Showing posts with label singapore and thailand. Show all posts
Showing posts with label singapore and thailand. Show all posts

15 May 2008

Highlights: Thailand

Feathers in My Cap
  • New experiences and adventures
  • Bargaining with hawkers at the street markets in Bangkok
  • Riding an elephant
  • Meeting new people
  • Having a traditional Thai massage
  • Friendly stray dogs sleeping in the street
  • Restaurants on the beach
  • Seeing a snake
  • Koh Samui and Koh Tao
  • Indulging in room service in Phuket

Black Eyes
  • Leeches
  • Ghoulies and ghosties
  • Managing to get sunburnt half way through the trip
  • Being mistaken for an Australian. All the time.
Looking back, the most memorable and interesting parts of the trip were often the things that weren't that fun at the time! Though I really wouldn't have minded missing out on a close encounter with the leeches.

14 May 2008

Last Stop in Phuket

Owen and I left the Intrepid Tour a day early and made our own way across Thailand to Phuket. This involved 14 hours of travelling by bus, ferry, van and taxi so I was very pleased when we finally got to our hotel. That was until I realised that we were sharing a room. With cockroaches. The room was really nice apart from the roaches, but it was a while before we finally got to bed because I kept finding more and more for Owen to kill.

I was worried that some of the cockroaches that had escaped the purge might crawl on my face while I was asleep, but if they did I never realised so it worked out OK. Luckily there was a good swimming pool, and we were only staying one night anyway so the next morning we took a shuttle into Patong Beach to find our hotel. We were dropped off on the main street, but because of the heavy rain we had to stop at a bar before renewing our search for the hotel. It turned out it was close by so we didn't get too wet wandering the city.

The weather did improve, but was raining off and on the rest of the time we spent in Phuket. Also, the sea was too rough for boat trips which meant we didn't get to visit the nearby islands. Instead we spent our time exploring the markets, drinking cocktails, taking silly photos, relaxing at the hotel and ordering a lot of room service.

We actually ended up spending quite a bit of time at the hotel, which was a bit disappointing, but there were two main reasons for this apart from the weather:
  1. The hotel pool was nicer than the beach, which had quite a lot of rubbish and an abundance of old men walking around in speedos. Not a pretty sight.
  2. Every time we walked down the street we were accosted by stall holders. They were a lot more insistent than in Bangkok or Koh Samui. Owen got especially sick of the people trying to sell him a suit - "G'day mate, I have a cheap suit for you cobber"
When it was time to leave Phuket I was definitely ready to go. Thankfully leaving was a lot easier than getting there as we flew directly to Singapore for a short stopover before getting on the plane to London.

If you would like to see more photos, check out my flickr page.

07 May 2008

Koh Samui & Koh Tao

Koh Samui
I was very relieved when we finally reached Koh Samui, especially as our resort was right on the beach front. We spent a quite afternoon then went into the main centre for dinner. The restaurant we went to was great, we sat on cushions around a low table right on the beach. After dinner we decided to hit the town, and checked out a ladyboy cabaret at the Star Club. It was a lot of fun, some of the performers were hilarious and everyone had put in a lot of effort with costumes and choreography.


The next day wasn't quite as exciting. We spent the morning swimming then went for a look around the markets in the afternoon. After an hour or so I was over shopping as there wasn't a large variety of stalls, just a lot selling the same sort of things: sunglasses, watches, t-shirts, jewellery and handbags.

That night night we went to a restaurant called Mr Poo BBQ (and I got photographic evidence of the name just in case you don't believe me!) which involved cooking the food ourselves in stock filled cookers at each table. It was really good, and my suspicions about food poisoning turned out to be unfounded!

Koh Tao
The next morning we took a ferry across to Koh Tao which was really nice, the island was quiet during the day and the weather was beautiful. The beach we were staying at was strange - the sand turner to coral when the water was waist deep which meant that swimming wasn't really an option. And because it was so shallow on the beach the water was really warm and not that refreshing.

There were also a lot of restaurants and bars right on the beach and I spent most of my time frequenting these when I wasn't sitting in the sea. Our last night on the island we hitched a ride on the back of a truck to a hilltop restaurant which had beautiful views of the island and the sunset. After dinner everyone from our tour decided to go barhopping, which was a good way to end the tour. There were heaps of people, the music was generally good, drinks were cheap and we ended the night dancing in the sea at one of the bars.

