Archive for February, 2007

Last day in Thailand

February 26, 2007

Today is the official last day in Thailand. B’s here until 6pm tonight and has officially decided to ditch her tour group and rock out in the south solo. I’m so proud.

The goal of today is to shop. I’ve left all of the shopping until the very end, so I’m on a mission to buy gifts for everyone and some Thai decorations for my new apartment.

God, I’m going to miss Thailand.

Advertisements

Back in Bangkok

February 25, 2007

We left the resort in Koh Tao on Friday with the tickets that Joel had booked for us that included a ferry ride to Chumporn, taxi to the train station in Chumporn and some super sweet first class sleeper tickets on the night train to Bangkok. The taxi to the pier and the ferry went off beautifully, I curled up in a seat, listened to my ipod and slept. We had about 3 hours to kill before the train in Chumporn, so the company we bought the tickets from was nice enough to dump everyone at the aptly named “Farang Bar” where we ate dinner. When we arrived at the train station after taking the shuttle from the bar we were a little bit worried looking at the tickets that we had, which were really vouchers for tickets and tried to figure out what we were supposed to do. Not only were the tickets just vouchers for tickets that needed to be exchanged, the super sweet first class sleeper tickets we had were for THE NEXT DAY. Damn. The travel company had screwed up. Joel had the presence of mind to call the number on the business card that we had gotten at the Farang Bar and a girl that worked there rushed over to the station to try to sort things out for us.

After a long bought of eye-rolling and shouting in Thai over the phone she explained to us that we had two options to get to Bangkok by the next morning. The first was to take a taxi, which would cost about 6,000 baht. The other option was the bus. We abandoned the super-sweet first-class sleeper tickets, seeing as how they wouldn’t get us to Bangkok in time for the guys to catch their flight and instead hopped on the bus, which the travel company paid for because of the error.

After being jostled around and having my legs fall asleep repeatedly, we got to Khao San road around 4am. Which then led to some profuse sweating, not only from carrying around our backpacks, but from the fact that there were no rooms available. Anywhere. So we did the sensible thing to do, which was sit down and have a beer. Two of the guys went out looking for rooms one last time and miraculously stumbled upon a woman at Khao San Palace flipping over the “no room” sign. So we checked in and got about 4 hours of sleep to wake up again and sightsee.

We hit up the temple of the Emerald Buddha, the Grand Palace and the temple of the reclining Buddha, all of which are much to cool to describe here, the pictures are amazing. Hopefully I’ll get them posted sometime in the near future. We did a bit of shopping, eating (I’m back on street food again, I just can’t resist!) and drinking before gearing up for the night.

We randomly ran into an Australian couple that we met on the boat to Koh Pangan and had a few drinks with them, and two Swedish girls that Paul picked up. There were a couple “Chang Towers” (3 litres of Chang beer, again need pictures to describe) and we grabbed tuk tuks to get to Patpong. Craziest tuk tuk driver in the city. We had two tuk tuks and they were racing each other, popping wheelies while we screamed, hung of the side and clung on for dear life. I seriously thought we might die.

Patpong is the red light district in Bangkok that has a crazy night market, and again, the things that I saw are a little to risque for this blog.

Sadly, the guys left this morning. It’s the end of an era. We spent a pretty long time together and hopefully will keep in touch, because they’re amazing guys and tons of fun. They’ll be missed.

The fun part now is that BAHAREH’S HERE!!! We were texting back and forth all this morning trying to figure things out, when we both realized we were on Khao San Road, when she got fed up and called me. We ran out onto the street screaming and jumping on each other. I can’t believe we’re both here, it’s so incredible.

Randomness has also taken over my life. B and I were sitting in a restaurant and I was talking about these two sketchy guys that I met in Phi Phi and how weird they were and THEY WERE SITTING RIGHT BEHIND ME! I still can’t believe that happened. I said hi and hoped that they music was loud enough that they couldn’t hear me. Oops.

