Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Christmas Day In Thailand


It was definitely a Christmas Day like no other. Beaches, 35+ Degrees, buckets, bach raves and not a single Christmas jumper in sight.

Being in a Buddhist country means that the Christmas hype was completely none existent so come December 23rd I was felling about as Christmassy as Abu Hamza. However this all changed when I got to Koh Phangan and hit one of the main Backpacker (so therefore westernised) meccas of South East Asia. There were Christmas Trees and Santa hats galore and horrendous Christmas songs (which so far I had thankfully managed to avoid) blasting out of most of the restaurants. This meant that come midday on the 24th I was feeling very Christmasssy indeed.

I was on the beach covered in foam at the stroke of midnight on the 25th. A situation I never expect to be in again on Christmas Day. Someone set a few fireworks off and we all wished each other a merry Christmas, it was lovely haha. Although the trance music did take away from the Christmas vibe somewhat.

I have no idea what time we went to bed that night but the majority of Christmas Day was spent in the land of slumber until about 3pm when we made our way to one of the bars offering a traditional Christmas dinner. We were all well excited at the prospect of this and while the novelty of having a Thai green curry for Christmas dinner in retrospect may have been far better choice, the lure of the Christmas dinner conquered all. Unfortunately the dinner we got was absolute dog shit! Chris's turkey was mainly skin  and Tom and I could hardly eat ours. Disaster. This meant all of us at this point were very jealous as we thought of all the lovely dinners you guys would be having back home!

After the meal we all went to the beach to chill for a bit just because we could, before all making our way to the various internet cafes dotted around the island to contact friends and families as it was now about 10am back in the UK so time to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. This actually made me pretty sad as seeing Dad in his Xmas bow tie on skype and my Mum, sister and Grandad all chilling out in the lounge made me miss home an awful lot.

That pretty much concludes Christmas Day 2009 really, after the skyping sesh we heading back to the room to unwind before covering our bodies in UV pain before we hit the beach for the Christmas Day Full Moon. Just like the last one I was at in May it was awesome! However as it wasn't an official full moon it was a lot smaller scale which was a shame. Despite this we still partied hard till the sun came up. Although I did manage to fall asleep on the streets for a bit which worried the others who thought I had died haha.

It was a strange affair one I enjoyed and disliked at various stages of the day depending on what I was doing. One thing I learned however is how much I actually love Christmas. It was the first time I had felt properly home sick in my 11 months away and I was missing not being with my family and friends very much indeed.





Monday, 8 March 2010

Ko Pha-Ngan Pt. 2



If anyone can remember my posts on the FM the last time I was there would remember how much I enjoyed it so pretty much one of the main reasons for me coming back to Thailand again was that I just really wanted to do another. My thoughts on this were simple, there is a huge amount of things on this earth that I can enjoy at any age but when it comes to things such as the FMP I can't really do that when I am a 40 something. Therefore I thought while I get the chance I should come back again and enjoy another 5 days of bucket fueled partying in Koh Pha Ngan.

We arrived as usual an absolutely exhausted mess but not from any form of beach party the night before, but just from an horrendous journey right across Thailand. It involved 3 buses, 1 boat and a taxi. The whole journey took about 13 hours and when we arrived in Koh Pha Ngan all we wanted to do was sleep. So we checked into our rooms and fell asleep to the soothing sound of the Ricky Gervais pod casts with Karl Pilkington.

First day started fairly badly with me going on another trip to the doctors. I have mentioned it now and again in previous posts but pretty much the whole time in Thailand I had some form of cold or sore throat which wasn't really the end of the world but was very annoying. Especially after some stupid waiter threw my original course of antibiotics out by mistake. This meant that my sore throat had come back once again. However it got so bad in Koh Pha Ngan that the first night there I was actually woken up in the night by it. So I thought it was about time I actually got myself to the doctors about it. So at 9am on my very first day back in Koh Pha Ngan I was on my way to the doctors. Turned out I had pharyngitis and needed 3 different types of medicine to wipe it out. It was nice to know it wasn't anything serious but a pain as I now had to carry a big bag of pills with me everywhere I went for the next 3 days.


Once that was all out the way I was then able to enjoy my self and get back into the swing of things in Had Rin. We walked around the town for a bit just to see what was around. There were lots of shops selling X-mas gear with lots of Christmas movies and songs blasting out of most of the cafes and restaurants. We headed to Outback bar, a place I went to quite a bit last time I was there, to grab some food and mong out for most of the afternoon watching a collection of fairly shite films. One of which was one terrible 90's high school drama flick with Usher, the other was Speed Racer which is just an insane mix of colours and not much else. After that we headed to the beach to get some sun then headed back to our bungalow to get ready for our first night on the island.

