An Asian Adventure – Thailand Part II

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January 9th 2009
Published: January 9th 2009
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The Port at Phuket and some of the many bodies bound for Ko Phi Phi
A lot of the Little Ko Phi Phi!

I decided that I would divide my entries up so that I give you some breathing space between making it through my epic entries and deciphering my very creative spelling abilities so here’s round two for those of you who have some time on your hands!J

The Ko Phi Phi ferry is a cool experience its packed with bodies on the upper deck catching some rays and sipping on a cold beer before they gracing Ko Phi Phi with their presence, I was no exception. I met some somewhat interesting Brits while soaking up some rays, since I didn’t know a sole going to the island I figured I best make some initial connections incase I was at a loss. 2hrs of tanning and chatting later and the most stunning island came into view. I was a little nervous cause as was the case throughout my trip I was arriving without any plan or booking and the Brit told me he had tried to get a booking at the Back packers but they were full and that they had made a booking at the supposedly next cheapest place on the island
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Not the best pic but rounding the bay into Ko Phi Phi
2 months prior so I was a tad worried I was going have my butt hauled back to Phuket on the afternoon ferry due to no accommodation, lucky I took the risk!

The island was completely different to what I had envisaged, I expected it to be a lot bigger and more sprawled out but it turns out you get off the ferry and you are slap bang in town and immersed in the Ko Phi Phi vibe, its brilliant!

Clearly my priorities were a little skewed on arrival cause my first point of call was a dive shop to find rather than searching for accommodation …low and behold I encountered a South African manning the shop. He was pretty helpful and give me a little map of the island and gave me a couple of heads up and it was nice taking in the SA accent. As it turned out the poor little island was effected badly by the peaceful coup earlier in the month so there was hardly a shortage of accommodation and cheap accommodation at that! I got myself into the backpackers without a problem and it was the best spot to be based…. aside
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I could think of worse sites to arrive to!
from the cost, from the 30th it got very busy and it had such a brilliant vibe, packed with awesome people! If you are heading to Ko Phi Phi and don’t mind staying in less than luxurious accommodation I highly recommend the Rock!!

After settling myself in went exploring the island and its 100s of little overpriced stalls, had a sundowner on the beach and got the flyer (they live handing out party fliers in Ko Phi Phi) for the beach party that night! After some dinner I made my way down to Ibiza beach bar and thought it only appropriate to participate in the beach games, the 1st of which was beach soccer! A Whole bunch of people, majority of men, 1 free bucket at stake and only 3 people managed to kick the ball through the hole….two were girls and one was me! I love free buckets ;-)! Later everyone got stuck into some stomp the balloon crazy games and then the fire limbo started! Ko Phi Phi sure hosts one of the most awesome beach festivities that I have eve attended in my time! After the games were done I suddenly realised that the majority of
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Welcome to Ko Phi Phi!
the crowd was either part of a couple or was pared up with a mate ie there were no other loan rangers for me to strike up a conversation with and as awesome as the party was it was decidedly more quiet than I had expected! I was getting very nervous cause the prospect of the same situation on New Year was not exactly what I had in mind! I decided that I should perhaps prowl the other party spots to see if I had perhaps planted myself at the wrong party but sadly the Islands nightlife was quiet in general!

Initially I had loosely planned to stay in Ko Phi Phi for 2 nights and then head up to Ko Samui and then perhaps spend New Year with the rest of Thailands tourists at the sudo Fool Moon Party in Ko Pha-Ngan so on rout to one of the other party spots I stopped in at one of the travel agents to find what the deal was with getting from Ko Phi Phi to Ko Samui by new year. Needless to say it was not viable cause its so far and I would have had to be on
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Ko Phi Phi street market
a ferry at 2pm the very next day….I milling the whole idea around in my head and checking out another quiet party spot and then got a bee in my bonnet that I had to go to Ko Pha-Ngan so I stopped in at different travel agent to see what the possibility of a flight was (yes I was desperate, as nice as Ko Phi Phi was I wasn’t going to be a lurka on new year!). While attempting to explain my situation to the Thail travel agent I hear a voice say….come and talk to me…a friendly South African accent! Turned out Garry the Jo’burger had done the trip and told me I was crazy and he assured me that Ko Phi Phi was going to be brilliant for New Year and then promptly escorted me back down to the beach to introduce me to his group of mates. Its such a small world cause naturally his mates knew mates of mine back in JHB so all in all I started feeling a little better about the New Year prospect and if the truth be known the thought of spending any more time in transit rather than on the
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To the beach
beach tanning was hardly what I had in mind! It was an awesome 1st night in the end and I headed back to the backpackers happier to be staying in Ko Phi Phi for 4 days rather than hopping on and off boats and busses!

