A Travellerspoint blog

Phuket, Thailand

Patong beach, phi phi islands

After a week in Bangkok, we decided it was time for a little more relaxed atmosphere at the beautiful island of Phuket. Portions of this island were devastated by the 2004 Indian ocean tsunami but they were well on their way towards reconstruction. Locals told us their stories of that dreadful day. Thai people who couldn't speak English point all the way out to the horizon and then motioned their hands quickly inward towards land to signal the rush of the wave they came face to face with.

One activity I remember most about the trip was when a friend and I spent a day on the beach playing soccer with the island natives. None of us spoke the same language, but we all knew the rules of Futbol.

We stayed at the Merlin Beach Resort. This place was absolutely beautiful. It was a little way from the patong beach, but cabs waited outside the building all day and night. The have a swim-up bar, several pools, man made waterfalls and great room service. They offer scuba classes and boat tours to other islands including the Koh Pee Pee islands, better known as the Phi Phi islands. This island is also home to the filming of the movie "The Beach." if you tour guide is laid back he will take you close enough to feed the monkeys that live on the islands. They usually swim up to you. It's a lot of fun.

Patong beach has all the life a tourist can ask for. Massages, water sports, drinks delivered to you in your sun chair and plenty of bars will keep you busy all day and night. However, Patong beach is not a safe place to be alone at night. Taxis will surround you and compete for your service and so will the prostitutes (both men and women). So it is best to keep with the buddy system. But one great bar I can remember being a ton of fun was club Banana. This place is a mix of locals and tourists with outside and inside seating. Don't get too drunk because cops with machine guns will ask you to leave. (It happened to a friend)

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Posted by BHammer301 18:45 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Bangkok, Thailand

-17 °C

My experience in Bangkok was unlike anything I could have prepared for. It was an immediate culture shock. Upon entering the airport terminal, I was surrounded by signs that explained that trafficking drugs is a life or death sentence. To an American, it's a scary thought that a person could be put to death for a non-violent crime. I recall the airport had smoking rooms every hundred feet or so. These rooms were poorly built/ventilated boxes where dozens of people were smoking. Outside in the distance, a dark cloud lingered over the city coating the unfinished skyscrapers like a heavy blanket.

My hotel was really comfortable and extremely cheap. It was a good thing I had my trip prearranged, because all I had to do was show my ID at the front desk. There were many travelers there that hadn't booked their rooms in advanced and were having trouble communicating with the receptionists.

For those of you traveling to Bangkok there are several things you need to know:
1-Bargain everything! Beers cost 100 baht so don't be overpriced. The street vendors want your money more than you want their product.
2-Try not to overdress when walking through the streets. There was an incident where I got out of a taxi dressed in a white shirt and white pants and I stood out like a sore thumb. I was overwhelmed by children trying to sell their umbrellas and shirts etc... My friend who was in a gray shirt and blue jeans was left completely alone.
3-Remember that you are a in their country. This is no longer your territory so when something doesn't go your way or you get frustrated with transportation, do not express any anger or emotions that show weakness or vulnerability. try to conform to your surroundings an act inconspicuous.
4- Their culture is very different from that of Americans. It is not uncommon to see prostitutes all along the street. Men dressed as women, transsexuals, ladyboys and drag queens are common in Thailand and is actually recognized by the government.
5- Traffic is very dangerous. At one point during the day the roads will look orderly and veyr similar to our rush hour. However, hours later that same road could be moving in only one direction. Buses and scooters dominate the road and will drive onto the other side of the road at will. Bangkok traffic is the craziest thing I have ever seen.

Things to do:
1-Explore the city, walk around and purchase some memorabilia that you can only find on the streets of Bangkok.
2-Be sure to sample the street vendors food. It is probably safer to eat than most food you'll find in restaurants.
3-Head to the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo. This temple is located several minutes outside the city. It can me seen from miles away. This architectural phenomenon is home to hundreds of statues that were hand crafted and detailed with finger size tiles and stones.
4-Purchase some custom made business suites from a nearby tailor. For about 240 US dollars (eight thousand Baht) you can purchase two. The suites alone will pay for your trip there and back.
5-Check out a near by Muay Thai fight. The stadiums are very similar to the one you will see in a Jean Claude Van Damn movie. The metal cages and Asian betters throwing their money around are all real.

