A Travellerspoint blog

Life's a Beach

Phuket to Ko Tao

sunny

From an island paradise of Phi Phi we then moved on to the island of Phuket, the biggest island in Thailand. We decided to opt for a hostel with a good review and a bit lively, right in the centre of the goings on, Patong beach. Way more touristy and way more busy than phi phi. We checked out the main beach and Bangla road. Lots of bar's/clubs full of young ladies just standing around, oh and some Australians in vests watching rugby league. It was only 5ish so probably just about to get started! The following day we decided to escape and so in search of the THE James Bond island. Early start and carted off to the other side of island, and delivered sticker's and all to a biggish river Boat!!? Other stops included canoeing through/under and around limestone islands and also got stuck a bit in a mini cave. The main attraction and our last stop of the day (Due to rain) was James bond Island! I couldn't say we were disappointed but i'm pretty sure it looked bigger, when the big mirror comes out the top and reflects the light. The food on the boat on the other hand was amazing, fish, rice, chicken, salad, dips, and some sort of chilli kebab with fruit for pudding. We got back early due to the weather so ended up going out for food and finally back in the hostel for drinks. Games were included - downing larger mixed with mainly paprika and tequila playing fives till the early morning. Sian sneaked off & was later found sprawled across the bed!

James Bond Island

James Bond Island

Tactically missed the rain in the morning in bed, and then escaped the town by tuk tuk to a lovely quiet beach on the west coast and relaxed! The next evening/morning was spent experiencing night life the extreme Thailand way, including a Japanese all you can eat buffet for dinner, definitely interesting!
I now also have a Bet with a South African living in Melbourn, Will, that of course Wales WILL beat South Africa in the World Cup! (That's a guaranteed couple of pints coming my way)..... But with a little help of red bull and some jager bombs we were able to see 7am ready for our mini bus out to Koh Samui, the East cost!

Lucky enough for me... I was able to sleep through most of the long mini bus + bus journey but unfortunately Sian didn't have the same luck (some laughing eastern European right next to here) .
But following the gentle boat journey we arrive in Ko Samui and eventually, the resort on Hat Bo Phut beach. Really nice beach hut with a beach side pool and bar all located within a “tropical garden”. Not a massive amount to see on the island so the next 3 days where spent on the beach, in the pool or visiting Chaweng beach and the fisherman's village down the road/beach where the night market presented us with mass of street food, and a nice beach side restaurant where we had a humongous seafood platter on the final night.

Resort in KO samui

Resort in KO samui

Three nights later, we caught a boat for the short journey to Ko Pan-ngan and the location of the infamous full moon parties, Hat Rin Beach! Unfortunately we missed the full moon party by about 4 days so the place was a bit of a ghost town, so after a quick stop for lunch we decided to hop on long boat and head up the east coast to a set 3 isolated cut off beaches Hat Yuan, Hat Thian and Hat Wai Nam! Our digs was a hut on stilts with a beach view in the Barcelona resort, Hat Yuan! It was a resort in the loosest sense, but was a nice friendly family business with a restaurant that had amazing Squid Pad Thai (A classic veg noodle nutty stir fry) which I must of eaten every day we where there. The three beaches linked by small hilly tracks had their individual community feeling to them.

Hat Yan from bar on cliff

Hat Yan from bar on cliff

The most southern Hat Yuan had a more resorty feeling with huts and bars strewn across beach and rocky outreaches with rickety weathered timber pathways running along connecting each building (a bit pirates of the Caribbean, except without pirates and obviously not in the Caribbean).

Hat Yaun

Hat Yaun

The second middle beach Hat Thian was a bit smaller and rocker with a hippy alternative feeling with activities like yoga and meditation with aged timber cabins and huts, (where apparently the beach the book was written) and it also has a pontoon in the bay to swim out too.

beach

beach

Hat Wai Not

Hat Wai Not

The final smaller northern beach Hat Wai Nam had a real sanctuary feeling, one bar/resort and an open yoga floor constructed into the cliff with a view of the amazing beach, which we where lucky enough to have all by our selves :o) . We ended up staying here for four night by the end, and at night you could see one of the coolest things, luminescent Bacteria in the sea (again apparently in the beach film) i.e. if you wondered out into the water you could see glowing streaks in the movement of the water, not just one or two either, like clouds we didn’t really believe it at first but was amazing!

