December 12-16, 2008

My family was this close to disown me because of this trip LOL Basically, I got back to Thailand late late late night on 12/11 (aka 12/12 early morning), and I left for a trip with my friends on 12/12 in the afternoon. xD I did get to go to morning market and yummy all you can eat Vietnamese with my aunts and uncle before I left the house though. ;)

This trip was the first time that the 4 of us, A-san, I-san, T-chan and I got together in Thailand, so we’re really excited about it. We planned for this trip around September, after picking from several locations, we ended up at Lipe Island (aka Koh Lipe (remember, koh = island, in Thai?)).

A bit of info, Lipe (lee-peh) Island is a small island in the Southern province of Satun (sa-tool), and is situated in the Andaman Sea. The island is part of the Tarutao National Marine Park.

More info: Lipe

We bought a trip package from Adang Sea Tour travel agency, which included 3 nights stay at on Lipe, 2 days of snorkeling, and a bunch of meals.

Next, we had to think about how to get there as Satun province is not as easy access as Bangkok. At first, we were thinking about flying to a nearby airport (about 2-3 hours away), but the agency told us to take a tour bus. Being clueless, we thought it was a good idea at that time LOL

December 12, 2008

So, around 6:30pm on 12/12, we hopped on an overnight bus to Satun. 11-12 hours bus ride was literally A PAIN IN THE BUTT!! (and BACK!!) However, I had a lot of fun butchering Twilight the movie during our journey. The girls agreed without any doubt that the movie sucked. hee..hee..

Blame it on my half-jetlag brain, I forgot to take a picture of the bus. The seat was so small.. too small for I-san who’s the tallest of us all. Let’s just say, if I have to do this all over again, I’ll fly to Hat Yai and catch a cab or something to Satun instead. What can I say, we all learned from experience eh? ^^”

December 13, 2008

We arrived at La-ngu town (city?), Satun a little before 7am. urr.. the bus practically dropped us off at the curb and left. We called our travel agent and waited on the side of the road for about 15 minutes before she came to pick us up and took us to their office at the Bara Pier, waiting for the speed boat to take us to Lipe.

Luckily, we got to shower at the tour office (Thank GOD! you know I couldn’t really live without taking a shower for too long LOL), and that was when I realized that my ankles were swollen, like, really really really freakingly swollen. It was clearly a result of 18 hours on the plane and 10+ hours on the bus. Again, no proof picture, brain too tired xD

The staff at the office was so nice to us, he went out and bought us breakfast!! YUMMY!! (I obviously paid more attention to food than my own personal health LOL)

We had a few hours to kill, so we just walked around, snapping some pictures and getting ourselves toasted, the weather was super hot! (yeah yeah, I was overly sensitive to the heat, but to my defense, I just left Seattle winter weather for less than 3 days! LOL)

We were introduced to our tour guide. His name is Jaral, but we called him ‘nong Run’ (or nRun, in short.. we called him ‘nong’ because he’s younger than us ^^”). He’d be taking care of the 4 of us during this trip (and we did abuse him.. LOL).

Because I was prone to seasick, Dramamine was my best friend. Nearly 2 hours on the boat wasn’t the best part of my trip yo! About half-way, we stopped at Tarutao National Park. By stopping, I meant hopping down for 15 minutes and ran back to the boat, yeah, a price to pay when you went with a tour group, everything was rushed.

We walked around for a bit, reading the exhibition about the island’s history. It used to be a prison during WWII. Kinda Alcatraz of Thailand ;)

More info: Tarutao National Park

As always, the first few hours into the trip, I wasn’t up to crazy photo session yet, mostly I wasn’t satisfied with anything I took, my bad habit indeed ^^”

We got back on the speed boat, heading to Lipe. On the way, we passed Koh Kai (Egg Island), which was Satun’s landmark. I kinda thought that I looked more like a turtle though LOL

About an hour later, we finally arrived at Lipe Island! YAY! The speed boat couldn’t go to the beach, so we had to transfer to a longtail boat. I got sick standing on that barge for 5 minutes *grumbles*

Anyway, we got to meet our boat rider, and found out later (on the 2nd day actually LOL) that his name was Yulun, or ‘pee Lun’ (aka ‘pLun’ for short, and in this case, we called him ‘pee’ because he’s older than us). So now we had nRun, the guide, and pLun, the boat rider to abuse, YAY! xD And I swear there will be a photo where you can really see pLun later! LOL

First shot of Lipe.

