Our last day on Koh Maak

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Our last day on Koh Maak was a good one. I started my day at 6:30am because I went to bed at 8:30pm the night before. I woke up with a ton of ideas for 2012.

After the brain storm session I went for a 1 hour run. Felt so good while I was running. When I got back we decided we needed to go for a phat breakfast.

After breakfast we went to the Nam Massage place too a couple of days before. I got a back, neck and head massage. Afterwards we were chilled and ready for our kayak mission.

Before heading out on our kayak mission with Helene we all had a decent meal. I had Tom Yam seafood, which was just heavenly. Good food makes the experience.

The 3 of us set off to Koh Rayang with the tri-kayak. Not as long a kayak as we did in Koh Chang, but still a solid paddle.

Once we had kayaked around the full island I jumped off the kayak in the deep water and did a solid 40 minute swim back to Koh Maak. That was my toughest and most scary swim ever. Once I got to shore I chilled hard.

We had some whiskey sundowners, then Helene, Barbs and I had our last dinner. What a tasty meal. Afterwards we all hit the hay. Good day, good times. Wooohooo.

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Xmas day treats & adventures on Koh Maak

Xmas day, didn’t feel like it, very strange. Our aim for the day was to cycle right round the Koh Maak island. The island is only 16 sq km in size, so that should be easy enough. We decided to have a solid breakfast before our little cycle adventure.

We found a Swedish owned restaurant serving breakfast and coffee. I ordered a full breakfast that comprised of omelet, fruit, toast, bacon, juice and I opted for tea because I was skeptical of whether there would be real coffee. Barbs ordered a similar breakfast and it was real coffee, but my tea was so good I had a second one.

Helene was riding her bicycle past the restaurant so we got her attention and she joined us for morning munchies. After breakfast we headed off to a spa place for some pampering. I had a really shit massage on Koh Chang, therefore was hoping this wold not be the same. I opted for a foot reflexology session, Barbs went for the back and neck massage. Helene had a full on foot manicure and more session.

Our two sessions finished and we were both amazing, finally a decent massage. Lovely people, friendly and we will return to them before leaving Koh Maak. Helene was still busy so we went to sort out bikes for the day, seeing Helene had a bike we would just meet her back at the spa place.

We set off on our bikes and so the adventure began! Our first stop was the Buddhist temple I had run past yesterday. It was a small temple with a few monks sitting around. We snapped some pics of the Buddha statues and various shrines. There was a friendly pig at the temple, the monks suggested we strike the pig, sooooo cute I wanted to cuddle her. Not the prettiest of creatures, but friendly and lovable none the less.

On our way down the road to another spot on the island, few wrong turns, dead ends, some happy snaps and then we hit a water patch. The girls were not keen, I tried to show them it was fine to ride through, but got half way and the bike was half submerged. There was nothing that would convince them to do this, so I rode to the end to see what was there. It was high tide, so there was only a small beach, but the submerged rode was fun to ride.

I rejoined the girls and we headed off to a resort we spotted a bit further back. My tummy was grumbling and I needed food, the others were still full from breakfast. It was a beautiful little resort with some tasty food, probably the best pad thai of the trip. Two Chang beers and a fair amount of food later we headed out of the resort.

The last stretch riding home I managed to choose a bunch of dead ends and unconventional paths, the girls were not so happy with me. We eventually found ourselves at the pier where we dock yesterday. Now I knew roughly where to go. A few uphills and then a phat downhill before we were back at Holiday Beach resort where we stayed. What a rad way to spend the day.

We did some lounging next to the sea, I took an open water swim and a shower. Next we got ready for our Xmas dinner at a Swiss place I found that did schnitzel and beef fillet. For Xmas dinner we felt like something different to Thai food.

We had a phat German meal, drinks at the cottage after and chill hard for another fun filled adventurous day on boxing day.

Tiger Hut and onward to Koh Maak

When I returned from my failed visa run, I arrived at Tiger Hut to find Barbs chilling hard in our hut. She moved all our bags from Baan Rim Nam with Ian’s help to our hut for one night. The hut was pretty basic and budget, but it was 20m from the beach and had a spot to hang our hammock.

First order of the day was to get in the sea, was not feeling super energetic, so I just managed 1 km swim. The sun was setting as I swam out, so by the time I got back to the beach The was a gorgeous sunset happening right in front of our hut.

