off I go to Laos!
So I head over to the boarder with the rest of the guys who stayed in my hotel, and we got a boat across to Hanoy Sai and sorted out the visa's etc. I went to sit with the group and spoke to the guide who informed me with the best news; that as I was the only person getting the speed boat they cancelled it as it was not worth thier time taking one person this way! The smile dropped from my face.
I didnt really know what was going on and nobody would make it clear to me so I was getting stressed about it; but I was eventually told I would have to get an over night bus and cancel my stay with the hotel for one night. I tried to argue about it but fighting a loosing battle I was issued a refund for the speed boat and I was given VIP tickets for the over night bus. Still I was not very happy but with nothing else I could do I had about 4-5 hours to kill before I was collected to head to the bus station.
I walked up and down the road trying to find a decent market or something to occupy me but all I could do was find a little coffee house which I went and sat in on the computer using thier free WIFI for a couple of hours. I was quite happy enjoying fruit shakes and a pastry but decided I should move on and look around some more. I didnt find much so headed back to the tourist information station where I was due to be picked up from as it was not too long before I was due to be picked up.
We arrived at the bus station and had to wait a while before we could get onto the bus. The bus we were presented with was definatley not a VIP bus; but everyone I was with was laughing and joking about how they were glad that they had not got the regular bus if this was the VIP, and to be fair; I agreed!
We set off on our journey around 5pm and I went to sleep straight away, I was tired and still fed up about missing a night in Luang Prabang. I woke up a few times for toilet stops etc but we made the journey in good time and arrived at 4am. Dazed and confused after an uncomfortable journey I got off the bus and tried to ask the tuk tuk drivers to drop me to my hotel. The drivers were trying to rip us off as it was silly o'clock in the morning, but we haggled them down from 200B each to 100B each - even this was a rip off seeing as I paid 5B in Bangkok for 3 hours!!
We were all dropped off in the same place and we had to walk down a road looking for somewhere to stay. The tuk tuk driver told me my guest house was 1km down the road - later I found out that this was a lie to get rid of me!
Myself and the other dazed and confused passengers who most of turned out to be english walked down the hill looking for somewhere to stay. I was the only one who had already had a reservation so the others drifted off finding places to stay.
After walking around for a while myself and some others who had not yet got a room all decided to get a coffee in a little place that was open at 5am and wait until sunrise before we would decide where to stay.
The sun rose at approximately 6am and so I left the others and walked along for what felt like ages asking many places if they could tell me where the guesthouse was but nobody could help me. I continued along the road slightly in dispair and finally was helped by the most lovely young guy who spoke very good english and who phoned the hotel and got them to pick me up from where I was. This guy was such a life saver, and if it was not for him I would not have found my guesthouse! Yes I could have easily phoned them myself, however my phone battery had died!
I had never been so happy to see a kingsize bed just for little old me!!!! My mood was suddenly uplifted! I decided to have a nap for a couple of hours as it was now coming up to 8am and I hadnt slept greatly on the bus.
After my nap I woke up and got up and went out for the day; not sure what I was to do but happy I could walk around and look at the riverside village. My guesthouse was very close to the river and was in a good location. I walked up the road and decided I would hire a bike for the day and so that is what I did.
I paid 80baht for the afternoon which is under £2 and rode around on my little red bike with a cute basket for my bag and belongings. The sun was shinning I was as happy as a pig in ****. I stopped off in a couple of places and had a drink to cool me down, and then I decided to head right along the river and investigate what was further along. I stopped at a bar which looked pretty cool and that were offering 2 for 1 cocktails so I decided to treat myself.
After a short while of sitting in this bar it began to get darker and windy; it looked as though there was a storm brewing so I quickly finished my drink hoping to get the bike back before the storm hit and before 6pm as they had requested that was the time to return the bike. I began riding along the road and I realised that I had not timed this very well as the heavens opened!
