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Thailand

Thailand - Koh Chang

"Elephant Island"

sunny
View Honeymoon Tour on Daft Slags Do..'s travel map.

Arriving on Koh Chang after a 45 minute speedboat journey we were ushered along (Bang Bao) pier, built up with restaurants and shops, to a pickup truck in a car park (actually a patch of rubble behind a shop). We loaded up our bags and hopped on board, along with an overweight northerner to keep Kiwi company. We then drove the short distance to our first port of call, Cliff Cottages, after a wrong turn/detour by the taxi driver!!! Cliff Cottages is made up of a small number of bungalows/bell tents overlooking a private rocky bay. The tents were placed on wooden platforms at the top of a cliff, however to get to the top of the cliff you had to climb a mammoth set of steps. Our jelly thighs just held out to be greeted by spectacular panoramic views of the blue sea and surrounding jungle of the island. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the main resort area (I say resort as I don't know what else to call it) and then decided to take a walk as the sun was edging its way closer toward the horizon. We'd seen a few people make their way along a timber walkway on the opposite side of the bay which hugged the cliff before disappearing round the corner, so we did our best Scooby Doo gang impression and went to investigate. We discovered a little secret gem, as for only 2 hours every day at sunset a bar opened around the southern headland of the island serving beer and cocktails to the sounds of classic chill out with unprecedented views of the sea and sunset. Having arrived a little late to the party we supped up a beer and looked forward to the following evening. Later on we enjoyed a decent vegetarian meal back at the resort before adorning crampons to scale the steps back to base camp for the night.

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The next morning we awoke to a cloudless sky and enjoyed breakfast overlooking the bay. Being the first time in a while we'd had the opportunity (sounds like bollux but it's busy business), we sat down to do some planning for upcoming parts of the trip. We took a break mid afternoon for a swim in the bay, although not for too long as Kiwi got freaked out by the rocks!!! In the afternoon a troop of monkeys passed through the resort to catch crabs on the rocks which was great to watch, although not as great when we got up the hill and realised they had uprooted the bins. As evening threatened, we briskly walked up to the bar in order to beat a large group of Dutch emo hippies (as Kiwi called them) to a front row cushion, leaving us to sit for the evening and watch the sunset again, but managing a few beers this time before it set. After which we walked the distance to Bang Bao pier (not realising there was a shortcut) and had some dinner at a floating restaurant. I had a curry so hot that my bowels began to cry at the thought of the next morning, and Kiwi feasted on a plate of beige (cauliflower stir fry and rice). We walked half the distance back to the resort and got a lift for the other half with the resort owner, a slightly strange diving obsessed Dutch man with a very nice smiley Thai wife.

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One thing of note from our stay was an American couple who had named their baby Chinatown!!! I'm not sure if that's where the baby was conceived or a tribute to their favourite area of home, either way it's f*cking absurd.

In the morning we packed up and tripped down the steps to travel on to the next location on the island. The reception woman pointed me in the direction of the road when I enquired about a taxi but the road was an empty track, great. Then she called the resort taxi man who refused to take us until he had eaten his lunch and tried to charge us a ridiculous rate which we had to barter down. This was all while the owner sat on his arse bragging to a group of lads about his new resort, basically being about as much use as a marzipan dildo. Finally though we jumped in the pickup and drove the short trip to Lonely Beach, which is the backpackers area of Koh Chang. We were staying at a small resort called Little Eden which was set back off the main village in the jungle and turned out to be a one of the best places we've stayed on the trip!!! We were checked in by a German lady who was minding the fort whilst the owner was out, so we threw in our stuff and went to lonely beach for a couple of hours. On our return we were introduced to the owner of the place who was an English man named David who was extremely decent but bat shit crazy, an entertaining mix. In the evening we found a little bar called Joy Cottage which had a nice feel, played live music and served vegetarian food, so we remained there for the duration.

