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|3rd October 2009, 17:58||#1|
Krabi and Bangkok
Time for the Annual Big Holiday
A quick trawl saw that Thailand offered better value than within India. The beach bum that my daughter is, we had to get a beach in and also the shopper that my wife is, Bangkok it was!
Plan was to go direct to Krabi and on to Bangkok. Took some advice from the Yeti who pointed me to a website called sawadee.com. My travel agent offered me tickets rates which were almost the same as booking direct so I let her process the tickets and also found that she got better rates for the hotels - swung breakfast and an extra bed as part of the deal. A recommended pro-active measure was to get my wife's visa in advance.
So.. boarded the flight on Weds night, flight was a non event, no individual movies etc. Plenty of Bangaloreans ging there with empty suitcases. Spot a well to do friend of mine (who bought an S class and Audi for themselves for divali last year) - amused as they are travelling Biz class while the kids are made to travel economy. Told the ladies not to watch anything and to get some sleep. In-flight dinner, nothing much to write home about. Landed in Bangkok airport. That airport is massive. We had to walk from one extreme end to another. Passed the visa on arrival queue and was pretty glab, we booked in advance. Unknown to many there are two VOA centres, a 5 min walk saw another centre with no queue.
Transfers to other locations are no hassle. There is a separate immigration desk at the domestic terminal gate where we are stickered as an international traveller. We had an hour to spare and grabbed a bite. Airport food is pretty expensive. Water is 35 baht (7 normally!). Boarded the flight to Krabi. We slept on this flight. Our bags are segregated at the international section. Time to get a taxi. It is a fixed rate for different areas. Peeped out - the desk out there charges the same as the desk inside. We were staying in Ao Nang.
"Sawadee Krab! where you want to go ?"
"no prolem, sick hundert baht"
Pay the money
"Look for man in yellow shirt"
Sure enough, the man in the yellow shirt was there. He wheeled us to an Optra - that excited the old man until I told him it was a 1.6 with auto + CNG and a groaning differential. Get in and he starts talking - I fear for the hard sell. He starts about Krabi and hat could be done. He tries sussing out on what tours we plan. I fob him off.
He gets fed up and suggests we listen to relaxing Thai music which to me is a combo of high pitched wailing and ting tinging
He then offers to take us to indian restaurants which I firmly tell him that I want to avoid!. 40 min later, we drive into Krabi town. It looks dead but that was because all are at sea.. literally. Driver tries to stop at a tour company, I told him to drive on. I let him come for the return transfer.
Arrive at Aree Tara. Looks smaller than the pics.
Hotel staff get upset that I wheel the boxes in! Check in complete, we are taken to our room and greeted by a herd of elephants
We chill out for a short while and freshen up. I check out what tours are on offer. Wife wants to do a Thai cooking course. I ask them to book her for 2.00pm. We are hungry so we begin to walk and it starts raining so we dive into the Best Western Roadside Cafe. Food is awesome. Weather clears up and we walk to the sea front. Daughter wants her hair ot be braided, We check out the rates and strike a deal where my daughter gets her hair done while I have a foot massage. Wife goes back to hotel to be picked up for the course.
I sit on the easy chair. Post lunch and holiday mood means I am feeling dopey, The lady starts on my left foot. Before I know it, I am slowly sinking into serene slumber. Until I am prodded for my shoulder massage, I was in total oblivion. What a way to start the holiday!
Back in reality, we make our way to reality. I see a Honda Odessy outside and my wife running towards it. Hotel only managed to get the teacher at last minute so she comes to fetch my wife. I am invited to watch but I decide to sleep. My daughter tags along. On hindsight, I should have gone! i stay back and book us on a snorkelling trip to Phi Phi
Three hours later, the girls return with a doggy bag. We order plain rice and I have an awesome fragrant meal. The girls are tired. i nip out to buy water and also enjoy a nice banana pancake on the roadside. Then it is off to sleep
|The following BHPian Thanks ajmat for this useful post:|
|6th October 2009, 13:00||#4|
Join Date: Aug 2009
Thanked: 2 Times
ajmat, good when are you planning on posting the reamining part of the thread, looking forward to the post
|7th October 2009, 19:11||#5|
Day 2 - Trip to Phi Phi
Wake up to a drizzle. There had been a thunderstorm during the night. Picked up promptly at 8.30
We are taken to Nappothara beach landing where the speedboat awaits us. As we get into the minibus, the tour leader tells us that the sea is rough and waves are 5metres high. We are given the option of going tomorrow but we have no alternative.
