A Travellerspoint blog

Relaxing in Phuket

sunny 32 °C

Today was out first real 'down day' and I'm glad that we'll have a few more over the next week or so as it has been a busy trip thus far. A few down days to soak up some sun and get some reading/relaxing in will be nice before we return home.

Today, we slept in (no alarms!), had a late breakfast and hit the beach. We paid $6 for two lounge chairs and an umbrella...well worth the cost to avoid being fried in the sun. It's crazy hot here, you can feel it baking your skin, the ocean is sooo warm and the sand too hot to walk on with bare feet! We enjoyed some more fruit smoothies this afternoon too! Tonight, we went for foot massages (which were wonderful) and had a delicious curry dinner.

Dave's on a PlayBook video chat with Aeryon at the moment (a planned, 2week check in with the team). Traveling with our PlayBooks and BlackBerrys has worked out really well...books, games, booking hotels online, video chat etc on the PlayBooks. It makes us feel not quite so far from home...which is good and bad for different reasons I suppose.

Last night I had one of the most delicious treats I've ever had. Dave really talked these up to me from when he and Rob were in Thailand a few years ago, so I was going in with really high expectations. Luckily, my expectations were surpassed :D.

So picture this...but warning, you may start to salivate ;). Banana Pancake street cart. A really wide, shallow and sizzling hot wok. A small ball of dough...quite different in consistency than I've seen before. It's thrown (with vigor) onto a steel counter, spread out with fingers a bit and picked up and flipped kinda like pizza dough into a super thin circle. From here, the crepe-like dough is placed on the wok. As it starts to cook, a fresh, ripe banana is quickly sliced on top. It's then folded over on itself, and cooked fully before being removed from the wok. From there, it's spread with nutella (or chocolate) and served. It's fricken delicious!!! Maybe I'll go get one while Dave's in his mtg... ;)

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As a reminder of where we are and where we're going, here's the map of our trip :)

Posted by allyson2 09:06 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Relaxing on the Beach

Traveling days are annoying. By the time we finally got to a place to stay it was nearly 9pm and we were exhausted. We found a little budget place to stay in Kata beach just for one night while we got settled and looked for some place better.

Our first impressions of Phuket weren't great. Loud, but empty, bars and annoying tourists. Apparently most people here are actually on packaged tours and not independent travelers. The light of morning brought a much nicer place.

We spend some time researching places on the internet last night, and found a couple to check out. We landed at The Color Kata for the next 5 nights. Its a great little boutique place, good vibe and very comfortable. (See photo below) Checked in this morning, and then headed to the beach.

Spent a couple hours relaxing at the beach and playing in the waves. I had hoped for good surf conditions, but not so much. As usual, Allyson got a sunburn :).

After a nap we visited the dive shop we're going with on Wednesday and Thursday. We'll be diving out at Ko Phi Phi, so that should be fun, but it involves a 3 hour boat ride each way! While Allyson is doing her course dives, I'll be doing some shark and wreck diving. Tomorrow should be much like today, with some beach time.

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Posted by dkroetsch 07:31 Comments (0)

Oh I love signs...

This is my favorite pictoral sign from the Kuala Lumpur airport today. Yesterday's was "No farting on the bus". I wish I had a photo!

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Posted by dkroetsch 00:11 Comments (0)

Transfer Day

This morning we flew from Ho Chi Minh City to Kuala Lumpur, with a layover here for a few hours before continuing on to Puhket.

From the little of Malaysia I saw from the plane (or rather lot, just from several thousand feet in the air)...what a gorgeous country! Palm trees and rolling hills as far as the eye could see! The airport is also gorgeous - it even has a little jungle you can walk through (outside/open air) in the middle of the terminal (see pic). Unfortunately, we aren't leaving the airport on this trip, but will keep it on the list of places to visit someday.

Our last few days in Vietnam were great - beautiful weather, great pho, spring rolls (pic below) and cheap beer. As Dave wrote, we really enjoyed learning a bit more about the struggles and ingenuity of the Vietnamese during the war. Most of it was very chilling, but very real.

We wandered through the night market again yesterday after enjoying one last Vietnamese meal of pho and spring rolls.

I also learned yesterday why the women (specifically) wear the masks I mentioned last week. In addition, most of the women you see on their motor bikes are also wearing full length pants and sleeves and mittens, and they usually have a hat or hood under their helmets too. Given a cool day is 30•C, I couldn't help but wonder why they'd be covered (given its not a cultural/religious tradition). Besides avoiding contaminated air, the reason is because Vietnamese men prefer white coloured women, so they cover up to protect their skin from darkening any further in the sun. It's sad...advertisements for skin bleaching cream can be seen everywhere. However, I suppose the opposite holds true in NA, where tanned people are (or rather, have been) considered more attractive.

Anyways...Vietnam has been great. Someday, we'd like to return to see more of the central parts of the country...Hue and Hoi An. Met some great people here, including a couple yesterday from just outside Montreal. They are in their late 50's/early 60's and have been traveling for 5 years! They have another year planned still yet. Very interesting couple, with lots of stories, that's for sure!

We'll sort out tonight where we will stay in Phuket, and get our bearings as we'll be on the island for a week. We've got a dive center sorted out, so we'll meet up with them to set plans for our dives on Tuesday and Wednesday as well.

Hope everyone reading this is doing well! :D

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Posted by allyson2 23:56 Comments (0)

Cu Chi tunnels

Yesterday was a great tour of Vietnamese culture. First was the Cao Dai temple, which is this interesting church where they worship all the gods of several religions. They figure if they worship them all, they can't lose in the end - you know, bet on all the horses.
Then was the cu chi tunnels, which is part of the 200km network of underground tunnels and caves that the Viet Cong dug during the war. It was spooky! We actually got to go into the tunnels and crawl around. Very dark and very small. At some points you were on your hands and knees trying to squeeze through and you're in pitch black. There is barely any oxygen down there and man it gets hot! They lived in these tunnels all during the day and came out to fight at night! I can't even imagine it!

Now we're packed up and ready to head to Thailand for some diving!

Posted by dkroetsch 16:46 Comments (0)

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