Highlights of Ko Phi Phi

The first time I heard of Ko Phi Phi was from a friend from São Paulo. “It’s heaven on earth, a natural marvel and where I want to retire when I grow old,” said Ivan.

Naturally, my curiosity was piqued.

Yeah, it was beautiful. Disregarding the drunken backpackers, there was still so much to be seen. It was a little upsetting to see at times people tossing their trash on the beaches (and honestly, the party scene in Ko Phi Phi Don was intense). Which may be nice at times, but not what I’m looking for.

It kind of seems like I’m getting over this partying phase. Still, I loved what I saw of Ko Phi Phi – but to retire here? Possibly not. Onward and outward.

Love, C.

Streets of Phi Phi Don

Streets of Phi Phi Don

Sunset at Phi Phi Don

Sunset at Phi Phi Don

Longboats of Phi Phi Islands

Longboats of Phi Phi Islands

Maya Bay

Maya Bay

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Portraits of Phuket and Ko Phi Phi

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Two thai ladies, taking their lunch break in a small alleyway off Bangla Road. They emanate friendliness and the halting conversation between them and us nevertheless puts us in a positive mood for the start of our trip. One of them, her name was Pai, she helped us order a plate of fresh raw vegetables with their special sambal. And she also took the initiative to pour out cups of cold water for all of us. Genuine people like these make me want to pass it on, all the time. 🙂

Near the end of day 1. Mandy and I driving on a scooter in the dark through the stinging rain. We were getting somewhat lost and slightly worried. Enroute, we bump into a tuktuk carrying a group of European passengers. “Patong? Are you guys going to Patong beach?” They reply in the affirmative and from then until we arrived behind their tail at Patong, they kept out looking for us to ensure we didn’t drop into some pothole or skid across the street.

Now we’re on the boat to Phi Phi Islands. Sitting next to me are 3 ladies from the South of France. A good conversation was had by all – made the journey pass by a lot quicker and in a more pleasant way.

Last but not least. In a small food shop at the Phuket Bus Terminal. Not only did our “chef” serve us a piping hot plate of fried pork with vegetables, she also slapped my legs with newspaper several times – in order to kill the mozzies sucking on my blood.

For sure we met a lot of people this trip. Some were sketchy, some were quality, some were people I wouldn’t ever remember again in the future. But these instances were the ones that touched the heart and hopefully I will remember them for time to come 🙂

Bangkok Birthday: #4

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A light mist descends, and rolls over the street. Sandman goes to work – and across the country, people pull their duvets up to their chins and curl up on their sides. As the clock strikes two, Khao San deflates and tarps are pulled over shops that were not too long ago sporting cutoff tees and shorts of every conceivable shade. Lights are cut and music stops abruptly – it is the approximate of the witching hour here in Bangkok.

But in some small unnamed alley, two friends sit and partake of a bowl of noodles. Because mealtimes are sacred – the act of sharing a meal is an act of unification and it allows a commune of thought and ideas that link people together.

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An amazing sunrise – from this city of smiles.

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An amazing sunset from our balcony

And because I’ve neglected to do so, here are some pictures from our balcony. We stayed at the lebua state tower in an apartment (condominium side). We had an incredible view from our balcony as shown above. Definitely happy with the choice of place that we picked.

This kind of wraps up my Bangkok posts. But I know that I will be back. 🙂

Bangkok Birthday: #3

It was a sensory experience for us. As we looked this way and that, many sights bamboozled the eyes. At the corner in her shop, a grizzled woman beams to us as she stirs her beef broth and offers us chairs to partake of Bangkok’s Boat Noodles. Cables dangle overhead, creating a motif of organized chaos. Everywhere we look, people are studying trinkets, almost frenetic in their hunt for that perfect souvenir. You got that right – in Chatuchak Weekend Market, the characters are loud (or soft, if they’re trying to throw off a hangover), the smiles warm and the food incredible (we had 5 meals that morning!).

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Mandy and the paella chef at Viva, Chatuchak Weekend Market

Naturalment, we couldn’t let a night escape us without attempting to have the full Khao San Road experience. Having learnt our lesson from last night, we didn’t faff around the apartment pre-drinking this night 😉 Instead we just fooled around and took silly pictures.

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Tanzie, Clarey & Mandy.

Before Khao San however – Birthday Dinner at Sala with the ENTIRE crew (yes, everyone’s here!). It just amazed me how everyone was willing to just up and come to Bangkok like that. I have an amazing bunch of friends. Hands down one of my best birthdays in recent years. The view was great, the company was amazing.

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From L to R: Zan, Supei, Abel, Jon, Me, Mandy, Tanzie & Ali

And here we have it – while on Khao San, we picked up Antoine, a traveller from Paris. While everyone was wussy and went for the massage option, we had awesome fun at the fish spa (if you’ve never tried it, I suggest you stick your feet in and make plenty of noise as the fish start sucking at your feet – we did! I believe I kicked and stunned a fish too – oops?). Either way, fun filled day (and evening). And promises of a future date in Singapore with a french boy from Bangkok!

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Fish Spa in Bangkok!