Within 30 seconds I was soaked even though I had stopped and stood under a tree for shelter. I decided to just go for it as I was already wet so I rode along the road trying to get back to the bike rental place as quick as possible. On the way there were people taking pictures of me and cheering as I past them in the heavy rain. This rain was not just a shower, there were puddles on the side of the road that came up to my ankles! It was such a funny and liberating experience, although I was drenched and would have won the wet tshirt competion; I still enjoyed it!
I was pretty exhausted and after dinner and a beer i went back to my guesthouse and fell asleep straight away!The next morning I woke and was taken to the bus station for my 6 hour journey to Vanvieng. We travelled through the mountains and the senery was absoloutely stunning! I was in and out of sleep for most of the way but did take a look out of the window at the mountains and little villages that we passed on the way through.
At around 3.30pm we arrived in Vanvieng and I was taken to my guesthouse via tuk tuk - this journey was so much easier than the night before! I had a little freshen up and decided to look around and see if I could do the famous Tubbing that they advertise here. Unfortunately it was too late in the day for me to get involved, and I was very upset that I had to leave in the morning as I would have loved to stay an extra day or two. I had to get the over night bus back to bangkok which was not just over night - it was also all day too. But the trip would be worth it as I would be seeing Joe at the end of it!
I stayed out and watched the sun set over the river and got myself some dinner and enjoyed a couple of beers. I was on facebook using the free Wifi and spoke to a couple of girls who I had met in Ayutthaya who told me that they were in Vangvieng and were heading out so I arranged to meet them in the local irish bar.
I went in and sat to wait for Sophie and Grace and I got talking to an Irish guy called Dan who had been travelling for a while and had met lots of people along the way, he asked me to join them at the table and so I went to sit with them. I kept an eye out for the girls and saw Grace come into the bar. I waved at her and she told me that unfortunatley Sophie was unwell so she had gone back to the room.
I introduced Grace to the guys and we sat chatting to them having a few drinks until around midnight when Grace and I decided to go back to our hotel (we were also staying in the same place). It was a nice evening and I was gutted that I was leaving the next day as I wanted to see everyone again.
So the next day I arrived at the bus station ready to catch my first bus for the long day and night; I was dreading what the next 18 hours will be like for me due to my last experience. I approached a lady who worked at the bus station and she said something in Laos and wrote 1358 on my ticket so as it was 1335 at the time I assumed that was the time by bus would be departing.
A bus turned up and I looked at the time; it was 1345 and so I thought I would wait to see what time the next one would approach. At about 1350 another bus approached the station as the first one left and so I walked up to the lady and asked about my bus to ensure that this was the correct one.
The lady got on to her radio and spoke to somebody; she then said follow me and walked me towards a tuk tuk saying that my bus had already left! I jumped in the tuk tuk and we raced to catch the bus! It was 5 minutes down the road and it was the bus that had been at the station a few minutes before - yep I had missed it because I thought that 1358 was the time it was departing - not the number of the number plate - this I discovered as I got to the bus!! With heavy embarressment as once again I had made a fool of myself I got on the bus with faces looking at me wondering why I had not got on the bus at the same time at the bus station. I quickly hid at the back of the bus and thanked the lord that I hadn't missed it completely.
After I got over the humiliation of my recent polava I began to settle down on my bus journey and read my book for about 3 and a half hours until we got to Vientienne where we had to go over the boarder back into Thailand. After we had crossed the boarder we got onto a lovely VIP bus which was so much more comfortable than the horrible over night VIP Bus in Laos! The journey took approximately 12 hours from there and I enjoyed some reading and a few hours sleep back to Bangkok.
Back in Bangkok & down to Phuket....
I arrived at Bangkok and was full of excitement to go and meet Joe, I jumped straight in a cab from the bus stop to the airport and waited for 2 hours before he arrived. It was so good to see him and we made our way into Bangkok to find somewhere to stay for the evening as Joe had been travelling for a long time he was dazed and confused. We stayed in Kosan Palace which to me was like a 6* palace as the places I had stayed had not been that upmarket so far! We went out for a quiet dinner and a couple of drinks and headed back before midnight as Joe was still adjusting to the time and i was pretty shattered after my extremelly long bus journey the day/night before. I was pretty excited to stay in such comfort too I must add!!
