Thursday, December 30, 2004 1:39 PM
I just walked over to the Sunset Bungalows from my bungalows. I am in the Lazy Daze Bungalows and was under the impression that just around the corner was the Sunset Bungalows, but after about a half hour walk and burning feet I am sure it is not just around the corner, but a good jaunt. I was walking down the small beach of Lazy Daze and thought I would meander down to the Sunset. Then I left the beach, kept anticipating a new set of bungalows to spring out of the coconut trees, and appear. Soon my feet were hurting from walking down the sand or small-pebbled road of coral rocks. On the long stretches of sandy road, I had to walk real fast between the fingerlike stretches of shade of the palm trees to keep from burning my feet. Therefore, walk fast barefoot, then stand on the finger of shade, walk real fast, stand on the finger of shade. I finally ended up at the sunset. Not a very good place to stay, as there is no beach or place to lie on the beach or the sun is in the wrong place so far. I did not go looking around, as it seemed quite barren although there was a lot of straggler hanging around and few Thai girls. I just finally went into the kitchen and paid for the water I wanted to buy and left.
I am amazed that travelers will walk along a deserted road on a deserted island and do not have the compulsion to say hello to a passing person. The world is not so personal, but most of these people are city kids who are trying to escape the city, but brought the city with them.
Lazy Daze is by far a better place, the beach is better, nicer surrounding and the internet is close to here. However, Koh Mak is more or less a smoker’s island like Koh Chang where you smoke dope and hang around, so maybe I am on the wrong island since I do no smoke. Not much to do, but swim and hang around and the bikini situation sucks, so I should have went to my regular island of Koh Phan Ngan skipped Koh Mak, but too late now and next time. Koh Pha Ngan has movies at night and tons of bikinis, and about the same price, I do admit though having a bungalow right on the beach is nice, and if I had a girl this would be ideal, but alone sort of monotonous. But then I am in a set of bungalows by the name of Lazy Daze or Lazy DAYS.
I will go down now again and see if the internet is working, at 10 this morning the satellite or something was not functioning.
KOH MAK THAILAND
Thursday December 30, 2004 7:07 AM
I am on the island Koh Mak in Southeast Thailand close to Cambodia and the popular island of Koh Chang.
I arrived two days ago at about 6:30 at night, the trip was very long and terrible in a little van that drove very fast starting and stopping and weaving down the road. I just about vomited from motion sickness and I was in the second set of seats back and not in the back. The back is the worst place or the best place to get motion sickness as you get the up and down bouncing motion. The hour or so it took to leave Bangkok with the morning traffic was torture and the road dipped and dropped and bounced as we was in rush hour traffic. I boarded the van at 8:00 am, but I do not think we left Khao San road until 9:00 as we drove around picking up 12 people including me and the driver, so the van was very loaded and all the bags on top. I think the van is about the worst way of traveling or about the same as a car, the nice part about a car or van is you can stop and look at things if you are driving, but with a paid trip you never stop so the ride is pretty miserable, cramped prone to motion sickness. I am going to try to take a full size bus when I return to Bangkok and hopefully a night bus that will arrive in the morning. This was all day and there is nothing to see between Bangkok and Koh Mak except for traffic, so better to take the night bus to Trat and go to the pier independently. I am not sure Khao San may sell this type of ticket, but Khao San road is more about making money than about comfort, and definitely not about service.
KOH MAK IS CHEAP
150 Baht for the Lazy Daze Hotel and the ones around or the next one down called the sunset has private huts for 200, so you can live cheap right on the beach. The toilet is common or communal but having a stink toilet in your hut is not always a benefit. I have a double bed, mosquito net, lights from 10 in the morning until past midnight at least, I am not sure because I went to sleep. There is internet on the island for 2 Baht per minute or about three dollars per hour so pretty much a simple easy life and all is possible. The Lazy Daze is the same as all the places here on or appears to be the same as they have a restaurant in the common area and everyone here on Koh Mak goes to dinner and eats as the entertainment like night. Very touristy in the style of eating and I passed on this last night as I have an allegoric feeling to tourist activity. However, the other traveler and families all like this, but I am not a tourist. Koh Mak has families, which is very nice for me; it is the first time I have been around children in ages. The Lazy Daze must have maybe 3-4 complete families with lots of children, this is nice as it takes the edge of the pot-smoking environment of Koh Chang and Koh Mak as this area of Thailand is a smoke a joint sit in the hammock type situation. There is really no beach on Koh Mack other than a small strip of dry sand, which is nice, but being there are not large groups of people the bikinis situation is an absolute minimum, although ideal for a couple or a man and wife traveling together. There are kayaks and bikes for rent, and private huts on the beach. Probably great honeymoons get to know your partner place, and lots of quiet time. I almost read one book yesterday and did not touch my computer or internet for one whole day.
