Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Koh Chang, The Journey

Koh Chang Ferry Service
A long weekend for Bangkokians means, must spend money. It was a holiday on Monday meaning it was a short 3 days breather. I expected fewer crowds, good traffic, but so wrong I was. Pleasantly, the trip to Koh Chang was 4 hours at an easy pace on route 344 towards the pier operated by Koh Chang Ferry Service (probably because I left home at 5am). Then on, it was a 45 minutes wait before driving up the ram into the belly of an old rusty ferry. The crossing was an additional 30 minutes. The conditions of the vessel, you can expect anytime the flaky rust will give way and into the murky abyss your car and you. We made it through. The journey back to Bangkok was grueling however. My fresh contented vibes after 2 relaxing days on the island was trashed by 10 hours of teeth grinding balls tearing transit accompanied by profuse swearing in Thai that I never knew I could be capable of. The queue of cars started more than 1km away from the pier where Koh Chang Ferry Services operated. In fact, it started where the end White Sand Beach was located. The throng of cars kept coming and the queue only grew longer. It was only 9am. If only they had amphibian cars, I would have brought that instead of my SUV.

Centerpoint Ferry Services
And so, I skipped on to the next ferry terminal. It was further away, it was called Centerpoint Ferry or something. I was delighted that it was actually cheaper there, but the crossing will take an hour instead of 30 minutes. But at least the queue was not as crazy as the earlier ferry service. I arrived into the parking lot where we were ushered to park in designated lots and queued in batches up the ferry. The only problem, there were already many batches waiting. 4 hours, 4 mind-numbing hours in total before we hit mainland! The journey to Bangkok was a straight beeline. However, the cops were acting stupid with their traffic lights and made every junction on route 344 red in the direction of Bangkok for 10 times longer than for the perpendicular traffic. Entire long sections of roads were clogged to a standstill. 2 lanes turned into 3 by those who made side gravel their personal lane. They were all Bangkok registration plates, they beat the traffic lights too. The saying is country people drive slow and stupid, city people drive smart, aggressive and don’t give a damn about traffic rules. Well trained in Bangkok jams, city folks had devised their own set of rules, methods and maneuvers to out beat slow traffic. I could really see how it worked then observing the driving behavior of cars with different locale registration. And naturally, I was also stirring up gravel at speeds, beating the lights, cursing and swearing all the way. And it still took me 6 friggin hours.

Getting up the Ferry
All in the Ferry
Queued up in Batches
Long long long long Queue

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