We left Heathrow on Tues 20th March 2007 at 9.45pm and after a very tiring, sleepless and boring flight, we landed in Bangkok at 4pm local time. The airport was very busy and we were mauled by lots of local taxi drivers, tour operaters...you name it. We found our way to the shuttle bus which took us to our hotel the Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport within about 2 mins. This hotel is nothing less than pure luxury, a palace...words cannot describe it...definitely more than a five star hotel if they exist?! We checked in, and had a relaxing evening with a Singa beer at the bar and a lovely meal. See our pics for hotel pictures and Gem's dinner...very large king prawns. Food absolutely delicious! We woke the next morning to a workout in the gym and swim in the outdoor pool which couldnt be missed! It was lush!
Thurs 22nd we flew to Phuket at 10.45am. This was a bumpy flight but only lasting an hour so couldnt complain after yesterdays 11hour ordeal!
We were again mobbed by many locals when we landed at Phuket airport, but managed to secure a taxi to the hotel in Patong. On the way our taxi driver pulled over to some shops...he said it was his office and a thai lady came over and opened Gem's passenger door. She said the driver had to sign something...yeah right, she basically gathered we were new to thailand, asked where we were staying etc and tried to sell us various day trips etc...very persistent and not what you need when you're already feeling very jet lagged and tired from previous flight and lack of sleep...quite annoying! After being told No No No and No again she gave in a went away!
We eventually made it to our hotel after 45 mins drive. We were lucky to have picked another gorgeous hotel, on the outskirts of Patong overlooking the beach/bay. We were even luckier to have been put into a sea view room...perfect! The hotel was high up on a hill...246 steps from beach/road level to our room which was an absolute killer in 35+degree heat! Also great as we felt very safe from Tsunami's! Hotel had three swimming pools in a tier, all over looking the beach. The staff were lovely, very polite and couldnt do enough for you. Like our first hotel at the airport we didnt have to lift a finger. The hotel had three or four restaurants, indoor and outdoor bars, spa facilities and gym etc...
We explored Patong the second day in the extreme heat and we were pouring with sweat from simply walking to Patong and back which took about 15mins each way...then the steps to get back to our room nearly finished us off! We didnt like Patong on first instinct...it was very smelly like sewage and the heat made the smell seem twice as bad! We chose to stay in our hotel the first couple of evenings and eat there...the food was delicious!
We enjoyed most of our time in Phuket relaxing by the pool and treated ourselves to a thai aromoatherapy massage which was sooo nice and relaxing and cheap! A whole hour of pure relaxation. We also went on a jetski on Patong beach, ok Gem sat on the back while rocky ragged the thing for about five mins before she got off and watched rocky use up the remaing half hour!
Sunday 25th March we went on John Gray's Sea Canoe Hong by Starlight trip. We were picked up by our driver from the hotel at midday. During our 40 min drive to Bon Bang Rak Mai where we caught the boat we went through some very rural parts of Phuket which were a real eye opener. We saw people in little villages with their homes made out of nothing but tin and saw a man washing himself outside using only a bucket and his hands. The sheer povety of some areas in thailand is upsetting and this made us realise why some of the locals can seem pushy and in your face when trying to sell you things. At the end of they day they have families to feed and see tourists as a way to earn their livings.
The boat set off for Phang Nga Bay which is a group of islands about an hour from Phuket, in the middle of the sea. The basically look like big rock formations you see out in the ocean. Throughout the day we were supplied refreshments, fresh fruit, lunch, snacks and a gorgeous buffet dinner. We stopped at three different islands where each couple of people had a guide who paddled them accross the water in a kayak through the caves some of which were very low and dark, into the lagoons. This was breathtaking, the veiws were amazing. The rock formations, caves and scenes from within the lagoon were wonderful...as you can see from our pics! We wre lucky to see some wildlife and creatures in the lagoons, including a lizard and much to gem's discomfort a HUGE spide about 2ft from our faces...it must have been at least 6inches in diametre! Our guide started splashing it to get it to move and gem freaked out and was like time to get paddling mate!!! We also saw a monkey in one of lagoons, which came down to a tree above our heads to feed...very cute compared to the spider! We also went through one cave which stunk. They warned us we may see some bats...there were 100's of them hanging above our heads from the ciellings of the cave and they absoloutely reaked! We were quite paraniod they would come down and start flapping around our heads, which gemma would have scared them all away by screaming like a woman possessed!