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The next day we awoke and enjoyed a homely breakfast of beans on toast with grated cheese and some cracking coffee. We learnt the owner David had lived in Germany for much of his life, married and divorced a women (who turned out to be the women who checked us in), moved to Thailand, set up Little Eden, married a women who turned out to be a (quote) "psychopathic bitch", then separated, paid her off and had now met another Thai women who was (quote) "just amazing". I'm no mathematician but I could definitely detect a pattern there with a possible common denominator, as I said, entertaining. We spent the day at Lonely Beach and supped a beer watching the sunset before playing on an oversized beach swing and returning to Joy Cottage for evening drinks and entertainment.

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The next morning it was raining and Kiwi had a headache so we relaxed in the bungalow and went down to the beach for an hour in the afternoon when both the weather and headache had improved. We made use of the Wifi at Joy Cottage and had a skyping session with the folks back home before retiring to Little Eden for cards and yahtzee etc. Not much to report that day.

We had rented a scooter to explore the island so the next day we awoke for another breakfast of beans on toast before starting out for the national parks and waterfalls. The drive to the first waterfall took around 1 hour followed by a 30 minute hike. Located in a little valley the waterfall created a deep swimming pool which drained out into a stream further down. The pool was full of really big fish and with it's crystal clear waters you could see them all swimming around you. The best fish however were the little ones which would peck at the skin on your feet whenever you stood still, a strange feeling which most people shrieked at and freaked Kiwi out!!! This place was fairly busy so we hopped back on the scooter and drove round to another waterfall on the less inhabited east side of the island. This waterfall was smaller but far more peaceful owing to lack of crowds and we chilled out by the water for a while before heading back for the day. Along the route the road rose and fell on two huge winding hills/mountains so that was good fun on the bike, better going up than down though. On the way back we stopped off at Lonely Beach for a swim and lie down after which we had dinner at Little Eden (best restaurant in Koh Chang) and went to Joy Cottage for evening beers and another Skype session. That evening a reggae bar from Chang Mai were in residence and the music was pretty good quality leading to increased beer consumption and a thick head the next morning.

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Unfortunately the next morning was laundry duty so we sorted and dropped our stinking clothes down to the laundry lady who said we could pick them up that same evening...something to look forward to (genuinely excited about clean clothes). Today we drove south to the Bang Bao area we had initially stayed in as there was a reportedly good beach down there. When we located it we weren't let down as it offered empty white sand and shade from the hot sun below beach canopy trees. The only thing to dampen the occasion was the obligatory items of rubbish in the sea floating down from the pier however not enough to ruin the scene. On the way back to Little Eden we stopped at a reggae bar overlooking the bay for a fruit shake sugar injection. Back in Lonely Beach I was overjoyed to collect my clean washing before we indulged in Tofu burgers at the accommodation then surprise surprise headed to Joy Cottage for beers and music. We must stress that we did explore other places in Lonely Beach but Joy Cottage was the best place for a more relaxed vibe and live music, although we did ponder going elsewhere for a 'drinks bucket' and dum dum house music, didn't seem quite right.

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We arose early the next day and repeated our journey to the east side of the island up and over the sheer windy roads. We had passed a luxury resort called Amber Sands the time before and decided to stop in this time for breakfast. The restaurant was beach side with a lovely relaxed feel and decent menu, so I ordered french toast and bacon, whilst Kiwi went for eggs on toast. Both washed down with healthy sized fresh pressed coffee. However, the highlight of the morning was their WC's which topped my mental list of all time top toilets. They were located away down a winding plant lined path, and curved in shape, with a red wooden door leading through to a large open air area complete with toilet and wash hand basin. Their is something liberating about doing your business in an open air space, an experience I hope to repeat in the near future. After this highlight we continued our journey to the mangroves which we eventually found after several wrong turns. There are two areas of mangrove on Koh Chang both of which have walkways through them to elevate you above the water. It was a decent walk and very peaceful in the shaded mangroves watching the fish in the water and in the second area the forest broke directly onto the coastline allowing you to see the full impact of the forest. After walking both mangroves we drove to a secluded beach on the far south eastern spit of the island called Long Beach without realising quite how long the journey was owing to windy roads, steep hills, dirt tracks and in one place the road had been washed away by the river. We appreciated the signs which read 'Road Broken. No longer works', and carried on over the temporary wooden bridge feeling slightly cautious. When we did finally make it to Long Beach we were slightly underwhelmed in comparison to the effort of the journey so we stayed a short while before driving around 3 hours back to Lonely Beach for our final evening on Koh Chang. For dinner we had fresh garlic and lemon roasted fish from Little Eden and you know it was fresh because we saw the cook going to buy the fish after we ordered it!!!!

