Monday, January 16, 2017

Ko Kraden, Ko Mok & Trang 1/17

 A two hour boat ride takes you from pretty, but busy krabi town to the beautiful waters of ko kraden. There's resorts but it's a small island and things are a bit more spread out and nestled in the trees rather than overtaking all the beaches. 

I read about a bungalow that was semi affordable and further away from the "main" pier area. It reminded me of Homer because to walk there on the beach you had to catch the tides right. Otherwise you had to walk through a jungly section, which ain't bad but some fallen big trees covered with ants. 
The food was simple Thai. It's hard to escape the rice and fried everything with white bread. The bungalow had a seaview and the water was blue and clear. Not the best snorkeling as I read but perhaps the recent storm had something to do with it. Overal o still think Malta has the best beaches but maybe I'm bias :)

After two nights, a 30 mins long tail boats takes you to ko mok which is known for its emerald cave. You swim 80 meters through a dark cave and you launch put to a small lagoon and beach that is completely enclosed with towering limestone cliffs. 

There's actual roads on this island and tuk Tuks, more people, places, etc but also more affordable. Every island and bungalow has its pros and cons especially when you are on a budget.

 As soon as I got here I was sick, not the committing kind. My new cut on the bottom of my foot was still red and slightly painful for about a week. After having chills, feeling warm, and with the new bathroom issue I decided to take antibiotics again after more research and consulting a doc friend. 

Few days of gut issues, only in the mornings at least, you are so depleted of energy. Found some more electrolytes, coc water and my new fav aloe water, and kept taking probiotics. Avoided booze and sun and got lots of rest. 

Day 4 started getting better. Of course this was on the day I started traveling back home. I saved money by just eating rice, toast and bannas and no booze but couldn't resist eating bbq Freah fish for dinner right on the beach during sunset. 

Another 30 mins long tail to the mainland then one Hr minivan to Trang, with  6 hrs to kill before the  evening flight to Bangkok. Only slept 4hrs before i started my long journey back "home" to Portland. What's next I'm not so sure. Got some ideas cooking and need time to research, rest and save up again :)-

Pix of Ko kraden 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Thai beaches & islands: Ao Nang, Ko Hong, Ko Lanta 1/17

 There's so many beaches and islands in thailand it's hard to choose which ones to visit. After reading a few blogs, books and talking to other travelers, we made a plan. 

Some islands are far from each other and ferry costs adds up. But more importantly it's tricky to really find what u are looking for in an island. 

Some want to party, some want the comforts of dining options, shopping etc. For me, I want remoteness. I don't want to be surrounded by tourists. I also wanted tome snorkeling actions and pretty, not polluted beaches. But of course the more remote you go, the more expensive everything gets. 

You can google islands to see images but the reality is not aways matching what Google shows you. Also the days of cheap backpackers places are disappearing. All Of Asia is developing more upscale reports and even food is not as cheap anymore. 

We visited ko Hong island as a day trip from ao nang beach which is near the major town of krabi. Even the not to big towns are super packed and just trashy with bars and rubbish. We lucked out with a bit of sun though the clouds with only pouring rain overnight and on the day of travel to the island of Ko lanta. 

We had not idea a storm has been hitting further north. Ko lanta experienced no electricity which not only means no wifi but also no ATMs and no shower or running water at the bungalow. Very lucky compared to the other islands that experienced major floods for a second time during this not rainy season. 

 The strong winds knocked down some trees and sadly we couldn't visit a nations park nearby. At one beach I picked up about 100 lighters that got swept up during the storm. 

Tourists feed the monkies that are by the roads and while walking on the street one monkey grabbed our bag that had snacks and drinks. He only got the almonds and an emergency c. It's so scary because they can bite you but so many tourists act so poorly with these wild animals. 

The weather for better every day and we were able to hike to a bat cave. It was small and sadly no bats. This was on the way to a waterfall which was refreshing and not too cold but also not a big waterfall. 

