our last 9 days on an island :(
19.03.2012 - 30.03.2012 38 °C
Arriving at the pier in Koh Phayam I felt really strange knowing that this would be our last 'New Place' before heading back to Bangkok and home. I would have to lie to say the thought of home wasn't over shadowing the beauty of the island and the fact that we had 9 days in such a gorgeous place but there are worse places to be!
A motorbike Taxi asked if we needed a lift and as we had so far managed not to take one of these popular SE Asia modes of transport we agreed on a price and the destination of Hornbill Huts.
It was a fun 10 minute motorbike ride to the other side of island as he balanced my large rucksack between his legs and negotiated the rather large potholes in the so called 'road' until he dropped us off at Sunset Beach. (Ao Yao)
We asked in Hornbill Huts if they had any accommodation free and they showed us two bungalows, one at £10 per night and one at £12. The cheaper one was set further back and had 2 x beds and an inside toilet, then the nicer one was much nearer the beach with an outside toilet and one double bed. We splashed out and took the more expensive one with the sea view!
Initially we booked for 1 day then walked up and down the beach looking at different bungalows. Bamboo bungalows was a similar price but there basic ones were not as nice, we did find one that was 2500 baht a night instead of our 600 (!) but this was because it had a/c and 24 hour power.
It was decided that the one we had already booked was the nicest so far (for the price) and so we returned and did a deal for 9 nights at 550Baht per night (£11). It has internet most of the day run by solar power (if the lady who owns it bothers to turn it on) and electricity is by way of a generator provided between 6-10pm. Island style!
As it had taken us almost exactly 48 hours of travelling to get here (including the Visa run) we were knackered and not wanting to wander around looking for food we got some food from the restaurant and went to bed early.
Got up nice and late next morning. Jayne decided to make the most of being able to chill out on a beach but as I wasn't feeling well I stayed on our decking gently swaying in a hammock in the shade while listening to the sound of the waves crashing just metres away.
When it came to lunch time Jayne returned (slightly redder than before) and we both went for a walk to explore our new surroundings. It was only a few minutes down the 'road' when we came across a few local shops. Seeing a brightly coloured second hand body board we snapped it up and did a deal where he would buy it back if not broken giving us a total cost of £4! Bargain!
Happy with our bargain we carried on walking and found the further we went away from the bungalow resorts the cheaper everything got, there was even half price mozzie spray in the last one we came across!
Enough things purchased for awhile we walked back towards our bungalow, eating in a vegetarian place on the way. I had a tofu cheese burger which was ridiculously huge (I'm serious, it was like eating a tofu brick!) and Jayne had muesli and a plate of fruit. Stuffed to the top of our heads it was a short walk back where chilling out on the beach playing with the body board took up the rest of the day.
I watched the sunset and it was truly beautiful while Jayne went for a run on the beach.
Deciding we were peckish we walked in the pitch black to the veggie place for a banana cashew nut shake only to find out it was shut at 6pm! (I guess they don't run a generator). Next door was open though so I got a reasonable masaman curry (not as nice as the one I made :p) and Jayne got more fruit. Walking back in the dark I decided it would be a good idea to buy a 21 litre bottle of water which was refillable for 40Baht versus 10Baht at our place for a 1 litre bottle(!). I got it from the last shop closest to us (still about a 15 min walk away) and when I picked it up and put it on my shoulder (it was pretty damn heavy) the shop owner asked where we were staying. When I told him he looked at me like I was mad and sad 'That a very long way!'. He then offered I could use his moped to take the water to our bungalow. Seemed like a good idea so I managed to start the ropey old looking moped and balanced the water between my legs only for him then to explain that there was no lights on it! It was pitch black, I couldn't see the floor in front of my feet so I got Jayne to sit on the back and shine the little LED torch we had brought at the road ahead! It was a very slow (and not very steady) ride back down the narrow dark bumpy roads. Thank god it was slow as when we got to the corner of our resort I found out there was no front brake connected and I couldn't reach the rear one because of where the giant bottle was! We rolled past the entrance with my flip flops scraping the ground trying to stop us.
