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Thailand and Malaysia

a travel blog by 10bastards

My trip in 2009 to Malaysia and Thailand.

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Had a brilliant idea to down a bottle of Queensland's finest with a friend. Great Idea, but not before an international flight... I groaned all the way to the airport, but my housemate was probably too tired to care (we left home at 4am). He must have felt a tad soft in the head to agree to that task. It was only when I got to Malaysia that I remembered my difficulty with directions... I managed to get to KL Sentral (the main train/bus station) easy enough, then wandered around trying to think why I didn't write directions to the hostel I had booked down.

I gave up, jumped into a legitimate-looking taxi and hit the road. Old mate the taxi driver took me to the street the place was on. Sweet! Or so I thought. The genius who owns the hostel decided to have two, in close proximity to each other, with the same name, albeit one has "2 after it and one has "1". I eventually gave up looking for hostel 2, which I had booked, and went to hostel 1. They called the other place up, to be informed that because I was late, my room had been sold. Oh well. Got a room at hostel 1, a two person room, so I had to pay double ($20) but it turned out to be great because I really needed the sleep.

I had a little walk after I had rested up and bought a burger from a street-side stall. It was cooked by a little kid who did a pretty good job. I loved how they streched the egg out at this place, wrapping it around the meat patties. The burger had a bucket load of sauce on it as well, which suits me just fine. It cost me a little about $1.50.

I managed to get up in the morning to treat myself to enjoyable "getting lost" walk. I asked the lady at the hostel where KL Sentral was, to which she replied "Down the corner then turn right, then there's some stairs and heaps of people". Using stairs as a reference is a shit idea. I figured out which way KL Sentral was and followed the train tracks there. Made it to the airport without incident and with time to spare!

permalink written by  10bastards on October 9, 2009 from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
from the travel blog: Thailand and Malaysia
tagged KL, Malaysia and Burger

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Thailand - the first few days

Ban Ao Nang, Thailand

I made it through customs in Krabi with no fuss, no questions. I guess I just look like a trustworthy character. Jumped on the bus from the bus to the airport to Ao Nang. My beach side destination. I would compare it to a place like Maroochydore in Australia, not too busy, not too quiet. The place I'm staying at said it was directly across from the McDonalds, where the bus stopped, but it still took me an hour to find it. That was probably due to me having a different name for the place in my head. It's ten bucks a night, so no breaking the bank, it has a fan and a queen size bed. It must be hot all the time in this area, because there is no hot water in the place at all. It's been a while since I've had a cold shower. Both places I've stayed at whilst I've been away have had the shower in close proximity to the toilet. In this place, the shower actually points at the toilet - time saver!

The beach here is quite shelly in the afternoons, but has sand in the morning. Oh and the syringe I discovered yesterday morning... I have never owned a suit until earlier this year, but that would not have been the case if I had lived in Thailand. I am yet to see anyone wearing a suit here, but the dozen blokes on the way to the beach seem to think it is a necessary requirement to my survival. One suit shop is right at the front door of the place I'm staying at - so I got accosted as soon as I left the hotel for the first time. I tried explaining to the bloke I just wanted to go to the beach, but he wouldn't take no for an answer. This gives me the excuse I need to taunt him with the promise of buying a suit from him. It's the best fun I've had so far. My favourite was telling him I'd be back later, then returning with a tallie and saying "I never do business when I drink".

I didn't bring any board shorts over here, figured I'd buy a stack of clothes just before I leave. I bought a pair of Billabong shorts for 12 bucks. I probably overpaid, but I need something to swim in. My next purchases will be a straw hat and some Ray Bans. If I don't get searched on the way back into Australia I will be very disappointed. Especially considering the hair and beard I'm growing. I figure the scruffier and poorer I look, the less people are going to try to sell me shit.

I wouldn't mind if it was stuff I actually needed, like beer or food. Or a TOT card. The phones here are all TOT which would be great, but no-one sells them. I went into 4 different 7/11's to get one until I found a place that actually sold them. This is my first trip without my mobile on roaming, so not having the ability to make a call when I want to is kinda weird.

