Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A trip to an Island on our 31st wedding anniversary

As always, her off day will come in a short notice. Well , basically you could not plan for any trip in advance. No choice for she might has agreed to this condition . Well at time, she could get a green light earlier! Regardless, we sat down to decide where to go subject to the availability of air ticket and hotels and pricing too.
The final 2 choices : Both destinations were in Thailand. Koh Surin north of Phuket or Koh Chang and Koh Mak in Trat. Burning a few night lamp, we decided to take the second option. An island in Trat province and quite near the Cambodia border. I have been to Koh Chang before but not Koh Mak which is south of Koh Chang while working in Thailand in 1998 . To take this trip was due to encouragement of my Thai friend ,Sukkit, who has been there after my retreat from Bangkok. Secondly during last trip to Bangkok ,2011, I was advice not to go for the monsoon was on but regardless l have collected many information from the airport but then it was not an updated version. Searching through my bookshelf, I found the map of Trat which I bought in 1998 . Well, the best information collected was from the Net .

Finally, on 23/1/2012, we were on our way to this island.
From Penang ,we booked a mini van ,normally a very good coach but surprisingly we were surprised that it was a big cruise bus and real reason for this changed was due to many travellers. Woke up at 4.00 am,and lucky to have a sound mind , for we slept very late ,1.00am, our fateful alarm ,clock and IPhone woke us up exactly 5 minutes apart. My wife make a final check while I was at the computer reading the mails and including downloading the last 2 movies ,into my IPad 2 . Books and magazines were downloaded as early as 2 weeks ago.
Shutting off my computer ,we left at 4.30 pm sharp and arrived at my office. I left my company car in the car park and went out to wait for the van but was surprised that it was tour bus which turned up .
The bus left Penang after picking all her passenger and we Were cruising across The famous Penang Bridge at around 6.00am. Finally reached Hatyai at around 9.30 (local time).we checked in with a local tour agent for the time required to reach the airport and immediately went for our lunch cum breakfast . At 11.30am we were at Hatyai airport checking in. The local flight took off exactly as per shedule and arrived Bangkok around 3.35 pm. While waiting to claim our luggages in the main terminal, my wife sounded that our journey could be very tiring. I told her that it would take us another 6 hours by bus coach to reach Laem Ngob's pier and estimate time of arrival around 12.00 midnight. Observing her being quite tired , I started to get a bit worry and while waiting to claim our baggage, I started to check a local Bangkok air counter . The last flight out to Trat was at 5.00pm. Looking at my watch , we have exactly 50 minutes before the flight took off. I told my wife that it would worth to give a try to check with the Bangkok air counter at Level 4 ,note that we were at level 1. Snatching out luggages , we apologized to certain travellers who have to give way to us in the airport and we managed to reached the island counter within 5 minutes .
Checking with the airline,the plane would wait for us and it was not a problem. My wife sounded that the air ticket could be expensive. I told her I have allocated this cost in case of emergency, that either one of us could not make the long journey ,but to take a flight to shorten this journey. Well idea the prediction was right.

We took our flight down to Trat by Bangkok aIr and landed at Trat airport at 6.15 pm. First impression of the airport, same condition like the TV show,Gilligan island , a very casual airport and the bus that took along the runway to the airport terminal was like those in the Julassic park. ......wow....wow..... By the way, many passengers have a shock realizing that flight PG.307 is a Fokker plane.

The next costly encounter was the taxi fare to Trat, 500 baht per person ( total 1000 baht for both of us). We did not check whether there were any transport around but looking at the whole terminal, only 3 counters were available and none public transport counter was around .

Hotel in Trat was cheap . We stayed in SA Hotel and cost us only 500 baht . Trat is a very small town and within 10 minutes, we have seen what was in the main street. Not much choice of food over here but still we were quite happy for we have always love Thai food. The next morning I was up early to check on the type of transport which could bring us over to Laem Ngop pier and finally settled for a chartered pickup costing us 200 Baht .

Upon reaching the main pier, we checked the time and fare of returning from Koh Mak and also the schedule of the minivan to Bangkok . Booked for departing Koh Mak at 9.00am .arriving mainland pier at 10.00am to continue our journey to Bangkok at 10.30am , estimating time of arrival at 3.00 pm .

Koh Mak Island
The speed boat cost us 450 Baht per person and took off 10 minutes late . Regarding the inspection of the no of passenger were allowed in this boat , none of the authority was around to flag and authorized the trip. In one of our journey to an island ,Koh Tao from Koh Samui, a marine officer was there to counter and ensure the speed boat complied to the ruling and signed on a form before allowing the boat to speed off.

Cont .......later ...is it really a beautiful island as compare to many islands, Koh Tao,Koh Lipe ,Koh Kai and many more we have visited? Before the journey, my sons were informed of the trip and also my Thai adopted sister, Buay Trisanawai who keep updated our health and where about. ......and why this trip.....

Cont ......with a lot pictures and also receiving an international call from Xing Yi about an hour ago to check how is the island as compare to those that we have taken them . So excited indeed he is ..... Ha ha ....
I am posting this blog in the restaurant of Koh Mak Hotel, free Wifi and beautiful music play in the stage.
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