Friday 3 October 2008

In Oz...

Well, hasn't it just been forever and a day! I wonder if anyone still checks in at my lost and lonely blog these days...

Just for a one off update...J and I have been back in Australia on the east coast for almost 2 months, J got 2 jobs within the first 2 weeks of being here...both in Thai restaurants. He stopped working at one but is still happily working with other southern Thais in the other.

I have now got a permanent job starting on Monday, working for the government in the city, which I'm pretty stoked about...lots of perks and not too early starts!

We are both feeling very settled in and I am feeling fab.ul.ous about being back and having friends and having a social life again! Funnily enough (for all the long time readers) I've been invited to a karoke hen's night in 2 weeks time!! Karaoke!!! I just can't escape it!

I'm still thinking of making an Oz adventure blog but will wait til I've got time to is oh so very changed from the 'quiet' days in the village. Thanks to all who've been with me along the way, I hope you're all doing faboliciously wonderfully. xxxxxxx

Thursday 24 July 2008

Things I'm looking forward to...

It's less then a fortnight to go til we leave Thailand. We're planning on coming back for holidays and a friend's wedding in about 8 months time though.. I think without setting firm dates for coming back to the homeland, J would sink into a fit of depression, so we must have a yearly trip back.

I'm fantasising about western food like nobody's business!!

1. lightly toasted focaccia with sundried tomatoes, avocado and goat's cheese

2. a fat slab of fresh salmon and salad with balsamic dressing

3. real muslie with real, unsweetened yoghurt for breakfast every single day if I want to!

4. eating a huge variety of different food... no more rice twice a day with fish or chicken curry!

5. Cooler weather and not sweating for 18 hours a day!

6. hot showers EVERY day!!

7. real coffee in the morning without adding condensed milk

8. My friends! (definitely number one!)

9. Being able to have time alone again (I swear I am around people/husband every second of every day here! It's not natural damn it!)

10. Being able to read whatever I want, whenever I want! Horah!

hmm...seems to be mostly food related! Sorry friends and family..have to get the priorities right! ;-p

Wednesday 23 July 2008

Blowin' this Popsicle Stand...

Yay! Finally got J’s visa to immigrate to Australia! Only 8 weeks and 4 days of waiting. It’s such a relief to finally know what we are doing and be able to move on with our lives now.

We’ve been back in the village for over a month now spending ‘quality’ time with the folks before our imminent departure.. rapturous fun as you can imagine. Not much going down in the ville (apart from our mountain getting blessed last week which I may blog about yet!), hence the lack of communicado (not to mention being on dial up internet and having to wait approximately 8 minutes for one website to download). We closed the business up and I’ve been churning through the books I brought down from Bangkok. I am now on to a 30 year old book by Shirley MacLain about her found womanhood (!) and the last book I have, which I’m hoping like hell to not get up to, is ‘The Thorn Birds’, which is all I could find in Hat Yai on my last visa run! Quality goods.

Quite undecided if I shall continue writing an oz blog.. I’m thinking… yes! Once we’ve settled in a bit and got some hi-speed connections going on, I reckon we’ll be gallivanting around Brisbane enough to be able to waffle on a bit. Already in the next month I know we are going to the EKKA.. a fun filled week of show bags, rides, fabulous food and fanfare! I haven’t been since I was a kid and I want to throw J right in and see some dinky-die Aussie culture.. a kiddies birthday party and a wedding is also on the agenda. It’s all on folks, edge of your seat stuff!

We’ve got a week left in the ville, then up in Bangkok for 5 days, then on to sunny Brisbane. Can’t wait!!

Saturday 21 June 2008

Things I'll Miss About Thailand

Since we'll be leaving the country soon (no, still don't know dates!), I've made a couple of lists that I'll potentially continue to build on...