Hesitantly we continued on to the final Island in the south east,Koh Tao! Not a big island but it is massive on diving, only one other place in the world hands out more diving qualifications, but unfortunately as were on a budget we decided to stay on top of the water and adventure out on another snorkelling trip. And the trip didn't disappoint, visibility under water must have been 10 -15m easy with colourful coral, pink nemo fish, small barracuda and other weird and wonderful fishy creatures. Again couldn’t keep Sian's head out of the water (apparently we are now buying wet suites and snorkelling gear when we get back, look out welsh nemo fish). Unfortunately we still haven’t seen any sharks (small one's, harmless apparently) even though there always seems to be a shark point or shark bay on the tour map, and the guide insisted they are always normally there. (I'll send Sian in a snorkel out in Australia with the camera, I think they've got big ones there)
Again the beaches here are picture perfect and there was even a small island with a triple beach, and with the crystal clear water its just lovely!

Ko Tao

Ko Tao

Triple beach

Triple beach

But next inland and off to the bustling city of Bangkok, so the end of the beaches, for now! About time really, I'm starting to feel a bit fried but the seafood will definitely be missed!

Posted by Meurig ac Sian 10:45 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

In Search of a Beach

First stop the in north west Malaysia was Georgetown on Penang Island. We caught a bus from Cameron highlands which took ages due to the really windy roads & they love overtaking on corners!! We arrived at Butterworth ferry port and the driver ordered us to get off but our ticket was for Penang! He got a bit irate so off we trotted and jumped on the ferry.

Georgetown was an old British base with nice colonial buildings, & fort Cornwalis a British fort then japs took over in 2nd world war. Meurig decided he wanted to go to the botanical gardens and funnily enough there was a bus which went there. What we didn't realise was it was an hours bus ride and more going past every street and being caught in all the traffic! Gardens were cool with monkeys roaming around and a nice spot by the river to chill out. The ride home wasn't simple, we had to wait for ages for return bus back to town, yey. On the good side we went to a really good hawker food place, with loads of food stalls, massive portions of crispy duck & tasty seafood. We tried all sorts & unfortunately for Meurig he stumbled across his disgusting dish again!!!

After three days in Penang we caught the ferry to Langkawi, on which I had to stay on top deck to avoid being sea sick. By now I am a seasoned sailor with no sickness as we've island hopped. We stayed in Pantai Chenag beach, yey 1st beachy place in about 3 weeks. The bungalows were called Kedawang beach bungalows & there was only 1 other couple staying as its low season, so not the liveliest place but we got a room upgrade for free. Also we got invited to the owners bbq which was nice, really good fish, salad & rice. Only thing missing though was any sort of eating equipment. So we sat there a bit confused & waited until somebody else started. The it all made sense we were meant to use our hands, it felt a bit weird eating rice with your and but do as the locals do!

sian may 11 062

sian may 11 062

The beach bar right next door which was really handy & cool views of the sunset. We wanted to explore the island so we hired motorbike. It was more of a scooter with top speed 20mph and after about 5 mins up the road it backfired & ran out of petrol, it was pretty funny really. Luckily though a local guy stopped to help, he went to fill a bottle with petrol and as some kind of security to show he was coming back left us with his pots & pans, bit random but fair play to him! So scooter all filled up we got to the island top attraction the cable car to the top of mountain & the sky bridge!!! It was pretty high and seamed never ending but worth it for the views. To calm the nerves we found a lush waterfall & went for a dip. Not sure if Meurig thought he was 'Mick' crocodile dundee but he scaled some of the rocks & in attempting to come back down forgot the rocks may be slippy, fell down the rocks & plunged into water! Should've been on you've been framed.

sian may 11 041

sian may 11 041

sian may 11 044

sian may 11 044

Suddenly it was time to leave Malaysia and head for more beach in Thailand. So Krabi was our destination and after an 11 hour journey combining taxi, ferry, tuk tuk, bright pink double decker bus & tuk tuk we arrived in Ao Nang. Next challenge was to find our hostel which actually turned out to be a 4* resort, wohoo a bit of luxury. Jumped straight into pool to cool off, this is the life! The room was good, balcony view was a bit dodgy but only paid £22 per night! We explored Ao Nang beach, escaped a few rain showers by popping into internet cafes & bars for shelter but stayed in the pool during some of them. Krabi's coast line has many bays & beaches accessible only via boat so we took a longtail boat to Railey beach. A pretty relaxed place filled with backpackers & rock climbers. One of the beaches was a mangrove beach & had a some bars so we had a few cocktails during happy hour – which seams to last most of the day! One of the remote beaches Ton Sai looked really nice & sorry we didn't stay there for a couple of days, but got to keep on moving!!

