KLONG CHAO WATERFALL – KOH KUT………………

As is customary, I have hired a scooter for a few days to look around this amazing island of Koh Kood; yesterday I rode to the Klong Chao waterfall in the middle of the island……….today I will ride to the beaches on the south west of the island and then across to the fishing village at Ao Yai on the east coast………….

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KOH KOOD (KUT)………………

I am now on the truly beautiful island of Koh Kood, sometimes known as Koh Kut…………..it is so quiet and chilled, this must be one of the few Thai islands to have retained this degree of tranquillity; it really is heavenly…………I am staying in a beautiful hotel “Horizon Resort” that is built on a rocky headland overlooking a magnificent bay…….it consists of just 20 detached bungalows, scattered around the huge grounds……………all photos in this post are taken from the hotel

 

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Above and below……….early morning view from the balcony of my bungalow

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Above……….my bungalow, centre………….

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Above, top right, the hotel restaurant where you enjoy breakfast and any other meals that you choose to……………

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Above and below……….views in different directions from the restaurant……………..

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Above………table No 6, my chosen table for lunch yesterday; just waiting for somtum jae and a freezing glass of white wine to be plonked on its surface…………..ekekekekeke

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Above………taken using the “Panorama” feature of my camera………which I am not a great fan of, but it does offer a sense of perspective to the wonderfully  huge bay……….

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Above and below…………my private bathing and swimming platform………….oh, stop it will you, seriously, stop it !!!!!

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Above……………..not sure what he is, but he stands on a rock near my bathing platform every afternoon………….and below, the hotel’s massage room………..full one hour oil massage 400 Baht (£7.65)   …………….. and she is excellent………..

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oooops………nearly forgot, one aspect of the headland on which the hotel is built faces west, so we get to view the sunset everyday……………….

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TRAT TO KOH KOOD…………….

On Sunday I took the ferry from Laem Sok Pier, near Trat to the island of Koh Kood, sometimes referred to as Koh Kut; I used a company called KohKut Express, and they provide a pick-up service from your hotel in Trat, which takes about 30 minutes, to the pier for the 12.30 sailing, which takes 90 minutes…………….. the pick-up is by a Songthaew, which is a pick-up truck with 2 bench seats in the back, and is a very common form of “taxi’ in Thailand…………the company provides a shuttle from the landing stage in Koh Kood to your hotel on the island and both of these services are included in the price of your ferry ticket, which at 350 Baht (£6.80) is very good value for an excellent service……………

This caveat is mainly for the benefit of Malcolm and Linda, who will be using this company to go to Koh Kood in January; when you book with KohKut Express, the ticket informs you that if you require a pick up from an hotel in Trat, you must call them on a provided number between 10.45 and 11.15, to confirm the location of your pick-up, which will be circa 11.30……..fine, I bought a Thai SIM for my iPhone on arrival at BKK airport, which is 0066(0)813532796………in case anyone needs it, so to play it safe, I called the number at 10.10 and got through to a voice mail, fine, I thought, I will try again at 10.45 as instructed; ten minutes later at 10.20, I opened my hotel room door in response to a knock, to find the pick-up driver there………fortunately I had taken both breakfast and a shower and was more or less ready; I indicated a couple of minutes to him and his body language replied “no problem”………but you would not want to find yourself in this situation still needing half an hour to get ready……………

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In the Songthaew on the way to Laem Sok pier……………..

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Above………..the pier at Laem Sok; many places in Thailand have very shallow water, with a gentle slope into the sea for hundreds of metres …………..Laem Sok is no exception, which has necessitated the pier to be built at more than 500 metres in length, to accommodate the draught (depth between waterline and bottom of hull) of any reasonably sized vessel, but, don’t worry they shuttle you to the end of the pier by Songthaew…… …………..it is the reason that you see “long-tail” boats everywhere in Thailand, allowing them to operate in very shallow water………….

 

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Above………ferry ticket that you receive at Laem Sok in exchange for your online booking (below)

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Above ………….the modern ferry from Laem Sok to Koh Kut, and below the 126 seat cabin complete with fans, life-jackets and a toilet at the rear…………..

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BANGKOK TO TRAT

I have just traveled from Bangkok to Trat to stay overnight before taking the ferry to Koh Kood, or Koh Kut as it sometimes called; I made the journey by bus using Chrodchai Tour, a company that operates from Bangkok’s eastern bus terminal (Ekkami) to the bus terminal in Trat…….. Ekkami bus station is situated 50 metres from Ekkami Skytrain station so it is very easy to get to.

The bus had comfortable seats, air-con, an on-board toilet which was clean and disinfected, and the one-way ticket cost 265 Baht (£5.00) which I booked a day in advance by going to the bus station, which I believe is the only way to buy an advance ticket…….. because I was staying overnight in Trat, I was not under any time-frame pressure, as a consequence of which I booked the 11.30 bus, which was not full………

The bus left at 11.40 and we made 8 pick-up stops on the way, and somewhere in the twenties, I lost count of the number of drop-offs; but despite making more stops than the H37 from Hounslow bus garage to Peckham Rye, we arrived at Trat exactly five and a half hours later……..