The Things I'll Miss about living in Thailand:-

  1. Easy going lifestyle
  2. So many smiling, laughing people around
  3. Being part of a real community
  4. The views around my village – mountain ranges, rice paddy fields, rubber tree plantations
  5. My father-in-law
  6. Street stall food and being able to holler out my front door at food vendor people passing on motorbikes to stop and feed me!
  7. Fresh food markets almost daily within a km of my house
  8. Living 15 minutes from half a dozen beautiful waterfalls and a hot spring
  9. How ridiculously cheap everything is (except petrol!)…$1 curries that feed 6 people, 1kg of oranges for 50c, gorgeous tops for $3, weekly grocery shop for 4 people for under $10, etc…
  10. Being told by complete strangers that I’m beautiful (perhaps this should be top of the list!!;-)
  11. Eight course Chinese style weddings every 3 months or so
  12. Having farm animals
  13. Having enormous amounts of space and land
  14. Being able to travel 900 km for less then $20
  15. Living only a few hours away from tropical paradise islands
  16. Seeing the King everywhere you go and the nightly 8pm update on the royal family on every tv channel
  17. Seeing 6 people on a motorbike with a poodle in the front carrier basket
  18. Old ladies walking around in lacy bras with no shirts!
  19. Seeing work men building roads, climbing up scaffolding, tarring roads wearing el cheapo rubber flip flop shoes
  20. Seeing the police wearing those skin tight uniforms (won’t really miss it, but it is amusing!)
  21. Fabulous shoes for under $5
  22. Squalling rain storms

Things I Won't Miss About Thailand

  1. MIL – goes without saying really
  2. Living with the parents
  3. Being surrounded by so much PORK! (and living next door to pig killers!)
  4. Fish Gut Curry and Geng Som (spicy yellow fish curry, a staple at 90% of meals in southern Thailand)
  5. Going to funerals and monk parties almost fortnightly and made to eat Fish Gut Curry whilst watching everyone else devour 7 different types of pork dishes…literally, I am not exaggerating!
  6. Being stared at constantly
  7. Having no friends close by
  8. Cold showers in rainy season
  9. The dust and mould the pervades everything
  10. Being told that I’m slightly fat (although #10 on the above list kinda cancels this one out!)
  11. Rampant corruption both locally and nationally at every level
  12. The smell of wet rubber (think vomit mixed with baby poo…really!)
  13. Seeing so many little kids with black, rotten teeth
  14. Being woken up at 5.45am every morning by the obscenely loud radio news program over humungo speakers 10 metres from my window
  15. Being ‘asked’ to do English school camps that I can’t say no to because my husband’s family are all bloody school teachers! (this is my number one actually.. it even beats the MIL!)
  16. Gangs of howling dogs in the middle of the night
  17. KARAOKE! (no, I really won't miss it, not even a wee bit!!)

Tuesday 3 June 2008

Around Thailand in 80 Days...

Well, about 40 days or so I should, what have us tiddly winks been up to this last month gallivanting around the gorgeous tropics of Thailand.

1st: Went to Hua Hin... otherwise thought of as a developing resort area for rich tourists. Us not being in the afore mentioned category, we stayed for free at J's sister's newly purchased 3 bedroom house that was sitting empty waiting for us to give it comfort.

The beach is nice and all but not a scrap of shade to relax under. The dozen horses that mill about the main entrance begging for release from the hot sun but must endure beach runs worth 300 baht for half an hour and the toe to toe deck chairs that line half the beach are a real turn off.

2nd: My lurvy palio of over 20 years (bring on the aged pension!) came to visit for 2 weeks and was treated to all the luxury of village life.. Yes we did venture back not knowing what to expect but the parents were on best behaviour and J's mom actually touched me (!!!!) and told me she really missed me! Should have taken action aaagggesss ago!

Anyhoo...went to the day spa
Went to the cave but the lights kept on spontaneously turning off just as we entered the really dark area (thank goodness for the fandango torchy thang on my mobile!).

Went on the lotus boat trip again but at sun rise and wasn't disappointed..was vury purdy.

And the overall reason we made the trip back in the first place was so J's brother could get his new car blessed by our village monk. In over 3 years living here, I've never seen this done before so it was beyond cool. Monkio chants while walking around the car 3 times , then walks around it again blessing with water, pretty much trying to cover every inch, including the tyres of holy water, then he jumped in the car to write some scripture, then jumped out and wrote some more on the bonnet.

Went to my favourite waterfall in the ville, which is about 20 kms from home and palio enjoyed some uber risque rock jumping (jokes..very deep, hardly any rocks!)

Went to the hotsprings that are 7 kms from home and burned our lil bot bots off. It took a good half an hour just to get our feet fully submerged..scorchin'!

Then on another day we went to my other favourite waterfall..the biggest in our province and the place I fewl in lurve with hubby dear!

Back to Bangkok, went to Grand Palace (for the 5th time!) truly splendiferous though!

