Viv and John Cussell

Pensiongapper

Viv and John Cussell

We are off island-hopping in Thailand for the month of February. We shall leave home on the 1st of the month and return on 29th (an extra day for Leap Year)! Our journey will be from Alicante to Barcelona by train, then two flights, the first from Barcelona to Doha and the second from Doha to Phuket, both with Qatar Airways. Although this will be our forth visit to the "Land of Smiles", we haven't been there for eleven years and plan to visit islands we haven't seen before. In 2009, we travelled overland from Singapore to the island of Langkawi, Northern Malaysia, in the Southern Andaman Sea. It was our intention to carry on overland right up to Northern Thailand. However, whilst on Langkawi, the Thai Government temporarily changed the entry visa rules, due to civil unrest on the Thai/Malay border. This meant that we would only get a 15 day visa if we crossed over to Thailand via a land border. We could see Thailand from Langkawi! It was just a short ferry trip across the sea! However, this route was of no use to us; we needed the standard 30 day visa to travel the distances we wanted. The only way to get a 30 day visa was to fly in to one of four main airports, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui or Phuket. The latter was the closest to us and the most southerly, so we took a ferry back to Penang, then a prop plane to Phuket. Armed with our 30 day visas, we were then able to enjoy travelling throughout the country up to Chiang Mai. The flight from Penang to Phuket was stunning, as we watched the sun setting over the islands in the Andaman Sea. Now, we are going to visit those islands! The ones we missed eleven years ago!
"Sa-wut dee ka!" Hello Thailand!😎



Europe » Spain » Valencian Community » Alicante March 6th 2020

Our journey home was a long one! Thirty-six and a half hours travelling to be exact. The journey comprised eight legs; a long-tail boat, then a ferry, followed by a minibus, two aeroplanes, a taxi, a train and then a car. We left Hat Yao (Long Beach) at 8.30 a.m. on Friday morning, 28thFebruary, by long-tail to Tonsai, to board the 9.00 a.m. ferry to Phuket. After a two-hour ferry trip, we took a minibus to Phuket International airport, arriving there at 12.30 p.m. Our plane wasn’t due to take off until 7.40 p.m. so we were at the airport quite a long time. This was unavoidable because the later ferry would not have got us to the airport until too late for an intercontinental check-in. It wasn’t too bad and we had a good lunch ... read more
Tonsai Harbour, Phi Phi

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Phi Phi Don February 27th 2020

After three and a half weeks of very basic accommodation (our deliberate choice and which we have loved), we decided to end this fabulous special month with a little more luxury, here on Long Beach (Hat Yao) on the island of Phi Phi Don. By luxury we simply mean the things that one expects in most standard hotels, but not in bamboo huts. So, we have a safe, a fridge, a T.V. (which we haven’t actually bothered to turn on) air conditioning and best of all, HOT water in the shower! Thanks goodness we have air con because the weather has changed and it is much hotter now than it was at the beginning of the month. The air con is especially welcomed at night and we don’t have to sleep under a mosquito net either, ... read more
A "pan-sized" one came  one to say "Hello"
Harbourside bar in Tonsai
Not sure what species this is!

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Phi Phi Don February 26th 2020

Sunday 23rd February 2020 Today was a “highlight” day. We boarded our long-tail boat on Koh Muk pier, just close to Coco Lodge, to sail around the island, snorkelling in key spots as we went along. We expected to be part of a group, but it was just the two of us and our cheery boatman, Tan. Great for us to have the boat and snorkelling all to ourselves, but the lack of tourists is not good for business for the Thai people here. When we set off it was a bit cloudy and windy, so when we got to our first snorkelling spot on a coral reef on the rugged North West point of the island, with sheer limestone cliffs undercut with caves, I didn’t fancy it at all; dark deep water, a wildly swaying ... read more
Heading to our first snorkel site, Koh Muk
Challenging water here!
On the coral reef

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Muk February 22nd 2020

Saturday 22nd February 2020 Koh Muk translates as Pearl Island. We said it was a little gem! Like Koh Jum and Koh Yao Noi, it is rated as one of the few remaining truly exotic islands of Southwest Thailand, with very limited tourism and stacks of local flavour. We love it here! Well, we have stayed in countless bamboo thatched huts in our time, in different countries, but none as charming as the one we have now on the eastern side of Koh Muk: Everything is bamboo, the floor, window shutters, doors and furniture. Often the bed is just made of cheap boards with a hard mattress. This bed is chunky and solid bamboo, with a lovely deep mattress and soft pillows. The chunky furniture is made in the same rustic style. Of course, being bamboo, ... read more
Gorgeous crispy Papaya salad with prawns
Coco Lodge from the beach
Lodung Beach

