The main reason we came to Thailand was to sit on different beaches and work on our tans (they were pretty epic by the time we left). That’s not particularly interesting reading, so below are some of the more memorable moments from our time in southern Thailand.
We learnt an interesting fact about ourselves in Koh Samui; we have officially entered the target market for time share scams. As if getting older wasn’t bad enough, now we also have to protect ourselves from new scams. An old British guy and a young Thai guy on a motorcycle spot us, pull to the side of the road asking if we spoke English. It sounds like they need help, which should have been our first clue. Speaking English is hardly unusual, nor is it likely to get you out of trouble in Thailand. Besides the guy was British, he already knows all the English he’ll ever need. Before we know it we are holding scratch cards, and wouldn’t you know it, we’ve won a prize. They act excited, they’ve never seen this before, and for some reason they get a cash bonus because we’ve won a prize. They are not good actors. Myles has won a t-shirt, but Keelie has hit it big time with a prize that might be $1000 cash, or an iPad, or a voucher at their hotel. They have boxes and boxes of iPads sitting around just waiting to be given out. All we need to do to claim our prize is take a free taxi out to their hotel, where we’ll get a free drink and our prizes. We politely decline. The guy acts really surprised when we tell him we aren’t going, until Myles points out that he would get rejected several times a day and therefore he can stop pretending to be surprised.
We Google the company (Tides resort) when we get back to our hotel, and find dozens of stories of people who went to claim their prize only to have to listen to a hard sell for five or so hours or people who for some reason decide to give them money only to never see it again. So we got out fairly unscathed from our first time share scam.
It’s in Koh Pha-Ngan that we stay in the worst accommodation of our entire trip. We’d love to tell you more about it, but we are contractually obliged not to under the terms of the non-disclosure agreement that we signed in order to get our money back. One word of advice to potential hotel operators though: it is customary for bathroom sinks to be plumbed in to some form of drainage system and not drain onto the bathroom floor.
Despite not having a plumbed in sink, it did have a tv where we stumbled upon the strangest tv channel in all the world: a channel dedicated to showing animal fighting.
Even though the full moon party was the same night, we decide to go on a day trip to Ang Thong marine park. The islands are beautiful, full of sheer cliff faces, dense vegetation and hidden lakes. At the last stop we have the option to walk to a viewpoint, it doesn’t sound that hard and we like views (I wonder if there is anyone who doesn’t like views, who just prefers to see things really close up), so off we go. As it turned out, the less than 1KM walk is extremely difficult and almost vertical. There are a number of viewpoints along the way, most of which are reached without too much difficulty, but the last viewpoint requires climbing up a cliff face using a rope. This was not what we signed up for. Somehow, we reach the final viewpoint. The view from all three viewpoints is magnificent, giving a view of all islands in the marine park, but the sheer effort required to reach the top was probably not worth it.
Koh Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi is exactly what you picture when you think of a tropical island paradise. In order to give ourselves a break from strolling to different beaches, we decide to do an afternoon boat tour. The tour is ridiculously cheap and ferries us amongst cliffs, to monkeys, snorkelling and to ‘the beach’, made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio (due to the tides we had to scramble amongst rocks and a rickety ladder to get there, the full movie experience). The main reason we decided to do the tour was to go snorkelling with bioluminescent plankton, who glow when disturbed as a defence against predators. As the sun sets, we put our snorkels back on and jump into the ocean. It feels strange to be swimming in the middle of the ocean at night, something we’d never do at home. As we move in the water, the plankton start to glow creating a truly magical underwater view.
It’s not that long now until we head to Europe to meet up with some of our favourite people. We’re beyond excited to see them, but we have a pretty full on itinerary so we’re keen to have some travel downtime in order to prepare. Also we can afford things in South East Asia that we can’t afford in other parts of the world; it would be silly to not take advantage of that. We book ourselves into Sala, to a villa with a private plunge pool, and laze away our days.