A Travellerspoint blog

Phuket, Koh Lanta and Railay, Thailand

Climbing, beaches and cocktails.

sunny 26 °C

We returned to Thailand to enjoy some island hopping and beach time. After a quick night in Phuket, we took a morning ferry to the island of Koh Lanta, where we stayed in a resort right on the beach, a first for both of us. We filled both our evenings here with cocktails and dinners on the beach. After chocolate croissants and croque monsieur at a french bakery, we rented a scooter and toured Tiger Cave, which, in the past, housed a tiger that we are told has been darted and transported to Malaysia. On the 45 minute hike through the jungle there and back, our guide pointed out interesting plants and trees, as well as a tree root swing. The cave itself required some crawling and climbing, so it was right up our alley. The rest of our time we spent in the pool and checking out the many beaches on the island.
Nous sommes de retour en Thailande pour un petit tour des plages du coin. Apres un atterissage a Phuket, nous prenons le ferry le lendemain matin pour Koh Lanta. Le Paradise Resort nous attends, avec sa piscine, son acces plage et son restaurant/bar sur la plage. Grand luxe ! Nous y passerons 2 nuits, et profiterons du Morito #1 selon tripadvisor. Apres un petit dejeuner pain au chocolat/croque monsieur/madame, nous prenons un scooter pour faire le (quart de) tour de l'ile. On s'arretera a la cave du Tigre, (speleo niveau debutant), qui hebergeait un ou plusieurs tigres, qui furent deplaces en Malaysie. Le guide ne cessera de nous pointer les plantes et insectes interessants sur le chemin (jungle) entre le parking et la grotte. On profitera egalement d'une balancoire naturelle a base de racines. La petite balade le long du ruisseau, dans la jungle est tres depayisante. Nous retournerons a la piscine/plage/cocktails/couche de soleil pour le reste de notre sejour :)

Mango coladas, mai tais and mojitos!

Mango coladas, mai tais and mojitos!


Tree root swing

Tree root swing


Loic crawling through Tiger Cave

Loic crawling through Tiger Cave


Limestone islands

Limestone islands


Lanta Paradise Resort, right on the beach

Lanta Paradise Resort, right on the beach


Mushrooms

Mushrooms

Our second stop was Railay Beach, a peninsula accessible only by boat due to limestone cliffs that prevent overland travel. This is a beach lovers and rockclimbers paradise. There are over 4000 bolted routes here, many of which overlook the Andaman Sea. Sadly, deep water soloing is not allowed anymore, which Loic was hoping to try, but we did enjoy a morning of top roping on the limestone. Unfortunately, six months without climbing and cheap, painful rental shoes combined to make it a short morning. We did a little hiking and climbing to an overlook, swam at a few of the beaches, and kayaked around the many small limestone islands and through a seacave. We also enjoyed the pool at least once a day. The island was overrun by monkeys that kept us on our guard with our luggage, and we were lucky to see two large monitor lizards during our stay. On our last night in Railay I experienced my first and hopefully last episode of food poisoning (after 6 1/2 months being nausea free!).
Notre seconde etape (3 nuits) sera a Railay, une peninsule isole par des formations de calcaires qui rapelle la baie d'Halong. C'est aussi un paradis pour l'escalade libre, avec 4000 voies equipees, dont certaines surplombe la mer d'Andaman. Magnifique. Nous voulions y faire du "deep water solo" (escalade au dessus de l'eau, sans assurance) mais la Thailande a decide de bannir la pratique quelques mois auparavant. On se rabat sur une demi journee d'escalade, bien appreciee, malgres notre absence de pratique recente :). On partira decouvrir le reste de la peninsule a pied. La "plus belle plage du monde" est effectivement plutot jolie. Un petit tour en kayak nous permet d'apprecier les falaises et leur caves. On profitera aussi de la piscine :). Du cote de la vie animale (et reptile), on aura la chance d'apercevoir deux Varan bigarre. Le sejour se terminera avec un premier (et nous esperons le dernier) episode de problemes intestinaux pour Jill. (Sinon Railay ,c'est super !)