On several previous occasions, I have used a mini van service from Ekkami on my way to Koh Chang; their drivers (all of them) drive like demented, partially sighted ambulance drivers on an emergency call, only to then stop for half an hour at a petrol station with a large store where you are supposed to shop, in return for which the driver receives some form of commission, a free lunch or whatever (when all you want to do is stop for five minutes to point percy at the porcelain)……….. so if you are just going to Trat and don’t need to catch an early ferry to Koh Chang, this bus does not take much longer, is very comfortable and you negate the ordeal of putting your life into the hands of some incredulous, maniacal, wannabe Tornado pilot…………
I had pre-booked 1 night at the SA hotel in Trat and I arrived there at 17.30 where I found the most unfriendly welcome that I have ever received in extensive travels in south east Asia; at the reception desk I offered my well practised “Sawadee Krub” accompanied by a friendly smile, when the receptionist finally turned to look at me, she gave me the kind of stare that I think has only ever been witnessed before by serial killers, peadophiles or traffic wardens, and having been none of these, I at least discovered a new experience……….she did not utter a single word, she just looked at my printed reservation and slammed the key for room 511 down on the counter…………..as for the Hotel, it does what it says on the tin; most people only stay for one night, using Trat as a springboard for a visit to Koh Kood or Koh Mak the following day………..the room was large and clean as was the bathroom and the new (2011) air-con unit worked quietly and efficiently, so for 500 Baht (£9.50) it suited. The hotel is well situated very near the centre of Trat and a short walk to the wonderful night market, where I went in the evening ………….hundreds of stalls bursting with colour and vibrancy accompanied by the usual cacophony of banter, as locals negotiated for the mostly takeaway food of all descriptions; the market opens up over to one side with stalls that have tables and chairs, where I sat and ate some wonderfully delicious and cheap food, pak boong fai dang (morning glory) and kapow gai sap (chicken chop chop)………….. and drank a nice cold bottle of Chang beer………..

 

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Above……….Ekkami bus station in the Eastern suburbs of Bangkok………and below, my air-con bus to Trat……..

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When I arrived in Trat, there was a great storm raging and some beautiful sunshine……….and you all know the consequences of that combination……

 

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Above and below, the night market in Trat…………

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Above, I spotted this lovely little bottom, well yes, two actually, but the one I’m referring to belongs to the little dog and is protruding from the floor-pan of the scooter……………

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Above and below, this is him the little scallywag……….I shall never forgive him, he completely distracted me from the other lovely little bottom…………ekekekekekeke

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Above………the food stall in the night market where I decided to eat……….and below, dinner and a cold bottle of Chang…………..the good decision making is on a roll……..

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Back On The Road Again

Well, here I am back in Bangkok, the capital city of La La Land, after the usual tedium that is the customary accompaniment for any 12 hour flight; the tedium amplified this time by an early morning email from British Airways, informing me that my 15.40 flight had beed delayed until 19.00, but requesting me to arrive at terminal 5 at the original time because they would endeavour to bring the delay forward………….at 19.37 the big bird trundled down runway 2 into the prevailing west wind, weighed down by a full payload of passengers, luggage and aviation fuel; and after what seemed an eternity, we rose slowly from the tarmac and started to bank into a 180 degree turn as we climbed towards cruising altitude and headed due east……………….next time someone tells me they love flying, I will apply to have them sectioned under the mental health act.

Yesterday afternoon after I had checked into my hotel, I took a walk to the local Kasikorn bank to pay some cash into my Thai bank account and have a quick look around the shops………….this only involved a 10 minute walk, but it is 32 degrees celsius here and until you acclimatise, the high humidity is a killer, so by the time that I reached the air-conditioned sanctuary of the Siam Paragon shopping mall, I was sweating like a footballer taking a spelling test…………

Today I have been to Ekkami bus station to book a ticket for the 5 hour journey to Trat tomorrow, where I will stay for one night before taking a ferry to the island of Koh Kood…………..

Today I used the BTS Skytrain to go to Ekkami and then back to the Siam Paragon shopping mall………..it is not a huge network covering all of Bangkok, but it has been very cleverly designed to go to a lot of essential locations, like bus terminals and land based train stations (oh, and all the best shopping Mall’s………..heheheheeh)

I have friends on Facebook that do not follow my blog and friends that follow my blog that are not on Facebook, so this is a one-off apology for those of you that will see duplications of posts to both …………

 

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Above…………..the Skytrain walkway, above which is the elevated concrete section that carries the Skytrain track………..and below, my train arriving

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Above and below…………tickets are easy to buy for this wonderfully efficient, air-conditioned service…………….there is an English language button on all machines and if you cannot read English or Thai script, just look over someones shoulder that knows what they are doing………………

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