Railay (Krabi) - Koh Phi Phi - Koh Lanta
Railay, Krabi (28/07/2011 - 03/08/2011)
Well our plan was to first stop off at the lesser known Ko Yao Noi, an island we had chosen after a good few days of researching. Before moving on to the more travelled to islands of Krabi. We had chosen to go there as we were looking for that deserted paradise beach, luckily it may have turned out, we could not go there. As amazing as it looked, we think it may have been a deserted Island altogether, now it is the off season! Our plans were changed thanks to the not so great tour company we booked are tickets through, they took us from Koh Samui to Krabi, but decided to drop us all 10 minutes outside of Krabi at another tour company’s office, when we had been promised a lift to the pier that would have taken us by boat to Ko Yao Noi. Once we enquired about where the hell we were, they explained how we would have to pay them to take us on further, frustrated and angry by this, but with no ther choice, we knew we had to go on further with them. We enquired about a taxi to the pier to go to Ko Yai Noi, but we were told it would cost us £20 to do so, knowing that our budget could not stretch to that, we had no other option but to switch our plans and head to Railay, a place we had picked to go to next. Again still angry and frustrated having to use this tour company, we paid them 200baht each (£4 each) to take us to the pier and then by boat onto Railay. (which by the way, they said taxi was 100baht each & boat 100 baht each, even though the local longtail boat only would have cost us 60 baht! I know its only 80baht, but is the principle!Ha) Once at Railay our aim was to find something as cheap as possible, which always worries Kay after some of the previous delights I have chosen! Ha We were shown a room for 400baht (£8), which is cheap for Thailand standards, however the room did reflect that!Ha It was fan only, with just a double bed in the middle of a non too inspiring room, with a sweatbox of a bathroom, which may have been likened to going to solitary confinement in a prison!Ha (Also Kay & myslef have discussed this and can not believe that why in Thailand they decide to put the shower literally above the toilette when the rest of the room is available!) That evening we enjoyed a nice Thai curry each, followed by a walk to scope out the island. We came across the West beach of Railay, which looked amazing, we enjoyed a walk along the beach, stopping to sit for a while and take in and discuss the great view before returning to our not so great room. Second time around the room looked and felt even worse, as night had set in, so had the damp and mosquitos! Needless to say we did not enjoy a good nights sleep at all, instead we were up at 7am to go and rest by the pool! With the reality of facing another night in that terrible room we knew we had to go out and find something else, as we set off in the hunt for a non hell hole we luckily bumped into an Israeli couple we had met back in Vietnam on the Mekong Delta tour. Daniel always has a lot to say for himself, so he filled us in on what they had been up to, they were leaving for Ko Lanta that morning and informed us that their room at another nearby hotel would be available. They said it was clean, cheap and with no dampness, the minute he had said that me and Kay quickly said our goodbyes and rushed round to clinch that room before anyone else! The room was clean, cheap, with no damp and it had a TV & fridge, Bargain! With a decent room sorted we knew we could go on and enjoy are time in Railay and that we did! That day our new room was greeted with the arrival of sunshine, something Railay had not had for a good few days, it must have been a sign! Ha! We spent the day on the famous Phra Nang beach, it is the beach you always see when searching for Krabi on the net, real postcard stuff, amazing turquoise waters with stunning limestone peaks that rise up either side of the beach forming a cove! There is even a mini island about 100yards from the beach that has a limestone peak rising up from the sea. You can swim out to it, which we did on our first day, but the other days we soon realised if you wait until the afternoon you can walk out to it, as the tide withdraws a new mini beach is created seperating the sea in to two! It really does look stunning! We enjoyed our 5 days just chilling out there in the sunshine, having lunch from a neaby boat that would stop and sell corn on the cob and noodles! The walk to and from Phra Nang beach was a delight in its self, walking amongst the limestone peaks, watching the many rock climbers in their bid for the top, you would pass by caves and monkeys swinging in the trees! As it was always around 5.30 ish as we would make our way back from the beach Kay remarked how different our walk home from the beach was compared to the rush hour traffic we would endure making our way from work back home, a day stuck in the office followed by bumper to bumper traffic, not moving at all, in the rain, stuck by Fowlers! (That was always our favourite place to start up an argument!Ha) Depressing thought is though, we will soon be back to that! :-(
Our evenings were also a chilled out affair, we found a real cheap local place that gave you huge delicious portions, the place was not the best place to look at, with broken up wood chip board for tables, turmites must have enjoyed the place as much as we did! Ha! Me and Kay constantly have conversations about whether our family members would eat or sleep in the places we do, most of the time we agree that they would not even recognise the place as a restaraunt! Ha! Still we loved the food and the two cute puppies that lived there! As Railay is a pretty chilled out place with not too much to do on the evenings, we would always from our evening meal head back with an ice cream to our room to catch up on the internet to sort out our plans for the remaing few months of travelling. One night we did have a few beers and enjoyed the local fire show, it was pretty impressive with a few times Kayleigh needing to look away and curl up as she thought one of the fire balls on a rope was heading her way! Ha! On one occasion it was, but luckily it was intended as one of the jugglers was behind us ready to catch it! All in all, we had great time in Railay, good weather, great food and the most impressive beach I have ever been on!
