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The Search For Claire

We spent the night dancing and having a blast before going to bed at around 8am. Reuben returned. Karen came back. But where was Claire?

The streets of Koh Phangan are abandoned the morning after the Full Moon Party
The streets of Koh Phangan are abandoned the morning after the Full Moon Party

This was the question we were still asking at 7pm when I hopped onto the back of a motorcycle driven by a Thai friend I had made.

Our destinations? Health clinics and the police station to see if anyone had seen the girl whose passport I held in my hand. None of us knew what to do but we were very worried.

My friend told me that people go missing all the time and if she didn’t show up and we filed a police report that we would have to stay on the island until she surfaced.

I had no luck on our motorcycle ride, but upon returning what did I see? Claire chatting with the girls telling a story about meeting new friends and winding up on the other side of the island with no cell phone.

Thank goodness she was OK; but what an experience for us.

We Just Want to Get Out of Here!

The next day we all said our goodbyes and Carrie and started our 700 kilometer journey north to Chang Mai for some trekking.

We had gone against our usual method of travel and booked a direct trip to Bangkok through a tour agent to make our life easier.

Our taxi left the hotel at 11am and we next joined thousands of Westerners boarding a boat to what we thought was Surat Thani.

Dozens of taxis like this one make continuous round trips between Full Moon Party hotels and the dock
Dozens of taxis like this one make continuous round trips between Full Moon Party hotels and the dock
A huge pile of backpacker bags loaded onto the boat from the full moon party
A huge pile of backpacker bags loaded onto the boat from the full moon party

You’re Dropping us off Where?!

In reality the boat dropped us off a few hours later at some dock somewhere in Thailand where buses waited to take us the rest of the way.

We were among the last people off the boat by the time we finally got our bags all of the buses were full and we had to wait on this random dock for nearly two hours before the next bus came.

When we finally arrived in Surat Thani we were left at a bus terminal in the middle of nowhere so we had no choice but to buy their overpriced food.

Waiting in the middle of nowhere in Surat Thani for our next bus to Bangkok.
Waiting in the middle of nowhere in Surat Thani for our next bus to Bangkok.

The Final Leg of our Journey to Chiang Mai

Our bus left 30 minutes late and got into Bangkok 30 minutes early: at 4:30am.

We hopped in a cab to the train station, booked an 8:30am train to Chang Mai and waited in the terminal for it to leave.

Scores of party animals waiting for a boat ride off of Koh Phangan
Scores of party animals waiting for a boat ride off of Koh Phangan

A twelve hour train ride later we got to Chang Mai. got in a cab, found a hotel and passed out.

Final tally:

  • 3 taxis
  • 2 bus rides
  • 1 boat ride
  • 1 train ride
  • 34 hours of travel

Add the 26 hours to get from Malaysia to the full moon party and you get 60 hours of travel in 6 days.

Had we skipped the full moon party and flown from Malaysia to Chang Mai it would have taken 3 hours.

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