Rachel and Matt’s World Tour
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Island Hopping

It’s been a while since our last post and nearly a month since we arrived in Thailand.

After arriving in Phuket we had our first taste of Thai hospitality when our taxi driver conveniently forgot where our guesthouse was. After a very frustrating visit to their travel agent ‘for directions’ (and a sales pitch) we did eventually manage to get the driver back in the car and get in the general area of our hotel. After a call to the owner he managed to find us arguing with the driver at the end of the street. The driver was maintaining that after being given directions several times that he still had no idea where it was, but of course he could take us to a much nicer hotel. That’s pretty much how it works in this part of the world- not quite the land of smiles, more like the land of con artists, touts, scam merchants and seedy bars, but after a month we are used to it and can avoid most of them! Phuket was an odd place. It was low season when we were there and in the bars the tourists were far outnumbered by the go-go girls!! The beaches were great though and I had some fun with a body board.

After a few days we took a boat to Koh Phi Phi. The movie, The Beach was filmed on one of the islands though it was far from tranquil when we saw it having been invaded by loads of boats loaded with day trippers. We stayed in a nice bungalow on Long Beach, a short walk from the main village on the island. Phi Phi was badly hit by the 2006 tsunami so a lot of the bars and hotels are newly rebuilt. Long beach on Phi Phi Don was a gorgeous place to while away a few days with great views across to Phi Phi Ley (although we still have yet to find anywhere more idyllic than Kecil, one of the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia).

Next we headed to Krabi, back on the mainland. The beach where we stayed, Ao Nang, didn’t have much to do, so we took a day trip kayaking. The route took us along a river, towered over by limestone cliffs, we paddled through some cool caves and lagoons, though our arms were seriously aching the next day!

I had been thinking about doing some scuba diving on our trip for some time, but kept putting it off. Our next island destination, Koh Tao off the east coast is a diving mecca so I decided to take the plunge and signed up to do a 4 day open water course. So now i’m a certified diver! We stayed at Ban’s Diving Resort (highly recommended) which is where Rachel did the same course 6 years before. She was very surprised to see how much the island had changed. Although the resorts are springing up all over the place we still loved the place and could happily have hung around for a while, but the next island adventure awaited – Koh Phangan for the full moon party!!

We learned another valuable lesson relating to Thai business practices – NEVER pay up front! We were panicked into believing that at full moon everywhere gets booked up, so instead of our usual practice of just turning up and finding a room when we get there we booked on the web. We chose what looked like a lush hotel, bit pricier than we usually pay, but what the hell?! Anyway it was a dump, and each room looked like it had been broken into many times. Rach attempted ‘negotiations’ for quite some time but as we had already paid we had little bargaining power, so we were stuck with the place. Thankfully we were not robbed and the party was brilliant so it’s not all bad news! There was fire dancing, fire skip rope, buckets of booze, dance music, fluro painted bodies everywhere (including us), palm and tarot readers, all through the night til sun up.

After a day to recover we took the ferry and night bus to Bangkok, and from here we fly to Hanoi in Vietnam on wednesday. So until next time……


1 Fiona { 07.13.09 at 5:20 pm }

Wow, Rach looked beautiful at the Full Moon Party! So good to have an update, I had been waiting in anticipation. Beaches look beautiful, hope the diving course was good. Full Moon is definitely on my to do list I think – heard many good things about it.

I’ve just started a temp job at Enterprise Rent-a-car for 2 – 4 weeks, it’s quite boring but it’s money! It’s only in Whiteley too so that’s good. Ash’s biddy bus is coming on well too, went to Ikea over the weekend to get the stuff for it, it should be all done by the time you guys are back. Have firmly accepted the MSc at Soton too, so I should be into that by the time you come back!

Right gotta go as going round Sams now. Laters, love Fee xx

2 Mum and Dad Silsbury { 07.13.09 at 8:58 pm }

hi,have you recovered from wild partying yet ? Congrats Matt on achieving diving certif,it certainly doesn’t seem 6 yrs ago that Rachel was there doing the very same.We remember well the day Carol and Rachel left for Thailand on their ‘girlie’ travels with Jo and all the ‘adventures’ they enjoyed.Photos super as ever and give us ‘a feel’ of all the good times you are having. Hope all goes well in Vietnam, take care, miss you lots !!

3 Ria { 07.14.09 at 9:08 am }

Aaahh, sounds like you guys are still having so much fun! I still can’t believe that you’re out and about having a new exciting adventure every day! The photos are brill! Those elephants are cute as!

It’s nuts – I think I know more people who have been to the Full Moon Party than to Orange Rooms! Everyone I know has been – apart from me!! I might get me a bucket and some glow sticks and get myself down to Calshot when the next full moon hits Southampton! Fun times!

Miss you both, Ria & Tom, xxxx

4 Rachel { 07.14.09 at 2:04 pm }

Ria dude – your comment made us lol! Nearly peed my pants at the image of you raving on the shingle!

Hope you and Tom are A OK and saving is going well. Our turn to do the hard save all to soon. 4.5 month countdown. Boo!

5 Rob { 07.14.09 at 3:14 pm }


Sounds like all is going well!

Be careful of all the rip offs but once you learn to trust no one you will get on well!

Vietnam is so lovely, Hoi An, and Halong Bay being the highlights. So wish I could be out there with you.

And Matt my handicap is coming down, single figures soon I reckon lol!

6 cool car { 07.21.09 at 6:54 pm }

Well you are having a good time arnt you , dont think i would want to go there with all them dodgy people .The beach looks good , better than our rainy days.When you go to vietnam ,watch out for the fuzzy wuzzys driving tuk tuks or is that india.I have just come back from downtown isle of man and what a boring place, makes blackpool look really good.

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