After a long, hot morning here at Koh Surin, we will head East in search of cell towers and hot showers. It’s hardly been “Survivor, Thailand” out here, but we value our little luxuries.
Our vans raced to the Mu Ko Surin Park headquarters where we met representatives from Sabina tours, who operate the speedboat “ferry” out to the islands. We wanted to be early so we could board first and get our pick of seats, but there was no way to know another group would delay our departure by over an hour. Oh well, more shopping time.
It’s about 600 kilometers from Bangkok to Ranong, including several delicious detours. Although I’ve made this journey five times before, it turns out there are significant changes this year because the wonderful seaside restaurant at the Pranburi Marina, Sunee, was evicted due to encroachment on public land. I will miss the crab meat stir-fried with holy basil and spicy baby clam salad. But we won’t go hungry. Ever.
On Kasma’s Southern trip, we have a couple days here in Thailand’s enormous capital city before heading for the beautiful coast of the Andaman Sea. If all goes according to plan, there will be delicious meals, bargain hunting, massages, and good internet connectivity. Unfortunately, this year the air will be even more polluted than usual. In truth, I don’t mind having another excuse to avoid strenuous outdoor activity in the tropical heat, but I brought masks just in case.
My route to Thailand takes me through Taipei, Taiwan. On previous journeys, I have passed a few pleasant hours in Taoyuan airport’s Terminal 2 eating dumplings, having my hair washed, and riding the massage chairs. This time, one of the options for redeeming my miles provided an eight hour layover that promised enough time to run into town for even tastier dumplings. As if this weren’t complicated enough, would attempting to vlog the adventure bring me to a whole new level of crazy?
When I first visited Thailand in January 2005, I had no idea I would return even once, much less nine more times. But the warm waters, delicious food, fascinating culture, and Kasma’s well-planned itineraries keep drawing me back. This year, after a 20-day round trip through the South, some friends will join me for an after-trip. My own “tour guiding” skills will be put to the test, and while I can guarantee that we won’t go hungry, beyond that, we’re winging it!