A treacherous, rocky walk to the beach from the longboat

A treacherous, rocky walk to the beach from the longboat

View of the peninsula from the overlook

View of the peninsula from the overlook


The mountain club should plan a trip here!

The mountain club should plan a trip here!


Loic on a warm up climb

Loic on a warm up climb


The climb to the lookout was muddy and offered tree roots and a mud-caked rope

The climb to the lookout was muddy and offered tree roots and a mud-caked rope


Railay beach

Railay beach


Monkeys were everywhere and quick to steal!

Monkeys were everywhere and quick to steal!

Kayaking through a seacave

Kayaking through a seacave


Kayaking on the Andaman Sea

Kayaking on the Andaman Sea


Beautiful walks

Beautiful walks


Beautiful sunsets

Beautiful sunsets


Amazing limestone islands

Amazing limestone islands

We ferry'd back to Phuket where we stayed in Old Phuket town. Our last two days we rented a scooter and googled "best snorkeling beaches." Our first pick, Ao Sane, was a fantastic, tiny beach with plenty of rocks and healthy coral, making for a great snorkeling location. We saw plenty of schools of fish, lavendar starfish, one-eyed Jack's, and plenty of other fish whose names I don't yet know. The beach was not at all crowded and the water temperature was perfect. We loved the beach so much we went again the next day!
Nous reprenons le ferry pour Phuket, ou nous resterons pour 3 nuits. Nous prenons un scooter et passons les deux jours a la place Ao Sane. Parmis les douzaines de plages de Phuket toutes plus belles les unes que les autres, nous penchons pour une petite plaeg calme et isolee. Bon choix, on appreciera le calme et la possibilite d'utilise un masque et tuba pour y observer la faune aquatique. Poissons, coral bleu, etoiles de mers bleues, et pleins d'autres especes sans noms :)

Ao Sane Beach, Phuket

Ao Sane Beach, Phuket

Ao Sane, a small paradise!

Ao Sane, a small paradise!

Lavendar starfish

Lavendar starfish


Old Phuket Town

Old Phuket Town


large_P1050253.jpg
large_P1050278.jpg

large_P1050308.jpg
large_P1050313.jpg
large_P1050335.jpg
large_P1050344.jpg
large_P1050384.jpg

Overall, out of all the southeast Asian countries, we've enjoyed Thailand the best, and hope to return one day for more climbing and beach bumming! Tomorrow, we're off to Malaysia!
Au final, nous adorons la Thailande et esperons y retourner un jour pour profiter de la plage et des spots de grimpe.
Pour l'heure, nosu voici en route pour la Malaysie !

Posted by jillandloic 20:44 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Siem Reap, Cambodia

sunny 30 °C

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

We landed in Siem Reap, Cambodia and were picked up at the airport in the most common mode of transportation for tourists, a tuk tuk. Our main purpose for this visit was to see the famous ancient temples of Angkor Wat. Our first day we decided to use the free (that should have been our first clue) bicycles from our guesthouse, to ride to the park for the popular sunrise at Angkor Wat temple. 4:30 am bike ride in the dark with headlamps. Right before arriving at the ticket office, my chain came off, and Loic managed to fix it, temporarily. He fixed it 3 more times throughout our ride from temple to temple, but eventually we needed a mechanic and a new chain. Luckily, we were directed to a bike mechanic a few kilometers from the last temple we broke down at. His "shop" was little more than a bamboo shelter with a tarp roof, and a small set of tools, but 5 minutes and $2 later, I had a functioning bicycle again! We celebrated our struggle with ice cream, naturally. Since the day started so early, we headed home after our treat and found a hotel with a pool near our guesthouse. Lovely! Nous arrivons a Siem Reap, point d'entree poir le parc archeologique d'Angkor Wat. Le classique tuktuk nous amene a l'hotel. Nous decidons de commencer notre visite d'Angkor Wat au leve du soleil (5-6am), et utilisons des byciclettes pour nous deplacer. Leve a 4:30 pour aller acheter les passes pour l'entree au parc. L'aventure commence vers 5h, a notre arrive au guichet, avec un bris de chaine sur le velo de Jill. Nous le fixons, achetons les billets, et en route vers le temple d'Angkor Wat pour le lever de soleil. Au final on passera la matinee a visiter les temples, avec des incidents de chaines reguliers, jusqu'a 14h, quand le maillon de chaine lachera son dernier soupir. On trouvera fort heureusement un mecano local pour nous reparer tout cela, avant de rentrer a l'hotel. L'a-ven-ture ! On se reposera l'apres midi a la piscine pas loin de l'hotel :)