sian may 11 080

sian may 11 080

Next stop was Koh phi phi. Tiny island with 2 lush beaches, no roads and enough night life without being too touristy, I could have easily stayed here for ages. Tonsai bay beach was great for admiring the sunset & to have food. The locals put on a fire show which was impressive and the best performers were the young kids. We tried our first thai bucket with samasong & red bull, a bit of a concoction but did the job, topped with bottles of chang (apparently 6% but could be anything) I was not feeling too hot the next day. So took a while to get going for the full day's snorkelling & sightseeing boat trip! But it was well worth while, saw loads of finding nemo fish and used my new waterproof camera to the full. After the boat breaking down for a bit in the middle of the sea, we got to mya bay where The Beach was filmed, gorgeous place, no wonder they picked there. Next day we decided to be a bit active in the heat and climbed up to the view point but we definitely took the long way round! We had been warned that the climb was pretty hard but it didn't help that we probably walked a mile extra :-) The view was worth it and the guy who lived at the top said he watched the tsunami roll in & leave a trail of debris. On a lighter note after all that hard work we made it back down to have drinks on the west bay in one of the many bungalow bars with a hammock.

Posted by Meurig ac Sian 06:43 Archived in Malaysia Comments (1)

Kuala Lumpur and up to the Cameron Highlands

From the heat to the highlands

And here we are again... (A bit behind)

We were last in Malacca i believe, and know i find my self in Georgetown Penang in and old refurbished town house hostel with a lovely internal court yard. But in between.....

We actually stayed and extra night in Malacca, just as there was a good group of us staying (nothing to do with the bottles of lychee vodka the night before) and we decided to go for a Thai/Chinese massage down town, not sure what we was expecting but what happened was a 5ft women trying to click most of the bones in my body! It was mostly enjoyable and boarder line painful but she was having a hard time of it, not surprising as I probably weighed at least twice as much as her, she ended up straddling me from behind and attempted to twist me to click my back, that was hilarious, we nearly ended up on the floor. We then met up with Howard and a group from the hostel at a local hawker market (food pavilion) and I tried this plate of food which looked really nice in the picture and was described to me as a sweet and sour like dish, but when it turned up it looked exactly as the picture but was actually a cold, fruity, fishy, nutty dish, not sure might have been better hot, but that was the first plate of food I haven’t completed!!! Sian was looking smug with her chicken curry noddle soup!

Next we continued our journey with a bus ride to Kuala Lumpur (with a lovely bruised & battered back) to find the city of massive shopping malls and endless sky scrapers. Busy city, people, cars,motor bikes, shopping malls and construction every where. The malls especially the pavilion plaza is massive, could eat St Davids and Trafford centre for breakfast... What a pity Sian's on a budget...!!! One of the plaza's even had a theme park inside with a roller coaster, corkscrews, loops the lot!!! You can hear it thunder through the place!

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We did a lot of the site's, preserved old regional chief's house, tallest flag poll in the world (probably), nice craft market, even got up early (8am) and attempted to get a ticket and go up the Petronas towers (the highest twin towers in the world) but the tickets had already been allocated in the daily first come first serve system, impressive tower though, but your only allowed up to the viewing bridge half way up (which is a cop out really) so we sacked that off and went to the KL communication tower in the afternoon/evening and saw the city light up(This was the second time we went up because "we" forgot the debit card, at least the second time we noticed the free shuttle bus to the top of the hill, lol)! We also ventured outside of the city to the Batu Caves, a limestone hill sticking out, with a massive Hindu gold statue and a steep stairs all the way up to the main cave, steps which apparently devoted people drag up containers of offerings by hooks inserted into the skin of their backs, wow!!!! None of them around just monkeys nicking cans of coke off tourists! There was a second cave used for conservation which we went for a tour in! Creepy crawlies and lots of bat droppings with the odd old cave formation included, near perfect darkness in the centre apparently, lucky enough that was only for a minute.

We also met up with Dan from uni, he took us for some Dim Sum, small Chinese dishes in this restaurant out of town which had a big wall full of tanks off all kinds of sea food, big king craps, fish, lobster, slug like things and big fish (barely fitting in the tank, but don't suppose they'll be there long.)