Also, just around the corner was Wat Pho, the home of the reclining Buddha and land of original Thai massage!

Went for a 15 baht, one hour boat trip on the Chao Praya River that runs through Bangkok and had a scrumalicious lunch at the other end of the public boat service at Nontiburi.

Then we went to see the infamous Bridge on the River Kwai at Kanchanaburi (2 hours west of Bangkok). I've always wanted to go there and made it my mission before we left the country to go there. Well, it could have been my last mission in life due to my near death experience. We were staying at the wonderful C&C Guesthouse right on the river, not too far from the bridge when we went for afternoon nappage time and a squalling gale hit our humble little raft room. After the room started lunging around a bit, I'm feeling a wee bit insecure on just floating bamboo polls, when an almighty current hit us and I thought we were gonnas down the River Kwai to fall off some monstrous overhanging waterfall or some such. I had grabbed my bags and was about to jump ship when we finally came to a stand still and we went to inspect the damage. All the bridges that connected our itsy bitsy floaty home were in piles at the bottom of the river (well, almost!). We were a stranded! J ended up skimming over the top of fallen logs while I acted the damsel in distress and awaited proper rescuing which took about half an hour. Oh...the adventures!

After a short recovery (next day!) we rode a hire motorbike 68 km one way, up to Thailand's most beautiful waterfall...Erawan. And what a beauty she be! 7 levels of stunningly aqua blue crystal waters. Definately worth the trip, even though got a bit of a numb bum on the return leg!
So, that's me up to date... back in the ville now just awaiting visa news for J to come to Australia!

Saturday 31 May 2008

Just Pottering Aboot...

No, I'm not dead! I just have no computer while in Bangkok and am sustaining my life through a paid internet shop down the street, so don't really have time/dosh to download pics and update the blog for now.

We're still in Bangkok, have just had a fab 2 weeks travelling aboot with my ol' buddy and visiting tropical islands (Koh Chang), visiting the village for 3 days and lolling around at waterfalls and hot springs and all the touristy biz involved with being in the big city (like going to Grand Palace for the 5th time! Not that I mind cos it's super deluxe beautiful!). Having an awesome time and trying to delay having to go back to the ville actually! Off to Kanchanaburi (as in Bridge over the River Kwai place) for a few days as it's only a few hours west of Bangkok, then reassess the sitch.
Still waiting to hear back about the Australian visa for J, but good news that we didn't have to have an interview because it was so apparent that we're a real couple. **Sigh**always good to know that I'm not a trophy wife after all ;-D
Hope all is well in your worlds....

Saturday 26 April 2008

Day Out in Bangkok

I had the most fabulous afternoon the other day with a group of uber lovely ladies from the British Women's Group in Bangkok. We went here there and everywhere but I have to say the highlight was the Flower Market. Absolutely gorgeous and a definite go to place for anyone coming to Bangkok. I can't believe I'd never been there and that my past visitors have missed out on it.. it really is wonderful and the flowers are so ridiculously cheap it feels like you're stealing them!

Firstly we went to Wat Phu Khao Thong - Golden Mountain Temple. Can't specify exactly where it is, but it was a short walk from the last stop on the canal boat ride (the one that goes past Jim Thompson House). Love the canal boats as they are super zippy, cost next to nothing and there's no noxious car emissions to breathe in on the trip. It can be slightly dangerous boarding said boats though, as the driver doesn't seem overly concerned if one of your legs is still inside the boat when they take off! Getting off at the last stop is always a safe bet though as they wait to fill up slightly before jetting off again. The view above is from the top of the temple.

Just as the heavens opened up we arrived at Bangkok's finest Pad Thai Restaurant on Mahachai Road. Twas indeed a delicious meal and funnily enough, the best Pad Thai I've ever eaten! By the time we'd finished eating, it was only pitter pattering so we soldiered on to see the giant swing just up the road. Not so scenic but a famous landmark in Bangkok. Then just opposite is another temple with a gorgeous Buddha statue and stunning murals on the walls that we had a looksee into.

From zee Wat we traversed via Tuk Tuk to the specialazzo flower market that was about 5 minutes drive away. By this time it was about 9 or 10pm and after the rain, it was just gorgeous. They also have a vege market across the street should you be wondering about the chilli shot!

