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Thailand 2012

We visited Krabi, Phi-phi, Phuket and Bangkok 4-18 Feb 2012. Our trip was booked by Mishka Brown at amazing - and because of her competence we had a very cost effective, well organised and successful journey.

See the Map of Thailand in order to help with the spatial location of the journey.


We departed from a busy OR Thambo International Airport on Saturday 4 Feb. The rudeness of airport personnel never ceases to amaze me, and what is more amazing is that this seems to be an world-wide phenomenon.

In addition to the never-ending queues and rude officials I must compliment the || thambo airport with a 9/10 rating for confusing lay-out. (For those who do not understand . . . the || symbol is a computer / mathematical OR)

All of this of course to aid in the initiation of a stress relieving holiday.

The 11 hour flight leaves JHB on Saturday afternoon at about 13h00 and arrives in Bangkok at 01h00 South African Time . . PLUS 5 hrs time zone = 06h00 Bangkok time.

HowTo AIS-12Call

Cell Phone Companies all over the world are a bunch of crooks. Vodacom will ask you R 2 /MB in South Africa and R 50 /MB in Thailand. Compare this to Telkom's ADSL rate of 4c /MB and it is clear that at . . . 25x the local rate and . . . 1250x the Telkom rate . . . roaming simply is not an option !

So as soon as we set foot in Thai territory we bought an AIS 12Call sim card for R12.50 (50 Baht) and a pre-paid voucher for 50 baht. We were amazed to find that the air time would vanish into "thin air" without any trace. Eventually we found that (with smart phones connecting to the data network) AIS is charging 1 Baht per minute for having your phone switched on - regardless of the date usage. This means that you will use 1440 Baht (R360) per day . . . for doing NOTHING except being connected to the data network !

The answer to this dilemma is to IMMEDIATELY after charging the pre-paid voucher - convert the air time to per MB used data. This is IF you can find the USSD / MMI codes to do this !

Because of the language barrier, I had a lot of frustration until I got hold of the underneath info from: 12call/en/promotion_special.html

The *133*21# option worked out the best for me.

Krabi: Ao-Nang

In Krabi we stayed in the Cha-Da Hotel at the Ao-Nang Beach.

The Beach is about 1km down the street from the Cha-Da and a variety of restaurants and shops are to be found along the way.

The Hong Island Tour by Long Boat

was by far one of our best experiences ! Quoting from

Koh Hong (Room Island) is part of a group of islands one hour north of Krabi. Koh Hong has only one beach - Pelay Beach - but it is recognized for being extremely beautiful, boasting fine white sand, coral and lots of varieties of tropical fish. Pelay Beach is framed by limestone rock formations which give it an enclosed feel. Coupled with the fact that there are seldom many people there, Koh Hong very much offers a "desert island" experience.


An all time Transport Favourite in Thailnd are the Tuk-tuks

. . . which is basically a scooter with a side car. Because of the warm weather schooters are a very popular transport mechanism all over Thailand. The only problem is that the rest of the drivers have absolutely NO regard whatsoever for the safety of schooter drivers !

Long Tail Boats

Hierdie is 'n Long Tail Boat:

Die long boats is anderste goed. Dis houtbote met n kar / bakkie enjin wat agter op die stert met n skanier / svivel point gemonteer is. Die ding het n lang as van so 4m met die propeller op die punt. Die skipper druk dan die propeller in die water en dans soos n akrobaat voor die enjin rond om die ding te stuur. Daar is ook geen klankdemping nie, so wanneer jy na n dag se eiland-trips afklim, is al die was in jou ore los-gevibrate, en jy het n long-island-tea nodig vir die oorpyn !

Railey Beach

Right next to Ao-Nang, this beach is an absolute treasure and worth the visit. Much less commercialised and a pleasure to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Phi-Phi Island Map

PP Village Resort

This is an extremely beautiful (but also expensive) resort.

PP Natural Resort

We stayed at PP Natural Resort (on the Northern Point of Koh Phi Phi).

On our way back from PP Village Resort to PP Natural resort.

The casually presented shows on the beach front made every dinner a delight.

The Phi Phi people are keen to entertain.

