Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thai Transportation

My father got us a great 6 night free stay in Koh Samui, but it cost us our prepaid tickets on Bangkok Airways' 55 minute direct flight to Krabi Airport (KBV) because by the time we changed our plans, the 1 flight to Krabi on our new departure date (Feb 28) was already fully booked.  So were all the other flights that backtracked through Bangkok or went to nearby Phuket.

We could have paid $1,000+ each for a flight that connected through Hong Kong on an airline that my father never heard of, but we passed on that otherwise attractive 9.5 hour itinerary.

So now, we were on the waitlist for our Feb 28th USM-KBV flight.  If we were extremely hopeful, we could have gone to the airport and prayed that TWO people were going to miss their flight, but (a) that was a very unlikely scenario and (b) we had luggage that needed to be checked and didn't want to risk having our luggage get on the flight without us.  Also, given that the Airport (think 1 o'clock) was on the complete other side of the island from the Conrad (think 7 o'clock), we didn't want to pay $50 for a taxi ride just to find out that we wouldn't get on the flight.

So instead, my father went online and found us our Plan B: a 1.5 hour ferry to the mainland at Don Sak Pier and then a 3 hour drive to Krabi.

If this were the United States (or even Europe), it wouldn't have been such a nervous experience.  But this wasn't some established Western country, it was Thailand where things are delayed, break down and poop happens.

Nevertheless, my anal detail oriented father did his homework (like a good Asian).  He did research on what his options were, submitted a few requests for price quotes via email and found online validation from travel forums on TripAdvisor to make sure those companies were reputable.

First, we needed to get off Koh Samui and onto the mainland. There were 2 ferries we could take: Seatran and Raja Ferry. Both ferries were the same price (150 THB/person or about $5 USD) and took 1.5 hours to Don Sak Pier on the mainland, but Raja's schedule worked better for us since there was a ferry leaving every hour on the hour.

Now we needed to get from Don Sak Pier to Krabi. We could have gotten a public bus, but I demanded my father get us a taxi instead. The last thing I needed was to sit next to some old Thai man with a live chicken in his lap.

So after getting a few quotes online, we settled on that charged us 3,200 THB ($107 USD) for the scenic 3 hour taxi ride in a "Toyota Corolla or similar." I don't know about you, but NYC taxis only take you from Manhattan to JFK and charge you like $60 + toll + tip for the 45 minute drive. Plus, Krabi Shuttle took Visa (earning us 2x Chase UR points for using the Sapphire Preferred card with no F/X fees).

Hopefully by the time you're all reading this, my parents and I have made it safe and sound to Krabi for the last week of our Thailand adventure.

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