I made it back! It was quite a trip, let me tell you. Most of it was not fun. We hopped onto the Songserm Express Ferry from Koh Samui at 1:30pm, which took 2 hours to get to Surrat Thani. That wasn’t any faster than the regular ferry, but whatever. On the way, we sprung for the extra 30 Baht and stayed in the VIP cabin, which was air-conditioned and had movies. Otherwise we would have baked on deck with the luggage (see photo below). When we got to Surrat Thani, we were herded into the back of a songtao, and our luggage was piled on top. It dumped as at a grungy travel agency/home cooking restaurant where we waited for a couple of hours for our bus to arrive.
The “VIP” bus was surreal. It was fire engine red. Inside, it looked like it was decorated by someone who was simultaneously colorblind and nauseous. It had bright turquoise curtains with frills, silvery quilted padding on the ceiling, red carpets and seats, and other retro fittings. Although the seats had plenty of legroom, they were NOT comfortable. It had to be a trick of physics, but no matter what position you sat in, it resulted in some part of the body becoming sore or losing sensation altogether. They played movies on the TV at the front, and the bus was wired with sound through overhead speakers. The volume was turned up to 11. I managed to get them to turn it down to 10, but it was still very, very loud. After watching The Day After Tomorrow and Shanghai Knights, we were thoroughly frazzled. Fortunately, the bus ride was merely 11 hours.
We arrived in Bangkok at 5am, ahead of schedule by an hour. Instantly, we were swarmed by tuk tuk drivers offering exorbitant rates to the disoriented bus VIPs. I managed to separate ourselves from the crowd by a block or so, despite being pursued by a couple of fairly aggressive drivers. I hailed us some cabs and we went to our separate hotels.
It felt good to be back at the Trinity. They let me check in at about 7am, and I crashed for a couple of hours. Now I feel energized again and I’m ready to explore the city some more before heading out to Chiang Rai tomorrow evening. I’m flying this time. 🙂