As we board, we need to wade in. I was wearing my trunks underneath my shorts and a tshirt. It was a waste. Just go with merely your swimming gear and a top.
We were 10 up. One australian and rest from Malaysia/ Hong Kong.
Pics of Nappotara
We set up. So you think, diving into water is like knife through butter? Wrong
The boat pounded, it was like going rallying without the mud. I appreciate the nuances of hull design. The waves were awesome. My daghter was scared but enjoying it. She clung hard to me. One girl was sea sick but bags were provided.
After an hour, we reach our first snorkelling spot. Wait a minute, it is raining.
"No la!! Up here raining, down there nothing changing, go see"
We kit up and go overboard. The water is warm. Up there it is cold due to winds. We are told to stay 2 metres away from the boat. Sure enough boat is rocking and turning. We are wearing life jackets.
I last snorkelled on my honeymoon. Start breathing to find my nose is not working. Whoops, mouth only. pretend to have the flu and all is well. My daughter picks up but will not go too far. My wife falters and stays near boat.
I paddle away. The coral is awesome although light is poor. I decide to float and suddenly, loads of fish swim by. Amazing.
My daughter gets startled - why - the fish were there!!! Excuse me, this is where they hang out.
We get back on board and another hour of pounding we reach near Monkey beach. Another spot of snorkelling.
The coral is deeper and bigger. I spot a huge sea lettuce.
From a distance - look innocious enough - one monkey loiters
The weather has cleared. We board and go to Monkey Beach. All other boats which are pretty corwded land at the same time to a big reception
We feed the monkeys fruit. Some drunk tattooed Australians try teasing them but run!!!
Show over, we proceed to Phi Phi for lunch
Phi-Phi was hit by the Tsunami and has been rebuilt. We are famished and have lunch (part of deal) over there. Food was okay- buffets normally dilute food taste.
We loll around on the beach. My daughter wants to play in the water...without fish. If you want ot explore phi-phi, best to stay and explore in the wild. Not much to see in an hour.
After an hour, time to board.
Bad news - weather is rough so no more snorkelling. They make it up to us by taking us to some other islands.
This is Chicken Island
We then cruise to a private island with a stunning view and "chill" out in the water
Forgot to mention, unlike most islands made of rock. These formations are made of limestone. Gives that eerie texture.
As we lounge, the tour guide pops over with some fruit- water melon and pineapple. Really tasty and also non polluting. Quite a bit of platic washed ashore on part of this island
Around 3.30, we are asked to board. It is getting rough.
We reach back an hour earlier. A pick up truck with benches (a Hi Lux) appears in 10 min. We say our goodbyes to the crew. They did their best to give us value. If it was europe, they would say "hard luck!"
Change in the hotel and we decide to hit Ao Nang. PLan is to eat some pancakes and walk in. We walk to the beachside. No sign of the vendors. Today is Friday- the vendors have goen to pray (35% of Krabi is muslim). We walk on and find a satay cart.
It is great fun. I pick up a small basket, select the satays that I want, hand it over to a man who fries them. A lady then colelcts them in a box, puts chilly sauce on them and woo hoo!. The ladies ..and me wolf down quickly.
We walk on and buy a nice waterproof bag. We start bargaining and get there (I learnt the tchnique from the Yeti in KL). I then buy some T shirts.. Was quoted 250 Bt. Last night it was 220 bht. Bring it down to 200bht. Only to find later that these can be bought for 99bht in Bangkok.
Lesson - don't buy anything except local items over here. Wait till Bangkok.
We find a pancake vendor and gorge ourselves. walk on and wife buys knick knacks - wives love this. We then stop off at a restaurant after avoiding hustlers for indian food and italian food (no of euro resteraunts are many)
After that, it is time to walk back. We think of a tuk tuk but we walk.
End of day 2
Last edited by ajmat : 7th October 2009 at 19:16.
|10th October 2009, 23:44||#7|
Day 3 - Transit to Bangkok
These kind of days are boring. Time spent packing, wondeirng if the car will come. Will the flight be okay? How do we get to the next hotel etc!!!