Pix of Ko Hong and ao nang

Friday, January 6, 2017

Siem reap & Ankow Wat - Cambodia 1:1

  Arrived at Siem reap the day before New Years to meet up with a friend who flew from Portland. We were pretty tired from stressful travels so New Year's Eve was pretty chill. We heard fireworks at midnight and the streets were getting packed by 8pm. 

We toured ankor wat for two days. Lots of cool temples to see so it's nice to split it in two days. The first day was exhausting. Second day we woke up at 4 for the sunrise. 

Rest of the time in town was chill. Took an hour pottery class for fun. First time on a kick wheel wh oh was hard and tiring. Siem reap is built for tourists to see ankor wat. Everything is more pricey and it's hard to escape the tourist trap in this big city designed for us. 

 I'm glad I saw ankor wat and the ruins with the trees embedded in them were super cool. Khmer and Indian food was great but I just didn't feel like I was in Cambodia anymore. 
Two weeks in Cambodia was not enough time. I wished I planned it a bit better to visit other parts. Keep on learning :)-

Pix link to Siem reap and ankor wat

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Koh rung - Cambodia 12/16

 From Otres beach you can get to some nice islands south of Cambodia. I went to the main one, Ko rung. I didn't know much about it but heard it's like Thailand 10 years ago, before Thailand islands got invaded with tourists and of course development. 

The ferry is only an hr but I have never seen such a disorganized transportation system. The boat is there and they started boarding us very inefficiently, 30 mins after departure time. Not so bad as I heard other boats left an hr late. 
The hostel I booked is not near the main pier but i was told I could get dropped of very close to a different pier. Waves were a bit bad (not really) so they only went to the main one. I was a bit hungover and got sick twice at the very end. 

I didn't want to get on another boat so a traveller headed my way offered to wear my 20 pound backpac; we took our time walking about 1.5 through beautiful beach spots and through a small forest. 

I was stoked to have a tent instead of a dorm bed. It was huge and in a perfect spot just under a minute walk from the ocean. I chilled for two nights. Caught up on sleep as I heard the waves crashing from my tent. 

My time is short in Cambodia so I decided to book a flight to Siem reap to avoid going back through Phom penh. The boat ride back to the mainland was an ordeal. I opted to go early to be on the safe side for my 4pm flight. After waiting two hours by the pier close by to my hostel, I started to panic. Was told it's too choppy and have to go to the main pier. 
However none of the small boats wanted to make the trip to the main pier either cuz of the waves. So I started marching through the woods this time carrying my backpack. After 30 mins back on the beach side,  I noticed it was calmer. Saw a boat and a guy and paid him $10 to take me to the pier. 

I made good time to catch the 12:30 boat, but then was told that my boat company cancelled their trips. So I bought another ticket that was double the price and waited 2 more hours. 

I saw my original boat at the pier and after much going  back and forth between the two boat companies and docks I decided to go with the original one. The other one was changing their boat as the one that just arrived broke down a few times. 

45 mins crazy boat ride, up and down the waves with barely mins to make my flight. I gave up on the flight but people encouraged me to try. At this point I'd be happy to make it alive to the mainland. 

Kept my bag with me, up front so I could rush off the boat. Walked a bit to gab a taxi and told him fast. Calling the airlines to let them know I'm on the way but if I miss it could I make the next flight? They said no it's full, so hurry.  

 Taxi hurries, he's happy that I will make it. I tip him, heart racing at the check in. Asking them, did I make it. They said, yes. Rush through security, luckily this is a tiny airport, only to be told that I have time. The plane is delayed. Then why did the guy on the phone, whoever he was, told me to hurry; hurry as if I had just one minute to make it. 

I spent $5 on a beer and icecream to relax. Normally beer is .50 cents. Expensive day to make my flight and the awesome beach time I had experienced was now filled with a stressful feeling. Whew.