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The next morning we had an early morning pick up by the mini bus to take us back to Bangkok, although unfortunately as we were the last pick up we were left the shit seats on the bus. Therefore after a thoroughly uncomfortable journey we gladly arrived back in Bangkok mid afternoon. I cannot express to anyone how crazy this minibus driver was, as all white minibus drivers in Asia are notoriously bad drivers, but this guy was the champion of their trade. At one point I saw him laughing as a moped slammed into a car which pulled across it on the highway, funny shit!!!

Back in Bangkok we were dropped at Victory Monument leaving us to catch the Skytrain a few stops and walking the remainder of the way to our hostel. In hindsight having not eaten that day and given the heat vs distance we should have got a taxi, so after a few sharp words between Kiwi and myself I conceded she was right!!! The hostel was really nice but slightly quiet so we showered and caught the train Siam Paragon for a spot of dinner before buying beers to drink back at the hostel over a few games of cards.

The next day we rose to sample the free hostel breakfast and then again caught the train to Siam Paragon for some food followed by a film at my favourite ever cinema, Scala Cinema Siam. This time we were slightly late so had to stand outside whilst all in the cinema rose to pay homage to the king by the automated collage of pictures. However we purchased popcorn and drinks for £1.50 and settled in to 'The Reverent' for a bit of light viewing and a master class in suffering from Leo. After a thoroughly nice afternoon we caught the Skytrain a few stops to meet my old school friend Jon Cubitt who has resided in Bangkok for a number of years but has now elected to move to Hong Kong this summer. We had a thoroughly nice evening with Jon and his wife Dana (drinking and chatting) which ended in me and Dana trying to convince Jon to hit up a karaoke bar, although he sensibly resisted which made the morning far easier than it would have been after more drinks and karaoke, so thank you Jon for not giving in.

The next day we mooched around the hostel area until it was time to get a taxi to the airport and catch our flight to Hong Kong.

All in all we really really enjoyed Koh Chang as the island is seriously beautiful but not busy enough to spoil the magic. Being not too big it's possible to explore the place on a scooter without the risk of getting lost, but big enough for plenty of secret locations to discover. Sad to leave but enough left to do to come back in future. As for Bangkok, best city in South East Asia, happy to come back any time!!!

Posted by Daft Slags Do.. 18:43 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

Thailand - Koh Mak


View Honeymoon Tour on Daft Slags Do..'s travel map.

Our small mini bus left Bangkok at 8am on Friday 22nd January. We were cramped inside for a 5 & 1/2 hour journey with a young couple who were constantly taking selfies - a picture of the inside of a mini bus is what everyone wants to see, you get a real sense of the fun you are experiencing. Sarcasm over, we stopped at a rest point to which we were ushered onto a small train like truck vehicle - the ones children go on around zoos, you know?! This peculiar transportation took us to the ferry port and we boarded for a 40 minute journey across to the island of Koh Mak. Once we stepped foot on the island we were immediately approached by a taxi man, we accepted his services and he drove us the short journey to our dwelling - Banana Sunset Bungalows. Down the dirt road strewn with coconuts, that no one will make use of, and we were checking in with the boisterous Cambodian receptionist/waiter/bar man Tom. We were offered fresh pineapple, given toilet paper and shown to our room. A modest bungalow with en suite "wet room" and a faint musty smell, albeit very conformable and only a few meters from the waters edge. After showers we went back up to the bar for a spot of lunch overlooking the sea, then down the adjoining board-walk and into the sea. As much as Jack makes fun of my jelly shoes they were extremely useful over the rocky sea bed, I ultimately had the last laugh as Jack had to wear manky wet suit boots that had previously had other men's wretched feet in. Urgh. Plus my jelly shoes have glitter in a look pretty in the sunshine.
A trip to Banana Sunset is a must for anyone visiting the island, as it has an amazing viewpoint to watch the sunset over the sea. We spent the remainder of the evening at the bar, where the music was a good volume and a chilled, relaxed atmosphere ensued. They even had a pool table, table football, darts and other games to keep us entertained.