Koh Phi Phi (03/08/2011 - 13/08/2011)
We arrived to Phi Phi by boat, a 2 hour boat on which we sat on top deck sunning ourselves, enjoying the view of the islands poking out of the middle of the sea from nowhere. We arrived, paid our 20B each to pass through the gates of the pier (what this was for - god knows!? Ha!) and made our way to find a place to stay. We eyed up the many ads of hostels on the pier - but didn’t want to hand over any cash before seeing the room, so made our own way to the town and what we had worked out to seem the chesapest corner of accommodation. We viewed some basic huts - and basic they were - thin matress on the floor, no window - unless you count bamboo walls with holes big enough to let in an army of mosqitoes - and no net to stop them, and a bathroom - I will not even start on. I am not staying here! I know backpackers are meant to do huts - but not this one! We walked and walked and walked in the now mid-day heat - looking at room after room after room - all recommended by LP - all of which no better than the first hut we had seen. So damp the smell hit you before you even made it to the room - we knew it was a no before they had even opened the door. We had been staying in rooms for about £8 per night so far elsewhere - all of the rooms we were seeing in Phi Phi wanted £10-£20 for a damp room that smelt - with a fan if we were lucky to waft the stinking air around the room a little. We finally found a little place which offered really nice rooms (dry, huge chunky wooden furniture, clean nicely tiled bathroom & air-con) - we haggled him down to £14 - more than we wanted to pay before getting here - but were happy at paying it for how nice it was in comparison to everywhere else. We dropped our bags and headed straight out for food and sugary drinks to try and replenish all that we had sweated out in the heat on our hike for a room (oh yes the cheapies were all on the ‘mountain’). On our way to back tothe village, we enjoyed our first walk past “Poo Garden” as it had been appropriately named via spray paint on a wall - and we realised why hostels at this end our cheaper. The area, that we came to walk past on average 4 times a day - looked like a lovely garden with bright flowers - but it was actually a waste & sewage ground, which often swelled leaving brown smelly puddles of god knows what (I don’t want to think about it after I was accidently splashed by someone with it - gross!) along the path.... You got used to it. Getting into tthe town - the place was really busy with tourists everywhere!! Loads of building work and development taking place - paths being laid. We both thought at first - this seems to be living up to its reputation so far of being ruined by tourists and the locals quick fix to try to accommodate them. We weren’t disheartened by this - we came expecting it. We had our food (toastie for Ollie - pot noodle for me from the 7/11) and fizzy drinks - and headed off for Long Beach which was meant to be one of the best here. We walked and walked following the signs, up hill, downhill, across beaches, through the forest - and an hour later we finally made it!! (In truth, after all the walking we had already done that day - I don’t think we would have attempted it if we had know just how far it was - or perhaps splashed out on a taxi boat - sometimes ignorance is not bliss! Ha!). But reaching the beach - it was beautiful and we crashed out enjoying a good few hours of sunbathing - and dipping into the sea. The sea here is stunning - me & Ollie agree that we have never seen anything like it!! The pictures you always see of Thailand - I assumed that it wouldn’t ever live up to that as they always put the colour right up on editing them - but no everyone - it really does look like that!!! A really bright version of the duck egg blue cushions in our old flat. As you can imagine - the hard work was feeling worth it now!! We stayed until the sun was almost gone - but not quite - knowing we had to find our way back through the woods. Luckily - that didn’t turn out to be the case though - the tide had gone out meaning thatwe could just walk back along the previously submerged sand (although I would have preferred to stick to the woods after the huge crabs that scared me!) - but Ollie like to pretend he was brave, and preferred it walking that way. Back to our room (past poo garden - hold your nose..... go!..... Phew - breathe again) we got showered and ready to see Phi Phi at night. We settled on an India for tea - they offered great prices - but tiny portions - we wouldn’t be going back. We settled on an early night - managing to dodge all the PRs and stalls of buckets filled with cheap spirits - but knowing that a hectic night out would be waiting for us, should we want it.
