A Travellerspoint blog

Hong Kong and home again, been a hoot

Trip of a lifetime? Lucky me but hopefully plenty of time for more!

overcast 16 °C
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We spent a few days back in Hong Kong,, catching up with grandkids, watching Arthur play rugby, taking him to school, visiting nice restaurants, Xmas fairs and a carol service. Great relaxing time despite all of us having some sort of cold! Arthur on the run

Arthur on the run

Building gingerbread house

Building gingerbread house

Xmas Fair, Stanley

Xmas Fair, Stanley

Arthur and one of Xmas monsters

Arthur and one of Xmas monsters

The Xmas chocolate exhibition

The Xmas chocolate exhibition

Father Xmas?

Father Xmas?

God help Xmas!

God help Xmas!

One of the most amazing things of being in Hong Kong five times in 14 weeks was that I got a chance to see Arthur and Matilda grow up a bit. Matilda went from being a very smiley baby who was fairly static to a child with teeth, who eats solids with gusto and who has learned to sit up, crawl and wants to walk. Still smiley too. Great experience. Orsi and Matilda

Orsi and Matilda

Matilda sitting up

Matilda sitting up

Fi and Matilda

Fi and Matilda

I have had a fantastic time, people, especially Orsi,have been very understanding and James and Fi suffered me alot. Thank you one and all including the people what whom have bothered to read these ramblings.

That’s it for 2018, hope that you had a Merry Xmas and have a splendid and wondrous New Year, 2019 and that many more follow. Thanks again. E7A1463D-89EB-4C0C-8A63-ADDE152BAFD9.jpeg

Posted by Unphilteredidea 10:21 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged people children family xmas_madness Comments (1)

Thailand Part 3 - Sobering and snorkelling

sunny 33 °C
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Flew to Phuket then drove to Khao Lak, about ninety minutes up the coast. It was a nice little resort hotel, about 20 chalets by the beach and a few local restaurants walking distance away, fairly quiet with a virtually empty beach. Borrowed some cycles and visited temples Orsi in sea

Orsi in sea

Beach to ourselves

Beach to ourselves

impressive, unknown temple

impressive, unknown temple

Beach sunset

Beach sunset

Catching the sun!

Catching the sun!

Clue to tsunami past

Clue to tsunami past

and were shocked to discover how much the area had been impacted in the near past.

This was the most sobering part of the entire trip. We had a reminder of the December 26th 2004 tsunami when we went to visit a police boat that was washed 2km from the ocean. We were in Khao Lak which was the worst hit of all provinces in Thailand with some 80% of the total deaths. As you can see on the table, I think I had forgotten how many died that day. Met a few locals whose lives had been impacted and had lost relatives. Very sad.
Police launch marooned 2km from sea, it was bigger than I had imagined

Police launch marooned 2km from sea, it was bigger than I had imagined

Map of tsunami impact

Map of tsunami impact

Tsunami deaths table

Tsunami deaths table

Had a couple of days snorkelling on the Surin Islands which included an overnight camping on the beach. It was an interesting trip to the islands covering some 60km of rough sea in just over an hour, quite a few people being sick! Visited a village where sea gypsies now lived. Sea gypsy village

Sea gypsy village

Wading ashore to village

Wading ashore to village

Sea gypsy village entrance

Sea gypsy village entrance

Until the 2004 Tsunami they had been travellers with no country of residence but now they were Thai nationals and had more of a fixed abode but did still travel the seas extensively.

The snorkelling was very good, plenty of nice coral and lots of fish but not much of any size. Facilities on island were better than I imagined with access to food at a National Park cafe, camping good but sea noisy at times! It’s bloody Dunkirk!  Not us though.

It’s bloody Dunkirk! Not us though.

Amazing sand and sea

Amazing sand and sea

Orsi in water

Orsi in water

Orsi and shoal of fish

Orsi and shoal of fish

Angel Fish

Angel Fish

Sergeant Major fish

Sergeant Major fish

Found Nemo!

Found Nemo!

Aquaman!

Aquaman!

Orsi on beach

Orsi on beach

View from tent

View from tent

Most amazing sand ever, no one here either

Most amazing sand ever, no one here either

High tide near campsite

High tide near campsite

Our tent

Our tent

Food ok on campsite

Food ok on campsite

Posted by Unphilteredidea 09:34 Archived in Thailand Tagged beaches boats temples snorkelling tsunami amazing thoughts_musings_background Comments (1)

Thailand Part 2 - Chiang Mai and the elephant wash

Delightful really

sunny 34 °C
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Chang Mai is about an hours flight North west of Bangkok in mountainous northern Thailand. Founded in 1296, it was capital of the independent Lanna Kingdom until 1558. Its Old City area still retains vestiges of walls and moats from its history as a cultural and religious centre. It’s also home to hundreds of elaborate Buddhist temples, including 14th-century Wat Phra Singh and 15th-century Wat Chedi Luang, adorned with carved serpents. Wat Phra

Wat Phra

Ornate temple window

Ornate temple window

exterior of same temple

exterior of same temple

Another temple

Another temple

The old part of the city is quite compact but modern Chiang Mai is quite large. It’s located on a jungle covered plain surrounded by jungly mountains, quite humid really but full of interesting sights and decent bars and restaurants. There is a lot to do there from cycling, visiting temples, Thai massage, street markets, day and night, street food and just chilling out. Part of huge night market

Part of huge night market

Moat lit for festival

Moat lit for festival

Brollies down pub street

Brollies down pub street

Can’t argue with that

Can’t argue with that

We spent a day at an elephant sanctuary. There are 20,000 elephants that do not live in the wild in Thailand. Many are used for heavy work, some, like these, have been rescued and now live in ‘care homes’ for want of a better expression. There are 49 here living in 140 acres, but they aren’t wild and can’t be released as they have no ‘street/jungle’ sense. Each elephant has a ‘carer’ who looks after them all the time. No one rides them and they seemed to be happy. Expensive to keep as they each consume about 250kg of vegetation a day. It was a fun day out and gave some insight into these impressive beasts although I don’t think our uniforms were too flattering. Big buggers but gentle with itBoiling elephant dung to make paper

Boiling elephant dung to make paper

finished paper drying

finished paper drying

One of the five babies

One of the five babies

Me and the big lad

Me and the big lad

Our elephants at lunchtime

Our elephants at lunchtime

On a walk, steep hill

On a walk, steep hill

At the car wash, er elephant I mean

At the car wash, er elephant I mean

Honest, it’s fun really!

