A resort staff is knocking on the door to alarm me that the taxi is ready to take me to a pier. Ah, that’s right. I booked a day trip to Ang Thong Marine National Park yesterday but had quite some drinks last night. She says five minutes. Gosh, I’m in the rush. A holiday is not supposed to be in a pressure like this. I take a quick shower, grab stuff I think I need for the trip, put them in my backpack and get to the reception.
There, a songthaew taxi is waiting for me, just me. I’m the only one. At least, I don’t have to feel guilty to keep anyone else waiting.
The road starts to get familiar to me. The driver picks up an old lady and drops her off along the way somewhere. It feels exclusive since I’m the only person for his main mission to take me to Orion Pier.
On the boat, there’s light breakfast for the patrons on board. I take one donut. It is a struggle to finish the donut but I know I have eat something no matter how awful it is or how sick I am.
Without examining the boat properly, I just take a spot on the upper deck to sleep in. A young man on board teases me “Looks like someone didn’t sleep much last night” I can only reply with a smile and get back to rest.
With strangers around, I can only half sleep but it helps. I get up again when the boat is about to stop for a snorkeling time. Now I realise I have been under the direct son unprotected. Sunburn worsens the hangover. On top of that, the sunscreen I brought is not in the backpack. Big ouch!
What else I forgot…my swimming trunk. That’s ok. I don’t think I will be able to take a plunge into the sea for a snorkeling anyway. Basically, what are in the backpack are useless for this day trip. There are about 40 tourists. Most of them are young backpackers from Europe. The staffs are the captain, the tour guide lady and about 4 crews, mostly from Myanmar. I come down to the lower deck and find lunch is ready to serve. Since I am one of few who stay dry, I get to have it early. What they have is pretty basic with vegetable green curry, vegetable sweet and sour stir fry, fried chicken, and rice. I have a bit of them although my stomach is not quite ready for it.
Once everyone is back up and finish their lunch, I secure the lunch spot to lie down for the rest of the trip. The boat anchors at another spot to drop off people who also booked for kayak trip. Glad I didn’t as my hangover still gets to me and I can feel the pain from the sunburn already. The tour guide sees me I’m not in a good shape and ask me if I get seasick. My reply in a Thai pun, ไม้ได้เมาคลื่นครับ เมาค้าง (not seasick, just a hangover), just makes her giggle.
I finally get off the boat at Koh Mae Ko and climb up to see the lagoon. It is beautiful. Most visitors hang out that beach entrance and it is pleasant to be in the lagoon by myself for a while, spotting fish and listening to the wilderness.
The next and the final stop is Koh Wau Talab. Climbing to Bua Boke Cave is probably the best thing I do for the day. The route is quite physical. Forget about the cave itself. I find it dull, but getting there enjoyably cures my hangover.
Here, at Koh Wua Talab, is the operational centre of the national park. You can camp or get a cabin to stay here. And it looks like they manage it quite well. The tour guide takes us to see monkeys but I spot a lovely bird, coming down on a table next to me and feeding on a tiny piece of scrap. Mind you, I’m not sure it’s good for its diet.
It’s time to leave the national park and head back to Koh Phangan. There’s tuna baguette waiting for us on board. It’s the first meal I have an appetite for. Wondering it is best one they serve for the day or I am just recovering from the hangover.
By the time we are back at the pier, it is almost 7pm. Everyone seems tired. Well, I am. The same songthaew taxi takes me back to the resort. There’s a big lesson for me to learn here. The hangover is now gone but the sunburn pain will stay with me for days. Tonight is an early night then.