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Day 4 – Krabi to Phuket

Today we checked out of the lovely Sasi House to make our way to Phuket. We had two options for the trip: the minivan, or take a boat.

We choose, well actually I choose the dreaded minivan, of course I did, I’m a glutton for punishment. Well, I was thinking that there is going to be plenty of boat action ahead, so today was a road day. Helen was entirely convinced.

We booked the trip, 800 baht each, it was due to take roughly two and a half hours. Unsurprisingly, it ended up taking a tad more.

All began very well, an 11am pickup, driver was on time. There were a few couples on the bus already, we were expecting to get straight on the road to Phuket. That’s what we were expecting. It didn’t happen quite like that.

First stop was some sort of out of town bus station where we were told to get off the bus, given stickers with ‘Town’ (Phuket Town) written on and sent to wait in the shade. About 10 mins later and ‘Phuket Town’ was called out and we made our way back on the same bus we had just exited!

Luggage went on the roof, passengers inside (I wouldn’t have been surprised if it was the other way round) and off we went to Phuket. It took quite a while, 4 hours in total, including a couple of fag stops for the driver.

We were dropped off in ‘town’, which ended up being a bus station. So it was a 200 baht taxi to the next stopover, a B&B in Old Town Phuket: Cool Residence.

After a bit of chilling we headed into Old Town for food. It was a short walk to ‘Old Town’ good and proper, although it wasn’t particularly clear what was ‘Old Town’ and what was just ‘Rundown Town’. We wasn’t that impressed.

However, we did find a lovely restaurant, ‘Le Cafe’, where we had the most beautiful food we’ve had on the trip so far. First impressions can be deceiving. Also a chance for Helen to show off her humidity hair.

Day 4 – Krabi. Minivan. Phuket.

Fact of the Day: It is strictly against the law to criticise the monarchy.

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Day 3 – Krabi Town and Tiger Cave Temple #thailand

Slept in until noon today. That’s the jet lag sorted.

So after a quick croissant breakfast we were in a taxi and heading to the Tiger Cave Temple. We didn’t really know what to expect, except a Temple, with various gold Buddha statues, probably a cave, all with some tenuous link to a historical Tiger no doubt.

Well, we were right about the Buddhas. They were everywhere, as well as various temples, statues and other Buddha related paraphernalia.

The Cave? Yep.

The tenuous link to a historical Tiger? Absolutely. A Tiger lived there about 2000 years ago. Before a bunch of monks moved in and kicked it out (not very monklike I know, but there is probably more to the story).

When we got there it was also clear that we may have to climb some steps to reach the piece de resistance (please excuse the lack of accents): a big gold Buddha on top of the hill mountain.

There were some steps: 1287 of them.

Helen made the decision, with hindsight probably the correct decision, not to attempt the climb. The steps were steep and she’s not great when it comes to heights. Apparently, it’s not the going up, it’s the coming down.

Although, like a martyr, in fact probably somewhat like those original monks who got the Buddha up there in the first place, I took on the challenge.

After about 401 steps, I say about, but I should say exactly, the posts on the way up we’re ‘handily’ labelled, I was feeling it. It was very hot, I was sweating, and my legs were aching.

I was thinking of quitting – I was also aware I had the bag with all the money in so Helen was somewhat stranded at the bottom with just her bottle of water for company – but those ancient monks were in my brain and I carried on to the top. What a hero.

There were also monkeys, whose main job in life seemed to be ignore the food everyone was feeding them and terrorise any unsuspecting tourist.

It was an interesting and sweaty afternoon. Would recommend visiting if you ever find yourself in the area and fancy climbing up a bloody great mountain.

After being picked up by taxi we hit Krabi Town for food and drink.

Day 3 – Sleep. Tiger Cave Temple. Krabi.

Fact of the day: the smallest mammal in the world is found in Thailand: the Kitti’s hog-nosed bat. It weighs just two grams.

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Day 2 – Bangkok to Krabi

We’d decided not to have a stop off in Bangkok, firstly Helen had already been there and done the whole tourist thing, and secondly, we just wanted to get to the area we were going to stay for the two weeks, get the majority of the travelling done in one go.