That night was the Coral Bungalow Pool party where we were staying. I didn't manage to make my way to one last time so wanted to see what all the fuss was about. When we first got there not much was really happening a few people were hanging around t he pool having a few drinks and it was all very civilised. Then slowly taxi after taxi kept bring more and more people along and it all started kicking off. For the next 4-5 hours people were just constantly jumping in the pool and splashing around and generally having a good time. Although to be honest constantly jumping in the pool did get a bit boring after a while. I think we were there for the best part of 5 hours just generally observing the chaos that was going on around us when we eventually decided to quit while we were a head and head to the beach. Tom has already gone to bed at this point so it was just me and Chris. I must have walked for about 15 seconds and when I turned around to speak to Chris he had vanished. It turned out some cockhead had rugby tackled Chris into the pool as we walked by. The only problem with this was that Chris was full clothed with mobile phone and wallet in the pockets. I have never seen one man look so defeated as he walked back over to be soaking wet and minus his flip-flops. That pretty much killed the night so we retired back to our beds.


The next couple of days and nights were just spent on the beach, sleeping, eating or watching TV. The nights were all awesome consisting mainly of Trance music and alcohol under the Thai night skies. We met a whole host of characters too many to really mention. There was a lot more foam this time round which turned large amounts of sand into a quicksand like mess.

There was one particular event that stood out quite a bit during one of the warm up party's. Somehow I managed to get separated from Tom and Chris for several hours and could not find them anywhere. I eventually decided to give up and head back to the room so jumped on a motorbike taxi and headed back to the bungalow. Lucky for me just before I got to the resort I passed Tom and Chris coming the opposite direction on another Motorbike taxi. Both drivers did very swift U-turns and we final were reunited in the middle of the road outside the Coral Bungalows. It so turned out that Chris and Tom had just spent a very drunken 2 hours in a Tattoo parlour. Slightly concerned as what they may have done to themselves Tom soon reveals a small tattoo on just the right of his hip of a small small with a lawn mower. I could not believe what had just occured. Chris had managed to escape the tattooist gun but not through lack of trying the only reason he didn't get one was he couldn't afford it. Probably for the best as the tattoo he nearly got was designed by him in a very very drunken state and apparently looked like some sort of retarded diamond shape, which I am sure he would have regretted.



The 25th was Christmas day and was unlike any other Christmas I had before and ever have again I imagine. Read about that here if you haven't already.

The night of the actual full moon was a strange affair, we got ourselves painted up obviously but as it wasn't an official FMP it definitely wa a lot less busy. We all lost each other again, I lost my wallet which was a pain but didn't lose any cards or much money thank god just s few Thai Baht.

We spent our last day on the island recovering, eating good food, sitting on the beach and watching the various boxing day football games that were going on back in the UK. Once again I had felt like I had put my body through a lot and was actually quite looking forward to leaving as any longer would probably have been the end of us. The next day we had to check out and then make the very long journey back to Bangkok where I would have to say goodbye to Tom and Chris as they made their way to Australia and our Thailand adventure would eventually come to a close.





27/12/09

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Koh Lanta



The plan of action for Koh Lanta = chill the fark out!

After a horrendously heavy 3 nights in Phi Phi I penciled in some much needed chill out time in koh Lanta before we headed to Koh Phangan for the Christmas Full Moon parties.

Me and Chris were both absolute shambles on the boat over which did nothing but confirm the fact we definitely needed 3 days of doing nothing before we took a few years off our lives with 5 solid days of partying in koh phangan.

I didn't think the area we stayed at was the most attractive area we could have gone for but I really wasn't in the mood for exploring the island as all I really wanted to do was chill out and try recover from this strange little virus I seem to be suffering from at the moment.

Koh Lanta has a reputation for being a very chilled out island which I definitely agree with that. There were a few things going on but nothing like what goes on at Phi Phi and other islands. I got the impression Koh Lanta was much more of a family orientated island as I saw more families than ever before pottering around the beach.

As we had planned to chill out and recover while on Lanta we didn't really do a lot. Our days consisted of getting up about midday. Getting some lunch and then just lying on the beach for a few hours, playing catch, practicing juggling or splashing about in the sea. After all the beach based antics we would retire to the room and watch a large amount of the South Africa v England first test on the TV and maybe fall asleep. Then when we got bored of that we would just head out to get some food.

I had a nice time in Koh Lanta was nice to kick back, save the pennies and relax a bit. I didn't really see much of Koh Lanta and maybe it would have been nice to hire peds on one of the days and explore the island but nevermind. I leave Koh Lanta with good memories of beaching it and watching the Cricket. What more does a man need? Maybe an Xbox 360 would have been nice. hahaaa.





