- Bangkok and Samut Prakan
- From Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai with a border crossing at Tachilek, Burma
- By boat we start the southern tour in the Tarutao Nationalpark near the Malaysian border to Koh Lipe and the small islands around Koh Mook and Koh Ngai
- The last part of the journey will lead us from Bangkok to Rayong and the island Koh Samet.
If you are interested in travels to Thailand please follow this link to our homepage LebensWert-Thailand.de
23.03.2016 – Trip Preparations
Just one more day and we will fly to Bangkok. The planning is done, the meetings arranged and the best of all – A part of our journey we travel a brandnew tour with our guests and now friends Ilka and Tilo from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. We joyfully look forward to meet this very lovely couple.
24.03.2016 – Departure from Hamburg
At 10 a.m. the taxi is already waiting and we leave for the airport. This time we fly with Turkish Airlines for a change. In Istanbul we planned to enjoy a real Turkish Mokka but unfortunatly all cafés are using hightech coffee machines now and are no longer able to serve a mocca. That`s really a pity.
25.03.2016 – Arrival in Bangkok
The flight from Istanbul to Bangkok was done without any incidents and just one hour late. We are tired but in a good mood and full of anticipation we enter the airport. Our driver was still waiting and after the luggage was stowed away we are driving to Samut Prakan, where the registered office of LebensWert Thailand Ltd. is located and the parents of Bee are living.
After a refreshing shower and a tasty dinner we are tired again and take a nap. The evening we spend with Bee`s family and after one year now they were so happy to see each other again.
26.03.2016 – Samut Prakan
It`s Saturday and we are using the time for some little jobs in the office, to buy new simcards, enjoy a really big icecream at Svensen`s and to spend the rest of the day with Bee`s family.
27.03.2016 – Friends & Party
Last night was far too short. It`s 05:30 a.m. and we wake up to visit the morning ceremony of the monks collecting their daily donations of food. Thai people and also the young generation still take the Buddhism and its ceremonies serious and spend some food.
Then we hurry to the morning market, that is famous for the fresh fish and seafood in the entire province.
We invited some friends for dinner with a choice of fish, seashells, crabs and prawns. In Thailand the most important activity is eating, so we have to arrange a sufficient choice of seafood.
After this little party it`s time to pack our bags and leave for the city center of Bangkok. Actually we wanted to explore the nightlife nearby a new hotel we have added to our offering just a few months ago. But because of jetlag and far too little sleep we have to skip this plan and go to bed insted.
28.03.2016 – Bangkok
First night in the Phachara Hotel. The staff at the reception desk was very kind and we get an upgrade to Deluxe Executive Room.
Well rested we go for breakfast following by a meeting with Mrs. Suwannaku, Sales Manager. She shows us the hotel and different room categories. All in all we are satisfied and can state that the staff is friendly, the food is good and the price for the hotel is fair.
Later than planned we drive to the Platinum Mall, a huge fashion mall you need a lot of time to explore. There are a lot of brands and clothes and even though presented very cheap you will find many nice unique pieces.
On the way back to the hotel a friend already awaits us to take us to an original Isaan restaurant. There we meet many friends of Bee from her time back in school. Everybody are happy to see each other again but even bigger is the appetite for food. So we ordered a lot of different dishes and finally everybody was filled well.
29.032016 – Chiang Mai
This morning we are flying to Chiang Mai in the nothern part of Thailand. After arriving at the airport we were happy that Khun Kai awaiting us to do the transfer to our hotel. Khun Kai is not only our very best guide but also a very good friend. On the way to the hotel he telling us, that he has already arranged an dinner with some other guides and our travelling guests Ilka and Tilo.
In the hotel we notice a fatal damage of our bag. That means instead of an hour at the very nice pool we have to look for a repair service for the bag. Now we know the only repair service in Chiang Mai to solve such a problem in less than half an hour. That is really great because now we can continue with the journey without any trouble.
