Introducing Steerage Class

Yesterday I decided to fly into Krabi Airport, instead of its alternative Surat Thani to get to the Full Moon Party. Why does any of that even matter? Well because Surat Thani is on one side of the island (the side you need to catch the ferry from to Ko Pha Ngan) while Krabi is located on the way other end of the island. I had looked it up before I booked my ticket on AirAsia.com (I feel as if I should become a paid spokesman for AirAsia with all that I write about them but I guarantee that I am not) and it was extremely easy and possible for me to get from one side of the island to the other by bus. The cost savings of flying into Krabi Airport was over $200 USD, and the alleged bus ride was only three hours. 

Knowing what I’ve learned about Thailand from first-hand experience, I knew they were going to sell me a dream at the tour agency and in reality deliver something completely different. I knew that they would tell me the bus ride was going to leave on time and arrive three hours later. However in theory that could be true, but in practicum, it usually never is. And once you can just learn to accept the fact that you’re paying only dollars to be transported and shuttled from one side of an island to the other, how much do you really expect from it? I mean did you really expect that bus to leave on time? Or the journey to take only three hours? You were sold a dream buddy, just accept it and let us move on from there as I did.

So it’s no surprise that of course the bus was delayed to pick us up because it was raining (they have an excuse for everything in Thailand) and instead of departing at 11am, we departed at 1pm, which actually was not too late for Thai standards. The bus journey did only take approximately four hours which surprised me, however we arrived in Surat Thani at 5pm instead of the proposed 2pm. All things aside, that’s actually not that bad for Thailand, and for 300 Baht, I’ll take it. 

Although there was one little caveat, I was assigned self proclaimed steerage class. The only seat downstairs on the double decker bus away from everyone with all of the luggages. If I was a bag thief that situation would have been optimal, but no, I have never stolen anything from anyone and I certainly do not want to end up in Royal Thai prison. While all the airlines all fighting to compete with one another for the lowest fares, this travel agent just sold dreams of a seat to people, and in reality put me and my stuff in the cargo hold. If we had crossed any body of water I would have thought that I was on a voyage to Ellis island circa 1920 with my grandparents. 

So even coming into this journey with very little expectation of everything going right (see it just never does) Thailand still managed to shock me and invent something new I have not seen before. They invented steerage class and I was its one and only victim that day. Sleeping with the luggages direct from Krabi to Surat Thani. The dream of a seat with others remained illusive to me and instead I played with the mice (just kidding, there were not actually any mice down there). 

To my further surprise about three quarters of the way through the ride, the tour guide opens the bus door on the side of highway in the middle of nowhere and screams Surat Thani town, Surat Thani town. Announcing for everyone (me and two others) who were going to Surat Thani town to exit the bus. However the only problem is when I looked outside of the bus this is what I saw: 

I nervously laughed and joked that either this town was severely underdeveloped, or part of the dream they sold me and we’re leaving me off a Thai highway somewhere for me to hitchhike into town. I looked at the other two, my heart racing at this point, and you could just see the look of fear melt from all of our eyes and hearts and onto the road. This was pretty much the first time I have ever been dumped in to a situation like that, and it looked like it would’ve been both of theirs too. 

However to our further surprise, we were shocked when what felt like an entirety later the tour guide pointed to a white van that was driving along the highway and had just stopped. He was there to pick us up and bring us to Surat Thani town. In that moment my emotions raced like this minivan driver is down some Thai highway right now, and I did not know if I should be relieved that I was not dumped on the side of the highway somewhere in Surat Thani province, or scared to get in this unmarked white van to Surat Thani town, with two other Westerners. 

The first stops location on this unmarked white van also startled me a bit, as it was for the young backpacker girl who was catching the train (which I really do not understand why Thailand puts train stations so far outside of their towns)? She quickly hopped out of the bus and hurried along to her train, which she seemed late for. And then there were two. 

I had tried to make conversation with this boy multiple times, so I could really feel unified in this situation incase something went tragically wrong (as it usually does) however he did not speak any English. It made me wonder how he had been traveling around in Thailand, speaking whatever language he speaks, probably Klingon if any, judging by his weirdness.

About 10 more kilometers down the road, the van door opened up once again and the man screamed Surat Thani town. Was it really necessary to scream that considering there are two people left and it’s the last stop? The world may never know! I had asked the man to drop me off in the city center, and with that he took the most literal instruction on that, so to my further surprise I was dropped off inside some day market. As I disembarked the bus the boy who only speaks Klingon said to me in English,  “do you know tourist office?” 

the “city center”

I wanted to say back DOES IT LOOK LIKE I KNOW ANYTHING HERE, as there are roosters running in front of me, but sadly I did not. Because, I had actually seen us pass the tourist office about a kilometer down the road, which I happily informed him. Somehow he managed to understand that and I waived goodbye to the boy from Saiyan, never to look back and see him again. 

At this point I realized things can not really be that bad as I am in the center of the city, I am sure I will be able to figure things out. And just like that I was able to find a hotel a few short blocks away, to spend my night waiting for my work wife to arrive from China! It’s always an interesting day here in Asia, and I can not wait to see how tomorrows dream that was sold to me will unravel. Until next time, XoXo. 

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