Phuket Town, Thailand & Singapore

Yet another nice surprise that Phuket wheeled out. Given the floods in Bangkok and the two day trek it would have taken me overland through Malaysia, the easiest way back to Singapore was via Phuket International. Which is how we found ourselves in Phuket Town for one night.

There’s nothing spectacular here but it’s streets and architecture make it. We stayed in one of the hugest double rooms I’ve ever seen, with arching balconies and French shutters, just like an old châteaux. Yes, i’m savoring every last bit of romance I can, as sadly this was goodbye for M and I.

A blurry, sobbing, tear-streaked two hours later and i’m back in a pouring down, depressingly grey Singapore, much like my sad mood.  The whole city around Boat Quay is hibernating as it’s a National Holiday. Apparently the party mood is over in Little India which is busy celebrating the Festival of Light. Everything else is closed for the day. I’m glad I picked up some (hideous) 50 baht (£1) shoes yesterday so that I don’t have to brave chilly Japan/China in flipflops. Singapore is so different from the electric atmosphere of the F1 a month ago. But it’s fine by me. I hide out in my bed till a 5am taxi back to the airport at dawn.

Upps – I Totally forgot to do this, so here it is…

Singapore: 

Where I stayed: Price of Wales Boat Quay/The Drop Inn Two Boon Keng

Love: The view of Boat Quay after dark view from ‘My Spot’ (The steps outside Raffles Place MRT near the Boletto sculpture) Fort Canning Park, Floor two of Bugis Market, the old photo prints inside the shopping mall at Marina Bay Sands, the pancake egg mayo things i’m addicted too from the stall near the MRT, the Sinapore slings and view of the F1 track from Altitude Bar.

Dislike: The fact that first MRT is at 6.01 and AirAsia schedual their flights before that meaning a $27 taxi one expensive morning in October. Little India. Slumming it in Boon Keng for the price hike F1 weekend.

Thailand:

Where I stayed: Khao San Palace Bangkok/M&K Guesthouse Patong Beach Phuket, Tong Tip Mansions Koh Samui, Pong Phen Kanchanaburi, White Sand Resort Koh Samet, JJ October Koh Phi Phi, Talang Guest House Phuket Town.

Love (and always will) Khao San shopping, the rooftop pool at the Bangkok Palace; the best curries at the ‘Burmese’ place on Koh Pgan Yan, our $50 baht food stall just behind KSR, the hidden mirage bakery Koh Samet, the chocolate moose to end all choc mooses Phuket Town.

Less so: Full Moon Party (Off the cuff is more fun), the aweful floods and everyone affected by them at the moment, Koh Samui and anyone involved in the hiring of Mopeds there, Ping pong shows.

 

 

 

Koh Phi Phi & Maya Bay, Thailand

Everyone loves Koh Phi Phi. It’s got a fun party scene, pretty boutiques, white sandy shallow bay beaches, no roads. I’ve been here before, and island life is much the same – the fire shows still alight, the UV skipping rope still swinging;

https://littleanantasin.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/koh-phi-phi/

Mark too was here for 10 days already in January so between us it feels nicely familiar. We’re all over our fave restaurants spots (Papaya/Cosmic/Banana rooftop cinema bar). We even stay in the same cute little pink bedroom at JJ October Guesthouse where I crashed with Jessie and Sara almost a year ago to the day. It’s $400 baht (8 gbp) a night and the sunset view from the 2nd floor balcony is priceless. My fave spot on the island.

We come here in part to meet back up with Matt (Phuket/Surfers) and even run back into Kaarina (Bangkok/Full Moon Party) so we have a nice little crowd to share a few buckets/podiums with. Ok, really we come here as I have harbored a year long obsession with Maya Bay, having been rained off last year.

Maya Bay is a long-boat ride away and was the location for the filming of ‘The Beach.’ The artistic license some of the touts have used copying and pasting Mr Dicaprio’s image onto posters is worth it alone and most entertaining.We were planning to camp over, but to be honest after the full moon party a night roughing it on a beach is most definitely one of those things that sounds waay better in your head. Instead we make a half day of it on Monkey Island,  snorkeling off the coast, and get to Maya for sunset. Just enough time for me to bug Mark to death re-enacting the bit where Leo falls face first into the camera.  Mark keeps shouting at me for his lack of directors credit as technically this  was his idea – he already has his clip on U Tube and I blatantly copied it but whatevs. It was my embarrassing idea to refuse to edit in the All Saints soundtrack later, and instead blast this out of my phone with the whole bay staring. Tell me this isn’t Oscar worthy.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150330734081781&set=vb.537246780&type=2&theater

 

Koh Samet, Thailand

A very special place indeed.  If not my new favorite Thai island.  Completely under the radar it’s a beautiful mix of Langkawi meets Railay. Beachfront bungalows, pink sunsets, reggae bars. Like, Like and Like.