The last part of the 'road' was single concrete blocks the width of my tyre so jayne walked in front shining the torch and I followed her. I had to keep telling her to get out of the way when it went downhill though for fear of running her over with no brakes! Phew, made it back to the bungalow at last! Jayne took the water inside well I figured out how to get the bike back in one piece. Jayne had a great idea that I go on my own with the torch held in my mouth. It actually worked okay as I could move my head around to view the sides of the road and could manually dip my improvised headlight when other people/bikes came by lowering my head. When I returned to the shop he saw that I had a torch in my mouth and laughed and said 'very good' - maybe that's how he'll do it from now on!
After dropping off the bike it was a very dark and lonely walk back until I eventually got back to the bungalow and tried filling up our smaller bottles. The big bottle had too big a nozzle so I cut a small bottle and attached it to the top of the big one using gaffer tape to make a kind of funnel.
It worked quite well!
Job done it was time for bed, what a typical island experience.
Jayne was up early for a run and I stayed in again, not feeling well at all this time. My cough was really bad and flu like (hope its not malaria!).
Jayne got back from her run and again set about baking herself in the sun while I stayed in the room feeling sorry for myself and took a cocktail of sudafed/doxycycline and vitamin tablets in the hope it would ease the cough.
Around lunch time I surfaced and I joined Jayne to lay on the beach for a while. it wasn't until around 3'o clock I felt a little better and so we went into the sea and played with the body board for a bit.
An hour or so of body boarding wore me out so it was time to walk to the veggie bar again for some food. This time not wanting to be too full Jayne ordered a salad and I ordered pasta. The pasta was so thick and full of cheese and bechamel sauce it was practically solid! Every mouth full felt like it was more than my daily calorie allowance! Jayne helped me finish it off and I laid in a hammock again feeling far too stuffed to move and more than a little sick - the veggie place is great value for money, but I am not used to these massive portions any more!
Next day Jayne decided we needed to explore more of the island and so off we went for a walk which took us pretty much from one side to the other!
The island is beautiful and varied from coconut groves to fishing villages. I even got told off for walking through some ones private property (it wasnt obvious this particular patch of green belonged to anyone) but we got a great view from the top of his hill.
It was so hot by the end of the walk (it took about 4hours!) that when we eventually popped out of the jungle and onto a beach I dumped my bag on the sand and ran into the sea. The only thing is the water here is like hot bath water so although refreshing it didn't do much to cool me down!
Back at the bungalow I sat in the hammock swaying gently, listening to the sea and staring at the tropical trees/plants.
We took a Moonlit walk along the beach to a nice restaurant (bamoboo bungalows) and enjoyed a beer in the warm night air.
Waking up in the morning I couldn't help but think about all the people we had met and the places we have been. I laid in the hammock near to the beach just listening to the sound of the birds and the waves recounting all the crazy things we had done and how sad it will be to finally go home. We spent the day lying on the beach with fruit for breakfast and curry for dinner with a few Leo's. It was also a great day for bodyboarding
and I caught some awesome waves that dragged me all the way onto the beach and nearly into someone else's picnic!
It was great fun until I got stung by a jelly fish right across the back of my leg which left three bright red marks that made it look like I had been struck with a whip and Jayne got bitten by a crab on her foot! Time to go to bed me thinks and watch a film on the laptop.
The next few days were more of the same really (chilling out on the beach, not jellyfish stings and crab bites!). We body boarded and ate too much at the Veggie restaurant (not necessarily in that order). It was a great place to chill out and have time to reflect on all the things we have done, people we have met and places we have visited.
All too soon our last morning came around and the thought of leaving the island made us very sad. Knowing we were on the final stretch and would soon be heading home was a strange feeling. The lady at the bungalows ordered two motorbike taxi's for us,
which arrived in plenty of time to get us to the pier for the speedboat back to the mainland. The speedboat only took 30 mins instead of the 2 hours on the slow boat, but it was very choppy and noisy and made me feel quite sick.
