Tag Archives: world

Phi Phi

January 13, 2019

Well this is us back on the road after five days lounging around in Kata, Phuket. 

We have to say that the beach and sea will be very difficult to beat. The town itself is like any other tourist area with numerous bucket and spade shops, bars and street vendors. There are regular patrols of those wanting to offer massages on the beach, umbrellas, melons, boat rides and much more. You will have to google ‘long tail boat’ to see some of the fun, intriguing and frankly amazing local transportation. We will be using one tomorrow so hope it’s safe. ! The tuk tuks here have four wheels. ! It’s not right….

Anyway we paid up the paltry sum of 5100 baht (£124ish) for our dinners for four nights. Happy with that. We did have to utilise a discount card and 2 for 1 on drinks to get there though. Tight northern git…! Well we do have 7 weeks left to go…

So we took the hotel transfer minibus to the ferry port on the eastern side of Phuket to get the two hour crossing to Phi Phi Island. We had no previous plans as to where to go but this quickly became a prime destination when we discovered how close it was and that it was a stopover on the way to Krabi. Thought it may be nice to stop over for a couple of days in the iconic islands before taking the second leg to Krabi on Tuesday. 

It was bloody hot on the ferry but lounging on the open deck was a must. The ferry actually does a little tour on the way in so you get a good view of the island and Phi Phi Lay next door. 

Phi Phi Island

Wow, what an awesome place. You may have seen pictures previously but hopefully my photos have uploaded onto the blog this time. Volcanic eruptions some little while ago have pushed these mountains straight up out of the sea. We were absolutely gobsmacked by the size and majesty of this area. Highlight of the trip so far and it is to be recommended. 

The disembark..disimbarkacion…when we left the ferry it was chaos with dozens of us fighting to pull our suitcases (with wheels!) from under a pile at the back (stern apparently!) and it was roasting hot. Mid 30s. 

There was only one way to survive this chaos and intense heat. McDonalds. Yes I know. ! But it was air conditioned, had a toilet and it gave us chance to go online to find a hotel. They also do some splendid burgers…..

This area is sooooo touristy that prices are high. Lastminute.com and booking.com couldn’t find much but Agoda found a good 53% discount on a three ⭐️ within 200 yards. Job done. Paid for online and confirming email received. We so love this planning-on-the-go stuff. 

Well, as you may recall it is 35 degrees hot. Me and the tireless Mrs Blakey have to drag our two backpacks and two suitcases on wheels just 200 yard to the hotel. How come it took 25 minutes?! GPS bloody navigation that’s why. We walked up and down the same paths numerous times, passing the same old fish stall with an increasingly dying tray of lobsters only to revert to the good old fashioned ‘asking’ someone. Well several people actually as we managed to transform the 200 yards into about 1/4 mile. !

Anyway… the hotel is not that great. Clean ish. Aircon takes a while to get sorted but we have a view of the mountains that should be dazzling in first light tomorrow. 

Beautiful – But it doesn’t go beyond knee deep..!

 I have rambled on enough and my fat fingers are hurting. In summary we have been in the sea in two different bays this afternoon and we had dinner next to the beach and we are back in the room now. 

There is rather a big problem with this part of the island though. It doesn’t matter how far you walk out into the sea it never gets deeper than knee deep.. makes swimming awks. They don’t tell you that in the brochures do they?! 

Tomorrow early o’clock we are off on one of the aforementioned long tail boats to Noi Bay for what promises to be top snorkelling. According to our long tail boat driver David Beckham. Who knew…

Did you know…Thailand’s New Year is April 13th..! Strange.

And reeelax..

January 10, 2019

After the painful day… this is the view to great us in the morning. Bliss

Kata beach Phuket 

Thankfully there is a lot less to add to the blog today. I am not great with these fat fingers touch typing on my phone. The blog layout is a similar problem as it is such a small screen. I would love to be able to improve these bits but it’s just awks. 

Today. Sat by the pool at who knows 30+ degrees of clear sunshine and light breeze. ☀️

Yesterday was a much calmer 24hours than previously regarding our activities (sorry!). 

We had a change of room for the added four days. On the beach by 11.30 though and absolutely perfect conditions. Hot, light breeze, plenty of space good quality sand, blue/turquoise sea which was warm.. nice. Andaman sea part of the Indian Ocean. 

Late lunch of noodles and chicken overlooking the beach then snorkels out and head for the rocks. Twas a bit sandy and it was getting dark but we found angel fish, puffers, whittles, whattles and grumdeons. (Some of those may be made up!)

I managed to slice a chunk is skin off my foot on the rocks but that’s as exciting as the day got. AND no Marine Stingers. Phew. 

Walked a mile and back along the lovely beach as the sun went down by 6.30. It is so good to enjoy the warmth at that time of evening amongst hundreds of others still out there. 

Back to the room for shower and change and grabbing a G&T on the balcony. (Gotta save a few quid where we can by buying from the local Family Mart). 

Dinner outside at the hotel restaurant with a view of the beach. What’s not to love. …

Bed by 10.30. A well deserved rest.. 

Did you know…..Thailand is the only South Asian country that has never been colonised by a European country. In the Thai language the name of the country is Prathet Thai meaning Land of the Free. 

The outcome-kidnap and extortion

January 09, 2019 

Wednesday 9th January. Phuket 

Well… we are sitting in a beach restaurant having been swimming sun bathing in 30 or so degrees in sun on Kata beach. We have used the joys of lastminute.com to extend our stay in the Orchidaesa hotel nearby. 50% cheaper at £60 per night including breakfast. 

