Our last night out in Koh Tao didn’t get off to the best of starts, I walked out of our room and suddenly felt a wave of nausea… I didn’t feel as though I would actually vomit, but I didn’t feel great… I put it down to feeling anxious about the upcoming boat ride and tried to put it out of my head.
We walked along the beach in the darkness to a small restaurant which was quite close to our hotel, we ordered food, I wasn’t feeling very hungry so I ordered what I thought would be a small meal and a soda… I’d made the decision not to drink alcohol the night before the dreaded boat ride.
We sat, near the beach, eating our dinner, listening to the sea and chatting… Looking out at the water I could see how calm it all was, this eased my mind a little… I was still dreading the boat ride but not with the passion that I dreaded it earlier.
Bats of various sizes flew around as we ate, it was a nice peaceful way to end our time on Koh Tao… At a table behind us, a man sat alone… A waiter approached him and we heard him say “Someone else is coming”… A short time later a young woman appeared… They had a very short conversation and she left… Not the best of dates eh mate?
We finished our dinner, stopped by a stall to buy a roti and then headed back to our room to finish packing and to sleep.
I awoke in the very early hours of the morning, I had a pounding headache, in the darkness I saw bright flashes of light… “Oh shit” I thought “I’ve got a fucking migraine” … Jo woke up and gave me some headache tablets… I sat in bed for what seemed like an age… Worrying, there was no way I could handle a boat ride AND a migraine… All I wanted to do was get back home, decorate my Christmas tree and get ready for Christmas.
Eventually I drifted back off to sleep and awoke to thankfully find my headache had all but disappeared… We had breakfast and then pushed our cases to reception to await our transport back to the pier.
We weren’t the only people leaving the resort, joining us on our journey were two young Asians carrying snorkels and flippers… And two young women, both of which seemed to absolutely love themselves… As we approached the pier they rudely jostled past to be first off the transport… They grabbed their bags and rushed off… Later when we were checking in with the boat company they appeared behind us in the queue… It seems they rushed so much that they rushed the wrong way. Hare and the tortoise ladies… Hare and the tortoise!
We boarded the boat and thankfully the water seemed to be calm… There was no warning of “Big waves” all seemed fine… Heading out to sea, the water became a little rougher… Nothing compared to the horror that we had when we came to the island… I spent the time looking out at the horizon and thinking about my new exercise regime for the new year… I found that by concentrating on things like that helped me avoid feeling sick.
After about half an hour or so, the water became much rougher…Still, not as bad as when we came to Koh Tao… But enough to make me feel a little travel sick… At the 45 minute point the water was really quite rough, I looked at my watch and worked out that if this was as bad as it was going to get I should be ok… We were at the halfway point… I’d convinced myself this was as rough as the waters were going to get.
A young girl moved from her seat (her travel companion had stretched out and had practically pushed her off) and sat in front of me and Jo… As I was looking out at the horizon, trying to keep myself centred I could see her from the corner of my eye falling asleep… Her head violently flopping backwards… I was worried she would hurt herself… Then, along with the violent head flopping she began to (all the time fast asleep) fall to the left (much to the annoyance of the lady she had sat next to) but then fall to the right… Toward the end of the seat… We were convinced she was going to launch herself into the aisle… I positioned my arm so that it rested to the side of her seat…I was worried at this point… I didn’t want her to hurt herself… But at the same time, I didn’t want her to wake up to find my hands on her…Suddenly the boat lurched sideways… The sleepy girl flew toward the aisle… I put my hand out and guided her back toward her seat… She awoke briefly and looked at me… What followed was me, using the art of mime to explain why I was putting her back in her seat… She smiled (thank God!) and went straight back to sleep.
For the next half hour or so we played this game… She would flop to the side and I would guide her back to safety… This had a positive effect in a number of ways.
One, I got to play hero… Two, it took my mind off the boat ride… A bit.
We eventually arrived at Chumphon… I didn’t feel brilliant… But I didn’t feel anywhere near as ill as I did when I got to Koh Tao.
We had a (thankfully) short bus ride to our hotel… After a few issues regarding payment (the internet signal kept going down while the hotel was processing) we got to our room.
Well… Got to our room EVENTUALLY.
We have been on holiday for almost two weeks… We are carrying large suitcases… The hotel had NO LIFT!
Jo went up to the room and I performed a sort of heavy lifting relay race… One case up one flight of stairs, run down and bring up the other case… Take one case up the second flight of stairs, walk down and bring up the other case… Drag one case up a THIRD flight of stairs, hobble down to get the second case… I eventually got to the room… Out of breath and with sore arms.
The room wasn’t great. On first impressions I had decided it was my least favourite room so far… But, we only had to “suffer” it for one night… After all, I’ll be back in Bangkok tomorrow.
We were both feeling hungry, so we ventured out to find food… As with most seaside towns, COVID has taken its toll here… In fact, we only found one place to eat… A roadside restaurant, nothing fancy… Just cold beer and good, honest (and delicious) Thai food… After eating we both felt quite tired so headed back to the hotel.
