Photos from Thailand

18 07 2010

I think this is the last chunk of photos from our trip to Asia.  Here are the best photos from Thailand together with some Thai music.

How would YOU catch squid?

3 04 2010

While on Ko Phangan it is difficult not to notice all the fishing boats that are catching squid around the island at night.  First we just saw the lights out at see and started wondering what those would be and as we found out they were squid fishing boats.

Most of the boats are fairly big with a couple of poles with big lights attached to them that can stretch out to either side of the boat.  The boat on the picture below only has one small light pole.  The smallest boats look like circular tee filters with a diameter of maybe 1.5 meters and are made of bamboo but the majority are 10-15 meters sturdy wooden boats

The boats all stay close to the shore during the day but as the sun is setting they start moving to the proper spots.  It seems like most of them like to fish about five hundred meters from the shore and quite close to each other.  After the sun has set they extend their light poles and turn on their huge lights.  From the porch of our favorite restaurant on Ao Mae Haad we could see about ten boats all lined up glowing in the dark.  The lights are to lure the squid to the surface where it is easy to catch.

There is a lot of squid available in Thailand both dried and fresh.  A lot of street vendors are selling dried squid in the streets.  We never tried it but I’m sure it is similar to the dried cod or haddock that we eat back home.

We have however had the fresh squid on numerous occasions and it has never disappointed.  It has been great with fried rice, fantastic fried but like the squid best in a hot Tom Yum soup …I just start drooling when thinking about it.

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 –

Island hopping

19 01 2010

Ko Tao is a cozy little island (3×7 km or so), the first of the three islands in the Gulf of Thailand that will be our home for the next couple of weeks or so. We stayed for two nights at Freedom Beach on the south end of Ko Tao in a basic hut with Charlie the Cockroach, a few lizards and mosquitoes that were quite happy to have some fresh Nordic blood while I wrote the last post ;) Even though the hut could have been better everything else at Freedom beach was top-notch and the resort was obviously undergoing a major refurbishment like a lot of places around here. The most impressive at Freedom Beach were the beaches and the coral reefs. We rented us some snorkeling gear and snorkeled for a few hours in the crystal clear turquoise colored sea above beautiful corals and colorful fishes that we have only seen in home fish tanks before. It was absolutely fantastic and started just a few meters from the shore. We had never thought snorkeling could be so much fun!

Though life

Life is tough over here :)

After two days we wanted to rent a scooter and explore the island but made an impulse decision to jump on the boat and go to the next island instead and go on a scooter there. So we took the 1 hour boat to Ko Phangan.

Ko Phangan is a lot bigger island and is mostly famous for the huge Full Moon parties held here …every full moon. Up to 30.000 people come here on the full moon during the high season to drink, smoke, snort and dance the night away. They have stretched the full moon concept a bit so now there are full moon, black moon, blue moon and a few other parties going on so basically you can party no matter where the moon and the sun are positioned at that moment. This all happens on the south side of the island so all the oldies and the nerds head basically anywhere else and we went up the west coast to Hat Yao where we have just been enjoying life, exploring the North-West coast on a scooter, trying out a few hammocks and bathing in the sun.

Two things have bother us quite a bit since we came to the islands. Firstly we have hardly gotten hungry lately. It’s not that we are eating so much, it’s more that our appetite has diminished, which is a great shame because we both love to eat. Maybe it is the Beach God telling us that we need to shed a few pounds to walk his sandy beaches half-naked …who knows. I wouldn’t mind if that would be the case and he is helping us getting there.

Chocholate pancake with chocholate

Chocholate pancake with extra chocholate on top

The other thing that has bothered us greatly is that we haven’t been able to bling our selves up. Any descent backpacker that has been in Thailand more than a week has multiple layers of bracelets and necklaces made of leather, shells, coconuts, fish bones and what not around their necks, wrists and ankles. Somehow we have not been able to follow this trend but are anxious to make up for it and will keep you updated. The next steps in the backpacking transformation are dreadlocks and huge tattoos …we’ll start with the bracelets and necklaces and take it from there.

The ladies with the bling

The ladies with the bling

The action on the ABT has been slow, only 2 games in the last 3 days. Örn won another Scrabble game after Elínborg made an incredible comeback and tried to steal the victory but couldn’t quite get there and Elínborg won a Ludo game, tieing the Ludo mini series, in an exciting Ludo mach on the beach of Hat Yao where nerves were extended and adrenaline ran high.

Exploding with tension over the Ludo game

Exploding with tension over the Ludo game

I’m having problems uploading the pictures so I’ll update this post later and insert them so keep looking :)

Until next time….
– Ö r n and E l í n b o r g –