A Travellerspoint blog

I Heart Koh Lanta

Buffalo soldier, dreadlock rasta, There was a buffalo soldier in the heart of America Stolen from Africa, brought to America Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival... woy yoy yoy, woy yoy-yoy yoy....

sunny 34 °C

As planned Monday (30th Jan) I took my flight down to krabi. I arrived to a dark, wet, rainy Krabi. I was starting to get used to the rain (yet its not even rainy season.) The place I was staying at for the night was called Good Dreams and it couldn't have been more ironic! I turned up a little hot an sweaty so was heading for the shower straight away. Oh my, I opended the door and screamed the house down. The bathroom was filled with cockroaches. It took 2 hours in the end for me to make it into the shower. I covered one with an ashtray and another with a glass. I was so hot I just had to shower. Think Sinita or Dean Gafney on 'Im A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here'. It was horrible, while I was tackling cockroaches I happened to receive a phone call from my friend Dan, I was telling Dan about the cockroaches and he said i needed to get some spray. I saw that there was already some in the room so I started spraying and continued chatting. I managed to spray so much that all of a sudden I was gasping down the phone and couldn't breath. This meant I had to get out the room and stand in the even worse dark wet corridor with yet more bugs. Dan found it all very funny and said one day I too would find this funny and laugh. Today is not that day!

Morning came and I made a pretty swift exit from the guesthouse. At ramdom I picked Koah Lanta and went to get the boat across to the island. I pre booked a resort hotel. The place was on the opposite scale to Good Dreams. I arrived and jumped straight into the pool as this was the first time the sun had been out in 5days! I decided to sunbathe for the whole of the next day and in true english style I got a little red! I was booked into the hotel for 3nights and it was nice to have some luxury before getting back onto the backpacker path.

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I checked out Friday morning and was heading to the Kling Klong Bay Bungalows / Ting Tong bar. It was about 4 beaches down from the hotel resort I was staying at.
Don who manages Ting Tong showed me to my bungalow, I put my backdown down and headed straight to the bar. It was here over the 7days I stayed that I met a complete mix of characters.

I had only be at the bar for 5 minutes when Lucy and Adam walked in. (they were staying next door in the Full Moon bungalows) Both are from the UK (Essex) and were backpaking for just 6 weeks around Thailand. I got on with Lucy straight away and we found out that we had a lot in common. Mainly our reaons for traveling as we had both left the UK for the same reasons and to an extent wanted the same things from our trips. Adam was Lucy's friend who had simply joined her as a travel companion for her trip. Lucy had an interesting job she worked as a croupier - which is a card dealler in a cassino.

We all had dinner that night at the full moon bungalows restaurant and then drinks and Ting Tong. The bar is owned by John and Nooreen who are from Ireland. The Irish seem to get everywhere!

DSC01893.jpg Adam, Lucy

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The food I've eaten here has been very good, Raffi the owner of the Full Moon restaurant would do BBQs, I have had many types of fish, including barracuda, seabass and shrips, chicken and pork... Im basically eating and drinking my way around Thailand! Im also addicted to Pad Thai!

DSC01892.jpg Pineapple Chicken

The bunglows and bar are very much like a small community, everyone knows your name and it is very, very, very relaxed. It's a reggae bar playing alot of Bob Marley along with everything else you would assosiate with a reggae bar.....

The sights I saw were funny but equally shocking! (inc. Cardiac Arrest) At the end of my 7 days I felt like i was living in a soap opera.

On Friday, Lucy and I decided to take a walk down the beaches, we didnt realsie how far we had walked. We would stop to swim in the sea and lay on the beach and have our 2hour lunch. We left at half 10 and didnt get back till gone 5.
On our walk we met an interesting guy called Gert who lives near Heathrow, London. He was a writer who was on a trip round the world with his 13K loan of which he had no intention of paying back as he wanted to challenge the banks and the court systems.... (suppprisngly he has never had a job) It was his mum I felt sorry for as he lived with her in her house so it would be the banks/baylifts comming after her! He reminded me of Louis Theroux - so I told him this - he said this was by far not the first time he had heard that.

