Friday, 21 October 2011

Ao Nang

I'm in Ao Nang now! The trip here was quite uneventful, except for the ferry.
I got on first this time! But we had to wait about 20 minutes for it to fill up.
A left over photo from Kantian Bay.

The temperature is noticeably cooler now too. It means I can stand around in my full gear and not die. Hopefully from here it stays that way.

I've been booking places via Agoda while I'm here. It seems to offer the best deals, but sometimes when you get to the hotel you find out that the special price was the rate they offer when you front up anyway. That happened quite often in Malaysia. It's mostly a good tool for the bigger cities where finding a place with parking is a problem, and the endless taking off of gloves/helmet/glasses to go and ask is annoying. I used Hostelworld a couple of times too but they only offer a single person rates on the site, when you select a double or twin room (when they don't offer a single) you have to pay for two people which often ends up costing more than fancy hotels on Agoda.

Anyway, why I get into this, is because in Thailand it's the off peak season until the 31st of October. The rates in most places are less than half of their peak season rates normallay, but Agoda offers discounts on that. I'm staying at Ao Nang Green Park Bungalows near the business end of Ao Nang for 740b a night (roughtly $22AUish), but the normal rate in the off peak season is triple that. Once the peak season hits I'll be looking at the cheaper scale, but right now I'll use it to stay in places I'd overlook otherwise. This does lead to slight overspending however, but I guess that's exactly what Agoda wants by allowing easy access to discounts :)

Half of the bungalow, with lovely pink sheets. That sold it for me.

The other half! Fridge and TV in there too, with A/C, and location!
Now to Ao Nang. Ko Lanta was a bit of shock to see after spending time away from touristy hot spots, Malaysia just didn't seem to have that touristy feel. But Ao Nang is something else. It's a small place, but everywhere is geared for tourists. So again there are touts on the street are constantly asking if I want a taxi, tuk tuk, a suit, a massage. No "you want girl?" like in Kuala Lumpur though, I guess that's what Phuket is for. And then it could be a boy, I guess (or both).

Sunset at Ao Nang last night.
I was a bit disappointed with the Sunset here, so I got up at 5:30 to try get a photo of the sunrise over the cliffs near Rai ley (or some other variation of spelling). There were no nice red sun colours, but everything was quite calm, would have made for some great photos... However, when I rushed down there I for I had my camera in the bag in the air conditioning, as soon as I took it out the lens and sensor fogged up, so I sat there watching it get lighter and lighter while waiting for the lens to defog itself but that took close to half an hour.

These ladies are there for most of that day that I could tell. They go sifting through all the shells on the beach looking for  the nicer examples. No idea what they do with them afterwards. Of course, this only leaves all the broken crappy shells on the beach.

The view at about 6:30am.
I think I'll get up and try again tomorrow. I want that photo, somehow! Since it was early and hardly anyone was about to sell me anything I had a quick tour around.

Tsunami evacuation signs everywhere here. This part of the coast was hit in the 2006 2004 Tsunami. 

The main street of Ao Nang. Reminds me of the Cairns Esplanade

I was here, at walking street... ?

MR HOT DOG! I'll be disappointed if it's not real dog.

After that I came back to the bungalow and attempted sleep, which failed. I went back out again later to get some breakfast, after researching the best place in Ao Nang. I searched for this place everywhere, but couldn't find it. Three kilometres later I just ended up going somewhere near where I'm staying, and it was excellent. I may have hit peak bacon. I did take some photos out on my search though.

Long boats waiting for passengers.

But they get none, the speedboats are quicker. This was at 9am when all the tour groups leave.

Aw man, my bike is not nine headlights cool :(

After a successful breakfast, again, attempt sleep, which failed due to coffee intake I'm sure. Anyway. Early afternoon I head out for lunch. I'd researched some cheaper places because I'd been paying anywhere between 150-300b each time I ate ($5-10AU) and I realised I'd never pay that in Malaysia. I think the most I ever payed in there was about $6AU. Thailand has learnt it's a tourist destination and charges as much (everywhere too, not just Ao Nang or Ko Lanta). I managed to find some excellent Pad Thai in a fly covered stall for 40b, that's more like it! On my way back to the Bungalow the rain hit... I could see the black clouds coming, but I ducked into 7-11 on the way back, that threw out my timing enough that I was hit with this at the corner near the bungalow:

About 5 minutes into the rain...
Heavy rain! Finally! Big hurting rain! That big heavy Asian rain that everyone talks about. The lightning was hitting the big limestone cliffs around the town. It was awesome and loud! The cliffs here give the thunder a different sound too. It wasn't a rumble, it was a bang and then repeated bangs. More awesome!

Now it's time for more food...

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