Khao Lak, Thailand (map)
While we recovered in Krabi from being sick we were able to make our next plans for once we left Thailand. We found some decent flight prices, but instead of leaving out of Krabi they were flying from Phuket airport. So, we jumped on the local bus and made our way back over near Phuket so we would be closer to the airport. The nice part was our flight was not for another week. We were happy that we still had 1 week left of our 30 day tourist visa besides who wants to leave Thailand earlier than needed anyway.
We decided to visit a smaller, more low key tourist area called Khao Lak. We had heard about this location (unfortunately) from the fact that it was one of the hardest hit areas of the 2004 Tsunami with over 4,000 fatalities. On a much lighter note we also knew that it had some beautiful beaches and incredible sunsets.
So for the next 7 days we enjoyed doing nothing but relaxing in Khao Lak. We found a great little hotel, rented a scooter, watched the sun set almost every night, and of course we started planning for our next destinations after Thailand.
When it is time to leave a country we prefer to do so with absolutely zero money left in that country’s currency. So the morning we left Thailand we went to the mini-mart and spent our remaining Thai Baht on some sunscreen and chewing gum. We made it to the airport, checked in, and what do you know…immigration informs us that we have overstayed our tourist visa by 1 day! Oops, how in the world did that happen??? Well, turns out that Thailand counts days a bit differently than we do, so we were told we owed the country 1,000 Thai Baht (~$30 USD). They told us cash only but of course we didn’t have any more money on us besides our credit cards.
It is times like these as a long term traveler that you get stressed out and often curse the fact that you got yourself into this situation to begin with, but then you meet amazing people who randomly come to your aid when you need it most. A kind Australian guy who had also overstayed his visa (by 4 days) was having to pay and without even a thought he handed us a 1,000 Thai Baht bill. We were so grateful! He told us just to pay them before they got mad and refused to give us back our passports. This apparently happened to a guy in line before us, yikes!
We got through security and found the nice Australian guy and told him we really wanted to repay him the money. Funny enough he turned out to be on the same flight as us. We looked around the airport terminal but there was no ATM in sight so Dustin asked him if it was OK to pay in Singapore dollars. He shrugged being paid back as no big deal, but after seeing how insistent Dustin was being he said Singapore or Australian dollars would be better as he was just laying over in Singapore. We told him we would find him once the flight landed so we could repay the money, but he kept The Dude tone with a “it’s cool man”. We walked with him through immigration and on our way to baggage claim chatted about Australia and how we can’t wait to visit. Then poof! It happened he was a ghost. We should have seen it coming given his behavior, you would have thought it was him who owed us money making a Houdini move like that. But after 30 minutes of searching the Singapore airport from baggage claim, customs, and even the flights to Australia check-in counter our angel from Australia was gone. We were so mad at ourselves that we had let him slip by us and we hadn’t yet traded contact information. We had been saved by a stranger. So thank you nice Australian man for helping us out!