Bundhaya Resort was on Bundhaya Beach which was on Pattaya Beach (confused? LOL) It actually looked good from the front (picture later), but our room sucked LOL Yeah, they were stuck at practically the far end of the resort. A price to pay when we went for the cheapest option. Dang it. (no picture, too depressing LOL)

It was late afternoon once we checked in nRun wouldn’t even let us touch our bag, he carried them all for us LOL Here we go, the first major hilarious moment happened when we were first stepped inside our rooms (nothing inside except 2 beds, a wall fan, and a nightstand, and tiny bathroom). A-san paired with T-chan, while my soulmate, I-san, and I bunked together again.

We found a tiny cockroach inside the bathroom, which was pretty normal when you stayed at a beach resort like this. Yeah right, it would have been normal had I not been scared sh*tless of cockroaches ever since I was a kid!! #)$&#)@$&(*!@!!! I SCREAMED. I-SAN SCREAMED. A-san and T-chan came to help screaming too. Seriously, it was a tiny one, not the regular giant-sized, but a cockorach is a cockroach no matter what. T__T One poor staff happened to walk by, so we ordered at him to take care of it pronto!!

After that, we went to have our late lunch. Being lazy (and friggin’ tired from all the travel, not to mention my swollen ankles), we decided to stay around the beach instead of walking around the island. Bad decision, should have explored the island, the other side was much prettier T__T Anyway, I-san had a mini mishap with her bikini top, so she had to go buy a new overpriced swimwear xD

Dinner was super spicy but yummy nonetheless. I dozed off a bit during the entire process LOL After that, we went to a (sorta) market street. We had our yummy snack – banana rotee with icecream. It’s one of the top 5 things I missed most about Lipe. LOL

Lipe at night wasn’t as quiet as I thought, there’s a bunch of beach bars and loud music. I guess this is what civilization brought to this small island. From what I’ve heard, Lipe used to be a really really peaceful island, everything was natural. Not anymore *sighs*

Bundhaya Resort at night

We decided to call it an early night as we had a snorkeling trip coming up in the morning.

The night ended in a high note, I murdered 2 cockroaches before bed time LOL Then I found the thing to cover the drain pipe, so no more roaches problem after this, thank goodness!!

December 14, 2008

Woke up since 6am. Had buffet breakfast. We did ate a lot and T-chan ate a lot more that we thought (but according to I-san, T-chan hardly ate any dinner ^^”)  Anyway, now we’re ready for the fun!

We hopped on pLun’s longtail boat. According to A-san, snorkeling spots around AdangRavi islands were divided into outer area and inner area. For this first day, we headed for the outer loop.

While we’re on our way to our first spot, nRun and pLun yelled “DOLPHINS”. Obviously, I wasn’t ready for that! Scrambling for my camera, I managed to get only one shot, before the nearby longtail boat came too close and drove them away. awwww..

Our first snorkeling spot was at Koh Hin Sorn (Stacked Stone Island). The weather was really cloudy but the water was clear enough for us to see the underwater world! As first T-chan wasn’t gonna go for an underwater adventure, and wanted to wait for us on the boat (T-chan was afraid of being underwater -“- so we believed we kinda force her to come to this trip without realizing it *guilty*) but the current was so strong that we’re afraid she’d get seasick on the boat, so we forced her out of the boat anyway. nRun brought an extra life jacket with him and dragged T-chan around, while A-san, I-san and I just had a blast ooooh-ahhhh-ing about so many different kinds of fish and coral reef.

After this first try, T-chan refused to go for another one and remained on the boat. Poor thing, she was shaking being wet in cold weather ^^” *GUILTY*

Next, we went to Koh Phai (Bamboo Island). OMG Sooooooo beautiful! Tons of sea flowers and colorful fish. I actually mentally kicked myself for not having an underwater camera, as the water was pretty still and wasn’t too deep. *pouts*

The third spot was at Koh Dong (oh man, I don’t have an English name for this LOL). OMGx2 the fire coral area was soooo cool! *mentally kicked self again* We were here for quite some time and T-chan practically got seasick and decided to sleep on the boat ^^” *GUILTY ROUND 3*

