A Travellerspoint blog

Motorbiking and Beyond

sunny 33 °C

As Matt mentioned in his last blog we decided to hire motorbikes on Ko Lanta. We go these little scooters from the place that we were staying and off we went. Once I got the hang of it driving around the island was beautiful. The rainforest's growing up limestone cliffs and the views from the top of the island were breathtaking.
We were both pretty proud of ourselves when we made it back to the hotel in one piece that night, with no scratches on either ourselves or the bikes.
To prepare for a full day of biking the next day we had a very early night. I was really enjoying zipping around on the bikes. Its a nice cool way to travel when you are so hot and sweaty. Anyway in the morning g we were back on the bikes and wandering around the island. We went and booked our ferry tickets on one side and then decided to go and see the Mae Kong cave in the middle of the island.
After an uneventful ride down (of course not counting the scenery as uneventful as it is stunning everywhere) we arrive at the cave and the chat to a nice lady who has about 10 or 11 cats napping on her verandah. She informs us that she will have a guide for us in about 5 minutes and motions for us to sit down. \However sitting down is a bit hard when every surface is covered with cats.....
Eventually the guide shows up and as much as Matt thought it was a proper tour company that had great guides that would tell us the history and significance of the cave he didn't t speak a word of English.
He motions for us to follow him and up we go up a slightly sloping hill. This is pretty good I start off thinking. A nice stroll to some beautiful cool underground caves with a chilly pool for us to take a dip and cool down. As I am walking along daydreaming I notice the guide has stopped and has walked behind us. Matt looks at him and he motions up this rock face. It has crude steps carved into it and a rope to steady yourself.
We get ourselves to the top and then we look up. We are not even a quarter of the way up. As we stumble our way to the top I realise just how unfit I really am.
The guide stops on a rock and sits down so Matt and I do the same. There is a narrow slit in the face of the cliff. It is the opening of the cave. After we all catch our breath and load up with mozzie spray (so so many bites!!) we head down into the depths. Its beautiful and cool down here. The guide bangs his hand on the side of the wall and we can hear that is hollow.
The rock formations are beautiful and Matt got to feel like he was Indiana Jones. They had these ladders that looked like that had just been knocked together for you to climb down sheer cliff faces. It was awesome. It was a bit muddy and not too tame to feel like we were not on a bit of an adventure. At the end of the climb through we ended up in a huge cavernous room. The guide vaguely points to a hole in the floor and mentions water.
To get back to the entrance we had to walk though this enormous corridor which made me feel a though we were about 2 inches tall. It was hard to believe that all of this is underground. The guide stamps his foot near the base of the wall and again we hear that is hollow. The entire floor is a shell.
Near the exit there a few animals noises and the guide points out hundreds of bats hanging from the ceiling. The guides leads us out and back into the heat...
Matt is putting photos up of everything as we speak!!!!

After we get out of the caves we only have a few hours before we have to head back to the hotel to return the bikes. There is a restaurant that I really wanted to go to at the southern most resort on the island. They were supposed to make the most amazing wan ton soup.
We get down to the bottom of the island and still with a few km's to go the road turned to dirt. Very uneven dirt. You could say we were both shaken to the core... Still we persisted.
We hit the 1km mark and even though we both thought we should turn back as the sun was sinking and the hills were huge we still went on. We had gone about another 2km when we still could not see the resort. We turned back.
As I was going down a steep part of a small hill I hit a rather big rock that was neatly disguised with sand. I CRASHED. I am lying face down in the sand, the bike on top of me and my leg hovering near the exhaust. All I can think is "Get it off me". Matt can hear me yelling and stops his bike at the top of the hill. By the time he gets down to me I have untangled myself and checking my body parts to make sure nothing is broken.
I am a bit banged up (scratches and bruises but ok.) and with the construction crew watching the show as if it the most entertaining thing in the world all I want to do is get back on and get out of there.
We pick the bike up and have a look. It is leaking g a bit of oil but we think it will be ok to get back to the resort.
We get to the bottom of the big hill and it blowing smoke. A lot of smoke. I am devastated, shocked and covered from head to toe in dirt.

