Bangkok, Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Phi Phi Island & back to Bangkok
10.03.2017 - 24.03.2017
From Laos, we flew back to Don Mueang International Airport as it was cheaper for us to fly there, as apposed to Bangkok's other airport (Suvarnabhumi). Plus, the distance to our hostel was the same from both airports so that didn't matter. My friend (Becky) was also due to meet us there, as she was joining us for 2 weeks.
Becky had arrived the day before us and wasn't a very confident solo traveller. Luckily, a friend of hers (Tom), who had been doing some travelling around Thailand offered to meet up with her, so that she wasn't alone for her first night in Bangkok. He was leaving on the night that we arrived.
Our flight in to Bangkok was slightly delayed and we still had to go through immigration yet. So, we approached a queue of hundreds of people. It didn't seem to be moving at all and so I decided to take a quick toilet break. Just then, I spotted a counter with a queue of two people. It was the disabled queue, which also had a sign for elderly and pregnant. 'Lightbulb!'. I went back to Paul and told him that I thought we should go to that queue instead and that I would just say I was pregnant if I was asked. His response was 'if you really want to?' 🙈 well I'm not a patient person. We do a lot of waiting around whilst travelling and I will do my best to avoid it. So, Paul grabs all the bags (I can't carry them if I'm fake pregnant now can I). We approach the counter and another lady points us over to the line of hundreds. I simply reply that I am pregnant. '' how rude '' lol. She apologised and it was as simple as that. It took about one minute to get through immigration and add to our ever filling passport pages. We probably saved about 2 hours. I was so pleased with myself 😅.
Becky & Tom were in arrivals, waiting. They had stayed in a hotel connected to the airport, so we went to collect their bags and decided to get a taxi to Khao San Road, as it was near our hostel and we needed tickets from one of the travel agents there, to get to Koh Tao the next day. We did just that and then walked to our hostel to checkin and freshen up. We chose to stay at D Hostel again because we knew we liked it there and that it was in a great location. We had nothing bad to say about this place. It's been like our home whilst in Thailand and no doubt, we will be back again as its a perfect spot in Bangkok and we will be passing through again.
After we freshened up, we walked back to Khao San Road, where we started necking back the Chang's and just caught up on stuff. As I mentioned before, this place is crazy. This time, we spotted a stall which sold all different bugs to eat, including tarantulas. We did hope to get Becky to eat something gross, later in the night.
Before we knew it, it was time for Tom to leave. He really didn't want to go! We felt so bad for him, but he had already stayed over his visa and was due a charge. It was also his Nanna's 97th birthday and he wanted to get back to surprise her. I think without that though, he definitely would have stayed.
Once Tom left, we drank more and more and ended up in a club, imaginatively named 'The Club'. We met some random people throughout the night and just generally had a really good laugh.
The next morning, we woke up pretty early and had breakfast at the hostel. We then checked out and decided to go for a massage as a treat. I had a facial and pedicure, Paul had a full body massage and pedicure and Becky had eyelash extensions, and a pedicure. It was great. We all felt like we had recovered from the previous nights antics and decided to go to the pool to chill out, until we were due to meet at the office to catch our bus at 17:30. As we were collecting our bags, one of the women who worked at the office approached us to say that there had been some confusion and that our booking was actually at 20:00. Feeling hungover and impatient, I told her no, it was definitely at 18:00 as we agreed the day before. She said she would sort it. Moments later, we were walked to a random spot at the side of the road and told to wait which isn't that strange. About 90 minutes later at around 19:00, other people had joined us to all wait for a bus. Then, only we were told to get in a taxi which was odd. It took us to the government bus station, where the taxi driver paid for 3 tickets and told us to wait until 20:20 to get on the bus which would take us towards Koh Tao. Clearly, the agent had messed up and rather than say, you'll have to wait, they sent us to the government bus, which would have cost them more. We would have rather waited, especially because of what happened next. We got on the bus and were pleased to be on our way, after waiting for a fair while.
So, because we were on a government bus, the bus only had Thai people on board (no travellers), this meant that, nobody would tell us which stop we were at and so each time, I had to ask if it was the stop for Koh Tao, which I knew was called Chumpon. At around the point which I had figured, would be the correct stop, I clearly asked this idiot...
