Robbed on the bus from Bangkok!

31 03 2010

Last time we met, we were on our way from Chang Mai in Northern Thailand and all the way down to Ao Mae Haad on Ko Phangan in Southern Thailand.  In 48 hours we spent 30 on a bus and two in a boat but it was all worth it when we came to Mae Haad.  This is not the first time we’ve been here, we came here near the beginning of our trip as can be seen in previous posts: Island hopping, Little piece of heaven and From one island to the next.

The journey wasn’t without its incidents as we discovered when we arrived in Mae Haad.  When we opened our bags it was obvious that someone had gone through the bags in search for something.  After a closer inspection we were only missing a flashlight, a watch, a wallet with 1,000 ISK and one roll of gaffer tape.  Since the Icelandic króna is practically worthless these days it wasn’t such a big loss :) maybe the biggest loss was in my watch but I’m sure I’ll make up for that in China!

We have been warned on several occasions not to leave any valuables in our big back pack and fortunately we have our ears open once in a while.  We had all our valuables with us – it was unlucky that the watch was there but I had bought a nice fake watch in Chang Mai.  Of course I won’t tell anyone which kind because I want you to think that I have the real thing ;)

The life for the past five days here in Mae Haad has been wonderfully simple.  We wake up around nine and go to the beach – eat lunch when we get hungry and then head for the beach again until about sunset – then its time to clean up before dinner – eat dinner and go to sleep.  The beach here is beautiful and great snorkeling.  There is plenty of people during the day but most come here by bike and go back before dinner so the evenings are quiet.

Once a month there is a big Full Moon party here on Ko Phangan with up to 30,000 visitors.  On the day of the Full Moon Party we rented a motor bike and drove around the island.  We tried to drive to Bottle Beach, supposedly one of the most beautiful beaches around, but the road was so horrible that we turned around when we could almost see the beach.  There is possible to get there by boat so we might try that before we leave.  After Bottle Beach we went to Haad Rin where the party takes place.  We thought that we would be able to catch the beginning of the party before heading home but it started very slowly unlike an Icelandic “Verslunarmannahelgi” and we kind of missed it :(  The roads here are not that great that we wanted to be driving in the dark on the busiest night of the month. 

Little piece of heaven

21 01 2010

We have never thought of our selves as beach loving people and we have always said that we would not want a beach kind of holiday. Now we have been here on the islands for seven days just laying on the beach sunbathing, snorkeling and swimming in the sea and we are absolutely loving it! I don’t think that we have changed but that now we are not in a hurry while on holiday, we have plenty of time and it is not a choice between the beach and something else. Going on a beach OR exploring an exciting city. Going on the beach OR checking out that great museum. Now we have plenty of time to do all the things we want to and it doesn’t have to be either or. We are also getting relaxed about not having a plan to follow. We have a rough (big) plan in our mind but we just decide from day to day where to go and where to sleep. When we have traveled before everything has been organized, all accommodation booked beforehand and the most events set. It is quite liberating not to follow a plan but needed some time to get used to.

Ko Maa Island connected to Ko Mae Haad by a sand reef

Ko Maa island connected to Ko Mae Haad by a sand reef

We are now in Ao Mae Haad on the North West corner of Ko Phangan. This is definitely the best place we have visited so far. It is a bit off the regular tourist track and not many tourists are staying here. During the day it is very busy though since many people seem to come here for day trips. The beach is about 1 km long and there is a large island just off shore and is connected to our beach with a sand reef on the low tide. Everything is very cozy and nice: the people, the environment and our bungalow.

Ao Mae Haad

Ao Mae Haad

We met up with a very nice Canadian couple in Haad Yao that were also on their way to Mae Haad so we joined forces. We had seen them on the bus from Bangkok so we started chatting. They are also on a long trip here in Asia. From Thailand they are heading towards Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia so we probably won’t see them again after Ko Phangan but you never know. He has been a couple of times in Thailand so he has given us some tips and suggestions. It is always great to catch up with people that are doing similar things as you are doing.

We have both taken great interest in snorkeling, anything else is difficult given the opportunities that we have here. We have only had to swim 100 meters from the shore to be surrounded by colorful coral and fish beyond believe. We have been snorkeling at a depth of one to four meters in absolutely clear waters and seen maybe forty different types of tropical fish: green, yellow, blue, red, black, white, translucent, striped, spotted, octagonal and solid. Today we spent so much time snorkeling that both of us have sunburn on the parts that stick up when staring down into the water (just check in the bathtub which parts those are).

We have not eaten at a restaurant where the menu has been shorten than seven pages and the restaurant at our resort is no exception. Just to give you some examples is has 14 different fruit shakes and 16 different juices that they list. For breakfast they have 22 different types of roll toast, 13 baguettes and 7 different types of pancakes. For main course they have 16 salads, 30 different types of fried rice, several kinds of macaroni, spaghetti, noodles, fried noodles and so on and so on. On top of all this they have something called Noname – 10 different types. Noname looks like the leftovers from last night mixed together and deep-fried and like everything else deep-fried is tastes very good. These huge menus are therefore quite scary for people with decision anxiety but we have managed so far :) But all in all the food here has been wonderful and almost everything that we have tasted had been top notch.

The massage parlour

The massage parlour

We went for a massage today. Elínborg had a conventional head, neck and shoulders massage and I had a Thai massage. The Thai is based on stretches and pinches without oil rather then conventional strokes. It is quite rough but very relaxing at the same time. Below you can see the price list for massages. 100 Baht are about $3.

The price list

The price list

The clock is almost 22 now when I’m writing this so it is well past our bedtime :) Therefore I won’t have this long for now. All the best….

– Ö r n and E l í n b o r g –