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A dream holiday to Thailand started with a mega 14 hour flight to Bangkok.  I’m not one for flying, as I don’t enjoy the experience.  However, the flight was forgotten as soon as we collected our luggage and passed the Thai immigration control.

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We had planned (after much deliberation!) a multi stop 2 week trip.  We started with a few nights in Sukhumvit @ the Dream Hotel.  This hotel was awesome, with brilliant service.  The conceirge was always insightful and helpful, getting us reservations and arranging taxi’s efficiently.  

We went site seeing: taking in the Grand Palace, the Golden Buddha and the iconic lying buddha.  I would recommend making time to see them, as they are stunning sites. 

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However, as my wife pointed out: once you’ve seen one temple, you’ve seen them all.   

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We decided to make a trip to the Bangkok Gurudwara, as it’s supposed to be stunning!  Unfortunately they don’t allow photography indoors, but I can vouch that it’s an impressive building with 4 floors; 1 community level, a school, langar hall and on top the Granth Sahib.  Interestingly, they had the Granth Sahib in the middle of the room.  I did manage to take a shot of some of the detail (see below).  I would recommend going, as words don’t really do it justice.  It’s also set in the heart of the Indian Market, which made for some great photo opportunities.

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We finished the evening with river cruise dinner, this was another opportunity to see other parts of Bangkok. Especially the other side of the River, where the old capital used to be based.

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The pick of the evenings was dinner at the top of the Le Banyan hotel in the Vertigo restaurant.  Here we really were overseeing Bangkok, with no cover or roofing what so ever.  Lucky it didn’t rain!

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From here we went on to Krabi, which is an hours flight south of Thailand.  We arranged for a trip in to the rainforest and to the nearby dormant volcano.  

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On our tour, we were accompanied by a japanese couple, with whom we had great fun trying to communicate.  After a short time we had worked out that they were the japanses equivalents of ourselves, with the chap being a camera geek and the wife a “camera widow”!  We also visited the elephant sanctuary.  I was in 2 minds about the morality of taking a ride on a captive elephant, in the end we went for it on the basis that the people did look after elephants, and otherwise they’d be used for industrial logging. 

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It was one hell of a day, from relaxing in the emerald pool (on a volcano), riding an elephant, trekking through a rainforest to finally relaxing in a natural hot spring.  The Rainforest did throw up interesting bugs, not least this spider which was about 6 – 8 inches from (leg to leg, as opposed to the body).  Neither my wife or the japanese lady could see it (it’s camoflaged!), so they kept moving closer until they were inches away.  Then they both saw it, and began screaming. If only I had a video camera at that point!

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Other beautiful sites included the hot stream of mineral water, which was like a natural spa with nutrient/mineral rich hot water flowing from the volcano at 40 degrees centigrade.

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If you are ever in Ao Nang, there is another beach past the right hand end (facing the sea).  This is a non commercial beach, with very little in terms of shops and restaurants.  However it does possess a fantastic location for a sunset, and has a strange beach.  The beach here is extremely flat, so much so that if you walk out in to the sea for 50m, you’ll only be ankle deep.  I’ve never seen such a thing, if only I had my camera!  

We headed to Hippies bar for dinner, which is across from the beach.  The beer was good, as was the food.  I’m not one for chillies but I ordered a Tom Yum Goong soup after a few beers and specified spicy…..man, my mouth was on fire, I was sweating and I drank as much water as I could get my hands on! As I finished my soup, I counted over 12 red chillies.  Indian dishes use 4 or 5 for a family sized dish!

The next day we caught a ferry to Phi Phi Don island for the 3rd leg of the trip.  We hadn’t really thought our luggage through, and this became evident as I tried to carry 2 suitcases up a ladder on to the deck of a ferry, only then to have to climb down another ladder, and then jump on to the next ferry.  The hoards of backpackers were better equipped for such a boarding!

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Once we got to Phi Phi Don, we had to go through the same hassle trying to get off the ferry!  Once we were off we had to catch a long tail boat to our hotel.  This is because there are no cars on Phi Phi Island.   I was a little hestitant at first, but it’s a hell of a thrill. 

The lack of Health and Safety is refreshing, I do think we are overly protected.  Out there, there is no safety net so people don’t abuse themselves.  This self regulation is much better than the red tape we face on a daily basis.

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Back to Phi Phi, we arrived at the resort and it simply breath taking.  The ocean is clear, calm, with warm, powder soft sand.  The sun is shining, with a smattering of light cloud in the sky and it’s 36 degrees C.  I’d love to be there right now!