If this was the stop for Koh Tao?! To which he replied NO, and told me to sit back down. I told Paul straight away that I was sure that something wasn't right. I went on to google maps on my phone (offline maps, is a life saver by the way. Anybody travelling anywhere should definitely download offline maps. If you have your location settings turned on, even if your 3G/4G is off, as long as you have connected to wifi whilst in the place you are visiting, your phone will detect where you are and you can guide yourself on the map) and noticed that we were currently in Chumpon, heading away from the centre. I quickly got up and went to the idiot to say that we needed to go to Chumpon for Koh Tao. He just kept saying yes, but every 5 minutes, we were getting further away. I was getting more and more frustrated with him, as we had a ferry to catch. Eventually, about 20 minutes later, he finally realised what I was telling him and put his hands to his head. Then, he told us to sit down, not to worry, he would turn around. So I sat down, still thinking, he's going the wrong way! I could see many places for the driver to turn around and he just wasn't. At this point, me, Becky and Paul were so tired and getting really wound up. TWO FRIGGIN HOURS LATER, we arrive in Ranong! (A long way from Chumpon), where we are told to wait for 3 hours for a bus to take us back to Chumpon. We couldn't believe it! It was one of those times that you could cry, but it comes out as a laugh 🙃. At this point, we were pretty aware that we would have missed our ferry and could do nothing but wait. So, after the wait, we got on the coach to take us to Chumpon, but of coarse, when we arrived, we had no transfer to the pier. We contacted the agency who we booked with. They bluntly told us to spend a night in Chumpon and that we could get their ferry the next day. Mum, NO! I refused. That would mean wasting our accommodation in Koh Tao and also missing out on extra time in Koh Tao as well as forking out for a night in Chumpon. We had already added 12 hours on to a trip which was 12 hours long in the first place, so we decided to book with another company to get a ferry to Koh Tao that evening and paid for a taxi to the pier. Luckily a really helpful random man approached us who spoke English and Thai. He explained everything at the office. We decided that this was the best option and that when we go back to Bangkok in two weeks, we would go in to the office where we had originally booked and unleash a furious Becky on them 🙊, in hope for a full refund!
Enough of that, we were off to Koh Tao now and life was good again 😄!
Once we arrived in Koh Tao, we walked from the pier, to our hostel. It was boiling and was pretty far from the pier. We each did the last bit of complaining that we had left in us. We had booked to stay in a 16 bed dorm room at Indie hostel because it was quite central to the nightlife in Koh Tao, opposite the famous Choppers Bar, where the pub crawl was held. We had planned to partake the next night as we were shattered and wanted to make the most of it. So, we freshened up and decided to go for a chilled evening. We went to a bar opposite the hostel where we met 'Thai Paul'.
After ordering some buckets, 'English Paul' was scrolling through Facebook and spotted that John, the guy who we met in Kuala Lumpur and spent NYE with and then seen again at our hostel in Singapore had committed suicide. We were both gutted to hear it and it set a bit of a downer for us. 😪 We have met many people whilst travelling and never expected to hear this kind of news. It took us by surprise. The night was cut pretty short. We were tired anyway and had plans for the next day.
Early the next morning, Paul and I decided to take some clothes to get cleaned and then decided that we would all go to Tonote Bay (a beach on the other side of Koh Tao) to spend the day there. Becky had been saying tat she wanted to see a beautiful beach and I thought that she may like this one At Tonote Bay, there is a large rock in the sea which you can swim to, climb up and jump off. I had done the jump last time I visited Koh Tao, 4 years ago (after about an hour of crying and really having to work myself up to do it) and really wanted to get the others to have a go. The taxi ride there is an adventure in itself, driving around extremely steep, thin cliff edges in some pickup truck. Once we arrived, me and Becky said that we would do it and Paul kindly offered to swim out and take some pictures. From afar, it looked pretty simple. So after 10 minutes of standing at the bottom of the rock, we decided that it was not happening! It looked a lot different close up. The climb was not simple and certainly not safe, one slip and you could end up dead. (Not even exaggerating) As I had done it before, I decided that It really wasn't worth getting so worked up a second time, for something so dangerous!
