Gulf of thailand-
Koh Tao- we were on the boat for 1hr 30mins getting excited about the beaches we were going to visit! We arrived and looked for someone with our hotel name on board to transfer us but to no avail! So we got our own taxi to 'Power Beach resort' where we would be staying. Our hotel was right on the beach, the sea was glittering in the sun, and everyone was in their bikinis! While we were waiting for our rooms to be sorted we checked our emails and Alysha heard the news that her little brother Dillon was born! So we immediately made plans to go out that night and 'wet the baby's head' if you may!
We walked around the island, seen loads of good clothes shops, yummy food stalls on the beach and then we had a swim before returning to get changed. The night started off respectfully, but the cocktails were more than drinkable and lethal, so naturally the night ended quite messy.... ;)
Over the next few days we hired motorbikes to explore the island, went to all the beaches and view points for photo opportunities. Mischa had an 'incident' with her motorbike, surprisingly...(!) On the morning we hired the motorbikes (frigging cheap, only £2 a day!!) we went back to our hotel and then we discovered a poster at the reception saying not to hire bikes at these named place as they con you and charge you for a "damage" that wasn't there. Yes, the place we hired ours from was listed on the poster!! So we decided to take the poster with us, went back to the place and basically said we know your game, so you better not con us!! You see, that's where they're cunning! But they said that it's just competitions, trying to smear businesses etc and that we have nothing to worry about. The day went on fine, then Mischa went up a hill, but while waiting for the others, she parked sideways. Yep, she fell off the bike and it fell onto the ground!! There was some scratches and the handlebar was a little crooked! So they returned to the place to return the bikes, pretending nothing had happened! Oh, no....they have got sharp eyes and spotted the problem straightaway! Mischa had Alysha by her side, trying to say that this is part of their cunning plan, and they were scamming us, we have evidences - the poster said it all! But the man wasn't convinced, said that we knew what really happened and then cursed Alysha in his language! Mischa had to pay for the scratches - £20 (luckily, they didn't noticed the handlebar as that was more expensive!!)
We took an overnight trip to a nearby island Koh Samui, just to have a look around. It was nice, but with not much to do, we stayed at an apartment-like place for cheap for one night only (all 4 of us had to share a double bed though as there was only one room available). The next morning we ordered MacDonald's that got delivered to our door!! We couldn't resist taking a picture of the man, who looked confused when we asked him for permission! *chuckles at memory*
Back in Koh Tao, Coco had her septum pierced, Gemma and Alysha did their belly buttons again and Mischa did the top of her ear lobe! We shall be coming back looking different for sure....
This was the island we had all been looking forward to the most! The full moon party was on this island! *whoops*
We stayed in a quiet part of town, but our hotel had a swimming pool which we used the full advantage to top up our tans as the nearest beach to us was not that great. Grr!!
We hired motorbikes again, explored round the island and seen some viewpoints. There was a steep mountain hill that divides the island from north and south. But Gemma and Alysha refused to go up the hill on a motorbike on the account of safety! Being too scared, they went back but Coco and Mischa had a ride to the north and enjoyed their ride very much!
All 4 of us had bamboo tattoos done! Alysha and Mischa went first having their middle names 'Thelma and Louise' on their feet. Having been assured by Gemma that bamboo doesn't hurt (she had a tattoo done on her back years ago with bamboo) we can confirm she is one big fat liar! We were in pain, gritting our teeth together whilst trying to maintain a cool demeanour so that we didn't look like a pair of crybabies!
Then a few days later we went back to the tattoo shop so that Coco could get a rose on her knee, the other 3 girls had their ribs done in Thai writing that says "shoot nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time, leave nothing but footprints" with 4 footprints to represent us all.
The experience was hysterical! The shop staff took their time in drawing and preparing whilst we were allowed to drink whiskey in the shop and smoke (purely on the advice from the tattooist - that if we drink whiskey, we'll feel less pain!) Coco went first and it was too painful for her to cope with, so she kept drinking and drinking! She got SO drunk that she kept swearing at the tattooist, cussing him for giving her pain ( yes, it was very embarrassing for us all, we kept saying sorry to the staff and telling Coco to shut up!) She finally passed out on the chair but the tattooist kept going! She then woke up a while later, looking confused, told the man to stop and then she held out her hand and threw up in it while trying to walk to the toilet!! Gemma couldn't do anything, as she was on another table getting her ribs done, so it was left to Alysha and Mischa to clean her up, and get a change of clothes! Coco had to return the next day to finish off the job! Awkward.....!
