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Koh Phi Phi Islands

sunny 32 °C

It was sad to leave Krabi Island behind, and the early start made it even sadder, but we gobbled up our last fabulous breakfast at the Centara Resort, snatched up a mini tub of plain yogurt from the buffet for Zavian to have with his lunch (he has become a total yogurt lover on holiday) and hopped aboard our ferry to the Koh Phi Phi Islands. It lasted about 3 hours and and rained a little, but fingers crossed it would be brighter in Phi Phi. We passed some gorgeous islands on the way, including Chicken Island, which we didn't have a chance to visit, but perhaps next time. See if you can make out the chicken head and neck in the second photo.


We first arrived in Phi Phi's Tonsai Bay, from where we would have to take a longtail boat to our hotel. The Phi Phi Islands are along the western Andaman seacoast. It is made up of 2 islands, Phi Phi Don, the larger of the two and the only one with permanent inhabitants. Phi Phi Ley is also visited for its beaches, and of course, Maya Bay, where the movie The Beach was filmed (hello Leonardo!). Tonsai Bay is the only port, and our hotel was a 40 minute longtail ride away. We didn't really know how secluded our hotel was, and how easy it would be to get back to Tonsai Bay, so I decided we needed to stock up on baby supplies. We couldn't haul all our luggage and baby around Tonsai Bay, so Naim stayed with the bags and haggled with some boat drivers on a price to get to the hotel while I strapped baby on for a mission for formula and nappies. I first checked 7-11 (they are everywhere in Thailand, even on tiny islands!), but no luck. Then the pharmacy next door, who told me I should check the grocery store. I eventually found it and low and behold, all the formula info was in Thai! From my baby item research before the trip, I could recognise the brands and wanted to get Wyeth S-26, which is closest to what Zavian used while we were in Edinburgh. Unfortunately, I couldn't read the age or anything else for that matter! So I had to ask the woman at the register who tried to explain to me in broken English, and I just hoped she was right (then later needed someone at the hotel to translate the directions). So I bought that and some nappies and thanked the lord I stocked up Zavian's jarred food while in Krabi which had a much larger selection compared to NONE in Phi Phi. By then it had started raining hard so I opened up my umbrella (word of advice, never listen to your husband when he tells you there is no need to pack an umbrella for your trip to Asia during monsoon season) and we raced back to Naim. All aboard to the hotel!

Our hotel in the distance

It was a good thing we stocked up, as we learned upon arrival that there is no way to get anywhere without taking a boat, as the interior of the island is all jungle and you can't walk it and there are no cars! We arrived at The Holiday Inn Phi Phi. The hotel grounds are lush and tropical and they have a very nice beach, but all the activity is centered around the hotel and the activities it offers. You must eat all your meals there (unless you discover the hidden gem, Jasmin restaurant, but no staff will tell you about it, thank you Tripadvisor), and book your boats at hotel prices (unless you find the same boat guys who work for the hotel but will give you cheaper prices if you book with them, and coincidentally they are located right next to Jasmin). We didn't like the bungalow they gave us, and the baby cot they had for Zavian must have been a child's prison in a former life (it was grey, metal and a recipe for disaster), so I asked the manager if we could change rooms. We read on Tripadvisor that there is a newer section of the resort and we were going to try our hardest to get into one of those rooms! So I followed this tiny little manager man around (who I swear was wearing makeup) and who was probably the most uncheerful Thai person I had met thus far on the trip. He reluctantly let us take the furthest room away in the new section, told us he couldn't put a baby cot in the room and that he really should charge us another 1000 bhat per night for the room, but he didn't, and we were happy as the room was a million times better and had a great back porch with a semi-ocean view where we could chill out while Zavian napped. Some pics of the resort.

How often do you see a sign like this?
Or this one?

Also, we arrived just in time for toad mating season. We, amongst the other hotel guests, were astounded by the extremely loud croaking that began for 2 nights around dusk. We had never heard such a sound, and there were thousands. Here's a pic of a little one that crossed our path.

Our time here was very relaxed. Maybe too relaxed as after a while we started to get a little bored. Perhaps 3 nights would have been sufficient in Phi Phi. Can't complain too much though! We did some crab searching at low tide, enjoyed gorgeous sunsets from their Sunset Bar, swam and just chilled out.

Delicious meals on the beach at Jasmin.

Our big adventure was a early morning longtail boat ride to Phi Phi Ley, to check out some of the amazing beauty, and of course The Beach. IMG_2123.jpg
Viking Caves where you can find bird's nests for bird's nest soup! See the bamboo scaffolding they climb.
Phi Phi Lagoon, or "Blue Lagoon." The most stunning and serene spot. We were the only boat inside.
Maya Beach, The Beach, was pretty, but if you arrive after 10 AM is packed with tourists. It is a pretty beach, but there is an extra set of cliffs the moviemakers added to the background, to make it look like a lagoon, which it really isn't. We learned that the residents were really upset after the making of the film, because of some damage to the beaches by all their boats and equipment, but the tsunami later wiped it all out and actually restored the land back to its original beauty. No Leonardo at the beach, to my dismay!

