Friday, May 25, 2007

Thailand -On the water

One of the best parts earlier in the week was when we took a longtail boat out to an island. This time we wished to go see Kayaking so after a chat with the local taxi drivers we went to Bang Rong.

Here is us setting out for a paddle around Ko Nakha Noi, a small island with a now dilapidated former resort. Didn't think much of the island, for some reason it was strewn with litter from somewhere. On the way back to the harbour, looking north we could see some magnificent islands. It was one of those moments where I could not leave without going there, so back to the boat driver we went and asked us to take us there. We certainly weren't disappointed
First point of call was tying up the longtail boat to a rocky outcrop and walking through the rocks to a lagoon in the middle of the island.
Another stop we got off and our guide with his torch took us into a cave with many formations. Far from Buchan caves there was no formalised tour, stairways or lights, but these were just as impressive.

Here is a boat. On the way back our boat got stuck when it's "tail" got bogged in the mud. There were lots of attempts to pull the tail out, but in the end a few phone calls by our drivers had a local Kayaking operator pick us up in their ferry and tow the boat out of the mud. Quite a novelty to be "rescued".

We also went to Bangkok for a day on the way back, but didn't have many good photos. Overall it was a great short trip.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thailand - Phi Phi, FantaSea, Phuket Town

Recognise this beach? It is "The Beach" from the film with the same title. Better known as Ao Maya on Koh Phi Phi Ley.
More of the island Phi Phi Ley. Phi Phi Don is where everyone stays but was completely devistated by the Tsunami at the end of 2004. The damage is still very much visable when compared to Patong. Remembering that 2000 people lost their lives there in one day on what is a very small place.
This is the "Disneyland" of Phuket, a sort of theme park open in the evenings with a show at the end. Lots of light shows, shops and obviously a lot of money spent on it. It was visually impressive however but relatively expensive. The show promised big thing until the animals were brought out. My feeling is that animals should have no place in a stage show like this and felt somewhat ashamed that I had spend $50 supporting such an act. As the guide book said, the baby elephant show was "depressing" and would recommend to others giving this a miss for that reason.

Another day we went into the town of Phuket to have a look around. We were doing a walk around the town and walked into this guy's place. It looked like a shop and this guy had a nice collection of music memorabilia, he asked us if we would like lunch, so we ended up joining him and his family as well as a couple of local workers he knew. How hospitable! It was really an experience no tour could have provided.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Thailand - Phuket Island

After looking through the guidebooks Kylie had a list of things to do a page long. Rather than book a tour, reluctantly Kylie agreed to my idea of commandeering a local cab driver to take us around the island to some of the places we wanted to see.

First it was off to the beaches south of Karon. After walking along this beach - Nai Harn, I just could not bare to leave it without going for a swim in the warm water. You can probably see me in the distance.
We stopped at Rawai beach to have a look around and was tempted by the look of the islands in the distance and a lot of long tail boat drivers not doing much to hop on one out to Coral Island. It was probably the best decision of the day, just look at the beach on the island below. After hiring a snorkel and goggles there was plenty of coral to see and fish to chase or for Kylie the other way around.

Being May, the weather was a little unpredictable, and the blue skies above clouded over to form a torrential tropical downpour at Wat Chalong temple, the largest temple in Phuket. A really impressive place of worship.
Finally we braved the rain to see a nice waterfall in the hinterland.
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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Thailand - Patong

(belated post)
This Thailand holiday was a last minute thing. My girlfriend had got some time off work to come and see me in New Zealand since I was meant to be working there, ironically I told her that things could always change and I might not be. What do you know it, a week later the project over there was cancelled. She was smart enough to convince me to take the time off anyway and I said I always fancied going to Thailand. So we booked it 3 weeks in advance.

We stayed in Phuket for the first week, initially we were booked to stay at Patong Beach, but the hotel was "booked out", and we were asked if we could move to their sister resort at Karon beach - perhaps not such a bad change, much quieter, cleaner and still not that far away.

Here's Kylie going parasailing on Patong Beach - initially her idea not mine!

This is a picture from the balcony from our room. Views of the beach in the distance.
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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Thailand here we come

Going to Thailand in 1 week for a holiday...can't wait :-)