This blog is kind of a diary of our trip to Thailand. It is no longer updated, as we are already home :-( Please note, we have created an online photo-album with google's picassa, check it out for a lot of our photos from Thailand!.

Snorkling Trip to Koh Rok

17:41 | damen Thailand one comment | Wikipedia

Tuesday
Today Martijn had his birthday, so we celebrated this with a nice speedboat trip to the Island of Koh Rok, which is south of Koh Lanta and famous for it's snorkeling. For this we had to get up early and were picked up with the speedboat from our beach at 8h30. After picking up several other people we headed for Koh Rok and arrived there around 10 for the first 40 minutes snorkeling. The water was nice warm (30 degrees celcius) and the visibility also ok (>10 meter). We had in total three 40 minute snorkeling sessions, so we were able to see a lot.

Martijn on the speedboat with Koh Rok in the background



One of the typical speedboats here on Koh Lanta. Also notice the person in the water, if they are wearing life jackets during snorkeling the normally also walk on the coral and ought to be shot!



After the first two times snorkeling we had already seen lot's of clown fish, moray eels (very big one swimming and a tiny one in the rocks), porcupine fish, trumpet fish, parrot fish, too many trigger fish for my comfort etc. It was also a nice way for Martijn to do some apnea diving again, because it really had been a long time :-) After seeing all these nice creatures under water it was time for lunch, and our captain of the speedboat turned out to be also a good cook and host, so we got fine food on the Island of Koh Rok. Here we discovered that it was also possbile to camp here under the supervision of the Koh Rok National Park Rangers, who lived permanently on the island.



Our cook / captain



Manu posing with the cook. Just take a look at that nice table with food



After the refreshing lunch we had some time to look around on the island and enjoyed the fabalous beach. It was really amazing, the sand was extremely soft and 10 meters from the waterline the coral began. Here we also did some snorkeling and were even lucky enough to see a stone fish. Furthermore there were again lot's of Clown Fish. What did irritate us was some Thai or Korean people who were walking on the coral. These were the same ones in the photo above with the life jackets. Manu made clear that they should not do that, and after that they seemed to keep in line.

There were also a lot of hermit crabs (Pagurus Bernhardus) on the beach, which were very funny as they run away and hide if you come near.

The beach of Koh Rok



One cute Pagurus Bernardus (Einsiedlerkrebs)



After this we had our last snorkeling, this time is a place where again there were lot's of moray eels. After three times 40 minutes snorkeling it was enough and we went back to Koh Lanta. We just put the first persons on the beach and had some miles to do as a big rainstorm started :-( Thus we were completely soaked as we arrived at our beach and were really very happy that our bungalow had warm water :-)

So, due to the rain we could not enjoy the nice sea food bbq that we had planned for tonight, so we decided to have diner at the Coffee Asylum where we normally took our lunch. Somehow we missed the sign at the entrance saying they were closed for the evening, and as May and Michael knew that I had my birthday and I told them that some people were coming over they decided that they were open anyway ;-) I must say, of the 10 people that came only one noticed the closed sign :-) We had some food and then we did something very cool, we let balloons up for luck. This is an old tradition on Koh Lanta and Michal and May had two balloons organized for me, so Manu and I both had one airborne. The perfect thing to do on a birthday, ain't it?

Michael and May of the Coffee Asylum on Long Beach, Koh Lanta



Lighting up the balloon on the beach



It is almost ready to fly away



Airborne... this is really magical



As you can see it is an almost magical sight to see the balloons go up in the sky. As soon as they gain hight you don't see the balloon as is anymore, just a golden light that slowly ascends into the sky. Really cool! After this we enjoyed the rest of the evening with drinks (if you make it to Koh Lanta try the "Blender Medley"... quite a drink!).

Manu and May, probaly after the first cocktail



Divers all over the place, with these guys I've been visiting Din Haeng and Din Muang



Not big, but a nice party



Most important guest, one of the beach dogs that kind of lives here in the Coffee Asylum

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Beach Time and more diving

12:03 | damen Thailand eight comments | Wikipedia

Saturday
On Saturday we took the day to relax and do absolutely nothing. In the evening there were several parties where we were invited and we went to the one at Irie's. They had live music and later on a dj turned the tables, but by then we were already gone. Further we enjoyed a nice thai massage, which is great when you have a slight breeze from over the beach and the view on the sea :-)

We started the day with a nice breakfast at the Coffee Asylum, which kind of is our standard place to go to for breakfast and May and Michael are great hosts. There we spend the better part of the afternoon in hammocks reading.... very relaxed.

Coffee Asylum, Long Beach, Koh Lanta



Martijn relaxing on the beach in a hammock



And Manu relaxing on the beach in a hammock



After that we walked a bit up and down the beach and had some thai food probably .... not too sure anymore what we did, but it took kind of the whole day :-) Oh and by the way, the sunsets are beautiful here !