I think we’re headed out to Patpong again tonight, not for the shadyness, but because the night market is so good. I’ve got to do some serious shopping, now that the end of my trip is near. *Tear*

Last day on Koh Tao

February 23, 2007

Jody and Bree left last night to go back to Phuket, where they’re flying home from. It was very sad and now seems a bit quieter. After that last night we spent together drinking on the beach, yesterday was a bit more subdued, just swimming in the pool and sunbathing. Last night we played some poker in a pagoda by the pool and I was quite proud of myself by heading to bed around 10pm. Hopefully we’ll actually make it out snorkeling today, the plan is to rent some equipment and take the bikes to a remote beach. We’ve got to leave at 4pm today to take a boat to Chumpon and then the night train to Bangkok. Then a few more days of shopping, visiting temples and the floating market in Bangkok and it’s back home. Getting a little sad here…

Koh Phangan and Koh Tao

February 22, 2007

On our last day on Koh Phangan we got some bikes again and rode around the island. We had the goal to see a waterfall and do elephant trekking that we found on a map, but it didn’t quite work out that way. The waterfall was almost completely dried up and was now being artifically fed by a small hose that pumped water back up to the top and really it was more of a “slightly moist rock face” as Vern put it. We did somehow manage to climb the most treacherous hill through the jungle to get up to a lookout point. It’s amazing that we all actually made it wearing flip flops or barefeet and being really hungover from the night before.

After climbing back down the mountain and nearly slipping in the massive amount of sweat that was coming off us, we set out to find some elephants. Unfortunately the elephants looked really dodgy and completely mistreated. The baby elephant kept rocking back and forth on one of it’s feet and the other one had a couple toes that looked like they were gangrene and about to fall off. We fed them some mushy bananas and decided against riding them, it was just a bit too inhumane.

We rode back to the resort, hung out on the beach, Jody, Paul and Joel rode jet skis while I sat and watched the sun set. Beautiful.

The funniest part is how we all set out to dinner thinking that it was going to be a pretty chill night, maybe a couple of Singhas while watching a movie while lying around in a bar (one of the coolest things about Koh Phangan by the way, they put on movies all day in bars and throw cushions around the lie on). We went to a great italian place Joel had in his lonely planet, which was a nice change from all the Thai food. After dinner the sambuca shots started, and they just seemed to never end.

Highlights that I remember from the night were: dancing on Paul’s shoulders on the beach, losing my shoes, laughing so hard with Jody we fell down in the grass and couldn’t get up, playing frisbee, dancing so hard that I plowed into people knocking them over and a couple lawn chairs too, being mezmerized by the ocean, crawling around in the sand on all fours and on our stomachs, wrestling Jody, growling at people while Jody yelled “don’t pet my tiger!”, hunting for pizza at 6am, eating the best pizza of my life at 6:30am, being so covered in sand we looked like shake ‘n bake including on our faces and in our hair, making sand angels, watching the sun come up, realizing we locked our key in our room and having to sleep with 6 people in one double bed, one single bed and one hammock.

I think that’s a pretty good synopsis. It was an awesome night.

Somewhere during that night we managed to convince Jody and Bree to come to Koh Tao with us so the fun could continue. Koh Tao’s a bit more chilled out than Koh Phangan, the bars are all on the beach and they put out mats and cushions for you to sit on and dig holes in the sand for kerosene lamps made of beer bottles. It’s great. Last night we did manage to find just about the only place on the island that sells buckets (seriously it’s a bucket that they mix coke, red bull and an entire bottle of Sangsom into and throw in a couple straws), so we got into it again.

Feeling a little worn down today, so I’ll probably just chill on the beach, maybe do some snorkeling and try to find some jet skis. Heading back to Bangkok tomorrow to meet up with Bahareh, who’ll get there Sunday.

War on brain cells

February 21, 2007

I’m still alive. Just in case you were worried. I’ve been travelling with a group of people that are so much fun I have a hard time remembering to blog. We’re all a terribly bad influence on each other and officially declared a war on brain cells in Koh Phagnan. We spent pretty much every night partying on the beach until dawn. The last night there was the absolute best night of my life. We convinced Jody and Bree, the two australian girls to come to Koh Tao with the rest of us, so the party continues. I’ll try to write a little bit more when I get more time. Internet is expensive here.

