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Trip report - Zinders honeymoon in Thailand/Cambodia

Trip report - Zinders honeymoon in Thailand/Cambodia

Nov 28th, 2007, 01:03 PM
  #61  
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 103
Kimberly - We did book in advance, directly with John Gray. I think we got back to our hotel around 8 p.m. or so...I know we weren't hungry. They have a Hong tour that goes during the day as well.
zinders is offline  
Nov 28th, 2007, 08:18 PM
  #62  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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enjoying it
rhkkmk is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 12:03 PM
  #63  
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Day 16 Ė Phuket (Kamala)

Snorkeling was big on Donís trip agenda, so we decided to take a day trip to Phi Phi. There are a bunch of operators who do this. We picked one that seemed to have the fewest stops, yet still allowed us to see everything. I know that Phi Phi day trips get a bad name on this board, but for us, staying in Phi Phi wouldnít have worked logistically. Maybe next time.

The driver came to pick us up at 8:30. We didnít actually make it to the boat until 10, tho, because they spent so much time picking everyone else up along the coast! (including one family that made the car wait for 25 minutes). That was annoying. Anyway, we make it to the tour office at the Marina, where we learn that while masks and breathing tubes are included in the price, fins are not. We buy them anyway. We are then packed into two speedboats (and when I say packed, I mean it Ė a couple of people didnít have proper seats!)

It was raining a bit as our speedboat took off, but I didnít mind as I love speedboats. As we got further away from Phuket, the weather cleared up a bit. By the time we reached our first destination Ė Maya Bay on Phi Phi Lay, where the movie The Beach was filmed Ė it was still drizzling. No matter. The beach is gorgeous! We had about 45 minutes to walk around and swim if we wanted to.

The boat then takes us to the other side of Phi Phi Lay for some snorkeling. Iíve only gone snorkeling a few times, mostly because I have a slight fear of deep water, but Don loves it so Iím game. I jump off the boat and suddenly weíre in a school of fish! They were all different colors too Ė brilliant greens and blues. Some people who stayed on board the boat throw us some bread. We hold it out and the fish come up to us and nibble from it! (one daring fish even bit Donís nipple, thinking it was bread! That made me laugh! Bad wife!) Itís drizzling a bit, but that doesnít affect our fun.

After a quick stop at Monkey Beach (where indeed, there were monkeys in the trees Ė and a gazillion tourists feeding them. Iím not impressed), the boat takes us down Phi Phi Don for lunch. We pull in and have lunch at the Phi Phi Beach Resort. It looks like a nice place, with bungalows going up the hill, but if I was staying at this resort, I certainly wouldnít want all these day trippers coming around at noon! Food was only OK.

After lunch, the boat takes us to Khai Nok island, for more snorkeling and relaxation. And finally, FINALLY, the sun came out and we could really sunbathe! Huzzah! Our boatís guide has promised to take us out to an area to see sharks and Don is hot to go. Iím not quite as excited, but I do want to see a Nemo fish. Right off the island, thereís a bay full of coral and it makes quite a picture as we swim out. We see a ton of fish, and I do see clown fish dozing among the anemones. I get a little panicky as the guys go further out, so I decide to go back and get some sun in while I can. I scrape myself on some coral on the way back in, but am otherwise content. We stay at the island until about 4:30 or so, then back to the marina. Again, weíre the last people dropped off. We get to our hotel around 7ish.

Itís our last night, so Iíd like to drive down to Kata to go to the Boathouse, but the weather is getting dreary again and I donít want to take a 45 minute tuk tuk ride. Instead, we have a pretty lame meal in Kamala. Overall, while we did like the Layalina, we wish that we would have gone down to south to Kata instead of Kamala. Kamala was a little too quiet for us. Oh well. Live and learn.
zinders is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 12:05 PM
  #64  
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Day 17 Ė Phuket (Kamala) Last day - I promise! Thanks for reading!

Our flight leaves around dusk, so we have most of the day free. Again, itís raining so we decide to go into Phuket Town for some shopping. We call our driver from the day before and see if heíll come get us. He arrives about 30 minutes late.

Once in town, we go to Robinsonís Department store. We find a few things here, but are more impressed with the savory pastries in the front. We buy a few trinkets, but realize that we arenít really finding the quality souvenirs that we could have gotten in Bangkok or perhaps Chiang Mai. Our driver tries to take us to another market, but itís closed. Finally, we visit a jewelry emporium that we see advertised on a map. They have beautiful things, but we realize that the costs for sapphires, etc is the same that weíd pay back in Philly. So I leave with a simple silver charm bracelet. The whole trip was a bit of a waste, and I keep thinking that we could have better used that time to squeeze in an elephant ride.

The Layalina allows us to check out late, so we squeeze in one more tasty Thai lunch. The driver takes us to Phuket airport, where we are able to check out bags through to JFK. We have about 9 hour layover in Bangkok, however. We spend it getting one last foot massage at the spa, shopping for souvenirs and eating (Don chooses Burger King over more noodles Ė Iíll admit it tasted good). One last panic takes place when Don leaves the security area without his passport. Apparently someone told him that he could come back in without it. After wondering how in the hell Iím going to find him in the huge airport, I see him going into a bookstore right outside security. A short scene follows, where I practically throw his passport at him (yes, bad wife! But bad husband for not taking it in the first place!) He comes back with a silver necklace. I am appeased and sorry.

Our trip back on Thai Air is uneventful, although we are exhausted when we finally make it home to Philly.