The other girls did a bit better, with Gemma going first and she was ages as hers was a bit bigger. Looking at her in pain made Alysha and Mischa want to drink more to block out the pain (they still hadn't gotten over the shock of the pain on their feet!) Alysha was next followed by Mischa and we were all happy with the results!
The whole experience was random but the staff were lovely and kept us entertained (we even met up with them at the moon party the following night!)
The moon party was another faboulous event! We partied in the middle of a jungle, music was pounding everyone was covered in UV paint and we danced the night away! We got back to our hotel in the early hours of morning when the sun was coming up. Brilliant night!
The next place we went to was Krabi - compared to what we were used to this was a very laid back place, more of a family place to go on holiday for. Still, we made the most of our time. We got a massage on the beach (absolutely beautiful!) Gemma bought her Mulberry bag that comes with a make-up bag and a purse!! We booked a trip to an island nearby for couple days later as the beach was better there than on Krabi!
We stayed in cute bamboo bungalow, but the place was not like what the brochure claimed! It was not as pretty as the photo showed and there was no pool! The place was owned by a couple, local Thai lady and a frenchman who seemed to take an instant dislike to us!
We went out the first night, came back quite drunk and then put some music on to carry on the mood! Within 2 minutes the frenchman was banging on our door to turn it off! Alysha and Mischa started to being a bit silly, fooling around to the point where Mischa screamed when a wooden towel frame almost fell on her. The man came back and threatened to kick us out the next morning! Gemma told Mischa and Alysha to shut the hell up, but obviously that bought the nervous giggles out and we couldn't stop laughing!
The next morning we tried to explain to the man that we were sorry, but he wouldn't let Gemma get a word in and kept telling her not to make excuses for us! Which we found quite rude considering that he had a deaf sister himself, so he should know that we can't always hear ourselves! That Frenchman....*mutters*
To get to the other island that we booked, we took a tailboat for 15 mins and already the sand and water was much better! The water was so see-through, you could see the fish and their colours clearly. When we arrived, we swam in the sea straightaway. A woman near us had some bread and she gave it to Mischa, Coco and Gemma to put in the sea, and all the fishes came toward them - it was an cool experience! Alysha was scared, she ran back out and continued the sunbathing!
We chilled out all day, then around 3pm we went back to where the boats were parked but we couldn't see our boat or the couple that was with us on the way to here! So once again we got spooked, asked other people if they knew what happened, the language barrier became a problem again! A man said we could go on his boat but we would have to buy another ticket, but we had already paid for our return ticket! Eventually we saw the couple, and learnt that our boat had gone somewhere else and would come back in a while. We waited around for a bit then a boat came but with more people so we were pushed to the back without shelters. Then it started to rain, the waters were so choppy so we all got wet on the ride back, Alysha more so as she was on the side!
The town centre was called Centre Point where all the bars were in one area. We did well in nabbing free shots from staff, by saying if they want us to drink in their bars, free shots for us! We saw a group of transvestites doing a promo show on the streets, some were so girly it was hard to tell if they were dressed up or not! We had a laugh, bar crawling with free shots at every bars!
We only stayed in Krabi for a few days, but it was enough and we were ready for another boat ride to Phi-Phi! (we were so excited after hearing SO much about the island!)
Arrived in the afternoon and straightaway we saw the island was quite small, there were no cars or motorbikes at all! The locals got by on bicycles or walked on foot! Our 'taxi' to carry our bags in was a makeshift wheelbarrow type of thingy, pushed by a skinny man! Poor thing was drenched in sweat by the time he got to our hotel which was the other end of the island!!
We explored around the island (from one end to another took 15 minutes!) and the shops were amazing! Mischa couldn't stop buying stuff - a serious shopaholic that woman!!!
We found a nice spot on the beach where the water were so clear and away from boats so we went in for a dip to cool down!
We returned to our hotel to get ready to watch an amateur Thai boxing match!