Koh Phagnan

February 18, 2007

I spent most of the night in Krabi hugging the bathroom floor praying to god that if I could just feel better I would NEVER eat food from a cart on the side of the road in Thailand no matter how good it looked. It made the boat/bus ride to Koh Phagnan the next day a little rough. First there was the 4 hour bus ride to Surat Thani, then the 2.5 hour ferry ride to Koh Phagnan. It wasn’t all bad though, I met 3 British guys traveling together and had agreed to share rooms before we even got each other’s names. We all sat with a bunch of other backpackers, playing cards on the ferry and drinking beer, counting down the minutes until we didn’t have to use the bathrooms on the boat ever again. We managed to book a pretty nice resort for cheap for that night (we fantasized the whole boat ride about the promise of flush toilets and hot showers), which was pretty close to the Black moon party that was going on that night. Unfortunately, as soon as we started drinking to go out that night I had an attack of sickness again and spent most of the night in the room moaning and running to the bathroom. The guys gradually made it back to the resort covered in body paint at various hours of the morning.

The next day turned out to be much better. The guys rented motor bikes and myself and 2 Aussie girls rode on the back of them around the island. We weren’t on them for 5 minutes before one of the guys ran a red light, was pulled over by the Thai police and escorted to the police station. We rode around the island a bit more, ate lunch in Hat Rin and booked rooms there for the following night. After getting back to the resort I had the craziest Thai massage, that at some point involved the massuese on her back with my whole body in the air balanced with the small of my back on her knees, while she pulled my arms back. I may bring her home and marry her.

It wasn’t too long after that we started getting into the vodka and red bull and things started deteriorating from there. We caught a cab into Hat Rin, where the have the full moon parties and started out at the “Warm up Bar” by drinking buckets (that’s the thing here, drinks come in buckets) of red bull, vodka and coke. Not long after that we walked by a tattoo shop and Jody decided to get a tattoo, while I got pierced. I nearly passed out while holding her hand for so long, watching them bang the bamboo into her skin. We partied on the beach until sunrise. Highlights included bartering leis for toilet paper in the bathroom, losing our shoes, meeting up with a guy from Phi Phi that both Jody and I knew from earlier on in our trips, Joel getting robbed of 15,000 baht right out of his pocket and many many other things that I am gradually remembering today.

This morning was a little rough. My ear hurts tons from getting pierced (I don’t know the name of the part I got pierced, but I can’t put my ipod headphones in anymore), I have a wicked sunburn and the Thai massage is making my muscles ache. We moved to our new hotel on the beach in Hat Rin, which is so totally swanky it has a MINIBAR. I spent the mojority of today sleeping in the hammock on our porch.

God, I love Thailand.

Koh Phi Phi – Krabi

February 15, 2007

Had another wonderful day lying on the beach, eating pad thai, drinking Singhas yesterday. A lot of peaceful contemplation and enjoying the scenery. Ahhhhhhhhh.

Had a few drinks last night with all the boys, and the crowd seemed to grow from the 5 guys I was staying with to about 15 guys from different places, some we met at the resort, some were friends that people met up with from home. I’m not quite sure how I ended up being the only girl in this situation, but whatever. We drank at a bar right on the beach that was having valentine’s day specials and a fire show. I was nice to feel the ocean breeze and dig my toes into the sand while kicking back with a drink and enjoying the company and music.

Got up early this morning to catch a ferry to Krabi and had a wicked bout of sea/food sickness the whole time, but strangely wasn’t the only one. Two of the guys spent all of yesterday fighting off food poisoning and I had to battle them for rail space on the boat (precious, I know).

When I got to Krabi we were all sick and hot and disoriented and somehow in the crowd of people I managed to lose all the guys, who were heading off on a bus to Koh Phagnan right away and we parted ways without even saying goodbye. A little sad, but at that point I was really feeling like I needed a little bit of alone time.

I got out to the night market in Krabi, which was so awesome. I looked like a total tourist, taking pictures and grabbing one of every type of food that I thought looked interesting (seriously, I just don’t learn) nothing was more than 10 baht. Thai chocolate pancakes are now my most favourite food in the world.

Taking the bus/ferry tomorrow to get to Koh Pagnan.

Sunset trip

February 14, 2007

Yesterday was absolutely amazing. We took a sunset cruise around the two Phi Phi islands, snorkled, kayaked, swam and ate dinner on the boat. The islands are possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. We didn’t see the monkies on monkey beach because they didn’t feel like coming out to play yesterday, but the snorkeling was awesome. We saw Maya Bay, where they filmed The Beach and you would just die at how beautiful it is. Unfortunately there are so many boats that dock there every day, you can already see the effects that they are having on the water, but it still comes close to the clearest water I’ve ever been in and the sand was like powder.