Before entering the last lagoon we had dinner and watched the sun set while making a Kratong which is made from banana leaves, orchids and marigold flowers. They are basically lantons which the thai use, and once lit and set to float you make a wisk. They had candles and inscence sticks on them. We entered the last lagoon in pure darkness which was a bit freaky, then lit our Kratong, made a wish and watched it float away. This was really a moment we will never forget. Just the sound of water and all we could see was the lit kratongs and moon!
The remainder of our time in Phuket was spend chilling out some more and we eventually ventured into Patong a few nights which was much better at night in darkness! And not as bad as we thought. Overall people were very friendly and helpful. Saw a lady boy or two, or three, or four! Didnt manage to get a pic tho as they were surrounded by people! One bonus is that we picked up some fresh watermelon and pineapple for 30baht which we had for breaky the next morn... which is less than like 20p!!!
On Thurs 29th March we flew to Bangkok from Phuket. We caught a taxi to our hotel the Pathumwan Princess Hotel in the centre of Bangkok. Hotel is adjoined to a 7 floor shopping centre called the MBK...which sells absolutely everything you could ever want/need! The MBK centre has been visited on many occasions during our stay. On the top floor there's loads of eateries, a cinema and lots of entertainment including kareoke booths! Gem's idea of heaven! They are mad for it over here, lots of booths where you can sit and sign to your hearts content and lucky for us nobody can hear you from the outside! But they can see in! Have included a pic of Gem singing! Rocky visited a booth one night after one too many Singha beers and sang a paul weller track...I have this on video should he annoy me I will let you all see it!!!
We visited two other centres further down the road which are more upmarket and to loads of high street shops and designer shops, but their prices were'nt much cheaper to be honest in the designer stores.
Our hotel is again very nice in bangkok, we are on the 26 floor and have views over the city. Skyscrapers everywhere! It has rooftop pool, the lushest gym and studios with classes, hope to try tae bo kickboxing before we go if we can squeeze it in! There is so much more to do here, we havent stopped! We went on half day trip to Grand Palace on Fri 30th March which was out of this world, amazing architecture and really interesting to learn a bit abour their history. Have a look at the pics...they're amazing. On the way back from the palace ths bus stopped at a Gem Gallery...very sneakily! The gallery was wicked...full of every gem stone, diamond you name it, in white/yellow gold, rings, necklaces, earrings, pendants...everything and all gorgeous hand made jewellery. Well their plan worked with us anyway as Gemma couldnt resist a gold pendant for her necklace chain, its greem emerald stone cross with diamonds...and not v cheap to say the least...great start to our budgetting backpacker days so far!!! Oops!
As well as some over spending we have also eaten out very cheap in bangkok at various noodle bards, japanese restaurants etc for like 5 pound for both of us each night, food and drinks! Gem also bought a nice kaftan for like 50p...so dont feel too bad!
Have enjoyed Bangkok, nice to have more things to do apart from lounge by the pool and you can do more as everywhere has air con. We have managed to squeeze in at least a couple of hours by the pool after an hour in the gym each morning! The pool is very nice and breezy as its on the rooftop.
Saturday 31st March was spent trying to find a bar to watch Liverpool v Arsenal which was showing at 6.30pm here. We found a irish bar not far from Pat Pong (not sure of spelling and I think this is the eye opening place a certain mr james gray told us to go to...thanks Jimmy, Gem was offered various naughty dvd's and asked if she wanted to go to a ping pong sex show!!!) anyway, the bar was good, lots of footy fans in and a quality game!!! LFC won 4-1...yay!!!
Our last night in Bangkok is tonight while we are writing this. We have just got back from a dinner cruis which took us up the river past lots of sights inc the grand palace. Oh my what a huge meal...so much food we felt sick from the sight of it. Definitely got our moneys worth. We sit here like bloaters waiting for it to go down!
We check out tomorrow and fly to Sydney at 6.10pm...overall enjoyed thailand a lot, glad we did it on the way but am really looking forward to getting to Oz now, afterall thats why we've come all this way!
Hope you like the pics x x x