A Travellerspoint blog

Phi Phi Island

sunny 32 °C
View Travels on KyleMac's travel map.

Today was our first day in southern Thailand and what better way to introduce ourselves to this paradise than with a day trip around Phi Phi Island!

We were picked up by a minibus and taken to the dock where we each received an orange sticker and pointed in the general direction of several boats. Things got weird when we were rushed at by five Thai people who promptly each took our photo without saying a word. Our initial thought was that they would sell them to the news if they lost us, but it turns out they print your awkward mugshot onto a small plate with the hopes that you will purchase a plate with a surprised you on it, we passed on this one.
We went with Sea Angel cruises and it cost 950 baht which is around $30. It took 1hr 30min to get out there but a few beers and a cup of noodles made time fly.

On the way to Phi Phi Don we passed by Phi Phi Lay and got to see Maya Bay, where Leonardo’s ‘The Beach’ was filmed; a really beautiful spot, but didn’t see any football field sized marijuana crops.

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^^ Maya Bay

We also stopped by ‘Monkey Beach’ where hordes of tourists unload onto a 20 meter strip of sand and feed the sort-of-tame monkeys fruit and nuts. There is also a really nice patch of reef off the beach with tons of fish – also lured by food – which is where we spent most of our time. We also did a bit of kayaking but that only lasted a few minutes as the temptation to hop in and snorkel was too great :).

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^^ Monkey Beach

We then had a buffet lunch on Phi Phi Don which I must say was very delicious, and then headed out for some more snorkelling. We didn’t get very many pictures because we spent most of the day in the water and didn’t particularly want to carry the camera around and then leave it on the beach while we went in.

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^^ haha cracks me up every time I see it!

On the way back we had a few more drinks on the boat and relaxed in the setting sun.

When we were back on Phuket Island Ellie and Steven rushed off to ‘Fantasea’ – a circus-esque show, while Kirby succumbed to a day in the sun and had a nap. I on the other hand headed down to a bar and watched the State of Origin where Queensland thrashed NSW…again. All-in-all a great day; nothing better than sun, friends, snorkelling, eating, drinking, football, and monkeys :).

Cheers, Kyle

Posted by KyleMac 12:18 Archived in Thailand Tagged boat thailand phuket phi_phi_island day_trip phi_phi_don phi_phi_lay monkey_beach maya_bay Comments (2)

Bangkok to Phuket

sunny 33 °C
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In the morning after our raging ‘ping pong’ night everyone decided to go shopping for clothes. Uninterested though I decided to treat myself to a few extra hours of beauty sleep. Apparently it was all very non-eventful though; as when I met up with them later there were no funny stories or anything that should be mentioned on this blog, other than that Kirby purchased a shirt from a local designer with purple werewolves’ heads all over it.

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^^ Khao San Road

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We decided to head over to Paragon shopping centre. Apparently reserved for the elite of Bangkok and aimed to please the rich international clientele from Dubai. But nothing is too richy for Australians in their Billabong thongs so we invited ourselves in and instantly felt stupid that we didn’t wear our tailor made Ralph Lauren suits. Talk about fancy, this shopping centre is several floors high and boasts both a Lamborghini and Maserati showroom, not to mention the Versace, Armani, and jewellery stores that have a man in a tuxedo to buzz you through the bullet proof glass doors. After perusing shops that we could only dream of trading at, we headed down past the aquarium and to the food court. The food was amazing! It was food court cheap, but Paragon standard. I had roasted duck with a crispy pork salad and rice for like $4.

After getting sick of being looked down on we headed to a more mainstream shopping centre called Central World where we watched the newest Transformers movie. After that we just got some beers from the 7/11 and chilled in Ellie and Stevens hotel room drinking.

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The next day Steven and Ellie headed off to Chiang Mi and Kirby and I had a few more days in Bangkok waiting for our Indian Visa to get processed. We were pretty bored waiting around, and had definitely had enough of Bangkok. In fact in the little book that I write notes down in to jog my memory for when I write these blogs has only one thing written for the next couple of days, ‘Kirby hair cut’; Pretty exciting event, turned out alright as well. Kirby also checked out the Chatuchak market which she informs me was very good and a must-do in Bangkok, although at the time I was feeling less than ordinary and spent the day in bed booking flights to India.

