We took a Tuk Tuk in, and had a wander round, ended up eating lunch (not me) in a Russian place which was terrible and then stopped for ice cream to eat as we walked. Patong is ok, its busy, touristy and cheapish. Good for a night out. Wandered on to the beach for a bit and eventually found, on the main walkway, a bar serving cocktails at 50% off for the next two hours. We had lots. I jumped up from time to time to run across the road to get photos of paragliding and sunsets.
We were taken to the tour location; it was basically a single large 'theme park' which offered pretty much everything on the tour in one place. It’s a great idea, but needs some work, everything felt a little rushed.
We then went to the Muslim Village, the standard 'we want you to buy stuff' stop on any tour. The village is built on slits in the middle of the water with only a tenuous connection to the land, it’s a hodgepodge of wood, concrete and steel holding it all together. Plenty of gibbons here, 'pets'. The mosque is being rebuilt, probably still repairing damage from the Tsunami.
We were then taken to a 'standing' boat where we were put into sea canoes and taken through the sea caves of the area. The guide on the back did the paddling and was a little ambitious at one point with what we could get under, but still, the have a huge and impressive system of caves. Some lagoons are only assessable at low tide.
From the cave, we got taken to the longboat and travelled out towards James Bond Island or Khao Phing Kan. We jumped off the boat and got a bit of time to explore and take photos of the island. It's impressive, almost like a bowling pin, but upside down in a cove.
Part of the monkey cave is the Cave of the Reclining Buddha, or Wat Suwan Khuha, which also had a light cave and dark cave behind it. It was pretty impressive, though the strip lights were a little aggravating to my photography!
It was a long drive, up to the top of Phuket, over the bridge to the mainland and then to the Monkey Cave. The monkeys were really used to people and I think I have managed to get some excellent shots of them. The light was a little awkward, as it was very bright sun with thick shadows from the trees. Several of the monkeys climbed all over the people with food!
Tuesday was the day of Motorbike Madness! We met at the rental place and picked up two scooters, I was an all black model. We had agreed that our motorbike gang name was the “Wolverines”, complete with the hand gesture.
The boat was very full, and we spent about 40 minutes heading to our first destination, Phi Phi Maya Island, where the beach was filmed, it was stunning, beautiful colours.
We took the boat to the island and, as I was still feeling my shoulders I didn’t take out a boat or kayak. I took some decent photos, finished my book, and did a little snorkeling. We headed back at 12ish, called into the infinity pool to check up on the guys, and decided on lunch at 1ish.
For the evening, we headed into Karon town to meet up with some travellers, unfortunately, a miscommunication meant we had a wander round Kata beach first as that was where we thought we should be.... still a quick Tuk Tuk ride saw us to the right place!
We walked into Rawai Beach, it was pretty quiet really, which is a shame, found a great little place on the beach called Nikita's and ordered a big starter to share and then main courses.
Then headed over to the Moon Bar at Vertigo, it’s on the 61st floor and stunning views. We were there from before sunset to darkness, incredible place, worth a trip, but bring a healthy bank balance, and if you wanted to impress someone at a date, who wasn’t afraid of heights, and you were in Thailand, definitely a good idea!!
It was an hours transport from the hotel, the scenery is very reminiscent of Indonesia. We pulled down the drive, and after a long, green tree lined boulevard we pulled up at the entrance. It is amazing. Very open plan, spacious, peaceful. The reception is outside built over a reflecting pool. I've been upgraded to deluxe again, and the room is incredible.
From there, general consensus was to head to Patong Market to watch a ping pong show. This isn’t really my thing, and had said so previously, but as everyone else was saying it’s a good plan, I went along....
The tour operator gave me a lift up to the Grand Palace. Had a wander round there for a while, which was pretty awesome, it’s a combined palace and temple where the Emerald Buddha is found Its impressive and amazing.
Finally, we saw the marble temple, Wat Benchamabophit, which had been inspired by western churches.
Also know as Wat Pho, we visited the Temple of Buddha Reclining after the Temple of the Golden Buddha. It is located very close to the Grand Palace and shares a certain style of architecture.
My first stop on the tour I arranged was the Temple of the Golden Buddha. It is a remarkable building, the spire soaring alone into the sky.
Bangkok is busy, historic and modern at the same time. The seedy side coexists with a deeply spiritual environment.