Solo Overland Backpacking Trip to Thailand & Laos – Part 3: The Overnight Ride

This is part of my travelogue on my solo overland backpacking trip to Thailand & Laos in 2013.

Previously: Part 2 – The Challenge

*****

Still, Day 2: Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The bus stopped at the bus station. “Ok, boleh turun sekarang | Ok, you can disembark here now“, said the driver. “Abang, kami nak ke stesen keretapi|Bro, we want to go to the train station“, one of the guys said. “Tren tak jalan. Abang nak ke mana? Bangkok? Kalau Bangkok boleh naik bas dari sini|Train is cancelled. Where do you want to go? Bangkok? You can take a bus to Bangkok here“, I told the guy who later told me that he was planning an adventurous holiday with his white partner, but did not expect it to be THIS adventurous.

Sesampai je kami kat stesen bas, abang driver tu suruh turun. “Abang, kami nak ke stesen keretapi”, salah seorang abang yang naik bas dengan aku beritahu driver tu. “Tren tak jalan. Abang nak ke mana? Bangkok? Kalau Bangkok boleh naik bas dari sini”, aku cakap kat abang tu. Dia datang dengan pasangan mat salleh dia. Katanya nak bercuti stail adventure. Tak sangka jadi macam ni pulak.

My bus ticket. Weehoo!

Jangan risau, bang. Betul boleh. 2 tahun lepas saya pernah naik bas dari Bangkok ke sini|Don’t worry. Trust me. I took a bus from Bangkok to this very bus station last 2 years“, I explained further to erase his doubt. So, under the heavy rain, we took our bags and went into the bus station. See, the Hat Yai bus station is huge, but it has an open air concept. And it has a lot of counters catering for different destinations.

“Jangan risau, bang. Betul boleh. 2 tahun lepas saya pernah naik bas dari Bangkok ke sini”, aku cakap lagi. Tengok muka dia macam tak yakin je masa mula-mula aku beritahu. Jadi, dalam hujan lebat tu, beramai-ramailah kami bawa keluar beg dan masuk ke dalam stesen bas Hat Yai. Stesen bas Hat Yai ni besar, tapi konsep open air. Tak adanya nak air-cond macam kat TBS tu ya? Kaunter dia pula, ikut destinasi. Jadi, tak adalah pening sangat nak cari kan.

I checked my phone, I was at Trang.

As we were looking for the ticket counter for Bangkok-bound buses, the whole group who intends to go to Bangkok followed me, as if I was their tour guide or something. Then, we found the ticket counter. After calculating the time that I may reach Bangkok (I estimated that the bus ride will take around 14 hours and I want to reach Bangkok early in the morning), I bought the 6.30 pm bus for THB 581 and waited at the bench for the bus.

Tengah-tengah cari kaunter tiket untuk bas ke Bangkok, orang-orang yang nak ke Bangkok semua dok membontoti aku. Ah sudah. Jadi macam tour guide lah pulak aku ni! Nasib baik lepas tu jumpa kaunter tiket yang kami cari. Lepas kira-kira pukul berapa boleh sampai Bangkok (sebab kalau boleh aku nak sampai awal dan aku kira-kira, mungkin perjalanan dalam 14 jam macam tu), aku pun beli bas pukul 6.30 petang harga THB 581. Lepas dah beli, aku cari bangku, duduk kat situ tunggu bas.

The bus stopped to fetch more passengers. It was so quiet.

Rahul sat beside me, after he bought his ticket to Koh Tao, telling me about his turtle conservation project on the island. He even offered me a place to crush in, if I ever set foot on the island. Around 6.00 pm, the bus came and we bid goodbye as our ways separated.

Tak lama lepas aku duduk, Rahul datang. Dia dah dapat dah tiket ke Koh Tao. Kami dok sembang sementara tunggu bas sampai. Dia pun dok cerita pasal projek penyu dia kat Koh Tao. Siap offer kalau aku ke sana, katanya jangan risau pasal tempat tinggal. Wah, best! Tengah syok-syok sembang, bas aku sampai dalam pukul 6.00 petang. Lepas dah letak beg semua, dalam pukul 6.30 petang bas mula gerak. Sedih pulak rasa sebab dah tak ada kawan balik.

As the bus moved, I couldn’t stop but thinking, it was really happening. A solo overland backpacking trip. Something I have never imagined I would do. At least not without a proper planning. I did not make any booking. I did not know what to do or where to go. I just moved.

Sepanjang perjalanan, aku tak boleh berhenti dari fikir, yang aku memang tengah travel solo. Sorang. Backpacking. Tak ada rancangan yang konkrit. Aku cuma bawak buku Lonely Planet ‘Travel SEA in a Shoe String Budget”. Tu je. Booking ke, mana nak pergi ke, tak ada rancangan. Yang pasti, janji gerak.

I tried to sleep in the bus after the driver switched off the lights inside the bus. But I couldn’t. The bus was passing through a still-under-construction highway and it was so winding, I was afraid something bad would happened. I took out my phone and noticed that we were passing through Trang. Soon, I dozed off.

Aku cuba tidur lepas driver bas matikan lampu dalam bas. Tapi, aku tak boleh tidur. Mana taknya, masa tu bas dok lalu satu lebuhraya yang masih tengah dalam pembinaan. Berliku-liku pulak tu jalannya. Gelap lagi. Takut nanti driver dok layan kona, hah aku yang naya. Aku bawa keluar telefon aku, tengok tengah lalu kawasan Trang. Aku sandar kat kerusi, sedar-sedar, aku dah tak sedar. Selamat zzzzz.