Barbs and I poured ourselves some stiff G&Ts, she decided to do a mini sunset photo shoot. Amazing, beautiful, speechless! We continued to chill in front of the hut watch the color disappear. When it was dark we missioned into town for some dinner.

I tried to get Lief the Danish guy from the Visa run to join us but he was not feeling so great, so we were having dinner just the two of us. We walked along Khlong Prao and saw Kati’s where we did our cooking course. We knew the food would be awesome so we stopped in there.

Such a lovely restaurant, friendly staff, decor was pretty, very inviting. We order starters, spring rolls and prawn tempura with a Chang beer to wash it down. It was funny, a cockroach was crawling around and the Europeans are so squeamish they were freaking, then one of the staff accidentally squashed the cockroach, kak funny!

Our mains were Garlic and Pepper prawns with rice & Sweet and sour prawns with rice. We ordered another Chang to wash it down. The good life! We paid for the food and rolled out of the restaurant back home.

We decided to get to bed when we got home because we had an early start in the morning. The bed however sucked balls, springs stuck into our backs and it was generally pretty uncomfortable. Thats budget accommodation for you. We feel asleep pretty quickly, but woke up at some ungodly hour feel the death bed’s wrath. Barbs made a plan to soften her side and I went to sleep in the hammock, which was pretty comfortable.

We got up at about 7:30am and packed our bags for the taxi down to the Bang Bao ferry pier. The taxi driver fetched us around 8:30am and we headed off. We eventually got down to the pier at around 9:30 and the boat headed off just before 10am.

The boat made 1 stop before we arrived at our final destination, we stopped at Koh Wai a teensy little island. We dropped some people off and picked up Helena the French woman from our cooking class. It was cool reconnecting, catching up with what she did and what we did since our last meeting. Gotto love being on holiday in a tropical foreign destination.

We arrived at our final destination Koh Maak and thought we knew where we were, but we didn’t. We headed off to what we thought was the right place, but we were on the wrong side of the island. Luckily we met a friendly local Thai guy who called the owner of Holiday Koh Mak Resort. We got fetch and taken to our new home, which looked like paradise!

Helena could not stay where we were as there was no space, but the owner of the resort made a plan to sort her out with a place to stay. She headed off to check out her prospective room while we sat down to lunch. Good times.

Visa run to Cambodia

An early rise for me, my first the entire holiday. Amazing how my internal clock knows when I need to get up early. I was awake 5 min before the alarm went off. I had packed my bag the night before so it was easy, get up, grab bag, head to pick up point.

The mini-bus that I was on was packed with tourists all doing a visa run to some place called Phoem Phem or something. Kak mission, I knew I had to sit in this bus all freaking day. Sigh!

When we got to the ferry I decided I needed to make a friend. I started chatting to a Danish guy called Lief, really interesting guy. He loves his diving and chasing the sun around the world. he told me all about Indonesia, I think this needs to be my next destination. Sound fantastic. Before I go to Indo I am gonna have to learn how to surf.

After the ferry crossing to mainland from Koh Chang, we were herded back into the bus for the long journey to the border. As I said, what a kak mission. Sigh!

We arrived at the border post and stamped through. What I realized after stamping through is that They cancel my 30 day visa and reissue a 14 day visa. The result is that I now only have a visa until the 6th January 2012, which worked out to be 7 days less than I had before. This wasted a whole day for me, cost me 3000 baht and basically fucked me for my holiday.

Not my finest hour, but there has to be a silver lining and I consider meeting Lief the Danish 55 year old guy that silver lining. What an interesting man, a diver and traveller with some fascinating life experiences to share with me.

Now I need to figure out what to do next, should I just pay the fine on exit for over staying my welcome and risk serious crap. Should I fly out to another country and stamp out again? What to do? A serious cock up on my part, but I consider it a life experience and will never make this mistake again.

I have chatted to various people about my options and it would seem that paying 500 Baht per day for each day past my visa might be the easiest thing for me to do. I have not got time at any stage to do another border run and buying a ticket might cost the same as buying a ticket. Decisions decisions…. Going to mull this over for the next week or so and chat to various people about my options before I make up my mind.

Koh Chang Scooter Adventure

This morning Barbara and I woke up feeling groggy because we woke up some obscure hour, our body clockspare still on SA time not Thai time. Anyways, we went for a lovely buffet breakfast and stocked up on food for the day ahead.

