I made a last minute decision to join my friend in visiting some islands in Southern Thailand. It was good to swim in the ocean again! The majority of people in the region are Muslim which is different from other regions in Thailand.
I thought this was a lovely town- pretty quiet not very touristy at all! We caught a boat to Railay beach, less than an hour away. The beach was as beautiful as I expected. It had limestone hills on each end of the beach and was a quiet bay. There was only a couple of resorts at this beach, so it isn't too developed. You can even have a massage on the beach!
We caught a minibus and a couple of ferries to this island. It was a really nice place to relax. It was mostly families from Scandinavia and Germany judging by the languages on the menus. It somehow managed to look quite elegant even thought it is a really touristy area. The beach we stayed on was just perfect and is just one of many beaches on the island.
Koh Phi Phi
I heard that this place was like paradise, and I pretty much agree. From this island we went for a speed boat tour around Koh Phi Phi and neighbouring island Phi Phi Leh. We stopped to snorkel a couple of times. Unfortunately I could see a lot of damage to the coral but did see plenty of beautiful fish. I'm not sure why they don't put buoys there- they seem to sink the anchor wherever. There were schools of hundreds of fish which was awesome. We went for a swim in a lagoon in the open ocean. We also stopped at a couple of beaches which had gorgeous white sands.
We hired a private long boat back out to Phi Phi Lei the next day and snorkelled somewhere a little less damaged, but probably could still be better protected. They really need to tell people not to touch the marine animals! Someone asked me whether they could touch things so I told them there were cone shells, stone fish and lion fish so they'd better not touch anything. The highlights were the gorgonians (sea fans) the groups urchins, the worms and the schools of hundreds of little silver fish. Also the box shaped bright yellow fish!
We stayed in Phuket town, which was pretty quiet and unexpectedly not touristy. We did catch a taxi to Patong beach where it is very touristy. There was quite a lot of nightlife there- restaurants, bars, clubs and markets. We saw some lady boys dressed up very well. They sure put in an effort with their makeup and costume. Some costumes had some traditional Thai elements- I thought they had good style. Maybe they were about to start a show. We nearly accidentally went into a gay bar until the door swung open and we saw some guy with bleached blond hair wearing only white briefs dancing on a table.
The next day me and the two guys got a facial. We were attracted by how cheap it was. They seem to have these 'Tokyo' facials everywhere around Thailand. They give you good clean, a face mask, steam and massage over 45 minutes. They remove blackheads too- luckily I only had a couple because the guys found it really painful!