Batw caves

Batw caves

From KL we escaped the heat and ventured up in to the Cameron Highlands an area of rain forest in the centre of Malaysia, a bit sobering as a lot of the area has been developed and made into terraces for hundreds for poly tunnels for fruit and flowers. Just mud looked like they're slowly sliding down the hill side. A guide told us only 20% of the rainforest in that area still exists, been transformed into tea plantations & farms.! But the very highlands is virgin rainforest with small towns, and road side shops dotted along the windy narrow road. Stayed in a nice rustic hostel with our room opening the out to the fresh outdoors. Not a massive amount to do but we did go on a day trip which included a forest trek, a trek which was advertised to last 2-3 hours which actually lasted nearly 5. We were unable to drive up to a viewing point therefore they compensated us with a lengthy trek in search of the of the biggest flower in the world “Rafelitus”or something similar (except its a fungus so does that count?) It wasn’t a record breaking specimen but it was big, it was definitely worth the effort (lol) along with the snakes and millipedes and drinking from bamboo canes!! I of course loved the trek adventure through the forest, and Sian eventually agreed! :o) The afternoon was thankfully a bit more laid back and included a tour of one of Malaysia's oldest tea plantation nice views and the tea wasn't too back either.

Sian with flower

Sian with flower

Next Penang Island, then Lankawi and Thailand beyond........

Posted by Meurig ac Sian 20:53 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Singapore and on to Malacca!!!

Still Hot and Still thundering and lightning!

semi-overcast 34 °C

Day 8 - The story actually continues,

Deciding to get moving the last day in Singapore was spent riding around on different open top buses touring the city as if was a lot easier than walking around in the heat. Whilst swapping the bus for the river cruise we stumbled across a bar showing some super14's rugby and as it was happy hour we couldn't resist (Gareth delve had a cracker). We past the extra flash hotel in the reclaimed marina area with what looked like a boat built on top, joining three skyscrapers/hotel/casino (we could even see tiny palm trees at the top). We have since learnt that non-residents can actually make it up to the top to the bar to buy a drink & take in the view (something to do on the return leg to Singapore i think).

Escaping the big city we moved on to Melaka in Malaysia by bus (a world heritage site apparently) and have been staying at Ringo's guest house owned by Howard - funniest & best host. The hostel has a rooftop garden where we had a bbq on the first night and discovered a new favourite tipple, lychee vodka & sprite! The owner/host has been great introducing everybody to everybody which gives it a great atmosphere, with loads of European's and Asians passing through. Decided to stay 4 nights as it was only costing £9 a night all in, only a bit better than Singapore HA.
Nice quaint little city, with history of colonizations by the Portuguese, Dutch and finally the British who obliterated the old fort, so not much left. Found my first 50m outdoor public pool, nice to jump in a do a couple of length although tricky trying to miss all the locals going across attempting the butterfly stroke (bit odd, must be the in thing)
Last night we where guided by Howard on a evening cycle tour taking in the sites of the old town and china town (whilst he blasted out lady gaga from his ipod & speakers!) stopping off for some local street food, massive spring rolls and noodily concoctions. Today will be our last day here sadly, been on a cycle up and down the river prominard not too far, but enough to prompt Sian to have a little snooze on the table in the communal area (never a great idea to wake her up)

Off to Kuala Lumpur next, hostel booked and directions noted! will spend 4days there and try and meet up with Dan, uni house mate. Following that up to Cameron Highlands, where they grow tea :o)

Ciao for now........

Posted by Meurig ac Sian 01:00 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Arived in Singapore!!

semi-overcast 30 °C

HELLO Everybody who is bored/interested enough to check out our travel blog. Only day 2 so just to start things off;

First step complete, arrived on a massive double decker A380 just in time for rush hour in Singapore. Not sure every one starts a 9am though didn't seem too busy. Unfortunately in the build up i "meurig" forgot to print off the details of the the first hostel so our first challenge was to find a wifi connection, thankfully on our second metro station we found a standard samey Starbucks, sorted! First 1.5 day a bit of a tired mess and ended up sleeping at different stages which was kinda induced by a pretty big thunder storm which kept us confined to the hostel for the afternoon, this as a result messed up our sleeping so ended up watching a film at 3am. Whilst wandering through the streets of little India last night we stumbled across a bar flying the welsh flag called the Prince of Wales, classic!!(although glad it doesn't cost £10 for two drinks in the Cardiff Prince of Wales).
Currently chilling out in the second hostel after checking out Chinatown/the city this afternoon.
Probably to be continued....

Posted by Meurig ac Sian 03:23 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

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