Our trip came through the back of the island, which involved our guide taking of his shirt, saying “follow me!” and diving into the water. We swam a rough 100m to a hole in the rock face, climbed up some jagged coral, hiked across the island (all soaking wet, barefoot in a bathing suit) and watched as the beach magically appeared in front of us. Amazing. After playing on the beach for a while, myself and another guy decided to swim back to the boat, which was now in the bay and looked waaaaaay closer than it actually was. It probably took about 25 minutes to swim back to it. We then ate fried rice on the boat and watched an incredible sunset.

I took a little nap after we got back, but when I got up my stomach still wasn’t feeling 100% to start drinking hard, so I had a couple beers, watched some amateur Muay Thai (which basically involved backpackers signing themselves and their friends up to go at it in a ring inside a bar) and then made an early night again around midnight.

God, I love Thailand.

Koh Phi Phi

February 13, 2007

I took a boat to Koh Phi Phi yesterday and met up with a bunch of crazy Irish and Scottish guys that I hooked up with to find a room here. Everything is much more expensive than any other place I’ve been, so we’re all sharing rooms and paying the astronmical price of 550 baht a night (about $15). I’ve been feeling a bit off since I ate some meat off a cart on the street in Phuket, so I spent last night being sick while all the guys went out and partied at a bar that had “Lady boy kickboxing”. Seriously.

It’s so hot here, it’s incredible. On the boat over we had to keep alternating from the sundeck to underneath because it just got unbearable at times. After we managed to find rooms, we hit the beach then ate dinner. Since I was the only one not hungover this morning, I took the initiative to book us a snokeling trip around Koh Phi Phi Don (the island we’re staying on) and Koh Phi Phi Lei. We’re going to the beach where they filmed “The Beach” and monkey beach, where you can actually play with the monkies. The boat leaves at 3 and we snorkel, sunbathe and kayak until sunset, which we watch from the boat. Should be an experience.

Which way to the beach?

February 11, 2007

I’m in an internet cafe in Hat Karon on Phuket, the hotel I’m staying at doesn’t have internet, so I’m forced to pay for it here. Soooooo, flew into Phuket, which was pretty uneventful, except for when I fell asleep in the cab to the airport in Bangkok and the driver had to nudge me awake when we got there. I’m seriously getting way too lax about traveling now. I got to the Phuket airport and the bus that I was supposed to take into Phuket Town had stopped running, so I was forced to take the airport minibus, which was such a farce and I was exhausted and just wanted to start yelling at people. It took them ages to organize people into different cars, and then on the way there they stopped at a TRAVEL AGENT to try to sell us rooms. One guy was trying to tell me that because it was late, my hostel that I had booked probably wouldn’t be open. Then he asked if I wanted to go to the market. Seriously. After we all piled back into the van, they dropped me off about a 5 minute walk from where I was staying and said that because I was a lady he didn’t think I should walk there this late at night, but there was a hotel across the street where he could get me a room. I threw my bag on my back and just said that at this point, if somone tried to mess with me, the last thing I would be is a lady.

I took the bus from Phuket Town to Hat Karon the next morning (and I have to mention that I’m always the only farang on these buses, go me!). As soon as I checked into my hotel in Karon I did the most obvious thing and hit the BEACH! They charge 100 baht to use the beach chairs and umbrellas, which I willingly forked over after taking into consideration the obscenely hot temperature and my blazing white skin. Somehow I still managed to burn.

I met two Canadian girls who were travelling with an Australian guy and made plans to go out with them later. After lying on the beach for the entire day, I went back to my room, showered and changed and then went out to dinner with my new friends. We had plans to go to Patong after dinner, so we hit up the 7-11, grabbed some booze and spent the next few hours playing drinking games in their hotel room. Patong is pretty much known as a hole of partying and debauchery with tons of Thai girls that are really boys. I can’t write anything else about what happened after we took a tuk tuk to Patong, it’s just really inappropriate. If you really want to know, ask me when I get home.

Which brings me up to this morning, and I’m ridiculously hung over, so I figured the best solution would be to take a nap on a chair at the beach. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Looking into going to Kho Phi Phi tomorrow.