I was glad when it was time to jump off
and grab a local bus to the bus station.
It was then a short wait in the ridiculous heat of the day for a minibus to take us to Champorn.
Our train wasn't due to leave for a good few hours so finding a local bar near the train station we waited until it was time to get our last overnight train to Bangkok.
The train was ok, we watched movies on the laptop and slept reasonably well in our shelves (must be getting used to it!).
Arrived in Bangkok at about 7am and walked to the Train Inn where we had stopped before for a much needed warm shower (our first in nearly 2 weeks!) and unpacked our bags.
The plan for the last few days in Bangkok was to hit all the shops and markets to grab some presents but also as we hadn't seen that part of Bangkok in our last 3 visits it should be fun! First on the list was Khao San Road which is the main place in Bangkok for tourists to gather. It is a pedestrian only road that which is always busy and has a 24 hour market along its length where anything is for sale. It is also the best place to stock up on leather friendship bands, tatoos, dreadlocks and fisherman pants for all your travelling needs (maybe we should have found this place at the start of our travels!).
After 9 hours in the same road and our 17th walk up and down past the same stalls (with only a brief break for nourishment) we had gotten most of our small gifts and it was getting dark. At the end of the road we flagged down a taxi and as he was taking us back to the hotel he mentioned this amazing shopping centre where everyone goes in Bangkok to buy anything from Ipad3's to wooden statues. Can't resist that we thought, so redirected him to head to the NBK shopping centre.
It was immense! 7 floors with everything you could ever imagine for sale at ridiculous prices and even had a multiplex cinema on the top floor.
Arriving there a bit late everything had started to close already so we grabbed some food in the closing food court and bought a couple of tickets to a movie. The movie we watched was crap but by the time we got out it was 1am! It was like a strange horror movie trying to find our way out of this giant shopping mall with hardly any lights on and all the shops closed.
Eventually following other people from the theatre we managed to find our way out to the street and flagged down another taxi to take us home. We were knackered but what a good fun day!
Our last day...boooo :'-(
Deciding to make the most of our last few hours we headed back to the NBK centre for a monster day of shopping again. This time we spent a mere 8 hours shopping and finished off any last minute gifts before rushing back to the train inn to try and fit it all in our rucksacks.
With our back packs busting at the seems we helped each other lift them on and headed to the nearby Metro station that would take us towards the airport.
The train took about an hour before we finally arrived at the main airport. Jayne nearly didn't get through security as when they scanned her bag they found a bullet casing from Vietnam! I think it was a deliberate attempt by her to not be allowed on the plane and would have to stay in Thailand!
Once through security we decided to say goodbye to the things we loved the most in Thailand so Jayne had a foot massage and I had a large can of Chang.
The plane journey home was a little turbulent which was at its worst when we ordered coffee and then decided to throw it over each other for 5 minutes while laughing deliriously.
Several films and a sleepless night later we arrived at Heathrow, tired and confused to be back in England. We took one last look back at the plane which would be our last one for a while...
We headed through to baggage reclaim and were glad to see all our luggage had been safely delivered to the UK.
We are always expecting just a pair of recognisable pants to appear and start making their way around the carousel having escaped out of their tightly packed home.
My mum picked us up and it was a welcome sight to see them waiting for us eagerly as we appeared though the arrivals door.
The last part of our trip was an hour down the M4 which had never looked so dull and boring!
Arriving at my mum's house was like xmas! We had so many clothes waiting for us we didn't know what to do with ourselves and my mum had also bought us some welcome back prezzies.
We both headed to our room and counted to three before simultaniously jumping onto our super comfy bed and couldn't believe how good it felt!
It was a strange feeling being back, like being disconnected from your body. Hard to explain, we knew we were in England but walked around in a bit of a daze for a few days, amazed at having such luxuries as drinking water from a tap and toilet paper (which I struggled not to take and put in my pocket for emergencies!).
Next blog entry is going to be the last one, it will be a summary of things we liked, hated, did, didn't do and wish we had, hadn't taken.
Also our thoughts about how it went and how we felt about the trip.