Next day we managed to sleep in a little - but headed out and on our way asked about some tours to go to Phi Phi Leh. We managed to find one that went at midday and came back at sunset, giving us extra time at Maya Beach - 3hours in total. We decided that this was the best one for us - and as the sky looked clear - we thought no time like the present - and booked our tour to head off in 30mins time. We quickly nipped to the shop for some breakfast - a cheese & ham toastie each, along with some crisps and fizzy (we have found ourselves stuck with no food too many time now - and finally know better). We headed out on a tour - 25 of us in the end in a tiny long boat - it was cozy! We arrived at monkey beach first, which wasn’t really a beach, but an area where you could get out and feed the monkeys, which we did - but to be honest it is really strange how normal something like that it nowadays - we see as many monkeys as you do.... I want to say pigeons, but that it an exageration - but you get what I mean. Anyway - the stop off way just a good chance to have a dip in the beautiful clear sea - ah this is the life! Ha! We all then continued on to our next stop (I can’t remember the name of any of the places - sorry!) which was a huge lagoon surrounded apart from a tiny narrow entrance way - but HUGE towering cliffs all around. Now the colour of this water almost hurt your eyes as the sun bounced off of it - it was SO beautifully bright and clear! Again - I can’t stress how sutnning it was. We loved swimming around for a while - floating on our backs to take in the whole panoramic view of the cliffs. Bliss. The boat the moved us a little further to the neck of the lagoon, by the entrance, where the water was a shade darker thanks to all the coral lying beneath. Snorkling time!!! Ollie was a bit worried about doing this at first - he was going to give it a miss - the nightmare of choking down Weymouth water as a kid had come back to haunt him! Ha!) But he had a go - and after I adjusted his snorkle so that it wasn’t lying in the water as he swam - he was away. Both of us diving down beneath the surface upon spotting a particularly illuminous fish - or to follow little Dorie (from Nemo) on her swim - it was amazing!!!! We both loved ever second of it!!! Enthusiastically tapping each other to tell of what we had spotted - creating our own little sign language (i.e. thumbs up = AMAZING!!!). We swam along and before we knew it we were in the middle of a huge mass of fish - all brighlty coloured - all looking at us, but not really bothered by us - they literally surrounded every bit of our body - head to toe - 360 degrees - it was fab!!! We came up to laugh at it - when we realised we were the only ones left in the water - everyone else was back in the boat and they were shouting for us to come back! Ooops - time flys when your having fun eh! Ha! I told Ollie and began to head back - but he didn’t care - he was having fun and his head went straight back down to explore further - that is, until I had to go and collect him like a naughty child who would not leave the park! Ha! Back on the boat - we were both thrilled and could not stop chatting about it. We shortly arrived at Maya Bay - which everyone will know from “The Beach” film. The boat stopped around the corner (to avoid paying entrance fee I expect) so we quickly devoured our toasties ready for our 3hours of beachtime - and put our camera, towel, water etc into a plastic bag to stop it from getting wet as we had to swim to the edge of the rocks and climb a ladder to get a-shore. After almost drowning in attempting to hold the bag in the air to ensure water didn’t get in - we gave up and had no choice but to keep our fingers crossed that it would be safe floating it across. It hadn’t seemed like it on the boat - but the tide was actually really strong - upon reaching the ladder, the water would rush in forcing you foward pinning you to the rope ladder unable to move, and then drag you out so quickly you didn’t have time to grab onto anything, and you were back out at sea again ready to be thrust back into the rocks any second. After 4 attempts of failing miserably at getting out - being dragged in - out - in - out etc - I finally made it - and took the bag from Ollie to allow him to do the same. We all agreed on the boat - that actually - it is pretty dangerous - they you had to be a pretty good swimmer, and those that weren’t were on the verge of a panic attack - I don’t blame them! Putting the task of returning to the