We wake early and walk up to Nappothara beach. The sky is clear but the sea is a little rough. Go back to hotel. The crew from ysterday's boat pass and wave. We wave and wished yesterday was today!
The girl gets into the pool.
I go up pack, return and pull her out to get ready. We check out and then I get a message that the car is due at 1.30. It is hot.
We take a tuktuk to town. These are like Bajaj m50 with a cycle cart attached. Fixed rate of 20bht per person. They make bit margins! We go to a Burger King
Burger King ? In a place with disgusting food? Gross!!
Well, only since it is air conditioned.
We eat and I see the purplish Optra pass. The is going to hotel. Another tuk tuk ride and we reach hotel load car and are off. Driver is someone else.
We reach 30 min later. Airport checkin is minimal. Go through security and we aew in a large comfortable lounge. We hang around and find some people we know from Bangalore.
Board the flight and get another snack box and land in Bangkok
It is another long walk to the baggae area. Reach to find no trolleys. Anyway, we are able to manager. Baggage takes its own time. The ladies are waiting for the next adventure.
The baggage arrives finally. We wheel through and note signs for public taxi. THe AOT have their own limo service - from Teana to 7 series...at a price. Ignore their smile and go to door 3. There is a queue but don't get daunted.
Outside, the taxis draw up a parallel park. We queue up at a desk and state desitination. They write this on a tag in Thai. We then contiue to another person who writes out a two piece slip and handles the drivers queue. WE are paired with a driver. The slip has taxi details and desitnation.
Fortunately, we have an Innova - so good space for the luggage. Have the corolla's have their boots open and luggage strapped. Nearly all cars are on gas.
Ride take 45 min. Last 20 min is stop start traffic. We reach our hotel in Siam Square.
Siam Square is well located as MBK - the big mall is there as also the skytrain. THe Square is regulated, vehcles cannot stay for too long. Loads of teenagers and youth hangout there.
Get to Novotel and pay the driver 400 bht including tolls + 50 bht airport surcharge. Check in is swift and we reach the room. 10 min later the third bed arrives and thence the baggage.
Then, the ladies demand food and MBK's!! This is a 10 min wlk. Wife already is at the pavement sellers. Hustle her on. We reach and they are hungry. We make our way to the food court - 5th avenue.
You walk in and take a smart car. There re about 15 different counters so you get hungrier and confused. Good choice but a bit expensive. We eat and then head down and then the ladies get serious.
They attack the shoe shops as if they are centipedes. My wife tries bargaining but asking for lowest price. I tell her to take control. State the price and get going (yeti style!). In most cases, we make progress. more so if we buy more than one item.
I get bored and walk aaround. I get myself into further trouble by identifying the best shops and directing them there.
9.00 PM - we call it a night.
Walk back as tomorrow is going to be a busy day. Taxi drivers hustle us outside the hotel. Note - never use these guys ask the hotel to flag one.
Around 11.00 PM. I realise, I need some water. Doorman points me to a 7-11 behind the hotel. I realise the side street has a few massage parlours. Plenty of girls wave out and taxi drivers offering Ping Pong at Patpong.
Reach the main street. It is a totally different life. A lot of food stalls ad interesting stuff. I have a midnight snack, buy my stuff and return.
|10th October 2009, 23:55||#8|
Day 4 - Chatachuk, Ocean World and a Mind Blowing Show
We wake up on our own steam and gorge ourselves on the hotel buffet.
Her Highness commands that it is Chatachuk or bust. Chatachuk market is onthe outskirts of Bangkok and houses over 15000 stall. All are zoned based on product. It is a weekend market but during the week, it is wholesale. It used to be near the Royal Palace but the ground was frequently needed for official functons so this place was allotted.
We take the skytrain and view part of Bangkok from the top. Train stops at mo Chit. We get down and walk to Chatachuk. The market is huge. Wife wants to dive in. I say hold on - we get a map and plot locations.
It is hot and god knows how we will hold up. She starts on the handicrafts. My daughter wants to see the pets. We agree to meet up at a point in an hour
|11th October 2009, 00:29||#9|
A lot of shops do not like photographs taken.
My daughter and I walk into the central section and she goes crzy seeing the dogs. Mainly toy does like Chihauhua, Chows and a few labradors and a Saint Bernard. Some of them are cooped together and are bored and chewing anything in site. For some, it is bloody hot. These guys do not look forward to the weekend
Some pics taken discretely hence poor quality
My daughter spends a good hour running from dog to dog petting them Feeling sorry for them and herself since she has no pet. She starts flaking.
