A Travellerspoint blog

Day 21 Khao Lak

Tuesday 20th November 2012

all seasons in one day

After breakfast I went for a two hour walk on the beach. Every so often there is an occasional hotel or some massage cabins and a little restaurant, otherwise it is very unspoilt. The beach seems to go on for ever. When I got back to the hotel Tony is swimming in the pool. I joined him and then read my book but at about lunchtime it starts to rain again.This time it is not quite so violent and we enjoy sitting in comfy sofas overlooking the gardens playing on our iPads/iPods. Lots of games to catch up on! We decide not to have lunch. We have been eating too much! The rain continued until about 5 so we played cards - I won!. It is relaxing but not the end to our holiday we were hoping for. This is due to continue all week :(
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Posted by MichP 05:44 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Day 20 Khao Lak

Monday 19th November 2012

all seasons in one day 32 °C

Our bed is the best yet. So comfortable and wonderful Egyptian cotton sheets so we both slept really well. It was lovely to open the curtains and find that we had a great view of the pool and sea in the distance. The view from the bath is slightly more disconcerting but there is a blind we can lower if feeling shy although we found out later the glass is tinted so we didn't need to worry about our modesty. It was wonderful to be able to fully unpack as it seems we have been living out of our suitcases for ever. We are staying here until we return to the UK and we are so pleased it is such a nice hotel. After a good breakfast we sit by the pool and read until lunchtime when Marcus took us to his Thai wife's restaurant on the beach. At low tide it is possible to walk there. Just as we arrived there was a massive tropical storm but we had a nice meal looking out at the fairly violent sea. Eventually it eased off a bit and Marcus came to collect us. The gardens in the hotel are flooded but no doubt it will drain away quickly. We just have a quiet afternoon and then a rather bizarre evening. As part of our early bird package we were offered a free meal and there are just four of us eating - the hotel doesn't usually serve evening meals. Our dinner companions are a pleasant young German man in his mid 30s and this completely whacky American/French woman who is going diving for 4 nights. Tony reckoned she was drugged. She kept on and on about how wonderful the food was. How on earth did they cook it and just totally dominated the conversation. The food was ok but nothing like as good as what we have been having and I found it difficult to sleep afterwards as I had the classic dry mouth and sweats from the MSG they no doubted laced it with.F173BFDC2219AC6817775369CD265BAB.jpgF17CCE462219AC681781404912A513B7.jpg

Posted by MichP 17:47 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Day 19 Vientiane to Khao Lak

Sunday 18th November 2012

sunny 32 °C

Breakfast is served in a lovely open sided mezzanine restaurant overlooking the street and is very good. The weather is lovely. It is early and is not yet too hot. After breakfast I go for a walk to take a few more pictures of Vientiane while Tony finishes the packing. On my travels I meet Casper and Karen who are also doing a bit of sightseeing but as they are spending another two nights in the city they can afford to be more leisurely. I whizz around taking photos. The river still looks very low and I don't see any boats on it at all. At 10.30 the mini van driver we have been using for the last couple of days picked us up. He brought his father with him as he hadn't got his papers with him and drove us to the Friendship Bridge which is the border between Laos and Thailand. He dropped us off and his father guided us through visa control and then passport control and then introduced us to a Thai taxi driver he had ordered who in turn helped us go through Thai passport control and then drove us to Udon Thani airport. We probably paid a bit over the odds for all this but it was great to have people show us where to queue etc as it was the usual chaos. We arrived at the airport really early for our flight (yes even earlier than usual!) so we went to the restaurant in the airport but it didn't look very nice at all. Luckily we found somewhere to eat just outside the airport buildings and had a really good meal. The family running it were charming. We felt slightly smug when we went back into the airport and saw people eating Thai versions of a hot dog (it looked horrible) and other equally disgusting food.
Our flight left on time. The plane was really comfortable with nice leather seats and we had much more legroom on this Air Asia flight than on our BA flight from London. We arrived in Phuket early and within a couple of minutes of landing the doors were opened and our luggage arrived very quickly. All very efficient. We were relieved that our prearranged taxi driver was waiting for us. The drive to Khao Lak took just over an hour. The hotel is lovely. The owners Bruno and Marcus are Swiss from Biel and as you can imagine everything is immaculate.
After showing us round we don't even unpack as we are starving and get a tuktuk to a restaurant they recommend. The food is ok but rather westernised for my liking. We are looking forward to seeing everything in daylight.
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Posted by MichP 01:38 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Day 18 Vang Vieng to Ventiane