Lunch time! We went to Koh Rokroy (ror-gloy). Since ‘gloy’ in Thai has double meaning, the name of this island could romantically mean ‘waiting for girl’, but in fact, it meant ‘waiting for gloy (which was one kind of potato or something, as food was scarce on this island LOL) Yup, we learned that from Uncle Nunn, a tour guide for the other tour group (nRun, our guide, was really shy, he hardly spoke (today, at least xD))

nRun packed lunch for us. Not as yummy but we’re hungry, so it was okay LOL

The beach was pretty and the water here was really clear, so I-san and I went swimming for a bit. BIG MISTAKE!! The sun didn’t seem very strong, but little did we know! Sunburn to follow T__T Anyway, the current was pretty strong, there was one dude who went out swimming and couldn’t come back, Uncle Nunn had to take the boat out to rescue him on the other side of the island, kinda scary.. o_O”

Btw, Uncle Nunn seemed to be father of the guides around here LOL He’s so funny and talkative and knew everyone and everything in this area.

After lunch, we went to our next drop off spot, still at Koh Dong, but on the other side of the island called Aw Ling (Monkey Bay) because there’s a bunch of monkeys here, duh LOL

We spent a lot of time at this Monkey Bay, as there’s soooooo many things to see. I jokingly whined a bit about nRun only taking care of T-chan, by dragging her around (it was my lazy butt speaking LOL), so he jumped off with a life jacket again. I let him drag me around for the total of 2 minutes before I went back to my own swimming pace, it’s much more fun that way LOL

pLun, our boat rider, came snorkeling with us, and he’s sooooo friggin funny. Basically, he would go catch some fish or shrimp (LOBSTER!!) and brought them for us to pet LOL or some times he and our guide (they’re a very good team) would just dive down and point different things for us to see. The highlight was probably the puffer fish that I-san bravely touched. I chickened out.. hey the thing was poisonous when it needed be, I didn’t want to risk it ^^”

Last spot of the day, Koh Phueng (Bee Island). There was another group that got there before us. While we’re jumping off our boat, we heard someone yelled “OMG, GIANT SQUID!!! (as big as a human!!!)” A-san, I-san and I looked at each other and almost started swimming that way, I WANNA SEE!! LOL But nRun led us to the right side of the island first (giant squid was on the left side *throws tantrum*)

The current was soooooo strong, but soft coral line here was soooooooooo gorgeous. The color was so vivid. Plus, there’s a bunch of pretty fish we didn’t see earlier. *KICKS SELF REPEATEDLY* Why didn’t I bought a waterproof camera?! ARGHHH!!!

The current got a lot stronger, so pLun brought the boat to pick us up and take us to the other side of the island. As it turned out, giant squid was just a myth, tsk tsk ;)

That’s it for our first day of snorkeling. nRun and pLun dropped us off at Lipe around 5pm, so basically we spent around 8+ hours out there. Good exercise. My swollen ankles got much better today LOL

After a quick shower, we went back to the beach to take some pictures. I-san suffered the sunburn first and I just laughed. Yeah, I should have known my fate better than laughing at her. Less than an hour after than, my limbs were BURNING! Dang it!

We clearly knew nothing about reading the sky. Well, it was dark, but it’s late in the evening, so we didn’t think much.. DUMB! See those clouds? Yup, all of a sudden, IT RAINED. And not just sprinkle rain, it’s almost like a storm friggin’ hit us. Instead of finding a place to hide, we ran back to the resort (yeah, dumb again) which was only 50 yards away, but with this heavy rain, we were soaking wet by the time we reach Bandhaya. And by soaking wet, I meant head to toe, including undies.. -“-

The rain stopped in less than 2 minutes after that…

Too lazy to walk back to our rooms and change, we just sat there and had dinner in damp clothes *sneezes* We then went back to the same dessert place as the previous night and had more yummy treats! We also bought some aloe vera gel, in hope that it’d calm our skins…

On the way back to the resort, I-san needed a drink, so we stopped at a bar named ‘Time to Chill’. It was a cute bar, you know, sitting on the beach, pretty lights and everything, but all 3 drinks we ordered were HORRIBLE! Super waste of money.. (btw, T-chan doesn’t drink LOL yeah, this trip was like a torturing trip for her I bet)

Disappointed, we went back to our hole rooms. I-san and I were trying to pour aloe vera gel on our limbs before painfully went to bed.