Tonsai Bay, where we did our baby shopping.

And take a look at the teeth progression. First in Italy, second in Thailand!

Posted by jknazef 23:50 Archived in Thailand Tagged beach the thailand phi maya Comments (0)

Thailand - The Bustling Land of Smiles

Welcome to Bangkok

sunny 33 °C

We arrived in Bangkok on the 3rd of August. The flight was long, with a stopover in London, but BA's air cot for Zavian really made a difference. This was the first time we had the chance to use one. It was kind of like a car seat and he slept for a good portion of the flight and Naim and I were able to eat, sleep and even watch a film, which felt like an incredible luxury.


The Bangkok airport was quite impressive, really new and modern. They zipped us through passport control in the baby line and we went to collect our bags. Of course, something had to be missing! This time it was Zavian's stroller, but they assured us it was on the same flight tomorrow, so we would just make do with the baby carrier until then. Bangkok was hot. I think each place we go to is progressively hotter. But not only is it hot here, but incredibly humid. I was hoping Zavian would be able to cope with this for a couple weeks. The poor fella has already been dealing with his first tooth the past week. Check it out, although you have to look very closely!


We hopped into one of many hot pink taxis lined up and headed towards the hotel. Zavian had a little sleep as we sat in standstill traffic for what should have been a 35 minute ride (probably at least double that). We highly recommend the SkyTrain (their elevated rapid transit system for general travel around Bangkok as traffic is a huge problem. Taxis are cheap but it take up to 3 times as long during working hours to get anywhere.)

We arrived at the Sukhumvit Radission Suites, which was a new hotel in the popular area of Sukhumvit Road. It was shiny, sleek and really comfy (and super airconed). Exactly the type of place you want to be in when you have been on a long flight, are super sweaty and have a baby literally glued to your torso in the baby carrier. We rested, cleaned up and then ventured out for dinner.

The Radisson

Street food is everywhere, and although some can seem dodgy, a lot of it is fine and really yummy. Our first taste of Thailand of course had to be street food, so we each had a satay skewer on our way to the dinner. It was great and no repurcussions the next day. Yippee! We ate around the corner at a place called Suk 11. It was Biggy' s recommendation to us (the conceirge). He was on the larger side for a Thai person, so maybe that's why he is called that? :) Suk 11 is actually a hostel, but with a cool outdoor restaurant and backpacker vibe to it. It was pretty happening that evening.

Bangkok streets are busy. Like any major city, it never sleeps. There is the constant buzz of cars, motorcyles and tuk tuks, music from some restaurant, bar or club, street vendors for food, clothes, anything you could want. However, there is not a lot of car horn honking and the streets are generally pretty clean, which I was pleasantly surprised about. There are massage parlors every few feet and lots of people constantly asking you if you want a taxi, tuk tuk, massage and goodness knows what else! You never have to go far to find food, the street vendors making all sorts of interesting delights for pennies, lots of restaurants, little no name spots with plastic chairs and tables. There are mini camper vans that are actually bars and they pull over, throw out a few folding chairs, have music and lights and voila! Instant bar.


The Sky Train

Oh, and about Thailand being called the Land of Smiles. Well, it is absolutely true! Thai people always give you a big smile, whether it is for happiness, embarassment, disappointing news or anything else! The smile is considered the most appropriate reaction to any possible situation. What the smile means depends on the 'type' being used - out of a possible 13 they have in their language! You really do notice it as a visitor.

Zavian however got the most smiles. Thai people adore babies. The Greeks and Italians really like babies, but the Thais take it to a whole new level. Women, men, taxis drivers, vendors, even groups of men, no one hesitates to stop to talk to Zavian, to touch him, ask to hold him and a few even kissed him! One woman actually stopped traffic in the middle of the street market to play with him, tickle his feet and pinch his cheeks. She then ran into us on our way out of the market and did it again. Zavian could be Thai himself, as he smiles constantly, and that only invites more attention. He can't help but smile, even when he's crying. He will stop crying if a stranger comes up to smile at him, and then when they go, he just goes back to whining like nothing happened. It's hilarious. The only down side to their love of children, is that even if Zavian was sleeping, they would go up and touch or talk to him. They don't seem to mind waking a sleeping baby, but as a new mum, I kind of minded that sometimes. Every moment of peace counts! Oh well, it was always with good intentions and Zavian generally went back to sleep. Here is is asleep on a tuk tuk with me.


Posted by jknazef 22:31 Archived in Thailand Tagged thailand bangkok Comments (1)

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