A Travellerspoint blog

Thailand

Island hopping in the South of Thailand

Having the best time in Phuket, Krabi, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan

overcast 35 °C

We've had a lovely couple of weeks chilling out and relaxing on various beaches in Southern Thailand, so here's an update of where we've been since the end of May....

From the Vietnam capital we took a quick flight to Bangkok and then another onto Phuket on the South Western coast of Thailand. It only took a short 45 minute taxi ride from the airport to reach Patong Bay, one of the main populated areas of the Island. We were staying at Square One, a cheap but nice hotel at the end of the main strip. On arriving we did the usual, dump the bags and go out exploring!

Patong had a lovely long beach with all the main bars and restaurants stretched out along the sea front. It was much more touristy than recent places we had visited, but it was actually a nice change as it felt like being away on holiday for real. We were chuffed to go into an Irish bar called Molly Malone's and have Magners, as we haven't seen Cider anywhere since leaving the UK. Result! :-)

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We ended up staying in Phuket for 5 nights, with most of the days being spent on the beach as the weather was gorgeous and we just had to top up our tans (of course, we both got burnt on the first of those days!) One of the highlights of Phuket was when we went to the Jungceylon Shopping Centre for the day, a huge, modern and air-conditioned complex with shops of all kinds and more importantly, a cinema. As the Hangover 2 had just come out, we couldn't resist going to see it! The whole experience was totally different to at home, we had to stand for the Thai national anthem before the film, the cinema was completely spotless and they even sold BBQ flavoured popcorn! Oh, and the film was pretty damn good too!

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With so many bars and clubs in Patong, a proper night out was always on the cards. Phuket is famous for not having many (if any) boundaries when it comes to the whole lady-boy / cabaret scene, so when we headed out we were pretty taken back by what we saw, although Phil was A LOT more scared than Kayleigh! We're talking pole dancers in most of the bars, and the ones who had had more money spent on them stripping completely naked and showing off what they had, or no longer had should we say!

The best part of the night out in Patong was going to Seduction, an awesome nightclub with 3 different rooms with different music in each. Needless to say, we ended up getting nice and drunk and dancing the night away until about 4am!

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After nearly a week in Phuket we decided to go to Krabi next, which is on the coast of Thailand as opposed to being an island on its own. A quick 4 hour bus journey was all it took, but unfortunately we ended up being dropped off in the middle of nowhere and had to get a taxi then motos to our resort at Klong Muang beach.

We chose to stay at Koh Kwang Resort as it was literally the complete opposite of Phuket, much more remote and laid-back. We had a nice little bungalow to stay in, and got to spend some quality time on the most deserted beach we've come across so far. That being said, the whole beach was crawling with crabs who were scurrying around climbing into tiny holes in the sand, very funny to watch.

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During our stay in Krabi we met a lovely Irish couple, Rob and Jody, who were the only other people at our resort. They showed us the way to nearby Ao Nang on bikes, and we also went to Krabi Town to check out the local night markets with all 4 of us trying some interesting local foods (some of it good, some of it pretty bad – in particular, pancakes with sausage, cheese and some sort of fruit filling – yuk!)

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The drive to Krabi Town had the most amazing scenery, with massive rock formations and even Elephants relaxing under trees on the roadside. Check out the video to take a ride with us....

On the night of England playing Switzerland at Wembley, we all headed to the best local restaurant we had been to and stayed until about 4am watching the game. We got through a case full of large Chang beers, and were all nicely wasted by the end, even the owner, Lou, got involved and we had an amazing night.

Next up we decided to head for Koh Tao, a small island at just 21 km in the Gulf of Thailand. We left Krabi at 6:30am and then after a taxi, a bus ride and two ferries later we finally reached Koh Tao and headed for our Asia Divers resort. It was a lovely place with an incredible pool. We inquired about doing our Open Water course while we were there but were advised not to with Kayleigh not having a medical note (damn asthma). Another time though.

Altogether we spent 6 nights in Koh Tao, 3 at Asia Divers and another 3 in a bungalow closer to the beach that was a bit cheaper. How did we spend our time here?? On the beach of course! Koh Tao beach was lush, with a long stretch of sand and warm shallow, beautiful blue sea for you to cool down in from the blistering heat. The night life was pretty good to, although we spent most of our evenings relaxing with a few drinks, having BBQ's and watching pirate films showing on big screens. It's a tough life we know!

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On our 3rd night here we were lucky enough to run in to 'Ali the Pancake Man' who served us up the most amazing banana and chocolate pancakes. Soooo good. He's pretty famous to, check out this link on YouTube here. And this is him taking it slow.

We also decided to indulge a little while we were here and treat ourselves to a Thai massaaaaage. It was an experience to say the least, Kayleigh found it quite good but from Phil's facial expressions and winces throughout I doubt we will be rushing for another one any time soon. HA. The more Phil winced the more further she pushed him into some very awkward positions and giggled while doing so. Lol.

