Beach days

    After our busy hiking and snorkelling days we decided to take a couple of beach days and visit some of the beautiful bays nearby. We got on our scooter from which by now we had become inseparable. We decided to ride a bit further and find Aow Leuk. But when we found it we weren’t too impressed with the beach itself – there were no trees, i.e. no shade, it wasn’t the cleanest or prettiest beach, and the sand was quite stony, so despite the hard ride to get here, we decided to move on. I’m glad we did, because we spent too blissful days on a secluded part of Chalok and then on a beach we had visited before on our hike, but didn’t stop for a swim: June Juea. The water is so lovely and warm here and yet still so refreshing. At the shore it’s lovely and shallow, so you can sit in it and let it wash over you, but it gets deep quickly so you can go for a nice swim as well.   It gets incredibly hot on Koh Tao by about midday, so it’s worth getting settled on a beach by […]

Snorkelling on Koh Tao and exploring Koh Nang Yuan

    As we only had about a week on Koh Tao we decided that diving will not be on our list of things to do on the island on this short visit. As soon as we made this decision we booked ourselves on a whole day snorkelling trip around the island. I had only ever snorkelled once before and it was not a great experience, so I was nervous about it, but I wanted to rise above that, especially if in the near future I wanted to try scuba diving. When I first tried snorkelling in Cuba there were about 50 people all dropped in the same shallow bay with badly fitting scuba masks. The bottom of the bay was full of sharp rocks and the water wasn’t deep enough to splash around in, so we all got cuts and bruises. My mask kept getting full of water and while there were lots of fish around we couldn’t see them as the water was too disturbed and dusty because of all the catamarans and just the sheer number of people! Since then I haven’t been in a rush to snorkel again I have to say. So I was awaiting our […]

Hiking and exploring the bays and beaches of Koh Tao

    After lunch on our third day on the island of Koh Tao we got our walking boots on and set out to do a bit of hiking. We walked for most of the afternoon from Chalok Bay to Sai Nuan Bay, stopping at each bay as we reached them on foot through the jungle, hills and rocks. After Chalok we walked to June Juea which was absolutely beautiful. White sand and clear waters. No time to stop for a swim today, but we made a mental note to perhaps come back here for some beach time another day. A sweet little dog was our guide on the stretch of the road between June Juea and Cape Jeda Gang. We turned the wrong way at first and he started following us almost like wondering where we were going. When we realised we were on the wrong course, we turned around. So did he and he started leading the way, every now and then stopping, turning back, making sure we were still following. He lead us from June Juea Bay all the way to Cape Jeda Gang in what proved to be the most tracherous section of the track. When […]

Getting a scooter!

It only took us a day wondering on the island of Koh Tao to come to the conclusion that we definitely needed a scooter to get around on the island. Almost everyone does this – locals and tourists as well. There is only one asphalt main road on the island going from north to south, from Sairee to Chalok. There are several dirt tracks branching off the main road towards the various bays. Although the roads off the main road are also being asphalted over in places as the island is continuously developing. Tao is only 21 square km and walking from Sairee to Chalok would only take around 40 minutes to walk, but just for convenience’s sake a scooter was in order.  This proved to be our best decision. Adam quickly got used to whizzing around on it. ‘Shall I go to the shops?’ ‘Shall I go get our laundry?’ ‘Shall I go here, shall I go there…?’ Any opportunity, he was off on the scooter! 🙂 I only got on it when there was an actual purpose to the journey and I bet Adam was glad about that. It is hard sitting on the backseat, you have no […]

First couple of days on Koh Tao

Koh Tao was THE place in our whole trip that we were most looking forward to. While the rest of our trip is still surrounded by fog, i.e. we make it up as we go, one thing was certain: Koh Tao. Adam spent 3 weeks here back in 2004. He came to Koh Tao to do some diving which had been one of his lifelong dreams to do. He loved it on Tao and ever since we’ve been a couple he always talked about this place, how much he loved his time here and how much he wanted to go back.  Originally we wanted to spend about two months here to really settle into island life, recharge our batteries and for Adam to do some diving again. Unfortunately our delay in leaving the UK meant that we actually had to cut out this portion of the trip and spend no more than a week here if we wanted to see the rest of South-East Asia. So this in itself was a bit disappointing. And when we got to the island that feeling of disappointment got a little worse still – the place Adam had remembered with so much affection seemed to […]