We pull over to the side of the road and a few Thai men stop and say that the bike is ok to ride although we don't wan t to risk it. Our little gathering in the middle of nowhere does not go un noticed and we soon have a large German man by the name of Marc inviting Matt and I to clean up at his place (about 20m from where we were standing ) . He takes us into the yard and his wife walks out to make sure I am ok. The hose starts running and I do feel a bit better once I am cleaned up. He gave me some antiseptic spray for my hands and a nice cool drink of soda water. I sit down for a bit and start to feel alot better. As my shoes were pretty covered in dirt and dust Marc picks them up and starts to rinse them out. When he couldn't get them clean hit wife hands him a scrubbing brush and he starts to scrub them.. I don't know what to say. They were just amazing generous people.
Matt and I leave the bike there and take Marc's number down and leave on Matt's bike.

The woman who runs the resort we were staying at had gone on a short holiday and left a woman who speaks NO English in charge. We get back to the resort and she wants to know why there is only one bike. We try and explain but she doesn't understand. She says we can talk in the morning.

I head back to our room for a needed shower and a well deserve beer. I catalogue my injuries. A few scrapes on my hands and knees, a slight burn on my leg and a few bruises on my hip and thigh. Not too bad considering what could have happened.

We wake up the next morning and get everything ready for our trip to Phi Phi island. As we walk up to the reception desk the woman come running up to us wanting the whole embarrassing story. We tell her the best we can, leave a note with what happened in English and our phone number and also Marc's number so that they can pick the bike up and we leave them some money for the repairs.

And we are off on our way to beautiful Phi Phi island. Matt's favourite place in the world, which he will tell you about in detail another time.

That's all from me

LOVE

Kat

Oh and thanks for the travel towel Rhondda. Its perfect!!!!!!!

xox

Posted by katbet123 16:09 Archived in Thailand Tagged backpacking Comments (3)

Island Living

sunny 28 °C

Well, we are here at Ko Lanta and the difference in pace between here and Bangkok just couldn't be greater.

It took a little bit to adjust. From the frenetic, open 24 hours a day, pushy, neon vibe of Khaosarn Rd to an island where just about everything is shut down and the 3 people you can see are just cruising along, being.
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After we took a few deep breaths and relaxed it is just.... stunning. A relxed get-away on our very own Island paradise. We have been the only people in a bar or restaurant twice already and it's only just been 24 hours (it is currently midday on Wednesday and the sweat trails are making maps down my sides - tmi?).

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We swam in the sea at sunset, then slept through the sunrise due to a hangover. Ah yes, the hangover. So cool.

We were wandering the road at around 11pm last night, having just realised that we hadn't had dinner and that everywhere is closed. After a couple of minutes of tropical darkness we stumbled accross a pool of light spilling out of, what can only be described as a shed, with music floating onto the road. A friendly woman of middle years and a beautifully open face wandered out to greet us and invite us to dinner. There were about 5 tables in this shed. Three of them were occupied and they were all outside. The lady kindly helped me move another table out into the street so we could benifit from the gentle breeze and a greater distance from the random rock tribute band who were performing at a volume level that compensated for (presumably), a lack of time for rehearsal.

We sat in front of this funny little shed and ordered some food and a bottle (I love Thailand) of local rum and just kicked back and soaked it up. It is hard to remember the last time I have been this happy.

Because I left the writing of this blog until the last pre-paid internet minute (hard to believe I know), I have now pretty much run out of time to tell you about just how relaxed the atmosphere and the people are here. Perhaps I can summarise by saying that I almost finished our bottle of rum last night (it was surprisingly good), we wandered back to the hotel and then went for a drunken, midnight swim in the pool.

Naked.

