5/7/06 - Everyone leaving today!!!!!! Soooo sad! Caitlin, Zoe and Kat leaving tomorrow to Australia (coincidentally on the same flight!) and Dougie not going until late tonight, so still have some company. I checked out and Caitlin and Dougie came with me to Kho Saon Road to check into the Buddy Lodge for 2 nights. Zoe and Kat checked out and went to their hotel. After checking in we went shopping down the Kho Saon Road. Dougie and I went and chilled in my room until 4pm and left Caitlin to carry on shopping. We then went to see Tracey at her hotel and ended up having someting to eat together. We then caught up with Zoe and Kat in Gullivers. We all then piled into my room and watched movies all afternoon/early evening. A really cheesy movie called 'The Presidents Daughter' with Katie Holmes and then 'School of Rock' which was just fab! Jack Black is soooo funny! We all decided to give in and have a Macdonalds, as there was one just downstairs!!! Later said a very sad farewell to Dougie. Everyone left eventually and I was all on my own for the first time in 30 days, it felt really strange. 6/7/06 - Had breakfast and met Caitlin on the stairs around 10am. She left her luggage in my room, as she didn't need to leave for the airport until 3pm. We spent the day together, more shopping and eating. We were expecting Kat and Zoe around 10am or 12pm, but didn't see them. When we got back to the room around 2.30pm they had been and left a message, we had not long missed them!! I was sad to have missed them, but I know I'll see them again when I visit them in Edinburgh! Caitlin left around 3.15pm, boo hoo! So I filled my time by going for a pedicure and manicure, cost me 3 quid! Had dinner that night from a street stall, Pad Thai, yum yum, cost me about 12p!!, then went to bed. 7/7/06 - Yippee, Nikki is arriving today! I checked out of the Buddy Lodge at 12pm and got a tuk tuk to the Asia Hotel. Checked in and Nikki arrived about half an hour later. It was great to see her. She was tired from travelling, which I fully understood, but bless her she kept going and we went to a TAT office (travel agent) and booked a day trip the next day to Kanbanachuri and our bus/ferry ticket and accom on Koh Phangan. I then took Nikki to Kho Saon Road to show her around and we had dinner there. Oh My Buddha! We both accidentally ate some chillies, I thought they were going to be sun dried tomatoes and our mouths were on fire!!!! It seemed to take forever to get back to normal!! We won't make that mistake again! We then tried to get a taxi back to the hotel. We jumped in one and told him where to go, I showed him on the map and we'd only gone a little way down the road when he all of a sudden decided he didn't want to take us!!! he said 'No', so we got out and found another! Bizarre! Spoke to Denise later on for her 40th birthday! Mike Greenwood had emailed me to arrange for them to call me, so I could wish her a happy birthday, which I thought was a lovely gesture, it was lovely to talk to her and it sounded as if the team were giving her a fabulous day! Thanks again Mike! 8/7/06 - Breakfast at 6am, as getting picked up at 6.30am for day trip to Kanchanaburi. We couldn't get the safe open in the room, so manager had to come and let us in. The day trip was fab. We went to the WW2 Cemetery, then the WW2 Museum, Bridge over the River Kwai, took a train on the Death Railway. Had a lovely lunch, then went for an elephant ride, which was fab, our elephant was a lady one called Duk Dik and we fed her bananas afterwards. We have a great souvenir photo. We then went for a boat ride on the river. It should have been bamboo rafting, but the river was too high for the sticks. Finally we went to Saiyok Noi waterfall, which was lovely. As it was the Buddha Bank Holiday weekend, there were lots of families there, all splashing about. It was a shame we were only there for 20 minutes, as it would have been great to have swam and climbed up and stood under the waterfall. Our guide today was a very funny, witty man. He lived in the hills and he made us laugh talking about his wife and how after 3 children she is now quite big, so much so that she has to ride their moto with him on the back now, otherwise it tips up and then no one can see him behind her! It was the way he said it, it was hilarious!! Lisa's birthday today, so sent her a text! Met a lovely couple, Matt and Michelle who were from Hinckley!!! and a couple from France/Brazil. The French girl was poorly, kept getting a really sore throat and feeling like she couldn't breath, so we dropped them off at a hospital when we got back to Bangkok. I think it must have been an allergic reaction to something. I was feeling a bit groggy, had a