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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Thailand

People have been bugging me for an update on this blog so here it is...

Unfortunately it has f-all to do with poker, so all those looking for bad beat stories can stop reading now!


I just got back from a long break in Thailand, what an incredible country. I've never been outside Europe before so you can imagine its a bit of a shock to the system when the plane touches down in Bangkok. Total culture shock, its just so different than our little Emerald Isle!

Anyway, six of us left Ireland on Aug. 19, and got into Bangkok on the 20th, via London and Qatar. We didnt hang around Bangkok for too long, only stayed one night for obvious reasons... So armed with little more than our backpacks, we headed for 'the islands'.

We started off in Ko Samui, and stayed there for a few days. The nightlife here was great, and the beaches were just what I was after. Lovely sandy beaches with that greenish water that you just have to swim in!

The plan was to head north to a much smaller island, Ko Tao, and do scuba diving. Unfortunately we missed the only ferry due to a bad hangover, so we could only go halfway to Ko Phangan. This island is famous worldwide for hosting the biggest full-moon party. I think this is the biggest beach party in the world, and attracts over 20,000 every month. We had planned on going here for Septembers full moon on the 7th, so we didnt mind having to stay a night here. As we checked into our hotel, we were told that the black moon party was on that night! Of all the nights to 'accidentally' be on the island!

The black moon is pretty self explanatory, its the opposite to the full moon! We made our way down to the beach, and were greeted by about 5000 ravers with neon everywhere! Had my first taste of the infamous Thailand 'buckets', full of vodka and red-bull, only the red-bull is different to what we get at home in that its laced with amphetimines... Suffuce is to say my memory got a little hazy after bucket number three!

With sore heads we pulled ourselves out of bed at 9am to catch the boat to Ko Tao, and get back on track. We made it over to this tiny island for some well deserved scuba diving and detox! This is a much more relaxed island, which centres mainly around scuba diving and boat tours. There wasn't much of a nightlife here, but it gave us a well deserved break from the madness of the previous week! We stayed here for about 3 days and spent our time scuba diving and relaxing. Although we did go quad biking around the island aswell so it wasn't all chilled out!

We left Ko Tao, and headed back to Samui to catch a plane to the other side of Thailand, to the well known Phuket. 'Welcome to the dark side....' We met up with a few friends here who had just arrived over from Ireland. They were dying to go out and 'see Thailand', so we went into the town centre to get dinner. I dont think we had prepared ourselves for what was in store... Without going into too much detail, lets just say any stories you have heard about Phuket are probably true!

So we stayed in Phuket for a few days, doing Jet-skiing among other things, before heading to the paradise island of Phi Phi. This was about an hour boat journey from Phuket, and was one of the worst hit parts of Thailand by the tsunami in 2004. 70% of the population was wiped out of this tiny island, and we weren't sure what to expect. Fortunately, it seems as if the island has recovered well, and there wasn't much trace of any damage, with the buildings all appearing to be pretty new. Still though, seeing this sign is enough to scare you a little! A tsunami evacuation procedure sign in your hotel room...

Phi Phi is an amazing island. Theres only 700 people living on it, and with only 5 or 6 hotels, this only rises to about 1500 with tourists included. It was a really secluded paradise, so its no surprise that it was where the famous film 'the beach' was set. We actually rented a longboat out to the actual island where 'the beach' was filmed. Its a huge uninhabitated rock in the ocean called Phi Phi Lay, about 2 or 3 miles from Phi Phi. Its literally just huge cliffs going straight up out of the sea, but as you go round to the side, the sea actually cuts in and forms a beach. Heres a photo from the beach showing the only entrance. Absolutely amazing!

We did this trip twice in the longboats, and went to 'monkey island', where monkeys live wild, but are so used to tourists that they will eat the food out of your hand! We also did cliff diving, snorkelling but mostly just sat back and enjoyed the views. These 'sunset cruises' lasted about six hours, and you have your own boat so you just tell the guy where to go and he'll take you.

