Posted by: The Travelling Mallorys | August 18, 2010

15 days in Thailand – Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket, Chumphon and Bangkok

Hello again! As you know we arrived in Thailand by boat, which meant that we could only get a 15 day visa. This obviously impacted our travel plans so we devised a route that would get us to Bangkok  where we knew we would be best able to escape the country in time before visa ran out. BUT we will be back for Thailand part 2 in a few weeks…

We began our Thailand adventure in Krabi, towards the South. It’s a coastal town, surrounded by very beautiful coastline, complete with dramatic limestone cliffs and perfect blue ocean. However, there isnt much to do in Krabi if you aren’t keen on clambering up rock faces, zip-lining down them or paying shedloads for tours. We had a big old drink then headed quite quickly to the fair Koh Phi Phi.

Beer beard

Beard shot dedicated to Ben Rubinstein

We were looking forward to Phi Phi and it was pretty as a picture as we came in on the boat…

Ko Phi Phi

Ko Phi Phi

until you got a bit closer! You can really see the impact of tourism on the island. The beach is covered in rubbish and the whole island is heaving with Aussie and Brit student gap-yah’s roasting themselves to crackling by day and pickling their livers by night! It wasn’t our scene at all (though 10 years ago I’d have bloody loved it!).

So we decided that at our next stop we should get a bit out of town! We chose Sansuko Ville on the island of Phuket (the largest island in Thailand). Sansuko was worlds away from the tourists strips of the island, located in a Thai village. It was BLISS!

And it had a swimming pool, and baked beans, and a bath, and just about the nicest people you will ever meet working there.

View from our room at Sansuko Ville

View from our room at Sansuko Ville - how nice is that?

Bobbi and Steve started Sansuko Ville four years ago after moving to Thailand from Yorkshire for a new life. Bua and Eddie are the other couple, Thai, who help them run it. They made us so welcome – taking us around the area to show us the sights, giving us lifts to a wonderful secluded beach, looking after Gavin when he had a poorly tummy-

Yes, poor me!

-getting me decent insect repellent, and so on. The place was amazing and it was great to visit an area off the beaten track. If you ever come to Thailand please go there, you will love it!

We caused a stir at the local market by being the only Western people around and not having a clue what anything was. We were given free samples and bought lots of tasty goods.

Langsat

Including a fruit called langsat that looks like potatoes

Crisps on a stick

and crisps on a stick - lush!

After 4 days taking it easy we needed to start the process of getting to Bangkok. We could not face a 15 hour bus ride and decided to take the bus halfway to a place called Chumphon, from where we could connect with train services.

Chumphon was like an outpost in the wilderness.

It wasn’t that bad!

Well, it wasn’t that good either! There was literally nothing to do except get lost looking for our hostel.

We met a very nice German couple when we all got off the bus at Chumphon, Corinna and Jonas, and between the four of us we managed to track down a hostel in town after walking in a huge circle!

Once we had arrived and got a room for the bargain price of 250baht (that’s about £5!) we had a beer or two with Jonas and Corinna and enjoyed the best sandwiches ever. They bake the bread on the premises and it was delicious!

The next day we went to book our train ticket to Bangkok. We chatted to the friendly man at the station who kindly responded, “Don’t have” to every booking we wanted to make.

So we said “what tickets do you have?” and he said the 20:30 overnight train, 2nd class sleeper for the upper berth (top bunk to you and me), arriving in Bangkok at 5.30am the next morning. I said, you’re having a laugh mate, I can’t get up that early!

No you didn’t! You blanched slightly but we had no choice – all the trains were booked for the next 4 days! National holidays – ah ha, that’s why it was so busy!

So we had a dullsville day in Chumphon to wait until our train in the evening. We explored as much as possible. We walked around the whole place. There’s nothing there, but we did see this place which will make hometown people happy.

MK restaurants

For the Milton Keynes crew, past and present

They do green noodles. Green noodles taste exactly like normal noodles, but they’re green so it’s better.

Anyway, we were quite excited about the sleeper train and we were right to be! When we got on, the carriage had already been converted from day mode to night mode. Basically the bottom seat turns into a bed, and then they fold out another bed above it so there are upper and lower sets of beds all along each side of the carriage with an aisle in the middle. There are little curtains on each bed for privacy.

Night train

Bumpy night train!

The wife and I hopped onto her bunk when we got on and had a couple of beers to celebrate! Probably too many. When the conductor woke us up at the crack of dawn the next morning I thought I had only just gone to sleep! I refused to get up for ages, convinced we couldn’t be there already. He started not quite shouting but obviously getting annoyed so i got up and he was right.

So there we were – Bangkok! At 5.30am! We couldn’t check in to our hostel until 8am so we hung around the station like zombified spectres, along with all the other foreign waking dead.

Our hostel, Cozy Place Bangkok, was worth waiting for though. So warm and welcoming, lovely building and great location for us.

We have been in Bangkok 4 days now and have had lots of fun sightseeing, though our tactic has been to either go out early and have a rest in the afternoon, or go out late after a restful morning so as we don’t burn out in this steaming metropolis.

And so I don’t get too grumpy and sleepy. I thought I’d hate Bangkok, but I actually really like it.

I love it!

We visisted the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and were blown away.

Grand Palace

The Grand Palace

King Rama the something (there were loads – my favourite is 4, closely followed by 5. 5 started schools and stuff, but 4 made it illegal to sell your kids as slaves, so he wins) just upped and moved the capital of Siam (old Thailand) to Bangkok and then constructed this whole area. Amazing.

We also saw Wat Arun (looks a bit like the Eiffel tower from a distance!) and Wat Pho, where we saw giant reclining Buddha. All the photos are on Flickr.

We have soaked up some contemporary art at the Bangkok Art Museum, admired Thai architecture at Jim Thompsons’s house, witnessed the hippy backpacker vibe at the tourist hangout road of Khao San, learned Thai history at the National Museum and dipped a toe in the retail meccas of MBK and Siam shopping areas.

And best of all we got to see one of our good friends from Japan, Maki!

Maki in the cheese place

With Maki in the cheese place

She lives in Bangkok and we met up with her for dinner and drinks. She took us to her favourite cheese restauarant! Yum, cheese! We will be seeing Maki again when we next swing by Bangkok and Japanese izakaya’s and karaoke are on the nostalgia agenda!

We have had a fab time in Bangkok. There is pretty much something for everyone here.

The food is pretty good too – who doesn’t love a pad thai, or green curry, or massaman curry? And the beer is cheap. I’m sold!

We head to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, tomorrow for the next leg. We’ll be in touch again soon.

Bye for now!

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Responses

  1. Someone who has relatives in Malasyia (ok – so maybe biased) said the country is a nicer version of Thailand. Everyone wants to go to Thailand.. but as you said in one of your previous updates.. viit Malaysia quick before people ‘discover it’

    It’s for that same reason I would like to visit New Zealand above Australia.. plus I don’t like snakes and spiders!

  2. Can’t believe you had a wake up call from the train conductor (even if it was 5.30 am).. British conductors barely know how to operate their tinpot portable ticket machines which never seem to work.. let alone a wake up call!.. SERVICE!


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