22/12/09

Friday, 5 March 2010

Koh Phi Phi Pt.2

The main reason I decided to come back to Phi Phi this time round was that Phi Phi is a bit of a party island and last time I was there I was unlucky enough to be an antibiotics so was not able to drink which does take the fun out of the party a bit. Phi Phi is also a real nice island with some amazing dive spots just a few minutes boat ride away so I really wanted to make the most of my PADI open water diving qualification I got last time I was in Thailand and get a bit more diving in.

The minute we got off the boat in Phi Phi harbour it was very apparent how different it was to Railey we had just left behind. It was a lot more built up and a lot more chaotic than the peaceful Railey we had left behind. But it was exactly what I was expecting so it didn't bother me too much.

Last time I was in Phi Phi it was low season, now it was high season and you could definitely tell the difference. It seemed like a bit of a mad scramble to get accommodation and at first I was slightly concerned it may turn into another Pai situation and the boys and I would have to march around for hours trying to find somewhere. However I thought I'd see if they place I stayed last time had rooms and it did. So walked straight in put our bags down and then headed out for a day on the beach. Easy Peasy.

We were in Phi Phi a total of three nights and went out a total of three nights. The main reason we went was to party I guess. The three nights just sorted of blurred into one really big mess of a night really.

The basic gist of the nights out where after a days beaching we would head off for some food around 8/9 and enjoy a few beers and a burger for an hour or so before turning things up a bit by heading to either Reggae bar or the beach for a few more beers. For me the highlight was always Reggae bar. The only good thing about this bar was that it let people from the audience attempt Thai boxing against another member of the public, their prize, free alcohol. It was an absolute delight watching the absolute idiots voluntarily get their heads smashed in and just generally look very retarded in front of several hundred people all for a bucket of alcohol. After the bars we would head to the beach to take it down a notch before things really kicked off on the beach. There were several fire shows and pool tables on the beach so we could just chill out and enjoy the night.

Come around midnight the bar would start to empty and people from around the island would head to the beach for one of the nightly beach clubs to start pumping out the tunes. My memory of this the last time I was here was that it was a lot more chaotic, but maybe my Full Moon experience had eclipsed this slightly. For the next six hours the various beach bars would pump a array or fairly shit music while everyone got drunk and danced the night away.

However one particular stand out incident involved a extremely inebriated Christopher Hislop. Who after saying he was going to the toilet disappeared for an hour or so while a very worried Tom and I tried to find him. We eventually found him curled up in a ball on a plastic chair with his head in in hands wondering why the beach was spinning. We thought we may as well leave him there till the alcohol wore off and hang around in the vicinity so we could keep an eye on the shambles. We turned our backs for 5 seconds and he was gone. The next 2 hours will forever be a mystery as to where Chris went, what he did and who he talked to however it was at this point we started to get a bit worried so thought we better start a search and rescue operation. After a trip back to the room to find him not in there we got very concerned . Thankfully we bumped into him in the street almost instantly. However he was covered in sand, lots of sand and bits of sick. Bless him. I have never seen Chris so wasted and while I can laugh about it as he didn't die it was quite a worrying 3 hours altogether.

It pains me to say it but due to the beach partying I didn't manage to fit a days diving in. However there were a few other reasons, one being economic as it cost a lot more than I thought it was going to. Also after the knob head waiter in Railey threw my antibiotics away accidentally my throat infection was coming back and I really didn't feel well enough to go diving, which was a shame!

I did however find time to slip in a quick Thai massage while I was in Phi Phi. I had loads last time I was in Thailand as they were great for my bad foot, however it had been nearly 3 weeks this time and I had not had a single one. So I trotted off to find somewhere that didn't look like I would get raped in and payed them my 3 quid and got myself a massage. This turned out to be the most painful massage I have had to date. I was done by possibly Thailand ladies shot put champion. She poked, prodded and bent me till I was an aching painful mess. I walked out resenting her and the place and decided that would probably be my last Thai massage for a while.

Despite the rather moronic nature of it all I had a blast once again and we all were an absolute state come the morning after the final night out and could not wait to get to Koh Lanta where we would be doing a lot of sleeping. While not wanting to come across like too much of a binge drinking fool you can read about my last trip to Phi Phi HERE which involved sight seeing, snorkeling and a lot less alcohol. Anway Onwards to Koh Lanta....




19/12/09

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Railey


The original plan was to just pop over to Railey for the day from Ao Nang, upon arrival though we all agreed this was a place we should spend some more time and ended up spending a total of 2 nights there.

I really liked Railey it was a beautiful area surrounded by huge limestone cliffs which not only looked amazing but also provided a great barrier from the rest of the mainland making it feel like you were on an island. The fact there are no roads in or around Railey added to this and really made you forget you were still in mainland Thailand.

As we arrived we were greeted by a load of monkeys swinging from trees and eating whatever they could get out of the bins and things lying around. I am never really sure to be scared of monkeys or not as they start slowly coming towards you. I normally get quite concerned as I think there bites guarantee rabies so I normally stay at a safe distance but they really are the most fascinating things to watch.

