13.12.2013 - 30.12.2013 30 °C
Firstly let me start by apologising for my lack of blog updating recently, my only excuse is the amount of time I've spent lazing on an array of beautiful Thai beaches...
We arrived on our first Thai island, Koh Tao, on 14th December after starting our journey to Thailand from Cambodia the previous day! We started with two buses taking us from Battambang, Cambodia to the border, where we then transfered to a mini bus which took us to Bangkok. The mini bus jaunt was by far the most awful journey of our whole trip (up to this point!) - the driver, a Lewis Hamilton wannabe, took corners at over 100kmph, overtook lorries, weaved throughout traffic and genuinely made me fear for my life! Upon arriving in Bangkok, we got on the first available night train taking us to Chumphon, where we then took the ferry across to Koh Tao! This amounted to 26 hours of travel overall - we were both exhausted!
Arriving in Koh Tao, this journey from hell was all made worthwhile - the island is absolutely beautiful, and was a perfect introduction to the Thai islands and beaches.
After Koh Tao, we decided to skip the tourist trap that is Koh Samui and the party, drug-renowned Phangnan island and headed straight to the opposite coast, The Andaman Sea side. So, trumping our journey to Koh Tao was our journey leaving Koh Tao - an overnight 8 hour boat! I was expecting a fairly well equipped ferry with personal cabins - as you'll see in the below photos, the reality couldn't have been further from this! My face pretty much sums up how happy I was with this situation! I get really sea sick, and this tiny slaveship-esque fishing boat did nothing to help. For days afterwards I felt like I was swaying!!
(No, our boat wasn't the brightly lit fancy thing in the background, it was the small dilapidated fishing vessel in front of it.)
The journey was absolutely worth it though as the area we stayed in, Ao Nang in Krabi, was gorgeous and without a doubt home to some of the most beautiful beaches I'll ever see. My favourite was Railay peninsula, which is a 15 minute longtail boat ride from where we were staying. It was absolute paradise.
Ao Nang Beach
Sunset on Ao Nang Beach
Railay West Beach
Hat Phra Nang Beach - my most recommended place so far. It felt as if I'd walked into a postcard. The sea was so calm, clear and warm, and the sand so soft and golden.
After a few nights in Ao Nang (not long enough) we took the ferry over to Koh Phi Phi - yes, it is just as stunning as you'd imagine! Amazing karst peaks intermingle with dense green forestry to create a beautiful backdrop. We stayed away from the Magaluf-esque main town, instead choosing a little resort on the East side of the island with it's own private cove of beach. We had a cosy bamboo bungalow right on the beach, where we woke each morning to the sound of waves breaking the shore - bliss! The perfect place for some r & r - I got in plenty of quality time with my Kindle!
The view from our beach bungalow.
During our stay in Phi Phi we made the thirty minute, sweaty jungle trek to the highest point of the island, to the viewpoint. It gave us a gorgeous view of the island as the sun was setting. And gave me an excuse for an ice cream when we got back!
We left Phi Phi on Monday, after three blissful nights, and headed to Koh Lanta - the location of our luxury Christmas break. We've been here five out of seven nights now, and I am so wishing we could stay longer! I can definitely appreciate why so many expats hole up here. It's not as beautiful as some of the other islands, but it's just so laid back and unassuming. The beaches aren't too shabby either.
Christmas Day was definitely a different experience! It was very bizarre lounging in 30 degree heat round the lovely hotel pool, whilst knowing how different the day would be spent were we at home. I have to say though, for that one day I did wish I was back in ol' Blighty with our family.
Santa still managed to find us!
AND we managed to find a fab Irish bar that served us a Turkey dinner with all the trimmings, and a Baileys chocolate cheesecake for dessert - without a doubt the best meal I've had in the last two and a half months!!
We're looking forward to our last few days in Koh Lanta before travelling to our next stop in time for NYE celebrations!
Seasons Greetings!! xo