Published: March 2nd 2009January 16th 2009
After just under 4 months I had managed to complete a loop round much of SE Asia and it was time for me to head back to Bangkok before going South to the Thai islands.
It was a good feeling arriving in a familiar town. The place was certainly busier than when I first landed but it still held its charm and at the end of the day you have to appreciate the madness of the city for what it is.
Nadav was also in town stocking up on a few things before heading North so we hooked up and did what we do best...hunt out the local markets and feast!
We took the river boat down to China town and little India where we walked for miles ending in a massage centre for a well deserved traditional Thai massage.
The mother of all markets was on over the weekend boasting more than 15,000 stalls and 200,000 visitors a day. Everything is sold here from funky retro clothes to every pet you could possibly want. Somehow i don't think the cute playful puppies would hold up too well at the bottom of my backpack!
by the volume of the place and the sweltering city heat, the two of us opted for an ice coffee at one of the many stalls and played 'guess the nationality' as we watched the many wondering tourists and there bulging eyes. Nothing like a bit of people-watching to see the day by.
In the evenings we'd go to the park by the river where travellers of all sorts would mingle with locals as they battled it out over poi, yoga, fire sticks, break dancing, juggling and other crazy hobbies. It was mesmerising to watch and very inspirational. I suddenly felt a great twang and was sad that whilst travelling i didn't really have MY thing. *Mental note to self, find out what my thaaang is and be one with the cool kidz.* Eventually we'd be forced off the turf by the ever present evil mozzies and so we'd move on for a few drinks in town.
Back on the move as I travelled down south to my first of two islands. It was time to say goodbye to the asian culture and hello to all the two week western holiday makers and the many
western bars and food :(
Mandy and Linda, two bubbly Scottish girls I met in Vietnam, were already on the island so i hunted them down and the three of us signed up to diving courses.
They began their open water dives and I trained for my advanced diving certificate. We found a great little diving school that was extremely friendly and not over crowded.
Over the next 3 days we avoided the many bars as it was heads down on the diving revision.
I completed my first night dive which was unreal and a nitrox dive along with my deep dive.
On our last day those on our course celebrate with a few too many drinks which didnt fare well with the early boat ride to Koh Phangan.
So as i was saying, the day didn't get off to the best of starts. The three of us crawled out of bed with hangovers from hell and made our way to the dock. I boarded the boat ready for the 1.5hr journey just managing to hold my stomach in place. That was until we set off. I have never been on anything like it. The waves
were crazy. The boat journey was more like an Alton Towers ride thanks to the bad weather. This wasn't going to be pretty. Not long after the boat took off the staff knew it was wise to hand out the sick bags. And yes...i was one of those scuzy buggers hurling for the entire trip. Urgghhh. To be fair I wasn't the only one and I think i'd have been doing it toxicated or not.
So enough of all that. Once the drama was over we dragged our sorry asses to the closest guest house possible. It worked out to be one of the quieter ones nearer to Thong Sala than the famous Hat Rin but that suited us just fine.
Obviously our first day was a bit of a washout but come the second we were good to go and ready to check out the fuss of these 'moon parties'.
We had timed it so we could enjoy the 'black moon party'...yes thats right, black...any excuse ay.
Anyway what a disappointment. We arrived around 11pm and the atmosphere was pretty non-existent. The place had potential, it looked fantastic and they'd hung some cool drapes and neon lights on
the beach front plus a good sound system but the trance music i was soooo looking forward to just wasn't my cup of tea...all a bit hardcore for me. Strangely everyone seemed a little deflated and believe it or not all rather sober. It probably didn't help that it was raining much of the night but hey this is Thailand, this was Koh Phangan, this was the shizzle...well from what I had heard.
"Right girls this isn't going to do. If the parties not coming to us, we're just going to have to create our own party." So off we went in search of something better.
Ok, so i wouldn't really call it better but we eventually stumbled across some dodgy little bar that frankly looked as though it had had its best hour a long time ago. We sat down and was served by our very own ladyboy. I swear this girl looked better than all 3 of us put together. At the back of the bar was a karaoke machine and once Mandy had caught sight of it there was no going back. Within minutes we had cleared the bar of any remaining people. By the time the
first song had finished it was just the 3 of us and our little ladyboy friend but hey we were having a ball. Screw the overly rated moon party. We had one of our own going on right here at Saby Saby Bar.
All sang out we were literally slung out as they'd had enough of our craziness and wanted to shut up shop so we called it a night and made our way home after a rather bizarre night.
The following morning we rented out a couple of scooters and had a great day zipping around the island. We drove from beach to beach checking out what was on offer and stopped here there and everywhere when we pleased. It felt good to be in the drivers seat again. Oh how i miss my little tin can on wheels.
The next few days past by and the girls were off to Oz and i needed to leave the country before my visa ran out.
I was in two minds whether to do a visa run so i could check out a few of the other islands but the journey was far too long and from what i'd heard
they really didn't have too much more to offer.
So once again it was time to say goodbye to yet more great people i'd met along the way. But don't worry girls you're not rid of me for long. I'll be knocking on your doors when i reach you in New Zealand. Get the knitted jumpers out its gonna be cold by the time i arrive.
There are more photos below