Thailand: start of the rainy season in Bangkok and Koh Phi Phi

I left Sihanoukville early in the morning and by lunch-time had arrived at the Thai  border.  After a few minutes was out of Cambodia and back into Thailand. I’m not a smoker but if you are then Cambodia would be a good place for you to stock up; some hawkers at the border were flogging 200 Marlboro cartons for $5!

I then caught another two buses and by 9 pm was back in Bangkok.

The weather had turned from when I was there 2 weeks earlier, as the rainy season had kicked in.  So the boiling hot sun had been replaced by tropical rain showers. This restricted my movements slightly and meant the pool where I was staying was unfortunately not required.

Rain showers kept me indoors and out of the swimming pool:

For the few days I was in Bangkok I took advantage of being in the big city by visiting various malls/shopping centres,  and taking-in the crazy backpacker district of Khao San road.  I probably think of all cities I’ve ever been Bangkok is the best for shopping.  You can get everything (of varying quality) at rock bottom prices.  And the lovely Thai people make it stress-free with their huge smiles and delightful temperaments.

A busy road in the centre of Bangkok:

After I was shopped-out and my bag was bursting at the seams I caught a night bus down to Krabi in the south of the country where I hopped on a ferry to the island paradise of Koh Phi Phi.

Leaving Krabi:

Approaching Phi Phi:

And the video of the approach:

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Phi Phi town:

Unfortunately as I found out in Fiji, island paradises are not immune to rain, and similar to Bangkok I arrived just at the start of the rainy season. This meant in the few days I stayed on Phi Phi I only got to the beach twice. Fortunately the hotel I had randomly chosen had an awesome group of Thai staff members who made my time really enjoyable. On the first night I was there they invited me for a lovely Thai BBQ and the next day when it rained all day they kindly took several hundred Thai Baht off me in an awesome card-game called Kyang.

One of the friends of the hotel brought a huge snake in a bag.  It had killed and eaten his cat so he was going to kill it back:

Rainy-day activity, losing money to wily Thais:

Over the few days I just chilled out talking to the guys at the hotel and filling my tum with delicious Thai meals and fresh-fruit-ice-smoothies (strawberry and lime became my favourite). In the evenings the island steps up the tempo and there is a bar for everybody’s taste. My personal favourite was the Rolling Stoned bar where a cover band performs top rock tunes every night, and are always happy to take requests. If you visit the beach at night you are treated to numerous fire shows with up to 15 performers all twirling fire around their bodies at the same time.

Some guy climbed a tree with no ropes and then hacks at the coconuts with a machete. Look out below!

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Quick the sun came out, get to the beach!!

And what a glorious beach it is.  This is known as the back beach:

This is the more popular beach on the other side of the town:

Here comes the rain.  This was about 30 minutes after the above photo was taken.  A huge storm ensued:

Several cats lived at the hotel.  This was the awesomest one called Milky; not only did he look like a mini snow leopard, he also killed rats:

With only 2 days until my flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tokyo I had to leave Koh Phi Phi and take the night bus into Malaysia. Once back in KL I contacted my favourite group of Malaysians: Maggie, Shirleen and Samanta, who had been beyond hospitable the last time I was there. With Samanta up in Ipoh and Maggie at work it meant it was just Shirleen and I who spent the afternoon looking for a new pair of jeans for yours truly, in one of the KL shopping malls.

Later in the evening we met up with Maggie and made our way to a Dim-Sum restaurant (the girls knew this was my favourite) where I ate until my stomach hurt. We then went to Maggie’s mum’s food court and I somehow managed to force down a fresh-fruit ais kacang.

Inside this desert is shaved ice which has absorbed the fruit juices.  Delicious and refreshing when its 35 degrees at 10pm!

With the girls, Shirleen (left) and Maggie (right):

The next morning Shirleen again extended her duties by offering me a lift to the airport for my flight to Tokyo! BANSAI!!  I hope one day I can repay all these delightful people who have gone above and beyond to make me feel welcome in their countries.

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