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Nai Yang beach
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There’s something good about Phuket after all

February 29, 2012 | Thailand, Travel | 6 Comments

I used to hate Phuket.

The first time I went there back in 2010 I couldn’t wait to get out of the place. In the middle of the wet season the combination of rain-swept beaches, desperate-looking sex tourists and overpriced everything had me screaming for less after having spent months in far nicer places.

I was only there to learn to sail, and the few miserable days I spent in the south of the island before and after the course made me pretty sure I’d never be back. Even when my flights from Melbourne took me via Phuket back in November, I didn’t leave the airport and took the first plane out of there.

Our trip to the islands last week happened to coincide with some friends holidaying at Nai Yang, however, so I grudgingly agreed to head back for a few days to meet up.

And … well … surprisingly, I actually kind of liked it.

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Sunset at Lonely Beach
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Sand between my toes on Koh Chang

February 27, 2012 | Thailand, Travel | 8 Comments

Waking blearily in a cheap guesthouse in Trat and rubbing two days of road grime from (or into) my eyes, the desire to do much of anything wasn’t high.

Bad luck, really – the minivan to the ferry port left in an hour.

Unceremoniously dumped a few metres from the water, we gazed up at the rusting hulk that was to take us to Koh Chang. Suddenly the three dollar ticket didn’t seem quite so cheap – we suspected the old boat was only going to make it half way to the island before we had to make a swim for it, and sadly I’d forgotten my flippers.

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Chiang Dao view
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The Friday Photo #97 – Leaving Chiang Dao

We had eaten the final mouthful of steaming rice porridge and drained the last of our coffees. Final toilet stops had been made and every single item of clothing had been donned. The scooters were ticking over and our rooms had been paid for.

Rubbing our hands together and stamping our feet, we could put it off no longer.

It was just before 8am, we were about to leave Chiang Dao, and it was bloody freezing.

“Wait!”, I said. “I have to take a photo.”

Anything to delay the inevitable.

Damn it was cold.

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Monks at a train station
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Back on the road

February 22, 2012 | Thailand, Travel | 4 Comments

It was a strange feeling.

Standing in my apartment in Chiang Mai, idly picking things up and putting them back down again. Throwing out all those little pieces of paper and other junk that accumulates whenever I stop moving for a while. Finding new homes for the few household items that I’d bought (who wouldn’t want a used teaspoon anyway?)

Leaving.

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Chiang Mai moat
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Goodbye Chiang Mai

February 20, 2012 | Thailand, Travel | 12 Comments

Three months ago I stepped off the plane from Melbourne and back into Chiang Mai’s warm embrace. Back in early November I could see my time here stretching deliciously off into the distance. An endless procession of warm sunshine, wonderful people and incredible food, or so it seemed.

Yet, inevitably, my time here is not endless. 100 days has come and gone, and by the time you read this I’ll be 1000km away on a beach in Koh Chang. That is not exactly a hardship, but I know I’m going to miss Chiang Mai an awful lot. This place has become far more than just somewhere to hang my hat for a while.

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Sunrise in Phu Lang Ka
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Northern Thailand road trip: a photo essay

February 8, 2012 | Thailand, Travel | 11 Comments

As you probably know if you’ve been following along, I spent eight days last month on a fairly epic 1400km scooter road trip. Here are the photos.

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Road to Chiang Mai
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A bit of a ride in northern Thailand, part four

February 6, 2012 | Thailand, Travel | 11 Comments

Grudgingly remounting our bikes after the madness of the day before, we were certain of only one thing: there was no way in hell that we were going to be riding another 300+ km today.

We didn’t, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t any highlights. Far from it.

Today we went to Tatooine.

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Rice paddies near the Laos border
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A bit of a ride in northern Thailand, part three

February 1, 2012 | Thailand, Travel | 14 Comments

So when I last left you our band of intrepid explorers had arrived in Nan and a plan was afoot for the next day.

A big plan.

A dramatic plan.

An exciting plan.

A plan to do, in fact … pretty much nothing.

Wander round a couple of temples and take some photos, perhaps. Have lunch beside the river. Maybe take a nap. Ok, definitely take a nap.

How plans changed.

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