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All things come to an end...

Nai Yang - Phuket - Bangkok - Doha - Geneva

View Thaïlande on CatAndre's travel map.

On the next day we take a (bad) breakfast and head off to the Nai Yang beach after taking a bac (extremely small ferry with a rope) to cross the small river between the hotel and the beach.

The beach is great, completely empty or almost except for the few white crabs very numerous here... We get our last sun bathe before heading out for a loooong trip back home.
It was too short.......

We reintegrate our smaller bags into our suitcases which proves to be a truly difficult task for everything to fit back in (+ of course the few things purchased here and there along the road ;)).
Our first plane has 40mn delay... I finish Asimov and buy the next Millenium and The Preacher by Lackberg. I pay 3500 baht for my overweight luggage.... Thank you AirAsia!

We have lots of time (or so we think) in Bangkok airport so we figure we check in, get a drink at Mr Lee's franchise, get a 2h massage (which will be only 1h after spending too much time at the cosmetics duty free for my stuff and Manue's Shiseido creams...).
We look like madmen in our massage pyjamas but decide to head to the restrooms strolling in the middle of the airport nonetheless :D
After a good massage and last-minute purchases (pashminas for Nathalie, Sabine and Marianne) we barely make the flight for Doha.
Onboard, we eventually leave 40 minutes late (not reassuring since we have only 50 mn transfer time in Doha). The kids are crying and yelling, the entertainment system is broken, the people are going crazy so we have some wine and get drunk and laugh to try and alleviate the lengthy trip...

Our transfer time in Doha is extremely short but we make our plane anyhow. And then we sit in it for an hour because although the steward had told us to hurry up as we were the last ones we were still waiting for the true last passengers... The next plane is less nice but more quiet and we get a bit of sleep. Until we reach Geneva...

Incredible but true, we get there with our luggage!!! (although it takes us quite a wait to eventually figure this out).
A short taxi ride will take us both home.


Posted by CatAndre 01:17 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Another day in Paradise

Elephant riding - cheap manucures - Beach - Diving trip to Phi Phi - End of the moped trip

View Thaïlande on CatAndre's travel map.

We head out in the morning after a common yoga class. We stop at a diving club for Flo to book his next day trip and I spend 1h30 for a manucure with a very nice Thai (omg I love Thailand ;)).
We really look forward to enjoying an elephant ride and it is our last opportunity to do so so we head out with a flyer of an elephant camp close to our hotel.

After looking for a long time and taking the wrong road (some Thai tell us we better head somewhere else when Flo decides to head up a long red earth slope with the moped - are we unwelcome?) we finally find the elephant camp. Totally worth it although our sherpa clearly has other things on his mind (spent his time on the phone!). We get to see a big spider and the sea view and to enjoy our elephant's hairy back. We get caught once more by the rain at 2pm but it doesn't matter :)

I get my manucure redone in front of the hotel as the first one did not hold the moped trip... Flo waits for me at the small restaurant by the hotel on the beach and we book a massage (after purchasing yet another small elephant for Sabine at work and a go game).
We eat in the room in front of Australia's Beauty and the Geek and we try to watch Harry Potter 7.2 but I fall asleep. Flo finishes reading Asimov's foundation and I finish Millenium book I.

Flo wakes up early the next morning to go to his Phi Phi dive trip (slow boat, 6 hours of boat and getting stuck in the sand to see many incredible fish - big shrimp, lion and scorpion fish, Nemo's friends in their anemons).
I read Asimov's foundation when waiting for him, do the check-out, get a lot of heavy rain and get a bit worried. Once he's finally back we head off to the Swiss chalet to turn the mopeds in.

We turn in the mopeds at the Swiss Chalet, get Flo's passport back and take a taxi back to Phuket where we have booked l'Esprit de Nai Yang's hotel. The 2h30 taxi ride by night is crazy (the driver does everything but drives: talks on the phone, wipes off the windshield, plays with the AC, etc.) and I am happy when we finally arrive in one piece...

We get at l'Esprit de Nai Yang around 10pm. The premises are really awesome (long pool alongside the bungalows, excellent interior decoration in our small bungalow, great bathroom open on the outside, dreamlike!!).

Posted by CatAndre 01:09 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Ao Luek to Nong Thale coast - more hidden beauties...

Tha Pom Klong Song Nam - Odd tiger temple -

all seasons in one day
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We sleep great and are ready to go to 7/11 to get some breakfast (bad Ovomaltine stuff and terrible cookies) that we enjoy on our bungalow's terrace (did I mention the VIP bungalow for 700 baht??). We then decide to hit the road.

We take small roads and tours and detours and end up at a dead-end claiming to have good seafood and coffee (Tha Pom Klong Song Nam). I yearn for a good coffee... We stop and Flo visits a bit the cement paths going into the Mangrove while I indulge. We buy a couple of headbands and 'pareo' like towels before taking the road once again.

We miss the road for Ao Nang and a few hundred meters further we end up in front of a temple with a lot of tiger icons. We stop and meet a huge spider, a nice monkey who wants to steal Flo's stuff and a nice little temple area, not very pretty but quite spiritual.
We wait for the monks to finish their lunch and go inside to pray and give money to our birthday buddha (Sunday buddha).

After some more hours of road I am ready to get pampered! I'm exhilarated when I see the Sheraton sign and we end up booking for 2 nights. We clearly see that we disturb the peace of the Sheraton arriving on our mopeds but oh well, they'll deal with it!
I get a facial treatment at the Sheraton spa and we light a lantern on the Beach. I order an hawaiian pizza in the room and we watch Dragon Ball Z.