The next morning we woke up and headed out for the day having a look around and seeing what there was to do - we decided to book our tickets for Phuket but unfortunately as it was the weekend, the train was full and not available until Tuesday so we decided to take the overnight VIP Bus instead. Joe and I spent the day looking around the stalls and chilled in a Bar with some food and a beer as the heavens had decided to open in the afternoon and there was no way anybody wanted to walk around in it; especially us!
We went to catch the bus and after an annoying 2 hour wait it finally arrived. It was still not as bad as my first over night bus experience; Thank God. We jumped on and made our beds on the seats for the evening, we drifted in and out of sleep until we stopped the next morning at around 5.30am to exchange buses in Surat. We got onto a smaller bus which was to take us direct to Phuket Town, this took a few hours as the driver was picking up and dropping off locals to other destinations. Once we finally arrived in Phuket Town bus station at around 12.30pm we then had to exchange to a mini bus down to Potang Beach.
So we finally arrived at our destination 19 hours after we were ready to head off from Bangkok. We booked a hotel at a close bar using the wifi and headed there to freshen up. Joe and I were tired and did not do much in the evening just had dinner and an early night. In the morning we woke early and had decided to stay over on Phi Phi Isand and so booked our hotel there for the next day.
We decided to head to the beach in Patong for the day and we sat relaxing most of the afternoon until the heavnes decided to open at around 3pm! It was funny as it was warm but absoloutely pouring with rain. We decided to head back to our room and dry up and prepare for our trip to Phi Phi the next morning.
We were being picked up to get the boat to Phi Phi at 1pm, so we enjoyed breakfast and packed for our departure. The ferry ride was good, it was lovely and warm and Joe and I had a couple of beers whilst looking at the passing islands for the short trip to Phi Phi which was only 1 and a half hours away. For the last 10 minutes of the boat trip it began raining so we hid under some covering that the boat used to cover the luggage on the top deck! We arrived at Phi Phi and it was gorgeous, the most beautiful beach I had seen so far....even though it was raining.
After walking around for a while we finally found where we were staying for the night, it was not quite as close to the beach as we had hoped; but it was only about 10mins stroll down to the sea. It was called the Banana Resort which was located on a hill towards the View Point of Phi Phi Island. The Resort was several bamboo shacks which were very cute but not as posh as where we had stayed the last few days.
The sun was setting as we arrived and the rain had stopped so Joe and I decided to have a drink around the pool and I was very happy to get in and swim around. We then decided to head out and see what the island had to offer, we watched a Fire Thrower show (Joe knew the formal name but I can never remember!) It was really good to watch and it was right on the beach and we had lovely little seats and were being waited on with cocktails. We sat and watched the guys throw fire and juggle with fire for a while and they then got out a fire skipping rope encouraging everyone to come and have a go. I of course, I little intoxicated; thought I would be clever and be the first one up there.... I can't reallly tell you what was going through my head at the time because I don't really know! I couldn't jump rope at school, let alone now!!
As you can imagion I was not very good and with the crowd watching and the rope on fire I attempted to jump, attempt was the word. I slipped and fell over with the flame between my legs! I must have looked hilarious! I jumped up and went back for another go, desperate to not be defeated....I tripped on the rope again and so I decided to call it a day. I got a free shot and walked back to my seat giggling at my clumsey performance. Joe found it very entertaining!
The next morning we woke up and went to sit by the pool, we decided to have a relaxing day as we were both tired and we deserved it! In the afternoon we went to have a wonder around to find out where things were and check out the beach. The beach was gorgeous and we sat around chilling for a couple of hours down there. I enjoyed a lovely Banana and Oreo Shake which was delicious!
We did not do much that evening and had an early night as we were planning on going to see Maya Bay (Where the Beach was filmed) and do a cooking course the next day. Joe woke me up early and we headed down for breakfast before 9.30am, we booked the last night at the resort and headed down to book the boat tour to Maya Bay. We also booked the Cooking Course at Pum's Cooking School.
