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Monday, 18 February 2008

Thailand- We land at Satun

The last day of our stay in Pulau Langkawi, we stayed in Kuah at Eagle Bay View hotel, facing the harbor. The room was spacious and clean with attached bath (W.C and wash basin and bath tub. Not so clean). The room had air conditioning and room tariff included breakfast. The normal tariff was MR.80 per night but because of weekend and some festival going on, we had to pay the extra charge of MR50. Kuah is a hustle bustle of commerce, shopping malls and fast food centres and we did not enjoy it a bit. So we walked down to the jetty and bought our tickets for crossing into Thailand at Satun, the mainland town where the ferry passengers disembark from Kuah, Pulau Langkawi.

The ferry ride to Satun took about one hour, with both shores of the sea wrapped in dense jungle of palm trees, millions of trees, with tall dark rocks jutting out of the water, the deep blue water and moss green and turquoise shore, here and there a small beach, enticing us to jump ship and make home on the lonely and lovely stretch of sand. There was a brisk wind blowing and we sat on the top deck of the boat, soaking in the sun, waving at passing ferries or long boats plying between Satun and Kuah. It was enthralling experience, I had the feeling that we were heading towards a new adventure on the Indian Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Siam (Thailand) on the other side of the thin stretch of land, filled with thousands of islands. A sense of mysterious excitement and anticipation engulfed me.

After disembarking and completing immigration formalities, we entered the main hall with three tourist offices, two restaurants and one or two small shops. The tourist operators all gathered around us and wanted to know as to where we were headed. When we enquired whether there was a bus service or tuk-tuk, we were told that we could either take a taxi to the bus stand(Bht.200 upto Hat Yai) or ride on the back of a motor cycle(Bht.15 pp upto bus station). Imagine and oederly couple riding pylon on the back seat of a motorcycle, clutching suitcases. Oh! to be young and a back-packer. What a joy to travel. Travel light and travel fast and far. But no bus and no tuk-tuk.

Satun is a small town and we decided to continue our journey to Hat Yai, although we wanted to stay at Satun for at least a day. However, we decided to continue our journey to Hat Yai, two hours' journey by mini-bus. We were told by a woman traveller that the bus fare to Hat Yai was Bht80 pp, however, the travel agents, one and all, wanted Bht200 which included car ride to the centre of the town. Totally discouraged by the threat of a ride on the back of a motor cycle, we agreed to the terms and were taken to the mini-bus stand. The bus left every half an hour and after waiting for forty minutes, we started our journey to Hat Yai, the Land of Smiles (so says Lonely Planet Guide).
Posted by Island Hopper at 06:32
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