Joined October 2022 Message
  • Day72

    Ao Nang, 4th Day. 28th January 2023

    Yesterday in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    It's simply amazing how lazy I can be when I really put my mind to it.
    Apart from getting a few pounds changed for Thai Baht, and a spot of sunbathing, I had nothing much planned for today. Plan accomplished!
    Although it's been overcast most of this morning, I went to the Ao Nang beach for a while until the fine spots of rain began earlier than usual.
    The hot news folks is that I've booked my flight home.
    I'll be checking out on Thursday morning 2nd February, getting a minibus from Ao Nang to Phuket Airport for the last few flights to round off this trip.
    I fly from Phuket to Doha, then Doha to Rome, then Rome to Manchester.
    More details to follow as things possibly change/fall completely apart.
    The two shots attached will have to suffice to illustrate this morning. Hope nobody feels cheated.
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  • Day72

    Ao Nang, 3rd day, Part 1. 27/01/2023

    Yesterday in Thailand ⋅ 🌙 24 °C

    Part 1:
    Another lovely morning, and mixed afternoon/evening.
    This morning was taken up with another boat tour; this time around Phang Nga Bay within the Bay of Thailand. The tour took in a few things; the highlight being to visit the island of Khao Ping Kan (the 'James Bond island' featured in the film The Man With The Golden Gun.
    It was a long journey there and back, but well worth it. A cracking day out, which also included a longtail boat ride through the mangrove swamps, a cave for canoeing, lunch at the floating village at Koh Panyee, another temple complex within a cave (plus obligatory monkeys) called Suwankhuha, and a visit to a waterfall (dried up, so not much to see).
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  • Day70

    Ao Nang, 2nd day, 26th January 2023

    January 26 in Thailand ⋅ ☁️ 29 °C

    After yesterday's rain-soaked exertions, I was determined to make today a lazy, holiday day. It worked.
    I had a lie-in and spent a bit of the morning checking on the times and prices for getting from here to the airport. Phuket is favourite as I don't fancy the bus and/or train and/or taxi up to Bangkok to save a few quid on the airfare.
    The minibus from Ao Nang to Phuket Airport it will be - in a few days.
    A few people have said something along the lines of 'Stay where you are, it's freezing cold and wet here.' Well, last night was as grim as it ever seems at home - and it should be gloriously hot and sticky and typically tropical.
    Yep, I'm going to spend a few more days in this area - in the Gulf of Thailand - visiting a few more idyllic beaches and topping up the tan. Then I'll head home.
    The hotel I'm staying at - almost certainly for the rest of my time in Thailand is called Fiesta Hostel, but it's the swankiest and priciest place I've staying in this trip. The pool photo is from here. The bar can be a bit noisy, but I slept alright last night. It'll do nicely thanks.
    Today's photos are a representation of what I saw when I opened my eyes in between sunbathing, nibbling fruit, and strolling along the beach-side streets in Ao Nang.
    Spare me some sympathy. It's hell out here :)
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  • Day69

    Ao Nang, 1st day, 25th January 2023

    January 25 in Thailand ⋅ 🌙 23 °C

    Sorry for being tardy and missing a day for these posts.
    You didn't miss much. It. was a travel day - from Koh Tao on the overnight sleeper ferry and minibus. I've had worse, slept a bit too.
    Reading up on places around the Gulf of Siam, Ao Nang came up as probably the best place to be based or the tours around the islands.
    When I got here and found my hotel, I was too early to check in, so went or a quick wander along the beach-side shops and tour operators. One o them looked too good to miss and began in the afternoon, so I paid up and let my hotel know I'd be late in checking in.
    Then, Sod's law, the heavens opened and down came the rain. It got darker and damper. Hell though, I've. paid or an island-hopping tour and I'm damned well going to have one.
    If I could have cancelled, I should have. It was a lousy trip around some spectacularly beautiful beaches and stunning rock formations. The weather got worse (and this is S.E. Asia for Pete's sake) and the photos will show it wasn't a pretty day out on a boat: One of the 'longtail' variety that splutter and fart around these parts. (They'd never pass a marine survey or MOT or whatever in most parts of the world.)
    Our first. stop was in Railay, which is legendary for it's beauty and expensive resorts. It might sound like I'm getting all blasé and up myself, but it was okay, just okay - in a gorgeous way of course. More beaches followed or some excellent snorkelling. The weather, however, wasn't playing fair, and all of us punters on the boat voted to have lunch and then call it quits. We were all getting drenched and cold.
    Lunch in a kind've cafeteria restaurant on Railay beach was okay. Took a while to make our way there - and back - in the dark and over water between jetties.
    A funny old afternoon.
    At this rate, I'm not sure how long I'm staying here. The weather forecast is for more of the same.
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  • Day67

    Koh Tao, 23rd January 2023

    January 23 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Maybe I've earned a lazy afternoon. After all, today's main task was to visit a bank and change my remaining Cambodian Rial to Thai Bhat.
    Well, that was the plan. It's Monday and they should all be open. What could go wrong?
    I went to Bangkok Bank - they wouldn't accept Cambodia's currency. This is beyond weird as they are neighbouring countries. It's like a French bank not accepting Swiss Francs.
    The second bank I went to - same story, so I was left with the money changers :(
    The exchange rate from them was abysmal ! - less than a sixth of the official rate.
    So I threw my teddy out of the pram, kept my cash and went to the beach.
    Not many photos today - I said I deserved a lazy afternoon.
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  • Day66

