Last update from South East Asia. Our last real day today as we fly from Ko Samui back to Bangkok at 6am tomorrow morning (Thursday) and then fly out to Sydney ay 9pm the same day...
Since we last updated we've spent just under 2 weeks island hopping. Our first port of call was Phuket, a short 1hour 5minutes flight from Bangkok, and an hours drive in a shared minibus transfer to our Hotel; the Serene Beach resort on Kata Beach. Loveley little place with hardly anybody else staying there (we only saw 3 other families) so we pretty much had the two swimming pools to ourselves for 2 days. Our first day was really only a half day becauswe of the travelling, but we had a stroll out in the evening and found a loveley little place with a live musician with all Thai food on offer at 2quid per meal. A Massaman (not Muscle Man contrary to popular belief), and a spicy chilli chicken & holy basil stir fry later, we had a wander round the resort to get our bearings before having an early nighty to catch up on our sleep to make the most of the following day's sunshine. The following day was actually quite cloudy but still comfortable enough to lay by the pool without getting sunburned. We had a walk down to, an along the beach for lunch and found a cheap little place at the edge of the cove , I had a cheap & cheerful burger & chips, Zoe had Sweet & Sour chicken % rice. We headed back for some more 'sun' bathing until the heavens opened, and determined not to run back inside, sat out in the rain playing cards under the sun brolly and braving the pool (which is really weird in a downpour). That night we got a bit more adventurous and decided to try and find a restaurant that was recommended in both of our guidebooks. It was an Italian restaurant way op on the hill that overlooked the whole of Kata beach. It was an almost vertical climb up to even get to the stairs that led from the street to the restaurant but the views from the top were totally worth it once we were there. The food was really good too, we both had Pizza (when in Rome), which, given the location and the elegant style of the restaurant was relatively reasonably priced, even if it was slightly more expensive than any other meal in Asia so far. On our way back to the hotel that night, we passed an old VW camper type vehicle that had been turned into a bar. Happy hour was on so we had a couple of drinks there before bed.
The next day was more travelling, as we made our way from Phuket to Ko Phi Phi Don. We left the hotel at midday and got a minibus to the port on Phuket before getting a ferry over to Ko Phi Phi. It was only a 2hour jaunt but the sea was a bit choppy to say the least, and the fact they crammed peope on to the ferry like sardines didn't help matters. When we arrived in Phi Phi, we needed to find yet another boat as our 'hotel' (i'll explain the inverted comma's later) was only accessible by sea as it was on a secluded beach at the other side of a mountain. We could have paid a few quid each for a taxt boat, but decided instead to wait an hour for the hotel's private complimentary transfer boat. We got to our beach which was around 100m in width, and maybe 35m from sea to the hotel, and it was low tide when we arrived so we had to get off the boat and wade through the surf (around knee height) to reach the beach. We collected our key and made our way to our bamboo bungalow (one of about 16 on the beach). It was built on stilts on to the jungled mountainside and overhung the beach. Inside was a bed (complete with mozzy net), and a small stone room with a toilet and shower head (cold water only). We couldn't get any electricity to work so whent for a whine at the reception/ restaurant/ owners home/ only other sign of civilisation on the beach, and were told electricity was only provided 6pm - 6am! We decided that dinner and lenty of booze was the way forward that evening so sank a few and tried to sleep amidst the noise of the fan (that was needed to prevent losing 3stone each sweating), the waves crashing against the beach 6feet away from our feet, and the storm that night hammering off the flimsy tin roog above our heads. The next day we didn't move from the beach (mainly because there was no where else to go, granted) and had a good old sunbathe streched across a couple of plastic patio chairs; 1, because there were no sunbeds, and 2, because the beach was crawling with 100s of sand crabs, busy scuttling around digging little holes and trying to eat other creepy crawlies. In the afternoon we decided to trek up the mountain to find the 'Viewpoint' that promised unobstructed panoramic views of Phi Phi and the surrounding islands. 20minutes & 30 mozzy bites into the mountain, Zoe was getting too hot and dizzy so we headed back the reverse 20 minutes (this time with 50 mozzy bites) back to our bungalow/ hut/ shed/ shack. That night we met an Aussie couple who had just arrived, and beat them at pool in what me and the bloke had labelled 'The Ashes'. The next day, our final day proper on Phi Phi, we chartered our hotel longboat back to Au Ton Sai (the beach where we docked from Phuket) for a lok around as the place had looked quite busy when we arrived. Oh how wrong we were. After 30minutes of looking at the same old tat being sold on the stalls and being constantly hassled to buy boat trips we didn't want or need, the heavens opened so we took refuge on the beach under a parasol. Great deal - 2quid each for the sunbed for the day (marijuana optional; i declined) was a damn sight better than the bloke at a hotel we tried to gatecrash who wanted a tenner each for the privelige of laying by there oversized bath tub of a pool with the other 4 guests who had bothered that day! When the sun finally disappeared we went for a happy hour drink (or 4) and headed back to base.
Then it was the transfer to Ko Samui from Phi Phi. 10 hours door to door; Longboat, ferry, (hanging off the back of a) tuk tuk, coach, another coach, ferry, minibus. We were both utterly knackered when we got there but managed to quickly unpack and get out for wander to an Aussie restauraunt where Zoe had a yellow curry and i had 3 massive kebabs (2 chicken, 1 pork) with a half corn on the cob, roast pottoes, and salad. A couple of beers and wine to wash it all down and then off to bed. Next day was a proper beach day, 3minute walk to the beach from the hotel, and a walk up and down before we found a bar renting it's sunbeds out for 2quid a day each. Sun was pretty good so we had some tanning time before I lost my sunglasses trying to outsmart the pretty heavy waves that were bombarding the beach. Red flag my a**e! We had a walk to the main beach that night to meet Lyndsay (from our Indochina tour), and finished the night laid in a beach bar by her hotel watching fire shows (where guys dance around swingin balls of fire around on lengths of chain to music). The day after we went to play football golf, an 18hole golf course using footballs instead of golf clubs. We flagged a motorbike taxi to get there and squeezed up all tight and cuddly with the driver. We kicked and curled and chipped and blasted out way through 18 holes (I won by 12 for the record). That night we walked out to Bar Ice Samui, the bar mae entirely of ice, blocked walls, the bar itself, the furniture, the coned cups you drank out of everything. We got wrapped up in our wolly hats, cloaks and gloves and chilled there (see what i did?!) supping cocktails called 'Brian the Ladyboy' and taking photographs of all the ice sculptures in there. The next day was a full on 'Funny Day Safari' wee booked ourselves on. We got our own private tuk tuk and driver who took us round the island to see various sights including a mummified monk, temples, waterfalls, etc. and a series of shows at a local sfari. We saw a monkey show and a crocodile show, but the best by far was the elephant show, check out the photos...I played tug of war against an elephant (and lost), and Zoe got massaged (and felt up) by the same elephant much to the crowd's amusement.
That brings us up to today. We were going to have a last beach day, topping up our tans but the weather has put a stop to it, it's pissing down outside so were updating for one last time before we head off. We're up at 3.15am tomorrow to get to the airport for our 6am flight back to Bangkok. We've got the day to kill there before we fly to Australia at 9pm so we're going to try and ditch our bags in a locker at the airport and spend thelast of our Baht. We've lost a few things like sunglasses, flip flops etc along the way so we're going to try and replace them at Thai prices before we hit Aus. We've got 2 nights booked in a hostel in Sydney when we land, and our first mission is going to be to try and find a tent to camp our way up the East coast to Cairns, but more of that in our next installment...
That should bring you all bang up to date for now though. Until next time...
Love Lee & Zoe x x x