How far do you have to go for all this…. only 2 hours bus from Bangkok, plus a 40 min ferry. All for a $350 round trip too ($7 gbp)

M and I spend our days so happily. We wake up late, we eat massaman curry and cakes, we play chess, we go for our little sunset jog up and down the beach as the sky turns pink/red. Five days absolutely fly by.

No really re: the jogging. Thought it worth repeating in case you’re in shock. It’s always been on my list of things to learn (well not so much learn, just do!). Annoyingly Mark’s a pro, like – runs marathons – pro, so we start project boot camp. I hate to admit it, but with a MP3 player (and some paradise scenery) he’s actually right, it’s slightly addictive.  I’m up to just under 2 miles. High five me.

 

Indian Embassy, Bangkok, Thailand

This is the last important visa that my trip hinges on, so I painstakingly planned my time in Thailand to fit around dates/processing times and generally all things Indian Visa. I get to the consulate at the crack of dawn after a Full Moon Party/ 17 hour bus to be told: a) The form I printed off is wrong they have changed it to online b) They no longer grant 6 month visas, only 3 month.  

Why does this not surprise me?

I reaaaallly don’t want to come back to Bangkok for the millionth time in January, so I huff and puff and turns out there is a little loophole. You can have an ‘interview’ with a consular officer who maybe sometimes grants 6 month ones if he feels like it. It’s worth a shot.

I return on Monday, in my most India looking outfit (long skirt/hippy jewellery/zen expression) having crammed on the bus back from Kanchan in Mark’s India themed quiz. All we really learnt is the Capital; New Delhi. Bet you thought it was Mumbai didn’t you. (I did.)

I get there at 9am. At 11am after lots of paper shuffling and staff shimmying around without any apparent real work to do, I’m ushered into room 104. Here sits an official looking dude in a uniform, reading a newspaper from behind his huge desk that he hardly glances up from. It goes a little something like this:

Me:  Sa-wad-i-ka (Thai hello/S’up) Although he’s Indian, don’t think he appreciate it, but we’re in Thailand aren’t we so I wasn’t sure.

Him: Silence for 5 mins. It was like being in an awkward meeting with Hugo. (Any ex Screen Yorkshire’s will dig that pain.) “Why do you want to go to India…?”

Me: “Holiday / Tourism”

Him: “What is your profession?”

Me: “Well, I used to….”

I got 10 seconds in and he glazed right over, violently hammered an approval stamp into my paperwork, cut me off, and told me “we’re done.”

Apparently that’s my cue to leave. Bizarre.

Fingers crossed I pick it up Friday…

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

I love this word. Kan-chan-a-buri. I’ve been saying it all week, so it’s kind of built up in our heads. I have to wait until Monday to go back to the Indian Embassy for an interview about my visa (next post,) so we can’t venture too far from Bangkok for the weekend. The plan was also to head North to Chiang Mai, but Thailand has been severely affected by flooding. The whole of the capital is on red alert with sandbags everywhere. It’s quite the drama. So 2 hours North West to Kanchanaburi it is for the weekend.

Here sits the Bridge on the River Kwai. A quick history lesson in two sentences: The Japanese ordered British/American prisoners of war to build it in 1942 in an attempt to strengthen the supply route from Thailand to Yangon (Burma). Thousands of people died through appalling conditions/disease therefore it is infamously known as the ‘Death Railway.’ Mark and I are as geeky as each other so thought it might be interesting. We downloaded the 1950’s film and everything.

To be honest, it’s one of those slight anticlimaxes. The original bridge was bombed before 1945, and although the one that stands there today nice and all, it’s a bridge – you know there are 10 more like it further up/down stream.

We stay long enough to take ‘oh no – we’re tied to the tracks and the train is coming’ pics. Childish and in-appropriate at a WW2 Monument, but we can’t be the first and won’t be the last I’m sure. Although bet we’re the first to include big Jesus the elephant.   

Plus the thought does cross my mind that if we walk too far we’d technically end up all the way back in Yangon. No thanks to that.

Previous Older Entries

An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

Blasts From The Past…

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