Sorry about the wait everyone, it's been a pretty hectic week and a half!
So when Nush last blogged we had arrived in sunny Koh Tao, Southern Thailand. This was our time to relax and re-energise before the second half of our trip, on a beautiful island renowned for it's beautiful beaches and in particular it's world-class yet cheap diving. Most people visit more than one island in Thailand, but we only went here because we were fairly short on time and everyone we'd met had said that this was their favourite.
Nush and I didn't do much except sunbathe, wander round the town and eat, and we were so lucky with the weather as it only rained a couple of nights of the week that we were there, and every day was hot and sunny. Meanwhile, for 3 days Gareth was doing his open water diving qualification which he loved, although it did make him feel a bit ill, probably due to all the nitrogen he was breathing in underwater.
We were staying in one of the busiest parts of the island, on Sairee Beach, in little wooden bungalows that housed quite a few geckos, like Nush's friend big Bertie who visited her every morning!
Weirdly enough we also bumped into Amy and Amy who Nush and I went to school with! We knew they were travelling too but didn't realise they would be here as well so it was nice to catch up with them.
On the Friday we took a long boat taxi round to the north of the island to visit Mango Bay, which was a beautiful yet tiny secluded beach where we spent the afternoon. I also attempted to snorkel but pretty much hated it, so Gareth and Nush went out snorkelling over the coral while i relaxed on the beach.
Nush and I thought we'd be leaving Gareth on Koh Tao, but in the end he decided to come down to Kuala Lumpur with us which we were very glad about as we embarked on what turned out to be a 32 and a half hour journey! On Sunday night we left our huts at 7pm to get the 9pm night boat back to the mainland, which consisted of tiny "mattresses" squashed in tightly on a hard wooden floor so you were sleeping right next to strangers! (Although luckily for me i wasn't because i was in between Gareth and Nush) The journey wouldn't have actually been to bad if it wasn't fior the fact that i woke up at 11 feeling really sick and spent the next hour in the toilet. The only other person awake except the crew was a Dutch guy who i ended up sitting outside with at the front of the boat which was really cool because it was so peaceful and dark at that time. I did manage to get back to sleep at about 1, and then at 5.30 we had arrived and were picked up by a minibus that took us to a travel agency where a dodgy woman tried to make us believe that we wouldn't be allowed into Malaysia without 80 pounds worth of ringgit which she wanted to change for us at a terrible rate! After pointless journeys in the minibus dropping other people off, we finally got in a tiny minibus to Hat Yai, just above the Malaysian border, where we then had to change into another minibus that would take us to Penang in Malaysia where we'd have to get on a normal bus to KL!
The driver didn't seem to be in much of a hurry, carelessly standing at petrol stations smoking whilst he filled up the bus with petrol, which worried us since we were meant to arrive in KL at 10pm, and when we finally got to Penang at 5.50pm, he shoved some money into a guy's hand who then gave us our new bus tickets for a bus that would leave at 11.30pm, arriving at KL at 4.30am! So we must have missed our original bus, but there was nothing we could do except try and find an earlier ticket somewhere else. We were so angry!! In the end we found one for 9pm which didn't even leave till 9.45 and didn't get to KL till 3.30am anyway because the driver was going so slowly!! We'd called our hostel where we'd reserved a room, but when we arrived there they'd already given it to some other people anyway, so we had to stay in a dorm.
And so our visit to KL began .........