cold, so my throat was a little sore and a bit bunged up! When we got back we were soooo tired, so we had room service for dinner, then went to bed! 9/7/06 - Checked out around 12pm, left our luggage in the hotel store room then took the Skytrain to the weekend market. Nikki bought a bag and we both bought some t-shirts and some face cloths, which have been a god send for wiping sweaty top lips! It was very hot indeed and after a few hours decided to go back to the hotel to cool down. We got picked up around 6pm to go to our bus for the overnight ride to Suran Thani, where we would then get the ferry over to Koh Phangan. It was a very weird set up. We were taken to one of the TAT offices, unloaded all our bags into the office, then had a hour's wait for the big coach to arrive. We eventually set off at 7.30pm. 10/7/06 - Oh my god what a loooooong journey! It took 20 hours in all, the ferry journey was the worst, it seemed to take forever!!!! We finally got to the Golden Light Resort on Koh Phangan around 1pm today!!!!! The people who run it are very nice indeed. The lady is soooo pretty and always smiling. Their wedding pictures are on display and their litte boy is sooo cute! Our bungalow is very basic, but fine, only has a fan, but there is a nice breeze that comes in off the sea, so not too bad. Nikki slept most of the rest of the day/evening, I found a book and started to read. Nice to just relax!!!! 11/7/06 - Relaxed and did nothing all day, except read! 12/7/06 - Ventured into the town. Went to Post Office so Nikki could post her trainers home as she doesn't need them and they are taking up alot of space in her backpack. Found a lovely little clothes shop and bought a little bag. The owner was lovely and the shop floor was sand! Went to Full Moon Party around 8pm (main reason for coming here) and it was just FABULOUS! About 8000 people on a one mile stretch of beach, atmosphere was fab, everyone in good spirits and spirits flowing nicely too! We had buckets of vodka and red bull with lots of straws, we danced alot, watched fire dancers, splashed around in the sea and out of all those people we met up again with Matt and Michelle and the French/Brazilian couple, bizarre!!!!! I had a half moon and stars painted on my arm with illuminous paint and Nikki had a dancing Geko! We bought some illuminous arm bangles and Nikki got a flashing rubber fish, which she is going to give to her Mum. Went up to Mushroom Mountain, which looks like a temple but it's covered in neon lights and it's a bar where they serve magic mushroom shakes, I expected to be greeted by Big Gay Al!!! Didn't partake in the shakes, could see the reaction in other people, I'm not curious enough, have never been bothered by things like that, prefer to be in control, especially as needed to fathom out how to get back!!!!!!! We got back safely around 3am, we had had an absolute ball! 13/7/06 - Relaxed all day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 14/7/06 - Checked out this morning, I was sad to leave the lovely people, but pleased to hopefully get a better standard of accommodation once we arrived in Koh Tao. Got to the pier to get the boat over to Koh Tao and the heavens opened, God knows where it all came from, sunny one minute, monsoon the next!! A funny little man came up to us and it was hilarious, he had obviously learnt his English from watching 'Only Fools and Horses', as he sounded like Del Boy, the accent, everything, just in a little pigeon English that's all, I found this very funny, as you can imagine! Anyway he was a God send, as he offered us a beachfront bungalow for 18 quid a night, with air-con, SOLD!!!! We just had to go and see if we wanted to do a diving course once we got to the island, there's always a catch! He worked for Easy Divers, but he and the other people, once we met them, were very nice and if you didn't want to go any further that was fine. So Nikki signed up for a 3 day intro course, I decided I just wanted to relax, so declined. Before that though, the boat crossing was very rough, Nikki was a bit sea sick and was relieved when we finally made it to shore! The boat was packed and I ended up siting on my back pack on the floor, fortunately we found a seat for Nikki eventually, where she had her head in her lap for most of the journey! Beach Club resort was just lovely, our door opened right up onto the beach front and it was very secluded with it's own beach, nice and quiet! We checked in, then made our way back into the little town to watch the intro video to the diving course at 4pm, I went along out of curiosity. Had dinner at 'Buddy' restaurant, then went for a few drinks at a pub called 'Dirty Nellie's' where we sat with a lad called John, who was doing the course too. Mum tried to ring me, I noticed after the fact on my phone, so I gave her a call back, but the line was awful, I couldn't really hear her or Auntie Irene, they sounded underwater!, so it was a quick call, never mind. 15/7/06 - Nikki headed off first thing to her course, I relaxed all day, read my book, lounged on the beach front, dozed off a few times, had a lovely tuna baguette and chips, which were served with mayonnaise, yum yum! Nikki ended up going for dinner without me with her course group, I was happy to just chill out in our bungalow - nice, quiet and peaceful! 