Saturday 17 November 2012

sunny 30 °C

F0A3543E2219AC68175F63465045E328.jpgF08F12DD2219AC6817B86363494C7497.jpgF0BE6C1C2219AC681745C9AF1FEB335C.jpgF0D2969C2219AC6817DEA0A933B9655E.jpgIt is a beautiful morning and breakfast is served on the terrace overlooking the river. We both would have loved to stay a bit longer looking at the wonderful view but the mini van arrived on time at 9am. The countryside on this leg of the journey was not quite so majestic but it is interesting and incredibly the road is in an even worse state than yesterday. In places the surface is completely washed away and we bounced around passing unsurprisingly several vehicles with damaged tyres at the side of the road. After about an hour the driver stops and says we are going to visit the fish village. We can't see a river - just one street with lots of stalls selling various types of smoked fish. We realise that the houses on one side of the street are actually built on stilts and overlook a lake where we presume the fish has come from. The market is interesting and it always amazes us the variety of fresh greens and veg available and also what they bbq! The fruit as always is beautifully presented. We are all keen to arrive in Vientiane so hardly stop at all even so it still takes us over 4 and a half hours. Our hotel in Vientiane is in a good position down a side street near the centre overlooking a temple and if you go out on the balcony and look sideways you can see the Mekong. However, it is very wide and shallow with sandbars in the middle so not quite as beautiful as in Luang Prabang. After a short rest we went out to explore and are pleasantly surprised. The French influence is very obvious with some wide avenues and their own version of the Arc de Triomphe. There are lots of shops and restaurants, large cars and hardly any tuktuks. The contrast between this bustling vibrant city and the squalor we saw in some of the villages in the countryside could not be greater. Tony has a foot massage while I wander the streets. One of the nicest things on this trip has been that no one hassles or bothers you. We have found everyone charming and we have felt very safe.

Posted by MichP 07:50 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Day 17 Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng

Friday 16th November 2012

sunny

We were amazed that our mini bus arrived on time. Casper and Karen were already in the van and we just had to collect André and Christine from their hotel before driving to Vang Vieng. The van was not quite as smart as we were promised but the driver is careful and the really good news is he is prepared to take us on the second leg of our journey to the capital of Laos, Vientiane.
We started climbing almost immediately and the road was very twisty and went from tarmac to dirt and back to tarmac all the time so progress was slow. The views got more and more spectacular and we passed little villages with stalls selling various vegetables and fruit. After about three and a half hours we stopped for lunch. The restaurant was perched overlooking the mountains. Crouching on the loo before going to eat I had the best view ever! Open to the elements too - no windows. I had a lovely green curry and rice and Tony had chicken and ginger. All really good and cheap. This is the only road between the capital and Luang Prabang and our progress continues to be tortuously slow. We only stopped briefly at a couple of villages and to take some pictures when the views were particularly beautiful but even so it takes us seven and a half hours. Fortunately our hotel is lovely with fabulous views of the hills and river and lovely gardens filled with exotic flowers so we are pleased. The other couples have booked in different places around the town. We decided to eat in the hotel as we couldn't be bothered to walk round the fairly un interesting town. It has gained a notorious reputation as young travellers come here to try all sorts of extreme sports and tubing down the river. They stop at various bars down the way getting gradually more and more drunk. In recent months there have been several deaths so the authorities have clamped down and closed several of the bars. It is a shame as the countryside is so beautiful here. The town is very run down though.
We have an early night after a nice meal. The drive tired us out.85C71E2B2219AC6817BB02702FF7D2A3.jpgAE8AF5682219AC6817E354565F082DD5.jpg85EFFC242219AC6817608ED3F4CD9002.jpg932259322219AC6817FFF972FA301D7C.jpg935CB8E12219AC6817CF7DAC013DD072.jpg8646DFA02219AC6817F580F60B4E2EE5.jpg

Posted by MichP 19:02 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

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