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Taryn in Thailand

Posted by Heliocentrism on March 5, 2010

March 2-4, 2010

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Taryn’s In Town

I met Taryn while living in South Korea. We both worked for SMOE. I left after two years in Korea (one year after I met Taryn) to explore other countries; Taryn left after a year and a half. We both enjoyed our time in Korea and at SMOE. Taryn has joined me on several trips in the past and she has a blog of her own. She is the author of Taryn In Korea.

Mark and I went to the airport on Monday night to pick her up. The next day we decided to go to the beach. Ko Samed was the ideal location. It was a nice beach that wasn’t too far from Bangkok. I had to go in to work for a meeting Thursday morning so I had to be back in 2 days.

Before we left Mark had to go in to work for his meeting. After Mark’s meeting we went to the Ekkamai Bus Terminal and made our way east.

Mark is not too sure about this songtow ride

All 6

When we got to the Rayong Bus Terminal, I expected to get a blue songtow to the ferry. We walk to the songtow across the street near the bus terminal, but it had no driver. There was a mass confusion with herds of people wanting to take us to the ferry.

There was a group of Ukrainian women that was on our bus also trying to move through the crowds of taxi drivers and tuk-tukists. We figured that both our groups would get a better deal if we teamed up.

One guy, let’s call him Mr. Pickup, wanted to take all 6 of us and our luggage in the back of his not-converted-into-a-songtow-truck. Songtows have benches to sit on and bars to hold on to when the truck hits a bump. There was no way we would all fit, and even if we could, there was no way I was going to ride down the road at top speed in the back of some guy’s unsafe pickup.

I kept asking about the songtow to the ferry. That would be the only type of vehicle that would take all 6 of us. In an effort to show us what a great deal he was giving us, Mr. Pickup walked us over to where the blue songtow I wanted would have been parked had I come earlier.

He managed to talk himself down from 250THB per person to 20THB, when he saw that we weren’t interested in a pickup truck ride. He just didn’t understand that it wasn’t about the money. His truck was uncomfortable and unsafe.

Once at the songtow stop, he pointed to the clock. I think Mr. Pickup wanted to tell us that the songtow stopped running at 18:30. But his little plan backfired, because that’s when I saw a whole row of parked songtows. We walked up to them and I ask one guy if his songtow goes to Ban Phe.

Mr. Songtow told me that the songtow I wanted stopped running, but he would take me and my friends to the ferry for 50THB each. We all agreed and climbed into his songtow. Mr. Pickup just stood there, powerless to get us back.

A boat all to ourselves and 3 Ukrainian women.

A Cheaper Faster Ferry Ride

We got to the dock only to find out that we were too late for the regular ferries too. So we had to charter a boat. This involve picking either a fast or slow boat, picking a dock, and negotiating a price. We (Mark, Taryn, and I), could have done this in about 2 minutes. We had no idea in which hotel we would be staying, so we would have picked a slow boat to a dock on the southern end of the island. The the Ukrainian ladies wanted a fast boat, but they wanted a very cheap price.

I’m not sure what their deal was because they thought that everything was too expensive. They even thought that a 20-baht pickup ride was “too expensive” even though I told them that 20THB was the standard rate for the ride. But, for some reason they weren’t interested in a slow boat that was cheaper. Taryn and I felt that there were too many “cooks in the kitchen” so we left Mark to handle things with the ladies while we got some snacks. In the end we got a slow boat for 1,000THB split between 6 people, to the main dock, Nadan Pier.

Ko Samet fire twirler

We figured that the ladies were really into bargains, so once on the island we followed them to their hotel on Saikaew beach. We were hoping to get a really good deal, but when we saw the prices we knew why they needed to save up all their cash. We weren’t willing to pay that much for a one night hotel and we moved on. We found another place, nearish to a beach. We unpack, changed, and went for dinner and saw a fire show.

Beach with ATM

The next day was filled with early morning swimming and breakfast. After which we grew tired of the current beach and wanted to see other beaches. We packed up all our stuff and checked out of our room. We found one of the green trucks used as public transportation around the island, and asked him to take us to a secluded beach and an ATM.

