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Marc and Nic's Message Page

Updated 08/03/08
 

Hello All!

Here is our last log from Thailand. The good news is that the day before leaving Koh Samui for Malaysia Nicola visited the hospital and was able to have the cast taken off!! Apparently, it has healed really quickly (not surprising considering all we have done for the last week is sit outside the beach hut and read!!).  We did manage to go into town for a night out only to find when we got there that no bars were serving any alcohol due to the elections being held, however we managed to find an Australian guy who owned a bar and he was serving beer in mugs!! (where theres a will theres a way!).

Lamai Beach
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Lamai Beach, Koh Samui!
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Drinking beer out of Mugs!!
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The journey from Koh Samui to Penang was a fare old slog, starting with an early wake up call at 4:30a.m we were picked up from our accommodation and taken to a luxury coach on the other side of the island.  As you have read previously luxury does not always mean reliable, give us an old wreck that’s gone around the clock any day! The coach then took us a bit further along the island before getting onto a Ferry for an hour and a half’s trip over to Don Sak on the mainland of Thailand.

The Ferry journey was really special due to the early hour of the morning and the breathtaking views. We sailed along in-between tiny deserted islands towering out of the sea covered in green and surrounded by white sand, at one point the heavens opened and we had to jump under deck but luckily for us it was just a passing shower and we were able to get back on top and admire the view. Here are some of the pics that we took on the way!!

Marc on the top deck
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Nic enjoying the view!
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The approach to the Ferry terminal!
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Once back on the mainland we travelled to the second capital city of Thailand Hat Yai to change to a mini bus. This was where we first noticed the large Muslim community and in turn a big difference in the culture from what we had seen throughout the rest of Thailand. We had a two hour wait for the bus so we grabbed something to eat at the bus company’s cafe. As a rule when eating in these places we ask specifically for no meat, just vegetables…whether it be sweet and sour veg, curried veg, stir fried veg whatever it might be, but always just veg (This is since somewhere along the journey we seen how they prepare the meat and believe us you would also only go for veg!). So after asking for stir fried veg with boiled rice we thought that we had got the message over to them that we wanted NO meat. The meal was plonked in front of us. We had chicken, pork, beef, fish, octopus legs and squid, stir fried with no veg!!! Lost in translation we think!! Needless to say we carried on our journey with our stomachs full of rice!

The bus finally turned up. With some confusion we were moved from one mini bus to another but eventually we set off for Penang. The good thing about Thailand is that the roads are just like home but without the congestion. About 2 hours into our journey we approached the Malaysian Border, we all had to get off the bus with our bags and then meet on the other side.

The Malaysian border control!
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It had been a long day’s travel and coupled with the driver deciding he would have a kip for part of the journey it really was nice to get out of the bus. The final bit of the Journey was just to flag down a taxi and get to Betu Ferringi which was just a short trip to the beach area of the island. We shared the Taxi with a Swedish couple that we had met on the bus as they were heading in the same direction.

As we are now in Malaysia, the rest of our diary has been put onto the Malaysia & Singapore page…

Updated 22/02/08
 

Hi Everyone!

Hope everyone is well in good old Blighty! Well, below this paragraph is the update that was due to go onto the website on our second day in Koh Tao, however, we are now sat putting this onto the website 2 days later on Koh Samui! Here is what happened on our one night in Koh Toa…! We arrived by catamaran on to Koh Tao at about 4 p.m, after walking around for a good couple of hours, we had managed to find some accommodation in a not too glamour’s guest house, well more of an escort bar really with a bizarre Thai kickboxing ring in the middle but there was absolutely nothing left on the island and we figured it would only be for one night and we would book into the AC Resort down the beach for the following night, little did we know we would be spending the following night on a completely different island! We dumped our bags and went to the beach to grab something to eat as it was getting on a bit. The food happened to be the only highlight of the night, we found a BBQ on the beach and it was gorgeous, once we had eaten we decided to walk the long way along the beach and back to get some sleep. As we walked and before we realised there was a huge ditch running along the beach and we had both just fallen into it, Marc fell flat footed and Nic fell on to the side of her left foot, immediately knowing that things weren’t as they should be concerning the foot area! (ouch! and we weren’t even under the influence!) Marc managed to get one of the locals to bring a pickup to the side of the beach and drive us back to the guesthouse. The next morning (Nic with a swollen foot) we went to the hospital just down the road and they were able to x-ray it and while Nic waited for the results Marc had to move the backpacks down the beach to a new accommodation as we didn’t know at this point we would have to be moved off the island to Koh Samui.  The hospital confirmed that Nic had broken her 5th metatarsal in her left foot (If Nic would have known at the time of the fall, she would have rolled about on the floor just like Wayne Rooney did when he broke his!). For Nic the next four hours were worse than actually breaking it as it was bloody embarrassing!  The doctor at Koh Tao explained that we would have to get the boat to Koh Samui Island with a nurse in toe, as this is the closest hospital that could decide what the best course of treatment would be. Marc had to once again go and pick up the luggage, try and get the money back from the accommodation that he had just booked us into for two nights and sort out the Travel Insurance. The hospital sent us both along with the nurse to the harbour where we boarded a boat to Koh Samui. Nic had to get lifted onto and off the boat, which was highly embarrassing. Once we got to the Koh Samui side we were met by 3 more nurses and an ambulance! The boat was absolutely packed with other tourists so we held back while they all departed; Marc was like a pack horse carrying all the bags while two of the workers from the boat carried Nic off. Due to there being a hideous amount of steps to the harbour Nic had to sit on her backside and use her arms to pull up each step. We both got in the ambulance and were taken to the hospital which turned out to be the most fantastic hospital we’ve ever been to. We were seen immediately with none of the 6 hour waits there are back in the UK, the Nurses were amazing and the Doctor was great in explaining everything (well we suppose it should be good for 650 quid! and the rest when the cast comes off).  He explained that Nic would need to wear a cast but was quite happy that it should mend relatively quickly and be fit to be playing volley ball on the beach in no time! Nic was just relieved that no injections and no operations were needed and more to the point we could carry on with our travels after a few weeks!