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The following morning we pretty much did the same, had breakfast overlooking the sea then chilled at the bar and swam in the sea. Drank beer in the evening and played games.

The next day was a little more active, we packed up our rucksacks and hired push bikes for the day. It was tough riding, with some big hills and questionable gears/breaks on the bikes. We rode down into the small village and stopped at a restaurant called the "Food Art Hut" and had a big old breakfast washed down with fresh fruit shakes. Delicious. Although Jack did get the shits from some dodgy ham (suspected). Swings and roundabouts. We carried on riding around the island where only two months previously had the main road been finished and about every 15-20mins you would see a scooter, car or another human being. Back to the bungalow for a skype with the family and a shower and we were riding back out into the village for dinner. We tried to have a beer back at the bungalow bar but Jack's bowels weren't up to it so we played Yahtzee in the room instead.

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Monday we had booked in for a cooking course from 10am-2pm. So we walked the short distance from the bungalows and down towards Smile Cooking School. We were greeted by Leng, who teaches the class and given hibiscus tea which helped to settle Jack's stomach. The class took place on Leng's terrace overlooking the sea, a beautiful and serene setting to learn how to make delicious food! Leng offers a class from either 10am-2pm or 3pm-7pm and each class has four spaces. Luckily for us we were the only two that booked for the morning class, so we had Leng all to ourselves! We were given a small cookbook and began by learning how to make pad thai, after we chopped and prepped we moved over to the small woks on burners and it took seconds to make. We got to munch on it afterwards and it was so tasty! We then started to prepare ingredients for meals such as fried tofu with cashew nuts and stir fried vegetables with Chinese kale. After this Leng's assistant brought out a large structure filled with colourful ingredients and we learnt how to make green curry and penaeng curry from scratch! It was hard work on the pestle and mortar. Leng taught us that you should separate the coconut milk into cream and milk rather than pouring it all straight in. The cream should be used like oil in the beginning, the milk for the curry and a little cream at the end. Once everything was made we were directed to the table in the garden to feast on all the food, Leng even served us blue rice that she grows in her garden. An amazing experience and we'll definitely be cooking a LOT of Thai food when were back home - which you should all look forward to!

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Food coma in full flow, we headed back over to the bungalows for a well deserved nap. Later in the afternoon and after checking our insurance policy, we rented a scooter from Banana Sunset for 24 hours and went out for yet more food! The bungalow bar drew us back in and we spent the evening drinking beer.

We did find out after we initially booked the transport to the island that the beaches were riddled with sand flies. You can ward them off by covering yourself with coconut oil, but this surely meant that you would cook like a roast potato in the sunshine! We hopped on the scooter and rode around to Vista view point to have breakfast and take in the breathtaking views. Hopping back on the scooter we then travelled to the south of the island to buy ferry tickets for the follow day's move. Once there we took a walk down the pier and decided to lather our legs with coconut oil so we could have a swim in the sea. We travelled even further around the island to Ban Laem Son where there was a small bar overlooking a quiet beach, we sat and had a refreshing drink and bumped into Leng and her buddies. The return journey took about 40 minutes to get back, however the jungle and rubber trees either side of the road were a perfectly peaceful setting.

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For our last evening, you guessed it - we had beers at banana sunset bar and enjoyed a game of pool and chatted to Tom and the team. We had a final leisurely morning eating breakfast overlooking the sea before we had to check out at 12pm and got a free lift down to the ferry port ready to board the speedboat over to Koh Chang.

Koh Mak is a really beautiful little island that is very much off the beaten track and life moves at a steady pace. We found out the island is owned by 5 different families and all decisions taken co-operatively, thus preventing the island from turning into the next Phuket. They even have an island AGM for all residents to discuss island issues and agree a plan for the coming year. Whilst it doesn't have the dramatic scenery of the west coast islands it makes up for it in other ways and it is certainly not touristy in the traditional sense. If you want a laid back, pretty, friendly island experience, then Koh Mak is the choice!

Until next time....

J&K x

Posted by Daft Slags Do.. 07:58 Archived in Thailand Tagged landscapes trees sea sunset palm_trees travelling travelling_honeymoon koh_mak Comments (2)

Thailand - Bangkok pt. 1

sunny
View Honeymoon Tour on Daft Slags Do..'s travel map.

On the Monday morning we ate a final breakfast on the beach at Koh Tao before boarding a Tuk Tuk from Palm Leaf resort back to the pier in time to catch the morning ferry to Chumpon. As an observatory note, we passed a quiet roadside stall which held had an entire pig's carcass divided into it's various bits. Fortunately and in spite of the 32'C heat the vendor was swatting away flys with a brush, enuring it stayed as fresh as a vest wearing, post A level, travelling lad's armpit :-)

The ferry was an all in ticket job so when we landed at Chumphon we were ushered onto a coach for the return leg of the trip to Bangkok. The coach ride was 8 hours but comfortable and definately better than the Thailand trains, dropping us in the Khao San area of Bangkok in the evening.

After a few hand directions from the thai locals and an Irish OAP (standard) we arrived at our hostel, Baan Nespatch, in a quiet cul-de-sac north of Khao San. We gladly dropped the bags and headed into the bat shit crazy night environment of Khao San to see what was on offer. We found all manner of fried insects (scorpions, grasshoppers, tarrantulas and other delicasies), women selling wrist bands with obscene phrases and other goodies, photo opportunities with snakes and lizards, offers of ping pong shows, along with the usual bar touts. We settled for a quieter restaurant just off Khao San and contrary to their bold claims (and to our disappointment) it was not the 'Best Pad Thai in Town'. It may have something to do with the waiters running across the road to collect the food...

After food we elected for a saunter down Khao San Road to take in the sights, sounds and smells. That road was mental - full of english 'lads' adorned in chang vests and red faces full off unsolicited drugs and carrying buckets of alcohol. We hung our heads in shame as we walked by, but an experience nevertheless.

Tuesday morning we had breakfast on the hostel terrace then made our way over to Wat Pho Temple, about a 30 minute walk away. Of course, we headed straight to see the reclining Buddah, a large and impressive golden statue spanning the length of the hall, with ornate drawings covering the walls and ceiling. Afterwards we wandered around the gardens of the temple and ended up in the ordination hall and sat and watched a Buddist ceremony, where monks were chanting and Thai people were taking selfies. Quite a contradiction.

Temple ticked off the list, we bartered a taxi to Siam Square where we booked tickets to see the film Spotlight at the Scala cinema -the tickets cost £2.70 each! With time to kill before the film started we walked further up to the shopping haven of 'Siam Paragon' to stock up on supplies from boots. Jack bought some drum sticks at a knock down rate to the UK then we were spent up on budget! Back across to the cinema, we walked up the wide inviting staircase and stood and stared at the beautiful ceiling for a good ten minutes. We were greeted at the entrance to screen by a smartly dressed Thai man in a yellow and white uniform, who then showed us to another smartly dressed Thai man (in a yellow and white uniform) and he showed us to our seats. The cinema was incredibly lavish and billed as a piece of 1960's thai culture, although we later sadly learned that it is proposed to be demolished to make way for another shopping mall! After the trailers were shown a message came on screen - "Let's pay homage to the King" and everybody stood up (including us) and sang the national anthem (not including us) whilst hundreds of pictures of the King filled the screen, which eventually made up a larger image of the King. Then the film started.

After a good afternoon in Siam we got a taxi back to Khao San road and went for beers and street food. We both had Pad Thai from a street vendor that cost £0.60 each and was frankly delicious! We sat and ate it on a roundabout bollard whilst watching Thai youths skateboard.

Wednesday was a day for laundry and research for the coming weeks on the hostel terrace. In the evening we had another Pad Thai and stopped at a bar called 'Bangkok Live' to watch a band who were pretty damn good, playing a meddly of western classics with the inclusion of a trombone.

On our final morning in Bangkok we headed over to Boonsiri ticket office to purchase tickets for onward travel the following morning. We stopped off at a cute coffee shop and finally had a decent cup of coffee! Then had a lovely walk along the river front and back down towards Khao San road. This being our second time in Bangkok we actually had the chance to just wander around the streets and unlike Kuala Lumpur for example, it felt spacious, safe and enjoyable.

Back at the hostel we packed up our belongings once again and went to bedfordshire ready for an early start to Kho Mak on the Friday, we say early but was only the crack of 07:00am.

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Posted by Daft Slags Do.. 21:00 Archived in Thailand Tagged temple thailand bangkok drums travelling_honeymoon Comments (1)

Thailand - Kho Tao

sunny
View Honeymoon Tour on Daft Slags Do..'s travel map.

As we approached the island of Kho Tao we began to feel a sense of familiarity, the cascading landscape brought back memories of two years ago, when we visited the island whilst holidaying.

Stepping off the Lomprayah ferry at dusk, we scrambled to locate our bags by the side of the pier and headed down with the throngs of travellers to the pier edge, where a gaggle of taxi drivers were vying for attention. There was a bored looking man stood to one side presenting a sign that said “Jack and friend” – I have been demoted in under seven months of marriage by a taxi man. Our hotel – Palm Leaf – sent the taxi to collect us and bring us safely to them. The room we had selected was unavailable on the first evening (we already knew this on booking) therefore we opted for the superior villa for the night. Oh it was luxury – clean bathroom, nearly hot shower, king size bed and…a TV! I suppose we are allowed to relish in a bit of luxury seeing as it is our honeymoon. The room had a certain magic about it, akin to sleeping in your parent’s bedroom when they are away, it’s not a secret but it’s so much better than your room! It was definitely a stark contrast to the room we had on the last evening in Khao Sok, with ants parading around the floor and a dripping sink (I’m not precious, but a constant dripping does begin to ebb away at the soul)
After being shown into the room and jumping on the bed like children as soon as the woman left, we headed down the familiar route along the beach to get dinner. A well-deserved pizza and onion rings washed down with a couple of bottles of Chang. So tiring was the day of travel that we went straight back to our luxury, we showered away the stale smell of sweat and climbed into our clean, comfy bed to watch Jim Carey in 'The Number 23' on TV. How very cultured of us.

The following morning we were up early (9:45am) to move into a standard bungalow for the next four nights, much to the delight of our budget. From here on in the days merged into one – they went something like this; breakfast, sunbathe, swim in the sea, sunbathe, lunch, sunbathe, swim in the sea, sunbathe, play bat and ball, swim in the sea, sunbathe, beer. One day it rained, but I couldn't tell you which.

Jack had his hair cut! When he showed the lady a picture of Jurgen Klopp and she eschewed him with a firm hand, we were a little worried. Especially as she got the shaver out first off then finished with the cut throat razor. Scissors featured for around 20% of the cut. Nevertheless it is the best haircut he’s ever had (in my opinion), and a bargain at £4.

On the last evening and because we’d had such a hectic week (!) we decided to treat ourselves to an hour long massage. Best massage to date, followed by a good cuppa but of the herbal variety, no Yorkshire tea or milk in sight.

Although we thoroughly enjoyed our time on Kho Tao, it was much the same as Khao Sok – changes where evident wherever you looked. New buildings being erected but left half way through. Rubbish everywhere you turned, strewn haphazardly along the beautiful shore line. A shame really as the beach itself was beginning to get smaller (depth) with the amount of buildings popping up. Two years ago there were roughly three men with long tail taxi boats dotted up and down the beach, now however there was a man every 10 paces. Maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but try as they might I did not want a damn 'taxi boat'. I mean where would I go? I'm in the place I want to be right now. Piss off.

Overall we had a very good time, we relaxed a hell of a lot and ate great food.

Chang is currently sponsoring our honeymoon. Beer. Every. Night. Is. Good. (and no I still don't want a taxi boat!!!)

