Ko Phi Phi

Did my rock climbing yesterday on Railay, in an area called the Diamond Cave. My guide was a Lao bloke, who basically just lets you get on and climb – “You know how to belay, yes? Good…” and so on. Then an Aussie lad who hangs about the place turned up as well so between us we did a few pitches, I got up most of them OK even though it’s pretty hard in the heat, but failed at the final two hurdles. Luckily the rope didn’t break, even though it looked as it was about to!

Today I made the reasonably early start to get the boats to Ko Phi Phi which is where I am now. The journey was fine with an added bonus of an American girl who was sitting next to me in the long-tail, who asked to borrow my suncream. Being the gentleman I am this of course was not a problem, and she rolled her dress down to her waist and proceeded to rub it in to herself, very slowly.. I am now burnt to a crisp as I am going to keep that sun cream forever now, in fact I think I will put it in a glass cabinet and display it when I get home.

I’d heard lots of horror stories about how much it would cost on this island but it’s not near as bad as I thought, have found a reasonable room in “Tourist Town” which is the sandbar that was basically totally obliterated in the tsunami. I’ve found some gorgeous cabins up in the hills just outside of the town though so will move up there tomorrow.

I’ve randomly bumped into the group of lads I was hanging out with in Railay, so am going to meet them in a little while at some big bar called the Reggae bar which has live thai boxing I believe. I’ve got about 50 fliers in my pocket for free drinks though so should be a cheap night!

No specific plans yet but I’ll probably stay here

Posted from .

Sun, sand, etc…

Still on Railay, getting into the full swing of things now. I had a slight “moment” in the hut, I needed to use the loo but realised there was no toilet paper provided, so I had the choice of getting dressed and nipping out to the shop to get some, but instead I went for the “when in Rome” option. I have since invested in some bog roll…..

Yesterday I hit the beach for a while to get some sun on my milk coloured body which was most welcome, then did some hiking around the island. The high point of that was a mental path up to a viewpoint with a laughable safety rope at the viewpoint itself. It’s tied from side to side to prevent you from walking over the sheer drop of about 1000 feet I would think, the only slight hitch being that the ground has actually gone before you get to the rope. It was a well intended thought I suppose…

The path leads on and you do a few drops of about 25 feet or so each on ropes down limestone faces with really hardly anywhere to put your feet, it really is quite insane and incredibly dangerous! Anyway what you are greeted with in the end is worth every bit of risk and effort, you come to a lagoon, deep in a well inside the cliff. So you can swim out into it and lay on your back and look upwards towards the hole at the top, several hundred feet above you. Marvellous!

I had another late one last night, I hooked up with some lads in adjacent cabins from mine and hit a bar with some dodgy Thai band on doing covers of western music, badly. But it was great fun. Then two dudes came along with long sticks with fire burning at each end, and started juggling them and whatnot. They weren’t much good at it though and kept dropping them (or perhaps they were just as pissed as we were) which wouldn’t have been too bad excepting they were doing it at the area where you step up to the seating area. Tradition has it that you take your shoes off before going up to these areas and leave them at the step, so now we all have somewhat singed flipflops.

This afternoon I’m going climbing, not sure which area yet as it depends on where the tides are as to which areas you can get to. Some of them you apparently begin the pitch from a longtail boat! Climbing in this heat and sunshine is going to be testing, that’s for sure..

Probably tomorrow morning I will head to Ko Phi Phi. There’s a big boat which goes there from Phuket or somewhere, it can’t come here as there’s no pier so normal boats can’t get in, but as I understand it you get a longtail from here and it catches up with the big boat as it passes, and you jump from one to the other in the middle of the ocean. Let’s hope the sea is not too rough, eh?

Posted from .

Where are you at the moment?

Probably most of you are sitting in an office somewhere as I type this. As for me, I’m on a beach. Yep, in an internet cafe on a beach, in Railay to be precise in Krabi province down on the Adaman coast in the south west of the country.

I still haven’t quite worked out if I’m on an island or not, I don’t think I am, this is an “isthmus” I believe. Wait a minute, dictionary.com time…….

…… “a narrow strip of land connecting two larger bodies of land” Not a great help, but I think this is connected to the mainland, but it’s impossible to get here from the mainland by any way other than a long-tailed boat, as there’s some of these huge cliffs in the way.

It was a marathon to get here alright, I took the bus overnight form Bangkok which stopped at Surat Thani for a few minutes of waiting at a travel agency where they served us bad coffee and showed “The Beach” which is highly original. Thankfully the local connecting bus came fairly quickly to connect us to Krabi, where after some confusion with tuk-tuk drivers and some other travellers I eventually ended up at the right place for the boat.

I am so tired now that I was falling asleep on the long-tail, and I had the last seat in front of the engine so this was no mean feat. For those of you that have not been on one, basically these things consist of a very high power car engine which they basically mount on a pivot with a long shaft leading to a propellor. Clearly a great idea had by someone at some stage… Some of them have turbo charges and everything and are extremely LOUD!

Anyway I have found myself a little hut just up above the beach, it’s basic but that is what I wanted, with a deck and a hammock on it and a cold shower and toilet inside. I seem to have chickens living underneath my hut which will be ideal when they wake up at sunrise I don’t doubt…

This “island” is a rock climbing mecca, I just took an awesome photo of some French guy falling off an overhang in twilight, he looked quite cool up until that point so it was perfect timing! I will probably indulge in some of that, maybe tomorrow but not so early as I desperately need to sleep, and adjust to the heat that is going on down here at the moment.

