January 31, 2016
Today we were up at 6am. I thought this was a vacation! We wanted to enjoy the buffet before the Chinese swarmed on it and touched all of the food! No joke!
We had a great breakfast for a buffet. Lots of fresh pineapple and watermelon and orange juice. The fried potatoes were really good. There was rice, omelette station and you name it. Some things you could not name! They looked like hot dogs, but I’m not sure what it was.
Once we were finished we packed our bags and checked out. We had high hopes to get a few hours on the beach. Time will tell how accurate that will be. We were checked out and waiting by shortly after 9:30am. When Linda is involved you are not going to miss the boat. We had to wait for a pickup with a van and a 2 hour ride to the ferry port. Well, at 10:15 am I called the tour supplier and asked what happened, he said sorry but running a few minutes behind. Finally it was after 10:20 when they arrived and squeezed us into the minivan. Linda sat in the back on a seat by herself with some luggage and I, Gary sat in the middle row next to the door on the left side of the vehicle. Remember we are driving on the left side of the road and the driver sits on the right side! It gets confusing sometime when you go around to the right side of the vehicle and the passenger door isn’t there!
We drove for 2 hours in an air conditioned van which was comfortable. The roads were far from smooth and the maximum speed was about 105 on the twin highway. Once off the main highway the driving became more speed up and slow down, swerve around cars and motor scooters etc. I thought we were going to be late as we seemed to be driving faster and faster! Finally we got the to pier about 12:30 which was only 30 minutes before sailing time. We bought some chicken fried rice and a beer which filled us up. We waited and waited, finally the announcement that the ferry was late. It would now arrive at 1:30 pm. Then wait more and more. One more announcement, then it will arrive at 2 pm. We were sweating so we each had a Kitkat ice cream drum stick! Do we have these in Canada? There is a Kitkat finger down the centre of the cone. The ice cream is mocha flavoured too! The best 50 Baht I have ever spent in the 34 degree heat.
Once we were called onto the pier there still was no boat, and we waited another 10 to 15 minutes. We all left our luggage to be loaded along side the edge of the pier. Once we were loaded and sailing it was more like 3 pm. Yes, the time our itinerary indicated we’d be arriving at Koh Lipe. No beach in todays forecast by the look of things. The ferry is a bit of a shit hole too. No air con and not much ventilation other than a few hatch windows open. Linda is reading and Gary is typing. Once we land at Koh Lipe we get off at a floating platform. We’ll have to hail a longboat to get to shore. That is another 50 baht each by the sound of it, which is not included in the overall ferry ticket price.
We are staying at NT House on Koh Lipe for 5 nights, that will give us 4 full days because today and yesterday were both a complete write off. One of the hazards of travelling to more than one place. From what we have seen of the beaches so far from this ferry as we pass different islands, we have great hopes for a few great days at great beaches on Lipe. I hope the 34+ degrees are still on for the next 2 weeks!
There are a lot of travellers in Thailand and a few of us tourists. We had this discussion with Philippe, the owner of Captain Nemo in Koh Tao. He provided his insight on many of the kids travelling today. They are travellers and go from one place to another. They are saving money so they don’t do anything special, they don’t spend money that isn’t in their budget. They don’t spend money in bars but buy their beer at 7/11. They don’t buy breakfast at restaurants but buy a bagel or croissant at 7/11. He told us of a couple that travelled across 5 or 6 countries in a short time only spending a few days at each location. Philippe says they may be somewhere but they don’t tour around or support local tour operators, dive shops etc, because that isn’t in their budget! We are not travellers! If we see something that’s not in our budget that we think would be fun to do or will fit in our suitcase then we discuss buying it or doing! It’s a different world out there. Many of these people quit their jobs and just travel until the money is gone. So far on this trip there’s a 70% traveller to tourist ratio. 70% travellers and our 30% tourists. Such is life.
We are passing little islands on the way. They are mostly sandstone pinnacles like you have seen in pictures around Viet Nam. It is so hot on this boat I fear we will melt! But no complaints from me! There are 2 doors on either side front and back that are open. Several people take turns standing in the doorway. Gary took a few pictures we will try to post later.
Now we are on Koh Lipe. Our room is ok, the air con works but the room is very small. We will try to upgrade in the morning. Also we don’t have any beach towels supplied with this room. We’ll deal with that in the morning. The hotel wifi does not reach the back part of the hotel so posting pictures is going to be tough. We’ll be lucky to get this text to uploaded. Check back later for the possibility of pictures from paradise! The beaches here are beautiful white sand that rivals Boracay Philippines. When we came on the long tail boat the water was crystal clear and you could see to the bottom with tons of fish. Time for bed so we can be out in the daylight!