Posts Tagged ‘Thailand’

In a few short hours we will be on a plane to Africa, leaving Southeast Asia to our memories. We had such a fantastic time here. It’s about as far away as you can get from home for us. There are many different religions, languages and customs. All this makes for exciting travels, and was for the most part (excluding Sumatra) relaxing and easy. Before leaving, there are just a few random things we wanted to reflect on. For those of you lucky enough to have visited this part of the world, I’m sure you will be able to relate.


The last beach

sparkly soft sand

Before leaving Thailand for good, we craved a little more beach time; a beach all to ourselves. Does such a place even exist anymore? It does, providing you’re willing to give up a few creature comforts, such as electricity and espresso machines. And in some cases, hire expensive longboats to take you on scouting missions. Our paradise was found on the island of Tarutao. (This should be the last of our paradise-gushing posts for a while now.)


Lagoon in Rai Leh


This panoramic shot was stitched together from multiple photos. It’s a shot of the lagoon in Rai Leh that Meghan mentioned in her last post. It was pretty spectacular, to say the least. Click on the photo for a closer look.

Rocks ‘n Raileh

raileh peninsula

The Canadians we met in Khao Sok raved about the beaches of Rai Leh, in Krabi province. Since they were on our way south, we decided to see what all the hype was about. We took a couple local buses from Khao Sok to Krabi Town. There isn’t a whole lot to the town itself, it’s more of a jumping off point to many of Thailands famous beach destinations, including the Phi Phi Islands, Phuket, Lanta, and Rai Leh. From Krabi Town we jumped on a longtail taxi boat to get to Rai Leh. Rai Leh is a peninsula attached to the mainland; a boat is required to get there because the surrounding cliffs make it impossible to reach otherwise.


Climbing the karsts

Climbing the karsts

Yep, that’s me. More on that soon…

View from our bungalow

After our fourth visit to Bangkok, we made our way south to Khao Sok National Park. The park is in the interior of the sourthern, peninsular part of Thailand, and is somewhat less frequented by the mobs of tourists that seem to be over-running the country’s beaches these days. We arrived via a comfortable overnight train ride from Bangkok, followed by a scenic mini-bus ride. Huge limestone karsts reached skyward all around us, dripping in thick green jungle and vines. Gibbons and exotic birds provided a continuous soundtrack. We found a great guesthouse called Smiley’s, with super-friendly staff, and checked into a cheap little bungalow with a view of the cliffs. We were ready to dive head-first into some national-park caliber nature.


Bangkok round 4

We’re back in Bangkok for the fourth time now. I successfully picked up my new passport, and now I have 48 shiny new blank pages to fill with visas and stamps in Africa. Tomorrow we’re leaving for Khao Sok National Park in the south of Thailand, and I have to say that it’s almost strange to be on the move again after nearly three weeks of stationary relaxing on Koh Tao. We’re getting used to the feeling of shouldering our packs again :)

We realized yesterday while reminiscing over some older photos that we neglected to post our album from Cinque Terre in Italy, which we visited way back in November of 2009. It’s now up on the photos page, way down between Tuscany and Switzerland. Better late than never, right?

On deck and in the hole

Our sojourn in Koh Tao almost over. It has been a welcome change of pace for us to spend a few weeks in just one place. We’re starting to look ahead because just over a month from now, our epic African overland adventure is set to begin in Cape Town. Will we have to fly? All signs point to yes. (More on this to come.)

Tomorrow we’ll be heading back to Bangkok on an overnight bus to TCOB. Before heading south with Mike and Sarah, we had to drop off Mark’s passport at the Canadian Embassy for renewal. Although it wasn’t due to expire until 2014, he was nearly out of pages. And since we require at least 20 blank pages for our African trip, he we had no choice but to renew, pay a pile of cash and wait 3+ weeks to pick it up. At least he will have a 48-page passport this time. Fortunately we can save a little cash on me since I also have a UK Passport with oodles of blank pages I can use to travel Africa. While in Bangkok Mark will also get a last shot of Hep B and we’ll both look into getting Rabies (vaccinations that is). Fun stuff!

After Bangkok part 3, we’ll head south again with stops in Khao Sok National Park and perhaps Koh Lipe, an island on the Adaman coast just north of Malaysia. Then we’ll do some hiking in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia before making our way to Kuala Lumpur where there are direct flights leaving for Johannesburg…

Birthday in paradise

The old man himself

My 29th birthday was spent relaxing in paradise. We woke up and scootered into town for a delicious, huge english breakfast at Zest Café. Mmmmmmmm…delicious eggs, bacon, toast, beans, tomato, sausage and hashbrowns. It may sound run-of-the-mill to those of you who can get that any day of the week, but it’s a pretty rare thing to find a good Western-style breakfast in this part of the world. What you often get is white bread, hotdog posing as sausage, and weak, thin strips of bacon. Not at Zest Café! A brilliant way to start a birthday.


Neighbours reunited

After nearly three weeks of good times, our dear friends Mike and Sarah have gone back home to Ottawa, to snow, winter, and cold. They left behind sunny beaches, clear water, and two travelers with no bridge partners.

After our visit to Cambodia and the Temples of Angkor, we headed back through Bangkok and then south towards the fabled islands of Thailand. We packed a ton of traveling into the first part of Mike and Sarah’s visit, including an overnight bus ride from Bangkok to the ferry at Chumphon. It was time to find a beach and relax. Our destination: Koh Tao, also known as Turtle Island. We were looking for blue water and white beaches, and we found them in a big way. We arrived on the island early in the morning and checked in to Freedom Beach Resort on Chalok Bay, where we rented bungalows on the hills above the beach. Then what did we do? Breakfast and bridge. It would become a theme.


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