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Monday, 18 February 2008

Surat Thani to Hua Hin. Thailand The fabled Country

Trains in Malaysia and in Thailand are new, comfortable and clean. Not like in India where trains are old, smelly and dirty. Our carriage was full, most of the passengers sleeping. We got two upper births and when the conductor came and fixed up the beds, we also went to sleep. In Thailand most people travel by train and it is necessary to make prior reservations if you are traveling long distance. I had told the conductor (who spoke no English) to please wake us up when we reached Hua Hin and he understood and told us in Thai that he will do so. However, when we were nearing our destination, I found that he had tied both the connecting doors with a rope and was fast asleep, blocking the way. I shook him, he grunted angrily and turned on his side and went to sleep. I shook him again and he started shouting. To my amazement I smelled alcohol on his breath. He turned and again went to sleep. There was no way to open the entrance door so I shoved him in his back and in a loud voice told him to get up. He got up abruptly, untied the door and shouting, lurched past us and went on walking to the other end of the carriage. Probably to find some other place to slumber.

From Surat Thani I had telephoned Pattana Guest House and was told that the hotel was full. And that they closed the hotel at 22hrs. I phoned Fulay and Au-Sa Guest Houses(all recommended by Lonely Planet Guide) but was told that they were full. We reached Hua Hin at two O'clock at night, it was raining and I phoned two more hotels but nobody answered the phone. Telephone booths were full of mosquitoes who had a feast night, biting my legs and hands and face. So I came out of the station and saw a taxi standing. The driver got out of the cab and I asked him if he could take us to a medium class hotel/hostel. He spoke English and told me that it will cost me Bht.100. I went back in the station and asked the ticket clerk how far was the city center. He told me it was 600 meters and we could walk. But it was raining and we were tired and agreed to pay Bht.100 for the taxi ride. It took five minutes to reach the beach. He took us to two hotels/hostels, both were closed. At last he entered one near the water front and woke up the receptionist. A friendly Nepali guy. The room was OK with a shower to share, rate was Bht.350 for the double bed. So we stayed the night there, in Ananthara Guest House. To its left was the Fishing Pier.

Early the next morning we got ready and went out to look for a better accommodation near the beach. The morning was bright and sunny and very warm. No trace of the rain of the night before. We started strolling and saw many guest houses on the water front. Pattaya Guest House, Memory, Fulay (all recommended in Lonely Planet Guide). We entered one and saw small rooms either with attached shower or to share. The rates were Bht. 600 to Bht. 1100. So we decided to have breakfast first and then continue our search.

After a leisurely breakfast, we continued strolling, window shopping and reached Hilton Hua Hin. At the end of the street you turn left and reach the beach, you turn right on Damnern Kasem Road and it takes you back to the train station. We turned in one of the back streets which were full of Irish Pubs, Nepali Tailors (standing outside their shops and inviting you to enter their shops) food stalls. We passed the Wat Hua Hin (temple) and in Soi Selakam street saw a large sign like a school black board on which was written "Jing's Guest House" (family friendly and you can inspect the rooms).

So we entered a patio with a small bar and three friendly Thai girls behind it. One of the girls got up and showed us a double bed room at Bht.600 per night. The room was clean (in fact the whole place was clean) with attached bathroom. Then she showed us another much larger room with T.V., fridge and bathroom and a door which opened to an inner patio. And air conditioning. The bed was king size with a wardrobe. The rate was Bht.900 but when we told her that we will stay for two or three days, she accepted Bht.700 per night. We stayed in Hua Hin four days.

Posted by Island Hopper at 06:38

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