A Travellerspoint blog

Backpacking - luxury style

or How To Live In Bangkok On 2000 Baht a Day

semi-overcast 33 °C

We arrived in Bangkok after a long day’s journey via ferry and bus from Koh Phangnan. We decided to get a Tuk Tuk to my friend’s house on the other side of town which was a slightly hair-raising experience as the driver zig-zagged in and out of the traffic at top speed whilst laughing hysterically! Loza and Pun greeted us with a good old chicken roast which was delicious and just what we needed after more than 12 hours on the go.
Gerald and I spent a good while in a state of awe at the place they live in… it is a 5 storey house with 6 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms – one of them a Jacuzzi for 4 people, a pool, roof terrace, sprung floor gym complete with mirrored wall and ballet bars and a lift!!!!!!
It was great to see them as it had been over a year since I last saw them in the UK and Lorraine has since had her very cute twins – Felix and Siri who are now around 6 months old. They are chalk and cheese from each other both in looks and personality. Jaiya their eldest (3 yrs old) took a while to warm to us but once she did was a regular visitor to our bedroom to hang out with us.
Loza and I decided to catch up over a manicure, pedicure and hairdressers session. All that kind of stuff is so much cheaper out here so it is too hard to resist!
Gerald and I spent time exploring Bangkok, we hit the Khao San Road one night and had a wander round and a few drinks before joining the others at a Halloween party and rolling in at around 3am slightly drunk!!! We visited Chatachuk market which is absolutely enormous (more than 10,000 stalls) and sells just about everything you can imagine – the good, the bad and the ugly! There is definitely a big market for animals out here and you can buy just about anything you want as either a pet or to eat, we found it a little distressing at times.
We also had a full on day’s sightseeing at Jim Thomson’s House, The Grand Palace and The Reclining Buddha which was pretty tiring but there was no rest for the wicked as it was Loza’s birthday so we had a night out on the town beginning in a very posh bar on the roof of a very tall building in Bangkok. The bar has 360 degree views of the whole city: we got the ear-popping lift to the top of the building (59 floors) and then had to walk up a few more flights of stairs to get to the bar! After drinks there we headed to the notorious Pat Pong area to one of the famous girly bars. Loza and Pun felt that it was a must do whilst we were there. It was certainly an experience but maybe one that we are not in too much of a hurry to repeat – well I speak for myself maybe Gerald thinks differently!!!!
Yesterday we had a bit of an admin day including a trip to the hospital. Gerald got a blister whilst diving which seemed to get infected shortly afterwards. Seeing at it had been over 10 days and it was still swollen, weeping and sore to bend we decided to get it looked at. £40 later we discovered it is not infected, the dead skin was removed and creams and bandages were issued with strict instructions to change the dressing twice a day for the next 2 weeks. Hopefully it will heal up without any problems.
Our last night in Bangkok coincided with the festival of Loy Krathong, a festival of light. It’s all about releasing the bad stuff that has happened during the year and getting a fresh start. So everyone buys or makes a Loy Krathong (made out of flowers, candles, incense and other stuff) adds a few hairs/fingernails (???) and sets it floating down the river saying goodbye to all their worries. We took the SkyTrain into town and wandered about by the river watching all the festivities.
Anyway this morning we set off to our next destination – Kanchanaburi. This is the location of the famous Bridge over the River Kwai. We are booked on a day tour tomorrow to go and explore the area so watch this space!

Posted by bumblebum 06:58 Archived in Thailand Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Whale Sharks, SuperStar DJ's and night visitors

Knight in shining armour for rent...

sunny 34 °C

Koh Phangan. It’s lovely. We’re staying at the same place that I stayed at in March (Shiralea), and have also done a couple of dives with the same dive resort that I dived with, again back in March (Reefers). The weather has been hot but the pool at this ‘Backpackers Resort’ is gorgeous! No need to go to the beach for us!

