A Travellerspoint blog

January 2008

Life in the fast lane... not! (From Kirstin)

sunny 30 °C
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Kho Lanta

Hello Everyone, thought it about time that I added a little something to Rog’s superb blog efforts, especially as we are now quite settled for the next month and so there isn’t a whole heap of anything daily to report. Part of this is an extract from my travel diary so apologies if there are repetitions in any of Rog’s previous extracts to date.

Kho Lanta
When we arrived on the island I was absolutely exhausted and over-heated from the journey so we got a taxi to take us straight to the nearest resort hotel so we could rest that night with a plan to hire a scoot the next day and go and find our own paradise.

So much for spending way over the odds for a bit of luxury resort living – the bathroom was open air and therefore hosted a continuous party of mosquitoes which, despite the air-con in the bedroom, found there way in to devour my face over the course of the night. The resort itself was also overrun with Swedish families holidaying no doubt to get over their miserably dark winter – a fact we had in fairness been warned about. Nothing at all against the Swedes but a little too family orientated for us right now.

The next morning sporting 6 bites on my face, including one on my left eyelid, we hired said scooter and trundled off down the coast road in search of somewhere more suitable to put down roots for a few weeks. What a superb plan it was. After checking out the “Where Else” bungalows and Bee Bee’s, both of which were indeed as characterful as they had been described but a little too basic for our liking, we found Fishermans Cottages.

A more perfect place would be hard to find! We have the best bungalow overlooking the sea and set on the little “green” which the rest of the bungalows are situated around, giving the whole place a tiny village atmosphere – there are only 11 bungalows in total. The place is run by a Thai chap named Kun who has spent time in London and whose English is therefore very good. His staff, Tom and Lap (also Thai) are extremely friendly and helpful too and between the three of them they cannot be more accommodating. We even keep a bag of chocolate in the beer fridge for when the munchies take over! As our bungalow is at the front of the green near the beach we are also only a hop, skip and jump to the bar which is delightful as we can enjoy morning coffee on our porch and cold beers at sunset in our hammocks. (each bungalow comes with a hammock but they hung another one for us so we could each chill out in comfort) Welcome to “Rancho Relaxo”!!

The bungalow itself is concrete, white-washed which makes for no dark corners for anything to hide in which we much prefer and whilst the bathroom is a quarter open air it actually doesn’t bother us as at night we sleep relatively soundly under a big square mozzy net.

There was one incident the other night however when Rog woke up having been bitten by a small centipede – yuck, horrible things – so we sprayed underneath the mattress and so far so good. I think we have resigned ourselves to having to accept a little bit of nature once in a while – just takes a little more to adapt when it’s actually in bed with you!

Rog has at long last figured out how to get internet access when and wherever we want it using his Thai phone – no surprise to any of you I wouldn’t think ; - ) – and so he is as happy as a sand boy as he is now able to interact with the “real” love of his life….Poker! Can’t complain really as I am chewing through books – oh what a chore!

(Roger with his 1st love)

Usually at about 4pm once the heat is starting to dissipate a little all the guys including staff here kick a football around on the “green” for a bit of exercise and camaraderie and Rog volunteered himself as goalie last night (possible moment of madness bought on by the local beer) so we shall see and if such a sight is witnessed I shall be on the sideline (from my hammock) taking pictures for you all. In fairness he has already exercised his Frisbee talents with the other lads so watch this space ; - )

(There is life in the old man yet)

Suffice to say that life is pretty good just now and we are still revelling in having absolutely nothing to do and no time schedule to have to keep…my legs grow hairier by the day as it is just too much like hard work to get out of my hammock to go find a waxing salon ; -)

Until the next time….or as they say over here “Pob Gun Ka”

Posted by Dodgey 20:33 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

El Paradis

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Been a few days since our last update. We were setting off on our 3-day, 2 night snorkelling trip on the Koh Simillian islands. Reputed to be some of the best snorkelling in the world. When we arrived at the main departure center for the snorkelling trip we soon realised we were going in a large group. We were given stickers to put on our shirts which denoted which type of trip we were on. No matter, it was to be an adventure! We zoomed off in a speedboat with 2 x 200Hp motors – no slouch! – the sea was quite choppy – enough for us to get airborne a fair bit – landing with an almighty thud. All the while I’m recovering from the trots.

After about an hour or so we reached our 1st snorkelling spot. After being briefed about not stepping on stonefish and watching for sea snakes we took the plunge (at last! – I can use that expression!) – it was pretty cool – plenty of colourful fish and some not so exciting coral. I got stung to hell by remnants of jellyfish tentacles (K has already been through the same experience).