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^^ Chatuchak weekend market

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^^ We also checked out the Bangkok Art Centre

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Anyway, on the 3rd we thought it was Monday and checked out of our hotel to make our way to the Indian Embassy to get our passports and head to the train station to get the hell out of Bangkok. Unfortunately somehow we had made a major error and in fact the 3rd was Sunday! So looking like dickheads we headed back to our hotel and checked back in for another night! What an amateur mistake haha :). We saw some fighting on TV over the election but luckily it wasn’t near us.

On the 4th we finally knew 100% that it was Monday and we once again checked out and headed off to the Indian Embassy. Kirby’s visa was ready to be picked up but apparently my passport was still with the consulate and had yet to be delivered back to the Embassy. What a joke, we sat around the whole time it was open hoping that my passport would arrive and by some miracle 1 minute before they closed my passport waltz through the door in the arms of a courier boy. YAY. So we can escape Bangkok!

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^^ Got some weird deep fried banana from a group of ladies that run out between all of the cars stopped at a red light

We went and got a taxi to the train station but the taxi driver was muttering something incoherent in Thai and saying ‘MRT’ over and over. We finally realised when we hit a traffic jam as far as the eye could see that ‘MRT’ is the Bangkok subway system. So we said goodbye to our helpful taxi driver and headed underground. The train was quick and painless and before we knew it we were standing at the ticket desk trying to buy something that went in the direction of Phuket. All of the air-con sleepers were sold out so we had to rough it with the locals (450 baht p/p) overnight. It wouldn’t have been so bad had our carriages broken fan just not worked instead of clunking tirelessly all night, hoping to complete its percolating rotation sooo bad it just wouldn’t die, unlike our thoughts of sleep.

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^^ Bangkok train station

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^^ Not happy

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Oh well so on the 5th we made it as far south as the train goes and caught a 4 hour bus (220 baht p/p) to Patong Beach. The bus drivers however were arseholes and decided that in the middle of nowhere they would pull over and demand another 150 baht each to continue. I was really dirty at those bastards robbing another $10 out of us, but oh well we eventually made it to Patong Beach and found a guesthouse called Vech Guesthouse with rooms for $10 – good value. We then arranged a tour to Phi Phi Island for tomorrow. Hopefully the weather is good, as some relaxing is in order after our dodgy journey from Bangkok.

Cheers, Kyle

Posted by KyleMac 07:13 Archived in Thailand Tagged bangkok phuket phi_phi_island chatuchak mrt paragon_shopping_centre patong_beach Comments (1)

Bangkok and the (In)Famous Ping Pong Show!

sunny 37 °C
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As Ellie and Steven fulfilled their tarzanic dreams at the Tiger Temple, Kirby and I just chilled out (at an Indian restaurant with free wi-fi) researching some of the other fun things to do in Bangkok; namely the Sky Tower, and the (world?) famous ‘ping pong’ show – more on that later.

When they finally got back it was already dark and we decided to head straight out to the Baiyoke Sky Tower. Proudly sitting somewhere in the top however many tallest buildings in the world the Baiyoke Sky Tower offered us breathtaking views and a great start to the night. We chilled out on the 83rd floor, enjoying the revolving platform and complementary free drinks (martini for me – how regal!) and popcorn. The atmosphere was equally as awesome as the view and I would definitely have liked to have spent a night drinking up there, but we had other things to do. The next stop was the raging, no rules, hyper-sexual, sweaty district of Pat Pong.

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^^ Awesome view from Baiyoke Sky Tower

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^^ Enjoying our complementary drinks

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^^ Hanging out on the rotating observation platform

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Famous for its night clubs and relaxed anything goes attitude Pat Pong was the perfect place for us to sit down for a nice dinner hahaha :). In all seriousness though the dinner was pretty good, even if it was in a raging gay bar! We didn’t realise it was a gay bar straight (pun?) away though until we had ordered food and drinks and noticed that all the staff were young boys and the patrons large older men haha :) ah good times! It sunk in when the toilets had no doors and the four condom machines only sold extra-large – something I still don’t understand, but oh well, not all things are meant to be understood. Anyway, we ended up drinking here for too long and before we knew it was 1:15am, and everything shuts at 2:00am. We still hadn’t seen a ‘ping pong’ show!