Sleeper train to Koh Tao

So far we have existed in Bangkok on travel and accommodation that we had booked before leaving the UK: our little security blanket to clutch to in the first few days of our Asian Adventure. Now our time in our pre-booked hotel was almost up and we still hadn’t decided how to make our way to our next destination, Koh Tao.   So we spent a morning trying to find the most cost-effective option.  We set out on this trip with just a vague idea of which countries we wanted to visit. We wanted to be spontaneous and ‘go with the flow’. However trying to arrange our travel to Koh Tao has taught us a lesson – it’s all well and nice being spontaneous, but leave it too late and you won’t have any options to get to where you want WHEN you want. Turns out the flights to Koh Samui were now a bit too expensive and the coach and ferry combo had already been all booked up online. So we looked at the slowest option, the train (apparently trains in Thailand tend to run with long delays, which makes them a slower form of travel). This was actually […]

10 observations and fun facts about Bangkok

These are some of the observations we made during our 6 day stay in Bangkok: 1. Traffic never stops. The roads are crazy, there seems to be not much lane discipline, everyone swerves in and out and each time you decide to cross a busy road as a pedestrian make sure you have your wits about you. And yet everyone drives really calmly, you hardly ever hear the screech of tyres or beeping horns and we never came across road rage. Somehow it all works! 2. No matter where you eat (apart from Hua Lomphong station) food is amazing, you cannot go wrong. 3. There are places where prices are different for locals and foreigners. Don’t be scared to barter, or at least try it with market sellers and taxi drivers.  4. Beauty ideals seem almost unattainable. And we think we have it bad in the west! Almost all beauty advertisements here call for whiter skin and all famous folk look almost like Westerners. Even well known brands like Loreal are geared towards the local market by offering products with skin whitener in them. 5. Local men love the Premiership and they all have their favourite teams and players. A […]

A perfect day in Bangkok

My favourite day in Bangkok by far was our 5th and last day in the city. We had now been here for long enough to work out the transport system and get a good idea of the different districts so that we could plan our day ahead pretty effectively.  As our hotel was located not too far from Siam, we decided to start the day here and went to visit the Jim Thompson House Museum. We weren’t really sure what to expect as we had heard good and bad things in equal measure, but in the end we were very pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed our visit here.  Jim Thompson – also known as the most famous ‘farang’ or foreigner of Thailand – was a businessman who in the mid-20th century revived the Thai silk market. He was also an architect and, as both Adam and I enjoy good architecture, we found the home he created, which is now a museum, pretty amazing. I told Adam to remember the layout as one day our house should look similar 😉 There is a really nice restaurant here as well next to beautifully landscaped, lush gardens and a big koi carp pond. […]

Khao San Road

This relatively short stretch of road is of course most famous from The Beach – a movie about a twenty something American backpacker who on his visit to Thailand comes in the possession of a map that leads him to a secret island community. Khao San Road now is a Mekka for all travellers passing through Bangkok. If you are a tourist you will be forced to pass by as tourist buses and excursions insist on either starting from here or dropping you here at the end of your trip (even though there are no train or metro stations anywhere near). Khao San Road itself is busy, loud, bright, with the usual market stalls geared towards backpackers, amazing street food, massage parlours, the occasional sexy shops, and heaps of cool bars full of fellow travellers from all corners of the world. It’s really good fun to visit here once or twice, all the while keeping in mind that this all exists for tourists and real Bangkok lies just round the corner. We came here after our day out the the Amphawa floating market. We had a walk along this famous road, had some lovely food, ate some Nutella-banana pancakes, sat […]