Sunday, 19 December 2010

Last Days of Thailand

Apologies for the lengthy delay in updating the blog.. living out of the back of a van for the past 2 weeks has left it hard to get any time on the Internet. In Melbourne at the mo FYI, but its freezing and raining heavily!!
On to the update...

So our 2 day detox and recovery on Koh Lanta had gone well, Rob had now got the worst out of his system and we were all feeling pretty good. A much more comfy ride to Koh Lanta port in a nice 4x4 in the bright morning sunshine. Throughout the trip we have seen some pretty funny sights on the road including an Ox just standing up in the back of a pickup, and on this morning we passed a family in a tuk tuk being driven by what must have been the 5 year old son!

The ferry ride over was pretty smooth, Tom and I sat on deck taking in the sunshine and sights of the surrounding islands. On arrival we headed back to Sachas hostel where we booked into a pretty nice room with a good shower and good air con!! Throughout our stay on Phi Phi we had always said we should go check out Maya Bay which was on Phi Phi Lay (the smaller sister Island of Koh Phi Phi (which is Don)), the place where scenes from the film "The Beach" were shot. So we booked ourselves on the budget boat trip, which included a visit to "Monkey beach", snorkeling and watching the sunset. We spent a couple of hours relaxing on the beach and on the net before heading to the travel agents to be taken to our boat trip. Here we found the "Brilliant" lads from the other day and all headed off to jump on a longboat. The boat journey itself was quite an experience with 14 crammed in it looked certain we would topple and sink the thing at some points! Monkey beach did what it says on the tin, a beach with monkeys on. It was quite funny watching scared people running away from chasing monkeys, particularly Rob letting out a girlish scream and heading for the safety of the water.. Next stop was a quick dip in a really beautiful bay with clear water and white sand, nicely spoiled by one of the "brilliant" lads getting his bum out for a photo and the boat driver making some rather crude exclamations and gestures towards him! Onto some snorkeling in another bay which offered an amazing amount of tropical fish and coral creatures and plants through the crystal clear water, the best snorkeling views I've ever seen I'd say! Once everyone was satisfied we continued onto Maya Bay (The Beach) where we stopped off for a good hour. The scenery and beach here were amazing and could see why it was chosen for the film. The bay was enclosed by the classic Thai Island scenery of huge rock faces covered in plants, dropping down to the clear water and soft white sands with the sun beginning to set behind the bay.  Just off the beach was a little path through some high grass and tropical trees, very inspiring. A relaxing hour later we headed off on the boat, with some fresh pineapple to nibble on, to watch the sunset in the middle of the water between Lay and Don, which was very romantic...Back to the island and our hostel, headed to a local and next door restaurant, where I had the tastiest Panang Curry I've had, even got the recipe for it now.
Once again we had a couple of buckets and partied on the beach for a while bumping into none other than Alaskan Tony again, who again could not remember who we were! Unfortunately though this night it was the time for Tom to be violently ill from the stomach bug/food poisoning, so he didn't have a very happy night, but once morning had broken he was back on form.
The next day was pretty relaxed and non eventful, mainly recovering from the night before, after some time spent on the Internet we once again headed to Long Beach, though by the time we had got there the sun had disappeared behind some rather ominous clouds. On our walk back we were informed of an all you can eat buffet for what seemed a reasonable price. So headed here for our dinner, though the food was not quite as nice as hoped. I wish I could say this night was far more relaxed than the previous but it started off with us getting some DIY buckets from a local shop. Extremely strong and very disgusting which we unwillingly drunk in our room whilst playing cards, again (I have discovered on this journey that humid temperatures and alcohol make me as red as a tomato, as the boys will tell you I really flared up, that or I have an allergy to Thai Whisky...). From here we once more headed to the Irish bar where once again we bumped into Alaskan Tony and more adventures on the beach continued. Tom left slightly early as was still not 100% leaving Rob and myself to tear up the dance floor, then eventually getting a shisha after some serious bartering (I think the only reason we got it was because we had wanted a good fun barter), spent and hour relaxing, chatting to a French man from Toulons - telling him all about my elder sister and my nephew. The night ended up with Rob suggesting that if I got a tattoo he would as well, the sly dog. Therefore in my rather drunken state I joined the club of a Thai tattoo. I adamantly requested I had my parents names in Thai tattooed onto my right side, a bit of a spur of the moment decision, hoping to get my parents in a catch 22 situation...and I also couldn't think of anything "cool" to have... and so to bed..

The next morning we had to get up early, check out and get ourselves tickets for the ferry over to Phuket. This day was scorching. The ferry that was taking us over to Phuket was a huge luxury one, somehow we got for the same price as the little ones that took us to and from Koh Lanta. We instantly headed up to the top deck to relax in the heat of the Sun with a couple of beers, wisely topping up our suncream and blood alcohol content, though we were sure we would burn.. somehow we didn't.. in fact none of us ever have so far this journey, though I don't know how as we are desperately trying to Tan!! This journey was accompanied by some lovely views of the islands, as well as that of a man trying his earnest to chat up an attractive woman on the deck below, providing us with some gold entertainment and banter for the journey. On the ferry we had booked ourselves a taxi to drive us to Patong Beach (an apparent good tourist destination). So once we had alighted from the ferry we had a half an hours taxi ride with a driver who gave no care to road safety (seems a common theme with the taxi drivers there), cutting up other road users etc dropping us off near some hotels. All the hotels in this area looked rather swish so we took it upon ourselves to trek, with all our bags, down the road to search for a cheaper backpackers hostel. However all we did was find increasingly pricey and extravagant hotels, eventually resorting to jumping in a tuk tuk and asking him to take us to some cheap accommodation. After stopping off a couple of times to check prices and availability we inevitably ended up back at the hotels where we had first been dropped off. We gave in and decided to pay 1000 bhat for the night (between the 3 of us), which to be honest was still only 7 pounds each. This was probably the best decision we had made on the trip so far as the Hotel was LUSH!!! Rooftop swimming pool, gym, large comfy king size bed (that fitted all 3 of us in), lovely shower and toilet... we got an absolute steal!

After basking in the awesomeness and a quick dip in the swimming pool we headed out to search for somewhere to eat and watch the Arsenal - Tottenham match. This walk was rather a whirlwind adventure, starting off casually walking down the street being asked every now and then if us "Handsome men/man /sexy man etc etc" wanted a massage, then headed into a small area with loads of small round bars/huts. These bars were all 'manned' by Thai girls and, my god, I cant describe to you the wall of sound that hit us as we entered the area.. All these ladies shouting at us trying to get us to come over and have a drink at their hut, naturally we got scared and just walked through not really sure what to do. So we continued through and round and out the other side, not really sure as to what had just happened but agreed we should go back at some point for a drink... We eventually found a small restaurant and had a not very good meal while watching Aresnal throw away a 2 goal lead to Tottenham.. shame..
After dinner we continued our walk through the center ending up at Bangla Road. A wide street lined with "A Go Go" bars, bright lights, lots of food stalls and loud music... and absolutely buzzing with tourists. The long walk down this road was pretty similar to the huts we had seen earlier, lots of local girls all trying to tempt you into their bar, though far smuttier. We just kept our heads down and headed home to the hotel. I'll say one thing though, all our Egos were firmly boosted...
Once back Tom and I decided we should go for a drink though Rob was once again feeling worse for wear and spent the night in the hotel room being ill...
Mine and Toms adventure was quite a funny one starting off rather normal in a bar on the corner of Bangla Road which was packed with tourists. Here we had a couple of beers and enjoyed watching English, Irish, Scottish and Aussie boys and girls make fools of them selves on stage, followed by quite a talented local band... Innocently moving on we got dragged into what I can best describe as a big room of bars on the side of the road, lots of bars all in close proximity with local girls all screaming at you to come to theirs.. standard.. Tom and I sat down at one and got ourselves a couple of beers, here we were chatted up by two local girls (I'm assuming they may have been "solicitors" *cough*). These girls brought out a few board games and we actually had quite a funny and enjoyable time playing connect four and Jenga with them. Felt rather odd but very amusing all the same. I think they were slightly disappointed that we left without ordering anything "extra"..
Moving onto to another bar and a quick drink we decided we were ready to head home...

The next morning with glorious sunshine out, and Rob feeling back on form, we headed to the beach. Patong beach reminded me a lot of the Mediterranean with lots of deck chairs and parasols, motorboats towing parachutes and lots of families and older folk. A MacDonald's later (the only food we really felt we could trust by now) and we got ourselves a couple of deck chairs and soaked in the sun, though it was uncomfortably hot. Rob decided to take a dip in the sea (which too was stupidly warm) whilst myself and Tom paid a few bhat to be rubbed down with fresh Aloe Vera... incredibly gooey, it felt like we were covered in jelly, but amazingly cooling and good protection for the skin.. win win!
After enough time in the sun we headed back to the hotel to take a dip in our roof top pool with a couple of refreshing Chang beers (though by this point we were all rather resenting Chang beer as it had dealt us much pain). Whilst going through the motions of shithead before dinner it was finally my turn to get the bug. Coming on rather slowly but then hitting me with full force. I'll spare the details but once I was ready we headed out to find Pizza. Arriving at a suitable Pizza parlour I felt extremely poorly and was straight to the loo, after ordering I decided it was too risky to stay out and took my pizza take away back to the hotel. I cant tell you about Tom and Robs night but I think it involved watching football with a few beers much nicer than how mine ended as I became feverish and hated everything about my insides.

Needless to say I didn't get too much sleep but eventually the next morning arrived and we woke early to check out and jump in a taxi (which once again drove like a madman), to Phuket Airport. Checked in and fed, I felt much better tho still slightly ropey. However we had arrived about 2 hours earlier than we needed to so spent a lot of time sat around doing what we do best with time on our hands.. playing cards.
An uneventful 3 hours later our Thailand adventure had ended and we set foot in Singapore.

I guess a few things we can take away from Thailand is the Chang lottery is bad, Buckets are amazing, food is delicious but can cause some trouble, you can feel famous and we became far too comfortable with each other..