    Koh Tau, 22nd January 2023

    January 22 in Thailand ⋅ 🌙 26 °C

    What a fabulous island Koh Tau is.
    I reckon I'm going to spend quite a few days here. It's gorgeous.
    Great food, clean beaches, gin-clear water surrounding pretty islands, fantastic snorkelling that cancels any nagging ideas to spend big money on scuba diving (that I almost definitely won't continue back in Blighty).
    Today's thrilling instalment concentrates on a really great trip I took from Mae Haad Pier, just south of where Im staying on Sairee Beach.
    I had an early-ish breakfast (muesli & yoghurt and coffee in a lovely spot just on from my hotel) - a grand view to start the day. Then got picked up by the open backed 'shuttle-truck' with a few others to take us to the jetty and the boat. All nice and smooth, although I insisted on keeping my receipt/ticket.
    The. day was a cracker: a fab hike up the hill that overlooks an even tinier island called Koh Nang Yuan (worth the climb), excellent snorkelling in various gorgeous bays and generally having fun in the sun.
    Lunch was okay, if a bit cold, but the endless fruit, coffee etc., provided was good to have.
    We saw a small (baby?) shark and what seemed to be an enormous turtle. Th guide said it was a 'medium one', and showed us a photo of a larger one! It should make a few gallons of soup. (Oh no, perish the thought.)
    We didn't sail far but it was a brilliant day.
    Came back tired and contented. Aaaaahhh.
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  • Day65

    Siem Reap - Bangkok - Koh Tao, 21/01/23

    January 21 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    The sharp-eyed amongst you will notice I didn't post anything for 20th January. The main reason was that I was mainly travelling and it's a bit tedious sharing my progress from one bus station to another, getting dropped off at some random place in the middle of nowhere and having to find my way. to where I need to be. The other reason is that Chinese New Year is looming and I want to get away from the madness if I can.
    Bangkok is ablaze with street lighting, and the souvenir shops are keeping the Chinese economy afloat. Thailand is calling me.
    I got the early bus out of Siem Reap, deciding to go the overland route back via Bangkok and down to Chumphon. What's Chumphon, you ask? Well, it's the recommended jumping off point for people going on the ferries out to Koh Tao for the diving, Koh Pha Ngan for the 'full moon parties', and Koh Samui for everything else.
    It was another horrendous journey, which I won't go into. It's behind me (again).
    I opted for Ko Tao even though I've now made an executive decision that I'm unlikely to keep my diving qualifications current (too expensive for a pensioner). The world -class snorkelling around picture-perfect islands will suffice.
    Here then are a few shots up to my first day on Koh Tao.
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  • Day63

    Siem Reap/Angkor Wat (2nd half) 19/01/23

    January 19 in Cambodia ⋅ ☁️ 26 °C

    Here's the 2nd half selection from the hundreds of photos I took whilst working my way around Angkor Wat etc.
    Afterwards, there was not much left to do with the day except eat, drink more water, eat again and plan my onward journey tomorrow back to Bangkok, and onward south into Thailand.Read more

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  • Day63

    Siem Reap/Angkor Wat (1st half) 19/01/23

    January 19 in Cambodia ⋅ ☁️ 26 °C

    As most people will know - well almost anybody that's contemplated visiting any of those 'bucket list' destinations - Angkor Wat is right up there near the top of the list.
    And, well...
    The superlatives are about to flow.
    It's big, damned big. No, it's huge. The kind of gargantuan, mind-numbing vastness that it's actually impossible on the ground to get a fix on how far each component bit, each related temple complex, is from the next one. With your ticket (that gets checked by sleepy staff in numerous places a round the complex) you can avail yourself of a map.
    Well, it helped me a little bit, but didn't prevent me from walking far, far too far. Did I say this place was big?
    Eventutally, I had to bite the bullet and hire a tuk-tuk driver to get me around the last few temples and back to my hotel in Siem Reap city.
    Speaking of which; despite being Cambodia's 2nd largest city, Siem Reap seems only to exist as a 'feeder city' for Angkor Wat. I can't for the life in me identify what else it's for. There doesn't seem to be much. industry, a little commerce obviously, but it's mainly tourism-related. It's a dull place, but it doesn't need to bed, I left my hotel early (as the guidebooks tell you) and negotiated a price with a tuk-tuk driver to take me to the ticket office, and then the main entrance to the Angkor Wat complex. It looked vast and forbidding from the front door.
    (How the hell did the people discovering it all get their heads around how much there was hiding in the jungle for all these hundreds of years?)
    The Angkor Wat temple is actually the smaller of the two main temple complexes - and it's gigantic. The square 'moat' around the perimeter must be 400-500 yards across, and is like a shipping canal bordered by banks made from 1000s of huge stones.
    I was pretty pooped working my way through Angkor Wat, and walking the perimeter. Stupidly, I thought I'd taken a clever route and found my way into the largest temple complex, Phnom Bakheng. Not a bit of it. I was (probably literally) miles away.
    Therefore, common sense prevailed for once, persuading me (and my aching back telling me) to get a tuk-tuk for the rest of the morning/day.
    Hell; the place just seemed to get bigger. You cannot see the ends. Long straight roads lead off through what used to be impenetrable jungle and now looks like parkland. I was cream crackers from occasionally jumping off the tuk-tuk to snap yet another crumbling old edifice (insert self joke here).
    Angkor Wat is described as the 8th wonder of the world, and it's justified.
    It's absolutely, definitely, one of the handful of most extraordinary places I have ever been. It defies simple and glib description.
    I hope the photos [*restricted to two halves of 10 each by the site] do it justice. which are in chronological order as I made my way around - as far as I can remember.
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