its just another day for you and me in paradise!

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April 2nd 2006
Published: April 3rd 2006
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its just another day for you and me in paradise...

after a short mini bus ride which was spent mainly thinking of the fantastic bakery that we were leaving behind in krabi and a couple of short ferry rides that made p&o look like the kings of the waves, we arrived at ko lanta.

not having thought previously about the situation concerning our accomodation, when asked by the driver where we wanted to be dropped off, and you can imagine his delight when the reply from the stupid english couple at the back was 'dont know mate, where'd you suggest?' after being spoken about in hushed whispers by a german couple, to which lucy made it apparent that we knew they were talking about us, as only women can, we were handed some leaflets and chose to stay at lanta palm beach.

shortly after arriving we made ourselves at home in our new bungalow complete with en-suite bathroom and washing line, we went to cheack out the beach. after some aimless walking looking at not very much (an activity that seems to happen on a very regular basis) dave decided to take and even longer walk to some rocks to try out his newly purchased snorkal. lucy was left at a cafe where she imersed herself in her book and a cheese burger. unfortunatly the half our walk was rewarded with about as much visablity as stevie wonder, and after getting laughed at by some kids as the waves kept making me fall over, or scrape me against rocks, it was time to admit defeat and take the long walk back for the bbq we were promiced on arrival. about 2 hours later the heavens opened and, like at wimbledon, rain stopped play. sencing there was no use in trying to convince them that a bbq was perfectly possible inside (and ill prove anyone wrong if they say its not) we had to settle for some chicken soup, damp and a bit chilly, it almost reminded us of home.

when we woke the next day to glorious sunshine and the sound of waves lapping against the shore all memories of home quickly faded, a day of exploring was again upon us and we rented a trusty moped. not that trusty really as the whole day was spent wondering 'what the hells making that noise?' which nearly came to fisty cuffs as we dissagreed on the symptoms of our bikes trouble. forgetting lucy was a trained mechanic it was clear that i should back down, 'it'll only end in tears!' ko lanta is an amasingly pictuesque island that sports many white powdered, palm tree lined beaches as well as large cliff faces, that meant our busted bike had to work overtime once the paved road turned into an assult course to clime the at times sheer, potholed inclines. we made it most of the way down the coast stopping en-route as we pleased to enjoy the views of the bays and rest our internal organs from the pounding they were getting from the bumpy roads. we made it up to the viewpoint on the eastern side of the island which provides stunning views across the water to ko lanta's surrounding islands. we drove through the old town that consists of houses built on stilts and ended up at the southern end of the island where (after a recommendation) we looked around the newest resort. it is built with 4 different themes; tree house, rock house, cave house and boat house. they were all fantastic with a different feature in everyone and were totally unique to any accommodation we have ever seen. this place is highly recommended as a base for a holiday as the rooms are between 7-20 quid and you will never stay in a better place. the best rooms were the boat houses. built from (funnily enough) boat hulls they have a sea view and an outdoor jungle bathroom. its surrounded by walls so theres no fear of flashing the next door neighbours and has to be seen to be believed. it was really tempting to splash out on one of these for a night but is a place i would like to think we'll see again.

the next couple of days on ko lanta was spent enjoying the beautiful beach that was literally on the doorstep, and in the evenings walking up the road to the 7-11 for some cheap beers and to watch the splendor of ko lanta's sunsets. we took plenty of pictures of them but unfortunately it is impossible to show all the different colours and express how utterly overwhelming the sky becomes half an hour after the sun has gone to bed.