I’ll Just Avoid Them

Once at our new beach, Sang Thian Beach, we swam some more and then had lunch. As usual I cut the bottom of my foot on some rocks. The water was mostly rock free and I thought that I would just stay away from them. But curiosity got the best of me when Mark told me that the fish stay close to the rocks. I swam over there, and stepped on a sharp rock. It was completely avoidable because I do own swimming shoes. I was just too lazy to unpack them.

Goodbye Ko Samet

Going Back

I noticed that boats came and went right from the beach where we had lunch. When it was time to go we didn’t have to go to a pier; we could just order a boat right there. We took  a speed boat back to the mainland. It was a very bumpy experience.

the famous blue songtow!

This time we were able to catch the blue songtow and take it to the Rayong Bus Terminal. From there we all went back to Bangkok.

All Pictures


(Ratcha Anachak Thai)

How to get there:

  • You can enter by plane, boat, bus, or train.
  • Most citizens from many countries do not need to get a visa before going to Thailand. But, you will need a visa to stay longer than 1 month or if you been to Thailand for at least 3 months already in the past 12 months.
  • People of most nationalities will get a 30-day visa at the port of entry.
  • To be completely sure, check with the Thai embassy in your country.






  • Do not say anything negative about the king or anyone in the Royal family. And definitely do not write anything bad about the king or royal family. This offence could land you in jail. You don’t want to go to Thai jail.
  • Don’t use the city ferries in Bangkok during the peak hours. They fill those things past capacity and sometimes they sink. Use them during non-peak hours when they are not crowded.


How to get there:

  • 12°41’02.0″N 101°16’25.4″E

By bus –

  • You can get a bus from either Ekkamai Bus Terminal or Mochit Bus Terminal.
  • It should cost between 146THB or 155THB depending on which bus terminal you use.
  • I think buses leave from the Ekkamai station more frequently, though I couldn’t find a bus schedule for this route and cannot prove it.
  • Either way it is about a 2.5 hour ride.
  • The Rayong Bus Terminal is the very last stop. Don’t get off at the Rayong Bus Terminal 2.


Soi Sun Kankha Sai 2, Sukhumvit Rd, Noen Phra, Mueang Rayong, Rayong, 21000


  • If you are planning to go on to Koh Samet, I would recommend that you get to this bus terminal between 8:00 and 18:00, to get a cheap songtow to the ferry. Otherwise you will have to haggle with an over zealous driver who thinks that you are made of money.
  • Then once you get to the ferry, you’ll have to haggle with the ferry guy too since it’s after hours.

Ban Phe

How to get there:

  • 12°37’45.2″N 101°26’25.8″E

Songtow –

  • If you haven’t gotten to Rayong too late or too early, between 8:00 and 18:00, you will be able to take a blue songtow to the ferry.
  • This option will cost 20THB per person.
  • Just ask at the ticket counter at the Rayong Bus Terminal, where to catch the songtow.
  • If the 20baht songtow has stopped running or not yet started, you can negotiate a ride with a cab or another songtow driver.
  • It’ll be cheaper if you have a group of people.
  • Most likely some of the people on your bus from Bangkok will be headed to the ferry like you are. Ask them where they’re going while on the bus and figure out a price you are all willing to pay.
    • We had a group of 6 and we paid 50THB per person for the ride to the ferry.



Ko Samet
(Ko Samed)

How to get there:

  • 12°33’30.4″N 101°27’04.6″E

Ferry from Ban Phe

  • If you get a slow/cheaper boat the ride will take 30 minutes.
  • A fast/more expensive boat will take 15 minutes.
  • The cost will depend on the time of day, how many people in your group, the speed of the boat, which company you use and mostly, your negotiation skills.
  • During the hours of 8:00 ~ 17:00 there seems to be many ferry companies with fixed prices taking tourist to and from the island. After hours, haggle, haggle, haggle!


  • If you are taking the ferry to Koh Samed it is better to go between 8:00 and 18:00 or you might get swindled.
  • Once on the island there are green trucks that are used as public transportation.
    • I don’t know when they start or stop running.


Posted in Ban Phe, Ko Samed, Rayong | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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