December 15, 2008

I woke up around the same time and started debating myself whether or not I should go out again this day. My arms and legs were burning, I couldn’t make any sudden movement because any kind of impact (even from fabric) hurt like HELL. Obviously, the aloe vera gel didn’t work. I-san almost refused to move off her bed. Glad to know that I wasn’t the only one in pain LOL

We were the first group to the breakfast buffet again. Lovely banana cake. T-chan decided to stay on Lipe to get some work done and let us go out to have some fun *GUILTY AGAIN*

Anyway, we first thought that our group number would be down to 3, however, our guide asked us if it’s okay that there’s another person joined us today. The dude bought a snorkeling trip for the day and the other group didn’t want him to join them because he’s a foreigner (we believed they’re not comfortable with that). A-san, I-san and I felt bad for the dude, so we gave nRun an okay.

I obviously couldn’t wear any pants today, forcing myself into my bikinis was painful enough, so I opted for batik cloth instead LOL

We finally met our new team member, Thomas. He’s from Switzerland and currently on a 6 month break from work to travel the world. *envies* He went to so many countries in Asia already, and his facebook was the proof!

First spot for the day was at ‘Rong Nam Jabung’ (Jabung Current). It’s a famous spot for 7-color soft coral. Unfortunately, there were TONS of tourists there, and the current was soooooo strong, so the water was on the opposite end of ‘clear’. We spent only a short time there, got kicked by some stupid tourists who had no diving/snorkeling/swimming etiquette, then we decided that it didn’t worth the time and energy as we couldn’t see anything anyway, so we left to our next destination.

At the back side of Koh Hin Ngarm (Beautiful Rock Island), the water was so clear and beautiful, almost no other people there, so we spent a whole lot of them there. After that, we were taken to Koh Hin Ngarm, where there’s a bunch of signature black stones. According to our guide, if you stacked 12 stones up, you could make a wish (I think?) LOL Thomas got it first. I cheated, kinda. :P

Btw, you’re not supposed to take any stone from this island, or else, you’d be curse with all the bad lucks. ;)

Next stop was Koh Yarng (Rubber Island) where there’s a lot of beautiful lettuce coral. Really really beautful!

Then we went to lunch at White Sand Beach on Ravi Island. It’s my MOST favorite spot of this trip. The beach, the sand, the water, they’re all gorgeous! Once we got off the boat, we almost skipped lunch and started taking pictures! LOL

I-san waited forever for those two lovebirds to leave XD

Our new friend, which we dubbed ‘I-san’s Kid’ LOL long story, but we really called him her son xD

nRun dragged us back to have lunch, so we finished in record time and resumed our photo ops!

I swear it’s soooooooo painful to sit on those branches! Especially when you had sun-burnt butts! xD

Being creative, I risked my aunt’s batik cloth with this shot. Turned out to be my most favorite shot! A-san said I looked like I stepped out from a alcoholic beverage calendar.. ^^” And some of my friends said I should photoshop my tummy.. -“-

We had our mini swimming at this beach, lots of tiny fish, but the current was so strong, it took us like less than 5 minutes to cover the entire beach LOL A-san and I were basically just floating without even kicking or trying to swim xD

Our guide… not a perv shot, but he had a tear on his wetsuit’s butt.. I was debating myself whether or not I should tell him xD

Next, we went to Hard Song (Beach #2) on Koh Adang. Giant clams in every color! So so sooooo pretty!

At first, nRun wanted to take us to another snorkeling spot, but we wanted to go to Shado Cliff because Uncle Nunn told us during lunch that from that cliff we could see the entire Lipe island. nRun informed us that it’s a 700-meter climb, and asked if we’re sure about this. Because we’re stubborn, we decided to go anyway. LOL poor Thomas, he probably wanted another swimming session xD

Let me tell you that not only wearing flip flops was a bad idea when you go climbing, not wearing pants was simply the worst idea!! My batik cover kept falling off me -“-

Shado Cliff had 3 level. We reached the first one and could only see half the island. Apparently we had to climb up to level 2 to see the entire island, but the dark cloud was coming our way again, and it’s going to be super slippery to climb down, so we settled for half an island and a photo with out lovely guide (if you can see him in the dark LOL).

After climbing down, nRun asked if we wanted more swimming (which I believed supposedly he could skip it because we opted for Shado cliff, but nRun wanted us to get our money worth xD). Of course, we said YES in unison (no matter how exhausted we were!).

