Travelling around South East Asia
I opted to take the coach down to Phuket from Bangkok and was happy with my choice. A fairly long journey but we stopped off at quite a few places I wouldn't have usually got to see. The southern part of Thailand is quite beautiful and picturesque.
You can feel an excitement in anticipation coming into Phuket by road over the Sarasin Bridge after quite a long journey down south and you get a better feel for the size of the place.
This is a holiday destination, hub and great base for mini excursions to and from. Phuket is enormous and you can easily find yourselves spending weeks here alone.
My first port of call was to find a local eatery and people watch.
It wasn't long before I got the local gossip and found another bargain accommodation right in the middle of it all.
I planned to use Phuket as another base and spread my wings from here.
Taking on Phuket first, a trip to the old town was a great way to find out more on the history of the country's largest island and it's 32 smaller island around its coasts.
Trips to any of the islands are a dream day and I had time to try out a few. Again I could ramble on in a book here.
Sadly I didn't have time this trip to go to the Similan Islands, as I really need to spend a few weeks there. The diving there is the best in the world and I will take this journey another time.
Phi Phi was on my agenda next and I wanted to hit Krabi and possibly Koh Lanta before I tracked back north east away from the Andaman side of Thailand to the Gulf again for another island hop.
Koh Phi Phi
The boat ride to Koh Phi Phi is awesome, I also bumped into some old friends I had met in Vietnam, who had been joined by sisters and cousins. It was party time.
As you arrive on Ao Tonsai Pier the scenery is spectacular.
No matter what I was here for a week. This was another key destination for me and what better way to enjoy than with great friends.
A great advantage of being with friends is you can all chill out, dump your gear and pop off individually to find accommodation and we done just that.
By the end of the day we had all sorted our accommodation out and had explored the island by foot.
The best beach by far is on the northern side and sunset cruising, excursions to islands are best from here, although snorkelling along shark alley in the south heading east from the pier is pretty cool too.
Trying to be brief, don't miss this island and stay overnight at the very least.
A week later and I was off to Krabi.
There really is and was no method to the order in which I travelled and you can get to each many ways but I had to take in both before heading over to the Gulf of Thailand again.
There are definite seasons east and west and I was fortunate that this year the seasons had changed a little. Whilst in the West in glorious sunshine, the east was storming and rough. By the time I had swapped sides the reverse had happened.
It is really difficult to get this right but if your travel for longer periods, you can quite literally make your choice and head into the sun so to speak.
This is where you really need to be flexible and open to change. You will get the most out of your travels if you are happy to go with the flow.
I was fortunate also to time my visit to Krabi during a smaller vegetarian festival held annually and was amazed at the festivities. Anyone having been to one of these festivals will know of the extraordinary states of trance and body piercings that goes on here.
The markets in Krabi are amazing also and the food stalls just seem endless and so varied.
Two days here and another 4 island long tail boat trip and I was off to the east again. A coach trip up to the ferry service at Don Sak Sakon Port and I was away to my favourite islands Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Tao.
Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Tao.
Now I could spend an eternity on writing about each of these islands but the main thing is, each has its own quality to it and many travellers go to each one for differing reasons.
I would say that Ko Samui is more subdued and to be enjoyed by all.
Ko Pha Ngan is more a party island and yes I did do the full moon party, why wouldn't I! Ko Tao is a Divers island and this is where I finished my advanced divers cert.
Each island has many facets to them and I can't pick one over the other but I would say, if you have the time go to each one, you won't regret it.
Probably my favourite of the lot, if pushed to say, would be Ko Tao. Here you can dive, chill, snorkel, explore and generally relax before your next adventure.
If you do get to Ko Tao a must do, is to walk up the middle of the island and down the other side for a day in tranquillity. At the top you see both sides of the island, the views quite spectacular. Take plenty of water for the hike.
So all in all my trip lasted 90 days at a rough cost of AUD$5,000 making for an average cost per day of Aud$55 per day. This included everything down to my travel insurance and visas.
Cheapest accommodation AUD$1.40 per night! Yes you read correct. This was on the beach at White Sands Koh Chang Thailand.
Cheapest meal AUD$0.80 and this was 3 course with a coke. Halfway down Vietnam on the east coast.
Most expensive accommodation AUD$136 per night The Royal Orchid Sheraton, this was a splurge for two nights mid travel.
Most expensive food AUD$45.00 KL city centre.
Taking the highs and lows out of the equation living well on a budget of AUD$65 is totally doable and if you are travelling as a couple then it wouldn't be double. I would say around AUD$7500 max.
Nearing the end of my journey and I guess running low on time, I only had time to visit Langkawi and Penang before rushing home on business. Another easy coach journey through the centre of southern Thailand and a short ferry crossing, we docked in Eagle Square Langkawi.
I had been befriended by the Malaysian Maui Thai national squad on board the ferry whilst crossing and had been invited as their guest to attend their competition that evening, of which I couldn't refuse.
Accommodation was very affordable and the next day a stroll around town was in order. This is another tax haven and duty free is really good here but be careful on where you go to purchase goods.
Sadly my trip visit was cut short and I had to leave for Penang and then home, so I won't say more about this wonderful island until I return but I will say, it is another must place to visit.
A very short stay here before flying out back to Brisbane Australia.
To comment here wouldn't do it justice. Small observation was that the sea here appears more protected by northern Sumatra. I will return.