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Published: July 15th 2008
Long Neck Tribe
Women waiving souvenir scarfs.
The first thing we noticed when we crossed the border was the difficulty of the Thai people to speak English. We didn't have any language trouble in Singapore or Malaysia. Communication outside the touristic places was bad. Just after the crossing we spend a few hours walking around the border city trying to find the bus station. If wasn't for an English speaking guy that took us on the back of his pickup truck to the correct place we would still be there asking around and receiving the most weird directions someone can imagine. But the difficulties stop there. After we entered the tourist route, Thailand became the easiest country we ever traveled! All the hostels have a travel agency to sell bus tickets to wherever you want to go, they pick you up at the hostel and drop you off at the new hostel. All arranged in brand new comfy AC vans. If your trip involves a boat ride you have a joint ticket! (but please don't smoke it!)
Our first stop was Krabi. Here we learned first Thailand's lesson: don´t follow guide books. We were used to choose a hostel from the guide book, but the hospitality network
Wat Po, the reclining Budha
is so big, that you can always find a better place for a cheaper price just next door to the one on the guide book. Whatever... next day we skipped the bus offered by the hostel and took one ordinary bus + long tail to Ton Sai Beach. The first site of our Thailand's trip started very well.
Ton Sai is a climbing paradise. People come from all over the world to challenge or be challenged by this cliffs. It´s easy to understand why. The climbing routes are suitable to all levels. As you are climbing, behind you there are the most perfect scenarios! In Ton Sai there is almost no night life, but early morning the cliffs are already packed with people pretending to be Spider-man. The downside of Ton Sai for us lazy backpackers, is the folks hanging around there. They are all super fit athletes showing off muscular bodies and six packs everywhere. This made us feel ashamed of our beer bellies, we had to wear a T-shirt the whole day! In order to understand a bit more about the fever of this place, Claudio decided to have a go on the cliffs too. On the
Dancer on Koh Tao Festival
second day we jump into the climbing gear for a one day trial. (We couldn't resist walking on the beach showing off the gear hanging around our waists, pretending we were experts!)
To round our stay in Ton Sai, we hired one kayak and went paddling around the small islands nearby. Perfect trip, so many stunning views, such cool places... We really recommend it!
Next stop: Koh Phi Phi Don. Or Little Sweden, as you prefer. We normally don't get impressed easily by beaches, just because we have some of the best ones back home, but this island got us. The color of the water is just taken from a dream. The sand is just as white as we know from home. The small bungalows add a touch of exotism. And the best part, something we don't have at home, the Swedish girls in top less!! For some reason this island is very popular in Sweden, so popular that in the hostel we stayed one morning the owner called us to show the guest book; two guests from Brazil (us)
and all the remaining from Sweden! Nothing to complain, we had great times there, spend one week going out,
Every day for lunch!
drinking 15 liter buckets (cheers guys, to the rrrrred communist strrrrraw!)
and playing Yatzi. The perfect times were only ruined, on the last day, when we didn't buy the boat tickets in the hostel (they were 2x more expensive) and for this reason the owner kicked Fernando out of the hostel, beating his head with a bottle!
Koh Phi Phi Leh is the island next to Koh Phi Phi Don, and is where Leonardo Di Caprio played his role on ¨The Beach¨. The beach of Maya Bay is not so impressive but the other spots around both islands are the most beautiful we've ever seen!
Further on, we stop in Phuket. So touristic and uninteresting(except if you like brothels and expensive beer)!
It´s time to check the east coast. Home of the famous full moon party and according to some friends the best nightlife in Thailand. First we arrived in Koh Pha Ngan. The arena of the biggest beach party ever! But we found out that we were far from the full moon and the island was completely deserted. So empty we payed to stay in a resort with swimming pool, the price of a standard room. All
Climbing in Krabi
We'd to have a go!
this luxury didn't convince us to stay longer. After a tour by scooter around the island we decided to go on, to Koh Tao.
Once in Koh Tao we met Robert again (the guy with the motorbike that we met in India). When we met the first time, he told us that Koh Tao was a sticky place. Not dirty, just a place were you go and get stuck!! He was right.
The first days in Koh tao was just for us to start meeting some other travelers, drink some beers and inquire about the Advance Diving Course. There time flies. After we finished the Advanced course we still didn't feel like leaving the island. We thought to ourselves: "you know what? we are already another year on the road. It is time to take a break. Stay in one single place for more than three days. Have a place to call home. We did it in Yemen, after one year in Africa. Why not again after another year of constant traveling? Koh Tao is a good place. We're tired. We don´t want to see our backpacks for a while. Let´s do the Dive Master course! It takes around
Visiting the surrounding Island of Koh Phi Phi
2 months, just perfect to rest! And it can be helpful afterwards! Just perfect".
We stayed almost four months in Koh Tao. There is so much to say about it, we could write a book.
Our parents came from Brazil to visit us. (It was almost 3 years since Claudio saw them last).
Rebbecca joined us for the fourth time. There was Robert, Oliver, the two Idas, Helena and Helge. All these people we met in India 5 months ago and now again. Lili came back after 5 months and Claudio was delighted.
There are the DMT at Simple Life, Japanese Gardens, whale shark, snorkel test, Songkran, Lotus bar, the coffee boat restaurant, feijoada, full moon party, visa run to Burma, noodle soup.
In the Vegetable Hotel: our neighbors, Malin (Fernando's Swedish dreams came true!)
, the pervert, the woman downstairs... Ahhhh, so many stories, so many beers. The Turtle Island will be always remembered!
Claudio and Lili left earlier, Fernando managed to work a few days more. Claudio and Lili went north while Fernando picked up our cousin at the airport in Bangkok. She planned to travel with us for a few weeks. We all met again in
The beach from ¨The Beach¨. From the left Johan(swe), Ellie (swe), Fernando, ?(UK) and Sophia (swe) laying in front.
Chiang Mai. Once together we decided to enroll in a Thai massage course (everything to spoil the girls! (Yeah sure!- Lili's comment)
We spend 4 days studying our books and stretching our lesson partners.
One night we agreed it was time to leave Thailand. One last thing in the to do list: See the long-neck tribe. Pai was our destination. In Pai we rented three scooters and drove all the way to Mae Hon Son under cold and pouring rain! Stressful, but see Fernando and Malin fall from their bike, on top of elephant shit made all worth it!
Mission accomplished. It's time to go to Laos. After one last night in Thailand, we crossed the border early morning! Summary
Length of Stay: 121 Days
Visited: Krabi, Ao Nang, Tom Sai, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket, Patong, Karon, Koh Pha Ngan, Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, Tak, Chiang Mae, Pai, Mae Hong Son and Chiang Khong.
Pros: Cheap, Lots of backpackers and parties, Great diving.
Cons: Some Hassle, bit too touristic.
Transport: Medium price, fast, plenty and comfortable
Budget pp p/day: US$31,49
Budget breaker: Dive Master Course, Massage Course and Koh Phi Phi
Tot: 3.099s; Tpl: 0.017s; cc: 24; qc: 117; dbt: 0.0417s; 3; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.6mb