It really is taller than it looks in those pictures!
Instead, we swam around for a little amongst loads and loads of really colourful fish. Paul got some great photos on the go pro, which I can't upload yet, but will do so once I have access to an actual computer which isn't a phone, a tablet or a stupid MAC. Anyway, next we decided to head back to chill out on the beach some more. We stayed there for quite a while and caught some colour. Some brown, some red .
Later, we collected our lovely clean laundry and decided to get ready for the ever famous Koh Tao Pub Crawl. Again, I had done this last time and couldn't wait to share the experience with the others, but when we arrived at Choppers Bar, they told us that it was cancelled and that it wasn't on again until after we left. Gutted, we decided to play out our own little pub crawl. We went to several bars and ordered some buckets. We went to the beach and watched some fire shows, played some pool and finished the night by watching a ladyboy cabaret show. It was good fun and a lot creepy!
The next morning, Paul woke up super early and went to get the tickets for the ferry/bus journey to Koh Samui the next day. When we all woke up, we went for a good old English style breakfast and a cuppa tea in the cafe below our hostel, which was beautiful!
After that, we decided to explore Koh Tao a little better and went on a mission of a walk. We got some cool photo's and as always, Neil photo bombed us 😜.
We ended up at a Rasta Bar which was super random. It was made from wood and was basically a bunch of tree houses joined together. After that, we took another long walk to a nice restaurant, where we all stuffed our faces with some more British stodge! We then decided to play a few games of pool and had a couple of Chang beers. Paul was the undefeated champion.
After that, we actually went back to the Rasta Bar for a little bit and got some drinks. We didn't stay long and decided to get a taxi back, as none of us could be bothered with the mission. Later, we went to watch another fire show and got some cool video's, but headed back to the hostel pretty early as we had to pack and be up super early for our journey the next morning.
In the morning, we were all really tired and ended up sleeping for the majority of a very rocky boat ride. We were all pleased though as we were heading to a resort in Koh Samui which was super relaxed, with a nice pool. Arriving in Koh Samui a while later, we caught a taxi. We checked in, freshened up and went out for lunch. We found a decent restaurant which served a mix of Thai and western food, as Becky didn't really take to Thai grub, so it was perfect.
When we got back, I wasn't feeling too good and so I had a little power nap, whilst Paul and Becky went to chill by the pool. We later brought a couple of drinks and hung around the hostel, speaking to random people. Me and Becky pestered some Americans in the pool, and Paul got deep in to conversation with some Portuguese guy.
The next day we went to the same restaurant for breakfast (creatures of habit) and Paul's new friend joined us. It was a bit awkward really. He sat down and barely spoke, but that suited us because we were hungover and not very sociable either. After that, we decided that the 3 of us would go for a traditional Thai massage. It was one of the funniest moments. I've had the massages quite a few times before and knew that you are put in to all kinds of positions to manipulate your muscles, but this time, the three of us could see each other. I was in the middle and one minute I would look at Paul who had some little Thai lady walking up and down his back, then I would look around at Becky and she was lying on her front with a Thai lady sitting on her legs, pulling her arms to stretch her back out, but becky's face was one I could not forget 😂😂😂😂😂 I literally had to bury my head in to my pillow to mask my hysterics!
That night we decided not to go out as we had plans to go out the next night when we would be located closer to Chaweng Beach, where all the action is. We played some cards and took it easy.
Paul and Becky were both slightly sun burnt too, so it made them sleepy. I'm always sleepy and was still taking the Malarone tablets to prevent Malaria from our trip to Laos, which had horrible effects and made me feel super lazy/sickly. I couldn't wait to come off them.
The next day, we left pretty early to checkin to our next hostel. We flagged a taxi down and got a nice price. It dropped us a little mission from where we had asked and so we did some more walking with our backpacks to search for our hostel. Becky HATED carrying her backpack and realised near the end of the trip that it wasn't set up right in the store where she bought it, which meant that it was insanely uncomfortable!. We eventually got to our hostel, but then had to wait a few hours to check in, so decided to have some breakfast. Then, we left our bags at the hostel and went for a walk along the beach. Becky had a go on a jet ski and loved it!
