Fire, Sand & Water.
The island of Koh Tao has been consistently raved about by so many people that I’ve met on my travels that it became a destination to go to based on these reviews. I finally got to go and spend some time there. Not too shabby.
Its known for its diving and its beauty. I tried diving but it turns out I’m just a bad swimmer so didn’t get to do it, which is a shame but its something I can rectify with some practice, some people just can’t do it due to physical problems such a ear problems with the water pressure so at least I’m not doomed forever. I decided not to cry about this and move on, all I could do now was marvel at the beauty of the island, chill out in the wonderful water and party on the beach. Oh the pain.
I don’t know what it is about that island that makes people stay, so many people have been seduced by the island and stayed for way longer then originally planned, i’d met a lot of people who’d said this before I’d got to the island and found it to be very true. It’s like a black hole that just sucks people in and they can’t escape (although I’m guessing its nicer then whatever is in a black hole). It must be the combo of stuff to do and great setting to do it in.
There were also a huge amount of Burmese immigrants working on the islands. There are more Burmese then Thai I’m told which isn’t hard to see when you stroll around Most of them doing the low level jobs. As I’d just come from there I found them interesting to talk too, I must of been one of the only tourists actually having a conversation with them plus Tales of illegal border crossings were cool to listen to.
Another thing Koh Tao is also known for other then diving and being a good looking island is fire dancers, well I’d been told of them by a few people before id got to the island so assumed they are well known. All these guys do is swing a pole or two on fire around at incredibly fast speeds, but its mesmerising, especially when they are good,which is not all of them but some are unbelievably good, like throwing a pole up 10 meters and catching it with your feet. Pretty good.
I stayed merely a week and didn’t get sucked into the Beautiful, laid back lifestyle with great people and great weather. The island way of life is incredibly tempting, maybe some day I’ll be tempted to stay longer, who knows, but for know its time to move on.
Stuck in Bangkok
A week has been spent in the capital of Thailand after leaving Burma, its abit of a shock, no one smiles as much for one and they speak a different language which I realised when I was thanking people in Burmese after I landed which got me some strange looks.
I’ve had to visit the doctors to get a infected cut sorted out which meant staying longer then anticipated. It’s given me a chance to see more of the city and just do soe normal boring stuff like go to the cinema, have a coffee and some cake (which I’m addicted to for some reason), buy a few things I needed and also visit a coupe of the major landmarks. The Grand Palace being the main one.id also forgotten how damn hot this place was, its ridiculously hot and humid. which is of course the best time to visit the grand palace which is crawling with thousands of tourists, not the most pleasant experience but the palace was impressive complex of very well maintained beautiful buildings which would explain the above average entry price (its seems they are putting it to good use). It also with a stricter then normal dresscode (honestly, trousers in THIS weather!). I cant really moan at buddhism as I was reminded Christians demand it as well in Rome/Vatican.
Also getting to see the view at night from 64 floors up at one of the many sky bars with absurd drinks prices was one of the highlights. Absolutely Incredible views which also gives an idea of how vast this city is. Skyscrapers dotted around for miles.
I’ve liked Bangkok more the second time around as I’ve known how to get around the city before arriving which seemed to help a lot. I still don’t know how they live in this heat though.
Bye Bye Burma
Its taken me a week to write this, a week spent in Bangkok.
Burma was an net resting place and also the place I had the highest expectations for as I knew the least about it. Did it meet expectations? Yes and exceeded them.
It’s a country in a state of change so much is going on, the country is opening up and the government changing, you can really feel that the people are excited abut this particularly the changing government part after what they have put the people through. I’m extremely glad I’ve gone now and in low season, going to sites and being the only tourists is ne of the coolest things ive done so far and probably wnt experience that too often in the well trampled path that is South East Asia. Even though it presented challenges (such as Bagan’s heat) it was worth the effort, meeting the people of the country was an incredible revelation and really the highlight, they invited us for drinks in their homes, paid for my lunch with out asking, helped me and fellow travellers out to such an extent it left me shocked and surprised at times. Unbelievable generosity all done with never ending smiles, they seem very happy to see tourists. That won’t last too much longer I imagine, tourism will bring with it a host of opportunities that will inevitably change the way people see tourists, it’s happened to all of its neighbours, it’s just a matter of time.
Most of the people I travelled with said it will be interesting to return to the country in a few years time, which it would. With elections come up in 2015 that could potentially mean the end of the current government I could mean dramatic change if democracy comes to town. The future of the country is something I will be following.
So should you go now? It’s a funny predicament, part of the reason I loved the country so much was the lack of tourists (as I sit here on a bus full of us in Thailand). It’s not the easiest or the cheapest country around these parts (accommodation isn’t cheap, travel is long, services basic). Its been in a bubble of its own for quite some time and its opening up at an extremely fast pace, so like all the information I read before going telling me that now is the time to go and after experiencing the country first hand That’s exactly what I’ll say.
Now is the time to go.
Dont look Down.
Gokeik Viaduct, Myanmar.