It seemed every other tour boat went to the same bays at the same time. You’d be looking at some lovely fish when someone would swim right across your face, through the fish. Bit like swimming in Oxford Circus.

It doesn’t take long to get exhausted snorkelling, so after about 10 mins we got back on the boat for a smoke and a soft drink. No sooner had we relaxed than our guide started blowing his whistle, “30 minutes up! Come come!”. Off we shot to the next bay. Same thing. Snorkel, rush, whistle, go.

We stopped at an island for lunch – a few noodle and chicken dishes which had clearly been sitting in the sun waiting for us. Within the hour I had the trots again, sigh. Not being able to fart freely for me is akin to not being able to breathe. Any fart is a HUGE gamble.

A bit more average snorkelling (always accompanied by the whistle – even after lunch we were “whistled” back onto the boat) and then off to the final island where we were to sleep. We were given the clear impression that we’d be camping on the beach – you know, romantic idea of tent on beach, open fire, BBQ etc. It was a camp site much like in the South of France. A camp sight absolutely dominated by mozzies and loads of rats! There was 100%, totally, completely, nothing, nada, zero, to do in the evening. Nothing. I really mean nothing at all! So we got pissed chatting to a totally crazy Spaniard who was hilariously animated when he spoke, then crashed in our tent, fearing for our lives.

The highlight of the evening – Hermit Crab Racing. Honestly.

By the morning we decided that we could not do 2 more days of the whistle tour and one more night of the rat-tent, so we jumped on a boat and went back. It was a good experience to a point, but not for us. The sea, however, was the clearest I’ve ever seen, and I did some independent snorkelling and saw some stunning coral up close. (Don’t touch they said, so one girl cut her fingers open in the very 1st dive lol ). Oh I didn’t mention the toilets and showers. If we end up in the Bangkok Hilton I think we both are well prepared after that experience.

Did I mention the sea was clear?

NO, this is not a sunset. It’s a Moonrise. Never seen that before!

At this stage we were hankering for a good wash and some air-con. We stayed in a hotel in Khao Lak and it was bliss – they even had a fridge and TV! – I went to see a pharmacist and she explained that I had a tummy infection (maybe bowel) and gave me 5 days worth of anti-robotics (only £1.50!) – I was cured within 12 hours and can now resume my farting. Ahhhh.

Off then we travelled in a local bus to Khoklong where we switched to a minibus to go to Koh Lanta – it was only 200Baht each for aircon minibus and ferry transfer. We found out why. Instead of catching the high speed ferry to Koh Lanta we got two very small car ferries 70Km further down the coast. It was a good experience overall – lots to see and the van was very comfortable. The ferries were the size of the ones I used to catch in the Scottish Highlands.

At Koh Lanta we just wanted to stay somewhere easy to get our bearings for one night so we let them take us wherever. Long Beach Resort. Quite pricey but aircon with a pool etc. We’d been told by several people that Long beach is known to many as “Stockholm” as it’s been taken over by the Swedes. They were right. Not a bad place at all but expensive and felt much like a holiday resort. We never thought we’d say it, it’s funny, but we both immediately found ourselves hankering for a more “backpackery” location.

We found a cool bar and watched our 1st proper sunset.

We hired a scoot this morning and checked out, off in search of more suitable accommodation and bingo, we’ve bloody found it! Took a few tries. Some places are simply too basic, some are too plush and expensive. The one we have found seems like heaven. We are sitting drinking cold beers about 20ft from the water in a very chilled environment. The hosts could not possibly be more friendly. The more we travel through Thailand, the more we can confirm they are truly lovely people.

It’s peaceful here and our host, Kun, has explained that mainly UK travellers stay here (they are still on their way back from the Koh Phangan full moon party) – and when there are about 20 or so guests, he hosts small beach parties where everyone gets to chat to each other and have a chilled time. (here is the Fisherman’s Cottage).

You can order a seafood BBQ and you have to give them 3 hours warning. They sail out, catch it, then cook it. WoW! : - )

A place we sit to eat and drink. Funky stuff like this is everywhere.

Slavvy and Chris are on their way down to meet us as I type and we’ve reserved them a room (Slavka has got the same botty problems as I had so I’ve been playing the role of doctor Roger recently – giving advice on antibiotics that is). It’s very funny – they have much the same taste as us and we get on like a house on fire. Can’t wait to see them.

