh Tao.
Our stuff.
Our stuff.
Going to the boat
Going to the boat
Our boat
Our boat
Its hot.
It's hot.
Arrived Chumphon. At the bus stati…
Arrived Chumphon. At the bus stat…
Me, polite haha ...
Me, polite haha ...
At Tha Ma Kam Pier, waiting to go …
At Tha Ma Kam Pier, waiting to go…
Waiting ....
Waiting ....
Tha Ma Kam Pier
Tha Ma Kam Pier
Koh Tao!
Koh Tao!
Koh Tao
photo by: RyanCorrea