We arrived in Thailand by boat from Malaysia and sailed into the port of Satun. We purposefully avoided the party islands like Ko Samui and the holiday destinations like Phuket and instead headed straight to Trang. We’d taken a songthaew and a minivan and then started the walk to our hotel. It was quite challenging to find our hotel as the road signs were in Thai script and our normal failsafe method of showing a local a piece of paper with the name and address of our hotel on it and following the direction they point in, failed a number of times, as the locals couldn’t read the English alphabet. We got there in the end though and realised that ongoing in less touristy places in Thailand we would need to be fully prepared with google maps where possible and to ask someone to write the place names in Thai for us where it wasn’t.
We used Trang town as a base for visiting the beautiful Trang Islands, where steep, tree covered limestone cliffs rise out from the shimmering blue sea. We opted to take a boat trip where we visited a number of different snorkelling sights and beaches. The snorkelling was fantastic with wall to wall colourful fish. At some points there were so many fish surrounding us it was hard to swim through them! The highlight of the day was visiting the Emerald Cave, where we swam through a long pitch black cave whilst being led by a guide with a torch. At the other end of the cave we swam outside into a stunning lagoon with sparkling emerald green waters completely surrounded by sheer limestone cliffs.
From Trang we travelled to the Khao Sok National Park where we stayed in a cabana. The national park is full of limestone cliffs surrounded by dense jungle. We did some trekking along the river to see some colourful bird life, butterflies and monkeys. We also went on a canoe trip along the river where we saw lots more birds and monitor lizards whilst floating through the beautiful scenery. One night on the way back from dinner we ran into a huge black scorpion, but luckily didn’t get stung!
From Khao Sok we took a 10 hour train ride to Bangkok where we stayed for a few days in order to organise legitimate transport across the border into Cambodia (more on this later!) Whilst we were there we took a water taxi up the river to see some of the sights from the water and also visited the Wat Pho Temple. The temple is full of decorative stupas and shrines but also houses a gigantic reclining Buddha. The Buddha is 15m high and 43m long and is almost too big for the room that houses it. We also explored some parks and had a late night wander through the colourful streets of China Town.
We will return to Bangkok and Thailand later in our travels, but from there we took a bus towards the Cambodian border…