After the six nights we were ready to leave for Koh Phangan, already anticipating the upcoming Full Moon Party. We had booked 5 nights at the incredible Dew Shore Bungalows in Ban Thai, which upon arriving pictures really did not do the resort justice. Upgraded on arrival to a swish bungalow with a pool view we were loving it. In the lead up to the Full Moon we continued to take it easy sunbathing by the pool, going for a swim, enjoying tasty food – you know, all the good stuff.

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The day before the party we decided to rent a bike again and go for a ride up to Haad Rin to have a look around. The journey there was a bit of an effort, trying to make it up some very steep hills on a lil' scooter holding the two of us was something else. As expected it was a lot busier and more commercialised than Baan Thai but it definitely tantilized the taste buds for the next night.

And then, the night was upon us. Looking forward to the full night of partying ahead of us we left our resort around 9:30pm, flagged a taxi and we were on our way. Neon paint? Check. Vodka bucket? Check. Whiskey Bucket? Check. And we are on our way, we had a frikkin awesome night! The first few hours we were loving it dancing in Drop In bar and Cactus bar, watching the fire dancers, singing at the the top of our voices to anthems and then munching on pizza and chicken pittas, we had blinked and it was 4:00am. Where had that time gone? Usually at home it would be time to go home. But no, dust yourself off and keep on going!!!!

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We just had to upload a video of us at the party, so here is us loving it when Operation Blade came on in Drop In Bar. Be warned, we're extremely drunk by now!!

After more drinks and dancing the sun started to come up, we were loving every second. It wasn't until around 7:30am that we got back to our bungalow, buzzing from an outstanding night (and morning) out.

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Phew, that was quite a lot for us to cover! We are now taking it easy in Koh Phangan for another few days before deciding our route through Malaysia. We'll keep you posted on our whereabouts when we next get chance.

Speak soon,

Kayleigh & Phil

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Posted by JoyRyderRTW 22:55 Archived in Thailand Tagged beach thailand krabi phuket full_moon koh_tao patong koh_phangan full_moon_party seduction hangover_2 klong_muang koh_kwang krabi_town Comments (0)

One big adventure at Chiang Mai

Bamboo rafting, elephant trekking and a whole lot more!

sunny 31 °C

After 4 straight days of water fights in Chiang Mai, Songkran is now over. We've joined in the festivities almost every day, even on the Wednesday when it was pouring down with rain and the ice cold water was not so refreshing! All in all, an amazing few days, but now we're happy to be dry and be able to walk down the street without being literally covered from head to toe in water.

We've also enjoyed the nightlife in Chiang Mai, which has a great bar scene and a variety of restaurants mixed with tasty street food. On one particular night we headed to the Mae Ping River where we treated ourselves to a gorgeous meal at Deck 1. The food was exquisite and the view was pretty special too, with fairy lights and lanterns hanging from the trees overlooking the water. The restaurant served a feast of Thai delicioucies, Kayleigh went for Northern Thailand Spicy Sausage with Spaghetti, while Phil had Roast Duck with Signature Sauce, to finish off we shared warm chocolate cake with homemade ice cream…..mmmmmm! This was all polished off with a few beers and cocktails (being Kayleigh of course).

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While on this night we treated ourselves, we’ve spent most time eating food on the Sunday Walking Street, where the whole main road is filled with stalls selling everything from bags to jewellery to food. We’ve tried lots of different things (some pretty good and some pretty bad) including pad thai, various noodle soups, roast duck, home made crisps and even chicken kebabs. One of the things we could get used to would be the Thai massages, last night we both had a 30 minute foot massage which was at times painful but overall very relaxing!

Yesterday was a bit of an adventure. We woke up early, had some breakfast and were picked up to be taken south of the city. After driving through rice paddies, lush farmland and plantation fields we reached our destination at a remote hill tribe village. First to kick start the day was Bamboo Rafting, where 4 of us to a raft, we headed down the river through the jungle. For the most part the water was fairly calm, however when it did pick up it became more of a challenge and at one point our raft got stuck between 2 rocks which meant we all had to dismount and pull the raft free. So much for staying dry! By the time we had reached our destination the locals were out by the river enjoying Songkran, so with us floating past they took their chance to give us a good soaking.

Once back on dry land, we got the chance to ride elephants, something we had wanted to do before coming to Thailand. We chose this particular location as it’s well known for raising and looking after elephants in good conditions. Our elephant was Hung Wan, and for an hour she took us through the forestry accompanied by her baby Hung Chuk (or Mr Chuk). It was great to see the elephants up close and a real treat to ride them, a definite highlight of our trip so far!

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Later in the day we had lunch, then headed to a Karen village further into the jungle where we got to see exactly how a hill tribe community goes about daily life. All the houses were on stilts with roofs made from leaves, with the local women making dresses by hand for the rest of the tribe. Single girls and women wore white dresses to symbolise being available to males, something which we’re sure would come in handy on a night out for guys back home! In truth, it was a real eye opener to see how happy the people were as outsiders looking in, considering they had no western luxuries we take for granted every day but very close families and traditions.

Last stop, a 20 minute trek through the jungle to a gorgeous waterfall with clear, crisp water where were able to shower off and cool down after a long day. It was a stunning sight and completely refreshing, a great way to cap off our day.

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Our stay in Chiang Mai is almost at an end, so we’ll keep you updated when we can.

