New Day New Island – Koh Phi Phi

New Island 1

Leaving Krabi, we hopped on a ferry destined for the beautiful Phi Phi Islands. Hot as usual, I struggled sitting on the reflective white deck for 40min’s before we took off, but once we started moving, the cool breeze was great!

New Island 2

New island 3

New Island 4

The ride was somewhere around 2 hours, with cheap Singer’s being sold in the hot sun along the journey. Arriving at Phi Phi we were greeted with the 20 baht per person, keep the island clean fee (i’ll comment another day), and as soon as we got there, a long boat was called to escort us to our resort (We were now at the flash stage of the holiday).

New Island 5

New Island 6

New Island 7

New Island 8


Do the shopping cart???



Boat Tour Thailand

boat trip

For one of our days staying in Krabi, we booked a day trip out to some of the smaller islands. Heading out via longboat, we had three main stops – one for snorkling, one for lunch and one for a few hours swimming.


boat trip 1

boat trip 2

boat trip 3


One thing that became apparent in Thailand, starting with this trip, was the struggle the country appears to have with litter/rubbish, and dealing with it.

Each of the stops was beautiful, and away from the mainland, relatively free of rubbish. However, stopping at the lunch spot, walking on the beach, I could smell the familiar scent of ash/burnt goods. At the back of the small beach area, it was clear that all rubbish on the island just gets piled up and burnt. Relatively small stuff, but I’ll touch on it again in future posts where the issue was more obvious.

Anyway… Landing at the final beach and being left for the rest of the afternoon I went for a bit of a stroll. Thailand was hit by a nasty tsunami in 2004. This beach paradise, like many other places was hit, with old wreckage sitting in the bush as a reminder.

boat trip 5

boat trip 6


boat trip 8

With the Thai authorities estimating that at least 8,150 are likely to have died, the bits of boats and other things around the coastal areas serve as a reminder, and sorts of shrines to remind us of the loss.

From Krabi and back on a boat tomorrow!


The Monkeys of Krabi

Monkeys on Sand

Up to this point of the holiday I had not seen any ‘in the wild’ monkeys. I did see a number of pet/trick/show monkeys both in Bangkok and Chiang Mai – but I don’t overly like seeing them chained or roped up as they were in these areas.

Walking around the township I came across this statue:

Drinking Monkeys

A fairly good clue that there might be monkeys around. After talking to one of our hosts, they also recommended we visit ‘the end of the beach’ around lunch or sundown time – the monkeys get fed during those times, no doubt for tourism. We can look at that in two lights – one, its teaching them to eat bad food, and get poor behaviours (more about that in a moment). I guess on the other hand, the monkeys are being opportunistic – good on them…

Walking to the end of the beach, several families appeared.

Dont Feed

Tree Monkeys 2


Tree Monkeys 3

Tree Monkeys


Watching with amusement, I went and grabbed the other half so she could see them also. No sooner had we arrived back, and the monkeys came down to the beach. This is where the bad behaviour comes in. The opportunistic little monkeys, knowing people come to see them, and often feed them, will run and snatch bags looking for tasty treats. Suddenly one of the little ones ran up to us, grabbed our bag with locally made biscuits (I had wanted to see how they compare), threw away all the uninteresting food (including pineapple) and started snatching the cookies off each other (look closely at the first image for the cookie in mouth).

Monkeys on Sand 2

Monkeys on sand 3


More tomorrow (but not awesome monkeys).

Krabi Seaside

Krabi Boats

Saying farewell to Chiang Mai and the Northern region of Thailand, we boarded an early morning plane and flew to the west coast, southern side of Thailand – aimed for Krabi (the seaside part of it). Landing in Phuket, and hopping on a transfer coach for several hours, we arrived at out destination. After a short unpacking, it was time to take a bit of a walk around the beach for a look.

What a change in environment. It was busy, but much less busy. Far less taxis and tuk tuks offering rides. And sea! – something I always love being near and take for granted back here in Auckland New Zealand. Sitting down for a drink, we watched the longboats struggling to get out at low time, and zooming around as the tide came up.

