Our Travel Blog

Friday, November 11, 2005

Sun, Sand, Surf and Beers in Koh Lipe

It was the weekend when most city folks heading out of Kuala Lumpur in all directions on the start of the long holidays the following week(Deepavali on Tues and Hari Raya on Thurs and Fri). We started our journey after dropping my mom off at KLIA for her flight back to Miri, Sarawak after having spend some 10 days here with us and her friends in KL. Left KLIA around 2pm headed northwards. Much to our delight, traffic was smooth flowing. We reached the northern border of Bukit Kayu Hitam by 6.30pm.
Arrived in Hatyai about 6.30pm local time(Malaysia 7.30pm), earlier than expected, we proceeded to Tesco Lotus for groceries to take to the island the following day. As we wanted the experience to be "back to the basics" as much as possible, we checked into Cathay Guest House which charged only 300 baht per night which is about rm28. From all our earlier trips that we made, we also learnt that we get more for the ringgit in exchange for baht at the thai border and hatyai then from those suckers in KL. At the border we changed rm1 for 10.80 baht vs rm1 for 9.50 baht in KL......suckers!
Anyway, the guest house was what we paid for, nothing fancy to expect, but hell for the hack of a one night stay that's alright.
Next day, departed Hatyai in the morning around 8am headed towards Pak Bara Pier where we are suppose to take a ferry to Koh Lipe through Tarutao Island. Those of you who remembered the first "Survivor" series would remember Tarutao. Along the way we bought a huge block of ice that sits neatly into the esky, laced it with a packet of salt....for those of you who remembered your elementary school science, you know what that does to the ice. I don't need to elaborate.

The ferry did not leave until around 1.30pm to our frustration, but we made full use of our time to chill out with Mr Beer. About 30 minutes into the ride was when the adventure started. Smooth sailing turned into a rollercoaster ride. Waves that when higher than what I can see through my window from where I was sitting. Waves coming in through the front at the bow of the ferry, poured into the passenger compartment.......urghhhh...puke puke(no need to say no more). Anyway, we finally arrived at the mountain resort, northeast of the island of Koh Lipe at around 6.30pm local time. Here the sun sets at about 6.30pm.
Bummed in couple of nice folks whom we were to spend sometime with over the next few days at the island. The least expected was a Buddhist monk from Chiangmai who goes by the name of Phra Mong Khon, who brought 3 other fellow monks for the latter's first visit to an island and was on the same ferry with us the day before from Pak Bara. We spend a full first half of our first morning on our verendah, discussing about thailand, chiangmai, culture to cellphones over coffee...what an interesting young chap! He speaks mandarin by the way, and of course fluent thai. Apparently he hails from China and have also spent some time in Kelantan, Malaysia.

At noon, Phra took us along the sunlight stretch of the beach in search of a place for rental of some power fins. Talked to a couple of Chao Lay people who are inhabitants of the island, most of the fishermen. These people have now settled down on the various islands in the satun province were the sea gysies, mainly known to most as sea pirates who in the early days, trawled the straits of Malacca and the Andaman sea. Further down our walk we were brought to a little diving outfit by the name of Chao Lay Dive. Here we met a few more interesting people, not the locals but "farangs"(foreigners). Well, we met Jim, an American gentlemen who is a dive master who runs the dive shop. Jim hails from Minnesota and have not been home for 10 years. Interestingly, he used to work for one of the Ford top sales division in the US selling F-series trucks. He was even given an F-150 to drive around. Sick of his job, he travelled around the world to some of the most beautiful diving locations, including Bahamas, and the other islands in Thailand. Then there was Richard, who is from Columbia, who I thought was American initially, also a dive master. Richard has recently graduated in International Business from one of the Universities in Northern Thailand and is trying to get a permanent job somewhere around the planet. Shannon from Tampa, Florida typical surfer dude type kinda guy hangs out and assists Jim at the dive shop. Later we met Paul from Sydney and his girlfriend from Israel, Yala. So anyone who is heading towards Koh Lipe for some serious diving(all kinds of diving including wreck diving), look for William J. Anderson(Jim) of Chao Lay Diving. Or you can call contact me a note below via the comments on the blog so we can hook you up for better rates.