After, we went back to the hostel, where we all planned to have a power nap before the nights antics (which never happened). It was also St. Patrick's day, so we were expecting quite a busy night. We checked in, freshened up, bought tickets for our transfer to Koh Phi Phi the next morning. We were only able to book early tickets, which put us less in the mood for a really late one, but we still went out. We found an Irish bar which seemed to be the busiest and each ordered some drinks. We enjoyed some of the live music which they had playing and I got my face painted, as it was free. I'm pretty sure that the girl who painted my face was super drunk and the results say the same....
After there, we took a wonder to Soi Green Mango, where I remember the atmosphere being great, last time I had visited. I don't know if it was just too early, but it was dead! We each had one drink. I wanted to head towards Ark Bar next but, probably for the best, was out voted by the others. We headed back to the hostel and hit the hay.
In the morning, we got picked up and taken to a random stop, where we waited for about 30 minutes. Then, we got a tuktuk/bus to the pier where we had to wait a little while to catch the ferry to surat Thani. From there, we got another long bus to Krabi and finally a boat to Phi Phi island after waiting some more. The long transfers in Thailand can be a big pain, especially if you are sleep deprived, it's like torture. The buses and ferries aren't gentle either. I fill up on the travel sickness tablets each time. Even Paul who doesn't usually suffer from motion sickness gets sick if he doesn't take them. He also stocked up on sleeping tablets as he really struggled to fall asleep whilst being shook around.
In Phi Phi, we had booked Ibiza pool hostel. As you can probably tell from the name, it is a party hostel! We booked a sea view room, which was pretty cool.
The biggest party hostel in Phi Phi. From the pier, we walked to the hostel and quickly checked in. We stayed in an 8 bed mixed dorm. As we were getting ready to head out, two Irish girls came in who had been on the booze cruise all day. They were sooooo drunk and could barely walk or talk! They introduced themselves and told us how we needed to go on the booze cruise and that it didn't cost much. Then they gave some crazy expensive price (which I can't remember) and told us that they were planning to travel for a few months, but so far had been away for two weeks and had been drunk like they were now, every single night and sleeping all day. Something suggested that they wouldn't last long especially as we saw them later, getting tattoo's and leaving their bags, money and phones lying around the street. I am all up for partying, but really don't see the point in doing it like they were. They weren't with it and forgot even meeting us the next day! They didn't even recognise us when we were sat opposite them about an hour after meeting them. What is the point?!
Anyway, so our night consisted of grabbing a bite to eat, Becky went to a cash point to withdraw some money and forgot to get her card out the machine. She noticed a little later and we went to see if her card was there, but we couldn't find it, so she contacted her dad and cancelled the card. About half an hour later, we walked by the machine, where Paul spotted her card, along with three others in the shop window, next to the cash point. 😫 luckily, we were able to just transfer funds between accounts and withdraw that way until Becky got home.
Next, we went to the tattoo parlour, where Becky had a bamboo tattoo on her wrist touched up. The detail was really good.
The tattoo took a while to do and so me and Paul went for a wonder to the Muay Thai boxing bar to watch some fights between anybody who volunteered to get in the ring. We later collected Becky and went back to the bar. We ordered some buckets and enjoyed the night. We also had some random guy join us from Essex. He just came and say with us, told us his life story and then we left, as you do.
We left the bar pretty early to head back to the hostel and got back around 1am. Being so close to the party, our room was shaking with the bass from the music. We all sat awake, dancing in our beds and at 2am, the music is switched off. Literally, mid song, as the law on Phi Phi states, it's just turned off. We then had a sound nights sleep, apart from when the Irish girls came back and threw up on the floor for a bit that is. We woke up feeling decent the next morning.
After breakfast, we decided to take a walk up to the Phi Phi view point. My fourth time there, the view never fails to impress!
Once we reached the bottom, we went back to the hostel, got our swimwear on and headed to join the pool party. We had a fantastic evening! The atmosphere was great and the buckets we're going down nicely. We each enjoyed the pool, drinks, beach and some beer pong. It was a really fun night and because we started so early, were in bed by 11pm! Part timers! Unbelievably, we all passed out with the music still playing! 🙉
The next day, we were due to checkout and head towards Bangkok, where we would finish our trip, but the ferry was later in the day and we had some time to kill. So what do you do in Thailand when you have time to kill? Yup, more massages. Becky also had a manicure and so me and Paul went for a yummy lunch.
once Becky was done, she got a bite to eat and we headed to the pier to catch the boat to Krabi.