Back in the hotel a friend and partner is already awaiting us to exchange news and ideas for travelling in northern Thailand. But time is really short and we have to hurry for the dinner. Khun Kai take us to a very authentic local restaurant we invited Ilka and Tilo two years ago when travelling with us the first time. The food is still delishes and we have a lot of fun seeing each other again.
30.03.2016 – Starting to Chiang Rai
Together with Ilka and Tilo we start our tour into the northeast of Thailand. We have developed this brandnew tour especially for both of them and are really happy to do this tour together.
At first we are visiting a hilltribe village of the Lahu, that is located a bit beyond public routes and until now completely non-touristic. A family invites us in their home for tea and our Guide and Bee translates the conversation about how live is.
Going to the White Temple of Chiang Rai we stop at a hot spring, trying to put our feet into the really hot water. We are not very successful but have a funny time.
Before around two years there was an earthquake in Chiang Rai, that damaged the White Temple. But in meantime everything is fixed and the temple presents itself in its full splendour. The temple is built up by an artist and totally different to any other temples worldwide. You can see many funny things you never expect in a temple. By chance we meet the artist in front of the temple and take the opportunity for a picture.
For dinner we drive to the Krua Sukhothai that serves a fantastic Khao Soi, Phad Thai and also the Tempura. The appetizer Khanom Thuay is also very tasty.
At last we drive to the border to Burma and cross it to visit Tachilek. Because it is a little bit late we take a Tuk Tuk for a short sightseeingtour to Wat Ra Kaeng and the Replica Shwedagon. (you can learn more about the Shwedagon at en.myanmar-experts.com)
31.03.2016 – Thai massage and the Doi Thung Royal Villa
After a short spontaneous inspection of a hotel we drive to the Maekok River to drive by a longtailboat up the river. But the water is very shallow and we have to shorten this trip and drive the last part by car.
Our destination are again some hot springs, but this time we will take a bath in a pool. After finishing the bath we take a longer break to enjoy a one hour Thai massage.
Refreshed we drive on to The Black House, built up again by an artist who already died. With his work he tried to show how useful everything of an animal can be used, not just the meat. But you have to know this because you wouldn`t guess it. The most interesting part is a shrine near the top of the house with his ashes. On top of it is a golden head, fixed the other way around.
On the way to Doi Thung Royal Villa we pass by chance a ceremonial procession. We stop for some pictures and are fascinated by the yellow music car.
The Doi Thung Royal Villa belonged to the mother of the king. She settled down to develop this poor area. That time everything was burnt down and no tree left. Today you cannot imagine this because trees, flowers and greens are everywhere now. The villa is a mix of the typical Lanna style and a Swiss mountain hut. The woman, grown up as a middle-class was living a modest life you can see by the interior.
The night we spent in a resort located very nice and peaceful on a mountain with a spectacular view over tea plantations, valleys and surrounding mountains. The owner of the resort is really great. Friendly, humorous and taking care all the time. She shows us the menu but serve us tasty dishes she has already prepared. After dinner she invites us to a whiskey she has done on her own. Very tasty but also very strong. At last all of us were drunken but very happy.
01.04.2016 – Hard Day
At breakfast everybody feel well except one person, I don`t want to name. I will drink no alcohol never again…! The breakfast is tasty, that`s what they are telling me. I don`t know, but the plain toast is not so bad.
After checking out we drive into the tea plantations until we spot a field with harvesters. A very welcome stop to move a bit, fresh air and nice pictures.
Then we visit the village of Khun Sa, the former drug king and fighter of the Shan against the Burmese regime. The small museum is interesting to pick up some information of the nasty drug area in Myanmar and Thailand. But the political view might differ if you know a bit more about the history of Myanmar.
After that we enjoy a tea-tasting session at a tea factory in the middle of a tea plantation. We try some of the very good tea and detect our favorite. A green tea we take back to Germany every time visiting Thailand.
For lunch we drive to a restaurant in Doi Mae Salong that lies a bit hidden. We tried the black chicken, a rare specialty that is very very tasty. For the desert we drive to a special shop. But just our Thai woman were not very excited while the „Farang“ eat it without any problems.
