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Thailand 2005


The end of 2014 and Spring 2015 had significant events for us as I had just turned 50 and in April 2015 was our 25th wedding anniversary. The choice was silver presents or silver sands and tropical sunsets - a no-brainer really so silver sands it would be and our first long haul flight since before the children were born. Thailand here we come, although watching TV on Boxing  2014 did make us question our decision as the devastation caused by the tsunami left us with severe doubts whether we were doing the right thing.


Our plan is simple, a few nights in Bangkok, then travel to Koh Samui en route to Koh Phangan and fly to Phunket but with only our first few nights booked in Bangkok and then see what happens. We are still using this loose format as it gives us freedom to change plans when we wish.


 



Bangkok


Meeting up with friends in faraway places has something very special about it and our first evening was spent with Steve, Graham and Pete but as pleasant was it was we needed to set out on our own to explore Bangkok and what an experience.


The tropical heat and humidity was something we were used to and wow it was fantastic, in fact, we still go to South East Asia at the “wrong” time, meaning when it at it’s hottest in April/May.


Apart from the Grand Temple we walked around Bangkok for hours and hours, also booking the next leg of our journey to Koh Samui via Koh Phangan on the overnight train and ferry. God they’re so SLOW!!!


Enjoy the slideshow.


 



Koh Phangan

After a long interrupted sleep on the night train and a slow boat to Koh Samui we caught the fast ferry to our destination.

How is this for being laid-back? Even as we walked down the jetty I was reading the guidebook trying to decide where to head and by the time we reached the end we had opted for Haad Yao and in particular Long Bay Resort. Well, we hadn’t made a reservation so guess what? No rooms - moved instead the the Long Beach Resort - dead cheap and very very basic but the wow factor was amazing. Step out of our hut on to an empty beach of the bay and a coral wall in easy swimming distance. Well worth packing the snorkelling gear!!!

Certainly not the best, in fact possibly the worst, place we have stayed but it’s wow factor made up for the lack of sheets, paper thin curtains and bucket loo.

We also managed to find time for a day trip to Koh Tao and Koh Nangyuan islands before returning to Koh Samui for the flight to Phuket.

Koh Samui

After the tranquility of Haad Yao this island, or our choice of location, was a nightmare but, fortunately, we were only over-nighting there before flying to Phuket.

Already had booked a hotel on the south-west corner of the island but really didn’t know how much recovery the island had made since the Boxing Day Tsunami but shortly we would find out.



Phuket and other islands

We booked a couple to nights on Rawai Beach as a base for visiting the Phi Phi Islands in the gulf and had an excellent day trip around several of the islands and a survivor’s account of that fateful day, Our guide for the day, Oak, was actually out of the water as the Tsunami passed underneath his boat. As we didn’t really know what to expect I suppose we were delighted to see so little damage but then we started noticing some other the locals eyes, they were dead as if life and emotions had abandoned them.

We also spend one day on another local beach before heading to a beach on the north west of the island and although the damage seemed slight there were tear jerking sights in the flotsam - toddler’s shoes was probably the worst. But on the other hand the hotels and beaches were deserted and, in hindsight, I feel quite bad accepting such massive discounts.

Enjoy our last few pictures of Phuket and the islands we visited



Some thoughts

Having re-read this I can only be amazed how bad I am at telling a story. I seem to miss all the significant stuff and just write a factual “report”.

Let me see if I can rectify that - OK.

Temperatures in the high 30’s with 80% humidity isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but it certainly works for us. The snorkelling was fantastic with such a variety of fish that we won’t see better until several year later when we went to Borneo. Great food but eating great food on a beach in the twilight, the soft white sand in your toes and a small fire right next to your table is wow oh wow.

Actually, I remember saying that I had felt sorry for your daughters because they “did” Thailand in their gap years and I think, as a 50 year “old” we had a bigger wow factor. We loved it, the food, the people and the weather!!!