Published: July 23rd 2010July 23rd 2010
Right it’s blog time again. We had a couple of days left in Bangkok before our long journey south. We spent a day sightseeing, we saw the golden mount which had awesome views of Bangkok from the top and several other monuments and statues as we walked around. In the afternoon we took a Tuk-Tuk to the commercial part of town just to see what it was like. There were huge shopping malls - big enough to rival the biggest in the UK with hundreds of small shops and stalls inside selling anything you could possibly want. Some of the malls were full of designer names and wouldn’t have looked out of place in any of Europe’s capital cities. It was a big contrast to the other part of the city and difficult to see any evidence of the fighting that had gone on in the area only a few months ago.
We also had one brilliant last night out before we left. We started off at a great bar high up overlooking the madness of Kho San road. There was live music and was lovely to be away from the busy street level. Kho San road is where all
the backpackers go and you get harassed every few seconds as you attemt to walk down it selling everything from suits, weird wooden frogs, food to ping pong shows (I don’t think there is much table tennis played). We then planned to head home and get an early night but stopped for a quick drink which turned into a very random but awesome evening. We went to possibly the smallest bar in the world with only 6 seats and spent the evening chatting to a lovely Australian woman. She was such a genuinely nice woman if not a little bit crazy. The family who owned the place were really friendly and fed us free pinapple and pigs ear (possibly the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten). The Australia woman was having a bit of a romance with one of the Thai bartenders which was lovely to watch and I spent the evening trying to match make them. We ended up staying for hours as there was a massive storm going on so sat around singing along to a bit of Creedence and chatting to everyone who came to the bar, it was very late when we went home but
a very fun and random evening.
We were both ready to leave Bangkok, it’s a great city but especially in the Kho San area backpackers have taken over and changed the way you experience the city. We headed south for the islands on a sixteen hour overnight bus and boat journey. As you can expect it wasn’t the best night we had ever had but at least we were on an Ko Pha Ngan now and looked forward to some beaches. Unfortunately though I got ill for a few days so we ended up not doing too much. Our hotel was a long way from town so couldn’t really make it to do anything. Our hotel was nice though so we were happy to chill there for a few days. When I was feeling better we explored the beach and town a bit, it wasn’t anything special and a bit of a disappointment. The whole place is set up for the huge full moon party they have every month where up to 30,000 people turn up for a huge beach party. There was a half moon festival on at a different location when we were there but it was
way to expensive so we went to the beach to see what the nightlife was like and to try one of the famous buckets. We ended up at a great bar on the beach with fire dances, crazy balloon games, The buckets were sold at stalls along the beach, just buying one was an experience as they all shouted and screamed at you to come to their stall, you could get a good deal though going to different ones. The buckets are incredibly strong and incredibly cheap. They normally consist of a bottle of vodka a can of coke and a bottle of redbull. The redbull is very strange though, it comes in medicine looking glass bottles and is like a concentrated syrup, not nice but certainly keeps you awake. We ended up speaking to a brother and sister from Austria who were really nice and lots of fun. We ended up having a bucket in the shallow sea before realising the time and walking very wet all the way back to the hotel. We had a fun night but Ko Phan Ngan wasn’t as nice as we had hoped so we set off for Ko Tao.
weren’t disappointed with Ko Toa, it is a little bit of paradise. The centre of the island is all thick jungle with white sandy beaches in little coves and stretches round the edge. We opted to stay near the largest town as we were annoyed with being so far away from everything on the last island and found a lovely little place to stay. It’s quite expensive to stay here especially if you want air conditioning so our bungalow is certainly very basic. We don’t even have a flush on the toilet! It a tiny little bungalow but is right on the beach (one of the pictures shows this well). The sea is literally 10 meters away and the beach on our door step. It’s also nice to see the sunset as we have been travelling the east side of every country so far, its absolutely beautiful here. As with the previous island it is very set up for partying in the evening. With this in mind we headed out to see what it was like. We started at a great bar with a live cover band, who were very good (reminded me of the ticket hall). By the end
of their set they had the whole bar dancing on the tables in a sing along which was great fun. We had a very random conversation with a strange South African guy who repeated himself constantly and was obsessed with John Smit. We then ended up at a tiny bar which as a slogan were trying too keep all the bad music from Ko Toa and a sign saying No Gaga, No Akon and No Blackeyedpeas. This made me very happy as the music out here is generally awful, just dance music, RnB and a lot of Gaga. We then headed to an awesome beach bar, danced on the beach for hours and chatted to loads random people.
It had been a while sinsce we had got a bike so we decided to get one and try and explore the island a bit more. We headed off into the jungle on what was initially a nice tarmac road. This changed quite dramatically as it changed to steep dirt with huge rocks everywhere. Claire was too scared and walked the whole way as I was left to carefully work my way down. The worst thing was though when we got to
the bottom we realised we had gone the wrong way and had to go back up the same horrible road. We managed it though and this time went towards a bay which had a proper road all the way. Here I tried snorkelling for the first time. I had tried it for a few seconds in Vietnam but freaked out so was determined to do it and see the coral as it is very famous here. It did take a while but a kind of got the hang of it in the end. We didn’t go very deep but it was still incredible to see all the different fish. We’ll hopefully do a bit more over the next few days.
Travelling in Thailand is very different to Vietnam, it is so built for tourism and sometimes it doesn’t feel like you are away from home at all. We are having a brilliant time meeting lots of other travellers and having some crazy nights out (going to the pub in England is never going to seem as exciting again.) Ko Tao especially is incredible, it is the kind of place you never want to leave….
There are more photos below