Friday, 2 May 2014

Ko Phangnan and the journey to Indonesia

19-28 April

After a somewhat irritating wait and ferry, we arrived on Ko Phangnan around lunchtime and against all odds found a man from the hotel waiting with a transfer for us and anyone else checking in that day. It was a good start!

The heavens opened as we meandered through the island to our hotel in Haad Yeo,  but it didn't detract from the cosy and neighbourly feeling I got.

Our beach was quiet and relaxed. No one is playing music and even the water melted silently into the sand. It looked like the perfect way to spend a week.

After relaxing for the afternoon and going for a short walk we ate dinner and watch the sunset. Not long after the sun had disappeared we noticed loads of crabs were jumping, sparing and moving about beneath us. It wasa bit like something from a nightmare but I was happy to be safely perched on the decking!

We spent the next few days working hard... on our tans. We were in a nice and comfortable hotel and it feelt like a holiday (though we avoided spending like it was a holiday by eating lots of cheap microwave pizza from 7/11 and Pad Thai for dinner). Other than snorkelling and scuba trips, and very wild parties, there isn't a lot to do on the island so we were happy to keep the week really cheap by making our own fun, mostly by jumping in the pool!

One day we walked to neighbouring Haad Salad beach to go goggling (snorkelling, without a snorkel). It was a steep climb over the hill but the beach was gorgeous. Unlike ours the sea was full of some kind of sea cucumber and lots of small fish. Whilst it was shallower than Weymouth we had a good time and got to recreate a picture of my brother who stayed there some years ago. This was also the moistest day on record for us. As we led on the beach my whole body was soon covered in beads even though the heat was more tolerable today.

Towards the end of the week, feeling a bit like we'd been lazy, Mark decided to go for a run on the beach. I've missed running whilst we've been away, but the thought of even trying it in this heat makes me feel dizzy. Even so, I feet very jealous as he bid me fair well!

We spent our last day of Thailand island hopping by the pool, eating magnums and having dinner at our favourite spot before we packed and spent a sleepless night worrying about the journey ahead of us.

Ultimately, our next destination was Bali, but to get there we had a long journey that involved ferries, trains and planes through 3 countries and a time zone.

On 26 April we caught the Raja ferry to Surat Thani and spent the night in a hotel made from brightly coloured container units whose interior resembled an aeroplane toilet complete with blinding white lights.

I still couldn't quite see that we were on our way to Bali, the place I'd been looking forward to most. In my mind all I could see what a hellish journey.

After a bad nights sleep we were up and on our way to Surat Thani train station at 7am, only to find the train would be delayed. At 9am we boarded the train to Hat Yai not far from the border with Malaysia. We entertained ourselves by playing 20 questions and a game where you have to link 2 movies based on the actors who stared in them. I was a little too scared for my health to use the toilet, so by the time we roll in to Hat Yai around 1.30 I was tired, and bursting!

After a KFC lunch in the shopping centre we were back on a train by 4 and on our way to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. We stopped for a short while at the border to pass through customs, immigration and the loneliest looking duty free you've ever seen. From here on it was non stop to KL for us and after another pretty sleepless night we arrived at 6am and stumbled wearily into Mc Donalds for pancakes. This was our base for a few hours before the coach to the airport, more McDonald's and our flight to Bali.

Its not until we were flying over the island as the sun was setting that I finally realised I'd made it to the other side of the world. I'd crossed the equator and was about to land in paradise! It may have been the journey from hell, but hopefully it was all about to be worth it!