Published: February 19th 2009February 3rd 2009
Ok, even though we thought it was a bit rubbish, some of the bars were nice.
When we arrived from Vietnam, the plan was to head straight to a beach to get some sun bathing time as it was important to have a decent looking tan for when we got home.
First we decided to head to Koh Tao, which is a small island just off the east coast that’s known for it’s diving and beautiful beaches. We got a night bus (again!!) down to the port where the ferry leaves. It arrived at 4am, two whole hours before we could catch a boat to the island (why do they do that?). Eventually we set off and arrived into Koh Tao at around 10:30. Accommodation wasn’t cheap but eventually found a scummy looking place that fitted our budget - remember we don’t have much money left so we are trying to be conservative with our spending.
The island itself was a bit of a let down, not as nice as we’d thought it might be, there was lots of building work going on and the beaches were very small, so after spending just one night we got back on a boat to Koh Phangan the next island along.
As soon as we stepped of the boat
The classic Thailand beach/boat shot.
we were surrounded by touts trying to sell us their guest houses and hotels. One lady showed us a flyer with nice place with a pool and on the beach, we were told a good price so we jumped in a taxi along with six other people. We were ripped off by the taxi driver who wanted to change a enormous amount to drive us from the port to our chosen guest house. Everyone was a little miffed about this, but we went anyway. After dropping a few of the other guests off we arrived at our hotel. The bloke at the hotel told us the room we wanted was double the price we were quoted, so we argued that the woman told us otherwise. He dropped the price almost half immediately, but still didn’t go as low as was originally quoted so we left and went to find another place on a beach just north that we had been to a few years before.
Haad Salad (Salad Beach) is a lovely beach we discovered about five years ago when we were in Thailand. Perfect white sand, long and quite, only about three guest houses scattered along the beach.
Take the palm trees out and it could be England?!
We arrived to almost a completely different place. First of all there were about fifty guest houses, loads of hotels and a few resorts along the beach and the sand was almost gone too?? We walked to the hotel we stayed at five years previously and asked how much it was to stay. The price was over double compared to last time... what had happened!!! We couldn’t be bothered to move on again so went looking around the beach for a cheaper place to stay. We eventually came across a little wooden beach bungalow that was cheap, clean and in a good location. We took it. After looking around a bit we noticed that things were certainly changing, there was a huge hotel complex building right up the other end of the beach, loads of high quality bungalows and about ten swimming pools!
We hit the beach and sunbathed. After a few hours it started to feel ok again and we realised that we’d have to accept that nice places in Thailand five years ago would obviously be overrun with guest houses and resort hotels now.
For a couple of days we hired a motorbike and drove around the
After getting completely drenched, it was time to buy rain coats.
island. The roads haven’t changed a bit, still up and down like a yo yo, it’s great fun whizzing around on a moped. Generally the weather was really nice but occasionally the heavens opened and we got soaked, so much in fact that we bought a ‘his and hers’ rain coat to try to stop us getting any wetter.
We cruised around a few beaches on the island and went into the main port town where we had arrived a few days before. It was quite nice, lots of coffee shops and markets to kill the time. Just outside of town someone had built a English style public house (along with the post with the name of the pub swinging on it). It took a second glance to realise that you weren’t in England??
After a few days we made our way to Krabi, again we had been there before but we wanted to go to some different islands near by. We spent one night in Ao Nang, which is the beach part of town. The town had become a lot more touristy, not necessarily a bad thing but again very different. We met a bunch of air stewards
A night drinking buckets
from Norway and Sweden and went out drinking with them. We got stuck into the ‘buckets’ they make out here. A bucket, for the uninformed is a child's sandcastle bucket with a bottle of, vodka, whiskey, rum, whatever really, and some coke, lemonade or redbull poured and a couple of straws. It’s basically cheap alcohol and fizzy drink. It gets you very drunk and produces a fantastic hangover the next day! Still, we had a great time in the bars around town that night!
First thing the next day we jumped abroad a boat to Koh Lanta our next island. We had bought a ticket and room from a travel agent who told us the ‘resort’ was lovely and that the guests that came back always thanked her for. There was a swimming pool and it was right on the beach. We arrived a couple of hours later. The room was average to say the least it was on the beach, but the swimming pool was closed and had been for quite some time. When we asked if the pool would be open again the managed shouted at us that we were paying a cheap price and we should
The beach we ended spending a week at.
be glad to have such a nice room. In fact he told us if we didn’t like it then not to come to Thailand!!! (Man, this place has changed). So we got out of there and went walked up and down the beach to find somewhere better. We didn’t have to go far as next door there was a lovely chilled out bungalow style beach accommodation that had rooms available at a fraction of the cost of the ‘resort’ next door. So we checked in and stayed there for the next week.
We did more of the same, sunbathed, ate good food and spent most evenings in a variety of bars up and down the beach. I know it’s hard to understand but after a few days even sitting on a beach sunbathing, eating and generally doing nothing does get boring. So we re-worked out how much money we had left and discovered that we could make it to Laos for a few weeks before we had to come home. So the next day we set off in an overcrowded and un-roadworthy mini van to take us to yet another night bus back up to the capital, and as
Our bus to take us to Laos... a 'vip' bus apparently. More like a techno bus!
usual Steve had left something behind! - his brand new swimming trunks that he loved were left drying on the branch of a tree in Koh Lanta! After a few disjointed phone calls we managed to ask the guy at the bungalow to send them on to Bangkok for us and all we could do was hope...
So we spent yet another night in Bangkok which was getting tiresome now, so as soon as we arrived we booked our tickets north to Laos.
Looking forward to another 12 hours on a crappy bus...
ps. As we already spent time in Bangkok over new year, we've put up some pictures of the temples and sights.
There are more photos below