Time for Thailand!

Trip Start Nov 06, 2012
Trip End Feb 01, 2013

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Now in Krabi, Thailand. Finished up in Singapore with a trip to Sentosa Island to see Fort Siloso (not as interesting as we thought it would be and oddly situated, with the Island artificially landscaped and turned into a huge amusement park!). Enjoyed checking out the food courts in Vivo City, a large shopping mall - one of a plethora of shopping malls in this small city state. We are not sure what came first....the shops or the local passion for shopping......

Spent more time checking out the local cuisine in Little India and Kampong Glam......tasty stuff....and the atmosphere all over the city electric with the Diwali celebrations. Went to the much heralded Night Safari, where you can get up close and personal with lots of incredible animals in an open concept setting (i.e. no cages). LOVED the Greater Mouse Deer, Malayan Tiger and Binturongs. The hyenas are less loveable but it was incredible (and scary!) to be able to get that close to them. Really impressed.

When we left Singapore, we were still battling to get rid of the colds we caught before leaving England. All the air con and humidity is not helping. What was rather amusing was the taxi driver giving us bottles of water and throat sweets - no doubt because he was annoyed with us coughing all over the back of his head - but a kind gesture and still can't believe he keeps such supplies!
So on to Thailand and first stop was Phuket airport, which we rapidly left to head into town and catch a ferry to our beach stop, the island of Ko Phi Phi Don. The ferry dropped us off at Ton Sai, from where we took a long tail boat through stunning turquoise waters to our home for the next three days. It's our first time in Thailand and our first trip in a longtail boat and we were blown away by the experience. We spent three nights in a bamboo hut, which afforded little privacy of conversation but stunning sunrises from our balcony over the sea. With all the wildlife and sea around, the hut had quite an exotic soundtrack!

At 6pm on our first evening on Ko Phi Phi, when the electricity came on for the night, we were keen to recharge all of our gadgets. Andrew was slightly concerned about the quality of the wiring (no doubt due to the bright flashes when plugging something in!) and, after having spent some time in the hammock thinking about the situation, announced that we should go "off the grid" until we got to Krabi. Think that's as close to being James Bond/ Jason Bourne as he is going to get :-)) Needless to say, V was crying with laughter!

Our location on Ko Phi Phi was relatively isolated and so the only food option was the "resort" "restaurant"..........a few tables and chairs scattered about on the beach - a low-key and simple affair in a stunning setting. The food from the restaurant was delicious, although V could not get the advertised fresh orange juice for love nor money and the concept of eating together clearly did not occur to the proprietors.....you ordered your food and, when it was ready, it was brought to the table. V should have cottoned on sooner that A's food usually turned up first and changed her menu choices. It was often quite a wait......

We did the short walk in the searing heat to the Island lookout. Unaware the locals had blocked off access to the lookout so you had to pay to get up there, we had to blag to get the "guard" to let us through for free as water, insect repellent and suncream did not quite translate to the Thai Baht required. V was relieved to make it to the look out in one piece as the walk from our hut was through fairly dense forest and so clearly snakes, spiders, monkeys etc etc were out to get her! May have to re-think hiking in Thailand's other national parks.....

Sad to leave Tohko. Leaving the resort, we know the answer to the question, "how many people with their luggage can you get on a longtail boat?". It appears to be 25 people (some rather large). The German family next to us were having the same conversation about whether or not this was safe.....Luckily we survived - on the ferry to Krabi we both confessed to having our survival strategies planned for what we do if the boat went under. In a typically less than chivalrous manner, A's included standing on V to get out of the boat. V however, being the much stronger swimmer, had catered for saving the laptop and her husband (in that order!).

After having survived Cheung King Mansions in HK, this boat ride was a great way to start A's birthday!!  We know that it is also Rob and Fran's birthday on the same day - belated Happy Birthday guys - that said, A was around before you both (quite a long time before you both) and so would like to reiterate that it is therefore HIS special day (A has received a very generous birthday gift offer from Fran is now looking forward to returning home via Wimbledon to collect!).

Had two wonderful days in Krabi. We weren't sure what to expect as most people say it's a good base for exploring the area but not much more than that. First impressions weren't great, but once you scratch the surface, this place has a lot to offer. The people and (yet, again!) the food are fantastic. The owners of the guesthouse we found have been superb and arranged trips for us to go kayaking/ canoeing (never can tell the difference - sorry Kat!!) around the limestone cliffs and mangroves near Ao Thalane. What a superb day. Stunning scenery and certainly the best kayaking experience we have ever had. Previous kayaking trips have resulted in grounds for divorce (V is an ex-rower and A has no sense of how to control the boat despite his best efforts) and so pleased to report that we finished the trip as friends! We've also spent a day cruising around some of the islands in the area - sad to say that, while the setting is incredible, there is just so much litter on the otherwise pristine beaches and in the sea. One highlight (and litter free!) was Phranang beach - a small sandy beach on the mainland, one bay along from Railay beach. There was just something special about it. Photos and words just can't do this area justice. 

Last night in Krabi tonight - while here, we have discovered a fantastic seafood place on the river. This evening we tucked in to grilled white snapper and grilled blue crab in curry powder. We now have lots of photos of really, really nice food. 

Bangkok tomorrow. Can't wait. Bring on the ladyboys!!

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