boat out of our minds - we headed out along the path in seach of “The Beach”. The path was edged by tropical plants - which only added to the excitement as we wound our way through. TA-DAH!!!! Here it is!! Ta-dah actually being quite appropriate as it really mas magical!!! A beautiful white sand beach, with clear bright water offshore, surrounded by huge towering cliffs. We got there and wanted to get the pics in so that we could relax and enjoy the rest of our time just being. In truth, when we first arrived (during photo time) the beach was crammed with people, and the speedboats that had brought them. We did our best to cut the out of the picture - but didn’t do the best job at it in reflection. After we dipped in for a swim and sat back out on the beach to dry off and enjoy the view - everyone seemed to vanish. They were all on the early tour - which meant it was time for them to go - we were on the middle tour - meaning that the late one would not arrived until we were almost leaving - 25 of us had the whole beach to ourselves - a very rare thing I think from what I have read - and then the true beauty of the place that you imagined, minus the people, was there infront of us to see in all its glory!! We shoud have got up to take some more pics, but we got chatting to a few girls who were lovely and thought - sod it - we’re having fun - and will remember it anyway! We had a fantastic time there and it far surpassed out expectations having read that it is no longer recommended to come here due to it being ruined by too many people - however I think we were really lucky getting there just at the perfect time - so glad we chose the middle, less popular tour. It was fab! So glad we came, as were only going to do a day trip to the island of Phi Phi rather than actually stay here - well worth it - low season means we still manage to get a little slice of paradise to ourselves. (Ollie did say though - that on “The Beach” film, he thinks it has been shot at an angle so that the gap in the cliffs look smaller than what it actually is - but beautiful nonetheless). 6pm came round all too quickly and it was time for the deadly trip back to the boat - which after queuing to decend down the deadly ladder, the tide had gone out slightly meaning that it wasn’t as strong - but the rocks & coral underneath were now at the surface - ready to take the skin off your knees as you dragged yourself along a rope towards the boast - we both managed to escape pretty much unharmed! (Which was a miracle in itself for clumsy Ollie - he so should have been a Libra! Ha!) Back onboard - we sank a bucket of cheap whiskey & coke as the driver crashed us into as many waves as possible, almost tipping the boat and soaking everyone - as we all laughed in excitement - enjoying the ride (except for one poser sat at the front in the sun - sunglasses on - not moving from the position he knows he looks best - me & Ollie laughed as he got drenched - unable to laugh himself! HA HA!). That night after getting changed - we went to a place called Cosmic for food - always seemed busy at all times of the day - and we know why - cheap tasty western meals! I was shocked but Ollie actually stayed Thai - which never happens - he is straight on the burger and chips on the rare times we have the opportunity to get a good portion - but I had the Carbonara - and boy was it delicious!!! Yum Yum!!! FUll and tired from a long day we headed back - managing to catch Mum & Dad online. Had a chat on Skype - told them all about our fab day - only for them to top it off by telling us that they wanted to treat us to a gift of a hotel in Vegas!!! Trying to ignore the feeling of guilt for having moaned to them for so long about the terrible conditions us poor travellers have to put up with - we excitedly looked online at the hotels they had found! HEAVEN!!! America being a very expensive place -we were prepared for more pits/holes/dives (I have found many ways to describe these places now) - but no - not anymore - we would have the treat of ending our trip in STYLE - in our own suite!!! How posh it that!!!! Excitement turning our stomachs sick - we said THANK YOU VERY MUCH - meaning so much more, but only able to come out with this - we spent our next few nights, not watching films on youtube, but the hotel ad for where we could look forward to - and the AMAZING reviews on trip advisor! OH MY GOD - WE CAN’T WAIT!!!! (I know you will be reading this - so again you two - THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!)
