A Travellerspoint blog

Phi Phi Island...loved it the first time, back again!

sunny 37 °C
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March 6
I made my way to the ferry terminal to catch my ferry to Phi Phi island. I visited Phi Phi on my first trip last year. Didn't get too mich time there so I decided to visit it again.

I boarded the Andaman Wave Master, found a seat for my 2 hour rip to Tonsai Pier on Phi Phi island. I noticed the ferry was full... noticed that passengers kept boarding and boarding. The ferry has 2 large sitting areas (main level and another one below), and the top deck. Honestly, I think they oversold tickets.
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Checked in and just explored.....I booked a dive for Wednesday... spent the rest of the day at the pool.
A very very big floatie
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Sat and watched a beautiful sunset
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March 7
For the record....I did nothing all day!
My view at breakfast
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I spent the whole day poolside... swimming at the beach and pool. The ocean water was as warm at bath water.
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Loving the mango shakes
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Plumerias all in bloom.....all different colours
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Posted by Samchow58 05:06 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

Island Hopping - Hong Island

sunny 33 °C
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March 5
I took an island tour (Hong Island) today.
The marina
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Saw this guy using his shoes as paddles
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The Royal Family's vacation home. Only accessible by helicopter.
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First stop was Phak Bia Island. It's a small isle located behind Hong Island.
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Swallows live on some of these islands and the saliva from these swallows are collected for birds next soup. People live and guard these islands because the saliva is very expensive.
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Next stop is Lading Island, we had lunch here.
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Final stop was Hong Island. Hong is the Thai word for room, so literally translated, it means Room Island. There is a very good reason for this as right at its center is a lagoon completely surrounded by cliffs. The entrance to the lagoon is quite narrow. The longtail and speedboats pass right into the lagoon. Water in the lagoon is at about waist height at low tide, and perfectly calm and is surrounded by mangroves.
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Tomorrow I leave Ao Nang for Koh Phi Phi.

Posted by Samchow58 06:14 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Ao Nang - in the shadows of stunning karst scenery

sunny 33 °C
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March 2
Today is a travel day. Spent s lazy morning reading and packing. The hotel took me to the airport for free. The hotel owner came to see me off at the airport.

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Off to Krabi!

March 3
Ao Nang, Krabi Province is small; a 30-minute stroll takes you from one end to the other. The majority the community is Muslim and a giant mosque is located right on the Main Street. The beach in Ao Nang beach leaves a lot to be desired. All day long, a fleet of noisy longtail boats stirs up brownish-green water. Staying in Ao Nang makes it easier to visit the better beaches.

I spent the first day exploring the town of Ao Nang on foot (I think I explored it 3 times around).

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Found this statue outside the doctor's office.

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The mosque - heard the call to prayer at sunset.

March 4
Heading out to buy my ticket on the long boat for the day on Railay Beach, the ultimate rock climbing mecca..
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Railay's four beaches Tonsai, Railay West, Railay East and Phra Nang are situated between limestone cliffs. Railay West is one of Thailand's most impressive and beautiful beaches.
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It's possible to walk between these beaches. Pra Nang is not as developed as the others and has silky-soft sand while Railay East seem a little rough as supplies are brought in through this beach. No buses, no cars, just longtail boats. Although it's actually connected to the mainland, Phra Nang Peninsular is cut off from the rest of Krabi by limestone headlands and steep jungle valleys; the only access is by sea.

I spent most of my time at Phra Nang
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Walking back to the long boats I came across these buys....
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Spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool.

Posted by Samchow58 04:42 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

4,000 Buddhas....and around Luang Prabang

sunny 33 °C
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February 28
After breakfast, I headed into town on Number 6 to go to the Pak Ou Caves. The bus took us to the pier to board our boat.
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Before leaving on this trip, Bradley reminded me that the boats in south east Asia are not very safe. When boarding I am to sit by an entrance and know where the life jackets are. The boat seated 7 of us where we were stagetically seated for balance. The capitan (I'll call him that) got in and moved a very big barrel of water to balance the boat out even more. I took the first seat by the entrance but I could not find any life jackets. However, the seat I chose had a lift jacket wrapped around the back of the seat. So I figured I could use this in an emergency.

The boat trip took us 2 hours, going against a very big current, on the Mekong river to the caves.
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Along the way, we stopped to visit a small village. I came out of their washroom only to be told that I owed 2,000 kp (equivalent to $.25), which I gladly paid.
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Also found this little guy taking a nap while momma worked
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Back on the boat for the last hour. The trip was enjoyable I met a very nice young man from New York City. Chris and I chatted about everything....family, life, the good and bad about travelling alone, and yes.... even Trump!