As I am now delirious at this point I will sign off!

Posted from .

Heading south..

My intentions of an early night last night were scuppered as a monsoon shower hit the city, effectively imprisoning me in the bar I was in for a couple of hours extra. It was a big one alright, certainly the heaviest I’ve seen in Thailand with about 8 to 10 inches of water standing on the road I would think. It was quite fun to wade back to the lodge after the rain finally stopped to be fair, even though there’s no guarantees about what it is you’re actually wading through!

Anyway I managed to wake up just about in time to check out of the lodge, tonight I’m heading by bus to Krabi as my plans for the train tonight went tits-up as it’s full tonight. It’s mid-30’s today and very sunny so I took to the river for a cooler breeze and a ferry down to Wat Arun on the other side of the Mae Nam Chao Phraya, I thought that I really should see at least one temple on this trip so might as well be one I’ve not been to before. It’s impressive enough, and I even managed to blag my way in for free by inadvertently posing as a French package tourist, as you do.

I’ve had trouble finding an internet caff today that is working, I think last night’s rain has taken out a lot of the infrastructure as I gather this was hard rain even by normal Thai standards. Some of the TV channels in the lodge were not working this morning either. I got chatting to some locals who were also stuck in the bar last night (blatantly drinking a bottle of Thai whiskey that they’d brought in with them from a shop down the road) and they said this was not a normal occurrence.

Well then I should go and hunt down some dinner before the bus leaves at 6pm – and better get the sun cream out as well I think, I’m toasting here! πŸ™‚

Posted from .

Two nights in Bangkok?

Well I got to bed at 2am last night in the end, reasonably respectable as this kind of place goes! And I only got offered sex four times, not bad considering this is not even one of the sleazy districts really, and at very reasonable rates, because as one informed me, it’s the “low season” at the moment πŸ™‚

In fact technically this is an exageration, they were only offering me massages really. But this was “…including everything, accomodation for the night as well. A happy finish guaranteed…” Maybe they were just very hospitable masseusses?

So apart from the local interest I toured a few bars and hooked up with the odd farang (tourist). The bars are mostly open air and very cosy, but also you can stop by one of the six thousand 7-11s that they have here and invest in a 640ml bottle of Beer Chang for 38 baht (75p) which at 6.4% does the job nicely. Armed with one of them and a punnet of pad thai from a vendor for 25 baht you can sit on a corner and watch the insane world going by in front of you.

I’ve moved hotels today, last night’s palace was lovely but at 2000 baht is not really a goer moving forward, so now I have a much more basic but still very comfortable place down the road for 580. This one also has BBC World so is quite useful for checking up on uprisings and ‘flu pandemics and other such nasties.. Today I’ve taken things fairly easy, just chilling out and reacclimatising to the temperature and the jet lag really, trested myself to a massage earlier (a genuine one this time without extras) which has made me a feel a whole lot better, especially what with the plane journey and so on. It’s amazing how quickly I’ve settled back into the groove, so to speak. Earlier, when I was doing some planning for the rest of this trip, I had to ask someone what day it was – I’d only been on the ground around 24 hours and had forrogtten already!

I’ve made a vague plan of action, namely to catch an overnight train tomorrow night down to Trang which is near the Andaman coast and getting down towards the Malaysian border, but still before the danger zone from what’s going on down there with the rebels, or so they tell me. Then I’ll head up the coast gradually from there, probably taking in place like Ko Phi Phi, Krabi and perhps Khoa Lak before ending up in Phuket where I can then fly back to Bangkok and go straight out again without needing to come back into the city.

So now it’s time to finalise that, so with no further ado, I hope you’re all enjoying your Monday mornings and I’m signing off to go to a bar!

Posted from .

One night in Bangkok!

So I am here, in Banglampu just off the Kho San Road. No major incidents on the way down, but it was pouring with rain when we landed, thankfully it had abated by the time I got the bus to the city centre!

I headed for China Town with the intention of spending a night or two there as it’s an area that I don’t know, and certainly it’s very interesting especially in terms of street vendors and so on, but not a lot else going on and not much in the way of places to stay, so I turned and headed up here and have spent a fortune onΒ a hotel for tonight, but it’s nice and I’m tired so what the hell.

I’d forgotten quite how insane things are around here, it is totally buzzing at 10pm with many places open 24 hours anyway. It’s about 30C at the moment I’d say and this internet caff is open to the street so I sit here in my T shirt, 3/4s and flipflops, sipping an ice cold Chang as I type. What I like best is that you can wander into any bar dressed like this and the bouncers will welcome you, at the same time as they turn away well dressed and beautiful Thai girls as there’s “too many girls inside at the moment…..” You gotta luv it πŸ™‚

Right, there’s a vendor around the corner selling spit roast half chickens that’s caught my eye, then I will hang about a little while and get an early night I think (which is to say around 1am I expect)Β – it’s bound to be the only one I will get for the entire holiday I expect!

Posted from .

Outward Travel

Just the long haul out to Bangkok from Edi.

Major plans include having a large steak Cornish pasty in Edi airport, then taking in Terminal 5 at Heathrow as I’ve not been there before.

Just need to pack, making sure that I leave all red tops at home, then think about where to head for in Bangkok for my first night!

Posted from .