We arrived at Bangkok Airport very sleepy (I find it impossible to sleep in those airplane seats) and with about 2 hours to spare until our flight to Krabi. Plenty of time we thought. That was until we arrived at Bangkok passport control and the slowest moving queue in the world.

What’s that saying? You pays your money and you takes your choice. Not that we paid any extra money to passport control, we’d probably get in trouble trying to do that, but you get the idea.

We chose a queue, the wrong queue of course, but that goes without saying. Every other queue starts moving faster the minute you enter YOUR queue. That is exactly what seemed to happen. The 2 hours ‘spare’ we had turned into a quick 10min sit down before boarding the flight to Krabi. We were knackered.

It was a quick 90 min flight to Krabi, during which time, they once again, tried to stuff us with more food and drink. We barely had time to put the seat belt on before they were shoving some sort of slimy mashed up chicken and mushroom wrap/cake/donut down our throats. Lovely.

At Krabi Airport we went for a ‘bus’ to the hotel rather than a taxi, taking in a bit of local culture and all that. Now, when I say ‘bus’, it actually means minivan – these minivans are infamous – tourists crow barred in with other miserable looking tourists all thinking the same thing – bloody minivans!

It was only a short trip to our first actual accommodation of the holiday, although this wasn’t simple. Our minivan took us into Krabi Town, we didn’t know it at the time, but actually driving past our hotel, before passing us over to another fella with an open top van (think the sort of vans that take animals to the abattoir) to drive us back the way we came to drop us outside our accommodation. But after 20 odd hours travelling, we made it: The Sasi House and a lovely welcome.

We attempted to get straight into the swing of things with coffee and snacks in a local restaurant, before finally deciding on a 4 hour power nap.

That evening, feeling slightly refreshed, we had a wander and explore, before consuming some lovely authentic Thai food in a food market in town.

Day 2 – Krabi. Sleep. Krabi Town. Night Market.

Fact of the Day: Thailand is made up of approximately 1430 islands.

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Day 1 – Bourne to Bangkok (now there’s something you don’t say all that often)

Day 1 began at 5.30am so that we were organised and ready for a 6.30am taxi pickup. Initially we were going to get a bus to Peterborough, but it wasn’t until yesterday that we actually realised it was Good Friday and the buses didn’t start until 7.40am – our train was at 7.42am from Peterborough! So taxi it was then.

Arriving in Peterborough with plenty of time meant a McDonalds breakfast. Well we are on holiday.

Zero dramas on the train to London King’s Cross, or across London on the tube to Heathrow, arriving in plenty of time to check-in before the flight.

We didn’t check-in online, so endured a rather terrifying moment when we were told we were on standby. STANDBY!?! Cue 1000s of images of us waiting for a flight to Thailand as planes come and go with no room on any, only to get the train back to Peterborough in two weeks time, having spent the entire time in a Tom Hanks’ Terminal style nightmare.

However, the lovely people at Thai Airways, managed to get us two aisle seats together. Which considering it was an 11 hour flight was actually a result.

Arrived in Bangkok at about 1am UK time, 6am-ish local time, during which time they stuffed us with plenty of food and enough complimentary drinks to keep us going for the first week of the trip!

Day 1 done. Travelling.

Fact of the day: Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country that was never colonized by an European country. In fact, in the Thai language, the name of the country is Prathet Thai which means ‘land of the free’.

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A Holiday Blog….

A holiday weblog? Why?

I’ve been on holiday for a few days and I’ve noticed loads of people keeping a log of their travels. Now I’m not on a world tour or anything, but nevertheless I like the idea for a number of reasons:

  • Memories – I know we’ve always got our memories but it helps to reread them now and again!
  • Pictures – some pictures need a bit of an explanation to make sense.
  • Every day blurs into the next when on holiday – this gives some order to the happenings.
  • And of course, tell the world what I’ve been doing.

So hold on tight, it will begin, rather belatedly, very soon….