A great sunset on the long beach



Sunday
On Sunday Martijn went diving again, this time to the King Cruiser Wreck, Sharks Point and Anemone Reef. Great visibility, great stuff to see:
Sea snake, again a sea turtle but this time swimming, boxfish, lot's of baracuda, lot's of moray eels, again a leopard shark, beautifill srimps, soft corals, hard corals, anemones all the eye could sea :-)

Manu spended the day on the beach again, enjoyed a nice coconut oil massage and in the evening we sat on the beach with a american-german couple we met. Very relaxed, again :-)

Monday
We slept in and in the afternoon we took a taxi to Lanta Old Town, where we had a look around. Then we went on to a remote beach where there were less than 10 people, including us, and enjoyed the water and small crabs.


Lanta Old Town



beautiful deserted beach in the south of Koh Lanta



No further comments on this scenery

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Tiger Prawn

08:18 | damen Thailand No comments | Wikipedia

Yesterday evening they had tiger prawn here at the bbq place, so we decided to go wild and have some. Just check the photo's guys, it is really great :-)

Fresh fish for the bbq



Just check the size of these babies!



They are very quickly prepared, it is amazing how fast the cook was



A very proud chef with our meal



The final result.... jummie!

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Koh Lanta and diving

07:20 | damen Thailand one comment | Wikipedia

We arrived on Lanta Island on Wednesday after running away from Koh Phi Phi and found us a really nice place here at long beach. There are a lot of small bars and restaurants and they have the most delicious fresh fish from the bbq here.

Ofcourse Martijn has been diving two times since then, on Thursday and Friday:

Thursday
Two dives at Koh Ha, there we saw lots of moray eel, porqupine fish, trumpet fish, baracuda, Tuna, sea turtle, and during the first dive a big leopard shark :-) :-)
The second dive we saw the same, but also 2 very nice sea snakes.

1: 49 min / 25 meter
2: 60 min / 17,6 meter

Friday:
Two dives, one at Hin Muang and the second at Hin Daeng. We went out in the speedboat, and say Mantas with both dives!!!! Great animals, we saw 4 of them. Further lots of other stuff, great diving spot.

1: 45 min / 30 meter
2: 58 min / 20 meter

The speedboat is supposedly the fastest boat on the island and was really good in getting us to the dive spot, which is a 50km trip.


Preparing in the speed boat



We arrive at Hin Daeng, the second dive spot which is just a small rock coming out of the water



The speed boat that brought us safely back home



Today is a dive free day and we are both lying around in hammocks, enjoying the fresh fruit shakes and the weather.Perhaps we will do some snorkling on Monday and Tuesday, before leaving for Bangkok again. Tomorrow is another dive day for Martijn, 3 more dives near a wreck.

Check also ourphoto album for more pictures of Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta
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koh phi phi was terrible, we moved to Koh Lanta

10:23 | damen Thailand one comment | Wikipedia

We arrived in Koh Phi Phi yesterday and had much trouble finding a room, the one we found was much to expensive, very dirty and had no water. On top of it Manu got very nasty stinged by bedbugs, causing big itchy blisters on her right leg :-( Further the island is not so nice, due to the large amount of 'Ibiza-Tourist" :-( No more dream destination!

Therefore we decided to move straight on to Koh Lanta, were we are now staying in the Koh Lanta Palm Beach Resort. Much better, and here we can get a real beach time. Martijn can do some diving here with Palm Beach divers, much more expensive but worth it!
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Preparing for Island & Beaches

07:09 | damen Thailand three comments | Wikipedia

We are still so happy here in the Phanom Bencha Mountain Resort, but we did came to Thailand to try some of the best beaches in the World so that is what we are preparing for currently. Fortunately they have a good (free!) internet connection here, funny enough via satelite and it works good so we can search for the best places to stay.

As we started our journey we were keen on Koh Lanta, but while talking to some of the people who run the place over here we got another idea of the place. It is apperently quite big and there are really long ways between the nice spots, further it is crowded with the kind of tourists that only speak their own language and want to eat their own countries food while on holiday, no offense of course.

Then we got really enthausiastic about going to Koh Jum, which is a small rather undeveloped island where the atmosphere is not too crowded. Unfortunately the new diving center that should have started there (Blue Juice Divers) are still closed, as they wrote in an email. So there is not much sense going there as Martijn really wants to do some diving while here.

So currently we are focussing on Koh Phi Phi Don, the famous island. The following resorts we have in focus and requested some infomation:

General Information by TravelFish on Koh PhiPhi housing
Important, a map of the place


Tropical Garden Bungalows
Link2

Dive Centers
Harlequin Diving Center
Mosquito Diving Center
Phi Phi diving
Viking divers
Paradise Diving, Long Beach


Most dive centers ask 2200 bath for a two dive trip, which is about 50 Euro and therefore a very reasonable price.
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Tiger Temple

06:46 | damen Thailand No comments | Wikipedia

We had a great night sleep here in the Phanom Bencha Mountain Resort, the food in the evening was great and after a cold beer we went to our cabin. There we enjoyed the concert of the jungle, it is really amazing how loud this can be, but it is really relaxing.

The next morning we enjoyed the pool a bit and after a quick tour of the garden we found out that our camera was really broken (see previous posts). So we decided to combine buying a new camera at the local Tesco supermall with a visit to the Tiger temple and got a pickup with driver, because here you really don't want to drive a motercycle!

