Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ko Phi Phi

I woke up early to prepare and saw the moon was still high up, which was weird. Grace & I had early breakfast at 5:30am. The road is still empty & dark. As we waited for our van to pick us up, we thought that they were late only to find out that we forgot the time difference. Sg is in DST, so we are always an hour in advance. The van took us to the Rassada Pier, & from there we boarded on a fast ferry to Ko Phi Phi. It was packed with locals & foreigners.  It was raining hard when we reached Ko Phi Phi. We bought some plastic ponchos at a nearby store and stood for a while at a shed along with the other travelers waiting for a boat. Due to the unfriendly weather we were all stranded there. From our research we can walk towards Long Beach, but while on our way there the locals warned us that we can not walk pass the water because it was high tide. So we decided to take refuge in a an empty restaurant beside the sea. A guy from the reastaurant helped us out to find a boat, he said we should wait for a while for the rain to stop & a taxi boat was coming. After a few minutes we prayed hard and the rain subsided and a boat came. Gracey & I are both tired and soaking wet. Two young men from SG alighted from the wooden boat and they are congenial & asked where we were from.

It was my birthday, the day started out to be adventurous which wasn't a problem. We boarded the long tail boat, the problem is that the waves kept pushing the boat away from the dock making it a bit difficult to find balance. The boat ride to Paradise Resort was OK & we arrived safely It was such a relief when we reached our destination. 

At the resort, Pine Trees gather along the shore with cottages facing the sea. We walked along the narrow path to reach our cottage, it was new, spacious & clean. In between the cottages, there's a patio with a sculpture with water effect.  After freshening up, we spent our time at the beach taking photos.  That night we had my birthday dinner at Paradise Pearl.  We truly enjoyed authentic Thai cuisine. I swear their food is the best. We had Pad Thai & Chicken with Cashew.

Paradise Resort

 The next day, the sun showed up and a good thing for our island hopping.  It totally felt like summer in the middle of the monsoon  We rented a boat to take us to Phi Phi Ley. We hopped on our long tail boat. The boatman controls it with a long rod. The boatman misunderstood us & took us to the pier. I got his attention and signaled him we are on the wrong way. He transferred us to another boat. 

Long Beach

When we reached Phi Phi Lei, the first we saw is the Viking Cave, it has such big opening. Bamboos hung from everywhere. They are used as ladders to get the birds nest. Then we entered the lagoon, we passed by some really big jelly fish in a size of a basketball. The lagoon is nice with Emerald waters just like in El Nido Palawan. 
Viking Cave

Big Jelly Fish

We went around the island to reach "The Beach"/ Maya Beach. It was really really scary, the waves are pretty strong and big. And seeing how the waves crash  and shatter upon hitting the karst. Our wooden boat was no match. The boatman was able to manipulate the boat and we were able to enter the cove but we did not stay too long for it was dangerous. We were both scared because on our way back the waves are getting unfriendly and the boat was tilting. At least we arrived safely at Long Beach. 

Maya Beach/Bay

Sweet & Spicy Fish

The next day, we left Ko Phi Phi and went back to Phuket. The ferry was packed with Europeans, that's when I learned how Thailand banks on its tourism. The ride back was a bit rough due to the big waves & heavy rain. It was already late afternoon when we reached Phuket. We ate at Mcdonalds & bought some souvenirs. We walked to the station to catch the bus going to the airport & learned that it already left. So we rushed to find a bank to change some dollars to Bhat for taxi. It was hard to find a taxi there, a man offered to take us to the airport & we took it. We arrived safely at the airport & was able to board our plane to Singapore.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Karon Phuket

  We flew from Singapore to Phuket Airport. There were long queues of Europeans at the immigration. And there is a big sign "No replicas of Buddha's allowed".  We haled a taxi to take us to the hotel. The roads where like Davao's but with different calligraphy/signs. There are three major beaches in Phuket, namely Patong, Karon & Kata. We opted for Karon Beach, the more laid back one. It is noy to commercialized and busy compared to Patong. We rented a taxi to Phuket Island View Hotel in Karon. There are religious objects & flowers hanging in his rear view mirror same as what we have here in the Philippines. The driver was playing a Christian Bautista song, it goes to show that music is universal. :) It rained hard that day. 

After we checked in at the hotel, we strolled along the beach. There are red flags so it means no swimming, the surfs are deadly. The sand is fine and deep beige color. We had late lunch at Sorrento Italian Restaurant, the Lasagna and prawn pasta tastes good. The Sprite in can has a hint of herb in it. Does anyone observe that? that at every country the soda tastes different.

The next day was Grace's birthday, we woke up early and enjoyed the buffet breakfast facing the beach. In front of the dining area there is little altar with beautiful colorful lilies.

 After-which  we walked to Kata Beach,just south of the road. The sand there is lighter in color & there are some trash at the beach . We saw someone doing yoga at the beach. There's a big carcass of a jelly fish and was able to take a photo of the "smiling crab". At the end of the beach, Japanese guys were surfing. 

On our way back, it was Gracey's birthday so we passed by Starbucks bought a Banofee which is the closest we've got that can pass for a cake. Though it was not sunny, it was really a relaxing day, nothing to do. The rest of the day we hanged out by the pool, & read a book. 

For lunch we looked for an authentic Thai Restaurant. We ate Green Curry Chicken & Tomyum soup, both with a kick of spice. Karon is not packed with tourists compared to Patong. We planned to go to Ko Phi Phi the next day and booked a ferry from a roadside vendor.