A Travellerspoint blog

January 2017

Sunburn and Singha

sunny 33 °C

Hello All

We left Koh Samui on the East coast of Thailand after a few days and travelled west to Khao Lak, on the other side of mainland Thailand. we arrived a couple of days ago after taking a taxi, a ferry and three buses, the whole journey was a little challenging! Thunderstorms, flash floods and a bus that leaked like a sieve was all part of the travelling experience. Trying to avoid the water literally pouring into the bus was fun, in fact I gave up and cupped my hands to collect it before throwing it on the floor. I also had my main bag broken into on the ferry from Koh Samui to the mainland and several items stolen, despite it being locked, a combination lock of no consequence to the scammers working the Donsak Pier area. Still my bag was a little easier to carry around after that I guess.

We arrived at Bang Niang Beach, Khao Lak and are staying at a hostel run by a beautiful Thai lady who gives out hugs like they are going out of fashion. Shoes are left at the entrance door and the various smells of the downstairs laundry, insence and Thai street food pervade the nostrils. Our room is basic but spotless and we don't have to share!

Khao Lak was one of the hardest hit areas during the 2004 tsunami, Bang Niang beach in particular. There are few signs of it today, but they are there, the tsunami warning signs, the building work still going on along the beach, mangled iron and brickwork once part of a slipway to the beach. The area was completely flattened and to look at it now is an absolute miracle, of course life has gone on but the memory is never forgotten. We visited the tsunami memorial, a huge concrete 'wave' like structure and the museum running loops of footage from that Boxing Day morning. We saw the police boat, number 813, which had been thrown 2 km inland by the wave from its petrol on the sea and has been left where it came to rest, testament to the sheer power of the waves. Haunting stuff.

The beach itself is utterly beautiful, a typical Thai beach lined with trees, torquise water and golden sand. The wind whistles through the trees, wind chimes chant and piles of pebbles like little temples are dotted on the rocks. The beach is huge so there is something for everyone, peace, Thai massages and little street food kitchens nestled in the trees producing the most amazing snacks like garlic spicy squid, barbecued barracuda, fresh mango juice of just an iced Thai coffee.

Do we look bronzed and beautiful yet? Sadly no, still red, peeling and covered in mossie bites, yes we are itchy and we hurt! A visit to a pharmacy today to purchase boxes of antihistamine, bite cream and super strength sun cream. A Singha beer or two continues to smooth these weary travellers however, so we are happy.....

Xxxxxxx

PS: photos to follow x

Posted by simon.steph 06:58 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Burnt and beautiful

Hello All

We have left Bangkok and travelled south to the island of Koh Samui, an island of approx 55km circumference nestling 70km from the west coast of Thailand. We loved Bangkok, it is an amazing city, truely something for everyone! We had a superb meal on the last night at the Cabbages & Condoms Restaurant, complimentary condoms given to you at the end of your meal instead of chocolate - nice touch! On our last day we visiting one of the Buddhist temples close to the river, Wat Arun, where I received a blessing from one of the monks, a truly wonderful and peaceful experience. We also visited The Grand Palace, the former home of the monarchy until 1925. Breathtakingly beautiful it also contains a temple housing the Emerald Buddha. The former king, King Bhumibol the Great passed away in October 2016 and the Thais are currently in mourning, hundreds of Thais, dressed all in black are going to the palace to pay their respects to the king's remains housed there.

We then took an overnight train to Surat Thani before catching a ferry to Koh Samui. The train journey took 11 hours and was an experience in itself. We started stamping on the cockroaches at first, not very Buddhist I know, but after a while you got used to them. We did keep the light on the whole way though! A bum-numbing bus journey to the port followed and then a ferry to Koh Samui, a few hours waiting here and there but we are getting used to that. Koh Samui is beautiful, just what you would imagine. We are staying in a little hotel right on the beach with palm trees and blue-green sea, idyllic. The weather is hot, in the 30's but there is always a breeze and the occasional heavy rain storm accompanied by War of the Worlds clouds and cracks of thunder. In true Brit style we have burnt already, the sun is fierce, but we will brown off in a day or so, hopefully ?! The food so far has been stunning, plenty of seafood, chillis and noodles, coconuts, mangos and Singha beer.

The Thais are fabulous people, the most friendly and welcoming we have ever met. They are gentle, light-hearted and caring people who have been brought up to avoid confrontation and to always keep calm. They find things funny rather than irritating - they had a good laugh at our sunburn too!

Wildlife so far, plenty of stray dogs, it very well fed as the restaurants look after them. They seem to sleep in packs on the beach at night. Lots of Mynah birds too and a few lizards. Oh and plenty of mosquitos, just to add insult to the sunburn injury!

Some photos to follow, difficult to upload as wi fi drops in and out but will do my best.

Love Si & Steph xxx

Posted by simon.steph 00:17 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Day 1 - doing the tourist bit

sunny 33 °C

Hello!

Bangkok is one crazy, hot and exciting city!

We brought a day ticket to hop on and off boats along the river Chao Phraya in Bangkok, a visit to an enormous flower and produce market started the day. Mountains of chillies, ginger and coriander lined the narrow alleyways with more flower heads and petals than you can imagine. A stop for a strong thick almost chocolate tasting coffee before upriver to the infamous Khao San Road. Busy, brash, backpacker heaven, every nationality catered for in the bars and clubs that line the road. Stalls selling baggy trousers and T-shirts, tuk tuks touting for business and street food on every corner. This, however was nothing compared to Bangkok's China Town, the mecca for street food, that's if you can negotiate the narrow souk style alleyways filled with wares and avoid being run over! A pleasant temperature of about 33 degrees, sweating profusely which necessitated in regular Singha stops ?

Looking forward to to a few more in the rooftop sky bar shortly!

I have put a couple of pics on but nothing much of us as we are sweaty messes sporting a few mossie bites (Simon)!

Xxx

Posted by simon.steph 03:09 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Relaxing at Gatwick

Easy this backpacking lark!

Posted by simon.steph 10:20 Comments (0)

Only 6 sleeps to go...

Hello to all our lovely family and friends!

This is a very simple blog to let you know where we are and how we are getting on. It is also a memoir for us and will hopefully include lots of great pictures, videos information, trials and tribulations.

As most of you know Simon has retired and I am, well, in-between jobs shall we say. A perfect opportunity for us to fulfil a lifelong dream of leaving the 9-5 behind and go and see a little bit of the world. This is life changing for us, mind, body and spirit and you probably won't recognise the slim, healthy, tanned and very chilled out people we will be when we come back!

We are travelling to Gatwick Airport on Sunday 15th January to fly out on Monday 16th. Snow is forecast for Sunday in the London area! We probably won't relax until we are firmly ensconced in our seats on a nice A380 plane and heading into the sky, due to land in Bangkok on the 17th.

Our trip itinerary is as follows:

Bangkok 3 nights
Thailand 4 weeks
Singapore 3 nights
Perth, Australia 5 nights
Bali/Lombok, Indonesia 2 weeks
Hong Kong 3 nights
Vietnam 3-4 weeks

We have booked some flights and accommodation so far, but we don't want to plan too much - we will make it up as we go along!

As the Thais say 'mai pen rai' - Go with the flow or bend in the wind like bamboo!

Speak soon xxx

Posted by simon.steph 07:16 Comments (0)

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