I plan to go over to Phi Phi island this morning, it was overcast but is clearing up nicely now. I'd like to get some sunscreen, but the stuff they have here is whitening cream... I don't think I need any of that. The boats going to Phi Phi are dodgy wooden jobs, so I'll see how it goes...

permalink written by  10bastards on October 10, 2009 from Ban Ao Nang, Thailand
from the travel blog: Thailand and Malaysia
tagged AoNang and Suits

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Ao Nang continued

Ban Ao Nang, Thailand

I decided to organise a speed boat trip to Phi Phi and other areas. This cost me $28 for the whole day, so I couldn't go wrong really. Our first stop was to snorkel at a reef. Then we went to Maya Bay, famous through the movie "The Beach". Apparently other people had heard of it as well, because there was a couple of hundred people there, and the beach itself was covered with boats. We then tripped over to Phi Phi, which I was glad we did, because it was not as amazing as I had thought it would be. We were given a nice lunch, which surprised me, as I had thought there was no way that could be included in the price. Our next stop was another coral reef. It was amazing, the fish and coral seemed to radiate a fluorescent glow. Pineapple chunks were thrown into the water, bringing fish out of nowhere. I found myself surrounded by beautiful fish attacking the pineapple (and me). It was awesome. Our last stop of the day was Bamboo Island. What a place! The water was amazingly clear and warm. I sat in the twenty-something degree water at neck height. Great stuff.

I had walked around Ao Nang, been to a bar before, but this particular night I decided to really have a go at it. There is a soi (street) that is full of bars, so I decided to go down to the one at the end - the Reggae Bar. It was like walking the gauntlet getting there. There would have been at least 40 "women" grabbing (literally) at me to go to their particular bars. Bloody hell. I parked myself at the bar and it turned out that the owner was an American. It wasn't too bad, was left to myself and chatted to the owner. It was quite interesting. He said the "girls" (again, inverted commas!) weren't paid to be there, they were given free drinks. I then played "pick the ladyboy", the owner confirming my suspicions. There were at least two in the bar, doing the rounds, playing Connect Four and Jenga with the patrons - believe it or not!

This guy, John, absolutely loves his job. He said he could run the place by himself, but had four people working for him - employed at $165 Aussie per month! I had been playing Connect Four with one of the "girls" when I spotted a group of English girls that had been on the boat trip earlier in the day. I ended up drinking and playing Jenga with them until they decided to head out with one of the lady boys to another bar. I can't imagine my favourite hang outs in Australia being frequented by transvestites. It amazes me how open they are. All you have to do is ask if they're a woman and they will confirm! I had a good night with the English ladies, and finished up getting to bed at 3.30. This did not bode well for my bus at eight, but I made it - just.

permalink written by  10bastards on October 14, 2009 from Ban Ao Nang, Thailand
from the travel blog: Thailand and Malaysia
tagged AoNang and LadyBoy

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Karon - the beach you can't swim at.

Phuket, Thailand

The "bus" I took from Ao Nang stopped at Krabi, where we had to wait for the "bus" going to Phuket. We ended up leaving at about twelve thirty, going back to Ao Nang to pick up some more people. The minibus was cramped, and I was jammed against the luggage but for $11.50 for a four hour trip - you can't complain! Or so I thought... There was a couple of French ladies who didn't stop complaining about the wait and the conditions. My late night the night before ensured I got to sleep through most of their tirade. We reached Phuket and were taken into a travel agency to confirm what hotels we were staying at. One of the staff came out to open the door of the mini-bus, a very tall, broad-shouldered woman with a definite five-o'clock shadow. Hrmm. I thought she was going to punch one of the French ladies in the head, but unfortunately that didn't happen.

My hotel was the last stop, so the driver got me to sit in the front with him. He asked if I was alone, and then started telling me about the affordability of Thai prostitutes. I assured him that was not why I was in Thailand, but he didn't believe me of course. As soon as I got to my hotel (a fash one, 20 bucks a night and warmish water!) I went to sleep. I only woke up for a little bit and then slept all night. Needless to say, I didn't see any of Karon beach on my first night...

Today I went to the beach, which pretty much sealed the deal for me going back Ao Nang way (probably to Tonsai or Railay). The waves were of a decent size, but I didn't see any surfers (???). I also saw a massive Jelly fish float by me. I got out of the water before I found a shark (I just KNOW there was one there somewhere). The beach has deck chairs and umbrellas which cost about three bucks to rent. I treated myself, but quickly lost interest, as there was a never ending stream of people selling the usual stuff like watches, umbrellas and random musical instruments. Again, a beer would have better for me, but anyway. I spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool at the resort. It was only later on I saw the sign at the beach that said "no swimming"... I thought there were some serious rips present and it turns out there was!