The Pool
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We now go to hire motorbikes and ride around the island and eat fresh seafood and watch the sun set.

Until next time.

Love Matt

Posted by sarchasm1 23:48 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

Krabi & Ko Lanta

All the fun on non stop travel

sunny 30 °C

Hey everyone,

At this very moment Matt and I are sitting on a beach side resort in Thailands, Ko Lanta using the worlds most expensive internet (by Thai standards).

The past few days have a bit full on. We were still in Bangkok and I was a little bit worried about making our bus as we would be travelling through peak hour traffic. Matt kindly put up with my crazy and we left VERY early. Even though it feels as though it is about 45 degrees outside we decide to make the 10km trip in a tuk tuk instead of a airconditioned taxi. Matt made a good point about it being able to maneuver through traffic. So off we go on the most terrifying ride of my life. This guy was crazy! We were speeding along though bumper to bumper traffic at about 80km an hour, slowing down only as necessary. I think he saw Matt motion that we were going faster than the taxis and he took it as encouragement. Anyway we got to the bus station in one piece (2 hours early - THANKS KAT!!!) and it is enormous!!! 4 stories high and PACKED full of people. We made our way to the ticketing desk and found one that mentioned Krabi. Now according to this woman there was only one bus that went down there that night (total lies!!!! We found other desks once our tickets were purchased) and the tickets were expensive but not outrageous. Rather then argue we just bought them. When we got down to bus rank there were so many people. We got our bags tagged and stood there. No one would let us on the buses. There were announcements being made in Thai and people were looking restless. I had no idea what was going on, although I am getting used to everything being a surprise to me. After making myself known countless times and standing in everyones way so that they dont forget about us I finally got it out of them they they have to shuffle some buses around. We are almost on our way!

The bus was something. Double decker, reclining seats, pillows and blankets supplied, nice cool air con. We get on thinking that this is great and it will be easy to sleep the night through and wake up refreshed in Krabi. Not quite the case.... The seats were quite narrow and they decided when everyone was asleep that they would crank up the aircon so we froze even with blankets... and the most bizarre thing was that they kept turning the music on quite loudly at random times throughout the night - Just in case you were managing sleep in the icy air.
We all started waking up for real at about 6am with a couple of hours and they put on the tv. It was the most inappropriate breakfast television I have ever seen. All it consisted of was women in lingerie dancing suggestively to techno music. And here I was wearing long skirts and pants so not to offend anyone.

We arrive in Krabi. We get off the bus and join the group that is getting luggage from the rear. The customer service attendant started pointing at a travel agent about 30m away and there we can see they have already put our bags inside. How convenient for the travel agent. They spoke pretty good english and they seemed to have reasonable enough prices so we bought another bus ticket to Ko Lanta (We have just found out that what we paid is what everyone charges. YAY - we didn't get ripped off on one thing!!!!).
We all get jammed into this mini van and off we go. We meet a bunch on American students who seems like good fun and an English couple.
When we get to the island we get off at a resort with the Americans and decide to head in and see how much the rooms are. They aren't cheap... They point us in the direction of a resort next door and we get a huge air con room for less then we were paying in Bangkok. We can see the ocean from the front of our bungalow. It is beautiful.

We fell asleep as we do (naps are becoming part of my daily routine - its fabulous!!!!) and Matt wakes me at sunset. We run out the door and in a few seconds are in the ocean (we just found out that this water is a warm 29 degrees all year round!!!) The sunset is gorgeous (ruined a little for me by the rock that bit my foot).

I think Matt is going to fill you guys in on what we got up to for the rest of the night.. Although if he doesn't mention it we went to some amazing bars on the beach and watched a truly beautiful lightening show in the distance..

Hope everything is well back home

Love Kat

xoxoxo

Posted by katbet123 12:58 Archived in Thailand Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Bangkok Subdued

Of relaxation and guilt

semi-overcast 28 °C

(authored by Matt)
Hi guys,

We leave Bangkok today and it is with mixed feelings we go.

