More Near Misses

We left Koh Phangan on 28th March and returned for a few days on Samui.

We stayed at the very nice Moonhut Bungalows in Mae Nam, on the north side of the island. Very clean bungalow with fan and 24hr electricity.

At about 00:30 the morning after we got there we were woken by our phones rining. It was Vic’s parents ringing to tell us that there had been another quake in the Indian Ocean and that there was a tsunami warning. As we were on the East coast of Thailand we decided not to worry (though we were very close to the beach), and as things turned out, there was nothing to worry about in Thailand.

On Friday 1st April we caught a flight from Samui to Krabi, where we are at the moment. We’re staying in the fab Chan Cha Lay Guesthouse in Krabi City, which must be one of the best decorated rooms we’ve had (and it’s quite reasonably priced!).

We kew our 30 day visa-free tourist stamp was due to expire soon,so we checked and found it was due to run out on Sunday 3rd, so asked at the guesthouse about doing a “visa-run”. They said we would need to get an A/C mini-van to Hat Yai (4 hours), and then get another van to Sadao (another hour), and go across the border in to Malaysia there. 250 Baht each one-way to Hat Yai, another 50 Baht each way to Sadao.

The bus left on Saturday morning at 6:30am and filled up as we picked up passengers around Krabi, before settling in for the long haul to Hat Yai.

We got to Hat Yai pretty much on schedule and then found the mini-vans going to Sadao (just round the corner from where we were dropped). A few minutes after we set off, the van ran into the back of a songthaew, smashing the headlights and quite a bit of the rest of the front of the van. Luckily no one was injured, and after a 20 minute wait another van turned up so that we could complete the rest of the trip to Sadao without incident.

Once dropped off in Sadao, we had to walk upto the Thai side of the border to get our exit stamps on our passports, and then walked a kilometre or so to the Malaysian side where immigration forms had to be completed and the passports stamped again.

Crossing the road we then went through the departure side of the Malaysian immigration, getting exit stamps. Back along the road to the Thai border with a brief stop off to look round the Duty Free shop in no-mans-land (not very interesting), fill in Thai immigration forms (from the Immigration Office on the left), another stamp on the passport (this time a Thai entry stamp) and back to the road where we were dropped off.

Quite straightforward, if a little bewildering in execution, all taking about 30 minutes. Bus back to Hat Yai for 3:30pm. The bus back from Hat Yai to Krabi wasn’t due to leave until 5pm so we went and got a drink and found an internet cafe (possibly the noisiest I’ve been in, full of 10 yr old Thai’s playing Counterstrike).

The journey back was uneventful, I kept busy with my recently purchased Gameboy Advance SP. Back to Krabi by 9:30pm making it a long day and we were fit to collapse.

On Sunday we saw some news reports on TV of bombs in Hat Yai where we had been the previous day. I’m not saying we’re jinxed or anything but over the past year we’ve had quite a few near misses with disasters etc.

Still, we’re safe and happy. Next couple of weeks will be spent around the Andaman coast of Thailand, probably Koh Lanta, and maybe Koh Phi Phi and Koh Jum. On the 18th April, we fly back to Bangkok, and then on to Siem Reap in Cambodia.