Our usual Surat Thani hotel, the Chic Hotel, was booked out for the dates we were planning to be in Surat Thani, so we went upmarket to the CBD Hotel, which has five-star hotel features like porters who carry your backpack to your room for you.
We travelled from Ton Kloi to Surat Thani with a rot yun (ute) full of people who were going to the hospital in Surat Thani. We passed through the beautiful Khao Sok National Park in actual sunlight this time, so we could get a few snaps of the karst mountain landscape.
We had one bathroom break, at a 7-Eleven almost identical to the local one back near Ton Kloi, but otherwise made good time, and arrived in Surat Thani only three hours after leaving Ton Kloi.
A porter brought a trolley out to collect our luggage! Swanky.
For the first two nights we were there, the hotel only had a twin room available. We didn’t mind because we have become expert at putting two single beds together to make a king-sized bed (the trick is to put the bases at ninety degrees to the mattresses, and then the mattresses don’t drift apart in the night).
We splurged on the day of our anniversary, having pizza (with real garlic bread! Swoon …) and ice cream sundaes despite the outrageous prices you have to pay for Western food in Thailand. And we met several very lovely cats.
The next day, we were able to change to a room with a double bed. Unfortunately, it also had a small and deadly step right across the middle of the room. After jarring three knees and stubbing two toes, we lined up all our belongings along the step, and there were no further injuries.
Before we knew it, it was time to head to the airport to collect Erin and Leash!
We took them to the night market for an authentic Thai street food dinner, and then it was home for an early night, because their bodies were still running on Australian time.
The next morning, they knocked on our door at 6am, having been awake since four, and in desperate need of food and coffee. Fortunately for them, Thailand gets going at 6am, and we were able to hit the local patong ko shop right away for deep-fried doughy goodness and super-strong Thai coffee.
Even before the coffee arrived, they were looking pretty perky!
Early culture shock set in for the girls when they had to cross the road for the first time. Health and safety standards are just … different … in Thailand. They found that holding hands and chanting “omiGod omiGod omiGod omiGod” protected them from any harm as they crossed the road, and the traffic wove around them. They were duly impressed by the newly-laid concrete outside the bank.
Poor Leash’s childcare professional risk management radar went off amost every time she saw a child anywhere outside. You don’t use the SUV for the morning school run in Thailand – just throw all the kids on the motorbike. Kitchen knives? Of course the toddler can play with them …
And it was no better when we got on the ferry for Koh Phangan, and small kids were running out the automatic doors to the open back deck of the ferry. Leash got very good at deep breathing.
The Thai coast is spectacular as the ferry pulls out of Don Sak wharf, and even though it was overcast, we got a few great photos of the steep hills and mangroves.
Erin and Leash wasted no time getting themselves set up at the one and only outside table, so they could enjoy the view (and smoke in comfort). We snagged a table inside, where it was air conditioned, and Tom spent most of the ferry trip reinstalling the Android devices, which had all gone pfft at the same time.
Leash’s risk management alarms went into overdrive again when we were leaving the ferry, and this family piled into their ute – seven people in the cab, and six sitting on top of the luggage in the tray of the ute, including several young children.
Finally, we were off the ferry and in the soong-tao-oo, headed for Srithanu. We found bungalows right on the beach that Erin had specifically requested to see.
Erin and Leash immediately started working on their Crazy Dog Lady reputations, rounding that out by bewitching a young three-colour cat at their bungalow. She was waiting for them when they woke up in the morning, just on the basis of cuddles, but when they gave her some ham from a 7-Eleven toasted sandwich at six am, it was “friends for life” status. She even sleeps on their laps in their hammocks!
Apparently, Srithanu Beach has exceeded expectations so far.
We will be chilling here for a few days, doing as much nothing as we can fit in.