The next spot to visit is another hilltribe village. To our regret we have to note, that many non-touristic villages have become more touristic. Especially the Karen or better known as longnecks are no longer without entry fees or shops in their village. On one hand site that is a pity because a part of Thailand is gone now. On the other hand site they do need every Thai baht for their really poor living. The woman on the pic is very popular now and to be seen on many postcards etc.
In this village different tribes live together. A perfect opportunity to see the different traditional costumes at one place.
At last we stop in an orange plantation near our resort and enjoy some cool orange juice. A great refreshment since the ice for our water is melted away.
02.04.2016 – Little Monks Ordination Festival
We love our guides. Yesterday at every temple we just got the answer, that the ceremony was just finished. But nightover our guides did find one more temple the ordination is going on today. So we hurry a bit to drive to that temple.
We just arrive in time to see how the fathers and older brothers carried the little monks on their shoulders into the temple. And before I know I was carrying a little monk by myself. Thanks to the guides…
In the temple building we enjoy a wonderful scenery with all the little monks in their colorfully suits. In front of us sits one of this boys, who all loved right away. The festival lasted already two or three days and nights and the Buddhism instructions seem at last as interesting as the Christians. So it doesn`t wonder he relaxes a bit by time.
Also interesting is the scenery in front of the temple building…
After some time we leave the ceremony, that will hold on some more hours. We drive to another hilltribe village completely without tourism. On the way we stop at a “Hill Gone Lost”. Malicious tongues would say, it`s all for the military because if a hill is gone completely, military orientation will miss a hill and get curious about who they are. So it is better to maintain a remembrance of the former hill. Just in case….
Then there is another spontaneous idea of our guide. He asks us if we are interested to watch a rice mill in action at a friend of him not far away. We agree and soon we see a big impressive machine like it was used in Germany in the 1950s and 1960s.
Arriving in the hill tribe village we have a big box with candies with us. All the candies are distributed fairly not just among the kids, the adults love sweets as well and some returned twice but not without comment.
In the village there is also a rice mill just a bit more simple. Usually you can see this kind in a Museum but this one is in daily use.
For lunch we drive to Thaton and have fine food in a small kitchen near the river. After lunch we visit the mountain peak and pass the Wat Thaton. On the top there is one more building with a walkway to the heaven. Very nice is also the view over the city and the plains.
The night we spend one more time in a well-appointed resort amid the hills. The dinner was tasty and really good but Tilo and me eat a prawn that wasn`t well any more. It`s not the best idea to eat seafood in the hottest time of the year at a beautiful place but afar from the sea.
03.04.2016 – Through the garden door from Thailand to Burma – the easy way
Last night Tilo already became problems because of the prawn. My stomach is still ok but I also don`t feel well. But tough boys don`t cry and we start to the Royal Garden Project, our first sightseeing place this day. The garden is spacious and beautiful designed. Flower lovers will be very excited when walking through all the flowers.
Then we leave and drive one more time to the border between Thailand and Burma. In fact we drive to Ban Nor-Lae, a border post with border fortifications. The you can watch on the opposite site of the border.
But how many things in Thailand are working, things are not too bad. An old Burmese man saw us arriving and walks to the border gate to welcome us and offering his honey. The border gate really frightened us with its big padlock… The man is very kind, he and our guide enjoy some smalltalk. At the end the guide tests the honey and buys one bottle. The honey is very tasty and 100 percent organic.
The next destination is another hilltribe village, located on the border to Burma. We have packed some of the shower gels and shampoos, the hotels typically offers theirs guests. The people is these villages can use everything also small things.
After our guide did some talk with two charming old women we go through a garden to the strawberry fields and right away into Burma. That is the most inspiring border crossing all of us ever did. We are loving the absent of any bureaucracy, police and military.
After this exciting place we change our program and drive directly to the resort. Tilo and me don`t feel well enough anymore. The bungalows of the sweet little resort are simple equipped but just loveable. Each bungalow is designed different to the others.