Posted by CatAndre 01:03 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Phang Nga to Ao Luek - the long road there

Phang Nga Bay - Ko Tapu - Ko Panyee - Middle of Nowhere pier - Laem Sak - Palm fruits weighing station - Ao Luek

all seasons in one day
View Thaïlande on CatAndre's travel map.

After a short night's sleep for me (I am finally into Millenium book I!!), we head back to the Phang Nga bay, where we had been by mistake the night before while looking for the Phang Nga city. That's where we ride into The Cap'tain. This nice sunburnt skin pirate convinces us to rent a long tail boat with him (1200 baht for the both of us!!) and shows us around...
Marvelous :)

We see so many marvels they are hard to describe. Long cliffs with small birds nesting in them, incredible blue or green waters, mangrove, islands as far as you can see are just a few of them.

We get to Ko Tapu aka James Bond island. It is very touristy and there's nothing special to say about it, apart maybe that a part of the cliff broke in the middle of the island and that a lonely island peak stands in fron of it. We are well on our boat with our captain and we stop on our private beach (with a dragon!) to go for a private swim :) Lots of sea canoes but we decide to stay enjoying our long tail boat on our own.

We go to the Ko Panyee muslim village. There's a great atmosphere in this stilted houses village. We explore the many shops and houses and give some money for the construction of the Ko Panyee mosque. I buy pearls necklaces and earrings for nothing and we eat an absolutely delicious crab dish and a shrimp tempura, probably the best food we had along with last night's since we arrived in Thailand. I drink some ovaltine shake which is absolutely delicious (not too sweet and very malty, a must-try!). We head off back to the bay and our motorcycles but not before taking a few pictures with our pirate captain.

En route for the way back to Ao Nang. We want to take our time and stroll by the beach to avoid the 4 highway where it is not so nice with mopeds. It will prove to be difficult because the coast is very tricky to go along...

We follow our guts to check out the road and go through this cave national park (of some sorts) and end up at a view point (pier) where we can see the river and the phang nga province on the other side (we are now at the north of the krabi province). We are amazed at the type of houses we see along the way, they all seem quite rich and well maintained (grass is mown, etc.). We decide to go to Laem Sak and check out the temple.

Laem Sak has a great view but the weather is not so nice and we are a bit disappointed... We head off from the pier to the temple which we visit (big modern temple with not much spiritual energy for me). Upon the advice of a responsible we head off to see the works for a Buddha pagod. When we come back, we 'interrupt' a very nice moment when 3 monks are shaving the head of an older monk... Totally worth it. Since Laem Sak only has Home Stay and we're in want of a bit of confort we decide to head off to Ao Luek to find some.

On the road to Ao Luek, I fear some heavy rain coming and we stop alongside the road. A woman comes out and tells us we cannot stay exactly where we stopped with our mopeds which seems to be a sort of a weighing system. She does not speak a word of English so we do as she explains and wait. The rain is absolutely pouring down and we see small to large trucks (from 3 wheelers to pick-up trucks and 8 wheelers) come and go. They get weighed on the way in (full) and gt weighed again on the way out (empty).
We look at the fruits and have no idea what they are (some guy tells me they can be eaten...). We'll realize much much later that they are palm fruits meant to produce oil for food or cosmetics.
The rain gets less threatening and we leave for Ao Luek.

Once in Ao Luek, we look real hard for a potential hotel but all tries (nonexistent Mountain resort, weird TN Mansion by the 4, another mountain resort to which we cannot find the entrance, old and crappy bungalow resort) push us to take a VIP room for 700 baht at the Ao Luek resort. We get a very nice and clean bungalow by the river with a view on palm trees. We have the companionship of several geckos and a few silly birds who sing non-stop through the night (the weird firefighter alarm bird and the 5 year-old bird who found a whistle).

Posted by CatAndre 00:50 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Ao Nang to Phang Nga - at last a Moped ride!

Ao Nang - middle of nowhere - Phang Nga city and Inn

all seasons in one day
View Thaïlande on CatAndre's travel map.

After Flo does some rock climbing on East Railay and I get into an argument (or rather get yelled at) by the pants seller in the shops' street, we head off to Ao Nang on a long tail boat with a couple of senior tourists from the Netherlands.

We arrive in Ao Nang and feel at home when we find the Swiss chalet where we eat a papaya salad and rent 2 motorcycles to go on the Thai roads...

Although the moped guy had said that my bike was full of gas and the gauge was broken.. it wasn't :)
So I break down in the middle of nowhere but hopefully in front a a small string of 5 houses on the side of the road in the jungle.
A very nice young guy takes off on his own moped and brings me back some much needed gasoline... Thanks!!!

We arrive at the Phang Nga Inn after lot of road and lots of rain (but we barely escape the big big shower around 7pm!!). Unfortunately the Inn managers are all out of the good rooms (which we'll get a chance to see the next day). Oh well, we'll take the one with the mosquitos!! They indicate us a nice restaurant. We try to head there by foot but get unlucky and have to ride on a motorcycle with a nice Thai girl speaking only Thai (the 3 of us on the motorcycle!). She ends up leaving us on the main street miles away from where we want to go. We head back to the Inn take the motorcycle and head to the restaurant.

In the Kror Son Thong restaurant, the atmosphere is fabulous. No westerners, just Thai customers. We get to this great restaurant by the river where we are greeted by a very nice waitress (who went to Zurich to visit her sister for a month and could not stand the cold so she got back home 2 weeks early). The headmaster of the middle school and some teachers sitting at a table nearby try to get Flo drunk with Red label whisky while I drink some great Mai Tais. CHOKDI!!
Small cats are all over the place and one of them bites our feet.
We have the marinated grilled seabass (pla tod kamin) and some duck. The best food we have had in Thailand so far!!!

We head back for some well deserved sleep.

Posted by CatAndre 00:39 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

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