Around the world adventure
Singapore is big and clean, Kuala Lampur is a long bus ride away, and is big and dirty. After another long bus ride and the most scary mini bus journey in history we were in Ko Lanta, Southern Thailand. Also known as paradise. Our days were spent lying in the sun playing endless games of scrabble, riding scooters around the island, swimming and snorkeling. Nights we ate like kings, drank plenty of Chang (cheap and strong local beer) and watched hundreds of Thai lanterns drift out to sea (hundreds became thousands on New Years eve, amazingly beautiful) After 10 days, with Christmas and New Years behind us, we were ready to move on. Ko Phi-Phi was a lot busier but breath-takingly beautiful. The hustle bustle of the markets came as a welcome change. We discovered Thai pancakes, filled with banana and covered in either Peanut butter, chocolate, condensed milk, or in any combination. We have had one a day ever since. We did a days snorkelling trip around both Phi Phi Islands. The water clarity and sea life matched and even surpassed the Great Barrier reef. We saw our first sea snake, when I pointed it out to Zoe the scream could be heard underwater for many kilometers. The day ended in Maya bay, the beach in 'The Beach', over crowded but still stunning. On the trip we met a South African couple from Somerset East on their honeymoon. That night we all drank our own weight in Black Russians and laughed until we cried, a very special evening. From Phi Phi we headed to Phuket for two nights. Very busy and crowded, far too hectic for us. We did hire a scooter and had a great day riding around. Until we found ourselves on a 6 lane highway having to cross three lanes to turn right. Stress! From Phuket we had to go up to Rangong, on the Myanmar border, to do a 'visa run'. Due to changes in the Thai system we only got a 15 day visa. As a result we had to cross into Myanmar then return to Thailand to get another 15 days. It was hell. After getting stamped out of Thailand we had to get in a long boat and cross the river into Myanmar (Burma). We thought it was the land we could see 50 meters away. We traveled up river then out into the open sea Burma was about 5km on the other side. When we approached land our friendly captain tried to con us out of more money, when I refused he started shouting and screaming at us. Not good, out in the open ocean with no friendly faces in sight. We got our passports stamped, the same boat was our only way back!!! The return trip was quiet and tense. Safely on Thai soil, our Captain asked me for a tip, I responded in the negative with the use of creative language. His response was equally creative but in Thai. The poor people waiting to cross did not look encouraged by our conversation. From here we left the Andaman Sea and headed east into the Gulf of Thailand. Bus and boat took us to Ko Tao (turtle Island). More sun, snorkelling, scrabble, pancakes, and Chang. We did two hectic hikes up and down very steep slopes. I did a snorkelling trip where I swam with 4 foot black tip reef sharks, Zoe had a massage. Once the full moon passed we headed to Ko Pha-Ngan, missing the full moon party. (Strange having to plan your travels according to the phases of the moon). More of the same but this time scooters, not hiking. After four weeks of island hoping we were ready for a change in scenery. We also needed to do another visa run. Rangong was out of the question, so we headed as far north as Thailand goes, to a place called Mae Sai. Legal again, without any stress, and after our first warm shower in a month, we made our way to Chang Mai. Chang Mai is the trekking capital of Thailand, so we did a trek. Our group consisted of Zoe and I, three fun and crazy Iranian sisters, our Thai guide Kay, and a stray dog we named Lunch (the hill tribes eat dog). Later we were joined by a little puppy we called Snack. For three days we walked, pretty hard, surrounded by jaw dropping mountainous jungle scenery. At night we sat around the fire playing charades and gazing at the stars. We explored bat filled caves, swam under waterfalls, and white water rafted. The highlight of the trip was riding Elephants. Our Elephants were slightly out of control, which always makes thing more fun. We were allowed to get out of the seats and sit on the neck, the elephants were allowed to leave the path, scratch themselves on rocks and search out juicy branches to eat. Being on the back of an elephant as it scratches its under carriage is quite an experience. Back in Chang Mai we did a full days cooking course which was great fun. Dinner at our house will be experimental Thai for the foreseeable future, bare that in mind before you accept any invitation to dinner. We are now killing time before we board a bus to Bangkok. Two days in the Capital and then the Big Smoke. We are both filled with mixed feelings. It has been six months we will never forget. The people and places have been beyond our wildest dreams. We miss our home, family and friends. See you in a couple of days.