We began our journey from Bangkok again, taking an over night bus to Chumphon and from there catching a boat to a tropical Island paradise. This whole trip was a huge cluster, and to top it all off Matt had some awful tummy bug which sent him into painful stomach spasms roughly every 1/2 hour. We began by chasing a man who had taken our tickets from us and then walked off briskly down the bustling alleys of Bangkok. It took us a moment or two to respond by which point the man was nearly gone; so off we went bounding frantically down the street with our packs (currently weighing about 17 kilos each.) With a little luck we found him and our bus and began the first leg of the trip.
The Bus it self was quite comfortable, we watched a movie and it seemed that Matt had almost recovered from his tummy aches... But four o'clock in the morning came and we were woken up and chucked off the bus, bags and all on the side of the road in the rain (once again for those who follow the blog.) The panic of it all sent Matt's poor tummy into a violent fit of anger which in turn sent him, clutching his bum and running for the toilet frantically. He then found himself pleading with the toilet guard, who wanted 5 bath ($0.15) which he didn't have, explaining that it was an emergency. A new pair of pants and a 1/2 hour wait later we were off again, spirits dampened but non the less on our way.
The next leg of the trip was the 3 hour boat journey to Koh Tao, a little Island in the Gulf of Thailand. Island hopping, sounds nice huh? I was bit worried even before we got on, my mothers incessant warning of the ocean may have fallen of deaf ears but, some thing of it always lingers in the back of my head; and only adding to that i find that most of my boat excursions are spent leaning off the back vomiting violently. We left the safety of the harbor with a boat full of giggling children and smiling happy faces and arrived in Koh Tao with tear streaked faces, vomit covered clothes, adorned in life jackets and soaked to the bone. It was one of the scariest experiences of my life. We got out in the ocean in our 50' boat to find 5 meter swells (as high as our boat) and torrential rain. I spent the ride hanging on to the deck while the ocean tried to gobble me up and puking my guts out along with a good 20 other people. I never went back inside but Matt tells me that the down stairs seating area looked like a scene from a disaster movie. Windows that normally looked out on the horizon were fully submerged in the seething oceans and people were completely terrified, all in life jackets and clutching each other. This weather is actually unheard of in Thailand in this season, but there you go. We made it alive, both of us! We got off on a rickety Island dock that was practically tearing apart in the storm. At that time I wasn't sure if I was going to make it home, or ever even off that little Island, getting on a boat in 3 days was absolutely on the bottom of my list.
Enough horror stories, the trip from hell was over, we found a nice little room and the sun came out to grace us with it's presence the next morning. We rented a scoot with massive dirt bike wheels, without them it would have been impossible to go anywhere the roads were so bad. We spent two days scooting around the Island, we found some beautiful beaches and did a bit of snorkeling which is always lovely. Koh Tao had a lot to offer, considering it's slow Island pace. The nights were filled with fire dancers and parties, and our days were spent swimming and watching the tide roll across the shore while drinking a fresh coconuts. Living the True Island fantasy.
The gods looked kindly on us for our next little hop; we had a beautiful day and smooth ride to Ko Lanta which is a big Island in the Krabby region of Andaman Coast. This area of Thailand was interesting, predominantly muslim and not heavily touristed in comparison to other Thai Islands. Matt and me found a beautiful bungalow for 300 bath ($10) which was ideal... however we found out later that we were sharing it with some strange cross breed of a bird and a wasp. Giagantic-flying-black-stinging-beasts that had actually bitten holes into through the bamboo and built hives inside (I couldn't even bite a hole through bamboo?) We lived together quite happily once we had gotten the territories sorted. It rained and rained and rained while we were there (4 days.) We managed to get out and see a little bit of the island regardless. We went to a beautiful little ancient village which was once used by the chinese as a port, the houses were around 200rd years old and stood on stilts over the sea. Other than that, more coconuts, more beaches, but the rain really put a damper on the beach life so we moved along hoping to out run the weather.
Ko Phi Phi next, an little Island with absolute breath taking beauty. But like anything in that category, wined and dined, used and abused, and left out to dry but the hordes euro flash packers that comb over south Thailand's beaches. Ko Phi Phi is actually the Island from the movie 'the beach' for those of you who have seen it (I haven't.) We only spent 2 nights here due to the astronomical price of the place. The day we arrived we hiked one of the mountains that forms Ko Phi Phi and down the other side to a far off beachy cove. A great walk but we found our selves tromping through the Island Jungle in a torrential down pour on the way back. The next day we decided to take a long-tail boat ride over to Phi Phi little sister of a island 'Phi Phi Ley.' And by some miracle the storm lifted right before we left and the sun painted the ocean electric blue again. Phi Phi Ley is a national park so the island and coral's true nature and beauty is being preserved. We snorkel over there, which was unbelievable, a myriad of rainbow fishes swimming right past you, perhaps even brushing your leg with their fin as they went. There were also these giant polka doted red and blue fishes that were eating the coral, or so it appeared, you could hear then chomping down and crunching away. I never knew the ocean could be so beautiful but there it was, and the sun was out for the first time in over a day, it was heavenly. After snorkeling our boatman took us to Maya Bay which IS a screen saver. We spent and hour or two strolling to silky smooth golden sands and then the storm began to roll back across the sea. You could see it coming, so we embarked on the journey back and though the rain was liking our heels we made it back relatively unscathed. We are so happy to have had that 3 hour gap of good weather to really take in the stunning beauty of this place.
This was the last Island stop in Thailand for us and we made our way to Phuket airport where we actually spend an surprising bearable night sleeping on a abandoned stairwell. I am writing you now from Bali where we have more stories to tell, thanks for reading.