‘My proposal is: To set off walking this afternoon. To stop when we are tired. To get a lift when we can. To walk when we can’t. To do it at once, and do it cheap.’
– Charles Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit
A few days ago I met a German girl, Pia, who asked me if I would like to hitchhike with her. As it isn’t something that I would do in my own country (South Africa) I was very hesitant. It is a lot safer in the less crowded parts of Thailand than it is in SA, so I considered it. I read online of people who have hiked in Thailand before and their experiences. I also spoke to other travelers in the hostel I was staying at to get a general feel of what it could be like.
It isn’t a very common thing to do in Thailand and not very many Thai’s are familiar with it. After a lot of thinking, I decided to go for it. Pia and I decided that we would leave early morning and hike to Surat Thani (about 200km away) where we would catch a ferry to Koh Samui. Koh Samui is one of the biggest islands to the East of Krabi.
The evening before we were going to leave I started getting cold feet. Firstly because the weather had not been good and secondly it was a scary thing for me to do. I almost changed my mind…
I awoke the morning with a bit of fear in my heart for what could possibly lie ahead in the hours to come. I finished packing, had some breakfast and we were off on an adventure. We took a Taxi to a petrol station close to the main road out of Krabi where we tried to get a lift. We stood there about a half hour trying to explain to people what we were doing and where we were going with no luck. Pia had the great idea of having a board with “Surat Thani” in Thai lettering that we could show people. Everyone was friendly and suggested we take a bus…but that would defeat the purpose.. Eventually 2 ladies agreed to give us a ride upto the main road.
As they dropped us off it started raining cats and dogs, luckily there was a bus shelter that we could stand under. We stood there for about 20 minutes trying to get a lift when a Thai Muslim couple stopped. They were very friendly and the gentleman spoke English very well. They took us to the road that goes directly to Surat Thani.
From there we hitched a ride with a truck driver who spoke no English whatsoever. The truck was very slow and it took us around 2 hours to get to our next stop. The truck driver dropped us off right in front of a supermarket where we took a tuk-tuk to the company that arranged the ferries. We arrived in Koh Samui around 18:00 that evening
It was a great to see how friendly and helpful people were. All of them tried hard to communicate with us and help us understand. It was hard for me to trust any of them and I was suspicious of everyone but in the end it all worked out. Might not be something I would try again especially in bad weather but the experience was good.
The moral of the story is that people are overall good and are not out to get you. Today maybe try and trust someone….