Step 1. After a leisurely breakfast, say goodbye to your friends, students, and host. Check that you have all your laundry, shove the last few forgotten items into your pack, and hop into a pick-up truck/taxi that’s been waiting for you for the last half hour.
Step 2. Take a break in Ayutthaya. Eat lunch, ride an elephant, say Hi to an ostrich. You know, the normal roadtrip break activities. Make sure to stop and watch the elephants celebrate Songkran, but try not to get wet. It will be a while before you can take a shower again.
Step 3. Arrive at the Ayutthaya train station. Wait for over an hour for your delayed train. Thank locals politely when they insist your train is the one coming into the platform, even though it’s not.
Step 4. Climb aboard the correct train. Snag three seats together and spend the next two hours wiping soot from your face as you pass burning agricultural fields. When the rain starts, realize you enjoy it because the train is not air-conditioned.
Step 5. Disembark at the main train station in Bangkok, dash inside, and head immediately to the information desk. Beg them for train tickets to Surat Thani for tonight. Try not to get discouraged when they show you the rows of zeroes on the screen that mean the only available seats are in 3rd class with no A/C. Try again at the refunds/reschedule desk.
Step 6. Celebrate your success at finding three seats with air conditioning by going out to a nice dinner in Little Arabia. Relax with a hookah. Argue good naturedly with your waiter when you ask for your check and he says No. Ask again. And again. Stop at the shopping mall on your way back to the train station.
Step 7. Return to the train station with half an hour to spare before your train leaves. Collect your luggage from storage and find your seats. Discover the seats are in different cars, but at least they are on the same train, so you don’t complain too much. Take a sleeping pill and pass out.
Step 8. Get off the train at Surat Thani, still confused from waking up. Get herded out of the station by a man who claims to be staff, and find yourself looking for a seat at a café down the street. Get a sticker stuck to your arm that says “Krabi” and wait patiently. Order pancakes when the café owner proves to be less patient about squatters at her tables.
Step 9. Take a short bus ride to another café. Sit and wait again. Repeat “Krabi” several times to several different people. Sense a scam when someone tells you all the Raileh Beach hotels are booked, but then smile when you realize she’s actually offering to let you use the café’s wireless to find an alternative. Panic a little bit when you realize how badly you need a shower and a place to sleep, and there’s a chance you might not have either of those when you get there.
Step 10. Take the advice of a friendly New Yorker and frantically book a night at a hostel in Krabi town as the bus is loading. It’s just one night, and the place has air conditioning. Send TJ and Jamie to save a seat and stall the bus while the reservation goes through. Save the reservation number and climb onto the bus just before it pulls away.
Step 11. Get off the bus in Krabi and realize you have no idea where to go. Find friendly New Yorker and tell her you’re going to follow her to the hostel. Stop and ask directions along the way when she admits she doesn’t really know, either. Cheer when you find the hostel, and be absolutely delighted with the quality of the place. Decide to stay two nights. Take a shower.