So, we went to our last underwater sightseeing spot, pLun prepared to drop us off at Koh Gra, which was smack right in front of Lipe island. The wave was huge, the boat was rocking pretty bad, and we started looking at each other, silently debating whether we could fight the current. Then, nRun cracked me up with his statement:

The curent is calm at this spot, but the wave is strong

I was like, WT*?! LOL but since we’re there already, we jumped off the boat anyway. I soon understood what nRun tried to tell us. Underwater, the water was pretty still, which was a perfect spot to end this snorkeling trip! It’s sooooooooo pretty, shallow water, lots of colorful stuff. nRun failed to catch us a lobster though LOL Too many sea urchins too, kinda scary ^^”

Next thing we knew, it’s almost 6PM, sunset sunset!! *screams* There’s no way we could get back to the island in time to catch this (and we missed it yesterday too!). But pLun was sooooo nice, we were rushed back on the boat and he took us around the island to catch the awesome moment~

And then we’re back at Lipe. We found T-chan in the room, still working o_O” We quickly showered and changed, then came back out to dinner. Thomas was invited to join our table because he’s I-san’s adopted son XD Gosh, she’s been taking care of him all day! LOL

During dinner, I-san asked our guide where we could go for a nice drink, because the bar last night sucked major butt. LOL nRun told us to skip the beach bars because it’s more like drinking the atmostphere than drinking the cocktails, unless we’re looking for weeds xD

We went back to the same dessert place for the 3rd night in a row. I told you, it’s really yummy!! xD Of course, I-san’s son tagged along LOL We walked around the beach a little then headed back to the resort without going for a drink (as I-san really really wanted LOL)

But once we reached Bandhaya, we changed our mind and decided to go to the bar inside our resort. T-chan wasn’t feeling well (poor T-chan), so she excused herself and went to bed. At first, we thought it’s going to be a drink or two… hell yeah.

We told the resort captain that we went to that bar last night and the drinks were horrid, so he told us that their bartender actually went to bartending school and guaranteed that the drink would be awesome, otherwise it’s free.

We got our first drink for free. LOL

I couldn’t remember what we ordered as the drinks started piling up ^^” This rainbow took our bartender forever to make, but I-san finally gave him a thumbs up! LOL

We were about to pay our bill and go back to our rooms when one dude started talking to A-san. The dude, pPex, eventually turned out to graduate from the same university as A-san!

It’s a small world after all~LOL

pPex also happened to be the owner of this resort too! LOL He said if he knew it from the beginning that A-san was from the same university, he’d have served us lobster for dinner XD Anyway, he picked up our tab for the night. m(_ _)m And even though the bar was closed, he kept mixing us more drinks LOL Some of them were really good, I liked the one with vodka, red bulls and something.. (couldn’t remember)

We were at the bar for, like, 3 hours, talking about everything and nothing. And still not drunk. LOL Finally, we decided to let our bartender clean up and went back to our room around 1am. A-san was guiltily waking T-chan up to let her in their room ^^”

I-san and I still had some hope, so we gave aloe vera gel a second chance before we went to bed. And thanks to all the swimming, my ankles were back to almost normal size now.  YAY!

December 16, 2008

Scheduled to leave the island around 9am. We woke up early to pack (which took about 5 minutes LOL). Painfully forced myself into a pair of cargo pants.. Jeans was out of the question, I couldn’t wear jeans for the next 7 days or so xD

Same breakfast as the past 2 mornings. I still insisted, banana caked was really good. Walking around, taking more pictures.

pPex also woke up early to see us off. (looked kinda harem-ish, don’t you think? LOL)

Last photo with pLun, he took us to the barge and we had to say our goodbyes.

We decided to pay extra and catch a speed boat back instead to save time and avoid motion sickness. But while waiting for all the passengers to get on the speed boat, I got sick anyway. *grumbles* On the way back, we stopped at Egg Island for a mini photo ops. Too many people, so I gave up after a while.

Once we got back to the Bara Pier, we had to go to Hat Yai to catch a plane back home. So, we kinda rented the office car and rented hired nRun as a driver so we could torture him more LOL We said farewell to Thomas who’s catching a bus to his next vacation spot *still envies*

We bugged nRun to take us to the post office so we could send off our postcards, then stopped for lunch at a small customer-less restaurant xD

Anyway, nRun took us to Had Yai Nai Temple, before taking us to the city. The traffic was pretty bad so we decided to head to the airport instead. We waited for a while at the airport and once we got on the plane, A-san and I were chatting about some thai novels (well, more like A-san told me about those novels/love stories LOL).

And that was it for this fun-filled trip. I totally want to go back to Lipe again if I have a chance. Next time, I will definitely have an underwater camera with me!


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