Published: November 25th 2008November 25th 2008
Its been a while since we've done this, so thought we better update everyone on whats been going. We'll kick off with Koh Phi Phi, where we spent a few days with Danny and Amanda (friends from home).
Firstly Koh Phi Phi is gorgeous. Its a tiny island in South Thailand, near Phuket, where there's absolutely no traffic because cars are not allowed on the island. Its such a small island that pretty much everything is accessible within a few minutes walk. The beaches are incredible, the 2 main beaches being separate by only a few hunder metres of land (one beach north one beach south) which acts as a sort of corridoor between the 2 larger parts of the island (probably explained that really badly, so if you're bothered google Koh Phi Phi and have a look). The first proper day there we got some Kayakes out and went snorkelling, but first we rowed to Monkey Beach. Monkey Beach does exactly what it says on the tin...its a beach where monkeys like to eat, sunbath, play volleyball/frisbee etc. we moored the Kayakes and then went off to feed the wild monkeys with some Bananas we'd bought. It was all good fun, they were pretty tame, probably the result of the hundreds of tourists that pass each day, and just pottered around taking treats from everyone. One strange German lady thought it Ok to share her drink, and straw, with one of the monkeys, we've had our Rabies shots but thats still not a good idea. We also witnessed some monkey sex and a large monkey fight which was our queue to leave! After all this we snorkelled on the coral round monkey beach. We saw lots of cool fish, including a moray eel and one little yellow fish that really didnt like Vanessa and kept charging at her and pecking her (again!). At one point I called Vanessa over and pointed to the same fish that had been attacking her, as she reached me it turned and charged at her again, no idea what fish in Asia have against her, but there's something. I have a theory that its the same fish that attacked her in Vietnam and had swum all the way down the coast for round 2!
The rest of our time in Phi Phi was spent on the beach, or at the Little Britain bar (shameful we know) as they served real PG Tips and Kellogs cereals (unfortunately there was no Crunchy Nut.) On our last night we went for a nice meal on the beach and relaxed on some deck chairs.
Next stop was Phuket, which we'd heard was really sleazy and horrible and so weren't looking forward to it too much. The first day we spent on the beach, again, and then we went out at night for a nicer meal along the beach. I felt a little out of place in the restaurant in my jeans, as it was incredibly posh, but Vanessa looked really nice in a dress she bought in Bangkok. Whilst we were eating our duck and yellow curries (which were delicious) a storm started outside and all of a sudden there was the loudest clap of thunder I have ever heard in my life right above us, the whole place stopped and quite unnervingly all the staff stared out to sea (Phuket was badly hit by the Tsunami in 2004). Took a few minutes for everything to calm back down, and some people were visibly frightened by it. After the meal we dragged out our free water until the rain stopped and then headed in to town for a drink.
The next day was once again spent on the beach. That night we went for our first proper Thai Massage, we'd had a massage before not the traditional Thai Massage. If you've never had one before it basically feels like you're being assaulted for an hour. The ladies doing them were ex WWF Wrestlers and pulled out some submission moves til every single bone in our bodies cracked, all in one go for me, which even made the massuese cringe and ask if I was Ok. It was amazing! We left and floated down the road for our final Thai meal (green and yellow curry). After this we walked round Phuket for a bit and found exactly why everyone said it was so sleazy. At the top end of the beach there's one strip which is basically strip bars and where absolutely everyone in Phuket seemed to be. Ladyboys, lizards, magicians, a man that looked like Mr Bean selling dancing coca cola bottles, it had it all. We walked up and down for a bit, but didnt dare go into any of the bars and so having to be up early the next morning we went home.
From Phuket we flew to Singapore, which is really really nice, and completely different to anywhere we've been so far. As far as we can tell Singapore exists for shoppers and Christmas! They go absolutely mental for it already, and everywhere we turned there was a christmas tree or decoration. As we didnt have any money to shop we walked around and did some window shopping for the first day. That night we went to a large Night Market which was more in our price range and Vanessa bought some PJs.
The next day we went to the Botanical Gardens, walked round, blagged our way for free into the parts you're meant to pay for and saw a large black, venomous looking snake in the grass beside us. That night we hung around in town until it went dark and all the christmas lights went on. It was like Blackpool but with class and without the stench of dirty sea water and greasy fish and chips! We caught a snow shower at one of the shopping centres, where they pumped foam out beneath a large christmas tree for all the kids to play with (quite strange in 30degree heat) and then walked up Orchard road to see all the lights.
Day 3, still trying not to spend any money, we went to China Town and ate some Sharks Fin Soup (its ok, nothing special) and wandered around. The contrast between the shops/stalls in Chinatown and the huge, expensive shopping centres in the main part of the city was incredible! After this, in keeping with our tour of Asian places in Asian places, we went to Little India...not much to say, it was little and Indian like.
Now we're pretty much up to date and we are in Cairns in Oz.
We got to Cairns 3 days ago and spent a day organising ourselves, booking a great barrier reef trip, our coach ticket down the coast, buying a sim card and most importantly buying some Crunchy Nut and Milk from the shop. That night we went to see some Goldfish racing at one of the bars...like greyhound racing, but with more blood and tears, and then in true brits abroad fashion had the best drunken kebab we have ever eaten in our lives!
Cairns doesnt have a beach, just a large mud patch where crocodiles and birds roam, but they do have a man made lagoon, so we spent the 2nd day there. We contemplated buying Kangaroo steaks and cooking on one of the many public BBQ stations they have along the 'beach front', but when we realised we didnt have any cutlery, plates etc we scrapped that idea. That night we were entertained by the crazy man we'd met the night before in our hostel bar, called Turbo! He's not completely there, and talked to me about everything from the importance of eating salt in hot environments to why we should have children in Australia because they get a $3000 baby grant. Good fun.
Today we went for our trip to the Great Barrier Reef. We hired out an underwater camera and have lots of photos so check them out on Vanessa's facebook! The trip was amazing, we stopped at 2 locations on the reef for snorkelling, and for us a 30 minute dive. The dive was really good, but as we're not certified divers we had to stick by the instructor which was a bit annoying, and so we preferred the snorkelling. The reef is gorgeous and the amount of marine life is incredible. Unfortunately we didnt see a sea turtle (some people did) or any sharks, but we did spot some Rays and another Moray eel, as well as loads of fish varying in size and colour and most importantly for Vanessa lots of Nemo's. It really is something we'll never forget.
Also whilst on the trip we met two lads from Bury, who went to Holy Cross and knew Vanessa's friends, more proof of how we live in a small world and how you can never escape Bury!
We're already in love with Australia after 3 days, the lifestyle is so chilled and everyone is really nice, there's sun, sea and there will be sand. We can't wait for the rest of our time here.