16/7/06 - Wondered into town whilst Nikki on her course, went on the internet, bought a sarong and a beach towel, then there was another horrendous downpour! I waited in a shop until it had passed (about half an hour) then ventured back out. It was quite slippery underfoot and ended up slipping over and bashing my foot in a shop doorway, which took the top off my big toenail and grazed the tops of my toes! Therefore, I went for a pedicure, only 2 quid and the lady cleaned my toes up and put iodine on them, so very kind! Got back and relaxed again on the beachfront, reading. Later on Nikki and I walked over to Sairee Beach for dinner. 17/7/06 - Had a lovely breakfast, cornflakes and bananas. I put my swimming cossie on, put suncream everywhere (asked the room maid to put some on my back, bless her) and sat on the beachfront all day!!! I finished my book, very good and later on went for a swim in the sea, it was just lovely. Nikki finished her course successfully and because we liked where we were, we decided to stay 2 more nights, so we checked it out, it was fine and we settled up there and then. 6pm went to Dirty Nellie's to watch the dvd which had been made of Nikki and her group diving, it was fab and Nikki bought a copy. Nikki's dive buddy Andy had to leave at 8pm as taking the night boat to Suran Thani, then to Krabi, but everyone else stayed for dinner and a few drinkies, Stefan and Motts from Norway, Kim and Gordy from Sweden and John from England. Motts is a very nice man, he has visited many of the places I have just been too and because of what he has seen, he has decided to study nursing and he has found a great place in Adelaide in Australia. I take my hat off to him! He wishes to do this, so he can return to anywhere in the world to help those most in need. I understood this and we chatted for a while about the poor sick children who need help in Cambodia, etc. He has done a similar thing to me and given up a good job in Norway and he has sold his apartment. It was great to speak to him, we really understood one another. We had a great night, an Irish lad did a live set for a while with his guitar, he had a great voice and even did some requests and then Oh My Buddha! who should we see sat across from us but Matt and Michelle! Bizarre, were we destined to meet up everywhere we went? They finished their dinner, then came and joined us all. Stefan kept taking the mickey out of me, 'cause he thought I wasn't drinking enough! I kept saying I'll get myself a drink in a minute, the joke turned into that I was referring to a 'Thai' minute, which could be anything up to an hour!!! I wasn't up for a late session, so I went back to the bungalow and everyone else carried on to a club in Sairee Beach, called Pure. 18/7/06 - Wondered up to see Mr J, who we had been told about. He has shop which sells absolutely everything! He is a funny guy, he says he is a Professor and he showed us a book he had written about Koh Tao and about Karma. He was saying that people with too much money who do not give some away to others will come back in a future life further down the evolutionary line. He said Beckham and Tiger Woods would come back as rats or cockroaches. I said what about George W. Bush and he laughed and said definitely a penguin!! Interesting guy! We booked our overnight boat trip and buses in order to get us to Koh Phi Phi with him, he just gave us papers from a pad which he had scribbled on and put his business stamp on, we hoped they meant something and would get us to where we needed to go??!! I phoned after having seen a leaflet in town for making custom made bikini's. She turned out to be an Irish girl, so she picked me up and I went for a fitting, hopefully will be ready before we leave the island. Kim and Gordy left today, so we said farewell. Booked the Phi Phi Hotel on the internet. Found a lovely shop called Avalon which is run by an English lady called Andrea, who is also very lovely. I bought some tea tree shower gel and some wild lime shampoo and conditioner and also some insect repellant, as the shop sold stuff doesn't seem to do the trick!!! We then found a lovely cafe opposite which did allsorts of home made ice-creams. We weren't hungry, so we had drinks instead, I had a gorgeous iced caffe latte. We made a mental note to come back tomorrow to try the ice cream! We decided to have dinner at our resort, I had Pad Thai which was just gorgeous! 