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Muk February 20th 2020

Thursday 20thFebruary 2020 On Tuesday, after yet another challenging journey, we arrived on the beautiful little island of Koh Muk. The idea of island-hopping was to enjoy the boat journeys as well as the destinations, however, these journeys haven’t all been idyllic (the first few were). The speedboat was overloaded when we started off from the pier in Koh Lanta, because another boat had a problem, so all of the passengers on that speedboat (heading for Koh Lipe) climbed over on to our boat, with their luggage, and with folk sitting on the floor once again, we headed off down the eastern side of Koh Lanta, under the bridge that connects to the mainland on the north east of the island, through mangrove channels then out to the open sea. The sky was heavy and overcast, ... read more
Love it here!
Enjoying the evening sun
Leaving Koh Lanta

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Lanta February 17th 2020

Oh! We do have interesting journeys and we certainly travel in style! The small dirty pick-up truck that arrived at 9.15 a.m. on Saturday morning to take us to the pier on Koh Jum, already had four people on board, one of whom was very large. We had to climb up over the tailboard and sit with our rucksacks between our knees in a tiny space and hang on tight as we bumped along. The two young boatmen in charge of our Long-tail, were very chilled out, smoking weed as they navigated through the mangroves and then out to sea; the aroma wafted all around us as we chugged along across the Andaman waves. Eventually, “Land Ahoy!” there was the island of Koh Lanta, with its nice solid-looking wooden pier, before us. However, unlike the ferry ... read more
Koh Jum jetty
Farewell Koh Jum
Last beach on Koh Lanta west coast

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Krabi February 14th 2020

Wednesday 12th February 2020 Well, our journey here took longer than expected but we got here in the end! Our speed boat left Koh Yao Noi around 9.00 a.m. and should have reached Koh Pu pier in 45 minutes to drop us off, ending its journey at Koh Jum pier at 10.00 a.m. However, half way across the bay, one of the engines started playing up, so we chugged to the floating dock at Railay and we and our rucksacks were cast ashore, well on to the wobbly pontoon jetty actually. Our boatman got on his phone and about fifteen minutes later a smaller speed boat arrived from Krabi on its way to Koh Lanta. The driver of this smaller boat was very young and he crashed into the pontoon at speed, then asked us to ... read more
Farewell Koh Yao Noi
Railay
Our Tuk-tuk

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Yao February 11th 2020

Tuesday 11th February 2020 Our last few days here have been as idyllic as the first. Yesterday morning we found our way to the main village on the island, called Thakhai. It is a bit on the scruffy side but served our purpose. We needed to find an ATM to get more cash before moving on and buy more mosquito coils. We probably have enough cash anyway, however, we don’t know if we can get any on Koh Jum and/or use Visa or Mastercard. So far, since arriving in Thailand, we have had to use cash for almost everything. So, in Thakhai we got cash and the coils and an excellent meal cheaper than here on Pasai Beach. The chilli stir-fried prawns and spicy stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts were excellent and cost just 290 Baht ... read more
Great food in Thakhai village
What flavour
Petrol and food for sale

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ko Yao February 9th 2020

Saturday 8th February 2020 When we stepped off the speedboat yesterday, at Manoh Pier, on the little island of Koh Yao Noi, it was like stepping back in time. It reminded us of arriving on the island of Koh Chang twenty years ago. As a truck bumped along a dusty little road with us, three other backpackers and our luggage, it was just like being on the truck that delivered us, with our son Dan and Lorna, to our accommodation at “Maggie´s Place” on Koh Chang, on Christmas Eve 1999. That was our first visit to Thailand. The love affair with this beautiful country, its people and cuisine had begun! In 1999, our son Nick was working in Bangkok and we came to Thailand to share Christmas with him (and celebrate the Millennium). Dan and Lorna ... read more
Noppharat Thara dock
¨Farewell Noppharat Thara
IPassing Koh Nok on the way to Koh Yao Noi

Asia » Thailand » South-West Thailand » Ao Nang February 6th 2020

“The Andaman is Thailand’s dream coast………Flashy resorts are pushing out the bamboo shacks and Thai-Rasta bars and authenticity hides largely in the backwaters now. But if you’re willing to search hard, your postcard dream is still there” Islands and Beaches - Lonely Thailand’s Planet Wednesday 5th February 2020 Yesterday, we returned to such a dream place, Pan Beach on Noppharat Thara Bay, Ao Nang. We rarely re-visit (it is a big world out there) but since we were so close, we just had to find out if this little Paradise remained unspoilt. It has! We booked in for three nights and leave tomorrow. Thailand has confirmed six new cases of Coronavirus, four of whom are Thais. It is not spreading too fast it seems, at the moment, outside of China and we have been impressed with ... read more
Macaque monkey on Pan Beach
Phuket dock
Traditional fishing boat




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