I think I'll head out later on and see if there is anyone OTHER than prostitutes and transvestites out tonight. I'll head to Rawai tomorrow to see what the shopping is like, then book myself a trip back to the Krabi area. Everything is pretty much the same as here, but the accommodation is cheaper, the surf better and at least five less prostitutes.

permalink written by  10bastards on October 14, 2009 from Phuket, Thailand
from the travel blog: Thailand and Malaysia
tagged Karon

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Tonsai, Thailand

So I was well and truly over Phuket, didn't even have a big night. I had a hunger for some lapping, gentle waves, so I booked myself a minibus back to Ao Nang and a longtail boat to Railay. The change was automatic. Not quite as hustle-y, but that is probably because everything is a lot more expensive. I was disappointed with the beaches. Railay East is a mangrove swamp, and Railay West is a bay, with mud instead of sand. The second day I was there I decided to hike to Tonsai. Best idea ever! Okay, so the hike was through the jungle and I've never lost so much fluid through sweat, but the beach was awesome, the people friendly (without trying to sell anything) and the scene just so relaxing. I would stay in Tonsai the next time around, as it seems so much nicer. Railay is good, but just that little bit pricey.

I decided when I had got home (narrowly avoiding heat stroke) that I would go to Ao Phra Nang the next day and decide between the two where to stay. It was raining the next day though, so I just maxed by the pool in the afternoon and set myself for a big night out. Unfortunately it turned out to be a big, big night, which ruled me out for Ao Phra Nang (ruled me out of doing anything really). The fact that I had entered into a limbo competition and twisted my knee didn't help either. I decided with a little over a week left of my holiday to return to Ao Nang, do a tour and then set off to Langkawi. I really quite like Ao Nang. Prices are good (my room is priced for two people and is $8 Australian a night, with a bottle of water a day plus free Wifi - heaven!) and there is access to pretty much anything you could want to do. Rock climbing, kayaking, Island tours, elephant safaris, snorkelling etc, etc.

I'm booked for a kayaking tour and elephant safari tomorrow. I'm pretty excited, I figure it will be a good way to say goodbye to Thailand. The next day will see me off bright and early (0630-yuck!) on my way to Langkawi!

permalink written by  10bastards on October 20, 2009 from Tonsai, Thailand
from the travel blog: Thailand and Malaysia
tagged Railay, Tonsai and AoNang

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Off to Langkawi

Ban Ao Nang, Thailand

I had a great day on the kayaking and elephant adventure. I thought I would celebrate by having a few ales on my "last" night in Thailand. I found a bar that was pretty much populated by foreigners, but decided more fun was to be had at the Reggae bar with my friends from last time. I was handed a flyer by one of the workers, which advertised "buckets" of alcohol for around six dollars each. Seeing that this is a bit of a tradition in Thailand, I thought I would indulge. Wow. Needless to say I thought is was a great idea to go with some of the girls to another bar down the road. Three of us on a scooter, and the driver had been drinking... I somehow got dragged by some random to another bar, where I met up with some of the boys that work at the Reggae Bar. I ended up spilling the bucket belonging to what I remember as being the Thai version of Mr T. I bought him another and one for myself as well. That's about the last thing that I remember.

I woke to an incessant banging on my door at about 10.30 the next day. I packed up my stuff and headed down to the travel agency. Turns out they had tried to rouse me at the prescribed time of 0630. I never heard a thing. No refunds available, I booked myself a new bus ticket for the next day, went back to the hotel, and slept and slept. I was so surprised to wake up with my wallet and camera on my person. I have a habit of putting my wallet down the front of my pants if I'm in a dodgy area. Must have worked. Although, for the second time, I souvenired a stubbie cooler, only to have it souvenired off me in return! It was a good night (from what I recall), but I didn't eat all the next day, and am still at a loss as to how I got home safe and sound. Lucky...

I'm in Langkowie, and am enjoying a quiet night in. I'll have to start looking around here tomorrow...

permalink written by  10bastards on October 23, 2009 from Ban Ao Nang, Thailand
from the travel blog: Thailand and Malaysia
tagged Buckets

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