A Travellerspoint blog

Southern Thailand


View Route Map on gregandissy's travel map.

By now, those of you following our blog know that we joined forces with the Drurys in Bangkok and the plan was to spend the following two and half weeks together exploring the capital and some of the islands further south. We were beyond excited to have some travel buddies for our time in Thailand and couldn't wait to see them.

I've also mentioned that their blog is fantastic and up-to-date, which means you can read all about our little foursome, if you haven't already, by clicking on the following links (in chronological order):

1: Bangkok - http://marriedtoourbackpacks.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/bangkok-thailand/
2: Koh Samui - http://marriedtoourbackpacks.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/koh-sumui-thailand/
3: Koh Phangan - http://marriedtoourbackpacks.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/koh-pha-ngan-thailand/
4: Koh Phayam - http://marriedtoourbackpacks.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/koh-phayam-thailand/
5: Railay - http://marriedtoourbackpacks.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/krabi-railay-thailand/
6: Phi Phi - http://marriedtoourbackpacks.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/phi-phi-don-thailand/

To avoid paraphrasing what James has already so eloquently written and because, let's face it, I'm slightly behind here, I tried to give you a summarized version.

So here goes...

Thailand 2014 with the Drurys
DSC09040.jpg

They arrived from Chiang Mai on the overnight train, and us on the bus from Siem Reap. Both teams did well to coordinate meeting in BANGKOK but somehow forgot to do any further planning!

IMG_20140718_062327.jpg

We tried to explore the city, only to find out we had arrived the weekend of a religious holiday and everything was closed. So we crammed ourselves into a few tuk-tuks, ate and drank, and talked...a lot.

DSC07955.jpg

We snacked on scorpions on Khao San Road (popular backpacker street):
collage_20140816132827587.jpg
Yes they ate the whole thing! Well...almost, the girls nibbled on the tails. Nothing to it.

We looked for more traditional street food and ordered the first of many, many, many Pad Thais.
collage_20140816132328959.jpg

We found a bar to watch the world cup final between Argentina and Germany. The boys placed their bets, I focused on my "buy 2 get 1 free" G&Ts, and Natalie searched for spring rolls. We eventually made it to bed at 5am.

collage_20140827152002038.jpg

When we finally woke up some time in the afternoon - the Drurys would have gone straight into the evening if we hadn't knocked on their door at 3pm to check their pulse - the pain was evident and we craved junk food, lots of junk food. So we hit the mall and gorged on KFC, McDs, ice cream, cupcakes, chocolate and more. It was appalling but amazingly satisfying at the same time. We also got cozy at the movies. What else were we meant to do in our state??? Greg was eyeing a Ducati on display in the mall so the foodcourt and the theater seemed like the safer alternatives.

collage_20140827152725217.jpg

We eventually got organized and saw some Bangkok sights.

Wat Prakeaw:
collage_20140827163324204.jpg

The Grand Palace:
collage_20140827162516991.jpg

Security made me wear this flattering shirt to cover my shoulders and I had to wrap my shawl around my waist to cover my calves (?). This is the only picture Greg allowed of me in that sexy getup.

DSC07985.jpg

Wat Pho or "Temple of the reclining Buddha":
collage_20140827164520622.jpg

when we thought we'd seen it all ...
DSC08036.jpg

We took a water taxi up and down Chao Phraya river for a different perspective of Bangkok:

DSC08052.jpg

collage_20140827180632232.jpg

We walked through Chinatown:

collage_20140827181058620.jpg

We strolled through the Patpong night market where we saw a glimpse of the Bangkok we had heard so much about - hint: ping pong - and that's all I'll say about that!

Greg negotiating a discount:
DSC08077.jpg

We visited Damnoen Saduak floating market in Ratchaburi province near Bangkok:

IMG_20140724_173008.jpg
DSC08080.jpg
collage_20140828091746355.jpg
DSC08153.jpg

We celebrated James' birthday on Soi 11 - a popular party hub for the local expat community

We drank buckets from a converted VW wagon on the side of the street:
IMG_20140724_173223.jpg

We found more VWs and drank more buckets.
DSC08181.jpgDSC08184.jpg

...too many buckets! So we climbed 32 flights of stairs to get into Agua Bar through the fire escape exit - because it made perfect sense at the time.