After we got our new Canon Powershot 570 we were happy again and could take photo's of our trip again.

The visit to the tiger temple was really very impressive, we'll just let the photo's speak for themselves but after climbing to the top we really got some problems the day after... ouch!

The big buddha statue is located high on top of the limestone mountain



Ok, we're really up against a long way to the top!



Buddha image in the first part of the tiger cave



More Buddha Images



Very curious monkeys on the way up to the top



Amazing Buddha Image at the top, about 10 meters high. You just cannot grasp that they builded it here



Manu in front of the spectacular view



Nice ain't it

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Phanom Bencha Mountain Resort

06:44 | damen Thailand No comments | Wikipedia

I already wrote that we found our little paradise, and just to stretch the fact here a couple of photos. The resort is really magnificent, the people are really friendly, the food is the best we had so far and best of all, the prices are so ok. We pay only 800Bath a night for the bungalow with warm water and the food is also not more expensive than 50-80Bath a meal. So no reason to complain. So far we were the only ones here, but now a Australian-Danisch Couple also came. Still, with 100rai room for all of us we have our peace and quiet.

Here is our little bungalow, in the middle of a beatifull garden:

Bungalow at night



Frontview of the bungalow



The view and scenery was just fabulous



Then we had a nice garden with ponds and lots of fruit and cocosnuts:

Martijn during a walk in the garden



Beautifull ponds which run not far from our bungalow



And of course we needed a nice pool, all for ourselves with a stunning view:

The water looks very green, but it is fresh from a private spring and has the perfect temperature to cool down



Just a perfect paradise!



And the best thing was, we were the only guests here



The resevoir, which provides the village nearby with fresh water

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Chiang Mai to Krabi

06:35 | damen Thailand No comments | Wikipedia

This time we really had a very good ride in the train, exactly what you can expect when travelling first class :-) We got our wake up call somewhere around 5:30 am and shortly afterward we received our cup of coffee to get up and awake. The train did arrive in Bangkok really good in time, so we were at the train station Hualamphong around 7am. This allowed us to do some travelling in Bangkok, and we decided to take the new subway and the sky train to see a bit of the city. Therefore we dropped of our bags at the left luggage cloak room, and were unpleasently suprised by the fact that they did not want 10bath a piece but 50, somehow referencing to a non-official looking paper telling us it had changed. As the prices on the wall were still the old prices I still don't believe them, but there was no way to argue and also 50bath a piece isn't worth the anger and discussion.

After this we took the new metro of Bangkok to get onto the sky train, and we were quite suprised because the subway is really empty, and costs a lot compared to the rest in Thailand. Funny enough they have the driverless system we are still trying to get working in Nuremberg :-) Good work Siemens :-)
We soon decided that both the subway and the sky train were much too cold and got out somewhere behind the Victoria Monument, for breakfast and coffee. Amazingly the coffee is much better in Thailand than I remembered, it seems that since 2001 they all switched from nescafe to great coffee houses.

After the small breakfast we went to the river again to take a express boat to Tha Ratchawong, the pier where Chinatown is starting. And ok, just to get things straight: Chinatown in Bangkok is just way too busy, filthy and busy busy busy to enjoy it. Martijn did enjoyed a great noodle soup there, but we soon fled the place and after discovering a very nice temple that for once was not in the LP we went back to the train station to pick up our stuff and (so we thought) get the train to Don Muang Airport. One bad thing that happened is that our camera started to act funny during our walk through China Town, we thought it was just the batteries, but it did not respond anymore at all. bad bad news!


Martijn enjoying his noodle soup for 25 bath



After we bought a train ticket we just missed the train of 11h40, and the next one was due to leave at 12h45. because it was an hours ride with the train we decided that we did not want to take the risk and miss our flight, so we took a taxi meter and drove to the airport. Ok, we could easily have made it with the train, but who takes the risk when flying to one of the best beach areas in the world :-)

After we got to Krabi we got picked up by the resort and finally arrived there. It is just great and lies back in the forest, lovely place. We seem to be the only guests, but that is ok.

The first photo in our Mountain Resort, a bit of paradise

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Chiang Mai second day

06:14 | damen Thailand No comments | Wikipedia

After we returned from the trekking tour we were quite tired and kept the afternoon near the pool in the guesthouse relaxing a bit.

In the evening we visited the famous night bazaar, but somehow it was not really that much fun, but we did found a shop with some beautifull temple dancer figures carved out of wood... We got a quick bite and then went home.

The last day in Chiang may was planned for doing a biking tour, but we were both quite tired and decided against it. Then we just enjoyed the time near the pool, and after breakfast we went into town again and bought the two dancing figures we found the day before. After packing them very well and sending them home we finally got our Thai present for Christmas.

Martijn on a solid bridge in Chiang Mai



View of the market in Chiang Mai, lots of fresh fruit



In the afternoon we had to leave already and took the night train back to Bangkok, this time it was much better with the airconditioning :-) We also had a small meal in the train, amazingly good and that was true luxery:

Great food and delivered directly to our cabin in the 1st class train



View on our 1st class cabin, everything you need and most important, we could control the AC!

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