Once again, I find myself with very feeble WiFi connections so, am unable to load photo’s at the moment. It’s nearing sunrise and I’m heading to the beach to watch it!
After my second night enjoying the festival in Trat, I felt it was time o leave. I asked about, was shown on a map where the mini-buses were, walked over and found a ticket office. The next morning, early before the heat rose, I walked over with my pack, bought a ticket, waited 25 minutes and was on my way to Chanthaburi. I repeated the name “River Guest House” to my driver several times when he asked “where going”. Finally, a look of recognition appeared on his face as he said “reeba guest house”. A slight mispronunciation makes all the difference so I’ve learned to repeat often and slightly differently each time.
He dropped me within a block and I was able to get a room. It was only when we were reaching the city of Chanthaburi it dawned on me that I was the only non-Thai person on the bus. Once in Chantahburi, every sign was in Thai, no English writing anywhere. Once I found Rocket Ice Cream, they did produce one menu that had ice cream names in English….what a relief although how can you go wrong with ice cream?n Chanthaburi ws nice but not the place I wanted to spend much time. I asked at the hotel about mini-van to Ban Phe or Rayong? “Don’t know, maybe Robinson’s”. A map was drawn to Robinson’s Shopping center along with the street behind where mini-buses park. I walked 15 minutes, found the spot, no mini-vans to where I was going.
Asking again, I was told to go to “Market Fountain”. It is where the night market is with great street food. Walking the other direction, finding the fountain, once agin I found no -mini-vans but it was late.
Early the next morning, I headed out with my backpack. It was hot already! There were no mini-vans on this end of the market so I walked around to the other side. No mini-vans, no tourist signs, no travel agencies selling thickets. This city is NOT about the tourist.
Disoriented, I asked a man how to find the bus station. Not knowing Thai, it works better to use as few words as possible! “Bus”? Maybe “Bus Station”? Maybe “Mini-bus” and “Koh Samet”. The man I asked spoke with a woman running a coffee shop. Diligently, he pointed straight ahead, over the hill, turn right, near “Shell”. Hotter now, dripping wet, I set off.
And yes, there was a Shell Station next to which I saw buses turning into a large parking lot.
Once nearing the station, I was approached by several man selling tickets for their bus, “Where going”??? I had several names, pronounced them differently, mentioned Ban Phe and Koh Samet, and he took me to a table selling tickets. No English, only Thai. After some explanation, he told me the mini-bus went directly to Ban Phe, no going to Rayong first and backtracking, and would leave in 1 1/2 hours. I bought a ticket, he picked up my backpack setting it beside his table and I went in search of coffee and something to eat.
To be continued later, hopefully, with photo’s. I was the only non-Thai on the bus and not only was taken to Ban Phe but since I had mentioned I really wanted to go to Koh Samet, they detoured directly to the dock and dropped me directly in front of the ticket office. From complete trust and uncertainty to the ticket office, how perfect!