Going lokoh on Libong

We left Krabi with high hopes for Trang, the next province to the south. Research told us of quieter islands, yet to be overcome by the behemoth of tourism, and a more authentic Thai way of life.

Lighting up the Trang clock tower
The clock tower in Trang, decorated with bunting for some celebration or other

Trang Town for its part is devoid of tourism. There’s the odd hotel for people who don’t make it through to the pier in time, and a spattering of western bars and restaurants by the train station, but otherwise it’s Thai through and through. Continue reading Going lokoh on Libong

The Lost World – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – [Book Review]

The Lost World - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Lost World (& Other Stories) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I initially picked up this collection of stories because it had a dinosaur on the cover. That wouldn’t usually tantalise, but we have recently adopted the habit of humming the Jurassic Park anthem whenever sailing around the mountainous islands in southern Thailand, so it was with excitement that I began this prelude to the greatest film ever made. Continue reading The Lost World – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – [Book Review]

A Railay good Tim

For most visitors to Krabi province, Krabi Town is just a short stop-off before heading to either Railay beach or the islands of Koh Phi Phi or Koh Lanta. But after Koh Samui, Krabi Town feels like a cultural paradise.

Even without the comparison, the town is a sweet, easily walkable quiet spot, with as many small welcoming bars with live music as there are open-air local kitchens, not to mention the bustling night market that boasts a huge variety of freshly cooked street food and a large central stage that hosts entertainment for the locals by the locals. Continue reading A Railay good Tim

Don’t waste your Tim

Long tail boat
A boat moored by the beach at Cabana Phangan Resort

We spent another few days on Kho Phangan after new year’s, hiring mopeds to seek secluded beach coves and jungle-covered waterfalls, and eating at a tremendous restaurant a short walk down the road from Phangan Cabana Resort (about which Carmella, in her inimitable manner, declared she would “Trip Advise the fuck out of this place”).

I’d heard cautionary tales of Koh Phangan, of raucous parties and corrupt police, overpopulated beaches and drunks at every turn, but I had enjoyed the place immensely, so it was with optimism and excitement that we packed and left for our next destination – the neighbouring island of Koh Samui.

We had done pitifully little research before we embarked just after Christmas, so were blissfully unaware of the unthinkable horrors that this island held in store for us. Continue reading Don’t waste your Tim

Kraken – China Miéville – [Book Review]

Kraken by China Miéville
The book I brought out with me, Kraken, by China Miéville.

I first came across China Miéville last year, during a sci-fi binge that I had hoped would bring me up to date with the genre. Despite enjoying science fiction, my sample of it was rather antiquated – Shelley, Verne, Wells – being mostly from Literature classes.

Some cursory research (Top 100s and the like) led me to The City & The City (2009), an immensely rewarding fusion of science fiction and crime noir by Miéville. The concept is elegant: a city inhabits the exact same geographical space as another entirely foreign city, with denizens of both forced to ignore, avoid and “unsee” the existence of the other. The penalty of interacting, or even noticing, the opposite plane is named Breach and is swiftly and ruthlessly dealt with by an ethereal force of the same name.

It’s ruddy ace, it is. The plot follows a detective as he investigates a murder that appears to have involved some form of Breach from the neighbouring city, but a conspiracy is afoot and dark forces attempt to pervert the course of justice. Read it. It’s brilliant.

However, there’s something of a hangover from The City that lingers in Kraken, Miéville’s subsequent novel, like one rum too many. Continue reading Kraken – China Miéville – [Book Review]

It’s party Tim

All this rushing, all the flights and buses and boats to get to Koh Phangan, we were rushing to get there for New Year’s Eve.

I thought it was going to be all trance and tripped out twats, throwing shapes at the moon and dribbling on about cosmic energy. I thought it would feature teenagers rampantly forcing themselves upon each other under a deluge of alcohol and mushrooms. I’d been told about buckets – they hardly sounded appealing.

Buying buckets of booze in Haad Rin
These are the infamous buckets the locals peddle to party-goers. Lethal and a long way from pleasant.

Instead, new year’s eve at Koh Phangan’s party town of Haad Rin was all about drum and bass. Thank heavens! Continue reading It’s party Tim