The plan for the day was to ride a scooter all the way around the island. We headed up to the Stone Free restaurant in the same road as our resort to rent a Honda Scoopy automatic scooter. The scooter looks a bit like Vespa and I saw them advertised last year. Sounds funny to say, but it was a dream come true to rent this little bike.

Our friends Braam and Zuzka were ready for us when we arrived at their bungalow, so off we headed on our little adventure. First stop was not far from where we were staying at a beautiful view point. Snapped some pics and got back on the road.

We drove around the coast road past Klong Prao, White Sands Beaches, the ferry port and along to the other side of Koh Chang. We stopped near a fishing village at a Buddist temple. inside the temple was a massive good plated Buddha with innate paintings all around on the walls. The window shutters had intricate mother of pearl designs. We snapped a bunch of pics and headed on our way.

We noticed a sign saying that there was a mangrove restoration plantation, nobody could figure out where it was and we even saw other foreigners scooting around lost with not a clue where it was.

Onward ho… We arrived in a quaint little fishing village. I love the less touristy places as they give a sense of the real Thailand. We found a basic little restaurant in the fishing village right on the water. We ordered some food for next nothing and it tasted amazing. I can’t believe how good the food is everywhere we go.

After finishing up at the fishing village we headed off to a place we spotted along the way callEd the Tree House on a beach called Long Beach. One seriously rough road to the beach, but it was an enjoyable ride on the scooter. We arrived at Long Beach and found ourselves in true paradise.

We all decided to go for a swim. I left the others and went for an open water swim, the sea was choppy and the wind wasblowing so it made things challenging. Again I am still trying to overcome my fears of open water swimming, but each swim I feel stronger and more confident,

Eventually I got back to the others and we all got out of the sea to dry up. We decided to head off back home as it was about 4 pm and we still had about 50 km to ride home. back along the rough road we headed.

Hunger struck again and we decided to stop for a quick snacat attack. The street stall we stopped at only server pork noodle soup, it was devine. Back on the scooter for the last stretch of about 35 km.

We stopped off one last time near where we stayed to watch the sunset at the view point we first stopped at. Both barbs and I were ready for a shower. Clean up time, then we went to drop off the scooter and have some Pad Thai at Stone Free. They had a lovely live band for us to appreciate. Good times.

Been writing this blog post in the comfort of our luxury room watching some DVDs on a big screen with aircon to keep us cool. Tomorrow we are doing a cooking course all day, can’t wait!

Peace out!

Getting over jet lag

Since my last blog post the morning after we arrived at Warapura Resort on Koh Chang, we have been taking things easy recovering from jet lag. Our body clocks are not yet in sync with Thailand time zone.

The hut we moved into on the first night had a bad smell outside, so we pretty much could not sit on the Balcony as it stank of dead something. So we checked if they had another room in a different location. We struck it lucky and got an upgraded room with a sea view!

We had to wait around for the room to be cleaned, so we decided to take full advantage of the pool and resort facilities like the free wifi. I got a message from a friend saying Braam saying that he and his girlfriend were staying in the same area called Lonely Beach. I decided to leave Barbara lounging at the pool and go find them.

It turned out they were staying just up the road from us and I found them immediately. They were heading down to a stretch of beach with white sand and gorgeous water. We joined the two of them after we checked into our new room.

I decided to do my first open water swim, goal was to swim to a nearby island. I manage to get most of the way to the island, but the waves and current were against me so I decided to turn back. The water was warm and clear. I still have some fears when swimming in deep water, but I managed to keep going despite fears.

I decided to go for a herbal sauna and massage at a spot in Bailan. Wow! Really enjoyable. It’s about 3 km away from where we stay, so I jogged there and back, my first run in months. It felt good to be running again.

When I finally got back to barbs I took her out for dinner. Our friends joined us at the noodle soup place. The drinking started and didn’t stop. We ended up at Braam’s bungalow drinking whiskey before going out to the Ohm bar. We danced for a few hours and then decided to hit the hay.

The morning was not pretty, both barbs and I felt like arse coughed up. hangovers and jet lag don’t mix well. We ended up spending the day hanging out in our lovely room watching DVDs. Not the best use of a beautiful Thailand day, but much needed.

We had dinner at the Noodle Soup place again, wow, what awesome food! Then we headed off to bed and chilled hard. Our plan was to go for a scooter adventure around the island on the Monday with our friends.

My next blog post won’t hopefully involve hangovers or jet lag!