Our last full day in Thailand! And a travel day.
We took the morning very leisurely at our hotel in Railay. A leisurely breakfast, leisurely packing. Shauna and I did run over to the walking street area to mail some postcards and buy a climbing shirt. On our way back, we tried to come a different way and ended up wandering through an area where some permanent residents lived. It was much more humble and a little wild - helped to remind me that we were enjoying a level of lavishness that most of the Thai people were not. Shauna and Duane needed to be out of their room by 11:00 AM (so it could be prepared for a guest arriving that day), but we had until 12:00 PM, so around 11:00 AM they came over and hung out with us for that hour in the air conditioning. Around 12:00 PM we walked to the front lobby and hung out for about thirty minutes until our boat transfer.
One kind of funny thing that the hotels near ours chose to do was to offer a "private" dock experience (a very unnecessary thing for us, particularly as we had backpacks). Pretty much from the steps of our hotel, we boarded a little raised dock pulled by a tractor. Once we were all on, the tractor wheeled us out into the water (the West Beach was a very shallow beach) and the boats drove up to us. Another couple and their child got into the first boat, and we got into the second boat.
All things relative, our boat transfer back Ao Nammao Pier was sooooooo slow. Seriously slow. We were going slow from the get go, and never sped up. In fact, when we got "close" to the pier (still two to three hundred feet away), the boat slowed down even more! And then, closer in, but still a ways to go, it pretty much turned off the engine and we coasted into the pier. It was a test of our patience at a very weird moment.
Once we got off the boat, we were met at the end of the pier by a golf cart. We were then driven down the pier and a little farther to where our van was waiting for us. The drive back to the airport was quick and comfortable. At the airport, things were a little more confusing. As our tickets had been printed several days earlier in Bangkok, they didn't have any information on them about terminal or gate. We just knew that we didn't need to check in. So, Brandon acting as our guinea pig, we tried to go through security. But after looking at his ticket for a minute they pointed us down towards a ramp to another terminal. Wandering that way we came to the next terminal and went through security there (#8). But, while there were gate numbers, there were never any signs or indicators anywhere to tell us that we were at the right place. Not until it was truly time to board did some AirAisa staff materialize, as well as a few indicators (a sign hand placed on one of the desk) that we were in the right place.
We boarded and our fight was quick and easy. Back at DMK we walked out into the main transportation area and someone immediately asked us if we needed a taxi. We did, so we showed them where we needed to go and they exclaimed over how far it was (they said it would take an hour, though it only took 45 minutes). They said it would cost something around 2400 baht (my brain is really foggy on how much they asked for, but it was a lot more than we though it should cost). We thanked them and walked on. As we stopped by an exchange to make sure we had enough baht in case we wanted to buy and keepsakes that evening, there was a "limo" service close by and Brandon went and asked just to see how much that would be. Turned out that by "limo" they meant another Lexus. No admittedly, the Lexus was definitely more comfortable than the taxis we'd driven in, but it was no limo.
Anyway, we ended up at the regular taxi area and when we were finally called, we showed them where we wanted to go. They still let us know that it was pretty far, but there was no other push back aside from that. And we were off! The drive felt fairly quick. We passed a few tolls (that we paid) and just generally enjoyed Bangkok from the car windows. Our hotel for the night (Paragon Inn) was located near the BKK airport (the one we'd originally flown into and where we'd fly from). It was located at the end of a long slender road. We paid our taxi (I think it was between 500 and 700 baht), checked in, arranged our transfer to the airport for the next morning, and headed to our rooms to relax for a bit. We'd considered taking a taxi to one of the night markets, but decided to just walk over to a local mall for dinner and to see if we could find anything interesting. We did find dinner, but no keepsakes. Our best shopping opportunity had really been back in Chiang Mai, but we hadn't wanted to carry anything large around for the rest for the trip, so we really hadn't bought much. But, we had our photos and memories, and so we made do.
The rooms didn't have great wifi, but other than that it was clean and comfortable.