I am presently typing on Battery power and the electricity will not come on for another 2.5 hours I believe. I can go to the common area and drink coffee for 15 Baht or maybe 20 cents US, so the area is cheaper on food than Khao San road by about 30 percent, but is still tourist prices and not local prices. CChicken fried rice cost 50 Baht while in the market of Ayutalla, I only paid 25, but I was with a Thai person and we went to a real Thai Restaurant. Strange, the Thai food is always best when you pay the least, more spices and vegetables, and cooked better. There is no correlation for me between paying more for food and getting better food, it is the opposite in Thailand. If you want a great meal, you need to somehow get totally away from any foreigners. However, the same type of thoughts apply, you must look for the better restaurants of the cheap places.
There are no Israeli people here, and the manager is Thai, so I am not sure what the guidebook was saying. Lots of French and Italians, which is good.
TRAVEL TO KOH MAK
Tuesday 6:15 AM December 28, 2004
I leave for the southwest part of Thailand to an island called Koh Mak. Koh means island in Thai and I do not know what Mak means. It is just west of Koh Chang, which is sort of getting famous, so I am trying to get closer to Cambodia and still have a few people to talk to, but to stay away from the main group of lemmings.
I purchased a ticket in the New Joe Guesthouse that is on the Palace side of the Khao San Road on the alley. I talked to a few regular places to purchase bus tickets like the Peachy, which is normally the ultra cheap place to leave from, but the least on service and they said I needed to go to Trat and find my own way or get a different boat. I suspect I go to the same pier as Koh Chang but they just take me to a different island. Well, the ticket cost 550 Baht and that includes Air Conditioned Van to Trat and the Boat ticket to Koh Mak, so it is sort of a mini all-inclusive trip to Koh Mak for what is 11 U.S. Dollars.
I think I could go cockroach cheaper if I would find my own boat from Trat, but I am feeling lazy and saving two dollars is not a big deal today, maybe tomorrow. The one reason I was tempted to do this though was for hotel and safety. The van leaves here at 8:00 am and I am due to arrive in Koh Mak at about 6:30 at night or late afternoon. Arriving at a strange destination at 6:30 at night is neither safe of a good way to get a cheap hotel, they know you are tired, need a room and they take advantage of this. If I was to go to Trat and stay the night, then get up in the morning and catch a boat I could do better. Plus no competition with the other travelers on the boat. On the other hand there may only be one boat per day to the island, so who knows. I did some searching on Koh Mak and there was almost no-good information other than a few too high prices hotels or resorts or something. I finally asked Mr. Joe for a Lonely Planet and he has one of only Thailand and the new one mention a LazyDaze Hotel on Koh Mak ran by an Israel person, so this is perfect. Israelis run in clusters and I like Israeli girls, so a cluster of Israeli girls on an island seems perfect.
The say the rooms are 100 Baht and that is right up my Hobo Price range, I am just hoping they are not all full all the time. The other crap I learned on the internet was for room around 700-1000 Baht, and as normal the internet is the place to gouge.
I am spending a lot of brain juice lately thinking about how to put the cheap hotels on the internet. The problem with the cheap hotels is they do not help themselves in any way, they just sell price and hope someone comes. They are terrible with reservations, service can be nil, and they can be the best place and the most fun of any hotel, so they are full.
The Lonely Planet, Roughguide, Footprints and most guidebooks will tell you the cheap hotels because they must, but the internet is about commissions and hard to make a commission from a cheap hotel. I personally have steered my internet page away from the commission idea, as it would tend to steer me away from telling the truth. It is hard to be honest when you know you lose money by being so, but since I do not earn commissions, except from Hostelworld.com and not enough to care about, then I can say whatever I think. On the other hand, it is not my nature to give bad advice.
Soon I hope, when my tetchy from India get here we will plot and plan on how to make a super cheapie hotel site or subcategory of HoboTraveler.com. I guess we will put it on HoboHideaway.com.
However, it is complicated, because we have to spend a lot of time getting rid of the booking sites, and the liars on the internet that want to submit crap so they can get business. We are getting very very good at banning sites though and this if fun, because they get their just reward. One of these days, I will publish my list of banned sites, which would be interesting and beneficial to other travel sites. Hard to want to ban a site, I only do so after they just are so obnoxious I have no choice, and then it is a pleasure.
Andrew not me, but the name of my tetchy that helps from India will come to Thailand on January 13. I am getting excited as we can sit around and plot and plan the next year of HoboTraveler.com. In addition, we will set up the Web Cam on Khao San Road and he can help me make my life less stressful. This web cam is a pain and many small glitches, multiple levels of snafus, and a web cam is not an easy thing to set up, in fact the whole process is just plan complicated. Andrew is extremely smart so this is great and he will push me through the learning gap, or I will help him push me.
I found an easy way to make sure I have socks or all of my clothes when I leave the room. What happens sometimes is I pack away sock, or some piece of essential clothing, then when I go to leave; I have to open up all of my bags to get one piece of clothing. I got completely dressed which is hot here in Thailand and I avoid wearing all of my clothes until I leave the room, but nonetheless I got completely dressed and ready to leave, then took off all the extra clothes and put in a pile, that way I will not forget and accidentally pack.
Took a shower and used the sheet to dry, as I do not want my towel to mildew in the bag.