Travel Journal

More Bangkok.....and Ko Phi Phi

(Thursday 22 December 2011) by Karen O'Shea
My apologies for not keeping my blog up to date but what can I say but I’ve been busy living….:-)

The transport system here is pretty great, I just thought south East Asia would be a little backward but I was completely wrong. The overnight bus we got from chiang mai to Bangkok (10 hour journey) was quite a sophiscated bus. Had TV’s, karaoke (but nobody bothered with that) complimentary water and snacks, pillow and blanket, reclining seats and fully air conditioned, god how will I return to good old Bus Eireann…:-)

Bangkok what can I say…it’s just something else. Anything goes. Think you’d really have to see it to believe it. And when I SAW i still found it hard to believe. From ping pong shows…(an experience alright, one that I won’t be repeating…but when in Rome blah blah blah..) to lady boys, (which were sometimes a little difficult to tell what they were), to getting jostled on the street from the traders…”Hey Lady, tuc tuc, taxi, massage, helicopter…..” “Where you from?’’ “Oh Ireland, Near Manchester united” “I give good price…. Lady…its happy hour” :-)

The grand palace was worth a look. It covers 60 acres in the city centre. It housed the first 5 kings of Thailand, and they each built something on it. The present king rama 9th resides in another palace outside the city. I know I have mentioned how much the king is loved and cherished here, but he really is so respected. It was his birthday while I was here, so It was a holiday and street parties throughout Thailand. I forgot to send a card:-):-)

There are shrines to him everywhere, even outside people’s houses. The houses look run down but the shrines have no expense spared. Which tells you how treasured he really is. He is 84 by the way and the longest serving monarch in the world, 63 years ish. He is not in great health but appears for important functions. Even when the flooding hit Bangkok, the grand palace was really sand bagged. He told the army to forget about the palace and help the ordinary folk who lived in the low lying areas and who really needed the help. He also set up walk in free clinics for folk who live way out in the remote areas, he really does take care of his people. A good guy.

Ko Phi Phi

Ah yes another public bus…..comfort as I like it!!

Ifs its sheer beauty than this is the place. It is an island off the south west coast of Thailand. It’s a real tourist spot. All the traders here make their income from tourism, it’s very popular place to visit. The scenery is just pure postcard, blue skies and green waters. Truly Amazing views!!

I took a boat tour around some islands. This was pure picturesque. So many lagoons and beaches. Also saw the beach where the film “THE BEACH” was filmed with Leonardo Di Caprio… sign of him though..

But on a sadder note 700 people died December 26, 2004 when a tsunami struck this tourist island.
“Lohdalum Bay was hit the hardest with the majority of the bungalows and restaurants along the beach destroyed.. There is a memorial for those killed in the tsunami on the beach facing Lohdalum Bay. Every year there is a small memorial service where family members and friends come to pay their respects and talk about those they lost. A moment of silence is observed at the time the tsunami hit.
There were three waves: the first one flooded the Lohdalum Bay, the second destroyed all of the wooden buildings and the third and largest ruined stone buildings as if they were made of sand. The whole tsunami lasted for only three minutes (from 10:29 am to 10:32 am) but it nearly destroyed the whole island” quoted from wikipedia.

I visited the memorial and I found it quite moving, the people that died here were just doing exactly what I’m doing, having a good time discovering new places. It’s so hard to imagine the mayhem and panic when the tsuanami hit, the devastation it caused in 3 minutes is unreal.

They have an alarm system now which will warn people to get to higher ground if anything like this happens again.

On a higher note,,,(cause I like high notes), the nightlife is fantastic. Partying on the beach!!! Got to watch a thai kickboxing match…god they didn’t hold back. It was full on. Also my tan is a non starter….if my freckles could just join…it’d look golden brown. I guess White is the new black…….

Adios amigos untill my next blog.....:-)

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