We were on Phi Phi for the 'half-moon' party, which was only small enough but definitely worth it! Set right on the beach, with fire jugglers and a decent DJ, made for a great night, and of course the infamous buckets were on offer! I decided to give these another go, after almost losing my mind at the black moon.... well the next thing I remember was swimming in the sea with a load of English and Israelis at four in the morning! STAY AWAY FROM THE BUCKETS!

Three of the lads went home after Phi Phi, two weeks being the most time they could take off work. This is the main reason we travelled so much the first two weeks, just so we could get everything in for these lads. I had managed to get the extra week off work, and although it meant having to fly home on my own, I think it was definitely worth it! The rest of the group were staying for the full month, and are coming home this Sunday, Sept.17.

So after a hectic first two weeks we had decided to stay in the same place for the last week. Seeing as my last night would be Thursday, the night of the full moon party in Ko Phangan, we said we may aswell head over on Sunday and stay for the full week.

We couldnt make it from Phi Phi to Ko Phangan in one day, so we stopped off in Phuket for one night. This gave us enough time to go to a firing range which I thought was great! Whats not fun about firing a shotgun!!

Anyway, after another night out in the madhouse that is Phuket, we got back on a plane back to Ko Samui on Monday morning, and from there got a boat to Ko Phangan. The full moon party is the biggest night in Thailand every month, and Ko Phangan is where the biggest beach party is. So as you can imagine, there was a LOT of people heading that way! It was a bit of hassle to get a hotel but eventually we got some bungalows right down at the beach.

As I said, my last night was the full moon party on Thursday, and with only 4 days left of my three week holiday, I was planning on enjoying myself! In the week running up the the full moon, there is always 'warm-up' parties, so in other words the beach is packed every night and steadily increasing until finally the madness of Thursday finally arrives!


You cant really describe the full moon properly unless you've been there. All the clubs open out onto a beach, which is about 1k long. At one end you have 'mushroom mountain', so called for obvious reasons... At the other, you have an open air club, and in the middle, you have over 20,000 screaming lunatics, most with buckets in each hand! It was an amazing night and the perfect way to finish the holiday.

So Friday morning I packed my stuff and said goodbye to my remaining friends who were staying on. As I left I stopped to think what lay ahead of me. A taxi, then a boat, then a taxi, then a plane, then a taxi, then three more planes, then drive home from the airport.... on my own.... ugh

Well theres no point giving out about it, just grin and bear it! So I jumped in a taxi to the port, and got the boat over to Ko Samui. Once there I got a taxi to the airport for my flight to Bangkok. My flights home were not until Saturday morning, but I had to leave Ko Phangan on Friday or I wouldnt make it to Bangkok on time. It meant having to stay overnight in Bangkok but that didnt bother me.

Luckily I got talking to two English girls in Samui airport who just happened to be on the same flights as me all the way back to London! So I had someone to talk to on the flight to Bangkok, and we went out for a few drinks that night. Much better than having to travel alone! We parted company in London, and I headed to get my flight to Dublin. It was delayed an hour (well done aer lingus...), and when I finally arrived they had lost my baggage!! I got this back eventually, but it was very annoying at the time...

So thats it. For all of you that actually read this far I hope Ive made Thailand sound good, because it really is an amazing place!

Next post should be back to normal, hopefully a big win in poker!

gl

Comments:
it is indeed an amazing place. i had to get a bloody night bus back up to bangkok instead of a plane!!
 
Yeh I had that option but I thought Id be better off just getting the plane. I heard those buses were a bit dodgy!
 
Cool blog. I'm thinking of heading there sometime next year.

You with a shotgun is just well scary dude!

DeV.
 
Suspiciously sketchy on Phuket info! I hope that if you Phukt it, it was a Phuk-her not a Phuk-he!

Heehee, glad you enjoyed.
 
cheers lads,

oh and dont worry KP.. I 'checked preflop'....
 
hahaha... nice one rory.

thailand is sick... but laos and cambodia are better I think, you should have gone there- but I guess you didnt have much time.. ;)

Did you score many ladies in thailand?? I remember I spent the majority of the FMP in my cabin and I wasnt sleeping! ;)

and another thing... checking preflop, is all very well, but I dont know why you got dealt a hand???

Maybe you had one two many buckets? :P
 
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