If your hotel is a 5-star chances are that you will build up a huge bill for dinners and all other things. If you have a sensible travel agent, they will book you in at a 3-star hotel where you can buy a 5-star dinner for 25% of the price.

This is the view from the swimming pool with Bamboo Island nearby.

Tonsai Village

is the local village of Koh Phi-Phi. This is where everything is happening. People will recognise your country of origin from listening only to your accent. Here you will find a variety of dive shops, restaurants, etc.

The streets are cosy, but be careful for pools of sewage towards the beach.

I have not seen 1 car on Phi-phi. Scooters and bicycles, one tractor, but no cars (and no roads for cars - the island is too small.)

Tonsai harbour during low tide.

Maya Bay

Ons het net op een plek see-rowers teegekom, en dit was op Maya-bay by Phi-phi-lee. Lee beteken see en Don = land (se kant). Die korrupte klomp officials wil 200 baht per persoon he, maar weier om kwitansies te gee (al staan hy met die kwitansie-boek in sy hand met die pakke, en pakke geld vasgeknyp bo-op die boek.) Hy kan maklik 600 000 baht per maand so maak, waar werkers seker iets soos 8000 tot 10 000 per maand verdien. Blykbaar is dit ook OK om op duty op die strand in jou hangmat te le en bier drink !

Made famous by the Movie "The Beach" - you have to pay an abnormal high amount to set foot ashore - and forget about the receipt ! There are unfortunately also an enormous amount of people every day - and if you don't get there early . . . well . . .

Snorkling is OKish.

Never mind the large numbers of people and corrupt officials - Maya is something to experience !

On our way to Loh Samah. We catered a long tail boat for the two of us for the day. Tin was our skipper. It costed us 2200B (R550).

L Koh Samah

Is on the other side of the island from Maya Bay.

The emerald colour of the water is absolutely amazing. We tried to snorkel but did not see fish however.

At one stage the number of boats (especially speed boats) nearly caused a traffic jam in the lagoon !

Die Ding van Travel

Die slegte ding van travel is die gejaag om vliegtuie en bote betyds te vang en dan die gewag vir die klomp bliksems wat laat is.

Ons het vanoggend in die ferry-boot op beknopte stoeltjies gesit van halfagt tot halftien voor ons kon ry. Hulle het darem die aircon aangehad (in teenstelling met die uur in die vliegtuig op Bangkok se lughawe - waar ons in die hitte en humiditeit natgesweet en benoud gewag het dat die 5 vaak-aan-die-slaap dikbek-doane-beamptes die bondels van seker 5 vliegtuie x 300 mense per vliegtuig se paspoorties stempel.)

Oor die algemeen kry mens ook geweldige selfsug en onbeskoftheid by n groep toeriste wat erens heen oppad is. Ek is seker n trop Suid-afrikaanse beeste is meer manierlik.

In Thailand is die language barrier n geweldige probleem.

Buiten dat hulle regtig boggerall engels verstaan, kan hulle dit beslis nie praat nie (in alle geval nie met n aksent wat vir enige-iemand verstaanbaar is nie.) Ek het in Thailand verder gekom met gebare-taal as met ingils !

Gister vertel n restaurant eienaar (hy is van Singapoer af - en dis hoekom ons mekaar kon verstaan), dat jy in Thai dieselfde ding kan se, maar dat daar omtrent 5 verskillende 'tones' is waarmee jy dit kan se, en elke keer beteken dit iets anders.

So jy kan maar sawadee caa, sawadee cup, kop kun caa, cop kun cup, tot jy blou is, jy sal nooit weet hoe hulle dit opneem nie.

Koh toad beteken glo 'sorry'.

Die ding van die Thai winkel-eienaars, en boot-skippers, is dat hulle altyd eers n kans met n prys met n toeris sal vat. Mens moet altyd eers negotiate, en jy MOET dit met n smile doen !

As jy verlee is, is jy gebogger. Hulle sal jou 900 baht dorp toe vra as jy die 200 baht ferry gemis het. (Deel die bahts deur 4 om rande te kry)

So wat jy dan doen, is jy improviseer gou jou dag se planne, en besoek n paar eilande en snorkelplekke (oppad dorp toe) vir R1500 baht. Aangesien jy nou n private catered long boat het, kan jy tot 7uur die aand in Tonsai cocktails drink terwyl die ferry al 5uur gery het.