Honest, it’s fun really!

Old scrubber

Old scrubber

I’m in heaven part 2

I’m in heaven part 2

Our cycle trip was an overly ambitious one that included a 1200m climb over 15km in 35C heat. Suffice to say, having been ill for a couple of days, I never made the full climb but we tried, fun descent though on dodgy bikes! About to hit the hills

About to hit the hills

High point of cycle ride

High point of cycle ride

one of the waterfalls on our cycle trip

one of the waterfalls on our cycle trip

We could certainly go back there again but go further north. After four nights we flew down to the South West for a bit of beach life.

Posted by Unphilteredidea 04:42 Archived in Thailand Tagged me waterfalls temples elephant amazing cycling excitement autumn_trip local_people Comments (0)

Thailand Part 1 - Bangkok

Back in the arms of the wife

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Never been to Thailand, had ten nights so split between Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Khao Lak, three very different places but all sharing good food.

We only had two nights in Bangkok and stayed near to the Royal Palace, opposite Wat ArunView from our hotel across rived

View from our hotel across rived

Dusk across the river

Dusk across the river

Sunset

Sunset

across the Chao Pharaya River. As such we got to see most of the main temple sites, the Jim Thompson museum (a an American man credited with reviving and developing the Thai silk industry on his own before he mysteriously disappeared) and, of course, the Royal Palace, and had a couple of nice evening meals too. The oddest thing was that the roads around where we stayed were almost empty, mad Bangkok must have been down the road somewhere!

Wat Pho, with its giant reclining Buddha was a very impressive sight. Part of WT Pho at night

Part of WT Pho at night

Guardian Gate at Wat Pho

Guardian Gate at Wat Pho

More of Wat Pho

More of Wat Pho

Wat Pho complex

Wat Pho complex

5DBDF1EF-7550-4A93-83A4-51C0DC21249D.jpeg

The trip to Jim Thompson house was by river taxi River taxi

River taxi

Silk extraction at JT museum

Silk extraction at JT museum

Silk extraction

Silk extraction

Main lounge of JT house from outside

Main lounge of JT house from outside

Courtyard at Jim Thompson house

Courtyard at Jim Thompson house



The Royal Palace complex was a huge site and quite stunning Frontage of Royal Palace

Frontage of Royal Palace

Golden Stupa, near Royal Palace

Golden Stupa, near Royal Palace

Part of exterior of Jade Buddha temple

Part of exterior of Jade Buddha temple

Through the Guardian Gate

Through the Guardian Gate

Jade Buddha at Royal Palace complex

Jade Buddha at Royal Palace complex

Royal Palace temple complex

Royal Palace temple complex

We also climbed to the top of the Golden Mount which gave good views across Bangkok. Bells on climb to Wat Saket, the Temple of the Golden Mount

Bells on climb to Wat Saket, the Temple of the Golden Mount


Bangkok was a much nicer place than I had imagined it would be, the temple and palace were very impressive and there is obviously much more to go back and look at another time.

Posted by Unphilteredidea 08:47 Archived in Thailand Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises art boats temples amazing culture_shock opulence Comments (0)

Farewell to India, Goa, nice but don’t stay too long

Lovely beaches, wildlife, freely available cheap alcohol but tacky too

sunny 35 °C
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Spent five nights in northern Goa. The first two were with some of the crowd who I had been travelling with and we let our hair down a bit. Abundantl, cheap alcohol in a nice place for once

Abundantl, cheap alcohol in a nice place for once

Lee, Garry and Inbelting out karaoke

Lee, Garry and Inbelting out karaoke

We also went to Old Goa, if you like churches, go, if not, don’t bother! Basilica, Old Goa

Basilica, Old Goa

Goa itself has some great beaches but reminds me of the Costa del Sol with cheap booze, sun and sand, English breakfast and fish and chips. In decreasing order the place seems to be full of Russians; middle aged overweight, tattooed people who sound like they should be in Eastenders cast; wealthy middle class Indians enjoying themselves during Diwali, middle aged overweight tattooed Brummies, some nice English people and me. Beach at dusk

Beach at dusk

Indians at play, poor swimmers

Indians at play, poor swimmers

Indians at play

Indians at play

Guess which group uses this bar

Guess which group uses this bar

Always a welcome for us, roast beef getting ready too!

Always a welcome for us, roast beef getting ready too!

Busy beach

Busy beach

Fishing boats come close

Fishing boats come close

Fleet of fishing boats almost on the beach

Fleet of fishing boats almost on the beach

Sunset

Sunset

The food was good, it was enjoyable, got a haircut, very good, but a few days is enough I fear. Having a haircut, cutthroat too, bargain for £3

Having a haircut, cutthroat too, bargain for £3

Went back to Hong Kong Off to see the family ahead of the final leg of the trip which will be with Orsi.

Posted by Unphilteredidea 09:16 Archived in India Tagged me sunsets_and_sunrises beaches churches parties boats goa tourist culture_shock thoughts_musings_background like_torremolinos Comments (0)

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