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Posted by BHammer301 16:54 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Acapulco, Mexico

Soy Pisano!

sunny

This place is one of the wildest places I have ever been too. Non-stop parties and house music at 10 am will keep every spring breaker partying their asses off. If you are looking to get wild and loose five years off your life, there is no better place to do it than Acapulco. I stayed at the Copacabana Hotel the first time I went and La Playa Suites the second. I would not recommend these hotels for any couple looking to escape the pressure of the real world and relax, especially during the months of March, April and May. Did I mention I went there for two spring breaks? 2 spring breaks x 5 to 10 years of life =I hope I see 30.

Acapulco is home to some of the largest clubs in the world. El alebrje has stadium designed seating that makes you feel like a NFL player when you enter the floor. However, In order to get a table you must purchase several bottles and give a generous tip. Don't give your whole tip at once because later in the night the servers will be looking for more money. Don't be fooled by their kindness because as soon as you run out of money they will be more than happy to put another group of people in your place. The music, dancers, horns and light display is enough to make you feel like your at a rave on Jupiter.

Check out a quick video of elalebrije.

When your in Acapulco you can do everything from swimming with dolphins to Bungee jumping. If you know me at all you can imagine what I chose to do on my spare time. The bungee jumping is not owned by worl renown AJ Hackett. However, they use all of the Hackett equipment Many of the men working on the platform have been jumping their whole life so it is reassuring. After a few drinks at a near by tavern, a friend and I decided to go bungee jumping right then and there. They were closed when we got there because the elevator shaft wasn't working. Fortunately, my Spanish was fluent enough to convince the guys that we were good people and if they let us climb up we wouldn't tell anybody. Those amigos let us climb up the 42 meter stairwell and proceed to jump off the top. Check out the video.

So much for not telling anyone.

Posted by BHammer301 08:11 Archived in Mexico Tagged tips_and_tricks Comments (0)

New Zealand

Adrenaline capital

Years back when I went to New Zealand, all I heard about was how much they have to offer in the outdoors and their adrenaline sports. I couldn't wait to participate in something that could rarely be found in the U.S. probably because of law suits, permit restrictions, etc... A friend and I took a road trip about three hours north of Auckland to the waitomo caves The experience was out of this world. It recall having a natural high when I entered the underground caves and water holes that made my head twirl inside (some might find this to be rather nauseating). Growing up in NY the only underground caves I knew of were sewage passages and cesspools.
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That wasn't all New Zealand had to offer. When we returned to Auckland we heard about Bungee jumping. New Zealand is notorious for its bungee jumping sites and world renown AJ Hackett is to thank.

We went over to the Auckland bridge in Auckland, NZ (That's the north Island for those of you who are unfamiliar. Apparently the south Island is loads more fun. I will have to make my way down there some time again). The bridge is roughly a 43-meter jump depending on the water level. Make sure yo go with a few people heavier because they get to go first. This jump scarred the hell out of me. You will have to walk on a plank and jump all on your own. The Kiwis in the background like to pock fun at you if you don't jump so that's a little encouraging.
I should also tell you that a great place to stay in Auckland is at Base Auckland Central Backpackers (ACB). The rooms are clean and the staff is friendly. They also have no problem with you staying out late and returning at 3 am.

Here is a video of me Bungee jumping the Auckland bridge....

My friend pacing in the background just went and is obviously pumped he did it.

Posted by BHammer301 12:25 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Australia....

Memories I'll never forget, but I can hardly remember

sunny

Three years ago I studied abroad in Australia (the place with the Kangaroos) with some of the coolest people in the world. Bond university was our school and I am surprised they still accept Americans after the times we had there. We didn't do much studying, but rather a lot of socializing, sight seeing and traveling. Australia was the time of my life and the experience helped lay the path for my future aspirations.

While we were living in surfers paradise, we were able to travel around much of the Eastern coast and visit Brisbane, Byron bay, Whit Sundays and The Great Barrier Reef. The adventure of traveling from hostel to hostel and living with random people out of a backpack for days at a time, opened my eyes to a world of possibilities that I can get involved in.

I also Traveled to Thailand and New Zealand while I was abroad. I will go into further detail about those countries in another blog post. So stay tuned...
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Posted by BHammer301 11:24 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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