So there you have it and Koh Tao looked so nice as well! We are now stranded for hopefully just two weeks on the Island of Samui, not a bad place to have to sit, read a couple of books and relax for a couple of weeks by anyone’s standards! We managed to find a cheap bungalow right on the beach where Nic can put her foot up and recover! Here are the photos of the lovely cast,

Below you will find an update of us all living it up in Bangkok and Hua Hin!

The Thai boxing ring at the guest house!
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Nic with the Nurses meeting us at Koh Samui!
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Our transport from the Koh Samui harbour!
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Nic in the hospital with her plaster cast!
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Nic relaxing (with cast) at our beach bungalow!
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Lamai beach where we are staying!
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Day 2 into the 'get foot better' experience!
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Nic's view from her recovery bed!
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Hi All! (Remember this was before the dodgy foot came into affect!)

Okay, were well and truly into our Thailand experience now and on the way to Koh Tao, we have a good three hour coach journey which were on now as we type (the coach actually broke down just after finishing this write up and we had to stand at the side of the road for 1 hour while they found another coach!) and then onto a catamaran for a further hour and 45 minutes.  So we thought we would take the time to catch up on what we have been up to in our first couple of weeks in Thailand. Its also going to be quite hectic now until we get down to Singapore as we only have two weeks and  four days to travel the rest of Thailand and get through Malaysia to catch our flight from Singapore to Perth!

Crossing the border

As soon as we crossed the boarder things changed! We travelled to the Cambodian border by bus, walked across the border for about 15 minutes and then walked into passport control on the Thai side. Once we had passed through passport control we then walked out of the compound and were met by the bus company that would take us the rest of the way to Bangkok. The bus that we travelled to the Cambodian border in was old, had two people to each seat and the air-con worked whenever it felt like, which to be honest wasn’t too bad considering the normal Cambodian style when travelling by road and we had travelled in a lot more cramped conditions during our time in Cambodia, however, on crossing the Thai boarder we were met by a luxury minivan and a major bonus, it was just one person per seat…happy days!! The roads also got a lot more civilized as well and it was straight onto a major motorway all the way to Bangkok. I think the point were trying to make is that Tourism has just landed big time in Cambodia and the country has not yet caught up, which isn’t a bad thing as it still feels when you visit certain areas like you are discovering things and places that not an awful lot of people have seen, were as Thailand is a road well travelled and the country has definitely benefited from the money that tourism brings, though you cant help but feel like just another tourist sheep!

 

Bangkok

We had a couple of days to kill before meeting up with Nic’s Mum, Dad, Kev & Chloe and had booked into a place called Asha Guesthouse. When we first arrived it was a bit of nightmare because the minivan dropped us off at Kohsan Road (backpacker central!) which happened to be on the other side of town to where we were staying and at this point we didn’t really have a clue where the guesthouse was! Once we found a Tuk Tuk driver who knew where the guest house was we decided he was trying to rip us off so we walked to a internet cafe on Kohsan road and rang the guest house, who explained we should only be paying half the price the first driver had quoted and not to get in a taxi unless the driver worked off the meter. I think we knew what we were in for in Bangkok when the lady in the internet café said to Marc “Hello Daaaarling, are you by yourself Daaaarling!!” Everywhere we looked there were massage parlors and escort bars as well as a few dubious looking girls that by the size of their adams apples had definitely one day been called Steve instead of Eve!! We spent the first few days in Bangkok just getting our bearings and finding our feet before everyone arrived, just so that we had a few things planned for when they arrived. We just thank the lord that Bangkok has a sky train as the traffic is total gridlock! You can literally walk faster in the center of Siam than you can travel if you’re in a taxi! The sky rail happened to be a god send and they are now in the process of extending it right the way through to the Airport, though don’t hold your breath as work seems to be coming along at a snails pace!