19/7/06 - Nikki had bad dreams in the night, I had weird ones too, both woke up at 3.30am and told each other about them. Read, relaxed and snoozed for most of the day, but we made a special trip into town and had ice cream sundaes at the lovely cafe. We then headed over to Avalon and bought some more products and I took a business card from Andrea for any possible future purchases. We then ended up having manicures and pedicures, which consisted in having pretty flower designs done. Nikki had both her fingernails and toenails done, I had just my toenails done. We then went back over to the cafe, I had a coconut shake and we shared some fries. We were both very tired, so we went back to our room to cool off and read for a bit. We had bought some books off Mr J! We ended up having dinner in again, the food here is just great. After dinner we chatted for quite a while to Syn, who works mainly on reception, but seems to help out in the restaurant too. She got her Thai-English dictionary out and we helped her learn a bit more English and vice versa. She is a very nice person. She told us the man who served us in the restaurant most days was called 'Gob' and he never stopped eating. I found this funny, considering to us 'Gob' means mouth. I told her this and she laughed! 20/7/06 - We checked out today at 12pm, but hung around the resort, as the night boat was not going until 9pm. Francesca bought my bikini over, but the bottoms were too big, so as time was against us we agreed that I would keep the top half and she would use the bottoms as a sample piece. Nikki and I wandered around Sairee Beach and I swapped a book we had both finished with another one with Mr J and he gave us a free Pepsi each!, but went on about how he was now not going to make a profit all day!! We finally left around 7.45pm, after Syn had said she would take us to the pier on her motorbike, but then she disappeared, Thai time!! Probably a good thing, as we weren't sure how we would have balanced ourselves and our backpacks on the moto?! We got to the pier at around 8pm and OH MY BUDDHA! we weren't sure if the boat we were looking at was right or not, it didn't look as if it would get us out of port, never mind all the way over to Suran Thani! But yes, it was the right boat, we just laughed! We then scrambled on board, went up some wooden stairs and OH MY BUDDHA (for the 2nd time!) there were two rows of mattresses and pillows (or maybe I should say cloth covered boards and a plumped up manky pillowcase!) with numbers above where heads should be. There was not alot of room inbetween. We were first on and were praying it would not fill up completely. No such luck! We were packed in like sardines. At one point Nikki Turned and looked out the windows and there was Syn waving at us from the pier, bless her, she had come to wave us off! The boat left pretty much on time and it was very rough indeed for the first part of the journey, which was of course in the pitch black of night! I felt like George Clooney in 'The Perfect Storm' at one point! 21/7/06 - I must have slept at some point, but my memory of that journey is one of being very uncomfortable and turning over constantly to find a spot which hadn't gone numb on my body! We arrived in Suran Thani port at around 5.45am. We then got on a mini-bus and were taken to a travel office where we just sat and waited on the street for a while, bizarre! We then put our bags onto a different truck, jumped in and were taken to a garage where we then put our bags and ourselves back onto another minibus - very bizarre! We then thought we were going to a bigger bus, but no the mini-bus then set off for the 2.5 hour journey to Krabi! Arrived in Krabi and another travel office around 8.30am, where a lady tried her hardest to sell us tickets from Koh Phi Phi to Phuket in advance, under the pretence she could sell them to us at half the price then once we got to Koh Phi Phi itself. We knew this was just a ploy, so we declined, I don't think she was very happy! It then started to transpire that a group of 5 girls, who had paid and booked to go to Phuket at the first travel office we stopped at, had possibly been ripped off, as this lady was telling them she didn't have room for them all. Every time one of them tried to ring the other office, the lady just kept hanging up, HOW RUDE! Not sure how that turned out, as we got back on the