Well, the rest of the time on the island was trekking, beer, sunbathing, beer, snorkelling beer, chilling out and more beer. The rest is up to you to imagine! One of the coolest experience was at this place called the Monkey Bar, on the beach at the Pataya side(South). The owner(a farang from downunder I presume) had 2 monkeys and a little kitten. The monkey treats the kitten like one of their own species, hugging and pulling him by the arms for a drink and up and down the make-shift wooden hut.....and the mother monkey actually drinks beer every night!

Some pictures taken:

(Chillin' at Porn Resort)

(at the Pancake Lady's...for whatelse? Pancakes(Murtabak) and beers!

(view from Mountain Resort, Koh Lipe)

UN chillin' time!
L-R: Paul & Jules(Malaysia), Yala(Israel), Paul(Australia), Shannon(US), Richard(Columbia), Jim(US)

(hmmm...surfer dude vs hot chick!)

(Tarzan & Jane?)

(Thirsty YET?)

Click here for Map of Koh Lipe


More pictures logon to http://www.pauljules2005.shutterfly.com

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

2 Nights in Bangkok

Left on a Friday morning via Air Asia to bangkok for some hardcore shopping spree. This was my first time in Bangkok, something like the 4rd time for Jules I think. Had lots of fun, good food and shopping with Kristin, Jules' sister and Jules' mom. Hightlight of the trip was a dinner cruise on a boat which is an actual working replica of an old chinese junk boat along te famed Chao Phraya river. At the dinner we were all treated like royals as the servers and crew members gave us what the Thais are known for, excellent customer service!

From top to bottom :

1. Usual traffic in MBK
2. Jules with mom and sis on pedestrian bridge heading towards MBK plaza
3. Taken inside our junior suite in Elegance Suite
4. On board a dinner cruise tour along Chao Phraya
5. Replica of putrajaya bridge? Wonder which one comes first..hmmmm

More photos, see album at http://pauljules2005.shutterfly.com

Malacca Trip - Oct 2005

This is our second trip to Malacca after a short one the week before where we stayed at the Heren House near Jonker, didn't like it so we decided to stay at Tanjung Kling. We both have stayed at Riviera Bay Resort before, and noticed this little resort called Shah's Beach Resort right next to it and have never paid much attention to it until that day. We decided to save some good money and stayed at this "lower end" resort....., and it is absolutely beautiful with all the bungalows facing seafront. Our unit was right next to the beach...you can see for yourself. The second week we came back, we decided to be fully armed.....offroading camping style. Had a whale of a time chilling out, BBQing with lots of beers....yummm

Photos from Top to Bottom :

1. The sole catfish I caught that landed up in our Barbie Pit
2. Chilling out by our chalet...waiting for the BBQ
3. At the Geographer watering hole
4. Shah's Beach Resort - our unit is beautifully located facing the straits

More pictures from this album...logon to http://pauljules2005.shutterfly.com

Some Hatyai Photos

Top to bottom :
1. Expert Tatooist and owner of Indy Tatoo in Hatyai working on my tat
2. Posing with the man himself
3. Jules with friend Surin and his daughter(from Hatyai)

For more photos from this trip, logon to http://pauljules2005.shutterfly.com

Hatyai - September 2005

We travelled to Hatyai, a southern city in Thailand for some hardcore grocery shopping and also for our long awaited tatoo to be done. After few weeks of searching for a nice design that we can both agree and like very much, I had it done on my left leg and Jules had it done on her right leg. Cost to do a tatoo in Thailand is definitely cheaper than in Malaysia....and they are certified professionals in a very hygenic, clinical conditions.
More photos next or you can visit http://pauljules2005.shutterfly.com for complete photo album

Long Absence

Whew, this is the first time in 2 months since I am going to post on our recent travels. Over the past we have been taking both short over the weekend trips and a 7 days trips into the land of smiles....Thailand. From our recollection, the whole of October, we only spend one weekend at home in KL, Malaysia. Jules agreed with me that we both have not done this kind of crazy traveling ever ever before. Thats when I realise that I lost close to 10kgs over a period of 4 months from the amount of activity that we do. So, there you go, a tip for those who wants to loose some kilos and get in shape....travel, travel, travel. What a jet-setting lifestyle we are living(or should I say, road & boat setting life?) haha