A Travellerspoint blog

Koh Pangnan to Krabi

overcast 25 °C

Koh Pangnan was beautiful! We decided to hire a scooter to tour the island as there is no public transport apart from the expensive taxis. So for 200 Baht we got a scooter for a day. I quickly learnt how to use it (it was automatic so no gear changing needed), popped Clare on the back and off we scooted! We wanted to check out the waterfalls that are dotted all over the island as they are supposed to be spectacular...however we soon found out that unless you're there during the monsoon weather the waterfall are actually dry or just a simple trickle of water! It was good though because we got to see lots of things along the roadside and got to stop where we wanted to have food (we found a very English pub called the Mason Arms which even had the smoking ban!) and we saw more beaches along the West of the island. That evening we watched the football in the hostel because we didn't want to scooter in the dark to the pub and was very glad to see the score (2-0!!!) before we headed off to the Full Moon party in Haad Rin. We had to cover ourselves in neon paint (as this is a tradition apparently!) and we got a cheap ride to Haad Rin from the hostel staff in their jeeps. The beach was packed with people and there was a big police presence there... we grabbed a bucket of booze (apparently Sangsom is actually rum not whiskey!) and tried to keep up with the other hostel people (we lost them in about 10 minutes!)... we mostly spent the evening sitting on the beach chatting as there were too many people dancing outside the main pubs playing music and there were frequent toilet trips needed (the alcohol and noise of the waves are a bad combination!). However, this slow pace was to our advantage as many people left quite early to head home and we managed to stay until the sunrise over the beach at about 6am and Clare took lots of pictures of the sky changing colour...I, unfortunately, got to witness boys peeing in the sea and one vomitting...so no paddling for us! We got a taxi home around 6:30am which was paid for by a very chatty Irish man in a poncho before falling into bed and sleeping until 2 the next afternoon! That day was pretty much a write-off and we drank plenty of water and ate lots of food!
The following day was our last on the island so we decided to hire the scooter again and discover the north east side of the island. This was a much more difficult ride as the roads were mostly dirt with some very steep hills! We managed to make it though and were glad we did it as the bay in the north east was ebautiful and we discovered a little town which had the bumpiest road ever but was so laid back is was great. We had lunch in a bar called Rasta Baby which was amazing! The design of the bar, the friendly staff, the cats trying to teal Clare's fish and the views..brilliant, I'd recommend it to anyone!
We scootered home after our late lunch and watched a film until we were both tired enough to get an early night so we were both ready by 6:30am the next morining to go catch the boat at 7am to the mainland. We both slept on the boat which took us directly to the bus to Krabi, which, in our previous experience, was quite a novelty! The journey didn't take too long and we arrived at the port of Krabi so people going to Koh Phi Phi could catch their boat and we could find a hostel in the tourist office for us that night. They were very helpful and we have a room in a hostel called Bai Leaf for 300 Baht a night. The rooms are clean with en suite bathroom and a fan! One downside....last night we discoered we're sharing our room with Skippy Mark 2 who scuttled across the bed and sent Clare screaming out of the door leaving me to cahse it around the room hopelessly (I can't stand them either but one of us had to be pro-active!). I failed to catch him so he slept under our bed and didn't show his face again (I hope!). Clare also booked herself some diving lessons when we were out walking around town last night. She's doing her training this morning and the dives over the next couple of days which leaves me with lots of time to wander around Krabi and figure out where we're going next and how we're going to get there!
I think we're heading for Koh Phi Phi next (where the filmed 'The Beach') then on to Phuket (pronounced 'poo-get' not any other way you might find amusing!)