DSC08197.jpg

The owner and bouncers didn't appreciate the pink bucket Greg was trying to smuggle in nor James' flip flops. Some insults were exchanged. We were escorted to the elevator we should have taken to begin with. Big fail.

Unphased by the turn of events, Greg headed back to the main entrance without his pink bucket while James tried to "borrow" shoes from innocent bystanders.

DSC08199.jpg

Luckily, James' western feet were too big for the average Thai shoe and we moved on.

Back on Soi 11, we reflected on wtf had just happened and naturally, decided to order more buckets.

collage_20140828092919441.jpg

In hindsight...we wouldn't have done anything differently. It was a brilliant night :)

Another difficult morning led us back to Wat Pho, apparently the mecca for Thai Massages

collage_20140829203459776.jpg
Natalie getting her spine realigned. Just what the doctor ordered.

We said goodbye to modern, cosmopolitan, naughty Bangkok and boarded the overnight train to Surat Thani,

collage_20140829203703028.jpg

then a bus to Donsak, and finally a ferry to KOH SAMUI, the first island on our list.

DSC08232.jpg

We rented scooters:
DSC08234.jpg

The boys drove, the girls took pictures:
collage_20140829204709712.jpg

Greg's never impatient, no sirrie - "oh look, the sidewalk's clear, let's bypass the traffic"
IMG_20140725_153936.jpg

We hiked to some waterfalls...in flip flops...it was challenging:
DSC08258.jpg

But what a view:
DSC08263.jpg

and thankfully, quite refreshing:
IMG_20140725_154216.jpg

We eventually found Monk Luang Pho Daeng because James refused to give up the search:
DSC08280.jpg
Rocking those shades...

Monk Luang Pho Daeng died while meditating in the mid-1980s and his mummified body is on display at Wat Khun Aram. A bit creepy, I know! He apparently instructed his followers that if his body started to decay, to cremate him. If his body did not decompose however, he wanted his body to be kept in a glass casket in the temple to serve as an inspiration for future generations about the teachings of Buddha.

It's considered a miracle to some but others believe that his small intake of food, his low metabolism and reduced need for oxygen because of his meditation technique might be the explanation for his body staying so well preserved. Who knows?!

We then popped in to see the notorious Grandma and Grandpa rocks:
collage_20140829231816018.jpg
and giggled like schoolgirls.

We tasted delicious street food at the night market:
DSC08292.jpg

Apparently so did this big fella:
DSC08295.jpg

We visited more temples:
collage_20140829233031596.jpg

DSC08308.jpg
Not so good at catch?

We then boarded a ferry to KOH PHANGAN, island no. 2 on our hit list:
IMG_20140725_162952.jpg

We were there for the half-moon party and party we did:
IMG_20140725_162858.jpg

The prep, which included pre-drinks, fake eyelashes for the girls, lumo nail polish for Nats, a quiff for me and body paint for all:
collage_20140829234108174.jpg

collage_20140829234718682.jpg

I'm not quite sure what we were doing at this stage of the night but those kebabs, wow...simply the best EVER! I think the girls had 2 each despite James' words of wisdom: "eatin' is cheatin'".
collage_20140829235308778.jpg
Too cute to deny him some of our leftovers. I meant the dog, not James ;)

Another brilliant night with the inevitable painful hangover the next day - that face says it all not to mention the fact we were still covered in paint.
DSC08339.jpg

Luckily, the view from our shack wasn't too bad:
DSC08336.jpg

so we chilled there for most of the day:
DSC08346.jpg

and eventually went south in search of other beaches:
DSC08355.jpg

We found the famous full moon party venue where we assumed our horizontal chillin' positions:
DSC08364.jpg

We stopped at a bar to watch F1 (boys), blog (Issy) and plan (Natalie)...
DSC08365.jpg

and ended our very lazy day sprawled on comfy bean bags with our feet in the sand - life can be a bit tough sometimes.
DSC08367.jpg

We explored the island further and saw the different, much more authentic side of Koh Phangan, far removed from the touristy party hub in the south.

But first, we had to wait for team chubby to make it up a few hills ;)
DSC08377.jpg
When you know husband's in for a beatin'

We trekked - it was exhausting:
collage_20140830001702354.jpg
but well worth the effort

although it left some of us a little famished....
DSC08396.jpg
who needs cutlery anyway?

