Myles Harrington

Bangkok Bastards

In Thailand on August 26, 2010 at 10:43 am

On the morning of our last day in Ko Phangan we managed to get a cracking price on a combined taxi-boat-bus ticket from to Bangkok. We’d leave the hotel, picked up by a taxi at midday and arrive at Khao San Road in Bangkok the next day at 6am. It was perfect. All we had to do was check out of the Family House where we’d stayed in Haad Rin and wait for the taxi. Checking out wasn’t as easy as it normally is. I knew something was up when they said they wanted to check the rooms and the smearky owner sent off his minion with a walkie-talkie to scan for damage. Unfortunately for us the special shakes hadn’t gone down too well with the girls, so their sheets were rather heavily sick stained. This was the perfect excuse for Mr Smerk to extort the farang. He demanded 1000 Baht for two sheets and a towel, about 20 quid. We tried to negotiate but he wouldn’t budge and threatened to call the police if we didn’t oblige. Eventually Emma gave in and gave him the money. He said the sheets were destroyed so he’d have to throw them away. To our annoyance after being conned he started to hose them down. I went back to claim what we’d paid for to make sure they were properly disposed off and he grabbed the nearest weapon to hand, which happened to be a shovel. I managed to grab the bin liners with the laundry and backed off from him while he was swinging and smiling. He followed us down the path pretending to call the old bill. That was the first Bastard of the day. We didn’t know the biggest drama was still to come.

John's wheelchair couldn't get up the stairs so we had a party in the car hold

The taxi-boat-bus change overs went well and all seemed pretty normal to me given my overnight bus ride experiences. The bus was just full of westerners, was icy cold with the air-con and bizarrely the curtains were all sewn shut. A bit weird but at least it was dark. They played The Departed and I drifted off to sleep in the comfy recliner at about 9pm.

I woke up at 4am to find my bag in the aisle, nothing unusual about that knowing how bumpy Asian roads can get. I checked it just in case the worst had happened but everything was there. Blackberry, ipod, camera, money purse. I just went for a wee and slept through. I didn’t know at the time that John (Amy) had felt her bag being slipped off and had warned Shubes to keep an eye out. It wasn’t until we went to check in at our guesthouse we realised we’d been done. Claire went to pay for the room and although everything else in her hand luggage was there she was down 7500 Baht. I’d been screwed over to the sum of 6000 and my unsigned bank card had been snatched too. We ran back to Shubes’ plush hotel and warned of the robbers. Just hoping they hadn’t gone through our bags in the hold too. They bloody had done. The lock on my bag had been bypassed with the skill of trained thieves but luckily they’d not stolen my other two bank cards, only the girls’ dirty knickers. Worst of all though they’d knicked Shubes’ jewellery bag. That’s when it all clicked. The cheap ticket, no evidence of us ever being on board, the copious amounts of staff, the speed of the getaway, not letting us put John’s wheelchair in the hold, the sewn up curtains so it was pitch black. It was an insiders job carried out by a skilled and highly organised coach company.

The police were more interested in their new David Beckham bags than getting back my money

Obviously we went to the nearest police station that evening at the bottom end of Khao San Road. Supposedly this is a tourist police station, which would make sense given it’s in the most touristy part of town. At first they seemed skeptical that we were telling the truth so they made me go to the internet cafe and track down the name of the coach company. Then Claire chased a bus that looked similar down the road and they started to change their minds. We helped the translator pick his football pools scores and he told us to come back at 8.30 so he could investigate further. We went back and he was nowhere to be seen, an hour passed as we gulped our beer from a water bottle (Is it legal to drink in police stations?) and there was still no help from the oblivious Thai police. Eventually in broken English we were told to call 1155 and given an address to go to on the outskirts of Bangkok. At the Bangkok Tower Tourist Police HQ a very helpful lady speedily got us the necessary incident report forms while we sat opposite her craftily sipping Hong Thong (Thailand’s cheapest blended spirit) and Coke out of 7-Eleven Slurpy cups. We didn’t let it ruin our day and by midnight we were merry and dancing in The Club.

5k remaining: £2015.15

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  1. Nightmare mate. Never a nice thing to happen but it sounds like you rode it out well.

    Recommend fleecing some other coach drivers to make yourself feel better.

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