Terrific Temples to Beautiful Beaches!

Trip Start Sep 28, 2009
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Trip End Aug 27, 2010


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Saturday, January 9, 2010

The first leg of our Thailand adventure took us to Chiang Mai in the far north west corner of Thailand. Our four day visit was mainly spent within the moated city limits relaxing and seeing many of the cities impressive Wat's. Our 3rd evening was spent taking in an the Thai National sport of Muay Thai Boxing, it was good to see some live fights and I'm pleased to say Nicola enjoyed it much more than she'd anticipated. In hindsight it would have been a far greater spectacle in one of Bangkok's massive arenas, we weren't to know and enjoyed it anyway.


Next we headed to Bangkok and the hectic sprawling metropolis of Thailand's capital city. Arriving just in time for Saturdays huge Chatuchok market was music to Nicola's ears, the 15,000 stalls were a sight to behold while arriving on our sky train. Not to be fazed by shopping on such a huge magnitude, Nicola proceeded to drag me round all 15,000 stalls in her quest to spend. Four hours and one pair of flip flops later we returned exhausted to our guest house, shopping in temperatures over 30oC is not to be taken lightly.

One thing not to miss in Bangkok is the iconic sight of Wat Pho and it's ginormous 'Reclining Buddha'. At 46m long and 15m high, the gold leaf finished Buddha is something to savour. Our main source of eating in Bangkok, much like the rest of Thailand was from street stalls. From a fresh Pad Thai (fried noodles, eggs, bean sprouts and shredded veg) to our favourite Thai Red Curry, all can be consumed cheaply (15 Baht or 30p for a Thai Red Curry & Rice) and it tastes outstanding. We really can't say enough good things about the food in Thailand, I'm getting hungry now thinking about it!

After a brief five day Cambodia trip we returned to Thailand in search of some much needed (It's hard work this travelling lark, honest......!) beach action on the islands of the Southern Gulf Coast. Our first Island was Koh Tao, the smallest and least known of the three islands we visited. The four days were spent relaxing on a rather secluded section of beach, taking breaks from the stupid temperatures by snorkeling over the beautiful coral near to the shore. The crystal clear aqua marine waters make the coral and it's feeding fish easy and compulsive viewing.

Our next island was the party island of Koh Phangnan, the setting for the infamous full moon parties. On this occasion our timing counted against us and unfortunately we missed the full moon by one week. Our time in Koh Phangnan was spent either relaxing or partying on the beach with little else to note.

The third and final island hop on the Southern Gulf Coast took us to Koh Samui, the biggest and most popular island of the three. With it's chain restaurants and resort approach, you can easily appreciate why this is an easy choice for people on a two week vacation. On our second day we were approached by a couple of guys who told us they were promoting a flash new hotel on the island. We were both asked to scratch off a couple of scratch cards and surprise surprise we won one of the five 'star prizes', the acting these two cow boys put on was awesome, we had to stop ourselves from laughing at them both. We obviously thanked them for wasting our time and sent them on their way to try their luck elsewhere. I'm pretty sure this kind of thing was happening on the Costa Del Sol 15-20 years ago (remember Dad? ha!).


On a rather unpleasant note our 7am mini bus journey to the boat pier was a disastrous one where we had some possessions stolen from my small day bag. Ordinarily I would always have this bag with me but for once had forgotten to detach it from my big bag. Possessions can be replaced easily, the only thing that cannot is the 2,000 pictures and video's from our camera of our trip until that point, to say we were devastated is a huge understatement. We'd both like to thank Mr Thief for taking our things, we hope that through some divine intervention that your arms, legs and head fall off, PLEASE!!!

After putting our misery behind us we headed to Railey Bay which is on the Andaman Coast of Thailand. Although actually part of the mainland, Railey Bay can only be accessed by boat due to it's surrounding hills and huge cliffs. Railey is gorgeous, you can easily appreciate why it makes a great honeymoon destination for so many people. During our 3 day stay we headed up to a stunning view point, this involved a rather hot and sweaty climb, the views were a great reward for our efforts. From the view point we then descended to nearby lagoon which sits in the centre of the peninsulas tip, to get there we had to scale down three rather scary drops which Nicola devoured with ease. Again our toil in the heat was rewarded with a fantastic setting for a cool down swim. Days in the sun on the beach and evenings eating great food and drinking cold Chang, hard life!

A 1.5 hour boat ride took us to the highly anticipated island of Koh Phi Phi Don. Another stunning location to spend a few days on the beach. The island was very busy with tourists and definitely pulled a visibly younger crowd. The temperature reached it's highest on our trip to date touching 37oC, we baked on the beach with zero wind for respite, far far too hot. Koh Phi Phi Don is largely famous because of it's neighbouring island Koh Phi Phi Leh, the home of Maya Bay which was the setting for the movie 'The Beach'. To see this uninhabited island we arranged a day long snorkeling tour around both islands. The coral were sublime and there were plenty of fish to see and swim with. At one point I had a huge school of fish eating a piece of pineapple out of my hand, highlight of the day for me personally. Our last stop was at Maya Baya which was great to see if a little crowded, I don't think either of us expected anything different though. Our journey back to Koh Phi Phi Don from Maya Bay was greeted with a stunning sunset over the Andaman Sea.



Next we headed to Phuket, we were thinking of skipping our visit however decided to check it our for ourselves. Phuket is definitely the Benidorm of Thailand (something we were told before going), a concrete jungle surrounding a huge stretch of sand. Parasols and sun loungers stretch into the distance, giving little room or privacy between. Not exactly our kind of place and we wouldn't recommend it, unless you happen to like Benidorm?!



The final destination in our fantastic Thailand journey was the little known Koh Bulone Leh, a tiny island in the deep South of Thailand. If you're looking for somewhere remote, peaceful and beautiful then this is it. Much like the other islands our time on Koh Bulone Leh was spent doing very little but taking in our surroundings. There is no electricity on the island, at 6pm the generators kick in giving us lights and a fan in our hut until 1am, a world away from the things we take for granted in the UK. The friendly locals made us feel incredibly welcome, we could have stayed much much longer but for our Visa's which were due to expire.



We've had the most amazing time in Thailand, the food, the scenery and the Thai people have made this a hugely enjoyable 5.5 weeks for us both. Thailand caters for all types of tourists, from the spiritual wanting to meditate in one of the many Wat's to the seedy sex tourists frequenting the girlie bars of Phuket and everything in between. Our advice, if you haven't been you're missing out!



Till next time.

 

Darryl and Nicola x
Slideshow Report as Spam

Comments

X61 East stand lower! (Mark) on

Just picked up your blog first time in a while, could have told about thieving rats on coaches in Thailand! didnt sleep for the whole journey from Koh Samui to Phuket (after a full moon party!) for fear of being robbed, raped or run off the road. Gutted for you re: pics, but hopefully the ones you uploaded will still be there. With only another 6 mths left sure you will take plenty more ! have fun, hadn't realised you were away for so long. Anyway its back to the gingertastic quality football at the Reebok, you aint missing a thing there! enjoy your travels.

stephcarson
stephcarson on

oh my god they are the most amazing photos it looks utterly fantastic! Am glad you still have the bling (earings) on Nic to go swimming and snorkelling!!!

looks amazing!

take care you too
lots of love,

Steph

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