mini-bus and were taken to the pier for our boat over to Koh Phi Phi. All throughout the litle scrap of scribbled paper from Mr J seemed to do the trick, they all knew his name, OH Mr J, OK! Boat to hi Phi left at 10am and we got in at around 11.30am. Fortunately, we found very quickly that our hotel was just a stones through from the pier, great, no carrying heavy backpacks for too long! The hotel is a lovely place. Phi Phi was hit by the Tsunami in 2004, it has recovered very well, still abit of construction work going on, but it all seems to happen very inobtrusively (if that's the right word?) We dropped our bags off and went out for a wander to get our bearings! Nikki had a shower first, after that horrible, smelly 1st boat journey, but I opted to keep going and shower later. We had cocktails and dinner on the beachfront later on, using a drinks voucher from the hotel. We also had a food discount voucher for this restaurant, which turned out to be owed by our hotel, but you had to spend 700 baht first, we didn't think we could possibly spend that much, so didn't use it. We realised later that if we had ordered one more cocktail we would have reached it! So we decided to go back tomorrow and use it then. We wandered a bit more and booked a day trip for tomorrow around the islands. 22/7/06 - The day trip left at 9am (or there abouts - Thai time!). We got there at 8.45am and steadily lots and lots of people trailed in. I started to think that the day wouldn't be very good, as too many people, but it turned out fine. Once we were on the boat everyone dispersed quite nicely. We went to Maya Beach which is where they filmed 'The Beach' with Leonardo DiCaprio, it was very secluded and beautiful. I went snorkelling for the first time ever. I wasn't sure at first, the sound of your own breathing underwater is quite eerie, but I soon got used to it and ended up loving every minute! We went to a place called Bamboo Island and I went snorkelling again and I saw a family of 'Nemo's'! you know from the cartoon film 'Finding Nemo', I saw so many colourful fishies, it was just great! We also went to Monkey Island but there weren't any monkey's, apparently wrong time of the year! Got back into port around 4pm, we had had a fab day, my back was a bit red, but not too bad, I think I had covered up at just the right time. After a shower later on Nikki smothered it in Aloe Vera I had bought at Andrea's lovely shop. We had cocktails and dinner again at Ton Sai restaurant and managed to use the discount voucher this time! 23/7/06 - DAY OFF! Relaxing day, reading, washing, sorting out backpack, shopping and updating website!! I think we will try a different restaurant tonight just further along the beachfront. We did try a different restaurant and I had a yellow curry, I asked them to ensure it wasn't too spicy and they came up trumps! It was deeelicious! 24/7/06 - Went out on a speedboat today, Nikki went on a fundive and I went snorkelling. Guys from the dive company were lovely, especially Dio the dive master, he had a very happy face and seemed very caring. Nikki and a few others went under for their dive with Dio at the first stop off, which left me and another girl to do some snorkelling. I had been snorkelling for about 20 minutes, when a short distance away I thought I saw a shark, casually swimming near to the surface. Well, even though we had been told about the Black Tip sharks, which apparently won't harm you as they don't have any teeth!, I think the word 'shark' just sent warning signals to my brain and I started to feel a little uncomfortable, especially as when I looked up the other girl seemed a long way away and so did the boat!! I had another look underwater and could still see it but a bit further away, so I told myself to calm down and just get back on board the boat. I started to swim towards the boat and it was a bit choppy, the guy finally saw me and came towards me. I climbed up and everything was fine. When everyone else surfaced a while later, Dio and Nikki said they had been right next to 7 Black Tip sharks, so it confirmed to me that it must have been a shark that I saw and I hadn't imagined it! They had all stayed close and just waited for them to swim by. Phew! Went to a different restaurant tonight and ordered a yellow curry again, but this time it was awful, yukety yuk yuk yuk!! Afterwards went to Carlito's Bar and had quite a few cocktails! Tootsie the barman was lovely, sooooo obviously gay and then he did tell us about his ex boyfriend and how he likes blonde boys!! He was a great laugh, had great mannerisms,etc.! Around 10pm we had a performance from some fire dancers. I met a Scottish couple who had recently bought a bar down the street, called 007 Bar, I think they were checking out the local competition! Went back to the hotel quite tipsy! Anna's Birthday today! 25/7/06 - Stayed in bed most of the day, seems to be a recurring pattern after I've had a bit to drink! Must be the fact it's mixed with the heat, my body can't cope! I washed some clothes and hung them on our lovely balcony to dry. Neil's Birthday today - Happy Birthday Bruv! 26/7/06 - Checked out today around 11am, left our luggage with the porters until later, as we weren't catching boat to Krabi until 2.00pm. Then went shopping and interneting for a while. I bought an Ocean Bag, which will come in handy when I reach Oz. You can throw your towel, sarong, suncream, etc. in it and sling it over your shoulder and away you go! Catching boat to Krabi and staying overnight there, then we can get a bus tomorrow to Langkawi in Malaysia. The boat journey was uneventful, got to Krabi and were taken to our B&B for the night, which turned out to be just a 'B', no breakfast and it was rooms above a travel agents shop!! It was clean though, but Nikki and I had to share a double bed, they hadn't obviously booked a twin as we thought! We wondered over the road later to go to the night market, which was pretty small, but we ended up being the only westerners there, it was obviously a local market and everyone was buying there food on their way home. We ate like Kings for 33p at one of the street stalls!! Everyone friendly and smiley as usual! We found a 'Boots' on one of the main streets, so bought a few toiletries! 27/7/06 -Got up at 6am to get bus to Langkawi. I went downstairs first to find everything locked up!!! We had walked through the shop to get in, how on earth did we get out??!! Finally found a back door which had been left open, so went and sat on the street infront of the shop. Then realised that maybe we should have handed our bus ticket in last night, to ensure we got picked up, so started to think we might be stranded in Krabi for another night!!! I had a feeling everything would be OK, but asked my guardian angel to please, please help us get on our way today as planned. Yippee! 5 minutes later people arrived to open up shop and they told us bus would be coming for us in about 10 minutes, yippee! Thank you angels! A van picked us up and then dropped us off at another shop only a few shops down the road, which made us laugh, we could have walked it!!!! After a while we then got picked up by a minibus. It was all a bit bizarre as usual!! Once we got underway, with the drivers 2 children, we also stopped and picked up a chap. We dropped the children off at school and a bit further along the chap, it's just sooooo great how everything is so relaxed, yeah we're going that way, jump in!! We arrived in Satun and thought we were being ripped off, as a man at a desk was asking for 100 baht per person for a bus to take us to the pier for the 1.30pm boat. We argued that we thought we were going on the 1.30pm boat anyway and had already paid for our ticket. He kept shaking his head and saying, no 4.00pm boat, you want 1.30pm you pay!! We thought here we go, another scam for the tourists!! We eventually gave in, as we didn't want to wait around all day, paid the money (only just over a pound!, but it's the principle!) and jumped on a bus. A nice friendly man, who turned out to be a native from Langkawi, turned to us on the bus and said it was normal for people to pay 100 baht to get on bus to the pier, so maybe it wasn't a rip off after all, but we had already paid upfront for all our travels? Because a few of us had been uuming and aahing, time had been ticking on and we were still an hour and a half away from the pier, so the guy had to put his foot down to get us all there in time for the 1.30pm boat. Phew! We made it! We had to wait a while at border control (as we were leaving Thailand to go to Malaysia), but we ran down to the boat (not an easy thing to do witha heavy backpack!) and got shown to some seats on the lower deck, aaaah bliss air con!! Got to Langkawi at 3pm - hurrah! Man showed us some accommodation choices, nice man from bus popped up again and gave us some tips, I think he was a guardian angel! We ended up choosing Best Star Resort on Cenang Beach. Another guy said he would get us a taxi, so we waited and we waited and we waited! He came over and said there weren't any available at the mo! We sat down and then noticed a taxi at the side, so we basically ended up sorting ourselves out, best way, don't rely on others!! After checking in we wandered around for a bit, nice place, had a meal at an Indian restaurant, where I watched a couple at another table smoke from a big pipe thing. So now we are in Malaysia!