The Shining in Surat Thani
Last week we ended up in Surat Thani as my friend Tim was intrigued by the odd railway line to Khirirattananikhom (a.k.a. Khiri Rat Nikhom and other spelling variations).
As this train is going only twice a day and we’d arrived too late it made sense to overnight near Surat Thani Railway Station.
Actually this is incorrect as this sprawling station is not in Surat Thani at all but in a nearby town called Phunphin!
Anyway this is besides the point as the focus of this article is on accommodation and in particular the nearest (and apparently infamous) 1980s Queen Hotel, described by various ‘survivors’ on TripAdvisor(*) as ‘Horror Hotel’ and worse…
As a backpacker many years ago I stayed several times in dreadful guesthouses (Pakistan, India, Nepal!) and survived them somehow, therefore I wasn’t too worried.
The entrance was nothing special, although the color (puke) green was used way too much…
The lady behind the counter looked human enough and gave us the key to our fan room.
Once inside the hotel seemed much bigger than from its outside appearance, but we never got lost.
The room looked pretty grim with paint flaking off the walls and furniture on the edge of disintegration.
The open bathroom looked not much better but in a way everything was kind of ‘clean’ which was more important.
Another door carried a ripped apart message about not throwing rubbish outside so we had a look.
It opened to a ‘terrace’ but we didn’t dare to walk on it as it looked seriously dreadful!
Closer inspection of the bathroom made clear that most of the blue water pipes were barely connected to the wall and the mirror was partly rotten…
Even so, everything worked, including the fans and the internet!
The safety measures looked very reassuring..., not!
The night was uneventful, no ghostly appearances in the mirror, undefined smells, walls oozing blood, howling spirits, non-human visitors (actually none whatsoever, not even service minded ladies knocking on our door!) or spooky girls as in The Shining.
The next morning the lady behind the counter didn’t even turn her head 180 degrees, all in all a rather ordinary overnight in a decrepit (but clean) hotel.
We walked around the railway station a bit and explored the riverside, there we found some alternative accommodation which looked a bit more modern/upmarket, although we had our doubts about Hotel Asia 69 (sign in Thai only!)....
If we ever get back here at least we know where to stay!
After letting railway staff pose for a photo we continued our journey.
By the way that station bell is seriously heavy!