We started the Thailand leg of our journey on the beautiful and tiny island of Koh Lipe. Very touristy but also very chilled out. A place where you are served your dinner by lady boys and every few seconds there is a flaming lantern heading off into the sky (or into a boat if it all goes wrong). There wasn´t a great amount to do there other than relax, sunbathe and swim (we did lots of all three). We had our first taste of Thailands budget beach accomodation which was much better than expected although it did take me a moment to figure out how to flush the toilet.
From Koh Lipe we caught the boat to Koh Lanta which had a very different feel to it. Much busier and there were actual roads with cars on! We stayed in an amazing guesthouse which was more like a four star hotel run by a lovely Chinese woman. It was a bit in the middle of nowhere however, so we hired a moped to get about which was excellent fun once I´d got over the fear and David got the hang of driving it. We whizzed about visiting lots of beaches, the old town and a sea gypsy village.
Then it was another speedboat ride to Koh Phi Phi Don which was also very busy and more developed than we thought it was going to be. Luckily we had decided to stay away from the main tourist area at a resort which was all by itself on the other side of the island. There was fab snorkelling off the beach which we enjoyed until a plague of dead jelly fish decided to ruin it!
This was our second experience of life in the budget beach hut, which was great apart from the ginormous lizard who called our bathroom it´s home (see pictures). Not so nice to have Godzilla staring at you whilst you´re having a shower but he did eat lots of bugs so it wasn´t all bad.
We went to visit Koh Phi Phi Lei where some of the film The Beach was shot. So stunning but so busy. The place is pretty much ruined by the shear amount of boats and people that visit it every day. But we were there too so you can´t really complain.
Next stop was Krabi on the mainland, we only stayed one night but it was nice to get away from all the tourists for a bit and our guesthouse had a satellite TV channel called “Reality Zone” which was awesome.
We decided that we weren´t going to visit the islands on the eastern side of Thailand (Koh Tao, Kao Pha-Ngan etc.) because we wanted more time in the north of the country. So we caught the night bus to Bangkok which was hell. I never, ever want to catch another night bus. We arrived in Bangkok at 5.00am and then had to wait for 7 hours (hot, tired and smelly), before we could check in to our room. It was a very nice hostel though with really friendly and helpful staff.
We were pleasantly suprised by Bangkok having heard lots of negative reports on how hectic and dirty it was. I though that it was actually very clean and not as busy as some other places we have been. However we did stay outside of the major tourist area and well away from Khao San road which is meant to be really bad. I did almost get bitten by a crazy dog though which I blame entirely on David as he stroked it first! I have learnt my lesson.
We went shopping at several flash shopping centres and David actually brought an item of clothing (a replacement for his lucky shirt which finally wore out) and we visited the Grand Palace which was impressive, much bling!
Whilst out to dinner we also encountered our first sex tourist (that we know of anyway). It was quite sad to see this middle-aged man and beautiful Thai girl sitting eating dinner and not exchanging a single word the entire time. There was also a man on the table opposite who kept hawking up and spitting into his napkin. How can that be socially acceptable? Needless to say it put us off our noodles! Then it was back to the hostel for our second encounter with a sex tourist who was also quite mental and kept telling me how shit librarians were and then going on about disco girls (prostitutes) and his “lady friend” (prostitute) who he was going to visit in Chang Mai.
Well that´s about it. We have had a change of plans and are now in Kathmandu for a few weeks as it turned out that the easiest way to get to Nepal on our travels was from Bangkok. It is so nice to be wearing a jumper again, and we even saw Mount Everest from the plane – we think!
Lots of love Sian (and David) xxx