Our ride from the airport

Our ride from the airport

Sunrise

Sunrise

Beautiful in early morning light

Beautiful in early morning light

Lots of steep stairs- our mothers would not like this!

Lots of steep stairs- our mothers would not like this!

Loic in a long corridor

Loic in a long corridor


View from the top of another temple

View from the top of another temple


Amazing artwork

Amazing artwork

My favorite bike

My favorite bike


Bike repair shop

Bike repair shop

The second day, we wisely opted for a tuk tuk and a later start of 7am. Again, by 11am we were already overheated and ready for the pool again, but we took a lovely scenic route back to town to check out the stilt houses and farms. Some of the quirky things I like about the Cambodians are the gas stations, which often are a stand selling 2 liter coke bottles full of petrol, and locals on scooters, which I've seen piled with as many as 5 people at once! The temples of Angkor Wat were fabulous to see, and they were always surrounded by beautiful jungle and forest. Many had intricate stone carvings and some had gigantic trees and roots systems growing on and through them.
Pour le second jour, on prendra un tuktuk, comme tout le monde :) On debute la journee un peu plus tard (7h), car les temples ouvrent a 7h30. La balade fut beaucoup plus reposante, et a 11h, on rentre a l'hotel (et la piscine) sous le soleil de plomb ! Nous apprecions le retour en tuktuk, avec la traversee de rizieres et de villages. Super mignon. Jill adore les stations essences artisanales (la bouteille de soda utilise comme container d'essence) et les scooters ou s'entasse une famille de 4 a 5 personnes en equilibre. Les temples du complexe d'Angkor Wat sont effectivement magnifiques, la visite vaut le coup. A la difference d'autre pays, ces sites ne sont pas surpeuples de vendeurs a la sauvette, ou exposes a un traffic trop intense. Les temples sont impressionants, et la jungle environnante se rappele au visiteur a chaque arbre gigantesque qui repose son systeme de racines dans les murs de ces temples.

A temple in Angkor Tom

A temple in Angkor Tom


Tree growing out of the temple

Tree growing out of the temple


Ta Prohm, used in the movie Tomb Raider

Ta Prohm, used in the movie Tomb Raider


Roots actually separating the stones

Roots actually separating the stones


Carvings

Carvings


Carvings on a temple

Carvings on a temple


Plenty of stones still lay scattered around

Plenty of stones still lay scattered around

Stilt houses

Stilt houses

Notice 4 people on the middle scooter

Notice 4 people on the middle scooter


Cambodians know how to use a scooter to full capacity!

Cambodians know how to use a scooter to full capacity!


The stand has 2 liter bottles of petrol

The stand has 2 liter bottles of petrol

Just harvested rice plants

Just harvested rice plants


Harvesting rice by hand

Harvesting rice by hand

After two days of temples, we decided to lay low for our last day in Cambodia and just see the town. Tomorrow we return to Thailand for some island hopping!
Pour le troisieme jour, nous nous reposons ( a la piscine). Demain, direction la Thailande (du sud).
Pool (cold water)

Pool (cold water)

Posted by jillandloic 17:39 Archived in Cambodia Comments (1)

Mui Ne

Beach time !