I walked out of there at the end of the night with a massive bunch of over 3 dozen roses and a lovely bamboo ornamental good luck thingamee for $5....for both of them! Crazy man, crazy! I think one single rose in Australia costs $10!!

We ended the evening on the top floor of the Banyan Tree on Sathorn Road. Amazing 360 degree view from the 79th floor. Since I'm acting out the povo student in me, I couldn't quite bring myself to pay 150baht (about $5) for a glass of coke. I just have this mechanism in me that screams "they cost 15 baht at 7/11!!"..that's about 50 cents. I know..the village gal in me is like a disease! Purge purge!!

Wondiferous evening all round and it's quite a shame I won't be able to hang around with this group more in the future as we all got along like a firey house an' all that. We are still gathering legions of paperwork to sink the titanic for J's visa! We won't have a computer after tomorrow so will be slim pickings from me indefinitely but I hope to give updates here and there when I pop into Internet shops! :-)

Wednesday 23 April 2008

Mish Mash Tales...

I love storms. Especially electrical storms where you can just sit outside and watch the lightning. Of course it's not so much fun when you're actually stuck outside in the middle of one. Although on my adventurous walk home, I had a rather enormous grin on my face and kept guffawing about my crazy life....

J and I have pretty much decided to go back to Australia for a few years to live. Very easy to say, but putting that into action is quite the feat. Mountains of paperwork to work through, but the best part about applying for this visa in Thailand is that in this crazy ass country, if you want any of your original documents, you have to go to the original issuing office. There is no such thing as fax, post or email in this country apparently.

8 days ago, J arrived in Bangkok after a 17 hour minivan crushorama trip which took him 4 days to recover from stiff limbs and today, as we speak, he is on a bus going back 'home' for a 12 hour trip. Why does he have to travel over 1700km return trip so soon, you ponder? To pick up 2 pieces of paper. I kid you not. 1,700 kilometres people! FOR PAPER! Insanity. I can't even begin to tell of the drama vortex that is whisking us around in fluvial streamlets this week as it involves corruption, white lies, a midget, a wad of cash and a ceiling fan.

Oh, you're on the edge of your seat now aren't you?! To allude to the vortex... when Thai men reach the age of 20 they are required to go into a ballot to see if they have to serve in the army. Something about a red ball, you loose and have to serve for 2 years, or the black ball and you're free to go. Weeeellll, many a person (many a thousands of persons) in the country actually pay off officials to get out of the ballot...gasp, shock, horror, banish the thought of corruption in Thailand!! Well, yes, it does happen A.LOT.!! In order to serve in the army the minimum height is 160cm tall. If you're shorter, you can't serve. My husband is quite small (but not THAT small) and perhaps one day looooong ago, he may have been considered much shorter then he is now because no one actually physically measured them...and then there was that fan and the wad.. and that's all I'm saying about the matter!! Looong epic tales of woe anyhoo regarding the visa apps but tie in a bit of this story for a millispec of the details.

Back to adventure afternoon..I spent nearly 5 hours on buses today just travelling less then 20 km. The joy of Bangkok! One bus trip only costs 25 cents though, so can't complain about the price. The exhaust fumes on the other hand had me nearly retching. Advice to newbies in Bangkok...catch the air conditioned buses, it will add years to your life span.

Get this.. my trip from the Southern Bus Terminal to the closest bus stop to my place is between 12 -15 km, definitely not over. It took 3 hours for me to get home tonight. I left the terminal at 4.20pm and arrived at my door (~13 km away) at 7.30 pm! That includes the 15 minute walk in the torrential rain with lightning going off all around me also. The guffawing came when I turned into my street to find it a foot under water and traffic at a stand still. This flooding was the result of 3 hours of rain so I can't even begin to imagine what Bangkok is like in the rainy season.

Saturday 19 April 2008

Bangkok Weather brings Enlightenment...

Lord it's hot in Thailand at the mo. Advice to all the lovely people who stumble on my humble bumble blog.... don't come to Thailand in April. It's disgusting. The heat sucks out all the oxygen so you're left to breathe a mixture of moist air particles with carbon monoxide fumes, while the rivers of sweat cascade down your neck and between your bosoms if you are so lucky to have them. Thank god I was wise enough to rent an apartment with aircon.

