Posts filed under ‘travel’
Ok so I am sitting in the Phuket airport and I am really tired, but I wanted to get this out there.
Pakarang in kao rat, this is really charming surf school run by Ching. He will pick you up from the bus stop and drive you there. Pakarang has some really nice surf, especially in the morning and the site is absolutely amazing for beginners. No white water to paddle against and the morning and evening breaks are nice, long, and gentle. Accommodations are really cheap too 300 baht per night, boards are cheap also.
Surin, this is a mother fucking hard one. Surin is a small beach near the airport in Phuket, it is almost all white water. Large rocks stick out of almost a third of the beach making most of it unsurfable except by experienced surfers. Inexperienced surfers will only be able to surf in the morning towards the late afternoon high tide rises and if you don’t know how to duck and dive and ride a short board you won’t be able to get very far. Recommend Surin for people who know what they’re doing. This beach really requires a lot of expertise to really enjoy. Boards available on the beach, but recommend you pick up a short board from salt water dreaming (it’s 20 minutes from e beach)
Kata – Kata is slightly harder than pakarang, pakarang is accessible all day long, but kata has moments that make surfing it hard. Kata is also absurdly popular as a beach and is full of surfers, swimmers, body boarders, etc. it is however an awesome ride. The first break is great for long boards the second is a bit harder to reach, but I managed it. Kata is just amaZing really and a lot of fun. It is a possible place for beginners too, but in high season it might be to crowded, even in low season kata is full of people. Boards and surf instruction available on beach.
Kata noi – kata’s rocky little sister is nowhere near the difficulty of surin, but still requires a good amount of paddling to get too and some work. The water was really dirty when I was there too with mysterious piss like foam jetting everywhere. I didn’t spend a lot of time here, but it’s a nice place to learn duck and dive and practice short board techniques. A few boards on the beach, but better to bring your own.
Is a beautiful little island a meager 8 hours from bangkok. Take a train from hua lamphong to chumphon. Train is around 400 baht for second class sleeper fan (do not take second class air con) or 1200 first class. Buses are anywhere from 270 to 800 baht, did not have huge problems with the cheap bus from sai tai talling chan i.e. the southern bus terminal on putthamonton sai one. When you arrive the ferries run from 7 am to 1 pm for 600 baht and take an hour and a half. There is a midnight boat that costs less and takes 6 hours, but really recommend train that gets in about 5 am and then just buy the boat ticket at the station if you arrive at night take a motorcycle taxi to farang bar and either stay there or any of the hotels around it. Farang bar can arrange the boat the next day.
The boat will make a small stop at a private island before arriving at koh tao. From the pier take a left to get the guest houses. There is an amazing walking street out of mae haad with a ton of bars and discount diving shops.
Diving is really cheap 800 baht a trip with gear or 8000 and up for a 3 day diving registration course. Snorkeling is 680 baht for 4 stops including that private island you saw earlier (100 baht to get on the island)
Water is fairly clear and snorkeling is fun, but do not go during the rainy season run off from the hills will impare visibility. The best time to go is around may to october.
Rooms run from 400 to 2000 baht a night. The island has a lot of resorts. Over all very cheap accomodations and ridicilously cheap diving.
Koh tao is fairly clean for thialand no apparent red light districts or massage parlours (although the aloe vera massage is highly recomended).
The coral is starting to bleach, but the island has banned plastic bags the seas are fairly clean in other words. Really a nice and surprisingly very cheap experience. One the best holidays in thailand.
Sarongs are circular pieces of fabric. Men’s sarongs must be checkered or flannel print, otherwise it’s a women’s sarong. If you get one that is a long striped piece of fabric that you tie and then tuck part of the knot into the waist then you have a pakokwam, which seems to be a towel or a type of swimwear (just checked it’s a towel). Sarongs are country in Thailand and they are also informal. While fun, some of the city looks down on them. Men’s sarongs are a little hard to find, Bo Bae market which is a few blocks walk from National Staduim is the best place for them.
Lat Phrao Night Market is perhaps one of the more interesting markets. When you approach Lat Phrao station you’ll see it, it looks like a race track with spare tires suggesting a course. Sells bike parts, vintage LPs, and some toys. The lot becomes full of vintage VW Buses around 9 on Saturdays and Fridays, I’m not sure if anyone uses the lot to race, but it definitely looks like people do race on the course everyonce in awhile. Most of the Thai car modders have a rockabilly thing going on and booming jounts of Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and other us country escalate through dirty tofu, used car stereo parts, hand bars with embossed skulls, and vintage thai car mod mags. Worth a look for the sheer specialization.
Talat Thewes is north of the BTS and MRTs that mark Bangkok, but is right on the river near the Rama V Bridge a tad bit north of the Wat-tourist line people usually use. It is however 2 – 3 solid blocks of native thai flowers segmented by bayou and the occasional restaunt (In Love is apparently a nancy chandler favorite). This is different than the chinatown cut flower market, this is actual flowers you can buy. You gotta cross the bridges a few times to get to all the shops.
The Thai aren’t the laid back vacation people that ads of sun drenched beaches and guesthouses perhaps suggest. They’re actually pretty damn formal. While dinners outside my apartment complex go on for hours (including after hours drinking of whiskey misked with soda water) and folks lounge around in shorts tons of minute customs that would be excusable becuase you’re foreign in Korea or Japan must be observed. Buddhist charms can not be worn below the waist, a teacher at school warned me never to point at things with my feet, Buddhist robes are for sale everywhere, but can’t be woren, while people worry about offending other south east asians the reality of Taipei, Seoul, or Tokyo is that they’re pretty much used to Westeners (and usually rather international themselves), while in Bangkok people still whisper about the farang in the building and some offenses aren’t as excusable. It is still a culture that’s customs aren’t as well known as others, but unfortunately as a tourist hotspot, are frequently trampled upon.
Djs apparently are supposed to be saving lives. Ya know running around in ambulances with turntables, inspiring the masses, surprising you with clever mixes, etc. etc. but when you get down to it, most DJs really really suck ass. I mean the remarkable level of crap that passes for techno is so ridiculous someone should start shooting people… oh wait some dude just finished doing that… Hence, Bangkok’s Breaksis a nice little reprieve from the usual bullshit. The Wednesday minimal and deep party turned out to be probably one of say 4 dj sets I’ve ever felt like actually sitting through and other nights have turned up decent stuff. Music ranges from kompakt 12’s to bass to whatever UK sub-genre happens to be “underground” at the moment and ya know the usual techno that clubs play. Good electronic clubs are basically non-existent in the U.S. but Bangkok at least has enough of diaspora to pack a little whole in the wall with some folks for the occasional night of good listening.