Monday, December 18, 2006
We continued our time in Koh Phangan, by sitting on the beach for 5 days doing nothing. We didn't visit anywhere, do anything, and we only left our resort once to go into town for dinner. Absolutely brilliant!
Every restaurant in town shows DVD films while you have dinner, and surprise surprise the film that we watched was 'The Beach'. Like 'Octopussy' in India and 'The Man with the Golden Gun' in Phuket, these places latch onto any film that was made there and show it again, and again, and again.
On Friday we took a 4 hour boat trip, then an 11 hour overnight bus trip to get to Bangkok. We arrived at 5am in the morning and hadn't booked anywhere to stay. So Karly sat in McDonalds with the bags, while Andy wandered around looking for a hotel (while trying to avoid the very nice ladies offering him massages).
We're staying near the Khao San road. This is the heart of backpacker territory, and there are hundreds of stupid white westerners with dreadlocks and guitars. This really seems to be a 24 hour place, as even at 5am in the morning when we arrived there were people sitting in bars playing pool and drinking beer.
We haven't done much yet. On Saturday, we were too tired because of the journey, so we slept most of the day, and then went to the cinema to see Casino Royale. For about 3.50 pounds we were able to watch it in the VIP cinema. This only has about 20 seats, they serve beer while you watch the film, and the chairs are so comfortable that you could easily just fall asleep in them. If you ever come to Bangkok, we highly recommend it.
On Sunday we visited the Grande Palace, where the King lives. In the same grounds is the Emerald Buddha. This was very impressive, but unfortunately the batteries on our camera ran out just as we arrived, so we didn't really take any good photos. We then went and saw a giant golden Buddha. This is about 50 meters long and laying down on it's side. It really is the biggest Buddha we've ever seen.............it had massive feet.
Last night we went to an area called Pat Pong Road. Here we sat in an Irish pub (again) and watched some football (while Andy drank some cider). The Pat Pong road has 2 main industries. The first is a big trade in fake goods (watches, handbags, DVDs etc.) and the second involves Ping Pong balls. We didn't buy either.
We are just going to finish our time in Bangkok by doing some shopping, and then we fly out of here on Wednesday to Sydney.
On our next blog entry, we'll write a summary of the highs and lows of the trip (don't want to write it yet, in case Bangkok turns out to be one of them!).
If anyones interested, we'll continue to write the blog for the next couple of weeks, so that we can cover Christmas and the New year in Sydney. There are a couple of friends from the UK coming over (Bryan and Karina), and we should get some good photos of new years eve at Sydney harbour bridge.
After that we'll probably stop the blog, as we'll have temp jobs and our lives will be boring again!
Goodbye travels, it's been fun.
Heres the photos of above:
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Ko Samui, Ko Phangan, Ko jak
We were very busy on our last few days on Phuket. On Monday we hired a car and drove around the island, where we discovered that Phuket wasn't at all like Patong! Generally Phuket seemed more developed and classy than other places we've been so far (whereas Patong just seemed to be full of neon signs, seedy bars and sex tourists). The rest of Phuket island seemed bearable and you can really understand why it's so touristy, as all the beaches are beautiful with lovely clean sand and bright turquoise water.
We went on a day cruise to Koh Phi Phi. This is where the movie 'The Beach' was filmed. The brochure for the tour we went on said that we would spend an hour snorkeling in Maya Bay (where the majority of the filming was done). However once we were on the boat we discovered that they had changed the itinerary without actually changing what they advertised in the brochure. So instead of stopping to snorkel the boat just slowed down as we went past the beach (from quite far away) so that we could take photos. Karly complained to the tour guide but all she got was some excuse about how it was the travel agent who sold us the tours fault and a patronising pat on the back. Karly did eventually get to go snorkeling. The snorkeling was good and Koh Phi Phi was very picturesque but we were still annoyed that we didn't get to do what we had paid for.
After somehow managing to spend a whole week in Phuket we decided it was time to leave. We headed to the east coast of Thailand and the islands in the Gulf of Thailand. Our first stop was Koh Samui. This is another place full of flash hotels and package tourists so we had alot of hotel envy, especially as we were staying in a cheapish hotel.
We arrived in the middle of a huge storm and woke the next morning to discover the road outside our hotel was flooded. Sarah and Gubby (the two Irish girls we met in Vietnam) met up with us so that Sarah and Karly could have a combined birthday bash. We went to Tesco (yes they have Tesco here and it rains alot, it's just like being back in the UK.) and bought some doughnuts, candles, beer and crisps/chips so that we could kick off the evening with a little party in our room. We then went for dinner and onto an Irish pub so Andy could have cider on tap and the girls would feel at home.
We spent the rest of our time just sitting on the beach. Once the rain cleared up it was quite nice. The water was lovely and there was quite a bit of good surf.
After three days on Koh samui we decided to head for Koh Phangan. It's the next island along and supposedly more backpackerish, so hopefully cheaper. So that is where we are now. We've found a little hut on the beach that Andy managed to get for a fifth of what they normally charge (his negotiating skills are coming along quite well). The weather hasn't been great so far but hopefully it will clear up................though we have been treated to a very nice sunset.
Last weeks photo link didn't seem to work, so if you try it now it should be ok.
And here are this weeks photos.....