There's a strange phenomena in Bangkok where you die of heat exhaustion while walking to the skytrain or underground, then board your preferred means of transport only to freeze your butt off. They seriously have the aircon blasting at icicle inducing temperatures...and don't even get me started on the cinema temperatures! We went to see the new Jet Li, Jackie Chan movie, which I didn't actually have any desire to see even though I love the Jet, but it was action which is right up J's alley, and I really enjoyed it, surprisingly. Quite fluffy but the fight scenes between Jet and Jack are pretty cool and definitely provide fluff redemption! And of course it was delightful to have my teeth chattering with the cold while thinking of all the silly folk outside the cinema..

And even through the oppressive heat, I'm still fond of the big city. I sure got a good deal on these glasses, right?!

Friday 18 April 2008

Bangkok Orphanage - Pakkred

J (lovely husband) and I spent a couple of hours playing with iddy biddy babies today! My dear friend Carol, whom I seem to mention every post (she's over here), because she is a shining beacon in the mass of nasty city fumes and is the one who introduced me to Pakkred Orphanage. This place really brings home the heartbreaking reality of where so many unwanted children end up in Bangkok... it's incredibly sad, but incredibly heartwarming at the same time. I went for the first time 2 weeks ago with some ladies from the British Women's Group who meet in a car park off Sukumvit Road to board the free mini-van that runs out to the orphanage daily. A 45 minute ride and you're at the orphanage. The shear number of babies is overwhelming. It's quite confronting because it's not something we generally think about. It's in one of those boxes that you know exist, but no follow up thoughts flow.

The orphanage is really well run, very clean, lovely staff and volunteers but obviously not enough to be able to give individual care to each baby in need. That said though, all the bubs are dressed in clean clothes and seem to be well fed. When volunteers go to spend a couple of hours with the kids it gives them some much needed attention and gives them interaction with different people. So, today was my second trip out there and J's first one. Yes, I knew I was running the risk of J going completely clucky nutty (wanted kids last millenia!) but there were a lot of reasons why I wanted him to go. Thais are very resistant to adopting and in the past I've mentioned my potential desire to do just that, met with much apprehension and frownage... all due to Thai culture and family values about caring for your own blood and karma stuff... it's a complicated mass of web so can't really delve into that pond, but J was astounded by 1. the gorgeousity of the babies and 2. the number of kids there is really full on, especially when you consider this is only one of many orphanages in Bangkok. I'm happy to report that J's opinion on adoption has done a complete 360, and his eyes are just a little bit wider.

I think J was hoping to run around like a lunatic playing with the kids today, as he is prone to do in the presence of anyone under 5! Well, his bubba was out for the count for the entire 2 hours, only waking for about a millisecond to have a snack and then lights out again. In the end, it was just easier to join him in dream land! I had a dear, sweeten, only one month old and quite the heart melter. I've well and truly had my heart stolen so I'll be retrieving it from Pakkred whenever I can!

Thursday 17 April 2008

I'm buying a convertible porsche...

It's official... I am in the middle of a quarter life crisis (yes, I'm going to live to 120, that's a certainty). Life is quite the roller coaster.

Who would've thought I'd fall in love on my short holiday to Thailand...
Who would've thought I'd end up living in a rice paddy village for 3 years...
Who would've thought I'd have homicidal thoughts about my husband's closest relative...
Who would've thought that I, who hate big cities, have ended up living in and loving Bangkok...
Who would've thought the rental prices in Australia could have doubled in 3 years!!! Literally. Doubled.

Much banging of head against brick wall going on. Many "what ifs", "buts" and "surelys" going on. Oh what a tangled web...This is what happens when you leave it to fate. Valuable lesson in that for all of us now, isn't there? Pros and Cons list of staying in Bangkok or moving back to Australia, here I come....

Monday 14 April 2008

I Must Be Possessed by the Devil...

I have sunk to new depths of disgustingness. Never before in my meaningful existence have I sunk to such abysmal depths. I ordered home delivered food today. Not just any home delivery.. gulp food take-away delivery. Now, in Australia, it's only really normal to get pizza or Chinese delivered, but it's generally just different variations of pizza Italiano food stuffs. Today I ordered KFC home delivery. My stomach sinks at the admission. I know, I know. I can not take it back, so I must purge myself of the disgustomuchoness of it all by this confession! At least it wasn't McDonalds is the only saving grace (and they do deliver in Thailand!).

