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Most people dread having to do their three monthly visa run, so why not take the pain out of it and turn it into a lovely weekend away with family or friends. If you have a car and four passengers why not stay, overnight, in the picturesque town of Ranong. You can lunch on the beautiful private island of Thahtay Kyun at the Andaman Club which can cost very little. This is a better option than hurtling down to Malaysia and back in one exhausting day.
Even if you are not a member of Seatran Ferry you can still book your trip to and from Samui by calling 077 251 150. You will need to give them your car registration and then pay at the Ayutthaya Bank before the day of departure. The 10am ferry will deliver you to Donsak at 11-30am. Take the 4142 from Donsak. This road joins the 401 that will take you to Surat Thani. Do not go into the town, head towards Phunphin on the ring road. Once you get close to Phunphin you can join the 41 that is signposted for Chumphon and the airport. This very straight road will take you past a turning for Tha Chang and Chaiya, Tha Chana and Lame. Just before you hit Lang Suan you will see a huge petrol station the left hand side that you cannot miss, due to the fact it has a forty foot kangaroo in the forecourt. It will take you around two hours to get here and it is a great place to stop and use the bathroom, get some snacks and a coffee. Alternatively you can continue into Lang Suan and do a U turn to the large Tesco Lotus. Once refreshed, continue through Lang Suan and then take the 4006 over the mountain towards Ranong and the Andaman Sea. The road is winding and will take up to an hour to cross. There are a few slow moving lorries that will indicate left when it is safe for you to pass them and right when it is not. Once you reach the end of the 4006 go right on the 4 into Ranong.
At the first major set of traffic lights turn left into Ranong. You will see a large unfinished structure on the hill and a market to your right. At the next set of lights turn right, and the following set turn left. Go past the Governor’s residence on the right and take the next right past the Ranong Throne Hall. Go past a very bright pink building on your left and at the junction turn left. At the next junction turn right and you will find a very sweet guest house with about 20 bungalows called Dhala on your left. Dhala has off road parking and is next to a very affordable restaurant that has amazing Thai and Western cuisine.
Once you have settled in drive back up to the ring road and follow the signs to the hot springs and Raksawarin Public Park that are only a few minutes away. Here you will find some small restaurants, a river and four foot baths where you can soak your feet in the healing waters.
The following day turn left out of the resort and follow the road past the Chinese grave of Phraya Rattanasetth Ranong Governor. Then follow the signs for the Andaman Club Pier. Here you can sign out of Thailand and for eight hundred and fifty baht you will be taken, via air conditioned ferry, to the incredible Andaman Club. It is ideal to take the 8-35am ferry. Once at the club you can enjoy some gambling in the slot machine hall, have a swim in the beautiful pool or enjoy an incredible Thai and Western ‘all you can eat’ breakfast for only three hundred baht. If you take the 10-45 ferry back you will be back on the road by 11-30 having signed back into Thailand.
Stop off at the Tesco Lotus in Lang Suan on the way back, and take the 5pm ferry back to Koh Samui. The road from Lang Suan has some spectacular views so don’t forget to take your camera.