Hello, I'm back after Luke decided to abandon me in the middle of the jungle, managed to find my way back just in time to catch the next bus out of the Taman Negara.
Since Luke's update we left the Cameron Highlands for George Town, Penang. This was probably the least exciting place we have visited so far. The most enjoyable part of our stay was walking to and from the Thai Embassy 6 times in 35 degrees heat in order to get our visa. There really wasn't much going on, quite a boring city. We left after a few nights there once our visa was all sorted and headed up to Thailand.
Our first stop in Thailand was Koh Phi Phi, a really beautiful island. We spent three nights here, would have liked to stay a little longer but the prices were quite steep so our budget forced us to move on! We spent the first few days relaxing on the white sandy beach recovering from all the trekking in the jungle and the Cameron Highlands. The following day we went on a snorkeling trip which was pretty cool, there were many colourful fish and coral. I wasn't so keen when i realised that i was surrounded by a million little jelly fish which Luke insisted didn't sting only to find that i came out of the water with lots of red bites all over my arms and legs. We visited the smaller island of Koh Phi Phi Leh which is where The Beach was filmed, was cool to see it however due to so many boats trips going there with so many tourists it's been spoilt and isn't as beautiful as i imagine it once was.
The following day we went over to the east coast of Thailand to the very touristy island of Koh Samui.. Arriving pretty late meant that accommodation was quite hard to find, we ended up staying in a bungalow by the beach. Luke wasn't impressed with the customer service and ended up being rather rude! Samui as whole was pretty overcrowded, the beach wasn't as pleasant as Phi Phi, generally just too touristy for us.
From Samui we moved on to Koh Phanang the island home to the Full Moon Party. Sadly there isn't a Full Moon Party in February because of a Buddhist holiday or festival or something, which meant that the date it would have been in Feb has been moved forward in to March. Phanang was nice, much nicer place than Samui :) We spent two days here, one day was spent on the beach, the next day we decided to borrow a rather expensive resorts swimming pool! It was only when we left we saw a notice saying non-guests will be charged 1000 Baht if caught using the pool! Thank god we didn't get caught!
Next stop was Koh Tao which is where we are at at the moment, failing to learn that arriving quite late in the day makes it harder to find accommodation, after 2 hours of walking around the island in the sweltering heat being turned away from hostel after hostel we ended up in the only room available. I was not impressed. It was the equivalent to my garden shed, only worse. There was no sign of any kind of flooring under our bed, just a nice view to the muddy ground below. A few holes in the walls and a rather large hole going in to the bathroom meant that we only stayed here for one night! Luke successfully put up the mozzy net though which meant we left bite free! woohoo! The past two nights we have spent a nice little bungalow right near the beach, far more pleasant than our shed!
As Koh Tao is known as the 'diving island', one of the cheapest paces in the world to become a qualified scuba diver we took advantage of this opportunity and went diving yesterday. We deliberated whether to do the Open Water course, which takes 4 days, after these four days of learning and diving you become a qualified Padi diver, although it is far cheaper to do it here than anywhere else it's still quite expensive within our budget. Taking in to consideration the amount of diving we'll do once we're back in the UK (probably very little) we decided against it. Instead we chose to do a DSD (discover scuba diving). We were lucky to have a small group, just Luke, myself and the diver! First our dive instructor went through the basics of diving, the signals, how to equalise and how to breathe properly under water. Then we learnt how to put on all of our equipment before going in to the sea!
As it was our first dive and only classed as a 'fun dive' we didn't go terribly deep, i think we reached about 6 metres, it was lots of fun though! I had some trouble equalising in the beginning but after popping my ears a few times i was fine! We saw some pretty cool things, dolphins, hammerhead sharks, blue whales and the Loch Ness Monster..not really, we did see butterfly fish, angel fish, fish that swim along side whale sharks, lots and lots of coral, and loads more!
Today we are leaving the island for Bangkok, we have a nice long journey ahead of us..a 3 hour ferry followed by 8 hours on a bus!
We will try to update within the next week
Lots of love x