I caught the bus from northern Phuket to Surat Thani, a town near the Gulf coast. I stayed a night there to break up the journey from Phuket to Ko Samui. Most visitors don’t stay in the city and just go straight through, but I’m glad I got to spend a bit of time in this typical and unromantic Thai city.
It was quite tricky to navigate the way to our hotel. I’d looked on Google directions using the wifi at the previous hotel, but the bus dropped us off along the main road and not at the bus station as I was expecting. It was off the end of the map in my Rough Guide, and my memorised Google directions were out, but I managed to find it by working my way to the original bus station, then counting the number of roads beyond the end of the map.
The drive to Surat Thani was really interesting, and gave me more of a feel for Thailand. I always enjoy seeing the rural parts of a country and seeing some of the landscape. We passed several colourful Buddhist temples, and white, green and gold mosques. There were many large brown rivers, surrounded by jungle. The vegetation was lush and tropical, everywhere green and alive with dense, vivid life.
The bus wound its way through Khao Sok National Park, which is an amazing landscape of tall limestone crags rising up out of misty forest. I’d like to visit sometime but it was pouring when we went through as it’s the rainy season now.
One of the remarkable sights I’ve seen so far while walking through streets is the wiring. New electricity wires just seem to be added to old; excess lengths of wire are curled around and tied up, and odd broken ends hang down a few metres, dangling among pedestrians below. Sometimes I’ve heard the wires buzzing as I’ve walked past them.
In Surat Thani we had dinner at a popular local restaurant, and ate a delicious meal of fried egg noodles with chicken for less than £3.50.