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dannygoesdiving This is a blog & photo journal of the trips that I (Danny) and Jo (wifey) have taken over the past few years.

Chilling in Thailand

THAILAND | Monday, 12 December 2005 | Views [919]

Sunset in Bangkok

Sunset in Bangkok

It was the 8th December 2005, as i boarded the flight to Thailand, the flight was going to be 12 hours, the longest I had taken.  I was flying with 'Eva' airlines and was pleasantly suprised by the legroom, varity of films etc and the food.  All in all time passed quickly. Bangkok airport was pretty successful and I shared a cab to the KhaoSan Road.  I had seen it from the film 'The Beach', but it had not prepared me for the mass of neon lights, stalls, shops, hawkers, travel agents and masses of tourists. It is a 'backpackers ghetto' and seems to be the base for exploring the rest of Thailand and Asia.  I booked a room for the night, booked a coach ticket to get me to Koh Tao the following day (where I was meeting up with Jo) and ate a traditional Thai meal of burger & chips ! Knackered after the flight etc I crashed, I awoke a few hours later as jetlag started to confuse my body and watched TV until it was 6am and time to catch the coach.  It was pretty empty on the coach so I had 2 seats to myself and I slept for most of the 5 hours. Once offloaded, I waited about an hour for the catamarang that was to take me the 1 and a half hour journey across to the island of Koh Tao.  It was a very rough crossing, I had to put my ipod on to block out the sound of people vomiting and close my eyes so that I could not see the poor crew running around with both empty and full sickbags !  We arrived at a rickerty jetty and thankfully Jo was there waiting for me.

We basically spent the next month chilling and unwinding in Koh Tao, not leaving until 3rd January 2006. Koh Tao is quite a chilled out island, developed along a 3kmish shoreline, whilst the rest of the island is pretty much jungle.  The place is built around diving, with about 50 dive centres in this small area, diving was not in our plans though after a season of working, our plans were much less energetic. We had a bungalow under some trees, with a balcony overlooking the sea, and a spit from the beach. I even got used to the cold water only shower during our stay ! We idled the days away, reading, swimming, eating (Massaman curry Mmmmmmmmmm) and watching pirated films in the bars - we saw Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia and Kingkong the day after there release in the cinema !  We hired a moped for a few days to have a look around, took freediving courses (I hated it, Jo loved it) and took up bouldering (low level climbing without ropes).  The days just seemed to pass by, Christmas Day was spent on the beach, with a nice meal and a bottle of red wine in the evening, whilst New Years Eve was spent at one big beach party, with buckets of vodka, burning torches, juggling shows, music and much merriment - I cannot remember a more enjoyable New Year for a long time. However, finally we decided we could not hide out here forever, and decided to head back to Bangkok, with a view to sorting out a visa and ticket to Cambodia. We booked tickets back to Bangkok, choosing to take an overnight sleeper train, rather than take the coach, caught the catamarang and waved goodbye to the island.

The train journey was uneventful, the beds were comfortable and sleep was easy coming. We arrived in Bangkok about 10am, caught a bus to the KhoaSan road were we had already booked a room for the next few days.  We had had an email from Glen, one of the instructors I had worked with in Gozo, who had arrived in Bangkok a couple of days earlier, and had arranged to meet him.  The day turned into a drinking session and we dragged ourselves to bed in the earlier hours.  The next morning, with Glen failing to emerge, we set out exploring, we wandered down the streets, eventually finding ourselves at a little visited Wat; Wat Intharawihan, which has an impressive 32m high Buddha.  Heading back for food we also met up with a rough looking Glen and the 3 of us took a tuk tuk to the chao praya river (main river running through Bangkok) and jumped onto the river ferry, this travels several km, passing alot of Bangkoks attractions, and cost only a few bhat.  We saw the sun set whilst on the ferry, before heading back to get changed and head for Pat Pong, where we wandered around the markets, watched the shows and enjoyed watching thai boxing. The next day we went to Wat Arun (temple of dawn), Wat Po (temple of the reclining buddha) and travelled around the canals (klongs) in a long tail boat.  The latter gave us a chance to see a completely different side to Bangkok, with day-to-day life and shanty towns backing onto the canals. Glen headed down to Phuket and now with visas to Cambodia proccessed, we were ready to head to Cambodia.

Two months later, following travels through Cambodia and Vietnam, saw us back in Bangkok. Once booked in and after 2 months of noodles, I am afraid we headed straight to McDonalds for burger & chips. We were to spend a couple of days in Bangkok before heading down to Phuket, so basically chilled and shopped, choosing to do only one excursion to Wat Saket (temple of the golden mount), which is on a hill and provides impressive views of Bangkok. 

We had had enough of coaches by now, so flew to Phuket and spent a night there before boarding the 'Sampai Jumpa', an Indonesian sailboat, for a 10 day diving liveaboard in the Similan islands and Surin.  This was to be our relaxing 10 days, prior to Jo returning to the UK.

The liveaboard was basic, however, there were only 9 on the boat,we had a room to ourselves and we got used to shared bathrooms and coldwater showers.  It was great travelling on the boat, especially when there was a breeze and the sails could go up. We dived Koh Phi Phi, Koh Bida Nai & Koh Ha Yai, Hin Muang, Hin Daeng, Ko Racha Noi & Yai, before reaching the Similan islands & Surin.  We did about 4 dives per day, the diving was a combination of Gozo topography, with egypt hardcorals.  There was plenty of marine life, sadley we saw no manta rays or whalesharks, however, we saw leopoard sharks, sea snakes, ornate ghost pipefish, and zebra morays, amongst others - all of these were 'firsts' for us both.  The trip ended all too soon, we spent a night in Phuket before Jo headed back to Bangkok, to then fly back to the UK. 

I caught a boat to Krabi where I met up and stayed with Al, an old friend from the UK, who worked here as a diving instructor.  I chilled for a few days, dived the Kingcruiser wreck, before parting company and catching a boat to Koh Lanta (passing Koh Phi Phi on the way).  I spent a week lazing on the island, a couple of days diving, but mainly laying on the beach. Finally, a boat to Phuket, a plane to Bangkok and then a flight back to Heathrow, saw the 4 months of travelling come to an end.

Back in the UK for a couple of weeks, then back to Gozo for a season as a diving instructor. 

Tags: Relaxation


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