Satisfied with our Koh Phangan experience, we boarded an overnight ferry back to Surat Thani, a bus to Ranong and another ferry to KOH PHAYAM on the west coast of Thailand. Known to be far less touristy than its eastern cousins, it suited us perfectly as we were keen to spend a few days in a less developed environment.

collage_20140830001946983.jpg

Some interesting accessories on this particular tuk-tuk:
collage_20140830002521225.jpg

We took the ferry to Koh Phayam:
collage_20140830002806197.jpg
yes, that's the wooden gangway in the water after the captain forgot to retrieve it before pulling out. Three men and a few minutes later, it was safely back on the ferry.

Koh-Phayam dock:
DSC08446.jpg

After bartering for a couple of scooters, we found an open lodge - there weren't many!
DSC08454.jpg
Our hut at Starlight Bungalows - low season does have its perks, we had the place to ourselves!

On the rare occasions it stopped raining for more than 15min, we zoomed around the island and enjoyed the deserted beaches and stormy weather.

DSC08470.jpg
DSC08556.jpg
DSC08559.jpg
DSC08575.jpg

We found Hippy Bar, the coolest beach bar made entirely of drift wood!
DSC08471.jpg

Although closed for the season, the owner and his friends let us take refuge from the rain inside the bar and even shared a few beers with us for which they refused payment. A very cool rasta man indeed.
collage_20140830213658516.jpg

There are no cars on the island so Greg finally let me drive the scooter on the virtually deserted small roads and it was AWESOME!
collage_20140830221838311.jpg
he was confident I could do it...obviously!

It rained...and rained...and rained some more so we made 9 liters of sangria, bought 2 jars of Nutella, 2 tins of condensed milk and a Kit Kat for some - what else were we supposed to do??

collage_20140830212757976.jpg
collage_20140830214549641.jpg

The owls kept a watchful eye on us:
DSC08468.jpg
"what on earth are these people doing?"

while this evil venomous centipede tried a sneak attack on us and almost bit one of the doggies - nasty creature!
DSC08525.jpg

I think it is worth mentioning at this stage that our bungalows were slightly exposed, meaning that any curious creature of the night could come in and pay us a visit. We found a rat in the room one evening before bed - always reassuring - and a bat flew in through the front door and out through the gap between the roof and the bathroom wall earlier that day - anything else? Probably. Enough to give us city folks a few nighmares. Not sure how we managed to sleep! I'll admit I woke up a few times in the middle of the night to make sure the mosquito net was still tucked in around the bed!

In addition to all the uninvited creatures - oh and Todd (the owner) also mentioned he had seen cobras on the property, in case we weren't terrified enough - we also mingled with Wolfgang and Gas, the resident pooches. Wolfgang is Todd's gentle giant and Gas is just a pup who showed up one day and never left.

collage_20140830003657005.jpg
Aren't they the cutest??? I wish I could adopt you Gas - you took a little piece of my heart....shhhht, don't tell Bella ;)

With so much time on our hands...
collage_20140830215554289.jpg

Early morning on our way to the dock to catch the ferry back to Ranong:
DSC08592.jpg

Some of the amusing bathroom signs we saw along the way:
DSC08410.jpgDSC08601.jpg

From Ranong, we caught the bus to KRABI town further south where we spent the next day blogging, planning and doing some much needed admin, before heading to the beaches of RAILAY, known for its towering limestone cliffs and a popular spot for rock climbers.

Catching a longtail boat to Railay:
collage_20140902222612674.jpg

DSC08639.jpg

DSC08663.jpg

DSC08660.jpg
that tiny spec is a rock climber just behind our hotel.

So when in Rome....

The prep:
collage_20140902224219162.jpg

The location:
DSC08675.jpg

The athletes:
collage_20140906092828106.jpg
collage_20140902225003917.jpg

and the battle wounds:
DSC08804.jpg

because that's how we roll.

We hit the "town" after a quick recovery nap.
collage_20140903202410216.jpg
Thai Jenga = 3 regular Jenga sets because we all need a challenge. Yes that's James watching F1 on the owner's computer.

The boys ordered cocktails:
DSC08823.jpg
We didn't judge.

