Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Koh Phangan

I arrived in Koh Phangan after a boat ride from hell, where the first boat we took to Koh Tao had be large, fast and spacious this one was small, cramped and slow. The weather had turned by this point and so the ship was lined with backpackers all throwing up over the side of the boat. We arrived safety though and that day i spent relaxing and preparing myself for Koh Phangan's biggest event, the full moon party.

After coating myself in copious amounts of UV paint and downing a bucket of rum and coke I set off to the party. The beach was full of revelers all dancing, swaying and partying and as I walked down the beach I passed wave after wave of reggie, techno and trace. Eventually I decided to head up to the appropriately named mushroom mountain, where I enjoyed one of their finest milkshakes and a dance at the night club overlooking the sea. After this I spent the next few hours shooting the breeze with random people, being bemused by people having rather public sex in the sea (with multiple people taking pictures to put on facebook), having my hat stolen, debating the nature of God with a random party-goer while staring at the waves and dancing like a loon to random trace music. After all this activity I fell asleep on a bench and woke just as the sun broke over the island.

The next day was one for a serious chill out and I spent it relaxing by the sea, swimming or snoozing in a random hammock surrounded by friends.

I also took the opportunity to explore the island on foot and after following signs for a Buddhist temple was rewarded by the sounds of bells, chanting and a beautiful collection of Buddhist statues and art.

After all this partying and relaxing I decided it was time to head on to pastures new. So I decided upon the jungle.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Koh tao

After a long overnight journey from bangkok i finally arrived on the island of koh tao. After setting up my hotel i took a walk over to the beach and sat to admire the azure blue waters that greeted me there. The beach was quiet with lovely white sand and i took the day to relax and swim in the waters there.

That afternoon i decided to explore the island and after walking up the main beach i headed up the steep roads towards the summit of a nearby hill. The way was extremely heavy going going and i ran out of water about halfway. Luckily some local builders took pity on me and offered me a bottle of iced water. Energized i attacked the slope with renewed vigor and made it to the top of a nearby view point. The spot was stunning with a great view across the island and i chilled out with the backpackers at the top. Afterwards one of them offered me a motorbike ride back down and i arrived back in town victorious. The sun was just setting as i arrived back in town and i walked down the beach and relaxed on a swing as the sun sunk into the sea.

The next day i booked a snorkeling tour around the island, the boat stopping at several sites throughout the day. The fish were beautiful, all greens, yellows, blues and reds. Some were stripped, some were multicoloured and some were just purely one bright colour, I even saw a (small) shark. What struck me though was just how bleached and faded the coral was. A few years ago I had taken a trip to Hawaii and there I had found the coral to be the brightest most vibrant colours, here was just broken brown and dead coral. I heard that diving on the island was better but the sight of all these beautiful creatures decayed and dead just made me sad.

That night I chilled out at the local beach huts, had a few drinks and enjoyed the spectacular fire displays that were put on by the local Thais.

As a note coral bleaching as it is known has been occurring more and more frequently in recent years. Its caused by the coral ejecting the photosynthetic plant that they co-exist, which in turn causes the coral to die. It is caused by a a number of factors such as global warming, disease, pollution and people standing on or taking pieces of coral back with them. I even had to tell a group of people not to stand on the coral as they were killing it. Please remember if you go to these places that coral is a living and very delicate creature and that by littering and standing on the reefs that you are killing them.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Bangkok part 2 - Shines and temples

After visiting the reclining buddha me and the other people from the hostel decided to travel to the main shopping section of Siem where we found ourselves at the euwan shrine. This brightly coloured pagoda in the middle of the square acted as a shrine to Brahma, four faced Hindu god of creation. And inside the square we found flocks of worshipers making offerings to him.

Kneeing before the statue with incense clutched between folded hands, the air was turned to a bonfire of richly scented smoke so strong it made my eyes water. While behind us woman dressed in brightly coloured and mirrored clothing danced and swayed, thanking him for some wish that had been granted.

The next day I decided to take it easy by perusing modern art in arts and culture center for bangkok, after taking in collections of mirrored blocks and rooms filled with painted cardboard boxes I headed out and walked round one of the biggest and most impressive shopping malls I have ever seen (it had a river with fish in it).

After getting an early start on the following morning, I headed round Bangkok for the last day, after having a delicious stir fried breakfast I headed for one of Bangkok's biggest parks where I watched catfish consuming the bread that was tossed to them. I then set out on the metro to a hindu temple where I made offerings of fruit and milk to the hindu gods ganesha, Swaraviti, laskhmi and Uma.

After all this excitement I explore the side streets by the temple accompanied by the music of prayers to laskhmi. I explore a shop full the brim with statues and altars to every possible hindu deity and a indoor thai market. Having explored the side streets to my hearts content I jump on the bts train only to jump straight off at the sight of a huge decaying skyscrapper.  Its decaying ruins remind me of an acient temple and i am throughly entranced. By exploring the surrounding area I find a small taoist temple where a slightly mischivious local directs me in giving an offering of incense to the local deities.

After all this activity I am throughly ready to relax and the next day begin my long journey to koh tao.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Hello Thailand

Have decided to make this a travel blog as well because well why not?

Two days ago I flew into Bangkok after just 3 hours sleep, after spending the first half of the day in some kinda of zombie like state I finally managed to pull myself together and after getting to know a few people at our hostel we headed out for a look around the city.

Bangkok like most asian cities I've been to smells like a weird mixture of sewage, home cooking (wafting from the various stall venders cooking their wares) and smoke from various cars. The next thing to hit you is how western it all looks, people on tablets, mobiles, using internet and every stop a seven eleven. This however is punctuated by moments of exoticism such as a local boy dance band performing on the street or flashes of gold, orange and red from the various

shines and temples that litter the city. Overhead electricity lines stretch like spiderwebs and through the street brightly coloured taxis, tuk tuks and moterbikes dodge and weave
around each other.

With my new friends we headed to a large market place on the edge of the city and walked down what seemed to be a never ending line of shirts, watches, paintings, statues and sarongs. After doing a fair bit of shopping we sat down to enjoy fried chicken with a deliciously spicy sauce.

After a night of getting to know some of my fellow travelers better we headed out to visit the famous reclining buddha, a staggeringly huge moment found just over the river from where our hostel was located. Set in one of the most impressive complexes you wander past fierce taoist status, flame licked buildings and brightly mosaic spires to reach the budda himself. Lit in an unearthly orange light the gold and serene figure was staggeringly large taking at least 10 minutes to walk all the way round. Round him people poured coins into various pots that lined the temple giving the impression of someone pouring huge amounts of rice into a metal pot.

Anyway thats enough from me today, will update you all with more soon.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013


 On a recent trip to see a friend I traveled up to the city of Manchester. I've been up to this city a few times and each time I come away with many enjoyable memories or moment.

Whether its finding a new place to eat, visiting manchester art gallery or poking round independant shops like afleck's palace I always find something new and delightful to do.

In this case it was time to visit Manchester's fascinating history museum. Currently full to the brim
with exotic creatures, egyption statues and native american art. It was a wonderful place to visit and offered up a wealth of new photographic opportunity for me to explore.