90_DSC01900.jpg Thats Gert in the back.... (still can't flip pics)

Saturday came and again time to relax on the beach and by the pool. In the evening we drank with everyone at Ting Tong bar. (We pretty much drink there every night - minus one night where we ventured out...) I had the funniest times here, some other travelers I met were, Uba (not spelt correct - but sounds like) Chris and Sinead. All three like me were backpacking alone.
Uba is German and exploring Thailand for the first time but has done some traveling on his own before. I plan to meet up with Chris again in Thailand as he is fairly funny and we share the same sense of humour. Chris plays poker online for a living (reminds me of my friend Qouc)... and has nearlly enough saved up for a deposit on a flat. Chris decided it was too cold in England so has come to Thailand for 5months ish. Sinead has studied Law but is not yet practicing it, she was working at the Hard Rock Cafe in London (making good money) and living in Camden. I will meet up with Sinead again too, as we are both going to be in Melborne the same week so have planned to have dinner together.

DSC02033.jpg Uba, Lucy, Chris

We stayed up too late on Saturday, I got to bed at 6:30am only to be up again at 7.15am as Lucy, Adam and I were heading to Phi Phi island for my birthday.

Phi Phi island was beuitiful. We took a long tail boat over to Maya beach where they filmed the film, The Beach.

DSC01966.jpg Maya Beach

DSC01947.jpg Lucy snorkeling

DSC01924.jpg Wendy's mum in front of our long tail boat

DSC01975.jpg Phi Phi Island

We got to swim in the clear green sea and do some snorkeling. I look forward to doing some more snorkeling on a few other islands. I had a lovely time on our trip. We met Wendy and her mother who are from Belgium the trip. Wendy was in Thailand for 2 months teaching English and her Mum was on a 2 week holiday to visit her.
Later that evening I invited them to join us for my birthday dinner as they were staying quite close. We went to a bar called Green Chilli and had dinner on the beach. They brought along their friend Marcus. It turns out I had met Marcus a few days ago as we had had a coffee together.

After dinner we lit Lantern's. I let my lantern go and made my birthday wish, oh yeah!

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DSC01999.jpg Mine is on the right

DSC01993.jpg - Birthday Party

Wednesday I spent the day with Uba,Chris and Lucy. The boys had rented scooters so took Lucy and I on the back of them. We drove round Koh Lanta. The plan had originally been to get a car ferry over to another island to see some hot pools, but we didnt get up in time to do this so explored our island instead. We went down a long strench of road which was not touristy at all. It was beautiful.
We reached the veiwpoint restaurant....had some fruit shakes and took in the veiw.

DSC02057.jpg This picture dosn't capture just how peaceful it was

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90_DSC02060.jpg Pretty

Sadly on Thursday it was time for me to leave as I was heading back up to Bangkok on route to Chang Mai. I took the over night bus with Sinead who was also heading this way as she was leaving Thailand to fly into Bali.

I was sad to leave Koh Lanta and my friends, however as the saying goes too much of a good thing..... and it was time to see more of Thailand.

A few of the sunsets in Koh Lanta

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Posted by SarahBavs 05:32 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

The Real Bangkok

Pepsi, Pepsi, Pepsi, Pepsi, Pepsi, Pepsi, Pepsi !!!!!!!!

semi-overcast 30 °C

It's been a few days since my last post but I will always (try too) start following on from the previous post...

So....
Friday arrived and I checked out of my Hotel. I was feeling in much better spirts, it had helped that I had slept from 1am all the way through to 8:30am without waking in the night.
I went to the bar down the road for my breakfast where I had mixed fruits and yogurt. I would usually go to the kartmen+ladies who sell the best bags of fruit ever! My favourite by far are the mangos. You get a whole mango which has been sliced up into segments for you and it only costs 20 Thai Baht - thats just over 20p.

After breakfast I headed over to the Skytrain to go to On Nut station as this is where Pawes lives. Pawes met me outside the station and walked me to her shop where she had clients waiting as she runs her own nail salon, and I can see why she does so well. Here is a sample of her work: My nails too...

DSC01776.jpg Pawes Shop Belle Nails

BN.jpg Pretty Cool

DSC01788.jpg My Nails - Not So Pretty but Very Cool

The nail shop is open from 3pm to 10pm so I headed back to her place for a power nap! It was quite similar to how a studio flat in London would be.

