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February 16, 2007

A Really Long Night

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I made it into Thailand, but it was an adventure getting here.  The plan was simple enough.  Take a bus to Ipoh, get on the train to Hat Yai – Thailand and bus to Krabi.  Here is what actually took place.

Feburary 155:45pm Left hostel for bus station
6-8pm On bus to Ipoh train Station
8-10pm Wait for train ticket office to open while 12 train workers sit around doing nothing
10pm No tickets are available for the train, couldn’t they have told me that two hours ago???  I was now stranded with no plan, and no idea of what to do.  I was the only traveler around.
10:10pm Meet a Malay man in front of the train station who says I can get a bus north from a town 10 miles away.  He says a taxi will cost 10Ringat, but since I’m a foreigner they will charge extra.  He gives me a ride to the Ipoh bus station.
10:20pm Ipoh bus is full.  The worker there will have his buddy give me a ride for only 20R, says a taxi would charge 25.
10:21pm Find a taxi for 12R.
10:35-10:45pm Arrive at the bus station in Medan Gopeng and look for any other caucasian faces.  I would have latched on and gone with them wherever, but I was the only one again.
10:45-10:55pm Stare at the map Malaysia figuring out where to go.
11pm Buy a ticket to Alor Stara leaving at 1:45am
11-1am Get about 50 minutes of sleep in 10 minute intervals leaning on my backpack.
1-1:45am Sit on the bus with my pack on my lap.  For some reason they didn’t want to open the storage area underneath.
1:45-4:45am Bus to Alor Stara, slept maybe 2 hours.
4:45-5am Tell taxi drivers I don’t want a taxi to the border while trying to figure out what I am going to do.  I was not seeing any buses to Thailand and really starting to wonder.
5am Met a Filipino who spoke English and was going into Thailand also.
5-6:15am Got to a coffee shop with JoJo.  He says that at 6 he is going to take a taxi to the train station and try to buy a ticket.  This is the same train I tried for earlier and got back ahead of.
6:15am Take a taxi to the train station.
6:30am Arrive at an empty train station and see that the train leaves at 8:30am.
7:30am JoJo meets Lim, a Malay, traveling to Hat Yai and gets him to help me out after he gets off at the border.
7:45am Buy a ticket to Hat Yai!!!
8:40am Get on the train and pull out, plenty of room on the train.
8:45-11am Sleep to Thailand
11-11:02am Go through customs
11:02-10:02am Go back one hour for Thai time
10:15-11:45am Get back on the train and arrive in Hat Yai
11:45-12:30pm ATM, buy bus tickets, and buy Lim lunch
12:30-12:50pm A minibus (10 person van) picks me up and drives around the city picking up people and packages.
12:50pm Told to get off the van and wait there
1-1:30pm Get on another minibus and drive around picking up people and packages again
1:30-1:40pm Get gas
1:40-4:30pm Drive to Krabi
4:30-4:45pm Walk to hostel
4:45pm 24 hours after I started head for a much need shower and toothbrushing

Everything worked out ok, but I had absolutely no idea what to do or where to go for a couple of hours.  It would have been much easier (and not much more) to go back to KL, fly into Thailand, and bus here once I paid for all the modes of transport that I used.  Don’t think I will have as much trouble now that I am staying in the same country for a while.  I certainly was an adventure and I’m glad that I was able to get it done without having any idea how to do it.  A night I won’t forget.

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