Once you see a movie, and it leaves a lasting impression on you, its probably going to settle in some part of your head until you make peace with your mind to doing what the movie does. It never always possible make this peace with our mind. I had one such opportunity recently trying to transition from being a spectator to a character in a movie. From ‘being Kartik’ to ‘being Richard’, I chose to re-live the #BeachTrail followed in the Danny Boyle cult classic ‘The Beach’ [Which was based on a book written by Alex Garland in 1996]. I had seen the movie multiple times, but I did not quite make up my mind on this trail, as ‘The Beach’ in tourist parlance only meant ‘Maya Bay’ near Phuket and not the trail taken along a longer route to get there.
As a traveller habit, I keep checking the fares finding which location to go to in the visual search and when I get interested in a place, I look up the cheapest month to get there. One such series of searches led me to finding that for the week of April 7-16, I had the best rates to Bangkok on SkyScanner through their Inspire feature.
I was waiting outside the Chennai airport, when I decided to have a couple of snacks before going in to the flight. My friend just landed in an UBER and was complaining about the high surge pricing going on, when we realised that even the mediocre snacks seemed to be on Surge pricing. We had started our backpacking low budget trip on a ‘surge’-ical note, knowing fully that airports seem to always have sub-standard stuff costing 2-3X.
Our Thai Air-Asia flight was from Chennai, and we decided to meet up at the Airport at 8 pm, for our 10:25 pm flight. We had pre booked a 20KG luggage pack from Chennai, on Air Asia, and we had 7 KG’s of hand luggage each. Now that’s quite a tough thing to do, for a 9 day trip, to pack less and within 7 KG’s. I also had camera equipment and that would make it tough, so we had to do major re-juggling of our luggage on phone the previous day to make sure we did not exceed the luggage limit, since Air Asia is known to be merciless with excess luggage penalties. And-Lo-Behold, we had each bag weighing 7 KG’s and the single suitcase weighing 20 KG, which on removal of a few stickers on the suitcase from previous trips, came down to 19.8.
Luggage Problems- Check
Getting on the Plane from Planning for 2 months- Check
And we were putting the tick-mark on a long trip planning phase by looking at a quote from ‘The Beach’ book
“If I’d learnt one thing from travelling, it was that the way to get things done was to go ahead and do them. Don’t talk about going to Borneo. Book a ticket, get a visa, pack a bag, and it just happens.”
Our Air-Asia Flight reached Bangkok at 3:30 am. It helped that we had done our Visas, much earlier in Chennai at the consulate, so that saved us about 30-45 minutes in the queue for immigration at the Don Muang Airport. We had a 30 kilometre commute from the airport to the place where we had our 6 am bus to Chumphon Port. The taxis at the airport are expensive, and its usually better to take the bus/shuttle services if you have enough time to get to Bangkok at leisure
But since we were in a hurry, we decided to hail an Uber, after walking outside the airport to the highway and we reached Khao San Road to board our Lomprayah Bus at 5:30 am. We were quite taken by the beauty of a city where the skyline was lit up slowly by the approaching dawn. Pink and Yellow taxis added colour to the violet hues of the sky, as the city was slowly getting busy. We made some time to walk up to the local convenience store- ‘Seven-11’, where we bought some cakes and fruits for breakfast.
Part-0 ends here, but if you were really interested to know more, we have a little trailer for you to know what’s coming in this 3 part article series exploring #TheBeachTrail2017