Getting to Krabi

All good things come to an end. Ingo is flying to Shanghai today to meet his girlfriend and I’m travelling south to Krabi for some sun and fun!

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There are a few options to get to Krabi from Bangkok:

  • Rent a car and drive to Krabi
  • Take a government-ran tour bus from the Southern Bus Terminal to Krabi
  • Catch a train from Hualomphong Station (Bangkok) to one of the following stations: Suratthani, Trang, or Tung Song (Nakorn Sri Thammarat Province) and catch a bus from any of these places to Krabi
  • Take a domestic flight from Bangkok to Krabi

After considering time (that I have plenty of) and budget (which is limited), I decided to take a 12-hour bus ride from the Southern Bus Terminal to Krabi.

The Southern Bus Terminal is located at Borommaratchonnani Road and is not reachable by BTS trains. Fortunately, Google Maps showed that there’s a public bus that goes from Victory Monument to Southern Bus Terminal.

The way the bus stops were located at Victory Monument is quite interesting. Basically, we have a number of bus stops lined along the roundabout road around Victory Monument and everyone will wait at their respective bus stops for their buses to arrive. What’s interesting is because at each time, there’s a horde of buses arriving at the same time and they don’t stop at the bus stops that they were supposed to, simply because there isn’t enough space for them. So everyone had to rush to their respective buses.

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So I managed to get to bus no. 515 which is supposed to bring me to the Southern Bus Terminal. The way the bus service operates is still very old-school where every bus would have a bus driver and a conductor who collects the fares and issue bus tickets. So I showed my mobile phone with Google Maps on it to the bus conductor, pointing to the Southern Bus Terminal to confirm that the bus goes there.

Upon confirmation, I paid my fare and took my seat. The fare is very affordable. For 17 Baht, the bus will drive me to the bus terminal. If I were to take a taxi instead, it could easily cost me more than 200 Baht.

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Looking around, it appears that I’m the only Farang (foreigner in Thai) on board.

Though the bus terminal is quite a distance away, I wasn’t ready to fall asleep as I wasn’t clear about the route. So I stayed awake, checking Google Maps at times to ensure I have not missed my stop. The bus conductor was also very helpful as she knew I was the only Farang on board, constantly assuring me that I have not missed my stop.

Slowly but surely, I reached the Southern Bus Terminal. Navigating around the terminal wasn’t very easy as the signs were a bit confusing. I had to ask my way around in order to find the ticket counters. Just like the comments on TripAdvisor, there were many private tour agencies near the counter, trying to attract tourists to take their tour packages, which were more expensive. I avoided them and headed straight to the ticket counters and purchased my ticket.

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The quality of the buses are quite good. It’s similar to the tour buses that I took from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur in the past. Air-conditioned and comfortable seats. Because the bus service is ran by the government, there isn’t any itinerary of sorts. Everyone was given a bottle of water and a packet of biscuits. The driver could even have his family on board the bus since there were 2 empty seats. The wife decided to listen to some Thai music so she played a variety of Thai music videos on the bus television.

After 12 hours, I finally reached Krabi’s bus terminal. Next stop, Krabi Town, where everything is located at. Taxi rides in Krabi are different from Bangkok as the vehicles used are jeeps that are painted with a coat of red and they do not run on meters. They usually charge fixed rates of 20 Baht to Krabi Town. The fact that Krabi taxis charge fix rates per person means that they would wait for the taxi to be packed with at least 6-8 people before they would start moving. These taxis also function like a bus as they would stop anywhere there’s anyone flagging for a ride or whenever someone presses the bell to indicate that they want to alight.

It took 15 minutes to reach Krabi Town. I alighted at the entrance of the town and walked to PakUp Hostel where I booked 2 nights stay.

I wonder what awaits me in Krabi.

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