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Posted by Daft Slags Do.. 05:41 Archived in Thailand Tagged beaches sea sunset beach thailand dogs palm_trees koh_tao Comments (2)

Thailand - Khao Sok

National Park Jungle/Lake

sunny
View Honeymoon Tour on Daft Slags Do..'s travel map.

On the morning we left Penang we got the free ferry over to Butterworth and sweated our way to the train station to catch the 14:00 train, which was only a small four carriage affair through Malaysia and picked up more carriages at the first stop in Thailand, Hat Yai. The train rumbled along at a steady pace and we were at the Thailand border within about three hours, at which point we disembarked and went through the immigration formalities as well as ordering some train food of stir fry and fresh fruit. After a protracted stop we carried on into Thailand, the beds came down and we arrived at Surat Thani around 12:20am (LONG!!!!). Unfortunately everyone catching the train onto Bangkok at Surat Thani piled on leaving us to barge through a carriage of people in the single gangway, only just getting off the train as the whistle went and it started going. We had pre-booked an apartment in Surat Thani and the taxi driver was at the station to give us a lift.

The apartment was billed as being close to the station but was actually a right old trek away. Therefore the next morning with no one around we walked back to the station with full kit and lost around 5 kilos in sweat, but we found a nice man who sorted us out with a mini-bus to Khao Sok. The white mini-buses in Thailand are notorious for being driven by lunatics and piled high with people/baggage/+everything else. They also pick up people at any point along the busy road adding to the experience, and therefore we had the usual white knuckle ride but made it to Khao Sok in around two hours.

We had booked to stay in Smiley Jungle bungalows for a night, their lake house for two nights and then the jungle bungalow again as we'd stayed here two years ago and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately the bungalows had gone downhill since we stayed last and were a bit grimey, but the hammock with the jungle view was just the same. There is a little strip of restaurants in Khao Sok so we went for a nice meal and headed to the Reggae bar for a few bottles of Chang in the evening (after a massage).

The next day we were out for 08:00am (early!!!) and got in the minibus to the Smiley lake house. The minibus drove around 1 hour to the Khao Sok National Park pier and we got a longtail boat for around 1.5 hours to the lake house. We had been here a couple of years ago and found it to be 'same same but different' in that there was now 23 new floating rooms and a diving platform into the lake, therefore a lot busier. Luckily we were in one of the end rooms away from the dining/drinking pontoon so it was nicely peaceful in the evenings, especially as on the last evening around 60 self styled 'Oliver Reed' Thais arrived at the Lakehouse for a 12 hour bender. We had opted to forego the tours (ie. jungle safari and trekking) as we had done these before and Jack actually saw more wildlife in the kayak.

The first day we relaxed and swam in the lake, the second day we relaxed and swam in the lake, then for a change we relaxed and swam in the lake on the third day :-) Jack enjoyed the diving board and managed a few back/front flops off the pontoon. The climate at the lake was hot hot hot and the lake was equally warm so staying cool was an issue but we managed. Whilst we really enjoyed the time at the lake it had changed a lot from when we went previously through the expansion so had lost a little of the magic, but star gazing on your balcony in the evening made up for it!!! The highlight for me (Jack) was when I took a kayak out in the evening and came across a troop of monkeys coming down to the lake edge to drink and scavenge on the water's edge which was very nice to observe, made me think about how beautiful the world...not really, actually made me think great, monkeys.

On the third day we reversed the trip back to Khao Sok Jungle stretch and went out for some dinner and back to the reggae bar where the owner showed off his fire poi skills.

In the morning we arose and caught a minibus back to Surat Thani to catch the ferry to Koh Tao, but unfortunately the driver dropped us off at a ferry agent (where he likely made commission) rather than the official ferry company. After some short words with the agent who tried to pressure us into buying ferry tickets we caught a Tuk-tuk to the proper ferry office and after a few hours caught the bus to the pier where we got on the Lomprayah catamaran ferry to Koh Toa, arriving in the evening for the next chapter...

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Posted by Daft Slags Do.. 06:18 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

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