The area we stayed at had two beach areas – one, were were told was not really ideal to go to at night (well, he actually said keep away from thee at night). The other  good all night long. Walking around both in the day, one looked less touristy, more local. The beach on that side wasn’t as nice as the other side either. Todays shots are all from the ‘tourist’ side.

Krabi Beach 2 Krabi Beach Krabi Boats 2 Krabi Sea


More of the Krabi area tomorrow!



Farewell Shots from Chiang Mai

The Olden Days Taxi

A lot of the rest of my time whilst up in Chiang Mai was spent wandering the streets,looking at ‘things’ – the buildings, the people, the tourists, the history.

Here’s a bit of a random pick of shots to view.

Tomorrow, its down south.

Chiang Mai Wall

Green Budda

Outside the Wall

Rat Army

Stairs to the Mountian Temple

Want a Ride?

Tuk tuk?


The 99th ANZAC Year

99th Year

Today marks the 99th ANZAC day anniversary. Its a day where New Zealanders and Australians respect and remember those who have fallen in battle/war, giving up their lives, so we could live ours. The date itself marks the anniversary of the landing of New Zealand and Australian soldiers – the Anzacs – on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915.

Ive attended the dawn service for ANZAC day in my home town for years now. I think as I age each year, the day feels like it means more to me. Unlike many other public holidays that celebrate something, this one is more emotional. No one celebrates those who fall in war. We remember them. Giving ones life is the ultimate sacrifice.

When the First World War hit, New Zealand had a population of just over one million. About 120,000 of our men enlisted and went to battle. Of that 120,000 almost half were casualties of war – be it wounded or killed. Many never returned, and remain in the various unmarked graves around the battle fields of the world. For such a small population, we took a big hit.

Attending the service this morning, I walked away reflective and with a sense of emotion remembering the fallen.

I also walked away a little angry and offended. Why? – technology. A number (a very small percentage – but noticeable enough) of people either took phone calls, or failed to silence ringing phones once the service begun. A number (same percentage comment again) of children/young adults were permitted by their parents to play their digital device (pick your favourite), and play it with sound even. Im not quite at the stage of being a grumpy old man (grumpy young man?), but seriously, I found it really disrespectful. The closest example I could give is someone using their phone or playing games when one attends a funeral service – thats never ok.

Said people aside, it was a great and well attended ceremony. Being essentially a 5am start, New Zealand (and other places) holds a number of ceremonies at different times, and in all main cities, towns and suburbs. Next year marks 100 years. Its going to be big. I just hope people bring along their respect.

Back to more Thailand tomorrow!

Lest We Forget

The Golden Triangle

The Three Countries

Heading North, the Golden Triangle, we reached the edge of Thailand. Looking out across the narrow straight of water the two neighbouring countries of Myanmar and Laos could be seen. Off far away in the distant centre was also China. Laying on the waters edge of the other two were several very large Casinos. I’m told they are very popular, and people in China take a long all day boat trip to visit them. Boats raced up and down the straight. I wondered how they really police it from an immigration perspective.

Map of 4

Looking from a highpoint above, we saw a small centre island between the countries. Im sure it belongs to someone, but we were told how it was, long ago, a popular trading point for poppy’s (opium).

We then headed over to the road boarder to Myanmar (I think it was that way). The line to get across was massive. Stocks of mostly water came trundling in via bike – some quite comical the load and size. The one in the below image getting the shakes as it rode past. A popular market area for Thai I’m told. I did notice a markedly lower number of tourists.

At the Boarder

On the Road Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai Transport

Compare to New Zealand, the one biggest difference on the road is the motorbikes/scooters. At home, I’m lucky to see 2-3 other bikes on my commute to work. In Thailand, scooters are absolutely everywhere. Helmets, as far as I understand, are strongly recommended, but not compulsory (Actually, I’m not sure about licences for bikes either as I was told I can hire one even without a car licence…). As we headed north on the main highway, I watched out the window as we passed scooter after scooter, sometimes transporting a family of 4 and 5 to work. The speeds for no helmets and multiple passengers, sometimes side saddling was astonishing and on reflection a bit of an eye opener of how safe I am (when at times I feel like I am fighting against our local health and safety ‘rules’).