Tilo and I spend the time in our bungalows while the girls are starting to the hot springs. This time the hot springs are very natural when Ilka and Bee enjoyed her time in the pond, buffalows, chicken and dogs joined them in some of the other ponds. May I should mention, that animals are not allowed to take a bath in the ponds the humans use?
After the hot spring Ilka and Bee enjoyed their very best Thai massage ever. Even so the massage girls stand on their back to use the feet for the massage.
04.04.2016 – Change of Programme
Funny how much you can do wrong as an experienced Asia traveler. Since yesterday I`ve drunken far too little and my stomach didn`t like his food any more. So it`s not surprising that after getting up I was totally dehydrated. The result is an impressive cut on the left eyelid.
Ilka and Tilo are driving direct to our resort in Chiang Mai while Bee and I drive to the International Hospital. At this point I want to thank you both of you for your understanding!
In the hospital everything works fine.
After just short time I get some medicaments and a plaster and we can leave. In meantime the guides organized some cold drinks and sandwiches, I really love them…
Back in the resort Ilka, Bee and our guide left for one more Thai-massage. This one was also very good but cannot beat the one they enjoyed yesterday.
In the evening everybody feels fit enough to leave the resort for some food. Unfortunately the Hot Chili is fully booked and waiting time is more than half an hour. We are looking for another restaurant and enjoy the time with talking about the last days.
05.04.2016 – Chiang Mai and Doi Suthep
After a good night’s sleep and an unhurried and hearty breakfast we started our daytrip at noon. This way we can visit a monk ceremony in the evening and go for a late dinner together with our guides and driver.
There are 40 Temple in the ancient city center of Chiang Mai. We will visit two of them and also the museum. In the museum we discover on one of the pictures an ancient rice mill we have seen some days before in the hilltribe village. After a short walk around and some interesting information from our guide we leave for our first temple. The name is Wat Chedi Luang Varaviharn and behind the big impressing temple building you will find an old impressing pagoda.
The second temple is Wat Phra Sing.
Inside the temple we have a closer look to the paintings documenting the Lifestyle in Chiang Mai 200 years ago.
It`s becoming hotter and crowdy, so we leave for another very exciting temple outside the city. Until now there are just a few tourists coming here. We are happy to enjoy all the picturesque scenery all alone.
The location is inspiring but it is already late and we drive to Wat Phratat Doi Suthep. There is still enough light for some good pictures and time enough before the ceremony will start.
For dinner our guide chooses a new restaurant you get only foreign food. Crazy because Thai normally don`t like foreign food very much. But this restaurant is different and fully booked. The food is really exceptional tasty and we enjoy a great last eve together. Thanks to all of you.
06.04.2016 – Curious to see Koh Lipe again
Much to early we awake at 5 a.m. to drive to the airport. We fly to Hat Yai and continue to the island Koh Lipe.
In Hat Yai we already organized a short sightseeing in the city center, we didn`t see before. First we drive to a well known restaurant for breakfast. In this region Dim Sum are popular for breakfast and the Chok Dee Tae Tiam is a first address. The Dim Sum are tasty but the soup is great.
Then we drive to the Kim Yong Market, famous for nuts and almonds. We buy some to nibble them the next days.
Unfortunately time was over and we have to hurry for Pakbara Pier. As far as we noticed there was no sustainable change yet.
Because there is still no café available at the pier we watch the passing fishing boats in order to shorten the time.
The transfer to Koh Lipe is done with the usual stop at Koh Khai, so people can take a picture from this Island you often can see on postcards. Arrived on Koh Lipe first experience is the drastic increase of the national park fee from 50 Baht three years ago to 200 Baht nowadays. That should not be the only surprise we have to experience.
The last stretch to the resort we are not going by longtail at all but have to drive by motorbike-taxi from Pattaya Beach to Idyllic. Three years ago that would have been something because of no concrete streets. In meantime it seems all paths have been fixed with concrete. The good is, that the transfer is done very easy.
Arriving at the Idyllic we are surprised one more time. The last two years the resort has doubled the available rooms and build up some more big buildings. Sad to say, the nice cozy atmosphere is gone now.