I booked myself on a half day dive trip for the next morning t 8am but when I was walking home at 2am I realized that I had to be up at 7:30 and I had no alarm clock or anything to get me up at that time….how random searching for an alarm clock at 2am, Asia is great for that sort of thing though they have these tiny all night convenience stores that stock just about anything you can think of! It was quite a fun event really, going from convenience store to convenience store in search of an alarm clock cause you meet all kinds of weird and wonderful people at that time of night, most of which though I was mad looking for an alarm clock in the 1st place and had bets that I wouldn’t find one, they have little faith me my sourcing skills!…..20mins later, small yellow alarm clock
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One of the Ko Phi Phi streets flanked with construction still to be done after the Tsumani
in hand I went home with a big smile on my face!

Mad excitement as my alarm clock went off just after 7, I was so ampt to go diving! When I got to the concession they told me that most of the people on the boat were on course so I would go down with Sam the DM and just me which is exactly the way I like to dive! So we got on the boat and Sam the DM is a little random he started asking me all kinds of random questions and acting as though I was a new diver which was a little annoying but I sucked it up and figured that after our 1st dive he would realize that I know what I was doing under water and he would stop asking me if I wanted to practice any skills like mask clearing while I was down there….have you ever….mask clearing! After a short boat trip we rounded Mia Bay (Where the Beach was shot) and we hit the water. All I can say is that Sam turned out to be a Shocker!! He is the most inexperienced and useless dive master I have
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The Rock backpackers, somewhere in the midst of the trees
ever had to dive with. When we got down to the reef the vis wasn’t great, maybe 10m so you really had to stick to the reef if you want to see, this palooka makes a b-line for the sand….I actually stopped swimming and “stood” in one spot for a brief moment watching this dork in total disbelief, there was no way I had wasted good money to go look at a sand bank in a spot that isn’t known for rays!! After catching his attention I started to swim along the reef and he got the message. He had brought his camera along….big mistake cause he was playing Tommie tourist under water the whole time instead of looking at the reef and doing his job pointing out unusual things to me!

As well as playing Tommie tourist he kept tugging at my fins or tapping me every few meters to show me common fish or show me things that I had already seen 5 minutes before him….at one point he was so busy taking pictures of common fish that he totally missed a Morey eel and I had to wave him over to show him….he was absolutely useless!

Aside from my very ignorant and useless DM and the less than perfect visibility the diving was lovely. Thai reefs have such a diversity of coral and it was nice to see different species of Fish and I did get to see a tiger shark and swim with some amazing turtles so all of this made up for Sam’s incompetence and the poor vis. I was also lucky that the other DM’s looking after the trainee divers were there and there about so I tended to keep the pace up with them and they showed me a bunch of cool things that Sam would just never have seen or known! Incidentally before I went on the dive I had enquired about hiring a housing for my camera but it was a little steep so I laughed it off. Then it turned out old Sam was bringing his camera along since it was only him and I and no one was hiring the camera. He quite happily said to me that he was bringing it along so I must just shout if I wanted him to take any pics. In the end Sam took tones of pics of his own
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Some of the island habitation
and one or two of me and the turtles and a pic of the tiger shark. When we got back to the concession to log our dives he promptly told me that I could have a look at the photos and he would then burn them to disk for me at a cost of 500 Bhat if I wanted. Now 500Bhat is not really a lot of money so I thought I would consider it if his photos were as good as he was indicating under water! Needless to say his photos were so bad, he only got half the tiger shark and the rest of the photos were so murky you couldn’t see what was in the photo in the 1st place! There was only one pic that I really wanted of me and the Turtles so I asked him what the situation was if I only wanted that pic and if you can believe it he basically said I would still have to pay 500 Bhat….for 1 digital photograph. I decided that the photo was hardly worth 500 Bhat and I left the concession with no desire to join them on another dive!

When I got back to the backpackers I managed to get myself into a single room rather than staying in the dorm which was a real win and even more of a win when I met Gabbi staying next door to me! Gabbi is a Brazilian girl who has been in Aus for a year learning to speak English (she went there speaking no English and her English is now just about fluent, she is incredible!). I had struck up a conversation with one of the other DM’s while on the boat and she had invited me to join her and her mates for a drink that night and I also made friends with this American guy who was also keen to meet up for drinks so Gabbi and I headed out together that night to tryout some busier Ko Phi Phi night life! Another fantastic night was had and Gabbi proved to be an awesome wingman much to my delight! After a drink at the pub we headed down to the beach for more beach games, mingling and fun! As it turned out I had arrived in Ko Phi Phi the night before on what can only be described as a transition night,
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The pier at dusk
the transition between New Years comers and goers. The ferry that afternoon had brought in a fun and eager party crowd and I now had a wingman so all in all I was in my element!

After a solid night of fun I put myself on a longboat the next morning and headed for a day on long beach to get a much needed tan! Long beach is great and they have the best beach cafes serving the most wonderful fruit shakes, highly recommended! By the time 3pm came I was pretty roasted so I headed back to head up to Ko Phi Phi view and watch the sun set!

A mildly strenuous walk later I got to the highest point in Ko Phi Phi and it was well worth the walk, sadly there was some cloud so it wasn’t going to be a picture perfect sunset but it was lovely sitting up there chilling regardless. I was casually sitting on a rock minding my own business when I unexpectedly heard someone call my name. I turned around only to discover Lishman and Stu Berry of all people, with two of their mates! Man it is so awesome
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The long boats anchored for the night
to see some familiar faces when you least expect it!

The rest of Ko Phi Phi was an absolute blast, much time was spent beaching, watching fire tricks and fire works, friendly South African banta with the boys, meeting tones of amazing people including an tow super fun Ausies and an Argentinean who was even more of a South African patriot than I am (To the extent that he knew every single work of our anthem and Shosholoza and would sing it to me every time I passed him at the backpackers), a mad boat rides around Ko Phi Phi, getting drenched in an almighty rain storm and partying! It was truly one of the best new years I have had in a very long time and I can thank Gary for convincing me to stay! After all that the 1st of January arrived, I had some breakfast with the boys and then sadly said goodbye to everyone and headed to the ferry to make the trip to Krabi so that I could catch my bus back to Bangkok. What an unreal Island adventure is all I can say!

The ferry….It turns out that as organized as I
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The long boat drivers on a break from ferrying tourists while the tide is out!
can be I have one thing that I just can’t keep together and that is tickets or passes of any description! Of all the things that you should always have safe I am always finding myself fumbling for tickets after they have been squashed into some pocket in my bag or that have found themselves in amongst the tones of scraps of paper with email addresses and the like! The morning of the 1st was no exception! I had pre-booked my ferry and bus ticket and I had both in my hand when I was walking to the dock to catch the boat. I was also, as usual, carrying 100 other things at the same time. As I got to the ferry entrance a guy asked me where I was headed so I motioned to give him my ticket and next thing the wind blew my ferry ticket into the water and was irretrievable! What a pain in the proverbial…but I was rather unphased cause I though that the guy was part of the boat organization and since he had seen it happen I figured he would just let me on the ferry…. boy was I mistaken! It turned out
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Gearing up for a dive
he was just an usher and I had to show my ticket to this very brash woman who was having none of my story. I was a little annoyed but I figured that the travel agent had a carbon copy of my ticket so I would just go back ask them to make me another copy of my ticket. As it would turn out the ticket didn’t have a carbon copy only a stub with a matching reference number without a name so there was no proving that my ticket was in fact from that booklet! Man was I livered when I had to fork out full price for a new ticket! The joys of traveling alone and not having someone else to be palm the ticket responsibility on J!

The bus ride from Krabi to Bangkok was an absolute win….while not quite as luxurious as the 1st bus it delivered us at Khao San road promptly 11 hours later as promised….if you are heading to the southern islands from Bangkok, word of advice, go to Krabi and take a ferry or bus from there!

So that’s it for his leg of the trip…will give you a few
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Just paradise
days reading space till I post the last lot of news and photos!

Be good now J

Additional photos below
Photos: 46, Displayed: 34


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The sea on its way out
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Sadly not the best pic....the sea completely reseeded at low tide
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Gives a new meaning to riding into the sea
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or riding out of the sea

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