Sun, sea, sand, palm trees, hammocks, cocktails, sex on the beach....
WARNING WARNING WARNING
The authors will accept no responsibility for any bouts of jealous rage brought on by reading the following blog.
You are hereby warned that the below content includes photos of exceptional paradise and stories of an exotic nature. You have been warned!
After the torture of our 27 hour bus trip to Saigon our travelling wasnt finished yet, we still had to fly to Bangkok early in the morning and get ourselves and Ste and Gemma a place to stay. An uneventful flight and taxi later we were at the "Shanti Lodge" in Bangkok about 15 mins away from the madness of Khao San road. As recomended by our American buddys this place is awesome. Its a kinda hippyish place tucked away down an alley with a sweet restaurant downstairs, its hard to explain so just check out their website www.shantilodge.com to see some pictures of the place. Anybody coming to Bangkok - stay here! The other strange thing about being back in Bangkok was we kinda felt at home here. It was the first time in 2 months we'd arrived somewhere familiar, we knew the airport, the taxi costs, the directions even.
Anyways we got a room no problem and booked another one for the next day for Ste and Gemma, who arrived EARLY in the morning we were up and at them by 5am....then they took hours to get through immigration cos Ste looked like a tinker! Lorraine genuinely was close to being sick with the excitement in the airport....honestly...i was gonna get a bucket!
So very very early.
I know we have spent a lot of time explaining how much drink we have been consuming since we left. However with Ste & Gemma arriving we had every intention of making it a memorable night in Bangkok & that we did with copious amounts of alcohol im afraid to sayI know .. We started off the evenings events with drinks on Khao San to allow the newcomers to soak up the crazy & sometimes strange sights. We were kept entertained by a live street dancing competition. We then moved to a bar at the Sawadee Guesthouse where we drank blue Kamikazes until we were most definitely very well inebriated All i can say is from what i can vaguely remember is that Simon & Fon arrived & we went to some dodgey nightclub (Where Ste was constantly getting groped!). By this stage myself & Rob could barely string a sentence together. We had a fantastic night chatting about our travels & hearing all the gossip from home. Myself & Rob actually left Ste & Gemma on the first night to make their own way home (we are good friends ). We somehow made it back to the Shanti Lodge & found a note on our door from our fine american friends Toni & Breezy who had just arrived in Bangkok that evening. In our drunken 3am state myself & Rob ran to their room & woke them up.. It had been two weeks since we had seen them last - you would swear it had been a year! Definitely one of our best nights out. Ste, Gemma, Simon, Fon, Toni & Breezy...... CLASS!!!!
Thats Lorrraines foot in the corner....
It was a heavy heavy day after the night before in Bangkok (just ask Gemma!) and we had still to organise getting to the islands, so being the big spenders we are we took a taxi to the airport and i got to ask for "the next flight outta here"! I'd always wanted to say that!
The four of us arrived in Ko Samui just as the sun was setting in a class airport that seemed more like a hotel then anything else! We got a taxi to one of the quieter beaches on the northern coast 'Maenam' beach and myself and Lorraine sat in a hammock on the beach with a beer each minding the bags while the other 2 went wandering through the dark to find a place for us to stay - typically we ended up staying exactly where we'd been left by the taxi! Shady shack bungalows, not all that shady though! We got a couple of bungalows beside each other right on the beach. Toni and Breezy arrived the day after us and the 6 of us ended up having a great time for the next 2 weeks.
We spent a few days on this beach doing absolutely nothing! Chilling in hammocks and swimming by day, chilling in hammocks and drinking at night. We like hammocks! We built a little fire one night on the beach (well we lit some candles) and the 6 of us sat around it with some tunes relaxing and watching fireworks going off around the island. A quick skinny dip session was called for later in the night too!
Releasing a lantern for good luck.
The weather was really hot and sunny the whole time too so surprisingly enough the lot of us got burnt instead of tanned! After 3/4 days we decided for a change of scene and made our move to Ko Pha-ngan.