I look forward to Krabi and the adventures ahead. We plan to head to Krabi town and stay a night there. They have a night market and seafood and that's pretty much what I'm after. Oh - they also claim to have some sort of culture and manufacturing history. Pfft. From Krabi town we plan to head to Ko Lanta and motorbike around an ideallic island and adventure through their extensive cave systems and maybe go for a little bit of a kayak.

However...

I am not proud of what we have done here in Bangkok. I feel this odd tension between my expectation of seeing the sights and 'experiencing another culture' and my desire just to enjoy myself as I like. Sort of a roman, hedonistic way. Yay nihilism!

So what have we done over the last day or so. Well, we went to Bangkok's china town yesterday. Apparently what we saw the day before wasn't really 'china town'. I wanted to go for the food. Well, we had some food and a lot of shopping. I have literally never seen so many people in such a small space. It reminded me of a geek convention with 25% off Game Workshop products (those bastards are never generous). We were packed in on all sides (sorry, no pictures - I was too lame to pull out the camera I lugged around for hours) and all the stalls sold fashion accessories! I estimate that there were about four men in the 6000 people in these streets. Three guys who were hopelessly under the thumb and me (I'm completely different - you understand...)

After we had walked around for about an hour and I was beginning to feel that china town was a bit pointless, we stumbled on a new section of shops (we were quite lost by this point). Apparently this part of town is segregated into MAN part s and women parts because all of a sudden (such an overused phrase) I was interested in all the stalls as opposed to none of them. These Chinese-Thai guys were brilliant. I was surrounded (literally) by stereos, fake watches, electronics, electrical cables and more swords than you could point an novelty oversized samurai sword at (which you could purchase if you liked for a very 'special price' - because they liked you)!

Wow - I remeber why I stopped writing emails. I'm waaaaayyy too long winded. I hope you will bear with me whilst I develop my blogging style. I'm sure it will get shorter and better (I have faith). On a side note any suggestions or comments or advice on the best way to blog, are welcome.

Anywhooo.. We were in china town, I was trying to convince Kat to let be buy a fake rolex (it was a bargain!) and then the rains came. All the stores were magically packed up. I'm not sure where they put their goods or how they did it so quickly but MAN! Those guys can move. So we wandered around the streets for a bit then paid way more than we should for a Tuk-Tuk home. Fast forward ---->

---->It's about 9pm and we have just finished relaxing by this awesome fake waterfall and pool (it contained the worlds largest goldfish and was surrounded by the worlds most ambitious and focused cat). Kat and I have decided to go back to the hotel and bed (as we are lame) and we exit onto the street.

Scene: A balmy evening with adventure on the breeze. People mix in the street. Promo beer girls in tight, shiny outfits spruik god's greatest gift. A light scent of curry and roasted squid float on the breeze. A man playing a homemade guitar accompanied by faceless entity playing a harmonica charm the air and enchant the crowd. I suggest to Kat quite innocently (if you believed this you'll believe anything) that we wander past a blues club I've heard about. A 5 minute walk through the warm air and the empty streets later and we find a small, air conditioned bar. It is papered in blues paraphernalia. LP's, posters, articles and very seasoned wall paper. We settle in for 'a quick drink'. Live music begins at 10. We wait the 50 odd minutes and then.... Wow!

They were so good. An eccletic mix of races perform some original blues numbers with the greats looking on (in poster and record form). A young Thai muscle man, bored looking and distracted, belts out some of the best live blues, in english, that I've ever heard.

We have a nice pair of Thai boys who sit at our table and pretend to be 20 so they can drink. These guys are 19 at a stretch and 20, never. They are later joined by some even more hopeful teen-aged sisters at about 15 and 17 who bend the very fabric of truth. The waitress delivers their drinks without batting an eyelid.

Whoa, my internet time is up! We got drunk, I was falling asleep. We bought a cd and legged it for our hotel where we proceeded to do not much. Next day (today), stuff. The end. Very nice.