once we were satisfied we had wasted enough time laying around on the beach we brought a boat ticket to ko phi phi, an island that was visible from where we were staying in ko lanta, and is most famous for its role in the film 'the beach'. as we arrived in the bay the true beauty of ko pee pee was in full view. incased in the shadow of the 300ft limestone cliffs that dominate the west side of the island, the main bay stretches round for a few hundred meters, and boasts clear turquoise water that makes the place look better than the stunning pictures we had already seen. after a quick barter at the pier, we were taken around the bay to the next beach where the accommodation is a lot cheaper, the same as we paid on ko lanta, but different, so very different. we stayed in a bamboo hut on stilts which is usually fine, but this place was in desperate need of a visit from handy andy. the metal steps leading up to our (as is described by the rough guide) 'ramshackle' hut were all but rusted away, and, even though the cats out here are tiny, there certainly wasn't room to swing one! more treats were in store as i went for a shower. the place had never been graced with any kind of cleaning products, not even a job barry scott and cillet bang could sort out. it was the sort of cleansing experience that led me to believe there was no point in washing, as the brown water coming out of the shower head was about as clean as abi titmuss.

accommodation aside ko phi phi is truly the nicest place we have visited so far, and taking a snorkel literally a few feet out into the water we were rewarded with an array of marine life feeding off the coral-ladened sea bed. i could have spent hours out in the water watching all the different brightly coloured fish swimming all around, it really was like being in a massive tropical fish tank. in the evening we decided to walk to the main town, a route that took around 45 minutes and involves scaling a cliff face clinging to tree roots, and at high tide clambering over slippery rocks and attempting to follow a path that keeps disappearing, it was great fun in the dark! the main town is all pretty much on sea level and has beaches on both north and south sides. we saw some before and after pictures from when the tsunami hit and the total devastation it caused. the north side was hit particularly hard, and it took a few minutes to work out that the fountain we were standing next used to be inside a hotel lobby. most of the palm trees and hotels were swept away, and this was the first place we visited that was still bearing the scars from the disaster. some of the remaining trees had notes of thanks to the british red cross, memorials to the victims, and were covered with brightly coloured ribbons. standing on the baron wasteland it was humbling to think of the terror that was dealt out to one of the most idyllic places on earth. they are trying to bring the island back to its former glory and there is plenty of building projects trying to salvage what is left of the hotels, but i feel for many, it is not possible to start over again after loosing everything. as a result the island is nowhere near as busy as we were led to believe, it seems that the place is in financial turmoil as tourism is the only form of revenue. i would urge anyone who is visiting thailand to put ko pee pee on their list, theres much more danger of getting run down by a tuk tuk in bangkok, yet the city is as tourist filled as ever.

we spent the next day back in the water chasing all the fish around again, making the most of the white sandy beach and crystal clear water. our last day was spent exploring the island which meant a lot of walking trough jungle trails and ended with a near life ending slog up the 1 kilometer trail to the viewpoint. it might not sound far but walking at times vertically in the heat of the midday sun would cause mr motivator to reach for the oxygen. the hike was certainly worth it as we were rewarded with stunning views over the north and south bays. after we had both recovered it was time to head back down the trail to the town where we caught a boat out to ko phi phi ley a tiny island just south of phi phi to visit the location where Leonardo dicaprio was attacked and unfortunately survived a shark attack in the film 'the beach'. we went snorkeling at a small bay en route and were encouraged to jump from the top of the boat, lucy was chuffed to be the first girl to take the plunge, showing she is still a tom boy at heart. we were shown an area that is home to hundreds of swallows nests which are harvested to make an expensive soup seen as a delicacy in this part of the world. the birds are worth so much money that we were told if anyone approaches after dark they are shot on site, no questions asked. im thinking of sending some of them to dover where im sure they would do a better job running our immigration system. we were taken for a walk through the island following the trail used in the film that emerges onto 'the beach'. unfortunately the tide was out so some of the impact was lost as it didn't look as we had seen it, but the limestone walls that encase the bay are stunning, and looked great in the light of the late afternoon sun.

our time was short on ko phi phi mainly due to the accommodation. we could have paid more and moved but by the time it all got too much we had seen and done everything we came for, so we headed back to krabi town.

Additional photos below
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dave jumping from the boatdave jumping from the boat
dave jumping from the boat

well, half of him, should have pressed the button earlier!

15th April 2006

well hello
hey dave (and lucy) finally got round to reading your journals, sounds like you're having an amazing time! great photos too! how can you make it all the way to asia when you havent even got to dublin yet! keep em coming, take care x

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