Ek het nogal geworry of die skipper nie in die donker mey die houtboot-sonder-lig in die rotse gaan vasjaag nie, maar ek het maar die life jacket - die keer aangetrek, en vir die sterre gekyk.


This is Kato Beach in Phuket

From this view point (Karon) we could see all the popular beaches of Phuket.

They even tried to sell us time share. Took our details here under the pretence that it was research for the tourism department, and phoned us a day later with a "price that we have won" - which we HAD to come and collect and which would take two hours of our time.

Everybody in Phuket are driving scooters - look at this:

This was the view of Patong Beach from the dining room of our hotel: Sunset Beach Hotel.

Elephant Trekking

After this we went for some elephant trekking. This was not so nice . . . .

But the baby elephant was beautiful.

Beeg Boetha

This statue of Budha is about 45m high.

About Thai Cooking

We went for a cooking class with Pum:

She has cooking schools in Patong as well as Phi-Phi (Tonsai Village)

Call the Police !

On my birthday we decided to try a very nice looking restaurant about 100m away from our hotel. They specialise in Tapas. With great expectation we ordered our meals . . .
- only to be left severely disappointed (not only with the poor quality of the food) but also the total lack of service.

When the bill came . . .
- they overcharged us 33% on the cold drinks,
- added a 10% service fee
- and added another 7% of vat on top of this !
I tried to explain to the waitress that I was not happy with the service - and that I don't want to pay the service fee. I also queried the wrong amounts for the drinks. After all - the menu is the contract that the customer and a restaurant have in place between them. At this stage it is very convenient for the Thais NOT being able to speak nor understand English.

She not only refused to remove the service charge - but also refused to call the manager or the owner. In stead she threatened to call the police ! . . . which she then did . . . as well as her boyfriend . . .

We got hold of the "owners' cell number - but of course our phone's battery was dead. Panic stricken by the thought of me in a Thai jail on Valentine's day, my wife ran to the hotel to phone the owner.

When the two policemen arrived on the scooter, I pointed to the menu, and then to the amounts on my bill. The resulted in a 15min argument between the police, the waitress and her boyfriend.

At the end the policemen told me to only pay for the food. I paid the restaurant in front of the police, and left. By this time Hilmarie was back and the owner was on his way. It turned out that the "owner" was the owner's daughter and that her boyfriend was the chef. Apparently they went somewhere else for Valentine, and left the restaurant in the good hands of their friends.

At least the Chef could speak and understand English very well, and he apologised. His girlfriend was too scared to speak to us.

So be careful when visiting these ladies, if you don't tip them, they will call the police !

Pirates Attack !

(Or should we say, the attack of the Air Port Pirates ?)

At the Phuket airport (on our way to Bangkok) all our tailor bought thai cooking ingredients were TAKEN AWAY by the rude and paranoid airport security.

Apparently chilli paste can be used to attack pilots or blow up airplanes ! Utter nonsense ! I tried to package the dearly sought after chilli pastes in a cardboard box. The wrapping pirates tried to charge me 50baht for a 30cm piece of cellotape for closing the box.

Thai airlines ripped open the box and refused to book it in - since the chilli paste will damage the aricraft's aluminium - should one of the bottles break.

The boss was so upset - I'm astonished that one of these rude security people did not end up with a bottle of chilli paste stuck up in their backside !

So in case you want to buy any form of soya souce or chilli paste - please hide it in the rest of your baggage (that is going into the cargo section of the plane.)

Pang Nga

On our way to James Bond Island.

Sea Gipsy Village

(where we stopped for lunch)

James Bond Island

(Man with the Golden Gun)

Jewelry for the world !

Good prices on fresh water perls.

Sea Canooing

Our guide's name was "waka waka" after he heard we were from South Africa.

Sea caves, mangos that grow in the sea . . . weird and wonderful world of Pang Na.

The water is brownish, calm and non-clear over here, but the nature remained astonishing beautiful.


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