We went for two dives at a place called Sail Rock last Friday. At the end of the first dive a whale shark swam past! It was so amazing to see the biggest fish species (called a whale shark simply because they are as big as a whale!) although our one was only about two and a half meters long, but they can grow to over 12 meters. The shark was still about when we went for our second dive, so we got to see it again, just an arms length away. Awesome. Our dive master man (called Vic) had his camera with him on the second dive and there are some nice photos both of the shark AND Anita and I. In fact they are using one of the photos of us on their website now (click here and scroll down to the 24th October).

We were planning on doing a Silver Smith course while we are on the island. They give you 5 grams of silver and show you all the skills needed to make some jewellery. But we’ve sort of missed the boat on that one, so will have to look out for another opportunity to do that.

The other interesting event that has happened was our invite to Graham Gold’s housewarming party. He is an ex KISS FM DJ from the UK and has played at many famous locations around the world, and still does play occasionally. He’s built himself a new house (with Gold Records on the wall!) not too far from here and since he is good friends with both the Shiralea and Reefers people, we were included in the invite. It was a nice evening and a bit of a blow out for us, we both had ‘a few’ drinks, the first time all holiday (it’s not all fun you know!).

To make the night even more interesting, I woke up at about 3am (after going to sleep around 2am I think?) to find a long paint roller pole coming in through one of our windows and trying to hook Anita’s little day-pack!! In my sleepy stupor I managed to figure out that this was not a dream and also not normal and launched myself over Anita, grabbing the pole and shouting “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” For some reason this woke up Anita, and after I managed to get across what was happening, we made sure nothing was missing (there wasn’t) secured ourselves in our room again and went back to sleep. A lucky escape and a reminder that we always need to be vigilant!

It wasn’t just us that were targeted though, as it seems, after talking to the other guests, that everyone heard some noise outside their room at some stage, and there was a family that had five hundred US dollars stolen from inside a wallet! The thieves left everything else, including the laptop the wallet was sitting on. But then maybe they were the most unlucky, because they had left their room unlocked while they were sleeping…

Next we are off to Koh Tao, a little island a bit further north. Not sure if we are going tomorrow or the next day (what day is it now?), but we will stay there a couple of nights before heading up to Bangkok! Almost time for the island part of our trip to be over!!

Anyway, that’s all for now. I need more sleep…


Posted by Big.G 08:11 Archived in Thailand Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

A life of luxury

in Koh Samui

sunny 34 °C

We have spent the last 6 days on the lovely island, Koh Samui. As you know our apartment was booked ages ago so we could celebrate my birthday week in a bit more luxury than we have been used to throughout our travels so far! Luckily it didn’t disappoint….the place is beautiful! The views are stunning.
The whole wall in front of the bed is made of sliding glass doors so when we wake up in the morning we are greeted by a sparkling blue sea and tall palm trees. It is so nice to have a few extra luxuries like a fridge, daily maid service and lots of space! Plus we have a huge roof terrace and an infinity pool with views over the ocean.
The nearest beach (at the bottom of the hill we are on) is really lovely, it is called Coral Cove and isn’t very big at all but Gerald and I are often the only two down there anyway!

We have spent a couple of days exploring the island on the bike we hired. At the weekend we went to a waterfall that seemed to be a tourist hotspot, it was another tough climb in hot weather but, unlike the other two we saw in Indonesia, we didn’t really feel it was worth the effort, maybe if it had rained a lot recently it may have looked more impressive?!
We also went to Lamai which is where Kirsten and I stayed about 7 years ago. It has changed so much, all the little markets have been replaced with proper shops and little backpackers are now HUGE flash resorts and spas. I instantly recognised the place we had stayed in though, which apart from a new paint colour was exactly the same as it was back then.

The weather has been absolutely perfect here, day after day of blue skies and hot sunshine from the minute we wake up. We knew this part of the world is approaching monsoon season and so we were expecting rainy evenings and storms like Malaysia had had, in fact we were quite looking forward to watching lightning from the comfort of our apartment but it never happened!

Yesterday was my birthday and we started the day with breakfast on our balcony, headed down to Coral Cove and spent a couple of hours snorkelling, then in the evening we went into Chewang and Gerald treated me to a massage and a pedicure, a very nice meal and a bit of a spending spree in the shops. I had lots of birthday emails throughout the day which was really nice, every time I logged in there would be a few more! It is definitely a birthday I will remember.