From the land of smiles,

Clarey xo

Bangkok Birthday: #2 Part I

Consciousness slowly rolls into my mind, like slow fingers of orange that creep upon the horizon at sunrise. I wake up with a slumberous stretch, my hands rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. Uncurling out of bed, the realisation hits me – this is my first official day in Bangkok. No time for the weary! I am raring to go.

As I found out quickly enough, this sentiment was not shared 😦

So maybe yes, we got back to the apartment at 4 a.m. Still, 9 a.m. should have been a decent time for people to wake up, right? Apparently not. Well, no fuss. Throwing in the bare necessities into my backpack, I am out the door.

bangkok, streets, thailandMy first step onto the pavements of the Land of Smiles is like stepping into a new world altogether. Unlike Singapore, Bangkok is organized chaos. It is loud, it is vibrant, it has a rich fragrance of oil saturating its streets. I lose a little piece of my heart to this city.

Walking a good 40 minutes, a taxi driver stops for me and offers me a ride. Naturally, my defences go up. But well, he offers to put on the meter and I am sweaty by then. I accede and take the front passenger’s seat. Which is when things go awry (as they are apt to).

A hand snakes up my leg and my thoughts start running wild. THIS IS THE LAST MY FRIENDS WILL EVER HEAR FROM ME. WHY DID I LEAVE BY MYSELF? OHMYGOD I’M GONNA GET KILLED AND KIDNAPPED AND RAPED. In his broken english, the cab driver propositions me – “I Want You” (Yes, I could hear the caps). Except – y’know what, driver? I think I see that mall. Yeah! There! I want to get off there!

Thank god he let me out of the cab – my phone battery was naturally, dead (because why would it work when I’m lost in the city, right? That would be too convenient).

I exit and for am a moment, slightly bewildered. Keep Calm and Pad Thai, I say however. I sit on a small stool by a roadside shop and order a plate. This English boy – Shaun – plops himself next to me and voila I have a new friend. His pup (Chocolate) is too cute, too! Naturally, Shaunie is here to teach English and has an adorable british accent. Which works very well on the shopkeeper, since she offers to teach us how to make our own Pad Thai. Which we did.

motorbike taxi, bangkok, travel, travelogAfter we are done, Shaunie helps me charge my phone for awhile as he drives me in his pickup to a local grocer’s, where I catch a motorbike taxi to the BTS station. All this, and it has just turned noon. What an adventure.

And while I am on the back of the motorbike, wind teasing my hair and hippy pants flying in the breeze, Mandy and Supei hunker down in their seats, waiting to join the cray of Bangkok.

Bangkok Birthday: #1

skies, clouds, flying, flightIt is one of those mornings. Reaching home at 3 A.M., she indulges in 4 hours of shut eye, before waking up at 7 A.M. to pack for her 5-day trip to Thailand. At Changi Airport, birthday breakfast with mom and bruh goes swimmingly well – she gets on her flight. Thank god for large window seats, and interesting flightmates next to her. Boom, she arrives at her destination – Bangkok, here we go!

DAY ONE.

I land in Bangkok with Ali. The airport is a hive of activity. There are the backpackers, sporting large rucksacks over their tanned and muscled shoulders. In their eyes you see a travel-weariness but a love for life and adventure coupled together. There is the too-young English boy, clutching his TEFL notes to his chest, glad for the opportunity to move to Asia and get out. The smell of money wafts by, clinging to established businessmen in florid Hawaiian-styled shirts, that are visiting Bangkok to check on their investment interests.

We hop into a cab and head to our apartment – and yes, we took a flat fare (500 Baht) which seemed reasonable to us (S$20) but apparently we got chopped. It’s still all part of the experience (we suppose).

Dinner was a casual, intimate sit down affair. Just Ali, Abel and I with a couple of Couchsurfers getting to know each other. The exciting part was to come up next – partying in Bangkok!

According to locals, one of the nicer party places in Bangkok is Sukhumvit Soi 11. First thing, the taxi driver drops us at this skeezy stripclub in a basement car park. Which was interesting, none to say the least! Spillover from the seedy neighbourhood next door, Nana? Who knows.

The first place we head to (pictured left) along Sukhumvit Soi 11, was a bar called The Australian Pub & BBQ. In my opinion, this was a gem. In The Australian, the vibe is chill, the beers are cold and the music thrums through the veins. The singers (yes, live music) was something special – and they were backed by an incredible band that added enough beats to the song to keep your feet burning up the informal dance floor. A definite highlight of that night was dancing along to Amy Winehouse’s Valerie.

Unfortunately, we decided to go for a pretty famous club – Levels. Despite the fact that I liked the music (EDM) at Levels, I disliked the club on the whole. Hands extended en masse to grope and fondle. Not a fan.

P.S. What’s interesting about Bangkok is that they disallow Alcohol sales in supermarkets between the hours of 2 – 5. Which is odd. I mean, I understand them restricting alcohol between midnight to 11 a.m., obviously they don’t want drunken hobos throwing up and sleeping on the streets. But between 2 – 5 p.m. makes no sense – we got caught out trying to purchase alcohol for our pre-drinks. A Bangkok oddity!

Until tomorrow, I’m signing off from the Land of Smiles.

Clare x

LOCATIONS

1. The Australian Pub & BBQ Bangkok 

2. Levels Club Bangkok