European Vacation?


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Koh Phangan is one of Thailand’s many islands.  We flew Bangkok Air (Fly Boutique, Feel Unique) in to its sister island, Ko Samui, and took a 45-minute ferry ride north to get to the island.  As far as I can tell the islands of Thailand (and especially Koh Phangan) are to Europeans what the islands of Mexico are to Americans – warm places to party for cheap.  But Europeans like to mix in “ecotourism” which doesn’t really exist here but is instead a nice marketing term for things such as hiking and elephant rides. We have run into Brits, Germans, Italians, Spaniards, Poles and overheard many other unidentified European languages.  But not one American.  This is almost entirely due to proximity as flight time from San Francisco is 18+ hours not counting connections.  Let’s just say lots of speedos and motorbikes everywhere.

Carrie found an amazing unit at a resort that overlooks the beach and ocean and was just updated.  Probably one of the best values on the island.  I write this before bed and look forward to a relaxing last day here tomorrow before we head for the Maldives. Today we did an “ecotour” that included an elephant ride, playing with an ultra-hyper monkey, and exploring nearly the entire island with random sightseeing stops.  The initial plan was to stop at beaches and snorkel but heavy rain interrupted those plans and instead we ended up meeting our tour guide’s extended family and making some random stops not normally made.  It was a full, fun day,  And even though I generally hate guided tours of any type (whatevah, I do what I want) this was worth it as the island has no public transportation (other than renting a motorbike and pretending to be European).  It also came with a homemade lunch that included spring rolls and massaman curry so there’s that.

The ocean water is like a hot tub on hot days and perfect on colder days.  Our resort has solid, cheap food and the entire Thai culture is very focused on tourism so people are very friendly and service is generally great.

If you view the pictures you will notice boats with bizarre engines attached to them that appear to be car/truck engines.

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I’ve been fascinated by this since I saw them on the rivers in Bangkok.  They emit plumes of nasty smelling smoke and oftentimes struggle to run but apparently get the job done. They are called long-tail boats and do indeed have car/truck engines that are adapted for marine use.  I would like to take one of these on Lake Minnetonka and see what happens.

After a very long travel day (over 24 hours) my next post will come from the Maldives. I’m looking forward to empty Malaysia Air flights…

Asia 2014

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