Idyllic with its only beachfront bungalow and a lot of Plants and trees:
Idyllic today with new big buildings not just on the beach:
We have booked the new category i-Mountain, but just a few minutes after entering the room we try to change to another room. The reason is simply a big generator for electricity is running just a few meter behind the building and the noice is awful. We can change to another room i-Green not far from the beach and quite, but for the last two nights the resort is fully booked and we will have to bite the bullet.
The Idyllic was always forced in regard to design and quality of the buildings and interior in the past. This time the new building i-Mountain makes not a good impression any more.
All of that was a bit shocking and we take a break at the beach for a cool drink. While doing so the El Ninho shows impressively his effects also here in the Andaman Sea. We have never experience a shallow sea level you can walk from the beach to the little island.There was always enough water for a good swim. Fortunately the sea is shallow like this just at low tide.
One last statement for this day. The last two years guest of us visiting Koh Lipe were telling us about places and resorts we never understood, what they were talking about. Now we know that within the last two years on the right-hand side of the Idyllic three new resorts have been built up and on the southern part of the Sunrise Beach we estimate around 15 new resorts.
07.04.2016 – Sunrise Beach and Walking Street
After a cozy breakfast we check the new room categories i-breeze and i-sun. The rooms are in the building next to the beach and in quality and design much better than i-mountain.
The type of the new buildings attract the taste of Asian people like Malaysian, Chinese and Thai much more while Europeans still expect nice little bungalow resorts, in particular on a small island like Koh Lipe. Because there are already many Chinese tourists are coming to Koh Lipe, the tourist management seems to do some advertising in China.
Maybe within the next five to six years there will be only Chinese tourists coming to Koh Lipe.
For lunch we try the 10 Moons Resort, the second of three resorts next to the Idyllic. In general the wooden bungalows fit well into the surrounding with the many trees. But we suspect the bungalows just a little higher up the mountain will be affected by the noise of the electricity engine. The same goes for the Serendipity Resort, that is the third one. While 10 Moons and Serendipity are build out of wood the Kathalee Resort is an architectural nightmare.
In 10 Moons the customers are mostly from southern Europe like Italy and Spain. The food is in the taste of European guests, nothing for people who like to eat original Thai food.
For dinner we go to the Walking Street where we detect also significant changes. The Walking Street is fixed with concrete like the other formerly paths and construction has been everywhere and still not stops. There are three new hospitals in addition to the municipal hospital that causes first questions, why a little island like Koh Lipe needs four hospitals. The answer will be given later. Furthermore there are four scuba diving bases all with their own liveaboard. Therefore, there is good reason to believe that all the unharmed corals will be damaged like other diving spots near Koh Phi Phi soon.
But there are still some special situations on Koh Lipe you might smile about.
08.04.2016 – Inner Zone Tour
By chance we meet Khun Aung at breakfast, a girl who was working here three years ago and we like very much. Sadly just three of the old team remain, that was really outstanding. And fortunately for me as a coffee lover, she organized some real coffee instead of the dreadful Nescafé.
Around 10 a.m. we start our Inner Zone Tour, the one we must skip three years ago because of the stormy weather. I take some pictures from the shore and the new resorts out of the boat to document the actual situation.
Thee new resorts Kathalee, 10 Moons and Serendipity:
The skipper brought his 11 year old son with him, who enjoys his school holidays. Now he can learn how to drive a longtailboat. Sometimes it is really hard work for the little boy but he enjoys and is very proud his father allows him to drive the boat.
The tourist traffic has multiplied the last two years. That is the reason you cannot avoid other tourist boats at the Inner Zone Tour anymore.
We go for snorkeling spots at Koh Adang, Koh Yang, Koh Rawi, Koh Hin Ngam and Koh Jabang.
Two times we must correct the skipper not to join the places with the many other boats but go for some quite places. Without speaking Thai language that would have been a hard job.
Especially for lunch the skipper tend to join each other on White Sands Beach. From a distance of more than one kilometer we can see more than 70 longtails on the beach and force our skipper to drive to a quite beach, where we can enjoy our lunch.
