Unplanned trip, unplanned surprises – Part I

In Thong Nai Pan Express

The best way to get around in Koh Phangan is via taxi boats. A boat trip, one way, shouldn’t cost more than 100 baht. All I need to do is to hop onto one and I can pretty much head to any of Ko Phangan’s beautiful beaches – that’s what I learn from the locals. One fine day, I decided to just hop onto one of those bigger boats without a single clue where the destination is, with an open mind. Most of my trips, unrelated to business have always been spontaneous. Perhaps all that structure I create for my business trips inspires me to just go with the flow when I am traveling for myself. This particular unplanned trip in  was particularly interesting, unusual…

As I was sitting in the boat wondering what the world’s gonna bring, probably still in a high for leaving my laptop behind in Bangkok so that I would be undisturbed, this burly Thai boatman came over to collect money for the ride. I fished out my wallet from my beach bag, opened it and realized to my utter horror and disbelief that there was only 200 Baht in my bloody wallet!! Not enough to pay for my boat ride let alone survive in wherever I am going next, and to add to the drama, I had totally no idea where. The next few minutes felt liked hours in my life as I looked up into the pair of stern eyes gleaming from the dark, sun kissed face of the boatman. I needed to think on my feet then – which I have to admit , being trained in A&E and ICU helped. I looked around and saw this solo guy, total stranger sitting behind me – he was in front of me while we hopped onto the boat from Haad Thien. Out of desperation, I blurted, “I ..I ..I am soooo sorry to bother you, but I left my money in my room! I need 100 baht more…do you have like 100 baht to spare? I ….I..i i will return to you the money once I get back to The Sanctuary, that’s where I stay too…”  Total stranger looked at me in slight bewilderment which I do not blame him. Who on earth go on a day trip in a foreign country without water, food, money but only an iPhone, a camera, a beach towel and an empty wallet??

Kind man, Ian, passed me a 100 baht note. He saved me from being thrown into the open sea by burly boatman. As I tried to calm myself from total shock – this had never happened to seasoned traveller salesgal -the  boat sailed to the first stop: an almost empty beach with a number of beach bums I can count with both my hands lying on the white sand and rows and rows of palms lining closely behind. There was hardly any civilization. “Am I heading to anywhere with an ATM machine?” was stuck in my mind for the next 20 minutes as the boat sailed up north of the island on the blue choppy sea … I was almost sick to the stomach, not from the sea, but from thoughts that I would be stuck in some deserted beach with no money, no fresh water and food!

Last stop: Thong Nai Pan. My eyes set, not on the beautiful clear sea water or white sand that feels like velvet on the feet, but on any signs of modernity. When I spotted a neat row of sun loungers and huge red umbrellas, with humming sound of a jet ski in the background – I knew I would sleep on a bed tonight…

Trailing Clouds

A Taxi Boat




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