Happy New Year everyone!
We spent 3 days on an island called Koh Yao Noi for New Year, staying in a wooden hut near the beach on the east coast in a place called Pasai Cottages. It was pretty basic stuff but very nice all the same.
On New Years Eve, we hired a mountain bike each and cycled round the island which was no mean feat! It is flat for most of the south east and west of the island but as we made our way towards the north it began to get hilly. Timing it perfectly for the midday sun, we ended up inching up and then inching down some very steep dirt roads looking for somewhere, anywhere, to get a drink and some food and maybe even a beach to sit on for an hour. The road continued like this for around 7 or 8 miles though with nothing but the odd shack hidden in the jungle and several times we considered giving up and going back. We got to the end though, and found a posh exclusive resort on the beach called Paradise Beach Resort. We had some decent food there but it cost a fortune compared to the rest of the island and water was 6 times as much as it was when we left! We looked at the New Year menu and noticed that it was £90 per person which is an incredible amount in this country.
The island is mainly Muslim so we were expecting a pretty dry New Year party but things didn’t quite turn out that way, sadly. We had 2 large bottles of Chang down the road before wolfing down a rather drunken (I may have mentioned it before but Chang is evil) green curry with a bottle of Singha each. We got back to our bungalows to find Thai dancing, fire jugglers and “Balkan Beats” (as Dun, the resident Turkish German DJ referred to them) thumping out from the bar as well as a pretty terrible band playing barely recognisable cover versions. A few more Changs were sunk and New Year was welcomed in whilst standing in the sea which was a new one for me. I think we went to bed at around 2 but I don’t recall much and me and the lady had to piece the evening together the next day using the photos on the camera to aid our sore, hungover brains. Whoops. I think we only had about 4 pints each but, as I said, Chang is evil.
New Years Day was wasted and the next day we were off in the direction of Bangkok as our time in Thailand was nearly over. An unremarkable day in Phuket Town was followed by a flight to the capital early next morning and, by now, tiredness was really kicking in.
We slept for 3 hours when we got back to our hotel that morning and then did one more palace and the insane Chatuchak Market (is there ANYTHING you can’t buy here?!) before attempting an early night and we’re now on a bus heading towards the border with Cambodia at Aranyaprathet to start the ‘proper travelling’ part of the trip.
Thailand has been fantastic, particularly the food and the people. Everyone is so friendly and smiley, it’s almost unnerving at first. Hardly anyone has tried to rip us off or mess us around, transport actually leaves EARLY (which is annoying sometimes) and you only have to ask anyone for help or directions and they are more than happy to help.
The Thais really know their food and some lovely meals have been had in almost every place we’ve been to, even if some of them (last nights in particular!) have left me gasping for a drink to cool my burning mouth down.
We’ve seen some beautiful places and relaxed on some lovely beaches and it’s a shame to have to leave – I’ll definitely come back, Koh Lipe and Ban Krut stand out as my favourite places.
But now it’s off to Cambodia and this evening we will be in Battambang.