We got to the place early so we could have dinner and nab the best seats. On another table was a man taking on the challenge that the bar set. You have to eat a 500g burger that looked like 3 burgers in 1, along with chips, onion rings and a massive tub of coleslaw - all under 30mins! If he wins - the meal is free. If not, he only had to pay half of the price!! The man was struggling from start with his embarrassed girlfriend next to him, shaking her head! It was hard to watch him eat, he looked tired near the end and was sweating hard! He gave up in the last 10 mins, and looked like he was going to faint! Poor sod!
The match was delayed a bit so while the staff were tying to work up the crowd to participate in the amateur matches! At first none of us wanted to do it but they were persistent, targeting Mischa every time! They kept egging Mischa to do it but she said she want to watch the match first and then see how it goes! After watching a few amateur girls matches, they kept punching lightly, kicking like fairies, we all felt like we could do a lot better! Mischa was riled up now and wanted to do it, but she has glasses on so she wasn't allowed to. Coco wanted to do it too but her nose piercing being recent, she was unable to fight too! Gemma and Alysha just didn't want to get in the ring full stop! Finally the professional men came on and man, boy, didn't we see a proper fight!
We were really into the games, more than expected, with us shouting at who we wanted to win "Get in there! Punch him one! Goooooo! Come on!!!!!" This made us want to see a proper professional fight at some point!
We took another boat trip to do some snorkelling, visited other islands surrounding Phi-Phi -Bamboo island, Monkey island and Maya beach (where they filmed "The Beach" with Leoando Dicaprio.) It was brilliant to jump off the boat, go snorkelling nearby with SO many different coloured fishes, blue starfishes and we even saw a water snake!!!
To get to Maya beach from the boat was a bloody feat in itself! The boat was anchored away from the island as it was too shallow and had lot of corals underneath. The staff said we couldn't take our flippers but we were scared as all we could see was rocks, and corals and urchins that looked really spiky! We jumped off the boat, swam a bit and quickly put our flip-flops on and tried to walk on the rocks but the waves made it hard! (Coco ended up cutting her feet) then we had to climb up a rope-ladder from the water to get to the top! When we got to the top, we had to walk a bit to the beach! It didn't look like what we expected, but we haven't seen the film for years but still.... it was like "so this is it.....?" It was a bit overcrowded too but we managed to have a dip in the water and then headed back to the boat before the others.
Getting back to the boat was much harder, if not more horrible than it was getting to the beach!! The boat had moved further back, the waters were a bit higher and all the crabs were out! Some of them were massive that Gemma could hear their pincers clipping away! Gross! So we had a mission to get to the boat,the waves again made it hard for our footing, while looking for crabs and trying to find a non slippery rock. Maybe a few wails of despair were let out of our mouth! We gave up with the climbing and we just swam the shallow waters praying we wouldn't cut our tummies or legs! Finally, we climbed back into the boat to find the driver sitting in his hammock with a smile (he must have watched the whole thing, smirking at us looking like muppets!)
We waited for the others to come back and boy, we had a sneaky laugh at the Chinese group and one black man that couldn't swim AT ALL!! The black man was a wimp and made his girlfriend swim to the boat to get his flippers and mask and back again so that he could come on the boat! Embarrassing!! She even had to swim back for the chinese group who held onto her, flapping about as she swam them all back to the boat!! Just as we were setting off, one man fom our group left his phone on the beach, so we had to turn the boat back so he could get it. But since it was an iPhone it was obviously taken by someone and he came back empty handed!
We saw the sunset while on the boat, before heading back to land, a beautiful sight we'll never forget. Then we had a BBQ dinner before heading back to the hotel. Gemma got badly burnt on the trip and had mini-sunstroke so she stayed behind while the rest went out on a mini bar crawl for our last night in Phi-Phi then onto a raving beach party, making friends along the way!
We took another boat to this island, feeling sad to leave Phi-Phi having only stayed there for 2 nights, we really enjoyed it :-( This was the last island of the package deal we booked with the travel agents in Bangkok - so after Koh Lanta, it's on our own.....eeek!