The accommodation here was awesome, I am not sure much Tom and Chris liked it, but I thought it was ace. We stayed at "The Railey Cabana" which was a group of 40 or so wooden huts surrounded by huge limestone cliffs, it was beautiful. The huts were real basic, no hot water, no air-con just a bed and mosquito net. I just enjoyed it as however hard I've tried this was the first time I got round to staying in a simple little hut like this. The door didn't shut properly which was a problem but part from that it was awesome and for the first time in ages I felt like I was traveling again. We were also sharing the hut with quite a large amount of cocroashes and ants which wasn't really that great.

Our first day in Railey was spent entirely on the beach. It was stunning. Although I am still yet to work out exactly what it is but whenever I went in the water I kept getting these little nips and stings from something in the water. At first I thought it was little fish but I vaguely remember it possibly being little bits of Jelly fish that have broken off?!? hmmm not sure what it was but it did spoil my time bobbing up and down in the water as every 2 minutes I was given a little shock.

God knows why I didn't take a photo of this but on the beach there was a shrine to some princess of the sea. I can't remember what it was exactly but a princess (legend has it) got washed into this cave, stranded in there and then eventually died. Now she is some sort of princess of the sea. So every year the fisherman of Railey/Krabi bring offerings to the cave of carved wooden phalluses. It was bizarre there was just this little tiny cave full up with hundreds of wooden cocks. It was one of those things you don't really see to often but for someone reason I never managed to get a photo of it. Maybe it was the thought of taking pictures of hundreds of wooden penises carved by ageing fisherman that put my off. However I nicked another photos of the Internet just so you can what I am going on about.

As usual I have lost track about what I have told you on here however I was still on my antibiotics course while I was here. So I was taking it very easily and voiding alcohol. However it's not really hard to take it easy on a place like Railey so I wasn't really to fussed. However on my last day on the drugs a stupid waiter threw them away without my seeing meaning I missed the last day of the course and my throat infection came straight back a few days later. Cheers Manuel

The next couple of days was spent ordering Pepsi from the various bars or fruit shakes. Sitting on the beach, paddling in the water and rubbing sand of either myself or my iPod. It was great but by the end of the second day we all felt we should probably do something a little more productive with our time on the island.

So the next day went signed ourselves up for a 7 island snorkeling tour around Railey and the Krabi Provence. The trip didn't start off to well. We set off without any snorkels thanks to the 2 girls who were doing the tour for the first time and so forgot to put the snorkels on the boat. So after a 20 minutes trek out to sea we turned around to do another 20 minute trek back to shore to then do another 20 minute journey back out to where we were and before our eyes our 7 island tour quickly became a 6 island tour as it was going to be dark by 7 and it was now 3pm.

The next total fuck up was when the girls made us get out of the boat and walk over about 30 meters of jagged rocks you couldn't see through the murky water. So once we had all made it to shore everyone, including myself, was bleeding from somewhere due to falling over or stepping on a 'orrible rock. Was not happy. However after those first few hiccups the tour finally started running smoothly and we started swimming amongst the fishes and the coral exploring the waters. The highlight of which for me was the feeding of bananas to hundreds of tiny fish. I an now sure how someone worked out that these fish liked bananas but they definitely did. I would hold a bananas out and just get swamped by them and the bananas would be gone in less than a minute.

After the the banana feeding frenzy we headed off to a few more snorkeling spots, went to chicken island as it looks like a chicken and then landed on some random island to enjoy some beers as we sat and watched the sunset. However still being on antibiotics I could only just enjoy the sunset without a beer. After the sun has set and everyone had got all their prospective facebook profile picture taking sessions out of the way we jumped back on the boat to head to another island where we would be treated to a nice 3 course meal consisting of soups, Thai Curry's and some weird sweet and sour things, while dining under the stars by candlelight.

On the way home we mae a quick stop off in the middle of the sea to jump out and enjoy a short night swim, a bit dangerous if you ask me. However the point of it was to give us a chance to see what happens when you splash around in the water and night. It has something to do with the phosphorous in the water or the algae but when you splash around in the water you create this little spec of flashing light. During the day obviously you can't see it but in the pitch black it very apparent. Que amusing Hadouken movements in the water pretending we have some sort of super power.

One we had returned to land that pretty much concluded our Railey adventure. We stopped off for a quick drink and Internet session then retired to our wooden cabin so that we could be up early the next day to get our boat to Phi Phi island and to commence 3 very hectic days of alcohol fueled parting on an island that would seem a million miles from the peaceful surrounding of Railey. Railey shot straight to the top of my favourite beaches and Thailand and would say do not visit Thailand without coming to Railey, sack off the dog shit Patong and crappy Ao Nang and come straight here for beautiful scenery. Just be prepared to share it with about 300 others.
















16/12/09