Thursday, November 20, 2008

From Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand

It's been quite a while since I last posted. We were busy travelling form one place to another. And now the internet on the Islands is quite slow, so I didn't want to post any pictures.

We did indeed rent motorcycles to travel from Chiang Mai to Pai and back. 136 Km and 762 curves through the hills oneway. It was great fun....except. At about Km. 90 on the way back a dog ran out in front of me. I tried to stop but went down with the bike instead, inexperience being the culprit not the dog. So now I have what is called Thailand Tattoo, a scabby knee and elbow. I'm most upset about ruining my favourite pair of pants. Jim patched me up and we continued on to Chiang Mai to return the bikes to the rental place.

The following day we traveled by air to Surat Thani, and the next day by ferry to Koh Phan Ngan. Four days in paradise, in a hut on the beach. Mind you, a pretty basic hut. It's difficult to describe the "bathroom". The attached bathroom had no roof, other than the overhanging coconut palms. In Thailand most places ask you not to put toilet paper down the toilet. Come to think of it, they may actually have a better system than we do. You figure it out.

We arrived on Kho Tao, one island north, yesterday after a very, very rough 2 hour crossing Lots of sick passengers. Twenty more minutes of slamming up and down and rolling from side to side and I would have joined them at the back of the boat. This is monsoon season on these islands and we checked today to see if we could get seasickness medication for the trip back to the mainland.
Ko Tao has a much different vibe to it. Phan Ngan is a backpackers island, beer, lying on the beach, hustling the Thai girls. Koh Tao is about (Jim says) sex and diving. More commercial . Lots of diving outfits, lots of boats in the harbour, more expensive accommodation and meals.
We have repeatedly read that Thai culture frowns on nudity. Women, even foreigners shouldn't wear anything than the knees or reveals the shoulders, yet on Kho Tao all the shops sell skimpy sun dress and really sexy women's clothing.

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