Month Seven: February

As it’s almost April, it feels like the time has come to tell you all about February, and our little trip to Thailand.

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One of the biggest benefits of living and working in Hong Kong is the sheer amount of holiday that is thrown your way – China Day, Buddha’s Birthday, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day (rolls off the tongue doesn’t it?!) and the big one – Chinese New Year.

I did really fancy staying in HK to experience Chinese New Year, as I felt it would have a significantly beaten  the Birmingham Chinese Quarter’s efforts that I saw last year. But with my time in Asia getting closer to the end, I decided it was time to drain my savings for every last penny and so I headed off to Thailand in search of food and sunburn, and with the strong hope in my heart that Leo would still be hanging around somewhere.

So, as the Year of The Horse began Martine, Taz and I set off to Krabi. We hadn’t organised anything beyond the first night but as we arrived in Ao Nang we were pretty sure we weren’t going to be staying long. Mcdonalds, Ladyboys and Fat Northerners were exactly what I had pictured when I had heard how spolit some of Thailand has become, but we were determined that wasn’t going to be our overriding experience off it. So, the next morning we caught a long boat and, on the recommendation of a few people in our first hostel, headed off to Tonsai.

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Although just ten minutes down the coast, Tonsai was a different world to Ao Nang and we gratefully accepted the offer of a hut with no wifi and electricity that was on for just 4 out of 24 hours.. After the hectic pace of Hong Kong, we were so happy to just chill and enjoy the fresh air, good food (amazing food) and cold singha beers.

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The following day we did something I have always, always wanted to do… Elephant trekking.  Having done our research, we stayed well away from companies advertising baby elephants and circus tricks and instead went with ‘Nosey Parker’s’ – the longest standing Elephant riding company in Krabi. I was so impressed with their treatment of the animals, and the laid back nature of  the trek and our guide was an absolute babe. Here are some of my favourite shots….

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Casual.

After our Elephant-ing, we were taken to a wonderful Thai restaurant in the jungle, before heading to a freshwater lagoon/pond type thing (great) and a fish farm (not so great).

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The next day, we headed off to nearby Railay (beautiful and possibly our favourite place that we visited), hit the jackpot with the last room going in a lovely resort and decided to go on an 7-island tour of the vicinity. Turns out, calling it ‘7’ islands was exaggerating slightly, as essentially about half of them were just giant rocks in the sea, but we had a wonderful day nonetheless.

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The next day, we made our way to Party Island Koa Phi Phi to meet Lucy and her sister Kayte. Phi Phi is famous for it’s Buckets and The Beach. Unfortunately, day one in Phi Phi coincided with the start of food poisoning, so no buckets for me but I wasn’t going to let that stop me experiencing it’s other claim to fame. So, with the aim of joining hundreds of Chinese tourists snapping the very same sand that Leo himself had walked, we went off on another boat trip around Phi Phi. Looking more like refugees than holiday makers, you can see how the boat took it’s toll from the start of the day to the end of the day….

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Being a jammy sod and getting a space at the front of the boat, I was a lot more chilled about the situation…

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Anyway, the views were spectacular and, although I didn’t get to experience Phi Phi’s nightlife, the rest of the island certainly impressed me!

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For our final few days, to ensure we had fully wound down we popped off to nearby, quiet and un-developed, Koa Lanta. We had heard mixed reviews about Lanta, and many simply stated ‘Don’t Bother’…but I’m so glad we did. Much larger than any of the other island, Lanta requires taxis or Tuk Tuk’s to go anywhere and so doesn’t have quite the same atmosphere as our other stopping points, but still has so much to offer. To be honest, we didn’t explore the island nearly as much as we could have, but with money running low we decided to have a relaxed few days, and when we happened upon this resort with a private beach and it’s own swimming pool for a mere 6 quid a night, we decided we were all more than content spending the end of our holiday laying by the pool and reading. ( FYI, my book of choice was Wild Swans, Daughters of China  and I thoroughly recommend!)

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And so that draws us to the end of my trip to Thailand. But, this post would not be complete without mention of Justice, who worked at the Department of Justice for the Netherlands, who we met on our way back to Bangkok and – armed with several garments – entertained us thoroughly. What a man he was.

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