Posted by garvie 20:45 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Bangkok to Kho Pangan

overcast 28 °C

We have said farewell to Bangkok... we did so in style by visiting the red light district (finally!) which was an experirence I won't forget, unfortunately! It is, as they say, a tourist trap now and there were loads of stalls set up and lots of neon signs. It was also terrifying! There were men with little cards just said 'porn dvd' and we got dragged into a strip club by some man on the street. We paid 300 Baht each and got a free drink but it was horrible. We sat and were harrassed for the entire time for money and were entirely uncomfortable. We gave them the little money we had left even though none of the dancers had 'performed' any of their rountines. Although we did see things we never want to see again...bottles of beer being opened without the use of limbs (the only polite way of saying it!) and the classic ping pong (which Clare was disappointed to find out had nothing to do with table tennis...)

We finally left Bangkok on Thursday night around 6pm and headed on a bus to Kho Pangnan. It was an over night bus which we thought would be comfortable enough for 12 hours. However, although Clare is capable of falling asleep practically anywhere, I am not. So I spent many hours just hoping the time would pass quickly or that we'd stop for another break. I survived though and we arrived at a port at 6am. We sat waiting for 2 hours...and were put on another bus for an hour (this was not the main ferry port!). We finally got on a boat which was fantastic...we lined the edges of the boat to try and catch some sun whilst skimming across the water. The first drop off was Kho Samui which looked chaotic with taxi people trying to get some business from thse disembarking.
Another hour on the boat and we arrived at our destination which was even more chaotic as they were literally throwing backpacks off the boat to the pier and you had to dig under other bags to find your own! I managed to get ours successfully though and we ran away from the taxi people as they were trying to charge 100 Baht per person which we thought was very steep. We already knew we had a free lift from the hostel anyway and it was just a case of calling them and telling them we had arrived. We had only one slight problem...they said satnd outside the 7/11 store and there were two! We chose the wrong one of course...the man found us eventually and in no time we were checked in.
The hostel is called Power Beach resort and the rooms are quite basic but we have a room, a bed, a shower and a western toilet so we can't complain! Also they serve food, beer and havea swimming pool and... hammocks outside the room!
We also went out to Haad Rin with our Swedish neighbours (one is a half Irish) which is where the Full Moon Party is tomorrow night just to have a look around but ended up drinking buckets of a combination of Sangsom (Thai whiskey), coke and redbull...and dancing on the beach until 2am! Then is started to rain...really badly...the streets turned to rivers and we grabbed a crepe from a stall and waited for a taxi.I must explain about the taxis though, they are all jeeps and have a cover on the back and seats and can fit about 12 people in. So they earn a fortune at 100 Baht for each passenger!
Tomrrow is the real Full moon party so we're heading to a bar near the hostel to watch the football (Newcastle v Sunderland....very important!)before heading out later on to enjoy dancing on the beach again (we will be careful!). We're also going to try and get to the waterfalls on the island during the day as they are supposed to be beautiful.

Posted by garvie 03:37 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

The water carnage...

It's still an ongoing affair...I'm a bit bored of it now and I'm tired of being in soaking wet clothes for the entire day! So today for Clare's birthday I booked us into a hotel behind the Khao San Road. It's called the Viengtai Hotel and I we have one of the best rooms in the place (not quite penthouse though and it cost 5400 Baht for 2 nights which isn't quite as bad as I thought it was going to be....and we have a swimming pool! The room is lovely and there's even a TV and air-con that actually makes you feel freezing cold! It's a luxury existence compared to what we're used to.
Tonight we're trying to get away from the water fighting and we have devised a cunning plan involing carrying dry clean clothes and getting in a tuk tuk or a taxi to another district and changing out of our soggy stuff there! On a positive note I finally managed to get my flip flops dry today in the sun by the pool, however, the street is awash and they are damp yet again! Hopefully tomorrow on Clare's actual birthday things here will be a bit more normal!
We didn't make it to the red light district last night but maybe tonight we will...
Apart from the water and the clay they paint you with and me not being happy about being in large groups of people and being squirted repeatedly in the eyes (not good with contact lenses!) I'm having fun!