It also looks like Matt and Justin will be coming over to join us in late Feb – if you are reading this chaps – we have found heaven again ! - oh and Matt- don’t frigging call me at 1am doh! K nearly killed me!

We also popped out today to investigate more upscale options should we need it and we found an awesome place on the beach with aircon and internet etc – 1800 Baht a day (800 more than we are currently paying). We are happy where we are for now but it’s nice to know there is comfort round the corner if need be.

This is our new home in Koh Lanta

Having a super time and glad to have settled again.

R&K x

Small Update – 29th Jan, we’ve been here a few nights now and it’s blinkin’ fab! – wake up at about 8am to the sound of songbirds (Kun has several in cages he peppers around the garden so they sing to each other all day) – grab a coffee from 10 paces away, then sit in the hammocks and watch the day begin. Learning some Thai too! – and I’ve got my mobile working on the Internet so I’m online now, albeit amazingly slowly.

Posted by Dodgey 19:17 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Chasing the Sun

sunny 30 °C
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Chasing the Sun

So we ran away from the slightly iffy weather. In all honesty we ran from the impending full moon party. We’d seen the type of people it was attracting, not to mention 2/3 of the foreign population of Thailand aged 18-20. No, we are not old, but at the same time, being sick on the beach is not our thing. On top of that we’ve heard plenty of stories of glass and needles (eugh!) in the sand.

We ran.

After sorting out tickets to Surat Thani (mainland) with ease we jumped on the high speed ferry at lunch time. We had the usual “do we go on the deck in the sun and risk losing a seat indoors or not” dilemma. We didn’t have to worry. The air-con “VIP” part of the boat was 40 Baht extra and only about 6 people took up the offer! It was cool (yay! Aircon for the 1st time in 2 weeks) and comfortable. We were happy, and falling asleep. Shortly afterwards a body builder type Brit and hit blonde companion sat at the front, and upon being offered choices of movies, he instantly chose Resident Evil. Class.

EVERYONE else (all wearing baseball caps) charged to the front and watched the masterpiece at full volume. We moved to the back :-) . So glad to be moving away ! (toilet was fun. I took a look and walked out). Oh yeah – At this stage I had the galloping trots. Nice! – I took Imodium for the boat trip. A very good decision.

Anyhow! :-) got to Surat Thani and booked a minibus to the Koh Sok National Park – a wonder of Thailand. Our driver was nothing short of mental.

We had all sorts of things planned for the National Park, tubing down the river, climbing up waterfalls, swimming in rock pools, sleeping on the lake. Slight problem though. We’d arrived at full moon, and the dry season. Full moon means no night safaris – the animals see you before you see them, and the dry season means no tubing, no waterfalls and no rock pools. Hmm. Slight cock up. No matter though, we had a super time and we’ll go back when there has been some rain. We stayed in a hut on stilts called a “river hut”. Not quite the same when there is no river lol. There were HUGE spiders on the balcony and all around. I was a nervous wreck.

We took a canoe trip down a river – me and K and a guide who did the rowing. It was nothing short of stunning. He parked our canoe under a Green Mamba (worrying) and various other snakes and critters. Then the moment came. He said “Look! Spider”. We were a few feet away from the biggest spider I’ve ever seen in real life. I nearly filled my pants with my recently inherited diarrhoea . After that he avoided the spiders, though every time we canoed thought undergrowth I laid down and cowered. Overall it was a good few hours of beauty and tranquillity. We are so going back when it rains some more. They do trips to the lake where you trek all day through the jungle and waterfalls, then stay on a floating house boat on the lake, then wake up to the jungle orchestra and swim ,then trek some more. Everyone we have spoken to says it’s the most amazing adventure they have ever done. Looking forward to that one :-) (although they take you through a cave with spiders the size of your head – which causes a lot of panic, mainly in the female crowd). Our guide / rower – called me a ladyboy when he saw how terrified I was of spiders. Git!

At this stage we’d already decided to move on and come back later but we were pleasantly surprised by two things. Bear in mind we are in the middle of a jungle with a handful of bars and not much else (so tranquil – the noise of the jungle is mesmerising) – we found a) a Pizza restaurant – and boy oh boy – they made perfect proper Italian pizzas – total heaven (Thai food is great but a change is fabulous), and secondly (ok, b) ), after exploring a seemingly dead-end jungle path – a bar on stilts (the approach being a wobbly rope bridge straight from a Pirates movie) overlooking a plain that was almost like a scene from Africa. We drank beers and cowered as a massive ugly spider hung near by. It was beautiful. (oh, and we fed monkeys by the river :-) ) – cheeky monkeys.

(Spot the Cheeky Monkey)

(we were not the only ones having a great time)

(Where could this lead?)

(Not Peckham)

We are quickly learning that taking 20 minutes to explore your surroundings can reveal some awesome places.

Leaving the national park, and very, very welcoming and helpful hosts (the manager was very honest and explained that night safaris were a little pointless at full moon) (Bamboo Bungalow resort) we set off on another bus heading to the Koh Samilian islands – reputed to be some of the best coral snorkelling and diving in Thailand/World. We met “Tony” the Germain at the bus stop who we’d bumped into the night before at the pizza place (he walked past and said “Bangkok – Shanti Lodge!” – he recognised us form Bangkok lol) – very nice chap – a teacher and musician from Stuttgart who was having a great time walking on his own trough the jungle and recording the nature sounds to use in his music. – Hi Tony! – look forward to seeing you in Stuttgart.

- aside note – we are meeting great people all the time and making new friends who all seem very happy to show us around their home towns when we get there (Stuttgart and Bavaria so far – Germany is covered lol – half of Germany seems to be here!)

So now were are in Koh Lak at a lovely bungalow overlooking the beach. We got dropped off a the “drive” and walked 1km with our packs to the resort – we are feeling very righteous!  We are booked to leave tomorrow at 8am for a 3 day snorkelling trip to the Koh Similian Islands. We will be camping in a tent for 2 nights on the beach! Very excited. After that, we plan to go a little up-scale and stay in Koh Lanta (where the Tsunami hit worst) for a while with aircon and internet etc. We can afford small bursts of luxury here and there. We hope. (may well hook up with Chris and Slavka too who we’ve had a great time with in Koh Pha Gnang)

(only one day here :-) not exactly crowded)

Getting into the traveller groove. We hiked up to the resort with a Candian girl called Heather and there were only two rooms left. One wooden with more chance of bugs and one smart and new. She took the wooden one but we offered to share ours with her (4 beds – stop sniggering!) – so the three of us are sharing. Saves money and everyone is happy. We are all on our balcony now drinking beers and getting tips on Canada, which , to be fair, we’d kind of overlooked.

Off snorkelling now – speak soon.

R&K xx

Posted by Dodgey 04:26 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Birthdays and changing weather

storm 28 °C
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I’m typing this on the balcony in the hope the recently resurrected internet connection at our place stays live long enough for me to upload it later tonight…. Fingers crossed

Had a fabulous few days since I last updated. It has taken a good week of being in one place to get into the groove. We went for a walk up to some waterfalls nearby with Chris and Slavka a couple of days ago. There were some lovely pools. We all ummed and erred about the safety of swimming in river water, and were on our way to leave when we all agreed it was very lame not to try. After all agreeing that pissing in the water would be very bad in case of those funny fish parasites that shoot up your jack jones, we dived in! – Definitely worth it


(Me in a waterfall Jacuzzi – most refreshing)

As we descended we noticed a track leading to another beach so we followed a trail through the coconut trees for quite a long time…..

,,,,and found a stunning, empty beach with crystal clear water, bath-warm. Had a super time there.




Kirstin’s birthday was yesterday – not much to buy round here though (gulp!) – we hired a jeep for the day and drove to the nearest town – along 10k’s of a deeply rutted dirt track – takes about an hour! – got shopping in (wine etc). Came back and ended up with Chris and Slavka and the German crowd we’ve me including a lovely couple, Alex and Stephanie, Many long island iced teas later were all ended up playing poker (surprise surprise!)

(It had to happen !)

Woke up this morning to find we have a resident lizard in our bathroom. We’ve called him Larry  Larry the Lizard – imaginative hey!?! He’s great news – they eat mozzies according to K so we are being very nice to him. Once of his kiddies lives in our light shade on the balcony – I found out when I changed the bulb today.


Weather sucks today. It’s amazing – one minute it’s super sunny and calm, and today, grey skies, mega waves and constant wind. The waves are crashing on the rocks below our balcony in a huge way. We are going to sit it out for another day, and if there is no change we’ll bugger off to the Anderman coast (Phucket, Ko Chang, Ko Phi Phi etc) – it’s unreal getting used to the fact we can just up-sticks and go where we please !

More soon.


Posted by Dodgey 05:16 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Slowing Down :-)

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Only a couple of days since our last update. We are slowing down ;-) Life is very chilled. I’m typing this from my hammock on our balcony after a days’

We met a couple from London on the thongshaw on the way here a few days ago. We hooked up with them last night for a few beers and a BBQ at the main beach hut/bar. He;s a DJ (I laughed previously with K about how long it would take to meet a DJ – I think everyone is these days). Chris and SlavKa – I mention their names as I’m pleased that I can remember. The Gins here should be illegal. I’m having to work hard on remembering names – most are foreign – and you will all know how crap I am with names. With the foreign ones I have to put a lot of effort into word association so I can remember them. “Slave Car” – that’s my method of remembering SlavKa (- Chris is easy – hi bro )

I spoke again with a German sounding chap and his bird today. He introduced himself as what I assumed was “Hans”. His name is Alex.

The main beach bar here is so laid back it’s horizontal (the Raggae bar). A bunch of Checks (spelling?) rock each day on a boat and listen to reggae and get stoned beyond reason. It’s very funny to see.

We are discovering the other bars dotted around the place (about 4 ish we think to far) and they each have a slightly different feel, menu, and of course, location - There is one very high up – you can see it I think in the previous blog pictures – we are saving ourselves for that one – it gets the sun at 5pm ish and looks a great place for drinks.

I’m sipping red wine form cups K has made form cutting water bottles in half. She’s also done the washing in the sink today and hung it up. She’s fast becoming Elma Flintstone.

The cold showers are getting “easier”. I’ve found it’s a matter of making sure you splash all parts of yourself 1st, then get in, then do not under any circumstances remove any part from the shower until you are done (thanks to K for passing me shampoo, soap, towel)

After the last email / update I sent –we went and bought essentials – a 1 to 4 way plug extension lead. Now I can charge everything! – btw – my solar panels are working a treat! – just not enough juice for the laptops.

Kirstin already has two Kaftans and I’m certain she is planning more.

My wine is running low – going to see if she’ll bring a refill to the hammock (she’s typing her memoirs – they started very Victorian like and I suggested she might like to write like someone of her own age lol )

It’s working – she’s coming with wine…got some!

We put in our 1st proper day of sunbathing today. It was dreamy. We were both lying parallel, on our identical beach towels, on our backs, oiled up, buth plugged in with small earphones to my walkman listening to “Chicane – far from the maddening crowd” – it felt like the opening scene in the film “Sexy Beast” (music excepted). We both sat up and looked out to sea, and smiled. Did I mention it was very laid back here? (  )

Then it got surreal – a pirate-like feaux-wooden ship came round the corner with trance/rave music blasting out, loads of good bass, and then headed into the bay – it was packed with shirtless ravers and dropouts having a big party. Very very loud. The tranquillity of the idyl was smashes, but in an amusingly shocking way – it was just not what us (and it seems most others) expected.

Some chap was permanently twirling a fire stick – he had a horrific hair cut – all bald to 2/3 the way back, then in resumed into a long pony tail – bit like a Mohican with a bad receding problem. Another chap was just wearing a kilt. Not odd that he was “just” wearing a kilt. The kilt. They all jumped off the ship and headed straight to the main reggae bar after asking people where they were. They joined the Checks . We ran to a quite bar 

It’s funny – that’s what we are discovering about this part of the world. Nothing is a surprise and everyone is out to have fun. It’s nice when the noisy people leave though 

We’ve definitely decided to stay here for a good 3 weeks minimum. Chris and Slavka went on a tour around the island and agreed with our initial suggestion that this probably can’t be beat, and even if it can, why waste time searching when it’s this good. Oh I’m so wise.

Might be able to get on the web more easily soon. We have a Web Café of sorts here, but it’s down due to “Internet problems”. I saw some staff walking in with a whole new PC this morning. I’m guessing their problems were more than just “Internet”.

Other braking news:

Even little parts of jellyfish sting
Chang beer is cheap because it’s too strong
I read books a lot with little Internet access
Hamocks rock
Kirstin loves shopping more than she lets on

Can someone let me know how you can tell if a star is a star or a satellite? We are debating this but don’t really have a clue. Also an email with a star chart would be grand – no we are not becoming hippies, but we are both trying to identify constellations with little success.

R&K x


Note to self to add dodgey photobucket link in blog

Oh yeah! - I'm uploading pics and videos to my photobucket site:


Keep an eye on it!

Posted by Dodgey 22:20 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

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