We headed back to the hotel and relaxed by the pool for a couple of hours before the boat trip. The Boat was a Longtail boat and the first stop was Monkey Island where a big family of gorgeous Monkey's lived on the shore and in the trees. They were so cute and were not intimidated by humans what so ever. We headed back to the boat after only a short stop to head off snorkling. We were all handed snorkle masks and we jumped in the water to investigate what was swimming below us. Joe and I really enjoyed the 20 mins we had swimming around and looking what was beneath us. The fish were beautiful.
The next stop was Maya Bay where they filmed "The Beach". This beach was the most stunning place I had ever been. We stopped here for an hour and Joe and I spent the entire time swimming around in the sea. I felt like I was in heaven! The water was so blue, the beach had such white sands and the senery was simply amazing.
After this we headed back to Phi Phi to go to our cooking course. It was only a short course as we did not have much time and we had both chosen 2 dishes each earlier on in the day to cook that evening. Joe had chosen Phad Thai and Noodle Soup with Beef, and I chose Thai Green Curry and Chicken with Cashew Nuts. We were allowed to eat what we had cooked so we had a lovely litte feast after. The cooking was fun, and very easy to do! I will be excited to try out some Thai dishes on my friends and family when I return to the UK.
Joe and I stayed out after our cooking course and had a few drinks, we got back to our hotel around 12am and crashed out for our early departure back to Phuket at 9am. This was where Joe was to leave me to head back to Bangkok for his flight the next morning. Saying goodbye was not easy and part of me wanted to go with him as I will miss him and I was missing my friends and family, but I have had an amazing week with him.
So the next morning I had booked a trip to see the James Bond Island; I had decided I needed to dive straight in and get on with things being alone again. I was picked up at 8.45am and we drove to Mhak Prok Pier where our speed boat was waiting for us. This was a speed boat that actually gained speed and was not a longtail boat with an engine on the back! I had never been on one before and I was quite excited.
We took off and our first stop was the Ice Cream Cave. Inside the rocks all looked like ice cream melting; it was pretty good to see. I discovered that my camera's battery had run out and our tour guide MiMi lent me her camera and I put my card in so that I could keep the pictures. I thought this was lovely of her especially as the camera was much better than mine!
We all took lots of pictures like tourists do and then headed back to the speed boat to visit Panak Island and Hong Island; these were pretty but not much to report on. We then stopped for lunch at Panyee Island where there lived muslim families who made money through fishing and through tourists spending thier money to eat and buy things from them.
We all walked around looking at what was to offer and I bought a couple of things, however my best purchase was definatly the 50B (£1) for holding a cute monkey with a bow in her hair; I had a couple of pics taken. I loved her, she was so cute!!!! I wish I could have taken her home.
After approximately an hour on Panyee island we went off to do some canoeing at Talu Island. I had a nice guy canoeing for me whilst I sat and enjoyed the senery. After around 40 minutes of drifting around we headed back to the speed boat to take off to see the James Bond Island.
During the speed boat trip I had got talking to a lovely couple from Manchester called Katie and Phil. They had been to Thailand a few times and were on holiday until December; I hope to meet them at the full moon party in a few days.
We arrived at the James Bond Island where the 1974 Film "The Man with the Golden Gun" was filmed.
You can see a clip of the film on the Island if you follow this link.
The Island was absoloutely packed full of tourists taking pictures. I was very annoyed to find out the camera had run out of battery before I had finished taking pictures of the island. I had at least got a few though. We stayed on this Island for approximately 30 minutes; there was the famous Island in the middle of the sea that I looked at from several different views and there were stalls selling the usual stuff, however there was nothing that was associated with James Bond for sale. I might make some money and go and set one up myself. 😊
After the James Island we went to relax on the Island of Lawa Island where we could swim or sit on the beach. I swam for a little while and returned to the boat early as it looked as though it was due to start to rain. I was impressed that the weather had held out so well all day as usually it rained around lunch time. We headed back to the drop off point and were taken back to our hotels in the mini bus. I really enjoyed my day and came back with a smile on my face.
My next trip is to Ko Phangan to celebrate the full moon.......
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