Next day, Ollie got his hair cut - which we both agree is his best one yet whilst away - we headed off to Long Beach again, with food supplies as there are only expensive resorts on this beach so can’t afford to eat here really. After the long hour trek, which didn’t actually seem as long as last time now that we aren’t suffering from exhaustion. We enjoyed another day - sunning ourselves - cooling off in the sea for a swim several times (although the sea here always seems too strong for a proper swim - more of a doggy paddle about). We enjoyed time to reflect on the perfect couple of days we have had here - and the fact that was only continuing with our perfect day today. Suitably sunned and relaxed it was time to head back - but this time via the woods as the tide had not gone out enough to walk along the shore (Ollie = Boo Hoo / Kay = Phew!!). We bumped into Daniel & Mai-an on our way back (the couple we met on our Mekong Delta tour - who we also bumped into them on Maya Beach briefly) we sat and chatted to them - well I say them, Daniel chatted to... no, AT us basically (bless him, we still like him though!) until it was dark and then we all headed back to the town and said our goodbyes knowing that we would not see them again as they were going back home soon. We got changed and ready for tea at Cosmic again - adding a little bit of lippy, and Ollie a little bit of wax to his hair, in preparation for a night on the town. One sweet and sour later (which was delicious!! But I could not finish it) I realised I was not feeling well at all - and that we would have to give tonight a miss. A little diappointed (having heard that Phi Phi’s night out is just like Full Moon Party) we headed back (past poo garden - not helping!!!) and crashed for an early night. I say and early night - but I didn’t acutally sleep - I spent the whole night up being sick, with an upset stomach! Gross! (We found out on our last day in Phi Phi that it may have been the water we were drinking - it was bottled - but not the best - and conincidentally we hadn’t felt right, or able to properly enjoy our food the whole time we were there - serves us right for being cheap! Ha!).
Stayed in next day - too ill to go out. Tried to sleep but just on the edge of not quite being ill enough to just sleep through it all. Didn’t have the energy to be out in the sun though - so poor Ollie had to do as I did in Koh Samui - and just sit in the room and wait it out.
Next day, we went to “D Beach” (I can’t remember the name of it - I just know it begins with D - it is one of the beaches of the famous two where the two arcs of sand stand back to back justg metres apart). We couldn’t stay out long as I still wasn’t up to the heat - but it began our routine for the rest of our time here. We continued to chill out on D Beach for the rest on our time on Phi Phi, again, not finding that it was too busy thanks for low season (- however still finding traces of the party from the night before in some spots - where was our 20Bhat arrival fee going - clean the beach up!!!). For the remainder of our total of 11 nights, we would get up, have some nice healthy muesli (changing places trying to find the best place that didn’t serve a fruit salad with a sprinkling of muesli - rather muesli with a sprinkling of fruit - we didn’t manage to find it - but we settled for a friendly family run breakfast shop - their smiles deserved our money!). We would then wade our way out (wade!? the hot sea, bath like, was only ankle high!) to a little strip of sand acting as an island (looked like a fat man led in the sea with only his podgy belly poking out the top) collapse on our towels and bathe, litterally - as I say the water was so hot you almost had to dip your toe in first to allow your body time to adjust - in the sea. In and out - in and out we would go - until it was time that the fat mans belly was no more - the sea had come in and we would move our towels back tothe main beach, as always reflecting on our way back on how perfect our day is. We had fantastic weather there pretty much the whole 11 days. We may pop to the shops (toastie / pot noodle) or treat ourselves to lunch around 2-3pm ish and then get back on the beach until the sun when down - just listening to music and chatting. When the sun was almost gone, time for our next treat, either ice cream on the beach (expensive Cornetto was all they had - we didn’t allow ourselves one until I broke, welcoming myself back to heath after feeling ill, and from them on the tradition at that time of the day stuck) or crisps (Pringles I tell you - this was a one off - but we were really living the high life splashing all this cash like this! Ha!) and a big bottle of Chang beer to share. Again - bliss! We would then go back and change (by now - we are immune to poo garden) and then on to Cosmic for tea - EVERY NIGHT - still too cheap and tasty to do otherwise, although we did try once, but Nachos costing 3times the price of a Cosmic meal was too much for us to bare. (Cosmic - £2 per meal).
The last 2 days went cloudy - so we decided it was a good time to do some souvenier shopping. We wanted to get a fair bit to bring back from Thailand - but to be honest - it is all too expensive - and all a load of crap! Nothing authentic to remind us - just cheap and tacky. To be honest - we love Thailand - but it is still true to say that this is a fair representation of Thailand now anyway - if you just go to the main beach spots like we did - there isn’t any culture left - and the stalls stock reflect this!! (I don’t mean this in a bad way - this was exactly what we were looking for in Thailand! Perfect! Easy - just enjoy! Just a shame I don’t want it in my living room when I get back! Ha!). However we did manage to agree that we both liked these string of coconut lamps that we thought would look cool in our garden (when we get one! Ha!) and despite the fact that they cost £8 (with stern haggling)!!! (Ridiculous!) and how impracticle they were really to go in our backpacks - we got them anyway! We also got a wooden frog that croaks - we regretted not getting it in China as there were everywhere - iconic reminder of our trip - so luckily we got one here to remind us (& we also managed to get the first of our prezzies for family back home - but please don’t anyone get excited - it cost 20p - and like I say Thailand is expensive - so that isn’t going to go very far! Ha! Still - hope you will like it!). The other day that was cloudy walked 4km each way to the viewpoint to see the famous views of the bay. It was a hard climb there - but the chance to see the view for ourself was worth it. Our pictures are not quite the postcard that you famously see, as I say the day we went it was cloudy & the sea was out, in preparation for a storm or somthing I think. But we were still glad we went and took the pics, as if we would have tried to have done so on any of the other sunny days, I don’t think we would have made it - too hot! Ha!
So there it is - out time in Phi Phi - others we have spoke to avoided in because of it’s bad reputation these days - and we almost did too - but I am so glad we didn’t!!! One of thos things you just have to see - truely Thailand in all its glory!
Ko Lanta (13/08/2011 - 16/08/2011)
With only a week left of our Thailand visa to run and our last chance for a few weeks to enjoy the holiday life we decided to finish off our stay here with a few relaxing days by a pool, before heading off to Penang in Malaysia. After speaking to a few people we had heard that Ko Lanta was a very quiet and chilled out place, as it was quiet the prices reflected this and you could pick up a nice resort with a pool for fairly cheap. We took the morning boat across from one island to the other, along the way we were approached like always by different touts trying to sell you their hotel. We decided to take advantage of the free taxi to the beach where we wanted to stay by and have a look at one. It turned out that the resort was exactly what we were looking for, right on the beach, nice pool, fairly clean room with air con for £8 a night! Our stay there was as planned a nice chilled out experience, we had good sunny weather for the first 2 days which gave us the chance to chill by the pool like we wanted to and our last day there was a cloudy one but gave us the chance to catch up with internet stuff! We have now booked Cirque Du Soliel at the Bellagio in Vegas, so along with the boxing and the great hotel Des & Jack have booked for us, Vegas looks like the perfect way to sign off! Finishing with the luxary and style we wished we had throughout our trip! Ha! Nightimes were once again a very chilled out affair, but the food was great. We mixed it up with our resort restaurant and two other palces nearby. As we were unable to go back to Koh Phangan for the Full Moon party, we instead went to a party advertised nearby, though it was nothing like our previous Full Moon Experience! It was pretty low key with the only Fire being from my spicy Chicken and 100 different Chillies dish! Really was one of the Spiciest things I have had here and the Curries are hot! The guys who ran the restaurant did try and get the party started there with the offer of free shots, though me and Kay had to decline their offer, we would have been up for an Aftershock, Peach Snapps or even a Sambucca, but the offer of Monkey Brain or Snakes blood was not quite what we were looking for! With that in mind we duly declined, paid our bill and headed to the nearby shop to buy a 10baht ice cream that Kay has declared the find of Thailand and to stock up on some supplies for our bus to Malaysia tomorrow!
Ollies Thailand Summary
Can not believe how quick Thailand has gone, I have had an amazing time here! After all the Temple visiting, long walks, learning about the History and religion of places, all what comes with the Culture of visiting such places as India, China and aswell Vietnam and Cambodia. The chance to just sit on a beach for two months was all I wanted and hoped for! Well that is exactly what we have had! And not just your any old beach, some of the places have been un-describable! Sheer perfection! Exactly what we saw when we first started looking into Thailand and we would sit in the flat and google Thailand beach images! Exactly what you get from the postcards! Amazing! We have spent a good amount of time at all our favourite places, which is one thing before we came out here we said we had to do, never move on until your ready to! Karon, Had Yao beach, Railay, Phi Phi, absolutley loved our stays there! Our day trip to Phi Phi Leh with the snorkling was brilliant, can not wait to do that again! Our day with the elephants was also a great experience, never did I believe I would be hanging on the back of one in a river scubbing the elephant clean behind the ears! Ha! Really enjoyed the Muay Thai night in Bangkok! The food has been excellent, again before coming away Kay and myself both thought our favourite meals would be enjoyed in India and China as at home thats all we go for and love when it comes to a Take-away or going out! Not anymore, after tasting the different Thai colour curries we will be definatly making our way to a Thai restaurant when we are home! (Once we have jobs and money again!Ha!) The Full Moon party was a great night and reminded me that I can still go out and drink to 7am! Well Just! Ha! Though never try to limbo under fire again! FOOL! The weather has been great, we were worried looking on the net when we were in China as it said Thunderstorms every day, but we have had hardly any rain for the wet season and plenty of Sunshine! I can not believe what has happended to my quarter Irish girlfriend! Ha! It’s been a case of Ebony & Ivory! Ha! All in all we leave Thailand not wanting to, I think that is exactly how we wanted to leave! As Kay would say, THANK YOU Thailand!!!!
Kays Thailand Summary
THE BEACHES ARE OVER!!!! BOO HOO HOO!!!! (Well almost - thank god for the Perhentian Islands - wahoo!). I have definately had a brilliant time in Thailand. Bangkok was not what I expected - the buidings are not as new or as high as I expected. Had a brilliant time enjoying what it offered - market shopping - MEGA CHEAP & MEGA TASTY PAD THAI - the best in all of Thailand it turns out - cabaret show of gay men wiggling their bums on Koh San Rd - and of course Mui Thai - great night. Chiang Mai - shame we didn’t use it to its full potential, really wanted to trek to the long neck tribe, but hey - we have done so much - it was still just nice to sit and spend days writing in a cafe over pots and pots of tea - how very English eh! Ha! The day with the elephants was AMAZING - it was impossible for us to book our first choice sanctuary - and I don’t think I agree with the one we went to 100% - but I’m still glad to have had the chance to see them, and glad that we travelled so far out of our way to make sure we put our money in the right pockets as far as we could - I couldn’t have enjoyed a tour down South. Phuket, well it took a little time to get used to doing nothing after non stop hard core travelling for so long - we had to re-adjust to a new pace - but once we did - ah bliss! Had a fab night out on the town with the two couples that we met - and spending time with the scousers in their 4* resorts swimming pool - nice! Phuket (Karon) was the best value for money for us for the whole of Thailand - we had a fab room with lovely staff, the best restaurant we have had food in (delicious every single night - never letting us down - even the free salad bar was great!) - cheap supermarkets so we could spoil ourselves with affordable ice creams - and an Irish bar for when we wanted huge portion of pub grub!! We really did kick start beaches well - despite the beach being more of a Spanish looking beach, rather than Thai I would say. Next - the holy grail of Thailand - Koh Pha Ngan - I have had the best time here ever - better than any beach holiday I have ever had!! Stuffing ourselves with breakfast, swimming & sunbathing in a beautiful resort, right on one of the best beaches - enjoying beer & nibbles on the balcony of our garden hut - enjoying food at the several local restaurants - and not to mention Russ - the greatest dog in the world (a good substitute for our own pets til we get back). We really did have a fantastic time - loved every single second of it - can’t fault one tiny bit! & obviously full moon was one of the most fun nights out ever - loved getting smashed (alcohol I have missed you!) and dancing harder than I ever thought possible until 7am! Koh Pha Ngan - highlight of Thailand for me - by far!!!! Koh Samui - was somthing and nothing - to be honest