We go out and sit in a small coffee stall.
Meet the wife at the appointed time. There is no stopping her. She will carry on and us two will go back and go to Ocean World. I take her bags - oh oh, plenty more on its way.
There are loads of indians who brought a strolley along (good tip for next time).
We catch the sky train. One thing I like is that they give change easily. You need change, drop a 100 baht note and they give you coins to pop in the machine. After all , they get the coins back end of the day. Thai's are helpful and help me getting the right train.
Very well mannered. Watched a lady get up to let a little boy sit with his friends. He immediately gave a Wai - like how we say namaste but thry put a lot of repsect into it.
Back at Siam, we dump the stuff in the room and go across the road to Siam Paragon - a high end mall. The basement has a huge aquarium - Ocean World
The girl has a quick bite. I am still reeling from breakfast. Ocena World have a promotion - entrance + glass bottom boat ride (normally 150 baht_ + 4d movie), Another 500 baht and you can get your feet nibble by fish.
We spend a good hour there. I used my moble camera hence poor pics
I realised what I should do with the Old Mans car when he buys the Cruze
Turn it into a Fish Tank - unles he makes it a cat house
The aquarium has a huge tunnel like in Singapore. Yuo have options of diving with the sharks, along with the shark suddenly you see a human walking alon,g The glass bottom boat rides above and you can wave at it. Not worth the money unless it is free.
We emerge and go for the 4d movie - 4D -well we collected the 3D specs - what more? Enter a theatre with strage seats with head rests! Looks ominous
The film starts - you see things really life like and watch people reaching out, 7 min into the film, the dolphin appears. The camera closes in on its blow hole and ssssssquirt, you get sprayed...by te dolphon or its proxy - a lw hole in the head rest in front of you. He wiggles his tail and your feet get tickled by plastic wires protruding out and driven by motors.
This goes on and the seat rumbles with the shark.
20 min later, we return to the room and find my wife just back with cargo!
The girls are busy swapping experiences. I go down to find out more on tours in Bangkok
|11th October 2009, 11:40||#11|
I pop over to the tour desk and fix up a tour to the Royal Palace and the Canals.
I suddenly see the show brochure on diplay. I had already booked on the net at 1500 baht for the show. The tour folks were offering the show + dinner + transfer at 1350 baht. I was robbed.
The show is about the history of Siam, the festivals and some concepts of Hell, Heaven and in between. The stage is one of the tallest. 150 actors, 500 costumes + an elephant and a few goats
Get dressed for the show. It is pouring. The hotel gets us a taxi and explains route. 30 min later we reach. It is well organised, the taxi drives into a porch with the ticket office. A lady welcomes you, takes our booking slip and comes back with our ticket and the souvenier brovchre worth 400 baht. Some value added + a drink coupon.
We walk in. A Thai princess poses with us and end of the show we get a 100 baht pic!. The theatre courtyard has a model village. Also overpriced souvenier. Bit of a cheesy tourist trap. There are some dance performances. 7.45, people are told to deposit their cameras and go to the theatre.
We have been given the best seats, bang amidships. Show starts on time with the National Anthem, while short films of the King are shown.
The Thai's love their King and you are not say anything against him. Saying that, he rarely travels outside Thailand and spends a lot of time on rural projects.
The show begins and it is impressive. Begins with the evolution of Siam and how traders from China and th Arab nations came over. Great simulations of ships passing by. Then some rural life. In there was an elephant and village boys chasing goats.
Then comes to some farm life. Before you know it half the stage is now a flowing river with boats.
The play talks us through their festivals, hell ( morbid but funny ) and then heaven complete with flying angels.
Pics from their website below:
All in all a recommended show but book once you reach Bangkok.
Show over, it is raining like mad. No clear queue for taxis so we take their free shuttle to the MRT. At Sukhamvit, we change to the sky train and reach the hotel.
We sleep happy!
Am travelling so will update remaining mid week
|11th October 2009, 11:54||#12|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Sep 2008
Thanked: 16 Times
Thanks for sharing Ajmat,
i am subscribing to this thread, but i will read it a bit later
|18th October 2009, 13:46||#14|
|18th October 2009, 14:01||#15|
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Long Island, NY
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