Sunset on Maenam beach Ko Samui
It really is soooo easy to get settled in one place just like Maenam Beach.... but we wanted Gemma & Ste to see as much as possible so we decided that our next island to visit would have to be Ko Pha-Ngan. The six of us piled into a pick up truck (myself & gemma in the boot) to the ferry port. Ko Pha-Ngan is approx 1 hour away from Samui by boat and we would of course have to pick the worst day to travel. I dont think the sea could've been much choppier. The boat swayed from side to side the whole way while myself & Rob did everything in our power not to throw up. I still can't believe we made it It was definitely worth the journey.
It really was breathtaking as the boat made its way around the island. All the bungalows nestled in the hillsides around the white sandy beaches. I dont even think our pictures do it justice. We actually stopped at Hat Rin which for those of you who dont know is the location for the infamous full moon party - drawing 15000 plus to the one beach. We could not believe how small the beach actually was. However we had our hearts set on another little beach called 'Ao Thang Nai Pan Yoi' (quite the mouthfull) where we found the most amazing bungalow accomodation.
Bungalow in Dolphin
Nestled in the undergrowth on the edge of a coved beach we followed the sandy pathways through the treeline to the main bar area. The bar is surrounded by wooden pagodas covered with Asian style axe cushions & decorated with ornate artwork & tapestries. Each pagoda was so finely furnished you felt like you were staying in a 5 star resort & yet we were only paying 14euro per couple.
We sat drinking cocktails while peering through the canopy of leaves out to the sea.. I think we were all taken back by the beauty of the dolphin resort.. Our little jungle paradise by the sea We spent 3 days in the dolphin resort basically lounging in the sea playing volleyball & hacky sack for the first time. Myself & Rob also got completely hooked on bat & ball.... 1056 was our record (Rob made me write that - i know its sad!)
View from Dolphin Pagoda
The six of us organised a day trip on a long tail boat to some of other areas of the island & were joined by a Canadian couple who were on their honeymoon. First stop was snorkelling over some coral reefs where the poor Canadian guy actually lost his wedding ring. Good thing we had plenty of beer on board!
"We come in peace! We only want to be your friends earthlings!"
After some serious snorkelling we were ready for our next stop which was Bottle Beach. A faboulous stretch of beach again with lovely bugalows hidden up in the hillsides. We played volleyball & had a couple of beers while Toni (bless her) went investigating about accomodation & booked us all in to a lovely resort on the beach for the next day. Smile Resort
Myself, Lorraine, Toni and Breezy on the day trip around Ko Pha Ngan
We went to another beach where there is supposed to be a lovely waterfall (sorry we cant remember the name of the beach). But it actually turned out to be pretty lame - more like a stream than a waterfall. We took one group photo & were out of there.
We were all chilling out on this beach after the crap waterfall where myself and ste saw loads of kids jumping off the rocks out a bit to sea - "That looks like fun" says i, "lets do it then" says Ste, so we swim out to the rocks and start climbing. It was about this time that we realised the rocks were covered with sharp shells...very very sharp shells. We couldnt quit though, sure all the kids were doing it and we're grown men! I finally managed to pull myself up and tried to give ste a hand, but the chunky fool just pulled me back in slicing the bottom of my foot open. In the end we couldnt even get to the dive point so just swam back sheepishly (and fast cause there was a trail of blood off both of us!).
Ok so our day trip had come to an end however we were all still full of energy so we decided to hire out a couple of Kayaks & paddled our way to the beach in the next cove while singing 'Row row row your boat'... ahhhhh it had to be done It was a nice way to end our day of activities & we got some great photo's on the open water.
We got a longtail boat to our new resort at bottle beach the next day where we spent our remaining time in Ko Pha Ngan. Highlights of which included seeing the locals burn a HUGE hornets nest out of the trees behind our bungalow, it fell down on top of them in a fiery blaze and i dont know how they didnt kill themselves?? They thought it was hilarious anyway! We were on bottle beach for the half moon party but didnt bother going down to Hat Rin and staged our own get together in the bar. Note to all: drinking bucketfuls of whiskey and/or vodka will affect your behaviour! Good times had by all anyway.
Our 3 bungalows at Smile resort on bottle beach.