Friday night arrived and we headed out. Pawes cousin Tan also joined us. The bar we went to was called 'Route 66' It was excellent, so much better than Koah San Road which is full of tourists. This was real Bangkok. I really enjoyed the fashion, in seeing how all the Thai girls dressed for a Friday night out. The music playing was pretty much a mix of RnB although with a lot of LMFAO?!?! - The road of bars reminded me of the Kings Road on Summer evenings, so I was quite content.

DSC01698.jpg Route 66

90_DSC01721.jpg (I can't get the pics to rotate at the moment)

DSC01712.jpg Pretty Ladies

DSC01699.jpg We Drank Vodka + Lime

We drank and danced and then all the bars on this street shut at 2pm. Pawes asked if I was ready for more or if it was sleep time? I said more.... the next place was a club called 'Spicy Club' It was very much a 'meatmarket'. Drunk Foreign men and many Thai girls...... it was interesting to see this... however all of a sudden the music stoped mid tune and the lights came up, apparently the Police had arrived, so we made a swift exit.

DSC01725.jpg The Men's At Club Spicy

Saturday came and this was shopping day! I was shown the Chatuchak weekend maeket. Its was huge apparently there are over 3,000 stalls. I brought some Thai chopsticks, and...... Spoons. Yes I had found some excellent wooden spoons of all shapes and varieties to add to my bottom draw collection. (A few years ago when I was in CapeTown the roadside street markets and shops too sold a mixed array of wooden spoons, and I went a little spoon mad)
Saturday I added to this collection! : )

DSC01746.jpg Spoons!

Tan's aunty has a stall in at the Chatuchak market where she helped out - so we would go back and sit at the stall to rest inbetween shopping.

DSC01735.jpg Tan

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I could have brought much more from the market but I had to remember I had one backback which I have to carry for 5months and that I was not on a 2week holiday with a big suitcase.

The last stop of the day was the big indoor shopping centre MBK. This has 7 floors with oodles of shops and stalls. I asked Pawes if it was the biggest shopping centre in Bangkok?, but she said it wasn't. Even I wondered how much bigger you could get!

In the evening we chilled out and Pawes cooked for me! I was very lucky, as her food was real Thai food. We had picked up the fresh ingrediants on the way home, also in Bangkok they have a big Tesco - its just like ours minus the tubs of Chicken Feet!!!
In the morning Pawes tried to give me Rice for breakfast apparetly Thai's have Rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. To much rice for me so I had eggs.

DSC01761.jpg Thai Dinner

On Sunday night we headed into the district NaNa. We were watching some bands play. They were great. They would sing curret songs in the chart but put a rock edge on them!

DSC01798.jpg The Band

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In the same bar the football was on and my team were playing. Arsenal!
Arseal vs Aston Villa
I know a little about football thease days mainly through living with my old housemate Justin. We would sit and watch many football games together and I would ask Justin losts and lots of questions! To thank him I choose to support Arsenal and not his team. (Liverpool!)

Ayway as it happens my team won! 3-2!

Then Monday arrived and it was time for me to catch my flight south to Krabi.

I really enjoyed my time with Pawes, she is exctrmelly bubbly, funny and wise. We would have iteresting conversations and I took a lot away from my short staywith her. (Pepsi, Pepsi, Pepsi, Pepsi, Pepsi, Pepsi, Pepsi,...)
I will see Pawes again when I leave Asia as I have left quite a few clothes at her place - I had massively over packed and there was no-way I could carry my backpack aroud from place to place. I am a lucky backpacker! I will pick up all my clean clothes in time for Aussie.

Posted by SarahBavs 01:10 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Bangkok

semi-overcast 30 °C

I've Arrived!

First thought's upon arrival were excitment, I left the airport and felt the heat and enjoyed the bright Sun. I got myself to the hotel yet shortly after this I had my night of, "what am I doing" I didn't think I would have it so soon!!!! I did wonder if I would have felt this way if I was staying at the Manderin Oriental, Bangkok mind. I had a middle range hotel but being so close to Koah San Road it was very noisy and combined with little sleep on the flight I did get emotional.

This still followed onto my first day in the city, (also because the city decided to have a Thunder Stom just when I wanted to sunbath at the pool on the hotel roof - it went on to rain for about 3hours.) I just fell LOST and I dont have a face that looks like you are super relaxed with a totally in charge expression which makes you look like you belong there. Instead my face is a transparrent transmitter of every thought! (at pressent fear and worry) Although my friends will say its just a grumpy face - this ammusses me.

