14th February 2017, Chumphon, Thailand
We spent the last couple of weeks in Phuket and Koh Phangan, both of which were full of tourists. Everything was really convenient there and we were over the budget most of the time because the prices were higher than we had expected.
Yesterday we got to Chumphon, a port city on the Eastern coast of Thailand. We got off the ferry from Koh Phangan island feeling relieved to touch the ground. We left the island in a massive rain, the sea was really rough. I get sea sick when I kayak on the sea so you can imagine how I felt when the ferry was bouncing from left to right for about 6 hours...
Used to all the convenience Thailand has offered us over the last weeks, we walked out of the port about 6:30pm, sure that we'll catch a taxi or a bus to the centre of Chumphon where our hostel was.
We walked through the empty streets and came across only the kids playing soccer and two food stalls which locals were sitting by. It was getting dark so instead of walking any further we asked a lady from the stall about where to catch a taxi or a bus. No luck. She answered something in Thai but it didn't sound like there was any transport around. A guy across the road spoke a bit of English. He said there are no taxis but we should go back to the port and ask about a bus.
At the port all the fellow tourists left in buses towards Bangkok and there were just a few of them left waiting to get on the last bus to Bangkok leaving from the port tonight. We knew that we wouldn't be feeling good after the ferry ride, that's why we booked a cheap room next to the Chumphon train station. We hoped to catch the train towards Bangkok the next morning, after we get some rest from being rocked by the ferry.
We asked the lady behind the desk how to get to the centre. The last bus left already. No more buses tonight. Nonetheless she ordered us to wait. She soon urged us to get on this last bus, which was about to leave, and said it will drop us two in the centre, from where we'll be able to walk to the train station, where our hostel was. Phew! We didn't have to sleep in the port tonight!
After a 15min bus ride and a 20min walk through the dark and empty streets of the small town, we made it to a small and clean room which finally was half a price of what we've been paying so far in Thailand. We woke up next morning to the sound of wind swarming through the nearby balconies. We didn't feel like going anywhere so we asked the owners if we can stay one more night. There was no problem with that, we couldn't see any other tourists around.
We walked around the town of Chumphon and we finally felt good. The locals were smiling as we were walking past their shops and restaurants. That was a nice change from the angry looks we were getting in Koh Phangan, where the islanders must have been tired of loud full moon partygoers.
During the day the town was so peaceful. Everyone was working quietly in front of their shops. Some of the shop owners were napping in the chairs. The pastel colours of the buildings were mixing with the pale blue sky. The city looked like it was once alive but it was now getting old and slow. It was falling asleep. Tired after the journey and intense trips of the last couple of weeks, we felt like we fitted right in here.
In the afternoon we went to the train station to buy the ticket to Bangkok. There were no spaces left for the day trains so we bought the train tickets for a train leaving at midnight on Valentine's Day. Perfect gift for ourselves.
As we were walking back from the train station to the sun setting down, we saw all these stalls setting up. Soon the whole street turned into a big food market. That's when the town was getting alive. All the people, young and old, including some of the tourists we didn't spot earlier during the day, were now here, making their way across yet another food stall. It was the end of the day but Chumphon was just getting started!
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