Posted by garvie 04:02 Comments (0)

BANGKOK!

sunny 33 °C

20 hours on the night train from Butterworth in Malaysia....enough said! It was an interesting experience and they have bunk beds. It was weird but fun! My first impressions of Bangkok were that I hated it... all the signs are in Thai and not very many people speak English and showing a map with road names in English only confuses taxi drivers!
The first hostel we arrived at was the Bed & Breakfast and it seemed miles away from anything really and was very expensive (600 Baht) so we spent only one night there. We headed out the first night to the Khao San Road and loved it! It may be because it's the Thai new year and there's a 3 day water fight or maybe it was just seeing lots of tourists but I did immediately exclaim that we were moving to a hostel of the Khao San immediately at a cheaper cost (350 Baht) but with a terrible bathroom!
Before we left we visted Jim Thompson's house (google Jim Thompson and Thailand to find out more about it!) house like his...or there would be trouble! It was a beautiful house I must admit but not quite suited to the British weather!
So we packed again and set off for our new room in the lively part of town... apart from me collapsing with what cn only be described as a combination of heat exhaustion/dehydration/being fed up with carrying a backpack for miles (we got lost even though the taxi driver dropped us pratically on the road/HANGOVER...Luckily two Oz girls picked me up and carried my pack to the hostel (I bought them a beer later!). We then set about exploring the road and getting absolutely drenched! I don't think I've dried out for three days now...flip flops are all over the place and I have a cquired a super soaker for water carnage! It's been brilliant so far apart from the massive number of people today...which is very daunting and at times terrifying!
This morning we decided to havea tour of some 'places of interest' and ended up being bundled into a tuk tuk and taken on a tour which I was convinced would end up in robbery, serious physical pain or a rip off...I was mostly right! the last stop on the tour was a tailors where we got measured up for suits and paid 15,000 baht for the privilege! It's ok though we had already decided we were getting some made anyway but still...I was waiting for the scam the entire ride! But then again I was taken to the cashpoint on the back of a scooter so I was very happy (but terrified of falling off!).
We're going to get some more delicious food now and possibly plan a trip to the red light district for a laugh!
Oh and we've booked our trip fo the Moon Party the entire trip with accomodation in a beach chalet for 5 nights and bus there and bus on to Krabi only cost us 3200 Baht each (52 pounds!) - amazing!

Posted by garvie 02:53 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Tanah Rata to Penang

sunny 33 °C

We've arrived in Penang now, it's very hot in comparison to the highlands. We spent 3 days in the mountains which had the most amazing views (we took lots of pictures!). We only did one tour though which was disappointing...we spent the first day just lounging around enjoying the cooler climate and the massive thunder storms which happened every night. The second day we did the Countyside Tour which involved us getting a minibus from the hostel to several places (The Rose Centre - amazing view and beautiful flowers, the Strawberry farm - not very interesting, although I didn't realise strawberries are the flower, The Butterfly Farm - totally amazing insects and butterflies and snakes....and a whole load of cannabis plants apparently then the honey bee farm - not so great if you feel the need to run away from bees...). The Father's Hostel we stayed in was nice and we made a friend... Skippy (Clare named him) the Jungle Cockroach, who appeared to live either under my bed or under Clare's...we're not sure,he may have had two houses, anyway he made me sleep in my hoody (hood over my head)...apart from that it was great!
We caught the early bus from Tanah Rata (the town we were staying in) to Penang (6 hours on a bus for 26 RM!) and ended up getting a taxi from near the airport where the bus station is (another 25 RM) to Chinatown and the hostel we're now staying in (75 Travelers Lodge). We're just trying to work out how to get to Bangkok from here so we can be there for the Thai New Year and Clare's birthday! Then we're heading back down to Phuket and the islands for some serious sun-worshipping!
Please comment! Thanks Richard and I'm glad it's bringing back memories!

Posted by garvie 01:15 Archived in Malaysia Comments (2)

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