From Krabi we would get the overnight bus to Bangkok. We all tried our best to sleep during the trip but, by the time we arrived at Khao San Road, we we're all tired and groggy. We used google maps to direct ourselves to our hostel. We arrived too early and so couldn't checkin yet. But that didn't mean that we couldn't catch up on sleep ey guys?
Later, after checking in, we decided that we were going to the cinema, as me and Becky really wanted to see Beauty and the Beast. (Paul sort of agreed) 😜. After freshening up and straightening my hair, which I hadn't done for 3 months (big deal), we ordered an UBER to take us to the IMAX Paragon in Bangkok. It cost only 120 baht. (about 2.50GBP) but when we got to the IMAX, we were told that it was closed. Not ready to give up, we went in search for another cinema showing the film in English. A random guy helped direct us to MBK centre, which was great because I had wanted to visit this place for a long time. Also known as Manboonkrong, it is a large shopping mall in Bangkok with eight stories, it has over 2000 shops.
We quickly found the cinema and we were in luck, they had the film showing in English in just over an hours time! I was stupidly excited. We bought our tickets, (which cost less than £1.50 each) and decided to grab a bite to eat. We took a very short walk, spotted a Pizza Hut and our arms were twisted.
The film was fantastic. We ALL really enjoyed it. After, we got a tuk tuk back to the hostel. It was a really good evening.
The next day, I had arranged for us to go to Bangkok shooting range, as this was another activity on my bucket list and the prices in Bangkok are really good, compared to other places around the world. We got a taxi there and were driven through an army base, which was really cool to see.
Shooting different guns was so exciting and really got our adrenaline going. It was so loud! Me and Paul also had a go of a shot gun, which was super strong and nearly swept me off my feet.
After the shooting range, we got a taxi back to Khao San Road and went for some food. I had a dish called morning glory, which I had tried in Langkawi first. It is basically the morning glory plant, stir fried and tastes delicious!
After that, we took a walk to tho office on Khao San road, where we had bought the tickets for the ferry/bus journey which went all wrong. Becky was armed with her posters from the shooting range which were rolled up 😂. We went in there, all guns blazing and were told that the manager would be back at 5, so we said we would go back then. True to our word, we were back there at 5 and ready to unleash Becky. The manager spoke to us politely and gave us a full refund. All that for a quick, easy refund. She was really ready to take him on as well and I was super ready to watch her.
That night, we took it easy, knowing that the next night would be becky's last one of her holiday. 😕
The next day, after a loooooong lie in, take a guess, yep. More massages I discovered the foot massage, which I've always avoided because of my ticklish feet, but it was epic! I plan to have many more in the not too distant future ☝🏼️. Afterwards, Becky had her nails done again and me and Paul went over to a bar opposite where we ordered some Chang's. Becky soon joined us. We took a walk back to the hostel to freshen up and then headed back to Khao San road to continue the fun times.
We went to a cheap bar where we had some buckets and got speaking to some people. It was actually rather tame, until some scouse idiot sat with us and started to randomly insult everybody, including his mate, who was blatantly embarrassed by him. Being mature adults that we are, we left the bar and decided that we would rather a cheeky McDonald's and head back to our hostel. It wasn't the scorpion which I had planned to get Becky to chomp down, but I think that would have taken a lot more alcohol. I am sure I can find another time to get her drunk and persuade her to eat a bug :s No, never, only on Khao San Road.
We actually got a tuk tuk back, just because we could. Paul headed to bed and me and Becky annoyed some people staying at our hostel. Becky had a quick, (bad) game of pool, but not long after, we also went to bed (considerably early), which was good really as Becky had to be up quite early to get her taxi to the airport. We said our good byes 🙋🏼 and then me and Paul packed and checked out shortly after. We went for a last little cheeky massage before we also left Bangkok to head to Chiang Mai.
Until next time folks. xxxx