Speak soon,

Phil and Kayleigh

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Posted by JoyRyderRTW 02:08 Archived in Thailand Tagged elephant thailand chiang_mai karen songkran bamboo_rafting joyryderrtw Comments (0)

Bangkok to Chiang Mai

The end of Bangkok and the start of Songkran.

sunny -30 °C

On our last day in Bangkok we decided to make our way to the MBK shopping centre after hearing it was actually pretty spectacular. We took the Chao Praya Express boat to the end of the river and then the Sky Train into the centre of Bangkok, the shopping centre did not disappoint. It was MASSIVE and put the likes of the Trafford Centre to shame (it was six floors and like a maze).

After a bit of a mooch round and grabbing some lunch at their food court we headed outside where there was a concert featuring a number of Thai boy bands competing for the affections of screaming girls. Phil at this point couldn't help but get involved, forget Where's Wally...Find Phil!!!! Haha!

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Can't find him...............how about now??

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LOL!

Also at the front of MBK was a number of teenagers dressed up for cosplay, there's no real reason for this, teens just seem to like to dress up in Korean themed dress! See pic below....not sure how this would go down in Warrington on a Saturday afternoon??

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Back on Khao San we found a lil Indian restaurant and enjoyed a lovely curry and polished off some tiger beers, while eating there was a thunderstorm...never seen the locals move so quick. Luckily we were tucked away inside and got to watch it unfold.

The next day we checked out of our hostel and made our way to the bus station heading straight for Chiang Mai. After 9 hours we arrived at MD house at 6am and checked in. When we woke we thought we would head out to see the famous temples, unfortunately this did not happen. Phil was a lil bit silly and decided to eat some ice (we think it was the ice anyways) and spent the rest of the day being sick. DOH!

We woke up this morning and Phil was feeling much better. WHOOP!! After breakfast we went straight out, our first point of call - water guns to join in the celebrations for Thai New Year, or Songkran to the locals. This is quite literally the biggest water fight in the world with the whole main road through Chiang Mai filled with people soaking each other. If you're in a tuk tuk you get soaked, if your car window is open you get soaked, there is no escape. :-)

We got right into it and spent around four hours having a brilliant time with locals and travellers alike, our best day so far. Check out the video of Kayleigh getting drenched while Phil has an evil laugh!

To be honest this was only an hour in, fast forward a few hours and the entire street was filled with people with water pistols, jeeps with children throwing buckets of ice cold water and music blaring. Incredible. We wanted to take more photos but it was probably for the best that we kept the camera away.

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Tonight we are going to visit a restaurant that we saw earlier today and check out the night life. We've got loads planned for the next few days so will update you all again soon.

Love Kayleigh and Phil

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Posted by JoyRyderRTW 03:23 Archived in Thailand Tagged thailand bangkok chiang_mai songkran joyryderrtw Comments (7)

We've arrived in Bangkok!

Ok, so it's hot Hot HOT!

sunny 32 °C

First impressions of Bangkok, it's hectic, humid and down right crazy, but we're loving it! So far the people have been great, really welcoming and genuine, once we'd figured out how to deal with the (constant) touts that is......we pretend to not speak English, which is working in our favour as one of us keeps getting mistaken as Irish and the other as German, 10 points for guessing who's who?! The heat has been the hardest thing to adjust to, we're not sure what we'd have done without air-con in our room lol! We keep getting assured we'll get used to it over the next few days.

After jetting off from Manchester with a quick stop in Dubai, we arrived at Bangkok Airport on Wednesday night without a hitch. Managed to get the bus to Khao San Road with no trouble, but finding our Hostel on the wildly busy stretch of 200m was far more challenging than we anticipated! Especially with us carrying our rucksacks on our back and backpacks on our front, standing out like sore thumbs!

After half an hour later we found our Hostel, checked in, threw our bags down and all was good, heading straight out the door for an ice cold Singha beer each (large ones btw) and some Pad Thai. Kayleigh was a fan, however being a complete tourist at this point Phil opted for a Burger King, doh!

Our first full day here we jumped into a Tuk-Tuk to get our bearings, and the driver, Sum-Chi, was a great guide but a crazy driver indeed! He took us to see the "big Buddha" and a whole host of other touristy spots. At the end of the day we found our favourite bar, Molly Bar, great music, cheap drinks and a nice relaxing vibe.

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Today, we were a bit braver and headed for the express boats on the River (Chao Praya) which took us to Wat Po, one of the 3 main temples in Bangkok which was really impressive. While having a break we got talking to a Canadian couple called Andrew and Emilie, who've invited us to Vancouver in October, which we may just take them up on!

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We had lunch by the river, some lovely Chicken Noodle Soup and the wacky lady force fed us chicken balls and felt up Phil's boob hehe!

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We're now off out to get some further beers down us, as we think it'll be the best way of getting over the heat. Keep an eye on Facebook as we'll be uploading more photos over the next few days.

Speak soon,

Kayleigh & Phil

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Posted by JoyRyderRTW 09:11 Archived in Thailand Tagged thailand bangkok joyryderrtw Comments (2)

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