Glad to say we have survived yet another cross-country driving ordeal, the Ranong visa run. This time was a bit more relaxed as we took our time as we ventured from the Gulf of Thailand to the Andaman Sea, taking two days to do the journey with a pleasant overnight stay in a 'comfortable' bungalow just outside the main town of Ranong. I am starting to know the route well now, at times you wonder if you have missed your turn-off but gladly we made it all the way there and back without any back-tracking and no arguments about my driving :)
Im glad to say the visa run went without a hitch, other than the drive up there [which is a bit of a pain - I wont go on about the Thai drivers again], it went well. We always try and make a list of things to do when we go on the visa run as we dont get over to the mainland that often. When you get off the boat at Donsak you more or less have to drive through Surathanni town, so a stop off at Tesco's is always on the cards.
It really is unbelievable the difference in prices between Koh Phangan and Surat, the profit margins are almost double on most items and the rest arent far behind - just because we are on an island and everything is 'imported'.
I really cannot believe that its time for a visa run again, it seems like we only did one a few weeks ago but it was 3 months ago that we last set foot on the mainland. If you ask any long term foreigner what the worst thing is about living in Thailand, its gonna be the visa run's. Many foreigners are on different 'deals' as far as residency visa's go, the legality of some of them are a bit borderline - legal loopholes that allow them extended periods in the country, but at a cost.