Thurs 18 Sept 2014
A sleeper train took us to Champhon. For anyone over 5’5” it’s more of a foetal-position-train, as the beds are not built for westerners. The only people to disembark the train, at Champhon, were tourists. Lots of them! This is the first sign to watch out for when being ripped off. At 06:00am we were herded onto the back of various trucks. Each tourist was branded with a sticker, to indicate their destination. We were just cattle, on our way to the money-making factory. Products of the tourist industry.
The ferry ride was another meat truck, crammed with various species of tourist. The American variety seem to be louder, more obnoxious and irritating than the rest. Maybe it’s something in their feed.
Stepping off the ferry, onto Koh Tao, reminded me of chasing sheep through a run, for the farmer to count. The narrow walkway was flanked by employees of hotels, taxis, dive centres, night clubs and tour operators holding advertisement boards and shouting at the tourists to catch their attention.
The entrepreneurial taxi drivers had cottoned onto the concept of supply and demand. Our taxi, actually a bakkie, cost just as much as our over-night train. The island is a very steep mountain, jutting out of the ocean. Just the thought of walking those hills, with my backpack, makes me cry like a fat kid on a hiking trip.
Our accommodation, which we randomly picked out, happened to be on the quieter side of the island, away from the cool kids and the bars. Being a morsel in the meat processor was disappointing. I was disappointed in myself for being naive enough to fall into the trap. But that’s how we learn. However, this little bungalow, hiding in a quiet bay, is well worth a quick lesson.