Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Thailand - Ko Phi Phi, Phucket, Ko Samui, Ko Tao

Click map to enlarge
Ladyboys get a discount!

After a few days in Ko Phi Phi we headed by boat directly to Phucket which was hit hard by the tsunami in 2004. It has recovered well and is much more developed than when I passed thru here way back in 1994.

Sex is the big tourist draw here although vacationing couples with kids walk the same path as 60 year old men with young Thai girls latched on to them. Scantily clad young ladies and ladyboys proposition you for a massage as you walk by dodgy looking massage parlours. It's sad but true this is the only way many of the locals make a living.

The shops and stalls start the haggle price ludicrously high and are unusually angry if they don't succeed to make a sale. After 3 days in Phucket we took a minibus to a bus to a boat in Surat Thani to reach the infamous island of Ko Samui.

After fending off taxi rip off touts at the port we had to hoof it 1km then perform a delicate balancing act of the two of us plus bags plus driver on one motorbike for 2kms to the main road where we flagged down a pickup truck to bring us to town.

Ko Tao was the next island hop on the itinerary and it's famous for diving and snorkelling. The coral is amazingly beautiful and if you took a little bread into the water you were immediately surrounded by a feeding frenzy of fish which would nip at your fingers.

From Ko Tao it was another 2 hours by fast catamaran back to the mainland to Chumphon and then 6 hours by bus to Bangkok. It's bizzare that in a city this size the majority of the budget accomodation is concentrated around 4 blocks near Banglamphu / Khao San. U$D12 will get you a clean room with AC and TV right smack in the middle of the action.

Maybe too near the action as we discovered on our last night as the thumping bass from the loud party in the bar next door was still going strong at 4am. After barely 3 hours sleep we tried to check out but the poor night porter obviously didn't get much sleep either as it took forever to wake him. Now we are headed to Cambodia and will try and avoid the numerous scams crossing the border. More on the scams later.

Tags: ..:Thailand - Ko Tao, Phucket,Ko Phi Phi, Ko Samui..

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Nomadic Matt July 15, 2009 10:50 am  

i like ko tao. Parts of Samui are nice. I despise fucket and pee pee

Baino July 15, 2009 5:52 pm  

Doesn't look too typhoony there! My son went to Phuket in February last year and loved it! It's the only time I've known him to shop! Even came home with a rather nicely made suit and a "No I don't want a fuckin' ride in a Tuk Tuk" shirt.

Quickroute July 16, 2009 1:00 am  

@ Matt: Agreed except for Phi Phi - once you escape the island and go to the nearby ones its beautiful

@ Baino: lol - If I here "where you go? - want tuk tuk?" one more frikkin' time I'll go postal!!!!

Primal Sneeze July 16, 2009 1:02 am  

I looove the "Shoe Parking" pic. Classic.

nick July 16, 2009 3:59 am  

You just never know when you book into a hotel somewhere whether it'll be quiet or a nightmare of parties, building works and squeaky room service trollies. Any hotel that guaranteed a quiet night would be full 365 days a year.

Ko Tao looks amazing. You certainly have a knack for finding beautiful scenery (as well as red light districts).

Quickroute July 17, 2009 9:05 am  

@ Primal: - they normally just say leave yer shoes outside but this was good alright

@ Nick: It seems 'red light' and scenery go hand in hand here :-)

TCL July 17, 2009 10:23 am  

There's certainly a gentler side to Thailand and you needn't stray far from the path to find it. But the thumping bass reminds me of .... wait, my apartment in Palermo on any Thursday - Sunday morning!

Quickroute July 18, 2009 2:30 am  

@ TCL - yes anywhere far from the backpacker central tends to be bliss

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