There is always a nice beautiful alternative option. This time not so far away from White Sands Beach. Pity that the skipper doesn`t act in the interest of his customers.
At the end of the tour we stop at Koh Hin Ngam, what means as much as Beautiful Stones.
For dinner we try the Serendipity. The food is ok but as expensiv as in the Idyllic. But the quality and taste of the food in the Idyllic is better.
09.04.2016 – A relaxing day
In mid-morning we go to the Walking Street to buy a few things.
On the way back to the resort we stop a Pooh`s for something to drink. The manager also comes in and we get to talk about Pooh`s and Koh Lipe in general. She tells us most of the construction has been done within the last year and many locals don`t like it any more. Some of them already decided to walk away to another island. She is afraid Koh Lipe will go down if the construction doesn`t stop. Some of her western guests already told her, after many times on Koh Lipe they won`t come anymore now.
Visitors coming first time to Koh Lipe still will be excited, at least the next three or four years, if the construction is going on that fast. But anyone lucky enough to know the special atmosphere of Koh Lipe until just a few years ago is bitterly aware about the loss.
Back at Idyllic we meet Khun Aung who tells us at least one reason for the many new hospitals. In peak season there were many sick people because of stomach problems. Who didn`t know better and went to the new hospital instead of the public one was charged 300,00 Euro instead of the usual 5,00 Euro in the public hospital. Maybe 10 Euro medicaments already included.
Only evil tongues would say a good business model has been established, maybe with a little help of one or two restaurants…
Just a few days until the Songkran Festival on Koh Lipe will start. Many Thai people extend the public holidays and more and more of them arrive on Koh Lipe and at Idyllic. Surprisingly there are also many Chinese tourists in the Idyllic now. Thankfully just individual travelers are coming here and no groups. But some Chinese travel agents already tried contracts for group tours. Probable it will be just a matter of time the first contract will be closed. We hope fervently that we are wrong.
For dinner we try the restaurant Rak Lay in the mid of Walking Street. The fish are fresh and the quality of food is still good and after finishing dinner we walk off our meal by taking a stroll to Pattaya Beach.
10.04.2016 – On tour of the island
I do a tour of the island on my own to check what else has changed the last two years. I start along the Sunrise Beach to the Mountain Resort with its still fantastic view of the sea.
Up the hill I walk through the resort and leave it on the back side direction to the Sunset Beach. Three years ago we came across a girl looking for this beach and like a deja-vu this time I come across a young couple looking for the beach too. Maybe not the last ones desperate to find the beach.
I take a break at a beach café for a drink. Walking up the hill in the heat of the day was exhausting and sweating. Now I`m lucky to sit down enjoying a cold drink.
From here I start to check the new resorts on the right hand side of the Mountain Resort. All of them primarily are build up for backpackers and with simple interior. And high tide means the beach is nearly completely under water.
Then I go back in the direction of the Walking Street. Three years ago there was just a one or two Quonsets and nothing else. Now everywhere are new houses, shops and little hotels. I don`t know who will spend his holidays that far from the beach.
Traffic chaos on the Walking Street
And then it happens. I lose my bearings amidst all the new buildings, shops and hotels. All of a sudden I`m at the Pattaya Beach and must have entered the end of the Walking Street down a side street.
It`s time to go back to the resort and have a relaxing and refreshing swim.
Khun Aung invites us for dinner and spend the rest of the day in the Idyllic. Many thanks to Khun Aung for the perfect food.
11.04.2016 – Departing for Koh Mook
At 8 a.m. we leave for Pattaya Beach to enter the speedboat going to Koh Mook. We have to wait some time because the water is still a bit too shallow. Finally we take a longtail to bring us to the speedboat anchoring in the sea. Bags and people have to change the boats offshore but luckily the sea is flat and the transfer to Koh Mook just takes two and a half hours.
Because of all the impressions on Koh Lipe we have forgotten that there is no ATM on the island. Now we have to calculate with our cash. That’s not a problem for the Sivalai Resort accepting credit cards but we are planning to explore the island. For renting a motorbike, testing new restaurants or tours there is compelling need for cash.