Pak Ou Caves (means mouth of the river) are one of the most respected holy sites in Lao; History dates back thousands of years. It is packed with over 4,000 Buddhas. The cave is a shrine to the river spirit and Lord Buddha that are set in limestone where the Mekong joins the Nam Ou River. There are two caves to visit, the lower cave called Tham Ting and the upper cave Tham Theung, both housing miniature Buddhist figures mostly made from wood. Tham Ting is about 50 feet above the river and filters in some light but a flashlight is needed for the absolutely pitch black Tham Theung. You have to climb lots and lots of stairs to get to Tham Theung. It is home to the majority of the Buddha statues. The statues are believed to have been left in the caves by local people for hundreds of years.
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This is their dock....
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Tham Ting
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View from the first cave
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Tham Theung - just for the record I actually ventured into this very dark, dark cave with my headlamp. Took a few pics then ran out.
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The return trip back to the city was only an hour because the boat was going with the tide. (Tried to insert video, but after 2 hours of trying....I gave up - check my Facebook post)

Had lunch at a sidewalk restaurant... the salad was delish...don't eat olives
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I headed back out again to catch the sunset from Phousi Mountain. Phousi mountain can be found 150 metres above the centre of town that shows off the beautiful place skyline of Luang Prabang. The hill is a popular place to watch the sun rise or sun set over the Mekong River. From the summit you can enjoy a 360 degree of the city. There are hundreds of steps to negotiate and one is certainly winded by the time you reach the top.

It was a beautiful evening to see the sunset. I took my book, picked up a yummy Lao sandwich and headed up there an hour early thinking I would be one of the first ones there. I was so wrong.... I settled in for the hour waiting.... reading and talking to the people around me. I tried to insert another video but gave up!
Me and my 400 friends again...
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What some people will do to get a good view
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Today was a teary day for me. I've been away for just over a week now.... my mind started churning before I got out of bed. I really missed Gerald today more than any other day! Seeing couples holding hand, eating meals together, laughing and enjoying their travels really made me lonely.

March 1 "Hello March"
Today is my last full day here in Luang Prabang. I spend the whole morning on my bicycle exploring the city.
Here are some of the things I saw....
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I met up with momma and pups in my travels
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I have had a wonderful time here in Luang Prabang. Luang Prabang is a quaint and quiet town. The Laotians are very polite, quiet, and very friendly. I especially enjoyed staying at the Vangsavath hotel. The owner and her son always made sure I was comfortable and happy. I'm off tomorrow for Krabi, Thailand via Bangkok.

Posted by Samchow58 23:23 Archived in Laos Comments (1)

Luang Prabang... love the way it rolls off your tongue.

sunny 25 °C
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Here is a pic of Kol Chhen my guide. He was very informative not only on the temples, he provided me with so many other interesting Information about Siem Reap and the Cambodian people.
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February 26
I spent the morning around the pool relaxing before my flight to Luang Prabang. Feeling sorry for family and friends back home battling with snow!
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Arrived to the hotel around 7:30 pm. Checked in and headed straight to the Night Market to find dinner. The Vangsavarh Hotel is quaint, run by a mother and son. The staff here is so friendly.

February 27
Luang Prabang is located in northern Laos, in the mountainous region. The town is built on a peninsula formed by the Mekong and the Nam Khan River. Luang Prabang was recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1995.

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The hotel provides bicycles for us to ride around town. I call her Number 6! Isn't she pretty? I was a bit hesitant riding because it's beenover 25 years since I've been on the bike. I was pretty wonky..... the vehicles, the motorbikes and scooter, and some unsaved roads really had me worried that I would be leaving Laos all banged up. The saying is so true..."you never forget how to ride a bike". Before I knew it, I was weaving in and out of traffic! In town, I checked out Wat Mai.

Wat Mai (New Monastery) is one of the biggest and most beautiful temples in Luang Prabang. Its central position in town makes it one of the most visited temples of this ancient royal town.
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The Phra Bang means "delicate Buddha" is,a statue 83cm high, covered in gold leaf. A special pavilion was constructed for the Phra Bang On the site of the Royal Palace Musuem. Each year, on the 3rd day of the Lao New Year, the Pha Bang takes its place in the courtyard of the Wat Maï Temple to be shown to the population who, in a sort of procession, purifie it by giving it water.

I booked a trip to Kuang Si Falls for the afternoon. Kuang SimFalls is Three tiers that leadto a 50-metre drop into spectacular pools before flowing downstream. The pools make great swimming holes. As I entered the gate, I noticed an enclosure that houses many Asian black bears following rescue from poachers. Most of these bears are injured...missing a leg, missing paws etc.
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Now this is a HUGH spider!

Some pics on the way back
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Perfect seat for this cutie

While at the falls, I met Bettina Pardi. We got along so well that we decided to meet for dinner at the night market. Bettina is from Hungary and has been travelling for the last 7 weeks. Thanks for a great evening Bettina and safe travels!

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Posted by Samchow58 06:56 Archived in Laos Comments (2)

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