2nd - 8th November - Bangkok
We spent the week with Wazza and Lu at their apartment in Bangkok on Soi 11. Which we soon discovered was the cool ex-pat part of town. A little drowsy from jet lag we finally left the house at 2pm to catch the skytrain and headed to MBK shopping centre for some much needed clothing replacements and some haircuts (the cheapest Tony&Guy, I think we will ever find!). We spent the next day just chilling around the area, organized our tour for the next day and found a funky little restaurant for dinner.
Next day we started with an early 6.30am pick-up to the floating markets. We caught a long tail boat into the canal side village before embarking on a canoe ride past all the floating food stalls and every kitsch souvenier under the sun. After learning how to say "No" over 100 times we headed off to the JEATH museum dedicated to the POW's of the 2nd WW and then saw the largest cemetery in the area. Next stop was the bridge over the River Kwai (will have to watch the movie when I get home) where 130,000 ppl were killed in building the Burma railway. It was estimated that it would take 5yrs to build the railway with the slave labour and POW's it was completed in 16mths. Our final stop on our day trip was the Tiger temple to pose for some photos with the rescued tigers. That evening we headed out for some local Thai and a few drinks at Cheap Charlies (a funky cheap bar that is on the side of a building, with a few chairs and tables scattered around on the pavement)!!
After catching some much needed sleep, we had a pretty relaxed day, and found some great local food for lunch. That night we headed out for Mexican with Waz, Lu & a couple of their mates, where we grabbed dinner and enjoyed some of the frozen margaritas. We then headed to Cheap Charlies where whilst having a few drinks our friends Greg & Elise arrived from Oz, to join us for the next three weeks in our adventures around Thailand. After then consuming far too many catch up celebratory drinks we headed to the nightclub Climax.
The next morning we woke to a feeling only an Bangkok ex-pat would understand "it felt like 123 tuk-tuks driving through our head".We spent the day with Greg & Elise and headed to Kao San Rd, where we looked through the many markets, grabbed some local Thai and spent time catching up over a beer. That night we all headed out for Indian before grabbing a few beers.
We spent Sunday walking through the amazing Katachuak markets, a place where I think you can literally buy anything! We then headed to a great lunch in the air conditioned central world. Before spending our last night with Waz and Lu over some Vietnamese cuisine before we headed off to Krabi.
9th November - Bangkok heading South
We spent the majority of the day exploring the roads (soi's) off Sukhumvit, we found the Islamic quarter, saw many a old European tourist with a young Asian girl and also found Nana one of the many red light districts of Bangkok, famous for it's ping-pong shows and not so discreet prostitution. That night we boarded the train for Surat Thani in Southern Thailand.
10th - 12th - Krabi - Rai Lay Beach
After arriving in Surat Thani in the early morning we caught a bus to Krabi before jumping on a long boat to Rai Lay beach. What a stunning location, beautiful white sandy beaches, amazing cliffs straight out of the water and the amazing hospitality with that infamous Thai smile. We spent the afternoon relaxing on the West beach before grabbing a couple of beers to watch the sunset.
We found some Thai pancakes for breakfast, for nourishment before attempting the climb up to the view-point over the Rai Lay area. We climbed up the face of the muddy cliff to the very top (Meeks in thongs and unfortunately I was bare-foot) to an amazing view over the whole peninsula. We then headed down to Hat Tham Phra Nang beach to relax after the workout we had just put ourselves through. After enjoying some more local cuisine we chilled out at the resort pool before grabbing some cocktails. We finished the night off watching some local Muai Thai kick-boxing, even got to see a knock-out!
We spent the following morning again at Hat Tham Phra Nang beach where we went for a couple of hours of snorkeling around the island just off the beach and saw many species of coral and a good variety of fish. We relaxed the afternoon away with a massage.
13th - 15th - Ko Lanta
We jumped on a ferry to Ko Lanta, where we headed to our resort at Klong Kong beach. We spent the afternoon taking a walk along the beach before watching the sunset from the pool. We then made the most of $3 cocktails before heading out for dinner.
We hired scooters and descended to the South of the Island, an area that was affected by the tsunami. It was quite heartening to see that all the money that we all donated has been used to build people new houses and that there are now emergency evacuation routes in place. Apart from seeing beaches and towns around every corner, we also went down to Sang Gau and saw the resort tree & boat houses, Klong Jark to grab an amazing feed and we also went to Lanta Old town and saw a whole town perched on stilts above the water. We grabbed some great tapas for dinner, despite having to drive through a river to get there!
The next day ended up being a bit of a scooter nightmare, with two blown tyres, one bent rim and a ceased clutch. Despite this we saw the Western side of the island, enjoyed lunch over the water on a stilted restaurant and found a nice 2km stretch of beach with some amazing white sand.