Ok i knew the day would eventually come when we would have to say our goodbyes to everyone & i was not looking forward to it in the slightest. We all got up early enough & enjoyed our last breakfast together as a group of 6. Toni & Breezy decided to stay on Bottle Beach for their remaining time in Thailand while myself & Rob decided to drop Gem & Ste back to Ko Samui for their flight home. We all said our goodbyes on the beach & took our last group photo.. I just remember watching our american friends strolling back up the beach as myself, Rob, Gem & Ste took the long boat to get the ferry back to Samui. It most definitely brought a tear to my eye. We spent an entire month of our trip with Toni & Breezy & we were sad to say goodbye.
The 'Goodbye' photo.
"memories...like the corners of my mind..."
We got the ferry to Ko Samui where myself & Rob checked ourselves into a nice hotel right beside the sea & the airport. We took Ste to play Football Golf (which he had not shut up about it since he arrived It was great craic & it was a nice way to spend our final hours with the guys before they had to fly home to Ireland. We had our last supper as the sun set behind us & then the tears came.. thick & strong.. The realisation that i was stuck with Rob on my own again had sunk in.. ha ha im just kidding.. But it was definitely the most emotionally draining day of our trip so far (apart from the accident obviously).
The second farewell photo of the day.
We were wrecked so decided to stay an extra night and relax and catch up on the blog (we've done a poor job seeing as we're writing this a month late!) so we started to make tracks for Krabi on the other side of the country the following day.
Another Ko Samui sunset
Lorraine reading on our balcony in Ko Samui
We had to get a ferry to the mainland then a bus to Surat Thani, where we wandered around for awhile back to our usual lost selves and somehow stumbled onto a bus to Krabi. It was a local bus so for a time lorraine shared her seat with an elderly Thai lady sitting on her lap! A 5 hr bus trip later and we were in Krabi town getting our taxi filled up by the most glamourous petrol attendant you'll ever see - a ladyboy obviously! Very very funny. We settled in the town of Ao nang for 2 days which is a really touristy place on the seafront but nice all the same. Our intended destination were the beaches of Railay which is only accessible by boat as the beaches are surrounded on all sides by huge limestone cliffs, so we decided to take in a longtail boat tour of the surronding small islands on the way....
The King and Queen of bat and ball on Ao Nang beach
Our day trip took in 5 of the islands around Ao Nang on the way to Railay and it was just spectacular. Postcard perfect paradise all round. We stopped at the first island and snorkelled in the waters with huge shoals of tiger fish playing around us. It was amazing.
The 1st island with our boat behind
Our driver/captain/pilot/boatsman?? then anchored us over some coral where there were even more intense shoals of fish all around us. The boat man threw a heap of bread on top of us in the water so we bacame an all you can eat buffet for the fish nibbling away at us! I liked it! They touched me in my special place.
We were dropped off for lunch on Chicken island and lounged around waiting for the tide to go out a bit so we could walk out over a sand bar to a connecting island....the whole thing really was amazing and the sun was blazing the whole time as well!
Boats lined up along chicken island.
No comment required!
To be honest we were fairly tired after our busy day island hopping so we were looking forward to being dropped off on Railay Beach. That was until we realised that the tide was out so the boat had to drop us off about 1km away from the land.. We carried our rucksacks across the slimey, rocky beach without a hitch but we were exhausted by the time we reached dry land..We stayed in lovely bungalow accomodation by the beach. Railay is absolutely stunning when the tide is in... The sea comes right up to the buildings & surrounds the trees & anything else that happens to be in its path (you'll get the idea when you see the pictures). Railay is famous for its rock climbing & its easy to see why... The whole beach is surrounded by massive limestone karsts which take over the skyline.
We also made our way to Railay West Beach - which is undoubtabley the nicest beach i have been on. We followed the pathway underneath the cliffs with the gibbon monkeys jumping above our heads to the emerald green water & pure white sandy beach of Railay west. Wow it was soooo impressive.. We set up our Hammock & drank our beer as the waves lapped up around our feet. We were the only people on the beach with a hammock & we definitely got a couple of envious looks from passers by.
We dont need to write anymore....just look at the photos! You were warned remember!
Lorraine in our hammock
So our time in Thailand was coming to an end, we only had 3 weeks left so decided to cram in 3 more countries! 1st stop Singapore with a flight from Phuket......so stay tuned!