Koh Mook is mostly the same like three years ago and we already excited to explore this island. The motorbike taxi driver tells us the Songkran Festival will start on April, 13th. We are happy to join the party.
Late afternoon we are lucky again. Not far from our bungalow a man is picking the coconuts by climbing up the trees. Unbelievable, that the man 52 years old, is doing this job without any backup.
12.04.2016 – Koh Mook Island Tour
Koh Mook is small island and we don`t need to much time for a look around. Time enough for a cozy unhurried breakfast before starting the tour. At noon we rent a motorbike at the back exit of the resort. The security was kind enough to call a rental and short time later the daughter of the rentor delivered the bike. But she is a bit confused about payment and gasoline and tried always to ask the security guy who was as much amused as we are. Laughing he told her that`s her job to know and not his thing. After some time we decide to pay her now and she take the decision to fuel up the emptied bike.
Cruising over the island we see some construction but just a few little buildings. It`s already noon and we stop at Sugar`s Coffee Shop for lunch. There are three very kind women serving guests, happy about the only guests this time and Bee talking Thai. The food is good and worth a stop.
The surrounding could be more beautyful but the atmosphere of the nearby small wharf is interesting too.
After lunch we drive to Charly Beach right through the village in the middle of the island. The village is the same like before and we drive to the beach on the other side of the islands, right behind the sea gipsy village. We stop at the Dada Restaurant, that belongs to the Koh Mook Garden Bungalow Resort, driven by locals.
We are chatting with the female boss while drinking a tasty lemon shake. There is also a very pleasant guy doing boat trips. He tells us that he is swimming and snorkeling together with his guests to guide them the fish and corrals what is very unique, because the skipper usually stay in their boats.
Because of Songkran there is no fresh fish all over the islands but the woman promise us fresh fish for dinner. We promise to come back later this evening. Driving back to the resort we pass a pancake seller at a crossways and stop to try a banana pancake. There are many customers around and they inform us, that this is the best pancake seller all over the whole island. The couple are selling there pancakes since 24 years now and still enjoy their business.
For dinner we drive to the Dada as promised and first order a fresh coconut shake. The girl serving us first answers there is no fresh coconut today. But we show her a coconut just behind us easy reachable to pick. She agreed and maybe her brother comes to pick the coconut. That`s real Thailand, like we do love it.
At the end three daughters are serving us all of them very shy when we ask them for a picture. They cannot hold on a second without giggling and hiding. The whole atmosphere is very friendly and relaxed.
13.04.2016 – Songkran
Today the southern part of Thailand is playing Songkran, the water festival hold on Thailands New Year. We are looking forward to join the play but already entering the restaurant for breakfast we realize, that Songkran doesn`t matter much on this Muslim-dominated island.
We drive to the village but there is just one play-station with only three kids enjoying Songkran. After some time we drive again to the Dada restaurant because the Woman promised us freshly catches crabs. Delicious!
Today it is very hot and we spend a lot of time in the sea to cool down a bit. In maximum I can read three pages in my book before I take another dip into the sea.
We gave back the motorbike already and decide to try the Yummi restaurant in walking distance to the resort. The Food is also good and worth a visit.
14.04.2016 – Onward journey to Samut Prakan
It`s our last day in southern Thailand and we fly back to Bangkok. We will stay in Samut Prakan for two nights to celebrate Songkran with friends of us.
15.04.2016 – Songkran – Again
We visit first the market to buy some food for the Songkran party and have breakfast later this morning.
The seller are very busy but there is always time to hold in for a nice picture.
On Songkran the family part means to water the grandparents and parents to get their good wishes for the future time. This part is taken seriousby everybody but not too serious all time long.
16.04.2016 – The island Koh Samet
Today we start by car to Koh Samet. In most parts the Songkran party is already finished and traffic is mainly hurrying back to Bangkok. We are leaving Bangkok and are happy about nearly empty streets on the way to Ban Phe. Arriving in Ban Phe we are surprised because today happens the public Songkran party and the streets are crowded with people and trucks with water tanks on their back.