To explain myself... I haven't eaten McD's in over 13 years (apart from maybe 3 chocolate sundaes that friends forced down my oesophagus) and I haven't touched KFC for probably well over 4 years. For the last 2 weeks I have been craving a Chicken Burger. Can't explain it. Must be being in the big city again.

Today being Songkran, Thai New Year, and one of the most fun festivals of the year if you are with friends and family due to all the water fights and water throwing that goes on around the country, is celebrated for 3 days (still got tomorrow). This is the first year in Thailand that I've been alone for Songkran... J and I always jump on the motorbike and ride through the village to let all the kids attack us with water pistols and baby powder...but this year, I don't think it's so much fun just to go down to the local store on my own and get a drenching, it's just not the same! So, I've been laying low and was tempted by the evil Colonel Sanders to home deliver so I would stay dry! Sad, oh so sad, but true.

For those of you who may be tempted by the devil himself, I urge you to fight it. I'm still feeling a little ill! I'll tell the tale anyhoo just in case you can't fight it. I called the 1155 number. Gave my details, ordered a Zinger Burger (sounded more zingy then a boring ol' plain chicken), the spicy chicken with rice and a large fries (yes, this is my lunch and dinner and yes, I do want to barf). The total came to 167 baht including tax and delivery. That's AU$5.95 for a home delivered meal (and 2 meals at that!). Have I mentioned I'm the queen of cheap? Not only that, it was delivered in less then 15 minutes!! The burger was mucho disappointing-oh, the chips a pale comparison to Aussie KFC chips (more like woody Maccas fries) but the spicy chicken wasn't too bad and really quite edible! That said though, I shall never face these globalised fast-food demons again. It was a one off moment of weakness fueled by a desire for a chooky burger and by the fear of getting blasted by water guns and powder. Seriously, who said city living wasn't going to be challenging?

By the sounds of all the karaoke floating up to my 8th floor apartment from 3 different directions, I should sleep like a baby tonight, thinking I'm back in the village!

Koh Samet

We spent a very lovely 4 days on Koh Samet island that's just a hop, skip and a jump from Bangkok. Incredibly easy to get to, you just jump in a mini-van that depart whenever full at Victory Monument. The van ride is around 2.5 to 3 hours and they drop you at the pier where you can either catch the ferry that departs hourly for 50 baht or get a speed boat that costs around 200 baht, I think. The ferry ride only takes 30 minutes and is over before you know it. They also have super chill out deck chairs to have a lil snooze on the way over.

On arrival at the Koh Samet pier you have the option to either walk to wherever you want to go or to get on one of the million green island taxis (4x4 songtaews). The crowds all seem to go with the vehicle option, but being the scrimp & savers that we are, J and I walked the 10 minutes to the main drag. Since the island is a national park, westerners who enter have to pay a 200 baht entry fee (Thais 20 baht) BUT if you walk in and avoid passing the NP office by taking a short cut through the temple on the left (wink wink) you don't have to pay!

The main beach and generally the first beach you come across on Koh Samet is Sai Keow Beach. It's a nice long beach with lovely clear water but a bit too many deck chairs, wall to wall bungalows and loads of people for my liking. So, the next beach along was Ao Phai which had dramatically less chairs and a nicer atmosphere. We stayed at Jep's Bungalows in a cuteso wooden bungalow, set back on a jungly hillside, with fan and hot water for 500 baht a night (~$18). The restaurant on the beach was uber-lovely but a tad expensive so after the first meal we explored the island and found on the next beach up at Tub Tims Resort had the cheapest and tastiest meals on the beach, so we set up camp there.

This is a bungalow at Tub Tim Resort. They cost 600 baht/night or 1200 for air-con including breakfast. We'll stay here next time because it has a lovely little beach and the food was divine and cheaporama... barely inflated at all considering it's island food.

Every night at 8pm they have a fire show on Sai Keow Beach that was pretty fantab and a huge crowd pleaser... dine on the beach and watch the fire show..

The island is only about 4 km long so we traversed it the first 2 days we were there to explore and get some much needed exercise. You can pretty much walk straight down the eastern side of the island as all the beaches are connected, although sometimes you have to go bush for 50 metres or so. Walking down the main road of the island can be a bit of a hazard as the taxis drive like looneys and it's not paved so the dust is pretty full on... stick to the beach walks is all I can say! Was a lovely lovely get away, and quite surprising to find such nice beaches with clear blue water so close to Bangkok.