The resort is called Zeavola, and it’s an amazing place.  There are 3 types of accomodation, we went for Garden Villa.  This meant we had a room, a living area and an separate bathroom, with an outdoor shower and sink.  I can say that it’s liberating brushing your teeth outdoors, watching your fellow  guests walk by! 

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This was my favourite part of the holiday, being a real beach bum!   For the next few days the hardest part of the day was deciding what to eat! 

We decided to spend a morning visiting other parts of the island.  Phi Phi island is actually 2 islands, with Phi Phi Don being the holiday resort island and Phi Phi Le being the national park, where the film “The Beach” was shot.   We spent an hour in the morning here, and I have to say it’s simply one of the most beautiful places in the world. 

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In the bay, I also took the opportunity to try snorkelling.  This was an amazing experience, it was like diving in to a giant fish tank.  The fish were all sorts of colours, and the coral was something else.  As it opened up, the electric blue colour shows through. 

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The Zeavola resort is towards the northern tip of the island, with sealed off beach.  There are a handful of hotels here, and a couple of local restaurants.  In the evenings, it’s pleasant beach to take a walk on and watch the local kids mess about with various fireworks.   The time we went was on the back of the rainy season, and mosquito’s were present.  However, there are these coils you can use, which emit smoke which repels the little bugs!  Beats the sprays and the mosie net.

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As our 4 days in paradise came to an end, I decided that I couldn’t face the ridiculous ferry journey!  Driven by this irrational fear of public transport and the desire to take a ride on a speed boat, we booked the speed boat back to Ao Nang.  It’s an thrilling ride, boucing over the waves at such speed.  It was a decadent experience, that I am glad we took the opportunity to experience.  It’s very difficult to get a sharp image, such is the movement.

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We arrived in Ao Nang, in just under an hour.  It’s a wonderful feeling just pulling up to a beach on a boat and jumping out with your bags on to the next place.  As we got to the road, we had to flag down a vehicle.  I say vehicle, as Thailand has myriad of vehicles between a “normal” car and a motor bike.  In Bangkok there are Tuk Tuks, little 3 wheelers.  Here in Ao Nang, we had mini vans that could transport up to 6 people but were smaller than a Ford Fiesta, smaller 3 wheelers (than Bangkok) and these motorbike conversions (see below).  It’s all new to me, but best of all they pimp up there vehicles.  So you get mini vans with blacked out windows, lowered, with 10 inch sport rims and best of all neon lights!

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After checking in at our hotel, we went for a walk around and found this Indian Place, it had been nearly 2 weeks since we had been home and it was nice to hear some punjabi!  Food was good and the drinks kept flowing.  Unfortunately, I forgot the name of the establishment but it was right by the side street full of bars and opposite the Dutch bar.   We experienced the Monsoon strength rain, and the Thai hospitality simulateously.  As we were about to be soaked to the skin, when a kind lady gave us an umbrella to borrow (which we did go back and return the next day). 

Ao Nang maybe in Thailand, but with the number of northern europeans here it could have been Spain in the summer!  The place is totally focused on serving this booming tourist market, which reduces some of the charm (especially with the Starbucks and fast food joints opening up).    The Hotels here do have some interesting quirks, such as outdoor bathrooms set amongst plants.  It was definitely a different experience!

My wife wanted to take a Thai cooking class, so we went off to try our hand!  Without going in to details, the key is in the preparation.  The cooking bit is relatively straight forward!  Below is an example of our efforts!

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On the final leg of our trip we headed back to Bangkok.  We stayed at the Siam@SiamDesign hotel.  This place is a refreshing piece of design, photographs and descriptions cannot capture its awesome design.  If your in Bangkok, you could do much worse then stay here.  It’s a long way from stuffy, old skool snooty hotels. Service is fantastic and the decor is brilliant.

One of it’s key features is it’s infinity pool.  Nothing special about that in itself, except it’s on the 10th Floor overlooking the Thai National Stadium.  It’s a great place to watch a sunset!

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Overall, we thorughly loved our dream holiday in Thailand.  Our only regret was not to see more of Thailand or stay for longer, it’s an amazing place with fantastic people.  The diversity in the experience you can have is extensive. 

What really made the place was the contradictions, with super shopping malls with street sellars outside.  The top of the range cars and the tuk tuk’s!  Best of all was the beauty pagent we came across on travels, it sums it all up!

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Thanks for reading!

www.sunnykalsi.com

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2 Comments

  1. Looking great fella! Phi Phi Islands are amazing hey 😉

  2. fantastic images and write up too.

    vinay@skytraktravel.com


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