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Monday, 8 August 2011

Travels in Thailand, part 3

After the unplanned expenditure mentioned in part 2, I decided to get something for myself; albeit rather more modest.  We'd heard about a men's and women's tailoring enterprise at Patong Beach called Tom's International Collection.  Being retired and having hung up my business gear, tee shirts and jeans or shorts tend to be my everyday clothing.  From time to time, Jennie and our daughter Victoria "encourage" me (an understatement) to look a bit tidier so the plan was to get some nice casual "dress" shirts made.  I don't want to drag this out, but what a great experience!  The standard of service, choice of materials, patterns and professionalism couldn't be faulted and we'd be hard-pressed to find an equivalent service in the West unless it was at the very top end of the market.  Loved the little touches like a different pattern lining in the collars and cuffs.  From first measurement to final collection of 3 superb shirts in less than 2 days was great, at a price that was substantially less than off-the-peg poorer fitting and lower quality garments in NZ.  Also, now that they have my measurements, I can mail order more at any time.  Just to conclude the tale, Jennie had a pure silk evening top made and it's a stunner so we were both happy.  So there you are... if you ever find yourself at Patong Beach, go to Tom's and ask for Ali - you won't be disappointed.

Saw this nice Honda cruiser near the tailors with the Grim Reaper airbrushed into the tank and rear guard - paint looked an inch thick!

Cool paint job

That evening, we decided on a bit of entertainment and trotted along to a show just north of Patong Beach called "Fantasea".  We knew that you got a feed and the show involved elephants but that was about it.  The location was superb and the organisation faultless.  The huge grounds were set up like an old-fashioned carnival and shops but with modern decor so that you could amuse yourself after eating and before and after the show.  The evening meal area was a buffet of beautiful foods and could cater for 4000 people at a time!  Organisation was excellent and it didn't feel at all cramped or rushed in the dining area.

Entrance to dining area

A small section of the dining area

After the meal, we took part in some of the carnival/funfair attractions, one of them being on the pistol range.  I hadn't fired a handgun for over 30 years and was simply amazed (so were the attendants!) to score all inners and bulls, winning a lovely stuffed elephant toy which will be going to our granddaughter.

The stage show itself was spectacular.  The storyline was an old Thai story about a prince combating evil, but using modern sets, laser light, fireworks, elephants and other performing animals - incredibly well done.  We weren't allowed to take photos from the show but here's a selection of shots outside taken in the grounds.

A neon-lit bar

 Entrance to the show

2 metre long catfish in the lake - yup...2 metres!

The following day was time for a bit of action - kayaking off the north east coast of Phuket Island.  A boat took us to an area which was a little reminiscent of our March visit to Halong Bay in Vietnam, and let us loose on inflatable kayaks at several particularly beautiful islands.  One of them was "James Bond Island" where part of The Man With the Golden Gun was filmed many moons ago.  Another island was riddled with caves and a central lagoon.  To get to the lagoon, some of the caves were so narrow that you had to lie down in the kayak and push on the walls with the paddle! 

Crab fishermen in the bay

Some of the limestone islands

Yours truly off for a paddle

Some nice toys

James Bond Island - a few hundred metres wide

Market stalls  on James Bond Island

Massive fault in the cliff - maybe 80 metres high

Entering the cave system on an island

Big Water Monitor lizard at cave entrance

Jennie and I laying flat to get through a narrow squeeze


Entering the island's inner lagoon

Part of the inner lagoon

Old-looking monkey on the lagoon walls

On the way home, we noticed the following sign near a beach.  Wondered if it meant that you were only safe from tsunamis at an altitude of 300 metres vertically above the sign!!!

Not a reassuring sign......

What a fun time!  More to come.......






9 comments:

  1. Those were the days, when movies were shot on real locations... thanks for the trivia. I was a big fan of the early Bond movies.

    Not sure if I would trust those rubber boats scratching the edges of the cave walls. You are truly adventurous. Great pictures!!!

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  2. Sonja:
    Me too - from Russia With Love was my personal favourite. I was a big fan of the early Bond girls (embarrassed grin) whilst Sean Connery is a lifelong drool of Jennie's!

    Those rubber boats had a fairly heavy canvas under-fabric but I still don't know how they stand up to the razor oyster shells stuck on the cave walls!

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  3. Aw...did my comment get lost? I commented about how I wanted to be at the neon-lit bar. Such nice pictures.

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  4. Keith....
    Sorry mate - can't see it anywhere which is weird! That neon place was pretty darned cool and I'd have liked a drink or three there too but I have a confession... putting it delicately, I was having to be a bit careful what I ate or drank that evening as something didn't quite agree with me :-(.

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  5. What fun!. That monkey looks old and wise and a little like he is meditating.

    Great pictures Geoff. I love traveling along with you two. You always have such a great time. Makes me want to get out more.

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  6. I saw an IMax film of a high speed wizz around those islands - stupendous!

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  7. Nikos: A gentle wizz was pretty stupendous too :-)

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  8. Beautiful. Showed the James Bond island to Oilburner and he recognized it quickly...since he loves the Bond series and we own almost every since one on DVD.

    The kayaking looks great and intriguing having to squeeze through the cave. But I wonder if it is only available with certain tides?

    Love the ceiling of the Palace of the Elephants restaurant area.

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  9. Lori,
    How cool! I adored the early Bond - huge fun.

    Yep, they time it so that you don't go to that particular island 2 hours either side of full tide or it could be a bit awkward. It was a tight enough squeeze in some parts as it was!

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