Malaysia, Stamps and Food Halls

Youll be pleased to know I am not one of the tourists which has been arrested this week for exposing themselves on the top of a mountain! They’ve been released now, here’s the article.

We arrived in Malaysia yesterday after enduring a 400 mile, 12 hour bus/ferry journey. We left our hotel in Samui and headed for the 7am ferry to mainland Thailand. During the 1:30 hour crossing Beth and I enjoyed a Thai leg massage, feeling a bit like Bambi following it. It was exciting to gain some more ink for my passport on the border, however finding out we had another 3:30 hours to our hotel was not so. Arriving in Penang around 8:30.  

 After checking in to our hotel we ventured to a local food market, a bizarre of around 60 hawker stalls selling meals for 5MYR each (£1). We were careful how we pointed at what we wanted to order, as Malaysians find it offence if you extend a finger to point. Instead you have to place your thumb over a fist and point with that. The smell of fried meats was mixed with the pungent smell was met with the smell of Durian, a smelly fruit which is banned in some places indoors, including our hotel. Beth and I experimented with a number of different dishes and racked up a bill of about £5.

Elephants, Back Cracks and Boxing

Wednesday was classed as our ‘free day’ on Koh Samui and the group could do whatever they wanted. We opted for a welcomed lie in and got up about 9.

We headed to the strip with its array of souvenirs, fake branded clothing, massage parlours and bars, shopping on the way down. I had the trouser fitting for my suit – 14 hours after processing the order, watching a man draw all over them with chalk.

We’d booked an elephant treck for the afternoon, with our transfer to the Elephant sanctuary arriving in Thai time – 25 minutes late.  We arrived safely after near misses with scooters and wandering dogs.

We were welcomed by the Giants that are well respected in Thailand, plodding along in the afternoon sunshine. We were offered the options of getting a card framed photo or asking our Mahout (elephant trainer) to take them for a tip, picking the latter.

After 10 minutes the Mahout jumped down and invited me to take his spot on the head of the elephant. He then proceeded to take about 20 photos with various poses. After our ride he let us feed her with bananas, with it being cute watching the elephant search for the bananas with its trunk before shovelling it into its mouth.

  

In the evening we had a girls and lads night with both parties going out separately. The males headed for a Thai body massage followed by pizza and Muay Thai Boxing at the local arena.

Four out of the six left the ring on stretchers which showed the sheer brutality of the boxing. A number of champions from all over Thailand had ventured to the island to compete, with the Bangkok, Southern and Koh Samui champions all taking to the ring. The main fight was between the German champion and the Thai champion which finished in a draw, as the Thai champ sent the German crippling to the floor after a knee to a banned area!  

    

Paradise, Suits and Ladyboys

We were up early again in Samui and boarded a bus to the main ferry terminal at 07:30, as we joined a boat tour to Ang Thong National Park, an area of over 40 islands. Our first place in the scooter capital of the world – everyone seems to have them.

The boat journey took just over an hour to the park, crossing the blue waters in the scorching early morning sun. We took this time to relax, with Beth and I creating cheesy seated dance moves to songs on my iPod.

At first the block of islands looked just green and rather boring but we floated into tranquility as the boat navigated its way through. We were welcomed by long white beaches, palm trees and beach huts.

We spent the morning burning ourselves to crisps. Paddling, sunbathing, writing in the sand and playing with a volley ball, of which some of the lads created their own game in the sand with different point zones.

    

We headed back to the boat for lunch, a buffet style with rice, various chicken options and this amazing chilli sauce (olive oil infused by small chopped chilli’s). Later we headed to our second stop Mae Koh.

We had a number of options on this island, there was a steep walk up to a lagoon, which I opted for as Beth snorkelled. The climb to the lagoon in the heat was tough, but the view was rewarding – often the steps were not far of being like ladder steps.


    I could not find Beth on returning to the beach and after searching around for her somebody informed me that she had been stung by a sea urchin. The conditions were not great for snorkelling as lots of people had been doing it at the same time, kicking the sand up and she had not seen it due to the visability.

After arriving back in Chaweng where we are stopping we headed to Ark Bar which is one of the most well known bar/resort on the island. We took dinner at the hotel and I stepped away from traditional Thai opting for a blue cheeseburger! The after dinner entertainment was great as fire dancers took to the beach!


    I then headed to the tailor to be measured for a three piece suit, picking a blue cashmere material with silk lining. I returned an hour and a half later for my jacket fitting, where I tried on the jacket without the arms.

The group was then enticed into a ‘free’ ladyboy show – you had to buy a drink with drinks starting at 400 baht, even for a can of Coke. Cher open the show with wig wearing lady boy mimed to ‘Life After Love’. The terrible miming was made up for by the extravagant outfits and the fact that they pulled a number of the lads from our group on stage too! A few of the boys got more than they bargained for as the ladyboys went for a cheeky grab of their manhood!



Khao Sok National Park

The top bunk on the sleeper train was definitely the short straw. The lights remained on and there was a large gap in the curtains at the top – bad times for when you’re trying to sleep.

The train arrived at Surat Thani at 07:30 and we disembarked into a small coffee shop for a light breakfast.

We then boarded a bus which had been time warped from the 60s, it did however have an aux lead so DJ Garlick stepped up and dropped his 2014 playlist, which went down a treat.


Khao Sok was about an hours drive from the station and was a picturesque landscape of lakes backed by mountains covered in lush green foliage.


    We donned our life jackets and took a long boat out to the main area of the lake, getting soaked as the boat broke the waves. The scenery was very Roger Moore in The Man with the Golden Gun and similar to that seen in Ha Long Bay

Diving into the warm fresh water was blissful as the boat moored to let us take a dip. The driver stopped near to three rocks which he said appeared in a lot of movies, Thai movies that is.

Lunch was served in a floating raft house and consisted of soups, rice, salads and the poor fellow below. Despite his sorry looking, deep fried and crispy appearance he tasted great, possibly due to the fresh water he had been caught in that morning.


An opportunity to Kayak followed with the Thai rum and coke flowing. We opted to relax and swim by the raft house, enjoying a 6 meter dive from a homemade platform.


       Thunder could be heard echoing through the park as we departed the raft house and the change in weather was reflected in the waves that crashed into our boat and drenched us #dripping. A group which attempted to leave around half an hour after had to turn back and shelter at the raft house overnight, I’m sure that will have affected their tour schedule heavily!

After ringing ourself our we headed for the Koh Samui ferry, catching the 18:00 crossing. The setting for the hour and a half crossing was beautiful with the sun setting over the Gulf of Thailand.