I did a lot of research during the day on how to avoid rip-offs at these sorts of establishments. Apparently it is not uncommon for foreigners to fall into the trap of hidden costs. For example, the rum and coke costs 100 baht, you sit down at a table with your drink, watch the show, go to the toilet and when it’s time to leave your bill is not 100 baht but 2,000 baht. Hidden costs I tell you! The drink is 100, the seat you sit in is 300, the table you put your drink on is 300, the show is 700, the toilet use is 600, and wallah your rum and coke has seemingly turned into 2,000 baht. With refusals to pay met with the burly tree trunk arms of the steroid-fiend bouncers rearranging your face. Long story short, I had found on the net a group of these establishments that fly the banner ‘King’s Group’ and apparently they are the least likely to stooge you in this manner. So we walked down the street to Queen’s Palace club and payed the 300 baht entry per person, received our complimentary drink and opened our minds to the possibilities.

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Ma and other readers who wish to keep me innocent and pure in your mind’s eye should skip the next paragraph because what we saw and what I’m about to describe is not what normal people should know/have seen.

Humans are a fascinating and wonderful creature. The fact that we are only using a tiny percentage of our brains power is an amazing and intriguing circumstance, but did you know that the same could be said about the female body. I witnessed a woman smoke a cigarette, blow out a candle, shoot darts several meters, extract five razors, remove a five meter string of fake flowers, shoot a banana, write my name, open a beer bottle, and shoot a ping pong ball…. with her lady parts! All the while receiving a shoulder massage by a topless woman older than my mother…..ah the cringes. In all seriousness though, these women deserve to be in the Guinness Book of Records for the shit they were doing to themselves. I hope to never again see a woman remove several razors from within herself, or shoot a dart out of her minge. Mind boggling, but definitely a once in a lifetime experience that once again only Bangkok can provide.

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^^ Bangkok night through the window of a taxi

So after that was all done and the clubs were all shutting down we decided to call it a night, have a well deserved shower, and sleep off the effects of a crazy day and once again, too much alcohol.

Cheers, Kyle

Posted by KyleMac 06:03 Archived in Thailand Tagged thailand bangkok ping_pong pussy_show king's_group queens_palace_club baiyoke_sky_tower Comments (3)

Bangkok - Hilarious, Fun Times With Friends

sunny 37 °C
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We were dropped off just outside of Khao San road – the main tourist district. Literally 5 minutes of being in Bangkok I was approached and offered ‘sucky sucky’… twice. This is even while wearing my full back pack and discussing with Kirby where to find a good cheap hotel – Bangkok certainly doesn’t disappoint! We struggled to find any reasonable hotels/guesthouses/hostels that were less than $20 per night. We had to settle for a windowless (though nicely furnished with an ensuite, it also had air-con but that was necessary as much for cooling as it was for accessing oxygen – refer to ‘windowless’) concrete box for 450 baht ($14) per night.

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^^ Insane traffic

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^^ A Bangkok alley :)

We were pretty tired by the time we arrived, found a hotel, and ate so we just checked out Khao San road quickly. It’s definitely the place to be if you want fake I.D’s, fake university degrees, dodgy tattoos, dirty prostitutes, drugs, or corrupt tuk-tuk drivers; A real culmination of all the uncivilized things that years of gross backpackers bring to a district, and we can’t wait to share it with Ellie and Steven in 2 days :)!

We missed our first morning in Bangkok because our pitch-black, windowless, air conditioned hotel room fooled us into thinking it was still night time when in fact the clock was proudly in the PM.
After brunch..? we made our way to the tourist information centre to see if we could pick up a bus timetable. Apparently there is no bus timetable, and you are just meant to know where the bus is going according to the number and colour of the line painted on the side of it – so no buses for us. Luckily the taxis are cheap (around $3 to anywhere in the main part of the city), the trick is to make sure they turn the meter on; otherwise they will demand some extortionate amount when you arrive at your destination. Upon stepping outside of the tourist information centre we were greeted with a freckled, 70 something, homeless bum…literally. An old homeless man was completely naked doing a shit, into a green bucket…thank you Bangkok, thank you.

