The journey took all day. So we found a cheap ticket (<$20) back to Bangkok from Phuket, a touristy island ~ 7 hours north of KBL. Our original intention was to stay on KBL for a week then work our way north towards Phuket, exploring the many islands along the way. So much for that!!! Why mess with perfection? We took the long-tail boat at 9am to meet the ferry for an hour’s ride to the pier on the mainland.
The next part of our journey was a 1.5 hour trip north to the transportation hub of Trang stuffed in the back of a small covered pickup locally called a sawngthaew. We picked up some fried rice and boarded the $4, “air-conditioned” bus to Phuket. The bus was decorated in SE Asian kitcsh look complete with a karoke video system for our entertainment. The ride was ~6 hours. The air conditioner sucked, and our driver must have spent time in Bangkok learning how to drive.
We made it there without puking but vowed to not take a bus ride over 3 hours for the rest of our trip. The poor guy sitting in front of us was puking the ENTIRE trip! We’ve had more than our fair share of pukey bus rides the past two years. Our cheap flight was on a Southwest Airlines-style carrier but with leather seats. Pretty uneventful. Phuket was only discovered ~ 20 years ago and now is a bustling tourist hub full of beach resorts and pollution. I'm glad we found KBL instead!