So yesterday.. this may be a long boring blog but it is all in the detail. 

As you may recall we were headed south on the brilliant overnight sleeper (soft bed 2nd class air conditioning!) train from Bangkok to Surat Thani. We had purchased a transfer coach to Phuket with the agent in Bangkok. All sweet. We neither of us slept more than two hours of the 12 hour journey despite the comfy bed and cosy layout. Probably that clickety clack noise going on outside! But no probs as we had only a three hour transfer to go…

So, we are shepherded onto a ramshackle coach with other European tourists as expected and settled down with a couple of hours sleep in mind. The company on our paperwork was for Songserm and the man at the coach had ID and company logo on his shirt. He asked us where we were going before we left. 

After about 30 mins the coach pulls over to the side of the road and someone calls ‘Phuket’ several times. We are apparently the only going there so we get off and he explains we have to transfer to another coach, there is just us two …. odd. 

We are then ushered into an open sided minivan (as in the picture) with a male and female up front. ‘So, what is happening’? I ask. ‘You go in this’ says the slightly uncertain little man arranging the transfer. Just the two of us. Odd. 

Me and Mich are sitting on our luggage nervously laughing about this as you would. I then use my phone and our very useful mobile WiFi (brilliant kit) and look on google maps. Where are we..?

Well.. Phuket is due west and we were way out of Surat Thani headed EAST toward the coast. erm.. this nervous laughed turned into more nervous and less laugh. Then we turn off this little road and head onto a rough potholed dirt track into what looks like a scrap yard. Just the two us. Phuk. !

We jumped out and I start raising my voice in that BADASS cop way. This doesn’t seem to help. !

A woman in a kiosk checks our paperwork for the bus and invites us back into the minivan for our transit to the coach to Phuket. ‘What the Phuk is going on’ says us.  Shouting now. 

Anyway their English is not great but we have little option. In the middle of nowhere. Me and Mrs BB two backpacks, two suitcases. The only thing we can think to do that may help someone find our bodies is to start shooting. Camera, that is! Put the location services on, take photos and hope that someone will think to interrogate my MacBook at home. I took photos of our Dream Team kidnappers too (which didn’t help the ambience). 

This is where the abductors took us….in broad daylight. Scary? ..Yes?

Told you this was a long story..

We are then taken on this minivan further east but at least back into civilisation. We are taken to a large bust depot after a 20 minute drive and extracted from the minivan. 

We decided we needed to assert our authority and speak to the head man. Didn’t help. He now says ‘You travel to Phuket on this coach’ pointing to an even more ramshackle coach alongside. ‘Leave in 40 minutes. Six hours’ noooo. We are really stuck for choices. I wandered round to the other bus companies in the square. Most are the same company. I found one called Phantip. Ha, escape. 

This is also part of Songserm. Doh. 

With little option I return to the head man. Taxi? 6000 Thai Baht he says. (£150)..! No that’s bloody ridiculous. RIP off. Extortion. 

This guy was particularly unfriendly. Gold tooth and all..!

We got in the coach for the sjx hour planned ramshackle ride on the ramshackle route with the same bandit company we were struggling with. WTF can we do…!

Two of us, two backpacks and two suitcases on wheels. Can’t run. 

Michelle then said the most important two words she has ever said to me ‘TAXI…NOW..! I love this girl. 

So we then manage to barter the 6000 baht extortion to the 4500 baht extortion (up front) and agree a taxi. Are we still concerned ? Hell Yes.! He has the cash and the taxi is likely to be his redneck cousin with gold teeth in a beat up Chevy with God knows what intent. 

Anyway this story has a happy ending as a classic taxi pulls up saves us from the….representatives of Songserm. The driver is a nice man with wonky teeth called Mr Chang. (No…his teeth weren’t called Mr Chang, he was!)

He took us beyond Phuket and to our hotel door. Three hours. We love Mr Chang. He doesn’t like the SongSperm gangsters either. 

Mr Chang’s Taxi. I took the photo in case I needed the reg number for police later.. !

——

Well after travelling 22hours, only sleeping two hours in two days we were finally able to relax into our hotel near the beach. Nooooo. Not so. It was appalling. The walls had peeling paintwork, the place was dirty and smelly and worst of all the bedding was filthy and stained. So lastminute.com and we booked our room here. Half a mile up the road..along a narrow steep hill. Two backpacks two suitcases on wheels and two very weary travellers. We still had the energy to explain this was our fifth wedding anniversary (old habits) to get an upgrade, complimentary drinks and discount dinner. To be honest I would have thrown us out on the street as we looked like street dwellers by then. 

We did manage to dash out onto the beach for a relaxing swim after our ordeal and help our recovery from PTSD. ! 

We got stung lots of times by the Marine Stinger jellyfish..ho hum..! Goodnight. 

Did you know.. over 90% of the Thai population are Buddhists.

Kidnap & Extortion

January 08, 2019 

Tuesday 8th January. Train to Phuket. 

Unbelievably we have had a more ‘exciting’ day today. That’s NOT a good thing. 

Yes, she does look worried..

We are sitting in the restaurant of our four star hotel at 9.30pm in Kata beach Phuket. It has been the most exciting, amazing, scary, outrageous and frustrating day we would not like to repeat. Sitting here now it’s funny but 12 hours ago it was very different. 

We have had about 2 hours sleep in two days so this will be brief. 

Transport to Phuket- Kidnap vehicle..!

Kidnapping by bus company, extortion, abysmal initial hotel and marine stingers summarises our day. !

Delightfully happy and relieved…and safe now. Will put more details later. 

Zzzzzzzzzzz