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Phuket (the ride and the hostel horror story)

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1. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1115 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Just a bad day. I should have taken the bus at the public station.
Its was 700 and this agency bus is 500. If you don't mind encountering the some not very nice thai.

The Indian Family who shared the mini van with me and three other tourist deserve an OLYMPIC gold for being so patient with the ULTRA RUDE people in the agency and the drivers (we had two mini vans). And the waiting area smelled so bad, like nobody every brushed their teeth for days.

It took ten years to get to Phuket. The very rude and ugly driver had to eat 3 times in some stop overs. Nobody else was hungry. He didn't said he was going to eat, he just did and he does look like a wild boar.
They were just all too ILL MANNERED... fortunately, I've been in Thailand for more two months, so I won't judge the Thai people base on the behaviour of those that I have encountered today. They were all too arrogant, rude and once again ill-mannered, unrefined and uncultured.

They kept trying to sell us hotels and rides from Phuket town, like Patong is another country in the middle east.

Their efforts were just way too annoying. I eventually snap at the sales lady who chased me outside the agency to force me to call the friend that I was suppose to meet at Phuket town. She then tells me that PHUKET TOWN is so Big and that I will get lost, so she wants me to call my friend. OBVIOUSLY, she assumes that I dont have a friend waiting. I just didnt want to buy their package. The driver started screaming at me and I was really intimidated, coz this new driver looks more brute than the first one. He was so uncivilized for a thai, which I have always considered to be very nice people.

I just felt sad for the other people in the van, who paid 70% more than I did. They were treated so badly and they were shown absolutely no respect. I paid 500 baht for the tour, so I didn't mind even if the driver drop us in the middle of nowhere. He even refused to tell us where we were in the map. He said we didn't book hotels with them so he can't help us.

The other tourist paid extra so maybe they will drop them in their hotels by the beach.

THE RIDE TOOK FOREVER... indefinite hours of waiting and no one would tell us how long we are going to wait.

I found a hostel and the price online is not the same. I didn't mind paying, but then the lockers and showers, showers door were all broken. You suddenly feel unsafe to leave your stuff. I wanted to move out. But they refuse to return my money. And boy, the personality of the girl behind the front desk was no different from the goons at that Suri Thani agency.

I LOVE THAILAND... but some people who only come here for three days or so, I hope they don't get this experience.
The other tourist really had a bad impression of the thai. I had to say its not everyone. But I hope those people could atleast be jailed for 20 years (I'M JUST KIDDING), 8 years is fine.

2. Posted by ang3l83 (Budding Member 21 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

That is simply horrible to think off...

I was almost going to end up in the same situation with you, but there's must be angel who save my day..Shortly after arriving, i went to one of those minivan and pay 500. As usual, they will bring to their HQ first to sell off all those tour service and everything, thankfully they appreciate my decline but sadly for my frens who arrive a couple hours later...they were being driven around no where...and left them at the Tesco..Thankfully, my guest house host was kind enough to help me 'retrieve' my frens since I didn't know at first where the tesco is ;)

It does not spoilt our stay since our host was kind and very helpful, since we almost missed our flight back..just for a nice back massage...hahahaha..very interesting experince....I definitely will come back and stay at the same place again.. :D

Not to be judgemental, but for matter we go..we meet kind and also rude people along the Phuket, they treat you politely..but back home you're screaming to each other over the traffic..

You may be scammed in Bali for free vacation for my whole life (this is true people..the guy was actually jumping when the ticket i scracthed showed i won a luxury stay in Phuket and some other villa stay around the world!..While I was thinking..ya right man! there's no free stuff by scrathing tickets excepts for lottery tickets )

While in Bandung, a boy would return your wallet (drop careless of me ) with all the stuff in tact...No matter where we go...there's always different people with the same attitude...

The bad part is that you experience a very bad day when u arrive in Phuket..but the good thing is, you have shared your experience so that people would know..and hopefully the people in Phuket would realise this and change...

Wish all the best for your future journeys :D

3. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3573 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I have given advice to you before and one I think was: 'use the same buses the Thais use.' Once you have been on the Thai roads and see how they drive, everyone should vote to either:
1. ride the train
2. get as much metal as possible around you.
All the scams and problems are on the tourist bus/van system. Use the gov't bus system. The Thais use it, so should you. Make the effort to get over to the public bus station and book your own ticket. Even a newbie can figure out what bus to get on and what the fare is. A word to the wise.

4. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Swept Away - yet another bad experience, lm sorry it happened and you felt scammed and intimidated BUT come on matey do you have any good news stories from your travels to share??

I had a similar experience in a bus in Vietnam but hey its an experience and l learnt from it as for the hostels - should you not always ask to be shown your room BEFORE you hand over any cash that way you can make a decision if you want to stay there after seeing the facilities and without having had to hand over your money - any reputable place will let you do this no worries and if they dont that should set the alarm bells ringing.

As for the selling of trips etc - its is EXTREMELY annoying absolutely but you spent time in Vietnam and have been in Thailand for 2 months - just keep saying no and smiling they will eventually stop!

5. Posted by Sander (Moderator 5087 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I'm curious: you were specifically warned not to take a "cheap" travel agency bus but instead to opt for an official bus leaving from the bus stations (both by me and Mike), and yet you seem to have not been expecting the experience you got.
So... Were our warnings not clear enough, or why did you opt for going with the agency after all? (I'm honestly not "attacking" you with this question, but trying to figure out how we can give "better" advice which will actually be heeded.)
Was saving those 200 baht really that important? And if so, knowing what you now know, would you still make the same choice?

[ Edit: Edited on Aug 29, 2008, at 5:16 AM by Sander ]

6. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1115 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

[quote=Sander]I'm curious: you were specifically warned not to take a "cheap" travel agency bus but instead to opt for an official bus leaving from the bus stations (both by me and Mike),quote]

yES, i WENT to the bus station, but it was 1,500 for Phuket. Its 500 in the agency that sold me tickets to Chiang Mai and Laos. So I thought maybe it won't be so bad. The other passengers paid 1,500 too.

Well, it really the 400 baht taxi ride that ruined my day. I never had a guide book, until my phuket trip. I went to Phuket town to get a hotel. ITS NOT A GOOF IDEA... My friend told me the beach is far away, but I didn't know it was a nation away and for a party island, buses sleep too early. I had to pay 800 baht for taxi rides... Aside from the 200 baht for my hostel in the Town.

I am in PENANG, day 3 and I'm loving it. Its so beautiful, but I had a bad morning today. Still I can go to the beach and the botanical garden.

7. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1115 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Purdy

Swept Away - yet another bad experience, lm sorry it happened and you felt scammed and intimidated BUT come on matey do you have any good news stories from your travels to share??

I'm not always complaining. I stayed in Thailand for almost three months. It was my 1st complaint! Besides what is a forum without complaints? I just wished someone told me about those ultra expensive taxi rides. They said the last bus is 6 and its in my guidebook. Well two buses ignored me... Its really a scam. The locals told me that buses still arrive before 6pm. But they wont pick you up coz there are hundreds of tuktuk drivers waiting for stranded tourist.

8. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1115 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I just paid 35 RM for a supposed VIP bus ticket from Penang to KL... coz everything else is sold out.
I bought the ticket in the bus station from a very nice and ultra friendly boy. The bus stations was PURPOSELY chaotic with too many people illogically trying to sell you tickets, like its nuclear science to go directly to a booth that has no line at all. In this case, it was better to book it from the hostel. I got to bank on my instincts more often.

I ended up in very old bus that smells like hell. I am tough, I have taken purgatory in the name of saving money in all my travels in China. But I was already ripped off for that VIP ticket and later I had to be on an old bus. The worst part is when I had put my baggage in a very cramped compartment. I deserve an Olympic bronze medal for weight lifting, for putting my luggage in place, while I soaked my feet in the mud.

9. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3573 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Reminds me of a bus trip I made back in the early 90s. I had to get to Singapore on a certain date for my flight home. I did not know it, but there was a national holiday in Singapore over the weekend I was trying to get there. Thousands of Singapore citizens went up to Malaysia and Thailand and were trying to return at the same time I was. Once in Penang, I found out that the bus companies there are all private. I must have gone to 6 separate bus staging areas and was told, "fully booked". You found out as well, all the bus companies you have to deal with are private. It really can be 'buyer beware' when everything is "fully booked".

Good luck on the rest of your trip.