We had a long ride to our accomdation, in the middle of nowhere and......the place was a dump! Again nothing like the brochure stated, in the past we would have got on with it, but since the staff there ignored us and were incredibly rude - plus there was ants everywhere and as it was the last island of our package deal we wanted comfort before having to slum it down again independently! So Gemma phoned the tourist place, but just as she got through to the manager, the owner (who had been at the mosque when we arrived) explained that his staff were not rude, they just didn't understand us. However we are not stupid and know rude when we see it, we told him "It's not your fault your staff are rude,or that we are not happy with the place, it's just we had different expectations than this, so we are phoning the company we booked with to get moved" That sparked up a few things, he demanded Gemma put down the phone and talk to him. He was willing to move us to another hotel near long beach, where the town is. Feeling a bit sorry for him, we accepted his offer to look at the other hotel, if it was ok we would stay if not then phone up again! So we loaded our bags in his car, and had another drive to a different area. When we got there, our resort was next to the beach and the rooms a lot cleaner and an actual bed rather than a camp bed they were offering us at the other place! We took the rooms for free of charge then went to the beach and relaxed for a while.
We hired motorbikes again, explored around the island where Alysha got her Jimmy Choo bag and Coco got a Mulberry satchel bag.
We did all the viewpoints again then in the evening, we went to a beach party. Koh Lanta wasn't a big thrill for us to be honest.
We had to sort out our route, decide where to go next. We wanted to go to Phuket but luckily Phi-Phi was in-between, so we bought a ticket back to Phi-Phi for a couple of night before heading to Phuket! Happy bunnies, we were!!!
Phi-Phi (Round 2)
We went back to Phi-Phi for 3 nights, did a bit more shopping (mostly Mischa!!) and more partying! The 1st night was a bit disappointing, unknown to us it was their bank holiday. We all got ready to go out, but once we got there, most places we're shut! We ended up at Slinky beach party in the end though.
We went to a Tsunami village, where they are still trying to get rebuilt after the one that crashed the island back in 2007. We also explored more different beaches round the island, meeting new friends and more partying!!!!!!!
We got a boat from Phi-Phi, and sorted out our transport (a bus) on the boat to take us to Patong beach where we would look for accommodation.
No sooner than when we got off, the man who sold us the tickets gave back us our money, telling us that he couldn't take us anywhere as there had been an earthquake and an after shock was coming along with a tsunami!
Why do things never go plain sailing with us?! Gemma went straight to panic mode saying she's going straight to the airport! But to get anywhere we needed a taxi! It was chaos at the port, people scrambling about, buses and taxis driving off! People were pushing in the queue, but we finally got a taxi and asked the lady who was our driver what was happening. She confirmed in broken english that a tsunami was coming in about an hour, but she was being so cool about it!!! We asked where was it going to hit, she didn't know but kept laughing at our panicked faces! We asked at one point will we die? she replied "Yes! Die, die, die, all of you, yes!" followed by more laughing! This was getting a bit too much now! We asked her to stop at a tourist place so we could find out more information.
We got to a shop and found out that Patong beach (where the lady was taking us to!) was next to be hit! The other lady that was more useful with information told us to stay in Phuket town for a night, as nothing was quite yet confirmed. If there was a tsunami coming this was our safest option to stay in!
We asked the lady driver to go back to Phuket town to a cheap guesthouse that she recommended, she was happy to oblige. On the way she got a phone call, reading her face expressions was enough to get us worried again, she told us it was her daughter phoning asking where she was as there was water coming!!
We got to our hotel in end, asking them that we want to stay on the top floor for safety but people there were just too relaxed. We asked the receptionist what was going on, apparently its not unusual for these warnings and probably nothing would happen. So we were pacified for a while, watched the news and read on the Internet for more information and everything was going to be ok, phew! But we still wanted to stay in town for another night just to be safe!
In Phuket town we hired a taxi with a lovely friendly driver to take us to a famous temple, saw Big Buddah on a hill, got blessed by another monk, saw a scary snake show (we all had to hold a massive snake and pose for pictures!) Gemma has a snake at home, but even Alysha was more brave and held onto the back of a massive snake in the show ring. The man scared us with fake cobras, threw it at us and got a kick out of us screaming at everything! Lastly, our taxi driver took us to a MASSIVE gem store where we all tried on real diamond rings and necklaces vowing that one day we would all own a real diamond piece!
That night we did a bit of research on Patong beach and it was safe to go there but alot of the hostels we saw online were booked up because it was the Songkran festival, Thai new year where they have mega water fights in the streets. But we wanted to book something in advance so that we wouldn't get wet on the day with our backpacks.