So here are some lessons learned: 1. We should have limited ourselves to only three locations: Bangkok, Cambodia and Phuket, as we could have easily spent more time in these places without cramming in the north. 2. We need to schedule more downtime so we donít get burnt out. 3. Weíre not as fit as we think we are. 4. We were glad we had medical insurance. 5. Even if itís not the rainy season, it can still rain a lot. And 6. Your resort in Phuket really makes the trip. If everyone on the fodors board goes to Kata instead of Kamala, thereís probably a good reason for it!

So will we go back to Thailand? I hope so! Despite having so much time there, we still didnít get to ride elephants or go to a cooking class, which I really wanted to do. But there are so many other places to visit Ė within Asia, Iíd love to go to Vietnam, Laos, and Bali. And Donís never been to Europe, so I think he wants to go there next. And Argentina was our alternative honeymoon planÖ.so many places, so little time! (and money). For now, I'll just read the message boards and be jealous of everyone else!
zinders is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 12:19 PM
  #65  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Thanks SO much for all of you rpostings and information. I am really anxious to go now - not that I wasn't before. I can't believe I have to wait until June. But, we have Argentina in between ! Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls. Let me know when you get ready to go there and I'll let you know how it was. Or go over to the Latin American board and look for our trip report in April.

I have started to think that we might do a day trip out to Phi Phi and we both love to snorkel. What company did you book with? I haven't really started to research that tour yet, but probably will in the next few weeks.

I guess I'm glad now that we stretched our time out to a little over three weeks (including international travel time) since we are going to hit all of the four areas you did, but we'll have a bit more time and can schedule some down time. We had debated trying to get to Vietnam also, but I put my foot down and said I didn't want to overdo it. This reinforces that decision.

Enjoy your first year of marriage! Going on 17 years now - it's been a trip, but a fun one !
jcasale is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 01:22 PM
  #66  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 173
Zinders,
Would you share some more info on the Phang Nga bay excursion... Is there a pier from which you access the big boat w/ any sort of ramp for people that can't jump down or step up into a large boat?

Is it possible to snorkel from a beach?

Once you go through the caves, is there any beach so that one can get back into the kayak from the beach instead of the water?

Do you know if they do these less touristy tours from Khao Lak? As we will not be staying in Phuket, but in Khao Lak, but I really would prefer to do a nature tour of Phang Nga, not a touristy one.

Any advice of which excursion company?
AskOksana is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 01:47 PM
  #67  
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AskOksana -

We used John Gray for our Phang Nga Bay excursion. The website is www.johngray-seacanoe.com. I don't remember the boat having a ramp, but you can email the company and ask them (we had originally considered an overnight and I found that John Gray was pretty good about answering my questions). You can ask about Khao Lak, too.

You don't get in the kayaks from the water or a beach. You get onto them from the boat. It does take some manuevering, but there are guides to help you. We didn't snorkel on that trip so I don't know if there any islands there that specialize in it.

To be honest, I thought that John Gray would be smaller and more nature oriented than it was. The guides do tell everyone to be quiet so you can see the wildlife. We noticed other tours that were certainly much louder! Also, we had a lot of children on our boat, which tends to amp the noise level.
zinders is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 02:26 PM
  #68  
 
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"Once you go through the caves, is there any beach so that one can get back into the kayak from the beach instead of the water?"

Maybe you misunderstand how the trip works and the hongs in general...you stay in the kayak the entire time, lying down to get through the tightest spots. The trip goes through a large bat cave where you can sit upright most of the time. The other two hongs are entered through openings in the rocks with you lying down in the kayak and when you reach the center, it opens up and you are inside the hong in a mini ecosystem..some are big, some are small, all are amazing. You never get out of the kayak though, you get in from the boat and get out back onto to the boat.
KimJapan is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 07:22 PM
  #69  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
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Fantastic report zinders! I believe you may have been bitten by the S.E.A. bug!!!!
LeighTravelClub is offline  
Oct 6th, 2009, 06:29 PM
  #70  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Sorry to resurrect this two-year-old thread. I'm Zinders, but now post under this user name. I've been putting my trip reports on my new blog, and just got this one up with all the photos. Some of the information is out of date, to be sure, but thought it might be interesting to anyone who wants to see some photos from the trip.

Right now, only the Thailand portion is done. Cambodia to come soon. The link is here: http://caroundtheworld.com/thailand/

I love reading through all the nice comments that people wrote. It was a great trip, thanks to everyone here on the Forum. I've been able to do a lot of travel in the past year or so, but haven't made it back to Asia yet. Maybe next year!

Chris
ChrisAroundtheWorld is offline  
Oct 6th, 2009, 07:22 PM
  #71  
 
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i enjoyed going over this again thanks...even if it took 2 years
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 7th, 2009, 07:50 PM
  #72  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Ha, at least I wrote the report first here - so no penalty!

The Cambodia portion is now up with the photos. http://caroundtheworld.com/cambodia/

Again, thanks for reading. Am thinking Vietnam or Laos next year.
ChrisAroundtheWorld is offline  
Oct 11th, 2009, 07:46 PM
  #73  
 
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Hey there Chris,

Fun to see this tread at the top again when I clicked on my own name . I posted on it a year before we were thinking on going to Thailand and Cambodia, and now it has almost been a year since we went!

We didn't have such great luck on our trip however. Two days after we arrived in Bangkok the PAD protestors took over and closed Suvarnabhumi airport so we were unable to get to Cambodia for the 4 days we planned. Instead, we hired a driver with a van to drive us the 9 plus hours down to Phuket where we were scheduled to spend the last part of our trip. We spent 9 days at the resort and then got home via a layover in Hong Kong which was unexpected but fun. The joys of travel!!
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