thought i would take a moment out of my busy day, of sitting in the sun on a gorgeous beach to fill you all in on the latest adventures.
since i last wrote i spent a day in KL, doing some tourist stuff - the petronas towers etc and a bit more shopping. left the following day to go back north and to teman negra, which is pretty much in the centre of the country. turned out to be a bit of a mission as it required a 4 hour bus trip and then a 3 hour boat trip up the river to the jungle, with various waiting around thrown into the mix. arrived quiet late at night and found the cheapest, dirtiest hostel around and duely took out a dorm room. there isnt much to do at night there, and there is no alcohol anywhere, at all, none. there is a few cafes etc on the river front, which float and a few hostels on the land but apart from that nothing.
the following day we went to the main attraction of the area - the longest canopy walk in the world. had to cross the river to get into the national park and straight away were confronted by a large, very poisonous (so we were told) green snake. its about an hours walk to the start of the canopy walk and there werent many people around so it felt pretty good walking through the jungle on little dirt tracks. the canopy walk itself is good but if you dont like heights dont do it - think basically ladders laided down and held together by ropes of various sizes, about 50-60 metres up from the ground, between the trees. there wasnt too much to see in terms of animals but we did see rabbits (!?!) a few birds and a couple of monkeys. from the cnaopy walk you can go a variety of ways back and we decided to take the hilly and longest route back, as we thought it would be a laugh. it wasnt and it took friggin ages in the mid day sun, with no water on a path pretty much overgrown for most of the way. we encountered more monkeys and a little black and yellow snake which wasnt very happy to see us.
on the way back you walk along the river and you can swim etc, so we cooled down and then headed back to the hostel for a long cold (cant remember when i last had a hot shower on this trip) shower. when we got back there was no water in the hostel and it remained off untill after we left the next day. found a cafe which amazingly enough had a tv and a playstation 2 and more importantly Pro Evo (football game for those of you who dont know) and spent a couple of hours beating all the locals at it - maybe my uni days werent a complete waste!
left the next morning at stupid oclock to catch a 2 hour bus, followed by a 4 hour bus, followed by a 2 hour bus and then a 2 hour boat ride to the perthian islands. it was all going swimmingly untill we got on the boat and as normal the weather turned and a storm blew in and chased us across the sea to the islands. half way there the heavens opened and it rained for the remainder of the trip across. the boat cant actually land on the beach so you have to catch a little taxi boat to get ashore - these are not covered and as it was throwing it down still, everything i owned got soaked - it was like standing underneath a hose pipe on full blast.
we didnt have anywhere to stay on the island but we were told that it shouldnt be to hard to get. this was wrong and i would advise anybody going to book ahead. people had been sleeping on the beach and on shop floors the previous night as there wasnt a single room free on both of the islands - even the expensive ones were taken. we walked the full stretch of the beach front on both sides (long beach and coral bay)and found nothing - bugger all. apart from a.....tent! a small smelly two man tent - which was sized in asia so it was more like a 1 man tent. we took this as there was nothing else and didnt fancy sleeping in the rain. so soaked to the skin we stuffed all are stuff in and followed suit, it was shocking and the smell and heat inside it was worse than the lack of space. i ended up going outside and sitting on the empty beach at 4 in the morning to cool off - i got bitten for my efforts.
searched and searched the island again for somewhere to stay the next day, but again everywhere was full and everywhere had waiting lists for the next 3-4 days. some of the expensive ones - talking $20 a night each were free but its just too much. also everything on the island is a rip off, from rooms to food to beer and the beaches are ok but not a patch on Ko Phi Phi. for all the above reasons we left the next day and caught a fast boat back to the main land, in the search of a shower and a wash. so that was the perthian islands in 24 hours!
the 2 hour boat back was smooth (ish) and we caught a taxi to the border of thailand, as there are no buses that go. it took 2 hours followed by walking across the border. we were told it might be closed to westerners and that people had been attacked recently, but we found it a breeze and a lot easier to do than the cambodia to thailand border. we had to get a moto taxi with all are, still wet geat to the train station in order to head north. we caught a 3 local train (think chickens on board) upto to Hat Yin. by this point we were bored stiff so start raving to some tunes on the ipod - much to the locals amusement. Hat Yin is the place were the thails and malays have been fighting recently and 500 people have been killed since the start of the year. we didnt want to stay, as you can imagine so we raced around the train station and just caught a connecting train to Surrantti, which took a further 7 hours, arriving just before midnight and still without a wash.
got another horrible little hostel that was close to the train station and managed to have a shower after close on 60 hours without one. we got woken up at about 5.30 by an explosion from down the street and people shouting at each other. i was so knackered i just rolled over and went back to sleep - the next day it turned out to be a small bomb that blew up a car/truck. so we left there quick smart and headed to the pier on a couple of local buses, which took about 5 hours in total. the ferry across to Ko Samui was brillantly smooth and we found a hostel no problems on Lamai beach. all my clothes apart from what i was wearing was dispatched to the washing depart in an attempt to make them smell go (i can report this was quiet successful, but 2 t-shirts have bitten the dust) we went out to a foam party that night and had a few, to many well earned drinks.
the following day went and slept on the beach only to be woken up by a lady giving my 'baby elephant feet' as she described them a pedicure -lucy had set me up. in the evening we went out with the crazy owner of the hostel - an icelandic bloke and an english couple from the hostel for a few drinks. we went round all the seedy bars and clubs and got some wicked photos of us with various lady boys and semi attractive women.
basically as the islands are so close to bangkok they get alot of 2 week holiday'ers coming here so its very seedy in parts. but good for the male ego to walk down a street and have wonmen chase you and hold onto you etc, strange but true. also in the bars they give you free shots of rum etc and then you sit and play connect four with a semi naked, semi attractive thai lass - its weird, very very weird. needless to say if you want anything you can get it very quickly and i assume very cheaply.
i am planning to explore the island on a rented bike in the next few days and more importantly they have a mini golf course which will be getting my attention for an afternoon
most of my travelling is now behind me in terms of distances and i think i will stay here till the weekend - they have the ashes live and all the football a boy could want, planning to watch liverpool tonight, it starts at 1.45 in the morning. before going to the full moon party and then west i think. as i have come back into thailand quickly i am going to have to go to probably burma to do a visa run - which should be fun !