Thailand - Round The World Tour 3 2004 Day 257 (67)

Khao Lak

Saturday 20th November

The past three days of diving must have clearly taken its toll as we slept in almost long enough to miss the complimentary breakfast this morning. We just about managed to drag ourselves out of bed and down to the restaurant in time. The continental breakfasts here in Thailand are always the same with eggs, frazzled bacon, mini frankfurter sausages that are split at one end and a strange sort of sliced ham. Our breakfast this morning was nice enough but nothing like the magnificent morning meal that we enjoyed on board the Mariner-1.

For the most part we lounged around the pool today and did pretty much what we came here to do – nothing. I took advantage of the downtime for some much needed catch-up on my daily journal entries. I was no less than three whole days behind and I desperately needed to spend some time behind the keyboard to rectify this. After a couple of hours down by the pool and a couple more up here in the room, I managed to pull myself all the way back to today.

We’ve been giving a lot of consideration to doing the Surin Islands live-aboard but our thirty-day visas expire in a week from now and this means that we will have to leave the country and come back in again to obtain another thirty days before we do anything else. If we fail to do so before the visas expire, we could be in a lot of trouble – certainly it would result in a hefty fine for each of us. We could just pop across the border into Burma, which is not far from here, but the problem with that is that our passports are still in Bangkok. We left them there with a visa service to arrange for our visas into Cambodia and Laos. Whatever happens, we must go back to Bangkok to collect our passports. Since it’s necessary for us to leave the country and come back in again, and we want to visit the temples of Angkor Wat at Siem Reap in Cambodia, the best solution seems to be to go to Siem Reap and back. I’ve heard so many horror stories about the bad road to Siem Reap so we will probably fly. Air Bangkok has some half way decent fares directly to Siem Reap from Bangkok for about 2,600B (€50) per person, one-way. I made my way over to an Internet café this afternoon to try to book this flight but even after trying several different Internet cafés, I could get far enough through their web site to be able to book the tickets. I’ll have to try this again tomorrow. Having struck out on the flight booking, I next tried seeing about booking our overnight train to Bangkok through a couple of different travel agencies here in town. This apparently requires first taking a three-hour bus journey to Surat Thani and then catching the train to Bangkok from a small town close to there. The problem is that all the ticket agents here in Khao Lak charge an arm and a leg for commission for the train tickets so we may end up getting the bus to Surat Thani and then trying to book passage on the train ourselves locally. The train passes through there every half an hour or more from between six and ten in the evening so it should be relatively straightforward to get a sleeper seat on at least one of the passing trains. Our carriage from Bangkok down to Chumphon was half empty so I’m not expecting it to be a real problem.

I also popped into the Sea Dragon office and chatted with Guy, the dive co-ordinator, there about the wreck dives. He wasn’t sure about whether or not there was going to be a dive master available for tomorrow and asked if I could come back later to check. I eventually went back to our hotel after chasing after logistical issues for several hours but having come back essentially empty handed.

We ended up spending the remainder of the afternoon and early evening in our room in front of the TV. Once again, it was an early night for us both.