Got to go.

Hope you are all well.

Talk soon.

Matt.

Posted by katbet123 21:47 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Bangkok

Shopping, Heat and Scams

36 °C

Hello from a very steamy Bangkok!!

As everyone is probably aware by now Matt and I arrived safe and sound in Bangkok 3 days ago. After having to drag Matt away from all the duty free scotch in the Bangkok airport we got a cab (I am pretty sure we got ripped off a bit) and made our way to the hotel. Promptly after checking in and dumping our bags we headed out to Khao San Rd for beers and food which were both cheap and tasty! After which we headed back top the cool air conditioned haven which is our room and immediately crashed..

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After realising that I had nothing long enough to wear to temples we had to go shopping. I know - what a shame right!! So most of the morning was spent wandering the stalls and trying to find something decent and cheap enough. I wanted to bolt from the shop when I wanted to try a dress on and the woman started to try and yank my top off over my head.. She didn't seem to understand why I didn't want to strip in the middle of Khao San Rd...

When it got too hot we headed back to the room for Matt to get changed but when he decided to nap I joined him ........ Fast forward 9 hours or so and we wake up... - We are a bit disoriented with the time difference and realise that it is about midnight. I am loving the fact that time doesn't really matter over here - So we head out to get food. There are still people everywhere!!

We are waking up pretty early (around 6 am) at the moment so we are heading out pretty early. Yesterday we headed out to get the water ferry to the Grand Palace and I also wanted to see the floating market.. We were supposed to be getting the ferry... but instead decided to barter with a long boat driver and get our own tour of everything. It was amazing. I had an absolute ball with all the different scenery. It changes too quickly and dramatically. I saw a run down shack with a verandah over the water, holes everywhere!!! A woman trying to hang washing and while trying not to fall through the floor. This shack was next door to a mansion. This place was three stories high, on the water. Beautiful grounds and building. It even had solar panels!!

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The driver gave us 15 minutes at the floating market where I bought a stick thing with meat on them.. I tried to ask the woman what it was and she did not understand a word I said.. So i bought it anyway :) After having eaten one I still wasn't sure what it was. As they were in the shapes of balls Matt suggested that maybe they were testicles. If there is one way to make me loose my appetite that is a sure fire way. Mean while he was munching the worlds largest crab which he bought for around $5. Apparently the marinade that he got with it was amazing!!

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As he couldn't finish at the market he took it back onto the boat. He was as happy as I think he could possible be. Crab, beer and beautiful scenery.

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The driver dropped us off at the grand palace and we had to sit there for a bit as Matt still was finishing his crab. There was this cat who obviously smelt the crab ans wandered over. Matt was determined not to waste any crab on a cat.

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But he caved and gave him the scraps. The owner noticed and thought it was hilarious that we were feeding his cat crab.

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Off we totted down towards the grand palace and immediately got distracted by yet another market. This market was AWESOME though. I bought a really pretty leather wallet for around $8.00 and we got a few other things that we forgot to bring with us. This market is where we encountered the scammer.. He was banging on about how things were closed and how we should go and see the Black Buddah..... He didn't convince us (plus I think Matt was done by this one last time he was is Thailand) and we ignored him and went on a merry way.

After we were too hot and bothered to walk any more we gave up on the idea of going to the grand palace and instead caved and got a tuk tuk to the nearest cinema so that Matt could see Iron Man 2 (I know - Iron Man over the grand palace - I am a bit ashamed).

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The driver took us to the largest shopping centre. This place was 7 stories high!!!

This pretty much brings everyone up to date on what has been happening while all of you are at work. Chinatown and all the fabulous food is waiting for us so I think we will be off!!

We are heading down to Krabi tomorrow night and when we find some more decent internet we will drop a line and say hi.

Love lots and lots

Kat & Matt

Posted by katbet123 23:00 Archived in Thailand Comments (3)

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