And we rounded things up with a fire juggling show:
DSC08928.jpg

The next morning we split up according to dehydration levels and hangover severity - Team Drury and Issy relaxed by the pool while Greg climbed a steep muddy hill to see a lagoon. It is still unclear who was the most affected by the prior night's activities....

Greg took pictures:
collage_20140903204301639.jpg
James questioned their legitimacy and implied they may have been "googled" - no witnesses have come forward so the jury is still out on this one...

We were eventually reunited and managed to leave the hotel to visit some of the nearby beaches.
collage_20140903211328072.jpg
DSC08879.jpg
IMG_20140804_131410.jpg
IMG_20140804_131107.jpg

Railay and Tonsai beaches - simply stunning!

On our last night, we thought about mixing things up a bit but decided to stick to what we knew:
collage_20140906220436361.jpg
Thai Jenga = 5 regular Jenga sets because we were that good and drinks were at stake.

The next morning, we tackled the 4th and final island on the tour - Phi Phi Don (pronounced Pee Pee).

DSC08944.jpg
DSC08951.jpg
DSC08954.jpg
DSC08966.jpg

We had more Pad Thai - it's addictive!
collage_20140903221309680.jpg

and this is where I lost everyone. One by one, the youngsters of the group went back to the hotel with some sort of stomach bug and I was left on my own to fly the team flag . Kids, they don't make them like they used to.

Me myself and I at Banana Bar sipping a smoothie and watching L.A. Confidential on their outdoor screen:
DSC08965.jpg

So no diving the next day despite our best intentions but we did manage a day trip to Phi Phi Leh, made famous in the movie "The Beach" starring Leonardo DiCaprio:

Fooling around in one of the bays:
collage_20140903224227503.jpg
DSC08995.jpg

The longtail boats could not access Maya Beach, "The Beach", directly because of the rough seas, which left us with a tricky alternative:

collage_20140903225911492.jpg

but we made it and walked onto Maya just a few minutes later:
DSC09012.jpg
less the special effects seen in the movie but still beautiful!

Some interesting Russian characters we observed on the beach...
collage_20140904231105021.jpg
we tried not to judge.

Back on Phi Phi Don:
DSC09058.jpg
DSC09064.jpg

Where everything can be bought....for the right price:
DSC09073.jpg
Not really, but his mom had fun watching him being photographed.

We managed to stay away from these dangerous concoctions:
DSC09066.jpg

and enjoyed our last day together exploring the island - it was quite emotional.
DSC09099.jpg
collage_20140906201902232.jpg
90_IMG_20140804_092248.jpg
DSC09108.jpg

Tearful goodbyes :(
DSC09113.jpg

We share James and Natalie's views that Thailand is a beautiful country but that beauty has also been its downfall in some way. The north of Thailand is quite different in that it hasn't been too spoiled yet but places like Phi Phi Don have little authenticity and culture left, which is such a shame. Who can really blame the locals for trying to make a living though? If only they could also do something to ensure the environment and wildlife are protected.

In the end, we had an amazing trip, made unforgettable memories and will forever be grateful that we were able to share the experience with the Drurys. Please come back to Cayman! We look forward to picking up where we left off. Don't forget the Nutella! ;)

180_IMG_20140804_110511.jpg

We are in New Zealand at the moment, the final destination on the Greg and Issy world tour. Wow, I can't believe we've been on the road for over five months. It's strange, our time in South Africa seems like it happened years ago yet I still feel like time has flown. An update on our week in Malaysia coming next.

Greg and Issy.

Posted by gregandissy 03:11 Archived in Thailand

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Comments

So nice to read and relive it all again. We can't wait to pick up where we left off in Cayman (fingers crossed). I say that from a place of affection but Natalie just wants Greg to get a boat again....

Well summised blog. Nothing really else to say as I just sit here smiling at all the pictures.

Love you guys

X

by James Drury

What a great blogg. Enjoyed reading a different perspective to James and Natalie.Thank you for sharing.
Mum of N&J. :) xxx

by Karen Mayfield

Working on the blog just brought back all the memories and we've been missing you guys even more! We'll be impatiently waiting for your return to Cayman. Hurry up will you? Tell Natalie Greg's already eyeing a boat ;)

Karen, thank you so much for reading our blog and posting a comment. We're glad you enjoyed it.

by gregandissy

Always fun to catch up on your travel experiences!

by Keith

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint