There was an error in this gadget

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bangkok







Arriving at Bangkok airport we thought lets give the train system a go... Too easy! we made it to our guesthouse so easily we thought was it really that easy in this massive city? We got a little bit cocky after that. Checked into @ Hua Lamphong guesthouse. Awesome place, best yet! It's a santuary away from the busy streets of Bangkok and not too badly priced and vey central to all transport.Our first day we spent 2 hrs with this really friendly tuk tuk driver, well that's what we thought in the begginning.He promised us to take us to all these fantastic tourist places for a cheap price and he just ended up driving us to all his sponsors expensive tailor shops so he could get free fuel vouchers. We told him no more, take us back to our hotel. We chilled there for a couple of hours then ventured out to find Chinatown to go and have some dinner. Some tuk tuk drivers or their friends found us on the way. What they do is get  their friend to on foot to talk to us and be all friendly and charming to usand they tell you the destination we are heading to is closed, so they suggest you get a tuk tuk ( which conveniently appears out of nowhere) to this other place where there is lots of food stalls. You thank them then get into the tuk tuk and end up at some fancy seafood restaurant, the only place there to eat also. This restaurant charges 600 baht per dish and then you have to get rice as well for 300 baht and then on top of this pay a 10% service charge.To put this into perspective seafood dish is normally 150-200 baht and rice is 15-25 baht. So we were stuck in the middle of nowhere. For some stupid reason we jumped into another tuk tuk to go to some night markets again, he took us to another overly priced seafood restaurant.We got into an arguement over it not being the place we asked for and then he just took off with us in the back still and he wouldn't speak to us. At this point we were really annoyed and scared as to where he was taking us now. He drove to some deserted street and told us to get out and pay him. We just paid him so he would piss off really. So we wandered around trying to find a train station and couln't find it so we just went to a 7/11 and bought some beers and sat on the corner of the street and just got pissed. We must have had fresh meat written all over us, the alcohol definately calmed the nerves and we ended up making a good night of it.
The next morning our heads were pretty sore so we had a sleep in. After we met lots of fellow travelers who gave us some fantastic advice and we also read our lonely planet book. Everything it said not to do in the book we had done the previous night in regards to the tuk tuk drivers. Oh well lesson learned. We thought lets give Bangkok a second chance. We found some temples  and decided to take a bus for 7 baht each to visit them. Wat Pho temple is from the 16th century with the largest reclining Buddha . 45m long and 15m high. Stunning and beautiful.Then we caught a ferry over the river to another temple, Wat Arun.We had a really old Monk bless us and gave us wrist band to wear, apparently we will have good luck for a whole year. We are heading to Chiang Mai in a couple of days, hoping its a bit slower paced for us.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Krabi to Donsak onto Koh Samui, Chewang






Today was spent travelling all day. First we had breaky in Krabi then checked out this cool temple. Everywhere over here you have to take your shoes off before entering any place of business, sometimes we forget in the beginning but we are like pro's now. After we waited for a bus to pick us up to take us to another bus stop to catch an even bigger bus to Donsak ferry terminal. The bus ride took roughly 4hrs and we met some cool people along the way that made the trip go alot quicker, 3 girls from Sydney and a couple from Canada. A family from Taiwan took an unexpected interest in us and we think they may have wanted to adopt us?
Getting to Koh Samui took about half an hour on the ferry. Was nice looking out over the water listening to some Ben Harper, John Butler, Panics, Kashmir and UNKLE. A very relaxing ride and a chang beer to top it off.
Arriving in Chewang we found Nids bungalows ok, was interesting getting our large backpacks on a motorbike down a very badly potholed road with me on the back, Luke decided to walk, good idea! We made it, checked in, rooms are comfortable and homely. Staff  are very attentive and friendly. Went out for dinner, took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in what was a red light district with stripper poles at every bar and seedy old white men with about 10 young Thai girls hanging off them. One restaurant at the very end of the street, a Regae place devoted to Bob Marley that didn't play any Regae but did Thai Kareoke??!!

