It was just after that last post that Chris and I experienced what at the time we thought to be the height of our backpacking experience. Overnight train travel in 2nd class non air-conditioned cabin (which considering there is a a/c 2nd class is actually 3rd class). We attempted to board three trains that evening. Due to the minor fact that none of the trains were labeled, the station did not have an english announcement, and our train was 45 minutes late. Which in Thai Time (as we have come to call it) is early! Simply thankful to be on the right train and put our packs down the search for our beds was not overwhelming.
I have travel in Europe by overnight train before – 3rd class you are in a tiny compartment with 6 fold down beds and the door locks. Haha, but we folks are in Thailand and if not every body can see you do everything no one would be at ease. Our ‘compartment’ consists of an entire train car with no windows and two upper bunks on opposite sides of the train. Below Chris is a woman smuggling a small dog aboard who decides he really hates train travel. But we are in good spirits, this is the adventure we asked for! We clink our plastic cups of a celebratory Thai whiskey. Secretly hoping each sip will ease tonight’s journey. Luckily for me the whiskey did the trick, I was out and slept a majority of the night. Chris on the other hand…was not so fortunate. We arrived at out destination, Surat Thani, around 6:30am.
Herded of the train quickly we are suddenly attacked by about 20 men shouting at us. KohPhangan! Krabi! Koh Samui! Khao Sok! Where you going! I have become very accustom to this selling tactic over the last few weeks, however after a long night, aching limbs, and the early morning time. I have never felt so disoriented. Knowing full well in the back of mind this is often a way to grab tourists, catch them off guard, and get a few 100 extra baht from them. I follow the man screaming at me Khao Sok! Khao Sok! You go over there! 600 BHT later we are sitting in the back of a pick up truck on our way to Khao Sok with two other travelers and sun blaring down over our heads. The sights are breathtaking. These mountains/cliffs purge out of flat fields and vast arrays of plants and bush grow all over them. At 7am the mist is clearing and the sights could not get more intriguing. Our long train journey was worth it!
Arriving at our hotel 2 hours later, we were tired, disoriented, and at the point of not being able to function. Luckily our tree house was ready and available. We climbed down an extremely steep ladder, walked over a bamboo bridge, down a stone path, up a stone path, back up a steep ladder, stumbled around finding the entrance to our mosquito net— and crashed. We were fast asleep in our tree house.
We later woke rejuvenated and ready to explore Khao Sok. We were off in amazement at this little town. You could hear the rustle of the trees, the distance flash rain storms, the crickets, and the birds chirping. For the very first time since we have been here I could not only see the beauty of this country but hear it as well.