Moving further.

I was awaken by the feeling of the bus stopping. I rubbed my eyes, tried to look outside of the bus window, to see where the hell I was. It turned out that the bus stopped at an isolated bus stop to pick up some passengers. The time was 10.00 pm, but everything looked dead outside. The bus station sounded so quiet and as I walked to the station’s toilet, I did not hear any sound of human activity at all.

Aku terjaga bila bas tu berhenti kat satu stesen bas terpencil ni nak ambil penumpang lagi. Sunyi weyh. Aku nak pergi toilet dia, tengok kiri-kanan, senyap je. Serius sunyi.

A few minutes later, the bus continued its journey. This time, I surrendered to my heavy eye-lids. I slept in the bus and it was a sound one. Until the bus stopped at the rest area.

Tak lama lepas tu, bas teruskan perjalanan dan kali ni, aku pasrah. Aku memang tidur lena sampailah bas berhenti dekat R&R.

The bus stopped at the rest area.

The best part about long-haul buses in Thailand is the price-ticket normally includes a meal. Not to mention the comfortable blanket, hot drinks, snacks, and wet wipes. The last time I rode the bus from Bangkok to Hat Yai, I did not use the voucher and regretted my decision.

Perkara paling menarik tentang bas di Thailand sebab harga bas biasanya termasuk harga makanan di R&R, selimut, air panas, jajan, tisu basah. Masa aku naik bas dari Bangkok ke Hat Yai dulu aku tak makan. Menyesal. Kali ni, aku nak makan jugak. Tak kira.

READ HERE ON MY BUS JOURNEY FROM BANGKOK TO HAT YAI IN 2011 [IN BAHASA]

As such, this time, I decided to disembark from the bus and went to the rest area. But I noticed that there were no hijab-clad people at the rest area. In a Buddhist-majority country, I was so sure that most of the food being sold are non-halal. I contemplated, should I eat or should I let my tummy disappointed?

Aku turun dari bas, tengok keliling. Tak nampak pulak orang pakai tudung ke. Aku tengok lagi, hmm.. Macam confirm je makanan ni semua tak halal. Aku dok fikir, nak buat apa eh ni…

Where halal food is. Oh my, horrible photo! Lol.

Until the abang (brother) whom I mentioned in the first paragraph called me. “Khai, makanan halal ada kat sinilah! | Khai, there are halal food at this area!“, he shouted. I followed him and went to the back side of the rest area. There, a lot of hijab-clad women around. Uncle with a kopiah (head gear) cooking the food for us. We had nasi bubur (porridge) with other stuff like vegetables, fried anchovies and salted carrot. It felt great. I was so hungry after 6 hours of journey, I ate 2 full bowls of the porridge.

Sampailah tiba-tiba abang yang aku sebut dalam perenggan 1 entri ni jerit “Khai, makanan halal ada kat sinilah!”. (Kami sempat berkenalan sebelum naik bas, kalau ada yang pelik, mana dia tahu nama aku. Haha). Sampai kat belakang kawasan R&R, nampaklah ramai awek bertudung dan pakcik berkopiah tengah masak. Aku pun memang dah lapar. Mau tidak, dah 6 jam perjalanan kot. 2 mangkuk bubur nasi aku makan kat sini. Tak boleh pilih-pilih sebab tu je yang dia hidang. Aku pun telan dan rasa sedap sangat. Ke aku yang lapar sangat?

Looking at the dark and empty road from the bus.

It was not a long stop. Less than half an hour later, we were back on the road. I slept throughout most of the ride, sometimes awaken, thinking what I was doing at that time. I looked out and saw the empty road. I hope I will arrive safely the next morning.

Tak lama pun berhenti rehat kat situ. Tak sampai setengah jam, perjalanan diteruskan. Kali ni, aku tidur sepanjang perjalanan. Kadang-kadang terjaga, tengok luar tingkap, fikir, apalah yang aku buat ni. Harap-harap aku selamat sampai pagi esok.

+++++

To be continued – Part 4

+++++

As mentioned above, price ticket in most long-haul buses in Thailand includes meal, snacks, hot drinks for breakfast, wet wipe and blanket. The bus prices also differ according to the time of departure. Check at the counter before buying. 

About these ads

About Khai

A simple being trying to have a simple life...

Posted on 13 March, 2014, in Hat Yai, Malaysia, Personal, Photography, Thailand, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Reading your blog helps me to revise some Bahasa Melayu i’ve picked up as my third language. Anyway, enjoy your trip and stay safe! :)

  2. Wow this kind of adventure i likeeee the most hahaaa.. :D
    But yeah it goes more than what u have plan.. that sad.. well enjoy your journey that where ever u are hahaha ;D

  3. La mana yang tadi aku tulis panjang2 tu… ish sedih nyer.. tak mau tulis lagi majuk huhuuu :P

    • Hahaha. Bro jangan majuk broooooo. WordPress ni mengong dia ingat komen ko spam dia masuk dalam folder spam. Tapi tak apa aku dah approved dah.. Jangan majok ehhhh.. hehehe

  4. Looking forward for the next posting

  1. Pingback: Solo Overland Backpacking Trip to Thailand & Laos – Part 2: The Challenge | The Best Things in Life

  2. Pingback: Solo Overland Backpacking Trip to Thailand & Laos – Part 4: Bangkok Arrival | The Best Things in Life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: