In the year 2004 before I got married and had my first child, I traveled once every two months. In that year I went to Cambodia, Hong Kong, Penang, Japan and Kota Kinabalu and I thought that was the way life was to be lived. Alas between full time work, children and limited finances, my life took a different path. Not that I am complaining.
So now I can only look forward to our annual family trips beyond Singapore and Malaysia. As this is the first time my second child Elizabeth is taking the plane, we opted for a nearby destination – Thailand. But it seems like all my children were born to travel. Elizabeth was a natural on the plane. She took to her seat comfortably all buckled up, fell asleep after we took off and woke only after we landed. Woo hoo! Looking forward to a trip further abroad next year.
Despite the mess up with the double change in flight schedule, I have to confess that Tiger’s planes were more comfortable than Air Asia. The seats were wider and there was more leg room. The pilot performed an outstanding landing. I couldn’t even feel the plane touching land and several passengers applauded when the plane touched down.
Let me detail the one-hour journey from the airport to our resort reception because I think it tells us a lot about the Thai.
1. Minibus – from the airport, we were loaded up into a white minibus that could comfortably sit 10 passengers which seemed like an overkill for our troop of four. The ride was uneventful although the roads were slightly bumpy.
2. Motorcycle Taxi – we were dropped at a carpark near a mangrove where we were later picked up by a motorcycle affixed with a side car. We climbed aboard the vehicle which was slightly squeezy with our luggage. Apparently this was only for a short 5 minutes ride to the end of the nearby pier. Thought it was quite awkward to take transport for such a short journey when we could have walked but we were grateful for this expression of Thai hospitality.
3. Longtail Boat – the mainstream of water transport ferrying passengers to and from the islands to mainland. Despite its appearance, the wooden boat is sturdy against the waves of the Andaman Sea powered only by a motor at the end of a long metal pole and a skilled boatman.
4. Tractor – Upon reaching Railay East, we were greeted by a flat muddy bay surrounded by mangroves. I was half-expecting to get out and start wading through this mess with our luggage when this interesting contraption came rolling towards us. It was a tractor pulling a platform behind it. Turned out that our resort had it all figured out. We loaded our luggage onto the platform and then took the short 5 minutes ride to the resort, much to the delight of Joel.
5. Caddy Cart – For the final lap of our journey from the airport, we got on a caddy cart with our luggage. The bellboy so-called then drove us the short way from Railay East to Railay West where the receptionist is located.
The entire airport transfer process had obviously been thought through in detail but the execution was pretty laborious to be exact. Nonetheless I was very grateful for their thoughtfulness which has made what could have been a messy and tiresome affair into something more pleasurable. All this for 1,500 baht.
So we arrived at our home for the next 6 days. I chose Railay Bay Resort because it was reasonably priced (due to the off peak season discount) for a private cottage located next to a scenic unspoilt beach, accompanied by our very own outdoor jacuzzi.
At first sight I was slightly disappointed with the outdoor jacuzzi. It does not jet out hot bubbly water and had collected a whole week’s worth of rainwater together with leaves and twigs. Not exactly the welcome I had expected. However the living area, bathroom and bed was cozy and comfortable for the family.