We already planned to have lunch in a restaurant with very tasty seafood we know already from a visit three or four years ago. Only problem we have to cross the city what takes more than one hour instead of the usual 5 minutes.
After lunch we have to drive to the pier on the opposite side of the city. On the main street along the coastline that would take now around two hours why we try to find some small streets to avoid the party folk.
Finally we arrive at the pier and enter the speedboat to our resort on Koh Samet. The resort is located at the end of the island. The beach is welcomed by people who like snorkeling. If you like just bathing and swimming the beach is not the very best for because there is no sandy beach.
17.04.2016 – A relaxing day on the beach
Today is sunday and we take a break to relaxe a bit on the beach. We rent a kayak and have a look around the coastline. Luckily I don`t take my camera with me because on the way back a bigger wave cause our small kayak to capsize. We have a lot of fun going back into the boat without capsizing one more time.
18.04.2016 – Island Tour
This morning we go by taxi first to Sai Kaew Beach, the main beach of Koh Samet. We have a short walk through the little village before visiting the beach. There are many bad ratings to this beach in the internet and the people are right. Within the last 10 years Koh Samet changed totally and most of it Sai Kaew Beach. Most of the resorts are available for cheaper money and tourist groups like from China. But cheap on Koh Samet doesn`t really mean cheap in comparison with other parts of Thailand.
After a short stroll along the beach we drive to Ao Prao Beach, where just three resorts are located. Two resorts belong to the same group. The beach is much better, quit and clean. The resorts take care and pick up the dirt regularly.
We spontaneously decide to try an inspection without an appointment and are pleased to be welcomed by all three of them.
First we visit the Lima Coco, located in the middle of the three resorts. The Lima Coco offers payable rooms and the food we try for lunch is tasty.
The second resort is the Ao Prao Resort, established 20 years ago as the first resort on this beach. Meanwhile the huts have been replaced with modern and comfortable bungalows and the resort has become much bigger.
The manager of the Ao Prao Resort is also the Manager of the sister resort Le Vimarn Cottage & Spa and offers us an inspection of some bungalows in this resort as well.
And last but not least we get an appointment later this afternoon in the Paradee Resort that belongs also to the same group. The Paradee is the only resort on this beach and both resort and beach are the best you can find on Koh Samet.
19.04.2016 – Famous Taphong Fruit Market
We leave Koh Samet late in the morning for a short drive to a restaurant famous for its Pad Thai dishes. But unfortunately it is closed. We decide to go back to Ban Phe and have lunch in the seafood restaurant we already visited when arriving.
On the way to Klong Dan we stop at the famous Taphong fruit market. It is noon and very hot, 40 degrees celsius. The market dozes in the heat and just a few people are around.
Despite the heat we look around and take the opportunity to buy some fruits. There are many Durians. The fruit is very tasty but if they are not fresh enough anymore they start to stink unbelievable bad. Better to leave them there – too dangerous!
20.04.2016 – Back to Bangkok
The last day we spend in Bangkok to visit the nightlife near our hotel. First we have a stroll through Nana and later we take the Skytrain to Sala Deng.
We were not any more aware the two faces of Nana. On one side of the main road there are many bars with mainly western tourists. On the other side of the main road is a mainly Muslim-dominated part of Nana with many tourist from islamic countries. There are less bars but more restaurants with arabic food.
Our last visit at Sala Deng was many years ago and either it has changed completely or we are missing the part with the many small kitchens and the friendly relaxed atmosphere. All we can find now is a street with one brothel next to the other. There is no bar or restaurant anymore and walking through the street we don`t know if we are the exotic part or the women in front of the houses. In our memory Sala Deng was much more varied and worth seeing. Now there is nothing left of interest for tourists who like just to have a look around.
21.04.2016 – Flight home
The day of our departure has arrived and early in the morning the driver awaits us for the transfer to the airport.
Bye bye Thailand, see you again next year!
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