Day 16 – Sat – 20th June:
Today I decided to move on to Chaweng beach as Silja described it as livelier than Lamai, which, although nice to relax on, is pretty dead out of season. Check out was 12pm, but they said, as there was no one coming into my room, I could check out at 2pm.
After packing I took a walk to the bookshop and sold back the book I had read and bought another. I checked out at about 1pm and got a songthaew to Chaweng beach for 100 baht. The car was full of other people over half of whom where backpackers. The car drove through the Chaweng area, some of which I recognised from yesterday. I kept waiting to see if it got to the busiest area but it was hard to tell. In the end we came to a straight empty road again and the last building was a large mall called Festival Hall.
I pressed the button then and the next to last customers, two other backpackers got out too. They were from Ireland. We laughed when they said they were also waiting to get off at the centre of Chaweng but couldn’t tell where that was.
We sat in a cafe in the mall. It was a big place, like the Bentall Centre in Kingston near where I live (this reference is for my family back home), but more modern, the shops and brands here were very similar as well. We could have been in a shopping centre the UK or easily in a mall in the USA.
They needed WiFi to find a hostel on trip advisor, I said I was just going to walk until I saw somewhere. They thought that was a good idea but the girl (I think they were a couple) had trodden on a Black Sea anemone a couple of days ago and couldn’t really walk on it. She said they had been to a pharmacy but they had just laughed her away, marking her off as a daft tourist. There are signs warning people about the anemones on the beach. I hope she managed to get it sorted, you could see the black spines all stuck in the sole of her foot like giant splinters. Ouch!
I took a look in a phone shop but concluded that it wasn’t worth me getting a phone here. They had some cheap ones but I will save my money for a new iPhone when I get home. I walked back into Chaweng beach area and found a hostel called ‘Urban Guesthouse’ over a pizza place.
It was 400 baht a night for a private room with air con, a telly (which I didn’t want but hey) and a fan. This is the cheapest place for me so far, as I have been spending 600 baht a night. I know there are many cheaper places but I have been going for private rooms and often a pool as well. When my budget dictates it I will lower my standards :p
I had lunch and spent some time on the beach, the sand was lovely and soft compared to Lamai beach.
I met Silja and a friend of hers for dinner in the night market (a bit like in Chiang Mai, see this post, but more expensive/touristy). We then went round a clothes and gift market outside the Festival Hall mall and then spent the evening on the beach and popped in and out of a few beach bars. We didn’t go in the most popular ones (for example the ‘Ark Bar’ because they were too expensive).
On my way back to my hostel I bought a snorkelling mask and tube in a dive shop. I love snorkelling, having tried it on a lovely coral reef in Tanzania, Africa, and having my own mask will give me the freedom to try snorkelling on Ko Tao without having to pay for a tourist trip every day.
Day 17 – Sun – 21st June:
This morning it was quite strange. I got up at 9am and went downstairs but the joining door that leads to the restaurant, that I was using last night, was locked! There was no light and I spent ages fumbling about in the dark. In the end I found a door to let me out but I had to turn sideways to fit down the alley. Once outside, the place was like a ghost town, I saw one old guy sitting on the floor and he looked astounded to see anyone out at that time in the morning!
I have now gathered that no one gets up in Chaweng beach area until about 11am when shops start opening, and then most shops open at 1pm. It was very odd, but that’s a beach town for you. It’s not even an activity town just a laze on the beach town, so that’s probably why.
Anyway after walk on the beach and breakfast from 7-11 (nothing else was open), I went back to my room for my snorkel gear. I then left all my valuables, ipad, passport and emergency money in the hostel! This is the first time I have done this and I now do this more often. It was the best place to start, it was so safe because I was the only guest and no one would be able to find the door to get into the building and then they would never have been able to find my room in the dark.
I have since read on trip adviser and there are amazing reviews for the pizza in the restaurant but most people said the guest rooms weren’t in use or were still being built, it’s finished now but is just a sideline of the restaurant.
So I tried my snorkel set at the beach and it was very good quality but I couldn’t see anything because the water was very murky. I know the best snorkelling is on Ko Tao so fingers crossed for that.
I spent the day on the beach and finished my book and then I met Silja again in the evening.
We went to the second night market and I ordered meat skewers and a fruit shake. We wandered around the area and ended up in a non chain supermarket, my first supermarket here in Thailand. They had every brand in the world here, Nutella, every brand of chocolate in the world, including the American Hersheys which we can’t easily get in the UK. You could buy cocopops and even scrabble the board game! It was just daft.
Said goodbye to Silja as she was off early the next morning to catch a bus/train to Krabi which is further south.
Back at my hotel I had my first Skype conversation with mum and dad since I have been here.
Only a couple of pics of my hostel room because I didn’t take any other pictures in Chaweng. This room is very typical of all the rooms I have stayed in in Thailand.
Next up: days eighteen and nineteen.
Previously: days fourteen and fifteen.