Day 2

What to do? do a day trip to Koh Tao and do some diving or hire scooters & explore Koh Samui ourselves.
We decided to do the scooter thing & it was the best thing Luke ever suggested. We hired 2 scooters from Nids bungalows, 200 baht each. We filled our tanks for 100 baht which was silly cause we didn't even use 20 baht worth. Oh well another lesson learnt the hard way. We we got our (huge) map and set off into the mountains for some amazing waterfalls that we had heard of. On the way there was a bit of an accident, not us luckilly but the lady had some pretty bad gravel rash on her shoulders and arms. We stopped to help then went on our way again.
We stopped to have a look at a waterfall on our way the the biggest one in Koh Samui, took some photo's and questioned ourselves if we would be fitt enough to do the Inc Trail in July as the trail up from the falls was sort of steep and we were buggered from that hahaha! Was really fun riding our scooters, the roads were hectic but not quite as bad as Bali. We arrived at the parking for waterfall 2 and realised there was an elephant trakking company based there also we are both against riding elephants, they are poorly treated and are like slaves to their mahouts and make make money for them but receive little enrichments for their efforts. Once they have finished working for the day they are chained to a tree and not allowed to mingle with the other elephants. We avoided that and went for the falls which was a steep trek up the mountain side, boy was it worth it! Absolutely stunning, had a splash around and did the photoshoots, you know it is. Even Darrel came out for a bit. Those who don't know Darrel, he is coworker/mate who wanted to travel the world, so he made us a cardboard cut out of his picture so he could come around the world with us. so expect to see him pop up every now and then.
After a dip we made our way back to our Harley's and wen't to ride back to Chewang beach (about 20kn away) when a Thai guy started calling us over. We went to him down this dirt track and we saw an elephant munching on some food so we thougt we would have a look. We got to pat him and got lots of kisses from him, he wanted us to ride him but we refused. We ended up getting lots of photo's then the guy asked us for 100 baht each, took our money then chained the poor elephant to the tree. We and the elephant felt used and abused, we will redeem ourselves when we visit the Elephant santuary for abused and retired working elephants.
Leaving Koh Samui to our next destination, time to be freaked out again then settle in, seems to be the way when you stay somewhere for 2-3 days at a time. Your first day is a bit hectic and panicy, then you get a feel for the place and it's time to move on again.
Next stop Bangkok!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Phi Phi Island, Maya Bay, Krabi and Railay beach

Wow! what an amazing few days we have had. Phi Phi is absolutely stunning. Got there with no accommodation and wandered around trying to find a place, everywhere that was cheap was completely booked out. so we went for this little shitty room that cost 1200 baht. Very expensive we have soon discovered oh well we learnt our lesson and will book via the Internet before we get there. Its a bed to sleep that is all, we woke the first 2 nights freezing as the air con was very cold.
Spent the first day there just browsing and sussing out some activities to do. We decided we will do a couple of dives, best decision ever and best dive ever. We saw a Leopard Shark which came and layed down right in front of us, also 2 sea turtles a couple stingrays and lots of beautiful fish. The dive sites were called Bidah Nok and Malong. Highly recommend!!

Our third night we did a camping trip to Maya bay where the film "The Beach" was filmed. Camping was definitely the way to go as during the day there are thousands of boats and people. After 6:00pm they all leave and we (about 35 others) had the place to ourselves.
Watched the sun go down over the ocean then headed to the communal mats so everyone could get to know each other and played some music. Then dinner was served, was yum didly umpcious! After that we used our free bucket bar token, they fill a whole bucket with spirits of your choice and mixer, they went straight to our heads and definitely got the party started.
Was such a great night, the local Thai guys got out their guitars and Bongo's and sang and played some good music to us, even Luke got up and had a go on the Bongo's.
After that they put on a awesome fire dancing show. Then we went into the water to our knees and you just splash the water around a little bit and all the plankton lights up, just like in the movie, it was unreal to see and very beautiful.
Don't remember getting settled on the beach to camp for the night so we forgot to get a sleeping bag and only had our sleep sheets and again woke up cold. Which was ok in the end as we got up in time to see the sunrise.
Was very sad to leave Phi Phi but the adventure must continue!
Arrived in Krabi yesterday and we are staying at city hotel Krabi, right next door to the night markets. Went for a wander last night and thoroughly enjoyed. Today we did a day trip out to Rai lay Beach, we took our first Tuk Tuk there, was a fun ride. We then got a long boat from Ao Nang to Rai lay.











Railay is very cool and in a way we wish we had of stayed there heaps of rockclimbers and awesome cliff faces. Met some monkeys and did some rockclimbing ourselves trying to find a lagoon and a viewpoint. Very hard yakka in Flip flops, we were climbing and descending some pretty steep cliffs. Was well worth it for the viewpoint, didn't quiet make it to the lagoon was a bit too dangerous to do in thongs and we ran out of water.
Anyway was a great day, we are heading to Ko samui tomorrow and staying at Chewang Beach.