Now that I’m all healed up, I decided I’d head down to Malaysia for a little look around. There are a few options of how to get there, and I went el’cheapo. So on Sunday night at 9pm, I jumped on a night boat and got a nice little cot to sleep in for the 8 hour journey across to Surat Thani. Once I arrived in Surat, I got the privilege of waiting at a bus stop of sorts for a couple of hours. Finally, my mini van arrived and a few of us jumped in. Off we went on our little adventure.
Stopping on the way to the border about 40 times so our driver who appeared to have acquired his license never could just get out and look at his phone was for me, frustrating to say the least. But, eventually, we got there and we walked through immigration smoothly and boom, I’m in Malaysia. We then had to change vans and we headed for Georgetown, Penang.
Not surprisingly, our new driver who seemed to have only ever driven a rally car enjoyed stopping for no apparent reason at all quite frequently as well. As confusing as it all was, I didn’t want to say anything and cause any drama.
We arrived in Penang at about 7:00pm Monday. A Dutchman that I had met and been chatting with on the bus seemed to be a top bloke so he and I set out together in search of some cheap accomodation. 2 and a half hours went by and we found it. We each got a room and we both had air con. All for 64 Malaysian ringgit a night (approximately $25 Australian). So after sorting all that out we hit the town.
There isn’t much going on in Penang at this time of year and it was a Monday but we had a little look anyway. The night actually went well. Well enough that I can’t remember much and ended up sleeping at about 4am.
Waking up the next day, I felt like I had been hit straight on the brain by Thor’s hammer. But I pushed through. We went walking through town, seeing what there was to see. We checked out the big mall there too. It’s a strange mall. 6 stories high and every story seemed to have the exact same shops on it. Seriously. Exactly the same shops. Very odd.
There are a lot of really cool little boutique and antique shops throughout Georgetown. If you are ever going there, just walk. Walking allows you to experience the people as well as the place. And in Penang, there are a lot of very interesting individuals that are happy to help you with directions or to just have a chat.
I had to get back to a little shop called Jims Place to jump back on a mini bus and start heading back. Turns out going back is just as horrendous and getting there. The driver this time however was pretty chill and could wear a smile at times too which was nice. My Dutch buddy had left this time though, having absolutely no idea how his visa was going to turn out after overstaying for longer than a month previously in Thailand. My guess now is that he is either broke or in jail. Let’s wish him the best of luck.
After about 4 hours in the bus, and passing into Thailand safely through immigration and customs, we arrive in Hat Yai at the bus terminal. Guess what I get to do next…wait another 4 hours! Wooo. So I walked around, got some street food that made me feel like I was dying for a couple of hours and then concentrated on the fact that soon, I will be back on my island home. My paradise. Koh Tao. But not just yet!
I jumped on another bus now, this one a lot bigger than the rest. It even had a toilet! And we headed for Chumphon, a province on the east coast of Thailand. After 7 and a half hours, we arrived and got in a taxi to take us to the pier for our ferry. Again, unsurprisingly, he took us to the wrong pier so after paying him some more (yeah, we got hustled. But it was 4:30am and I was tired ok) we get to the right pier where I made a new Spanish friend and we waited and talked about how great Koh Tao is for 3 hours. 3 hours. Just talking about how good our island home is and we could have gone on forever. Finally we got onto our ferry and cruised back across the Gulf of Thailand. It felt so so good to arrive back to paradise 🙂
All in all, it was a fun trip. I got to refresh my Thai visa and had a wicked time with a bunch of random people from across the globe. For those that are unsure of whether or not you want to travel, I say drop what you’re doing and get out. South east Asia is a beautiful place filled with beautiful people and with this, some unbelievable experiences that you will never forget. Be spontaneous!
Until next time!