Tomorrow we leave here for Koh Pha Ngan where we are planning on doing some more scuba diving and possibly go on a jewellery making day course! Our next lot of accommodation is known as a ‘Flashpackers’ as it is posher than your average backpackers. I’m not sure we will be able to slum it ever again now!!!!

Posted by bumblebum 05:12 Archived in Thailand Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Leopard sharks, rat eating lizards and bedroom geckos....

....welcome to the Perhentians!

sunny 32 °C

Tonight is our last night on Kecil as tomorrow morning we will be catching the 8am boat to the mainland to begin our long journey to Thailand (something like 17 hours on a bus in total with an overnight stop in Georgetown to break it up).
Over the past couple of days we have had a few wildlife encounters….we had geckos in our room which kept Gerald awake as they crunched on a big bug of some kind that they caught – whatever it was Gerald said it sounded very hard!
We saw a big snake which I had walked straight past, frightening it and sending it straight towards Gerald, it was over a metre long but quite skinny, luckily it didn’t shoot off too quickly meaning I got a chance to take a photo.
Coming home from the beach we found a monitor lizard eating a huge rat, he was devouring it with gusto and did not like us getting too close – I guess he thought we might take it off him!!!
Today was probably the best day for wildlife though as we went scuba diving again. As soon as we started to descend we saw exactly what we had been hoping for – a leopard shark! It was around 2 metres long and absolutely beautiful – can you call a shark beautiful??!!!
We watched it for a while and then it swam off heading straight towards me and then zoomed straight past about a metre away from me!
As well as the shark we also saw a mangrove ray (which are rare in these parts apparently), a blue spotted ray, several humphead parrotfish, which are enormous, an emperor angelfish which was large, colourful and very beautiful and made our dive master VERY happy as they are also not seen often. Visability was very good, around 15 metres at it’s best and we saw loads of fish and lovely coral, these islands definitely have some great dive sites.
We will be quite sad to leave here as it has been a relaxing and enjoyable 10 days.

Hope you guys are all well
PS I have been replying to most of the comments you make on the blogs but have no idea if you get informed of that!!! So if you haven’t been informed check out your comments again!!!

Posted by bumblebum 03:39 Archived in Malaysia Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

Not long left in Malaysia

Thailand and fun, we're almost there!!!

storm 28 °C

[This was written yesterday, Thursday the 9th October, so please place your mind back a day, and then read on…]

We’re still on Pulau Perhentian Kecil, having a fun time doing very little apart from lying on the beach, sleeping and cooling off in the warm South China Sea water.

Although… we ventured out and did some diving today! Anita did a refresher dive as it has been thirteen years since she did her Open Water course and any subsequent dives. I did two dives, both wrecks: Vietnamese and Sugar Wrecks. Vietnamese was average, visibility was very low and the current was very strong. But Sugar Wreck was fantastic. Thousands of fish and stuff, good visibility, not too deep so nice and long! The wreck itself is only about 10 years old and lies on it’s side in 17m deep water (a sand bank in the middle of nowhere). It was anchored there in a monsoon and a wave sunk it. Oops.

We have only 4 nights left on these islands and 5 nights in Malaysia as a whole, since we are expected in Ko Samui on the 14th October, so we are now planning our run to Thailand. Looks like we will have to get a bus from the port (Kuala Besut) to Georgetown on Penang Island, stay the night there and then bus (and then ferry) from Georgetown to Ko Samui. There is a travel operator that sells tickets for the whole journey which should make things easier. It’s hard to think that we have to leave here though, as the place is beautiful and so relaxing. But then the draw of Ko Samui (another island) and Thailand (more fun?) and the place that we have already rented on Ko Samui (oh, so nice, look here!!) makes up for it. Ha ha!

As for our last few days, we’ll do some more diving, do lots of people watching, and sit on our veranda and watch the (almost daily) electrical storms that sweep over the island at about 8pm or the beautiful sunsets. That’s all there is to do here. Apart from taking photos of the sunsets that is. :o)

Until next time, that’s all for now!

Posted by Big.G 03:45 Archived in Malaysia Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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