it was such a shame Ollie was ill for so long here - we didn’t get to see the island much - but felt that if we had - we could have really got settled into Mae Nam - seemed our kinda place - waste of 10 days - shame to be ill on our beach time - but hey, it was inevitable to happen sooner or later!! (Hated Chaweng in Samui though - was glad to get out of there!). Railay (Krabi), ignoring the first damp smelly night in a horrible room - we loved sitting on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and enjoying the view of the huge karst peaks as we sat ashore. This was the first real time that you kinew you were in Thailand - the infamous picture - exactly what I expected to see before we set out on the trip. Loved this place for finding a little dive of a place to eat which served delcious food in huge portions at cheap prices - such an nice way to spend you evening!!! (The 2 cute puppies to play with helped also!). Koh Phi Phi - so glad we went there - we were going to just do a day trip after all the bad reviews. The place is busy & VERY touristy - yes - but if you try and not get too offended by that, it feels nice walking round, like a busy community. Buildings are being thrown up everywhere here - and it seems like as with everywhere we have been - they are just worried about making money now, not trying to keep its natural beauty. But like I say I can’t complain - as if they did this - it would have priced us out of going there - it is already expensive as it is!!! We enjoyed the best day on “The Beach” and felt so lucky to have picked the perfect tour leaving us with an empty beach - don’t think many people get to see it like that anymore - and the snorkling was a brilliant experience to do together - and think we are definately going to try it again in Malaysia. Phi Phi was the final place where we enjoyed Thai beaches too - I never believed the beaches on the postcards would actually look exactly the same in real life - but they do!!! Very different to the beaches in Spain or Vietnam! Shame we didn’t get to go out for a drink here - meant to be like full moon all over again - but illness crept up on me this time - just one of those things! Koh Lanta - was a good pitstop just for a few days to enjoy a pool again - we didn’t see the beaches or any of the island - it was so quiet there and the beaches couldn’t compare to others as far as we seen - but it seemed to have a really good chilled out vibe - that was a lovely place to just be.
All in all - as you can probably tell - I have loved the past 8 weeks!!!! If I could do things differently - there are a few things I might have wanted to do, like go to some of the more remote islands (it didn’t turn out to be possible - too expensive - and in reality I only think you need to visit the remote ones in high seasons - luckily it was quiet enough for us to enjoy the main ones), I wish we weren’t ill as I think this would probably take out 2 whole weeks of time for us - but obviously this is not possible - but all in all - the real things - I couldn’t have changed anything within my power as I loved what we did too much! (Ooh also it would have been nice to have found an apartment somewhere with a kitchen, and spent a couple of weeks there, cooking our own meals, cleaning our own room, etc so it felt like we actually lived there - but again - this would have cost too much and would have taken away from other parts of our trip!).
I definately think that Thai people are WAY more friendly than anywhere else we have been in Asia so far! It is so nice to smile as you walk past people again!! And I also think that Thai food could be a new favourite when we get back home! A night out to a Thai restaurant will definately be on the cards! Always though India & China would be our favourite places for food - but Thailand has been far better right the way through in quality & quantity! It really is delicious!!
I don’t feel bad that we haven’t really “done” anything in Thailand - like go on trips to see more places etc - we literally have used the place to just flop down on the white sand and not move the whole time. You can’t see any culture here in the main beach places - but again that was fine for us. The only time that this bothered me a little was when we were trying to buy a souvenier to bring back with us, and all we could come up with was an anklet for me & some coconut lamps! Ha! The lack of culture in the beaches is reflected by the tacky crap sold on hundreds of stalls. But again - this was fine by us really - I actually like our tacky coconut lamps! Ha!
So with my usual sign off (which I notice Ollie has decided to try and steal from me!) THANK YOU THAILAND - for 8 weeks of utter bliss - the perfect R&R after all our hard work travelling beforehand - you were definately worth the wait!!!
Kays Top Places in Thailand
1. Koh Pha Ngan
2. Koh Phi Phi
3. Phuket (Karon)
5. Chiang Mai
7. Koh Samui
8. Koh Lanta
Ollies Top Places in Thailand
1. Koh Pha Ngan
2. Phuket (Karon)
3. Koh Phi Phi
6. Chiang Mai
7. Koh Lanta
8. Koh Samui