sunny 30 °C

large_IMG_20161205_090546683.jpg

Mui Ne is a touristy town on the southeast coast of Vietnam, where we decided to spend our last few days in Vietnam at the beach. We also met up with the Irish couple we had met earlier for some much needed socializing. We splurged and got a small resort with a pool, and discovered just how much more $35 dollars will buy you, than $20, for the night. The pool was surrounded by a beautiful garden and was frequented by the Hoopoe bird, who amazed me with his retractable mo hawk. We never really made it to the beach either day because of the wind, but enjoyed immensely the serenity of the pool! The area is known for its different colored sands so we visited the red sand dunes and the white sand dunes with the Irish couple, in spite of the rainy weather. Our last day we hiked up the fairy stream (not sure why they call it that), which is also surrounded by white and red sand walls and stalagmites, and ends at a waterfall. In the afternoon we bused back to Ho Chi Minh for our flight to Cambodia. Goodbye Vietnam!
Mui Ne est une ville balneaire tres prisee pour sa plage et ses vents constants. C'est la mecque locale des kite surfeurs. Nous y retrouvons le couple d'Irlandais que nous avons suivi a Sapa, et en profitons pour repartager quelques bieres :). Nous reposons nos corps fatigues dans le luxe d'un complexe hotelier avec piscine. Pour 35$ au lieu de 20$, nous sommes au Paradis :). La piscine est dans un jardin vert et bien entretenu. Nous recevons la visite reguliere d'un oiseau remarquable (le Hoopoe) et de sa chevelure exceptionelle :). Bref au final, nous avons visiter la plage une seule fois, et a la place portons notre attention sur la piscine!. La region est aussi connue pour ses dunes de sables rouges et dunes de sables blancs, que nous visiterons sous la pluie le second jour. Le dernier jour, nous suivons le lit de la rivieres des fees, et ses berges rouges et blanches. Tres joli.
Nous repartons pour HCMC en bus, et demain (6 Decembre) direction le Cambodge

Mui Ne is a major kiteboarding spot due to the constant winds

Mui Ne is a major kiteboarding spot due to the constant winds


Our pool and garden

Our pool and garden

Hoopoe bird

Hoopoe bird

Red sand dunes

Red sand dunes


Whites sand dunes

Whites sand dunes

Waterfall on the fairy stream

Waterfall on the fairy stream

Stalagmites on the fairy stream

Stalagmites on the fairy stream


Fairy stream Red sand

Fairy stream Red sand

Posted by jillandloic 01:59 Archived in Vietnam Comments (1)

Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta

Hot and Humid !

overcast 28 °C

large_A_short_bo.._the_canals.jpg

We landed in southern Vietnam to hot and humid weather. I had a cold, so the first day and a half I stayed home and read, while Loic ventured out to visit the Ho Chi Minh City Museum and a hindu temple. Our first night we went to a really unique show called the AO show, which was a mixture of drumming, dance, acrobatics and stunts. The link below is not the exact story we saw, but gives you an idea of the stunts they did.
Nous atterissons a Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) au sud-Vietnam dans un temps chaud et humide. Jill se repose le premier jour (grippe ?) pendant que Loic va faire un tour rapide du quartier et visite le musee de la ville d'Ho Chi Minh (qui retrace l'histoire de la civilisation Viet dans la region) et un temple Hindu. Nous passons une soiree a l'Opera de Saigon avec "A O Show", une sorte de Cirque du soleil couleur Vietnam. Impressionant. J'etais bouche-bee pendant les 10 premieres minutes ! La video ci dessous reproduit un spectacle similaire pour vous donner une idee de ce que c'est.

Ho Chi Minh palace

Ho Chi Minh palace


Saigon Opera House

Saigon Opera House

On day two we visited the Independence Palace and the War Remnants Museum. We got to see through photographs just how awful the Vietnam War was and the horrible effects of Agent Orange.
Le second jour, nous visitons le palais de l'independance et le musee de la guerre (americaine). Les expositions photographiques montrent les atrocites de la guerre, mas aussi les terribles consequences post-guerre, de l'agent Orange. Nous finirons la matinee dans le plus haut bar de la ville, histoire de profiter de la vue

independance palace

independance palace


Notre Dame cathedral

Notre Dame cathedral


View from Bar

View from Bar

We then took an overnight trip to the Mekong Delta. We were a little disappointed with how touristy it was, but we still enjoyed each of the stops. First stop was a hindu temple with a massive sleeping buddha. On the boat ride, we made stops to small villages to watch how coconut candy and rice noodles are made, and to try fresh honey, getting samples of each in hopes we would buy more. We had a short ride through the narrow waterways of the delta, and floated through a floating market of boats selling crops and produce from their boats. We ate lunch at a local restaurant and wandered through a farm to see how many of the fruits we'd been eating grow. Since the weather called for nothing but more heat, we decided to head to the coast after this tour.
Nous joignons une excursion 2 jours/1 nuit pour le Delta du Mekong. Nous furent au final un peu decus de l'aspect tres "touriste" de ces deux jours, mais toutes les activites furent neamoins interessantes. Le premier arret fut a un temple bouddhiste avec une statue enorme d'un bouddha allonge. Nous sautons alors dans un bateau (40 places) qui nous emmene visiter les 3-4 artisans du coin. Nous apprendrons comment sont fabriques les bonbons a la noix de cocos, les nouilles de riz, le miel local. Visites un peu trop commerciales sur les bords a notre gout :) . Nous experimentons 5 minutes avec une barque et ses rameurs dans une riviere surpeuplee de barques (pour touristes) bleues. Le lendemain nous visitons le marche flottants local (gros bateaux qui vendent les produits en grosses quantite aux petites barques d'acheteurs) puis nous mangeons au restaurant et visitons une ferme d'arboriculture fruitiere.
Une fois de retour a HCMC, nous decidons de partir pour la plage. A nous Mui ne !

Sleeping Buddha

Sleeping Buddha


Hindu temple

Hindu temple


Buddha

Buddha

We really liked the streetlight idea

We really liked the streetlight idea

Wrapping coconut candy

Wrapping coconut candy


Turning rice paper into noodles

Turning rice paper into noodles


Rice paper drying

Rice paper drying

Loic held a beehive

Loic held a beehive


...and a python

...and a python

A short boatride through the canals

A short boatride through the canals

Sellers in the floating market

Sellers in the floating market


Using produce to advertize what's for sale

Using produce to advertize what's for sale


Boats came up to and even hooked onto our tourist boat for easier selling

Boats came up to and even hooked onto our tourist boat for easier selling

Durien, a stinky fruit that is strictly forbidden in hotels due to its smell

Durien, a stinky fruit that is strictly forbidden in hotels due to its smell


Bananas!

Bananas!

Posted by jillandloic 19:26 Archived in Vietnam Comments (1)

Tam Coc, Coc Phuong National Park, and Bái Đính Temple

Thousands of buddha statues awaits

overcast 18 °C

large_Lying_Dragon_Mountain__3_.jpg

After another long travel day from northern Sapa to a few hours south of Hanoi, we finally landed in Tam Coc, Vietnam, known as the Halong Bay on land (see pictures from Cat Ba blog to compare). We enjoyed the same amazing views of limestone islands, this time, paddling through the river in a small boat. The tour passed through 9 caves ranging from 100-300 meters long, and made a few stops at temples on islands. My favorite part was watching these birds, which looked like baby ducks, dive into the water and guessing where they would reemerge 20 seconds later. After the tour we visited Mua caves and hiked up Lying Dragon Mountain for stunning views of the area. We ate lunch at the nearby ecolodge restaurant, in a pagoda in the middle of a pond.
Nous quittons Sapa pour Hanoi et Tam Coc/Ninh Binh, par bus. Apres diverses peripeties, nous arrivons enfin a Tam Coc, connu pour etre l'Halong Bay terrestre du Vietnam. Les vues des rochers calcaires sont en effet similaire, et la balade en barque est effectivement tres agreable. Le tour en bateau (Trang An) passe a travers 9 grottes donc certaines excedent la centaine de metres de longueur! La hauteur sous barreau n'est pas garantie :) Nous visitons aussi les caves Mua, situes a proximite, et montons au point de vue pour apprecier la campagne environnante. La brume ajoute a l'atmosphere magique de ce pays. Magnifique, Nous mangeons au restaurant du coin, au milieu d'un mini lac. Super sympa !

