Adventures in Asia

by Greg & Francie

Goodbye Lanta, Hello Koh Ngai

Yesterday we said goodbye to Koh Lanta, Simon and Justine and some new friends we have made (Simon and Sarah) and moved on to a remote island called Koh Ngai in the Trang province.  Simon and Justine are off to the North.

Francie and Simon met the two New Zealanders on the last dive. 

Sarah and Francie talking about India.  Simon and Sarah just finished a 6 week trip there and Francie and I will be there in November. 

Sarah & Francie

So, yesterday morning we took a ferry to Koh Ngai.  This ferry was smaller and a little more sketchy than other ferries.  After we got to the ocean a fair amount of water begin to drip to the lower decks from the ceiling. 
Ko Ngai boat ride

And for those who are curious, here are two pictures of where we stayed in Koh Lanta.  This is what you get for 600 baht. 

Our bungalow

the inside

Proof that Francie isn’t always wearing a bikini…

francie

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January 28, 2007 Posted by | Travel | 4 Comments

Videos of Thailand

We were able to upload a few short video clips to the web from greg’s digital camera.  Hopefully they work – we don’t have the right software to test them.  I hope this is interesting (or at least entertaining) for y’all 🙂

Koh Phi Phi Panorama:

http://www.franciephoto.com/trip/thailand/P1010679.MOV

Rantee Beach, Koh Phi Phi:

http://www.franciephoto.com/trip/thailand/P1010689.MOV

http://www.franciephoto.com/trip/thailand/P1010690.MOV

http://www.franciephoto.com/trip/thailand/P1010687.MOV

January 26, 2007 Posted by | Photography, Travel | 8 Comments

Best Scuba dive EVAR!!!

Today Simon & I went diving at Koh Haa (off coast of Koh Lanta) and we SAW A FREAKING WHALE SHARK.  He was just a wee babe, only 12 feet long, but still was simply amazing to see.  According to the dive shop owner there are only about 1000 left in the world and are a rare sighting, even in Thailand.   Our dive today was also an instructional ‘deep dive’.   One of the many fun learning activites we did was to time ourselves doing a math problem at the surface and then do the same one again 28 meters below** – to demonstrate the effects of nitrogen narcosis.  The test isn’t so reliable though – because if you do it faster below the surface then you could be exhibiting the symptom of over confidence.  But if you do it slower its because of your impaired cognitive function…  hmmm.

MORE GOOD NEWS:  Greg and I are 95% recovered from our bed bug bites!!!  YAY!  (break into song; “The sun will come out, tomorroooow…”)

** Note to Ed:  watch water resistance ratings hold true – she went to 28 meters with me! 🙂

January 24, 2007 Posted by | Travel, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

thailand lodging information

This is a quick post for people who may be searching for information on places to stay in Thailand–I have noticed some people finding our blog through searches (the best one was the ‘how to keep eels as pets’ who found the eel man post).  

Bangkok–Shanti Lodge.  Off the beaten path but near a water express taxi stand and an interesting little market.  Small room with shower for 350 baht with fan.  Clean place with nice staff.  I would recommend eating on the street and not at the lodge. 

Koh Jum or Koh Jam–New Bungalows.  Very small room, pretty barebones with mosquito net and shower for 200 baht-no fan.  Electricity from about 6pm to 10pm.  You can stay in a bigger room for up to about 600 baht.  The food here was pretty exceptional especially the banana shakes, banana pancakes, and anything with glass noodles.  The staff was very friendly.

Koh Phi Phi-Harmony House or Harmony Lodge–Frankly Phi Phi is a mess right now with all the construction.  Lots of crappy rooms are being thrown up quickly and everything is incredibly expensive.  This guest house seemed like a good deal when our other room fell through (& was in lonely planet).  Unfortunately there were bedbugs there that chewed us to pieces so I don’t recommend it.  Room was cheap by Phi Phi standards (800 baht) with fan.  Too bad because the staff was very friendly. FYI-I doubt you can find a room anywhere for less than 800 baht.

Koh Lanta-Lanta Palm Beach Bungalow-This place has a wide range of rooms.  We stayed in an older bungalow in a very large room with mosquito net/shower/fan for 600 baht.  These rooms also have a porch and are about 50 yards from the beach.  Definitely recommended (so far after three nights). 

Hope that helps any travelers.  We were traveling from Jan 7th-Jan 28th which was getting close to the end of peak season.

January 23, 2007 Posted by | Travel | 4 Comments

Bed Bug update

Our last night in Koh Phi Phi, I found 2 of the mystery bugs that have been biting us.  They must have known it was our last night, because they had themselves a feast, sponsored by our bodies.  We’re now in bed bug free Koh Lanta, at hour 72 of the Benadryl binge.  Luckily for us, the beach is 50 feet away, as is a restaurant on the beach where you sit on a raised platform covered by pillows.  We spent almost 8 hours there today, eating, napping, drinking fruit shakes, and applying lots of anti-itch cream.  Towards the end of the afternoon we even had enough energy to play a partial scrabble game with Simon & Justine!  I think we’re over the hump and on our way to complete recovery (physically that is; the psychological recovery will take much longer!)