We were able to check-in at the hotel (that we would all be staying in) at 12am (The Key Apartments) which was a good 4 hours before everyone was arriving. You can imagine what we were like as we have stayed in hostels and guesthouses so far and to be in a 5 star apartment was like all our birthdays coming at once! We were really excited about them all arriving so we watched a DVD, ordered a pizza and just stayed in and enjoyed the luxury of air-con! It was hilarious; it was like we had never stayed in a hotel before! We were looking at the kettle in the room as though it had been beamed down from outer space.

Everyone arrived early evening. We found a bar and restaurant a couple of blocks down the road from where we were staying. It was a bit of a walk and after seeing numerous rats on the way and just about surviving the smells of the city we arrived at the bar called The Office for something to eat and settled in for the night, ready for the Liverpool match to start against Chelsea.

The following day we all took the sky rail to Siam in the centre of Bangkok and went to the Siam shopping centre (Central Bangkok). This place is a definite case of shop till you drop! There is also a great Ocean World in the basement of the shopping Mall which we visited and also an amazing cinema (IMAX) on the 5th floor where we caught a couple of new releases. Here are a few pics..

Marc in the barbours chair! Sweeny Todd!
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At The Office pub to watch the match. 1st night!
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Big crab!
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Novelty drinks at Ocean World!
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On the glass bottom boat at Ocean World!
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Nic with Mum and Dad with huge fish tank!
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Nic suggests what she would like for her birthday!
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Enjoying a drink at Hard Rock Cafe Bangkok!
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The second day we travelled to the River by Sky Train and then travelled along on the Tourist boat. We got off at the 8th stop for the Royal Palace and Wat Po.

The Royal Palace & Wat Po (Lying Buddha)

We think we had possibly picked the hottest day on record to go to the Palace and Wat Po so you an imagine we didn’t linger for a great deal of time as we were all fit to drop after a couple of hours walking around! Here are the photos of us all dying in the heat!

Boat trip on the Chao Pra river through Bangkok!
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Wat Po (Lying Buddha)
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Inside the Royal Palace!
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Getting ready for the changing of the guards!
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Banyon Tree Hotel

This great hotel has an open air bar and restaurant on the roof called Vertigo. It holds the most amazing views across Bangkok and we would say it is a must do even with the expensive menu.

Here's some more info on the Vertico bar

http://www.banyantree.com/bangkok/facilities/dining/vertigo.html 

Enjoying a drink at the Vertigo bar Bangkok!
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Pat Pong Market (Which we kept calling Ping Pong Market…wonder why!?!)

Pat Pong was another world but then saying that so is the whole of Bangkok really. In the middle there are numerous stalls selling everything from T-shirts to paintings and at the side of the stalls there are a long line of Go Go bars all with names such as Pussy Galore & Nips with clips! (Classy place or what?!?) There is no need to go inside these joints if you were so inclined as you only need to walk past to see what’s going on as most of them have open windows and doors just so you can see what your missing, or not as the case may be! The final night in Bangkok we went to Kohsan Road so they could all see the delights of backpackers central and see the food stalls with fried Grasshopper and Fried Cockroach!

Down at Koh San Road!
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Hua Hin & the Villa

This was a complete chill out time; the villa was amazing so a great place just to relax by the pool and in the Jacuzzi. It was only a short Tuk Tuk ride into town, which is where we went each night to the night markets, bars and restaurants. We went to the Sofitel Hotel for afternoon tea and scones which was fantastic. It is set in lovely gardens right on the beach and is a buffet of savory’s and sweets..delicious!

That’s all for now folks, we would just like to say a big thank you to the part time backpackers that joined us on our 8 day trip in Thailand, we had a fantastic time and you know where to find us if you want to do it again in a few months time!

Loads of love & hugs Nic and Marc x

Relaxing in the Jacuzzi!
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Making the most of the pool at the Villa!
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Kev with his minibar in the pool!
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Brian and Marc stood outside the Villa!
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Heading down to get the taxi into town!
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Not your normal taxi into town!
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The Sofitel Hotel afternoon tea!
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Back of a pickup to catch the coach to Koh Toa!
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Our 1st luxury coach and it broke down!!
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On the way to Koh Toa!

The only things in life you regret are the things you don't do!