Monday 27 Nov
We travelled by minibus from Krabi to Khao Lak, which would have been a lot shorter journey had we not had to change bus at a tourist office (i.e. where they try to get you to book accommodation/tours etc.). We arrived in Khao Lak and had to find somewhere to stay - luckily Carrie had recommended a place, Happy Lagoon Bungalows, which was pretty close to where we were dropped off and we got the last bungalow available. Nice place - can actually see the sea but a bit 'Flintstone'-like.... oversized tables, chairs and plants! The whole town was hit badly by the tsunami though so they have obviously been busy rebuilding it. We went for a walk along the beach - not as nice as Patong Beach or Kho Phi Phi but at lot less people so that was great. Imagine our excitement when we were walking along the beach and found a message in a bottle! We read the note inside which said something like 'Hello, this bottle has travelled all the way from Khao Lak in Thailand' and was even dated the same day - what a let down! We had thoughts of taking it with us to Australia and releasing it again there in order to amaze the senders (and probably anyone who knows whether a bottle could actually travel to Oz from there) but we couldn't be that cruel!
Met up with Carrie and Ray and went to the Happy Snapper Bar. Tried out the local drink known as a 'bucket', which is literally a bucket of Sangsom (some discrepancy over whether this is actually rum or whiskey), red bull, coke and ice!
Tuesday 28 Nov
A bit of a quiet day - relaxed on the beach for about three hours. Later met up with Carrie, Ray, Miriam and Jo for dinner. Lisa's back is peeling from getting sunburnt whilst snorkelling - ouch!
Wednesday 29 Nov
Went on a boat trip to the Similan Islands, a group of nine islands that are designated as a national park. It took 90 minutes to get there, even by speed boat. Our first stop was a bay off one of the islands where Lisa, Carrie & Ray jumped off the boat to go snorkelling. The water was around eight metres deep and the current was pretty strong - after only a few minutes snorkelling we had moved away from the boat, far enough away for one silly woman to get 'lost' in the water and not know which boat was ours! Second stop was a beach stop for lunch - nice red snapper, noodles, chicken etc. Lisa went snorkelling again - took a few underwater photos with Ray's camera so we will hopefully get those onto the website soon. Third stop was another snorkelling stop, and definitely the best. Amazing array of coral and brightly coloured fish (if only Ed would get in the water we'd be able to tell you what type of fish!). The last stop was Similan Island itself. Most people (Ed) got onto the beach via a smaller boat, and a few others swam over (Lisa). The beach was pretty quiet, and pretty perfect - white sand, blue sea and sky. There were some big rocks that you could climb to the top of (one called Sail Rock), but we didn't really have time so we just relaxed on the beach then unfortunately it was time to head home.
When we arrived back at the port one of Carrie's friends was waiting with a huge bottle of red wine to celebrate at it was her birthday. Also waiting for us were some tacky plates with our photos on them (taken when we arrived in the morning)! Although of course very tempting, we didn't buy them but Lisa cheekily took a photo of hers so you can have a laugh at that when we get some more photos on the site.
In the evening we went out for a meal and drinks for Carrie's birthday. We said our goodbyes to Carrie, Ray, Miriam and Jo as we fly back to Bangkok tomorrow.
Thursday 30 Nov
Got a minibus to Phuket then flew to Bangkok. Didn't really have time to do much other than travel to the hotel, get some dinner and have an early night (back to our early bed-times now we have left the party animals also known as Carrie, Ray, Jo & Miriam behind!).