Terrific Temples to Beautiful Beaches!
Trip Start Sep 28, 2009
32Trip End Aug 27, 2010
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Next we headed to Bangkok and the hectic sprawling metropolis of Thailand's capital city. Arriving just in time for Saturdays huge Chatuchok market was music to Nicola's ears, the 15,000 stalls were a sight to behold while arriving on our sky train. Not to be fazed by shopping on such a huge magnitude, Nicola proceeded to drag me round all 15,000 stalls in her quest to spend
One thing not to miss in Bangkok is the iconic sight of Wat Pho and it's ginormous 'Reclining Buddha'. At 46m long and 15m high, the gold leaf finished Buddha is something to savour. Our main source of eating in Bangkok, much like the rest of Thailand was from street stalls. From a fresh Pad Thai (fried noodles, eggs, bean sprouts and shredded veg) to our favourite Thai Red Curry, all can be consumed cheaply (15 Baht or 30p for a Thai Red Curry & Rice) and it tastes outstanding. We really can't say enough good things about the food in Thailand, I'm getting hungry now thinking about it!
After a brief five day Cambodia trip we returned to Thailand in search of some much needed (It's hard work this travelling lark, honest......!) beach action on the islands of the Southern Gulf Coast. Our first Island was Koh Tao, the smallest and least known of the three islands we visited. The four days were spent relaxing on a rather secluded section of beach, taking breaks from the stupid temperatures by snorkeling over the beautiful coral near to the shore. The crystal clear aqua marine waters make the coral and it's feeding fish easy and compulsive viewing
Our next island was the party island of Koh Phangnan, the setting for the infamous full moon parties. On this occasion our timing counted against us and unfortunately we missed the full moon by one week. Our time in Koh Phangnan was spent either relaxing or partying on the beach with little else to note.
The third and final island hop on the Southern Gulf Coast took us to Koh Samui, the biggest and most popular island of the three. With it's chain restaurants and resort approach, you can easily appreciate why this is an easy choice for people on a two week vacation. On our second day we were approached by a couple of guys who told us they were promoting a flash new hotel on the island. We were both asked to scratch off a couple of scratch cards and surprise surprise we won one of the five 'star prizes', the acting these two cow boys put on was awesome, we had to stop ourselves from laughing at them both. We obviously thanked them for wasting our time and sent them on their way to try their luck elsewhere. I'm pretty sure this kind of thing was happening on the Costa Del Sol 15-20 years ago (remember Dad? ha!).
On a rather unpleasant note our 7am mini bus journey to the boat pier was a disastrous one where we had some possessions stolen from my small day bag
After putting our misery behind us we headed to Railey Bay which is on the Andaman Coast of Thailand. Although actually part of the mainland, Railey Bay can only be accessed by boat due to it's surrounding hills and huge cliffs. Railey is gorgeous, you can easily appreciate why it makes a great honeymoon destination for so many people. During our 3 day stay we headed up to a stunning view point, this involved a rather hot and sweaty climb, the views were a great reward for our efforts. From the view point we then descended to nearby lagoon which sits in the centre of the peninsulas tip, to get there we had to scale down three rather scary drops which Nicola devoured with ease. Again our toil in the heat was rewarded with a fantastic setting for a cool down swim. Days in the sun on the beach and evenings eating great food and drinking cold Chang, hard life!
A 1.5 hour boat ride took us to the highly anticipated island of Koh Phi Phi Don. Another stunning location to spend a few days on the beach. The island was very busy with tourists and definitely pulled a visibly younger crowd. The temperature reached it's highest on our trip to date touching 37oC, we baked on the beach with zero wind for respite, far far too hot. Koh Phi Phi Don is largely famous because of it's neighbouring island Koh Phi Phi Leh, the home of Maya Bay which was the setting for the movie 'The Beach'
Next we headed to Phuket, we were thinking of skipping our visit however decided to check it our for ourselves. Phuket is definitely the Benidorm of Thailand (something we were told before going), a concrete jungle surrounding a huge stretch of sand. Parasols and sun loungers stretch into the distance, giving little room or privacy between. Not exactly our kind of place and we wouldn't recommend it, unless you happen to like Benidorm?!
The final destination in our fantastic Thailand journey was the little known Koh Bulone Leh, a tiny island in the deep South of Thailand
We've had the most amazing time in Thailand, the food, the scenery and the Thai people have made this a hugely enjoyable 5.5 weeks for us both. Thailand caters for all types of tourists, from the spiritual wanting to meditate in one of the many Wat's to the seedy sex tourists frequenting the girlie bars of Phuket and everything in between. Our advice, if you haven't been you're missing out!
Till next time.
Darryl and Nicola x