On the 27th we headed across town to the Indian Embassy to apply for our Indian Visa’s, this was also the day that Steven and Ellie were arriving so we were very excited to soon have someone else to talk to, haha :). The crap part of the day was that when we arrived at the Indian Embassy we found out that we were supposed to fill out the visa forms online, print them, and then bring them to be processed! Pain in the arse. Feeling beaten we decided to not waste our trip all the way across town and instead checked out a couple of the massive shopping centres. We ended up in Centrepoint Shopping Centre (which I think we also have in Aus?) and watched the new X-Men movie (a real version, not pirated- who’d have thought in Thailand, right?).

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^^ A fort....I forget what it's called

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^^ Tuk Tuk

That night, after a quick feed at a local street stall back at Khao San we prepared our Indian Visa apps for the next morning and met up with Ellie and Steven; Woo hoooo, familiar faces! Things quickly got out of control as the ‘buckets’ disappeared into us and we went clubbing in Bangkok until 4:30am.

Three and a half hours, a quick spew, and a raging headache later, I found myself handing my Indian Visa application in at 8am. Wow, clubbing was a bad idea!

We didn’t have long with our friends so I had to embrace the hangover and do the touristy thing. We walked through the street market outside of their hotel, apparently it’s the popular place to pick up a dildo and some Viagra, literally on the footpath, once again Bangkok living up to its reputation.

Ironically we also visited the Buddhist temples; Wat Pho, and Wat Arun, and took an hour cruise through the canals of Bangkok for 200 baht per person ($6.50), I dunno if that’s a good deal but it sounded alright so we just did it.

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^^ Beautiful temple architecture

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^^ Amazing mosaics on this stupa

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^^ Change a couple baht into a million coins - each coin is a prayer

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^^ Gong!

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^^ The giant lying golden Buddha

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^^ Climbing the stupa

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^^ Bargaining for the canal ride

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^^ Houses line the canal

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^^ Ellie and Steven :)

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^^ Feeding the fishys

We then caught a taxi to Gold Mount where we enjoyed beautiful views and watched a lightning storm roll in from the horizon. We should have known that with giant clouds full of thunder and lightning, it would also rain. But like deer in the headlights we sat hypnotised by the storm until it started pissing down rain all over us and there wasn’t a taxi in sight! Idiots!
I volunteered to wrangle a taxi and stood out in the rain. After I was sufficiently soaked a taxi pulled up to where the rest of the guys were waiting in the dry, didn’t I feel like the good Samaritan, once again..Idiot!

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^^ Praying for hangover healing

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^^ Murals decorate the walls

All in all though the day was awesome, the hangover wasn’t too intense and after a hard day site-seeing we headed back to Khao San and feasted like Kings (and Queens). I hope the rest of our time together is as good as the first night/day :).

Cheers, Kyle

Posted by KyleMac 03:39 Archived in Thailand Tagged markets taxi thailand bangkok friends san fun wat_pho wat_arun khao homeless tuk buckets fake_id fake_degree prostitutes gold_mount Comments (2)

Goodbye Cambodia


View Travels on KyleMac's travel map.

Cambodia turned out to be well worth a visit after providing us with our very first land border crossing, surprising us with its metropolitan cities, moving us with the Khmer’s recent struggles against genocide, intoxicating us with its fun backpacker beachside scene, allowing us to feel like explorers in Battambang’s rural countryside, and seeing us off with an awe inspiring finally amongst Ankor Wats spectacular ruins. We have definitely enjoyed our stay and would recommend a Khmer massage to any weary traveller who does themselves a favour by visiting the Kingdom of Wonder.


^^ Cambodian Travels

You’ll never never know if you never never go ;)

Kirby

Total cost of 1 month in Cambodia = $900

Posted by KyleMac 05:24 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

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