Hot Springs 2

Entering the Chiang Rai district, we stopped for a local coffee at the highest hot spring in Thailand. Local ladies were boiling and selling hot spring eggs. Turning off the main road was a tall spring (behind the above image). “its just a fake one” our guide announced. Sure enough, I get out of the van and can hear the petrol driven pump shooting the spring up into the air. Amusing if nothing else. I wandered towards the boiling egg part. I think this was a real spring. No pump to be heard anyway.

Hot Springs 3

Walking behind the sign of the above image was a set of stairs. It looked like it went into further spring pools, but was either abandoned, or turned off? – I was the only one looking that far anyway.

As we left we passed this amazing looking building, almost complete

Hot Springs1

Now, to the untrained tourist eye (me), it looked like a new temple. I asked the guide what it was? “Oh, it was going to be a luxury sauna for the tourists. The locals protested it would take all the water and they were not allowed to continue”. I guess its just going to sit abandoned, almost finished. You’d be kicking yourself for not getting the tick from the local community before sinking money into that!

Off down the road we headed for the boarder. Thats tomorrow.

Chiang Rai

Wat Rong Khun – The White Temple Thailand

White Temple

A bit of a large photo post for one place I visited for today – Wat Rong Khun – the White Temple of Thailand found in the Chiang Rai provence. Designed by famous artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, Wat Rong Khun is a piece of architectural beauty. Building starting in 1997, the wider temple grounds are still being worked on to this day, although the temple itself is all finished aside from ongoing maintenance to keep it shining in the surrounding landscape.

White temple entry 4

Approaching the entryway we are welcomed by some ‘tree spirits’ reminding us that no whisky (drinking) is allowed within the temple grounds, and also no smoking. The whisky tree shows images of people with ugly distorted faces, acting like monsters (basically really drunk people), and the smoking one shows people with poor, early aged complexion. There is also the Predator. I don’t expect his type are welcomed either.

White temple entry 2White temple entryWhite temple entry 5


Here is the cardboard version of Chalermchai Kositpipat

White temple entry 3

Ringing a big bell, we enter onto the temple grounds and towards the temple. It really is an amazing piece of work (and functioning temple). Im reminded that no photos can be taken inside (Im sure you will find someone who’s been disrespectful if you google for it), but up to the door is fine. Carp swim in the small moat surrounding.

Inside the white temple 1

Looking from the side, you can see a bridge one ascends to the temple. on the right, at the bottom the gleaming white is a dirty brown. Thats not lack of maintenance, its the spirits/beings whom are not pure enough to make it up.

Inside the white temple 2

We were instructed not to hang around the entry to the bridge posing for photos. One, it blocks traffic flow. Two, its not particularly good to hang around all these arms trying to pull you into the sludge/mud as you try to ascend to the temple. I grabbed a shot as we walked over.

Inside the white temple 3

Inside the temple (no cameras) was a mix of traditional and artwork. The artwork was interesting as it showed all manner of things that were ‘bad’ – wars, guns, superheroes, someone that looked like Michael Jackson from thriller etc. etc. that was all looking back in the direction of the bridge. Looking forward it was more colourful and peaceful.

I then visited the good luck well and walked through some of the walkways with hanging offering tab things (their correct name escapes me for now)

outside white temple 2 outside white temple1

And came across a tree with some more recognisable characters. I was told they were not all bad, but their spirits were corrupted or troubled and would never be pure. Bat Man, Hell Boy – makes sense. A few more nasty heads there too.

Outside white temple 3

Behind that tree was what must be one of the most impressive looking toilets in the country

white temple toilet

An that concludes my visit to the White Temple. Tomorrow we will continue with a look around some more of the Northern edge of Thailand.

white temple cones

(wish all road cones looked like this!)


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