If you'd like to see more photos, check out my flickr page.

04 May 2008

Khao Sok National Park

After a three hour delay on our overnight train and another two hours by bus, we finally made it to Khao Sok National Park and found out that we were staying in jungle huts. Haunted jungle huts. Apparently some of the guests hear voices and people moving about in empty huts and sometimes see ghosts too. I really didn't need to know this and had trouble sleeping, especially when I had a dream that I was lying in bed and there was a really heavy weight pushing down on me and I couldn't move, and worst of all a woman's voice started whispering above me. I snapped awake and I was lying in exactly the same position in the bed. It was horrible! The second night a man's voice spoke in my ear and woke me up and I couldn't sleep after that. It definitely wasn't Owen, and wasn't in English either. Spooky!

Everything was a lot better in the daylight, especially when we went for an elephant ride the first morning. Things took a turn for the worst in the afternoon however when our group went for a walk in the National Park, which turned out to be infested by leeches. I found one on my ankle, but luckily we were near a hut and one of the guides got rid of it for me. The experience was painless but pretty disturbing and I got a bit paranoid after that, especially when one of the other girls found a leech on her hip which had crawled under her clothes.

Some of us called it a day after that and got back to the huts as fast as we could for showers. Unfortunately I had to wait for mine since Owen had the key to our hut and didn't come back for another two hours. It was a very long two hours sitting around in wet underwear, obsessively checking my skin for leeches.

Once Owen was back we got to our hut only to find that something else had been there first. An animal, most likely a small monkey or a large rat, had crept into our room and raided our food. We opened the door to find food wrappers and chips strewn about the place, and worst of all my chocolate had been stolen! I did feel a lot better after a shower, especially when I found that I was in fact leech-free. My mood further improved when we went out to dinner to a restaurant with beautiful and tasty food.

We had a 5.00am start the next morning to travel to Koh Samui which involved two hours on the back of a truck, one hour by bus, one hour on a ferry and 40 minutes by mini van. It was definitely worth it to get away from the jungle!

If you would like to see more photos, check out my flickr page.

29 April 2008

Singapore & Bangkok

Owen and I left New Zealand on 26 April on one way tickets! We have a couple of weeks in Thailand then on to the UK and Eurpoe.

We spent the first two nights in Singapore, which was a good place to start as it seemed quite familiar. That was until I stepped outside, the heat and humidity were incredible and I just couldn’t get used to it.

Instead of taking a tour to see the sights we decided we would save some money and take the public buses instead. After an hour waiting at the bus stop outside the hotel it didn’t seem like such a good idea, but we finally managed to work out which buses we needed to take. Although we had some initial problems with fares and cash we managed to get to the zoo where we spent a few hours watching a variety of animals and laughing at the monkeys.

The next day we took a trip to Sentosa, but in the afternoon I couldn’t cope with the heat any longer and we decided to spend a few hours at the hotel pool before heading to the airport for our flight to Thailand.

It has taken a couple of days to adjust to Bangkok - it’s a real assault on the senses with the heat, noise and especially the smells! We decided to take a taxi ride our first day here which was an interesting experience. It’s not that there are no road rules, but they seem to be very fluid and open to interpretation. At one point the taxi broke down in the middle of an intersection, the driver got it going again then at the next intersection managed to block two lanes of traffic. I’m surprised that more vehicles aren’t dented!

Yesterday we spent the day sightseeing by tuk-tuk, it was great but I got sick of being taken to jewellery and suit shops. We visited a few temples including a 45 metre high statue of Buddha, where I bought a small cage of birds and released them for good luck.

Earlier today we took a river boat to China Town to have a look around the markets. It was so crowded and hot weaving through tiny crowded alleys and dodging scooters and tuk-tuks. I bought some clothes and jewellery, and also a pair of Louis Vuitton sun glasses. The verification tag mentioned that they were “most highof Gaulity” so I’m glad I only paid 180 Baht for them…

Our Intrepid tour starts this afternoon, with an overnight train from Bangkok to the Khao Sok National Park where I’m planning on exploring the rain forest and taking an elephant ride. The rest of the tour will mostly involve relaxing on the beaches of Koh Samui and Koh Tao, which I am really looking forward to!

If you would like to see more photos, check out my flickr page.