Thailand – On the Road

Yesterday was a hellacious day. When I booked my ticket from Ko Tao to Phuket, the agency said I would arrive around 5pm. That was not at all the case. I left Ko Tao about 10am and arrived at the bus station in Phuket after ten. The drive was brutal. We basically were on curvy roads the entire time and the ac was pumping on me for over 7 hours, so you can imagine how I felt, half car sick, half ac sick. Uggh. It was the King’s birthday yesterday, so everywhere in Thailand there were massive festivals and celebrations. Every hour or so, we would come out of the darkness into a town so brightly lit you would have thought you were in Vegas. Every town had a carnival atmosphere and a big stage with performers on it. Usually there were massive parades too. Tons of Thai people waving flags. Everyone was also dressed in pink and I saw a commercial for a pink wristband (livestrong style) and I think it was something for the kings birthday as well.
I arrived so late that there were no taxis and I needed to get to Kata beach. After the taxi driver gave me a horrible rate, I decided to take a motorbike. After driving for 30 minutes on a motorbike, in the dark, with my backpack stuffed between the driver and the handlebars, I vowed never to do that again. A few hundred baht isn’t worth risking my life. Lesson learned.
It took us forever to find my hotel (the motorbike driver didn’t speak any english), but the hotel was nice…especially for the 5 hours I was in it. Uggh.
I had to leave this morning at 5am, and again, because it was so early and there were no taxis, I basically had to agree to give up my first born to get a taxi (so expensive).
I just landed in Jakarta and have a couple of hours til my flight to Bali. I will likely stay in Kuta tonight and then make my way to the Gili Islands tomorrow (again, another long journey), but for some reason I just know it will be worth it.

Thailand – Ko Tao: Mopeds and Massages

Hopped the high speed catamaran to Ko Tao this am and got to the island pretty early. It’s relatively small compared to Ko Phangan, so I decided to rent a motorbike (aka moped) and cruise around the island. It was a bright pink one, so I’m pretty sure I looked like an F-ing barbie cruising around the island, but regardless, it was a blast.

I’ve been reading about this spa on the SE side of Ko Tao- Jamahkiri- and both of my guide books mentioned it, so I thought I would try to find it via moped. The road leading off of the main road is a sketchy one. It had numerous ditches, rocks, steep inclines, declines, etc, but even though I was freaked to go up it, I figured there was no turning back at this point. Luckily, I made it to the spa in one piece, even though I was shaking as I bent down to pick the aromatherapy oil for my massage. The spa was pretty amazing. Set high up on the hill, you could see down to an infinity pool, a small bay, turquoise waters, and a few remote resorts. I ended up getting a massage, aloe body wrap, and facial treatment. Pretty good way to spend an overcast afternoon. When finished, they were nice enough to have a worker drive my bike to the bottom of the hill for me. No way was I going to de-relax myself after one of the best spa treatments of my life. To my embarrassment, the 14 year old kid made it look pretty damn easy.

I ran into a few folks that I meant on Ko Phangan and ended up having dinner with them. We then went to the beach and watched the fire shows (twirlers, fire jump rope, fire limbo, etc). Great way to spend an evening – reclining on the beach on padded cushions by candlelight, drinking beers and watching the fire twirlers. Pretty much a perfect day.

Off to Phuket tomorrow to catch an early flight to Bali on Sunday.

Thailand – Full Moon Party

Went to the Full Moon Party last night. About 8 of us crammed into the back of a pick up to take the scary 15 minute drive to the beach. If you’ve ever watched True Blood and seen one of Marianne’s parties, it was something kind of like that. There were seriously F-d up people all over the beach. I don’t think I have ever seen anything quite like it. I hung out mostly with the Sweds I met yesterday on the journey over. Danced a little. Walked around trying to recognize anything from 5 years ago (it was pretty challenging) then went home before Sunrise, which is uncommon for Full Mooners.
The journey over here yesterday was the best. Myself, 5 Swedish guys, 1 Finnish guy, and a girl from England played drinking games and sang songs for the 3 hour ferry ride over. Seeing grown men,  Swedish futbol players nonetheless, sing Backstreet Boys is something else. It was hysterical. I don’t think I have laughed that hard since I have been here. I think we annoyed everyone else on the boat, but who cares about them, right 🙂
The hotel I am staying at is pretty amazing. I have a poolside bungalow that looks out to the ocean. There’s a great little bar and I met some really cool people over a few Chang beers there last night. The only downside is that its overcast and we just had a total downpour 15 minutes ago. Now, I’m sitting by the pool trying to decide how to go about getting to a computer so I can book a flight to Bali. The weather is supposed to be iffy here for several days so, as any good sun-worshipper would do, I plan to head to sunnier skies. 🙂

Thailand – Traveling to Ko Phangan

On a bus to catch the ferry to ko phangan. All of a sudden my phone started working. So excited. Hopefully it lasts. Headed to the Full Moon party tonight. Went on a boat tour yesterday. Swam in the most beautiful water, saw amazing fish and played with monkeys on the beach. Went out last night with two australian girls. They’re hysterical. And some brits and a couple of french men. We went to an amazing party on the beach and I ran threw a ring of fire (the photos are super funny). Anyway, hope all is well back home. I got about 3 hours of sleep last night and have a long day of traveling ahead still, but hopefully it will all be working it tonight. Met some Sweds on the bus, so it should be pretty entertaining.

Thailand – Ko Phi Phi

I have finally made it to the beach. After an 11 hour flight to Tokyo, an 8 hour flight to Bangkok (baby cried pretty much the whole way), a night spent in the airport (will never do that again), an hour flight to Phuket, and an hour and a half ferry ride, I have found sun, sand, and bliss! 36 hours and some serious lack of sleep, but I made it to ko phi phi. It’s so strange here. I was here before the tsunami hit and now the place is completely different. Before it was really only backpackers….now the place has a ton of tourists, shops, boats, etc. Anyway, the scenery is still pretty amazing to look at. I am beat though.
Found an overpriced room with AC…I plan to stay here for 3 days and then head over to Ko Phangan – the place of the Full Moon Party! Other than that, not sure what is on the agenda. I might actually head to Indonesia …I found a cheap ticket and think I may be able to make it work. We’ll see though.