We had a short nap… We awoke and I told Jo that if we do have to visit places by boat, I am limiting myself to trips that “officially” should take 45 minutes… I simply can’t handle being on a boat any longer than an hour… We got out of bed and at this point discovered that the shower in the hotel was crap AND that our room did not have a kettle.
Jo opened the door to walk out onto the balcony, I lay on the bed watching as she opened the door, looked out, then began to frantically wave her hands in front of her face… I wasn’t sure what was going on… Was she being a bit dramatic in regards to the sun shining so brightly? I had no idea… Then I saw the lizard (that had previously been on top of her head) fall to the ground… “BASTARD!” she squealed “He tried to eat me!” I honestly tried my best not to laugh… I really did… In fact, to some extent, I actually managed it… The huge grin on my face however, I could not hide.
When the horror of the lizard had faded Jo walked into the bathroom “The little pervert wants to watch me shower!” she shouted… Sure enough, the lizard was now in the bathroom and showing no signs of wanting to leave.
After all of this, Jo really needed a cup of tea… So without a kettle, we set out to find a cafe in Chumphon.
There were a few more places open by the time we left the hotel, we asked if there was a cafe nearby and someone pointed us toward a small bar toward the end of the street.
At first, we were the only customers… We sat at the bar drinking and chatting, Jo had checked that we could pay via bank transfer as the closest ATM was 2Km away… Our first drink didn’t last too long and soon we were drinking our second… There were a few children playing around the bar, there were also various soi dogs that wandered by too.
Before long there was a small group of people drinking at the bar… A Thai woman asked to have a photo with Jo, which now has us worried that some video of Jo dancing in a bar has gone viral and now Jo is a TicTok star…. A few more people arrived at the bar and it had a really friendly atmosphere… A man gave us shots and chatted about he was the captain of a boat that does snorkelling trips… It turns out he is the brother of the man behind the bar, they also run a hotel… At some point we were joined by a young woman and her girlfriend… She told us how she used to work in Bangkok but moved away when COVID hit because there was no work… She now runs a coffee shop in Chumphon. I, by this time, was feeling quite drunk and had swapped alcohol for a bottle of water… Jo carried on drinking… We stayed at the bar a while longer… Enjoying the atmosphere and enjoying the company of the soi dogs that sat with us… We paid our bill, said our goodbyes and headed back to the hotel… One of the soi dogs walked with us, all the way to the door of the hotel.
I woke up at 4:30 AM… I felt fine, I was excited about getting back to Bangkok… I walked out onto the balcony and set the GoPro up to film the sunrise (absolutely pointless exercise, being as a tree blocked the sun)… I got back into bed and drifted off back to sleep, but awoke in time to catch the last of the sunrise.
I stood on the balcony enjoying one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen… The beach had a few people on it enjoying it too… On the street below me I saw the soi dog that had walked us home the night before… It was so peaceful… It was perfect. Eventually Jo awoke, we had breakfast and waited for our taxi to the rain station… A pick-up truck pulled up outside, a small Thai man walked into the hotel and said something to the receptionist… Even though he spoke quite quickly I picked out the word “Farang”… “That’s our taxi” I said… And, I was right.
We arrived at the railway station, bought our tickets and waited for the train… The sun shone brightly in the sky and we both agreed that we would visit Chumphon again.
Our train arrived and we boarded… We had caught a train from Bangkok to Hua Hin before, that train had the most comfortable seats and was a pleasure to be aboard… As we sat down in these seats however I was immediately aware of a very loud creaking noise and the fact these seats were nowhere near as comfortable as the previous train.
A nine hour train journey isn’t fun… A nine hour train journey in an uncomfortable seat is even less fun… A nine hour train journey that actually takes TEN HOURS is just horrible.
I was ok for the first half of the journey… The scenery was beautiful and I delighted in annoying Jo with my terrible “dad jokes”… “Here Jo… See that man there” pointing to a farmer out in a field… “He’s brilliant!”… “Why?” asked Jo… “Well…. He’s OUTSTANDING IN HIS FIELD!” I laughed… Jo grimaced…. A few minutes later I see another farmer… “Jo!… See that man there?” “Shut up.” I attempted the joke a few more times before fear of being murdered stopped me.
We tried to watch a film on my phone… But every time we tried, the train would slow down and rock, making me feel a little bit nauseous.
The train crawled along at a snail’s pace… It was the slowest train I think I have ever been on….At various points during the journey we were served snacks which broke up the monotony… There was a family in our carriage… Two small children, a middle-aged woman and two older ladies… The one older lady did nothing but feed the children… The other older lady slept for most of the journey… When she awoke I understood why they had let her sleep for so long… She was a bitch!
She would randomly slap the little boy… She shoved him back into his seat… The family just took it as if it was perfectly normal… This woman was evil!
As we approached the 8 hour point of our journey I had entered “moaning mode” I moaned about the seats, the speed of the train… The random stoppages… I moaned even more about the fact that there had been an airport in Chumphon, but Jo had neglected to tell me. I will visit Chumphon again… But I’ll sure as Hell be going via plane.
Ten hours after our journey began we were back in Bangkok… The city seemed so dark as we rode through it in our taxi… I was glad to be back home… We have had an amazing holiday… We’ve travelled a lot of miles on various methods of transport… But now we were back in Bangkok.
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