We decided to get a tuk-tuk to the area that evening, have dinner there meanwhile looking for accommodation. On the way, the water fights had already begun! We got sprayed in the tuk-tuk, taking us by surprise!
We went to a cheap hostel we saw online in Paradise Complex (a gay area of Patong) it was like being back in Soho in London, with the camp men walking around in tiny hotpants. Luckily they had room for us, which made things easier as we didn't want to be getting wet looking for accommodation, so we told them we will be back in the morning and went to get something to eat.
After dinner we couldn't resist joining in the fun! We bought some water pistols, hid our hearing aids in bags, covered with carrier bags for extra protection and hit the streets! Everyone was involved, and if you didn't have a water pistol then.... shame! We played for a couple of hours before getting a tuk tuk back to our hotel. We were ultra excited for the next day, as we had all day and night to play!!
We got a taxi through the hotel, knowing we would be drier in a car than a tuk tuk! We filled our water pistols ready just in case, and on the way everyone was already splashing water, using water pistols or cups/bowls from barrels and hoses! It was amazing to see EVERYONE being involved, people of all ages and just throwing water to each other!!!
We checked in, got changed and headed back out! We stayed out all day, going up and down streets squiring at everyone. It was amazing, everyone was happy and totally wet! We found an area that had good music and a group of people were offering us free drinks! Who are we to say no!? One of the men was the owner of a club opposite and he said to come to the club tonight and he would get us in for free. We went back to our complex, carried on the water-fight and having fun with the gay men then made friend with another owner who said we would have free shots if we came back later.
Later that evening, we went back to our rooms for a quick shower and change of clothes, before heading out to the gay bar for our free shots.Then onto a mini bar crawl to the other bars before heading to the club 'Seduction', where we got in for free. :)
The next morning, we thought the water festival was still going on so we eagerly filled up our water pistols and walked out only to find it was over!!! Very disappointing! So we walked around town, had lunch and made plans to go out again that night. We went back to Seduction club and it was hip hop night, we had a night full of dancing to proper music, not the hippie techno house that everyone seems to playing these days!
We also met a lovely lady at a pole dancing bar (way too many in the area for our liking) while having pre-drink before heading to the club again. We got chatting with her, asking her questions as we were curious about how they lived. But watching them dance for pervy men got us riled, but they didn't see it like that, it was just a job to them, a way to provide money for their family.
But this lady was so beautiful, and she was married to the owner who was French (full of fake charm for sure). We found out she was two months pregnant and her co-workers told us that he still pimped her out, we were enraged! The hardest thing was that we couldn't do anything as to them, it's normal! It was sad, but guess if you don't know any better you don't know any different. But she did say that she hoped she was having a boy, as it was an easier life for a boy in Thailand which brought a tear to our eyes. (too many drinks at this point!!!!) It was hard leaving knowing that she and many others are stuck in this lifestyle and maybe it'll never going to change for them.
On a happier note, we did Zorbing in Phuket - frigging wicked!!! It is a massive inflated ball that you go inside and then its sealed up and people push you down a winding track! It was a fun experience for sure and slightly different to the ones they do in England because they put water in the ball, so instead of being strapped in, we were sliding inside,sometimes going upside down on each other but it didn't hurt at all! We were allowed to go in pairs, so we swapped around and was provided with a waterproof camera so that we could film ourselves (not all of it was recorded because it was hard to keep the camera in focus while being tumbled around!) When one pair was in the ball, the other pair can go on the track laying face down so that ball goes over you to give it more bounce! We all had 3 goes each and loved it! Coco decided that she shall be making a Zorbing track in her back garden one day!