Trang an boat tour

Trang an boat tour


Trang an boat tour

Trang an boat tour


Inside a cave on the boat tour

Inside a cave on the boat tour

Hike up to Lying Dragon Mountain

Hike up to Lying Dragon Mountain


Lying Dragon Mountain

Lying Dragon Mountain


Lunch in a pagoda in a pond

Lunch in a pagoda in a pond

Our second day we drove the moped to Coc Phuang National Park to visit the Endangered Primate Rescue Center, which rescues, rehabilitates, and breeds Vietnams endangered primates, the gibbons, langurs and lorises. The lorises are nocturnal so we didn't get to see them, but the gibbons and langurs were adorable. There was also a turtle conservation area with several types of endangered turtles in Vietnam, including the soft shell turtle, which looked like it had a pig snout! We hiked up to the observation towers for views of the park, and climbed the very shady ladder to the even shadier viewing platform (see photos). In the afternoon we drove to Bái Đính Temple Spiritual and Cultural Complex, which is an impressive area surrounded by walls with sculptures and statues, temples with Buddhas (we counted 1195 in one temple), a tower and a pagoda. On the drive back, we took the scenic route through small villages, and enjoyed the amazing scenery of this area one last time, before heading back to Hanoi in the morning.
Le jour suivant, nous re-prenons le scooter pour1h30 de route vers le parc national de Coc Phuong, et le centre de sauvetage des primates en danger. On y apercoie des gibbons et langurs d'especes menances. Le but du centre est de renforcer les populations et de reintroduire les animaux en milieu naturel. Des loris sont aussi presents, mais nous ne les verront pas du fait de leur caractere nocturne (et de notre presence matinale :) ). Le centre accueille aussi un centre pour les tortues. La tortue "carapace molle" (Trionychidae) est tout a fait incroyable avec un nez pointue. Encore une fois, le centre accueille des especes menacees. Tres interessant ! Nous rentrons ensuite dans le parc national, et rendons une courte visite a la tour d'observation situe pres de l'entree. La tour est probablement d'origine (~1980) et son etat ( et le fait que nous sommes aller en haut de la tour) inspirerait de nombreux commentaires de ma maman cherie :) . L'apres midi nous rebroussons chemin vers le complexe de Bái Đính. Cela se revelera etre le clou de notre visite. C'est une enorme complexe de temple bouddhistes, classe sur la liste UNESCO world heritage. Cela nous rappelle la cite interdite, ou d'autre grandiose complexes au Japon. Le site est un peu en dehors des tours pour touristes, mais vraiment, si vous allez au Vietnam et aimez les temples bouddhistes, ca vaut vraiment le coup. Nous finissons la journee par un tour en scooter des rizieres et villages locaux. Super sympa !

Hatinh langur

Hatinh langur


Delacour langur- looks like it's wearing white shorts

Delacour langur- looks like it's wearing white shorts


Cat Ba Langur- only 65 left on the planet, only on Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba Langur- only 65 left on the planet, only on Cat Ba Island


Captivity does not suit this gibbon

Captivity does not suit this gibbon


Vietnamese Langur

Vietnamese Langur


Super long tails

Super long tails


Northern yellow-cheeked gibbon and baby

Northern yellow-cheeked gibbon and baby


Indochinese gray langur

Indochinese gray langur


Bengal slow loris- nocturnal, so we didn't see them

Bengal slow loris- nocturnal, so we didn't see them

View of Cuc Phuong from observation tower

View of Cuc Phuong from observation tower


Very shady ladder on observation tower

Very shady ladder on observation tower


Even shadier floor- we found the mising boards on the ground

Even shadier floor- we found the mising boards on the ground

large_90_IMG_5870.jpg
Bai Dinh temple complex

Bai Dinh temple complex


Pagoda in Bai Dinh temple complex

Pagoda in Bai Dinh temple complex


large_IMG_5937.jpg
large_IMG_5900.jpg
1192 small Buddhas line the walls of this temple

1192 small Buddhas line the walls of this temple


large_IMG_5871.jpg

Posted by jillandloic 18:06 Archived in Vietnam Comments (1)

(Entries 31 - 35 of 74) « Page .. 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 9 10 11 12 .. »