When I told friends I was leaving to travel many asked me if I knew anyone in Thailand? The answer was a big fat No! However I made sure I asked everyone I knew if they had contacts in Thailand and also Australia and the USA.
Thailand alone I was given 2 friends of Nix's, Izzy gave me a dozen spotted all over and then my parents family friends have friends who live out here in quite a plush pad.

So with this I took advantage of my contact and seeked out help in the face of Pawes. My friend Nix's had given me her number and said to ring her if I felt like how I did today. Some might say this was cheeting but it's my trip and who wouldn't take advantage of a friendly local to show you around Bangkok and start of my travels.

Pawes came at meet me on Koah San Road. She was so friendly. We had a coffee, walked around the local area were she pointed out which temples were a must visit. We then went back to my hotel room to mark out the map and finally we headed for food and drink. We chatted about the city, London, men, night's out etc. We got on well.
Pawes has kindley offered that when I book out of my hotel on Friday that I should stay with her for the weekend, she lives in Downtown Bangkok. Im going to take up the offer as she will show me around Downtown and then we will go out drinking on Friday with her friends.

Also Pawes said she would cook for me but warned I would want to marry her after she had cooked, I told her she was confident!

Posted by SarahBavs 06:43 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Flying Solo

Bye Bye UK! xxx

I am finally sat in LHR, Terminal 3 waiting to board my flight to Bangkok - thus meaning in just over 10 hours from now I will have officially joined the backpacking club!

Let me re-cap back to the Summer of 2011, it was during one particular weekend in July when I turned to my best friend Will and announced I was feeling a little fed up, which was due to a mixture of reasons. The conclusion I reached that weekend was to finally take my solo trip around the world. (An idea i had been toing with on and off for a couple of years.) This time however it just seemed right, so i did just that, come the Monday I had already worked out my route and after that the rest all fell into place!

In December I worked my last 2 weeks notice packed up my London home and headed back to my parents in Lincs to celebrate Christmas whilst finishing organising my trip.

I brought myself a TFX Nuptse, Lowe Alpine, 75Litre backpack

The weight limit is 23kgs - so plenty of space. Carrying my rucksack for long periods of time will be a challenge. I did my Duke of Edinburgh award when I was 14 and I hated carrying my backpack. (Although I'd like to think Im much fitter and stronger now)

Here I am all loaded up ready to leave for the airport. I do have my rucksack on but this pic is a little blurry!

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The recommended purchases for my trip (other than my backpack) are:
- ITouch -(this was recommended by myself) It's amazing, its does everything the iPhone does apart from make actually voice calls, however you can still make video face calls and text other iPhone users. I will be able to access my emails, Facebook and my music etc...

Hanging Wash Bag I managed to find the perfect ZPM weekender wash bag. Its really pretty so Im hoping it will still in my possession on my return to the UK.

Halifax Credit Card (Recommended my Alan T) This is great as it does free cash withdrawal worldwide!

Body Wallet The idea is you keep your passport in the wallet and it goes over you neck and under your T-shirt. Great idea, remains to be seen if I will actually use it.

Nokia Phone - Back to basics with my phone which I like. Is it Tri Band or Quad Band who knows but its got a really long battery life.

Sleeping Bag Liner I went for the Cotton Liner in Blue. I now wish I had brought the liner in white as I figure if any spiders, roaches etc.. crawl into the liner I would be able to spot them first before I jump in.....

Towel - A giant travel towel, which feels like shammy leather.

Day Rucksack -I found a steal of a buy on Amazon as they really do sell everything and a lower prices

Im really quite pleased with my purchases and Ive packed well. If I had the space I would have liked to pack a few more clothes! But I guess and know I will pick up more along the way.

I am booked into my hotel in Bangkok for the first 3 nights, and my Lonely Planet guides have given me many ideas, I think I will first head South to the islands and in particular Krabi. My friends have been really helpful and in particular Nix's and Alan T have been great of advise.

I'm still not quite sure what/who is waiting for me on the other side and quite what to expect but this is what makes the trip so e-x-c-i-t-i-n-g!

Posted by SarahBavs 10:22 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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