January 23, 2007 Posted by | Travel | 1 Comment

Not all kittens and rainbows

I know that Greg likes to taunt all you people that are in the freezing cold states working, but just so you know – Thailand isn’t ALL kittens & rainbows.  I’ve spent the last 24 hours in a Benadryl induced daze because of dozens of painfully itchy bites on my back and ankles :-(.  We think maybe it is bed bugs.  Or it could be Cutaneous Larva Migrans, caused by dog hookworm, but that is much less likely.  In any case, I’m glad we’re leaving Koh Phi Phi tomorrow morning for Koh Lanta!  I have to go now and apply more anti-itch cream.

January 21, 2007 Posted by | Travel | 6 Comments

Koh Phi Phi

This week we met up with Simon and Justine in Koh Phi Phi.  As many of you may remember from December 2004, Koh Phi Phi was one of the hardest places hit in Thailand by the tsunami. 

We have spent several days gaping at all the changes to the island since Francie and I were here 14 months ago.  New buildings have replaced almost every structure destroyed by the tsunami but more on that later…on to the pictures!

Simon and Justine on longboat after day at the beach

Simon and Justine

One day we hiked to this viewpoint on Koh Phi Phi.  Off in the distance you can see the sister island Koh Phi Phi Le (where The Beach was filmed).

View from Koh Phi Phi Don

We traveled by longboat to Koh Phi Phi Le.  Later we would snorkel off this island.

Longboat to Maya Bay

View from the beach on Koh Phi Phi Le.

The Beach

 Into the national park on Koh Phi Phi Le.

This national park costs you five dollars to visit

We also hiked to the isolated Rantee Beach.  Definitely the most amazing beach I have ever seen…but then what do I know…Im from Texas.  YEEHAW.

 Rantee Beach

Girl on beach.

 Girl on Beach by Picasso

View of Palm trees when I woke up from my nap on beach. Life is very hard.

View from beach…literally

We DID have to fend off a serious attack made by this crab. 

 Attack of the crabs

Francie wants a coconut.

we may just need that insurance…

Night out on the town.  The thai pancake is kind of like a sopapilla with nutella on it.  80 cents please.

yum

Francie in ecstasy with dog.  The dog is so hot he is trying to get every part of his body as close to the floor as possible.  Look at his back legs.

Francie likes dogs…no really.

Finally we got to go diving yesterday.  It was a lot of fun.  Simon saw an octopus and francie saw a sea turtle.  I took a Discovery dive class and we spent 15 minutes learning skills and then did two dives.  All for 80 dollars.  As you can imagine it was pretty spetacular.  Each dive is one hour long…one hour…what use to be one hour long.  Oh yeah, meetings.  Meetings at Microsoft use to be 1 hour long.  Hmm, time to go back to reading Gravitys Rainbow.  Or maybe a Thai massage.

I guess the last thing I have to say is that, while I never came to Koh Phi Phi before the tsunami, it has changed dramatically this last year and not all for the good.  The construction is kind of crappy and there is often the smell of sewage in the air.  It also feels more like spring break that some place like Railay.  Sadly, I suspect that Koh Phi Phi has a few more good years left before it becomes like Koh Samui.

Tomorrow we will be moving on to Koh Lanta for more time on…you guessed it the beach. 

We should have some links to movies posted soon!

January 21, 2007 Posted by | Misc, Pets, Photography, Travel | 2 Comments

New Pics!

I just put some new photos on flickr

Today Simon, Greg & I went diving at Koh Bida Noc and Malong (both near Koh Phi Phi Leh).  It was super-duper.  Greg, who had never been diving before said afterward; “Wow, it’s just like in the photos!”  Yes it is.  It was an underwater paradise of fishies, coral, sea turtles and more.  I swear I could even hear pachelbels canon playing in the background…

January 20, 2007 Posted by | Travel | 2 Comments

Sometimes missing a ferry is a good thing…

Now it is off to meet up with Simon and Justine for a few weeks.

Francie and I were supposed to be shuttled out from Koh Jum via long boat to a ferry heading to Koh Lanta.  At Koh Lanta we had a theroetical 30 minutes to transfer to the Koh Phi Phi ferry.  Of course things are running a little late on the first ferry and we miss our connection. 

We were very sad because we had to stay at Phra Ae Beach for a night.  For those following along with a map we are here in the Lanta island/Phi Phi area.  Sometimes missing a ferry is a good thing…

 Corona commercial

Here is also a nice picture for you people in the land of cold, snow and ice.

Koh Lanta

And supergirl asleep after our hard day of traveling.

Resting her super powers

P.S. Whoever has my patent plaque–give it back or I will taunt you a second time.

January 16, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The 5pm Decision

While Seattle was having its ice storm I was having to make some difficult decisions on Koh Jum.  Nothing to do with electricity of course…

5pm.  Should I have a banana shake or a Chiang beer?  This day I had both…

Beer or shake?

January 16, 2007 Posted by | Travel | 3 Comments