Later that day, Mischa went to the hairdressers to dye her hair bright red (it was really cheap!) she told the girls to wait at the hotel as she could be a while (boy, didn't she regret that!!) First, they bleached her hair BLONDE to make the red dye show up more. She wasn't happy but it was already done! Then just before they washed off the bleach, she went outside to have a cigarette and she wasn't expecting to see what she saw! There was people running to other directions, screaming and scrambling! It was like a scene from a film, seriously!! She had a vivid memory of a guy carrying a girl, shouting at her "Run!!! tsunami is coming!!!!" obviously that set Mischa off in panic mode - she ran back into the shop and said that she's going as tsunami is coming! The people in the shop was so relaxed, saying it'll be ok but she can't leave till they washed off the bleach! So she asked them to do it quickly, then paid half for what they've done and ran out of the shop! The vision of her running through the street with wet blonde hair (with ginger streaks at the bottom) makes us chuckle! She got to the hotel and barged into Alysha shaving her legs and told her that tsunami is coming!! She kept laughing at her because of the hair and wasn't sure if she was joking or not! They went out to the balcony and everyone was calm, no commotion like before! Then Coco and Gemma was walking by after being at the massage place, Mischa was shouting at them that tsunami was coming! Again, they didn't believe her but realised she couldn't be joking, as she wouldn't run back with wet blonde hair (with ginger streaks!!) they went to the reception to find out more and found out that it was another false alarm!! So Alysha went with Mischa back to the hairdressers to complete the job....only to find that it was closed!! So they went to another hairdresser to complete the job and she was finally pleased with her new BRIGHT red hair :) little she know, that faded and she was back to being ginger, ah well, win some, lose some!
Later that evening, we also went to a professional international Thai boxing matches, where they were competing to go to Bangkok for a belt.
First we saw two 16 year old boys fight, it was a bit scary to watch their coaches literally telling the boxers to batter each other and one of the boys got knocked out, fell to the floor and was so spaced out he couldn't walk!
One match was funny to watch, as there was a massive man partaking from New York, and he was BIG! His opponent was a 13 time winner and a lot smaller than him! Every time he jabbed the New Yorker his fat would wobbled, so hilarious! We really thought he wasn't going to win, as he couldn't use his legs as much, but his size obviously gave him winning edge!!! He was able to hold his opponent's leg when he kicked him, so while holding him, with the other hand he was giving strong punches back!!! Yep, the New Yorker won!
The matches were very intense that in one match a Thai man got kneed in the head, and split his head and face open, leaving us to watch a gruesome bloody fight! Even the women match was energetic, they were really competeive, and gave good punches and kicks! Again, we were surprised at how much we liked watching, picking a colour to win and shouting along with the crowd!
We left for Malaysia after a couple of days with mixed emotions - it was a sleazy place but we also had some of the best laughs there, memories and friends.
We booked a bus ticket, and then a mini bus picked us up in the morning taking us to a bus station thinking that we were going to be getting a coach. Instead we had another minibus that informed us it'll take us to Malaysia. We kept asking the man if we were on the right bus, as it was a 22hour journey and it couldn't be right! It was completely full that Mischa and Alysha had to sit infront with very little leg room, with Coco sitting behind Gemma who was sat next to a boy called Joseph from California (who was a proper chatterbox!) We were on the bus for 5 hours, then we got to a town by this time it was raining heavily and the man told us to get off. We were unsure where we were, the confusion must have been obvious on our faces as an older western man informed us that we were still in Thailand but near the border and we are changing buses again. A man took us to a travel shop where we were told that we wouldn't be leaving for another 3 hours! Just great, stuck in a random town with heavy downpour and nothing to do when all we wanted to do was to be IN Malaysia!
Eventually, at 7pm a proper coach came by (yay!) After a few hours we were at the border place. After getting our passports checked we were told to go into an office where another person had to look at them and then informed us that ..... we had overstayed our welcome! We were supposed to leave 18 days ago according to the visa stamp so we had to pay some fine. Ok-ay....until we were told that it was 500 bahts a day, which totalled up to 180 quid! None of us had enough cash with us, so we had to run to an ATM!
We told our bus driver that we had a problem with the visas and he looked a tad angry, so Gemma stayed by the bus so he wouldn't drive off while us 3 ran to get cash. Got back to the office and they really took their time with their paperwork and Gemma came back saying the driver was threatening to take our bags off as we were taking so long! Getting flustered we told her to go back, and make sure he doesn't drive off! We told the office staff to kindly hurry up and all they did was smile and take even longer to stamp our details! Mischa finished first, went to the bus to swap with Gemma followed by Alysha and at that point he was looking seriously peeved and kept looking like he was about to say "That's it! I'm going!!" Finally after what seemed like an eternity, Coco and Gemma ran back to the coach and we set off again! (we later found out that if we didn't have enough money to pay the fine, it'd be straight to jail.....eeek!!!)