A Travellerspoint blog

October 2016

Laem Chabang (port for Bangkok)

Monday, 31 October 2016

View 2016-09 Southampton to Sydney on greynomadm's travel map.

Our ship backed slowly into her berth amongst the massive dock cranes and large cargo ships. Normally she's an imposing feature in the port but here she's just another big structure. The very large terminal building also stands up well by comparison. We have nothing booked here, the two and a half hour drive each way to Bangkok for most of the tours was too much. Add to that the fact that a number of the significant attractions were closed decided us against any of the tours on offer.

The ship did arrange for a shuttle to the nearby city of Pattaya. Fares were US$8 each, each way so US$32 all up. The weather looked to be far better than expected so we signed up for this shuttle. The first shuttle was due to leave at 08:30, we were there at 08:00 and were directed to the bus, as soon as it was filled we were off. By 08:15 we were on the road and had an easy 50 minute drive to the Bay View Hotel where they provided a meeting place and welcome Rest Rooms.

There is nothing much open in Thailand before about 10:00 to 10:30, we were invited to fill in time at the World Gems Collection Co. Free shuttle from the hotel, no obligation to buy. We figured we had nothing better to do. Quite quickly we were deposited into the care of a guide who took us past some amazing statues encrusted with precious and semiprecious stones and copious amounts of gold. The price tag on a magnificent golden dragon was over a million US Dollars.

We viewed their 'factory' where a team of about 30 were working on pieces of jewelry with the precision of micro surgeons. Watching these craftsmen and women working with tiny tools under a microscope gave you an appreciation for the effort involved in creating the jewelry. Then into the display and sales area. Any couple that spent more than a minute examining a particular counter attracted an 'assistant' who shadowed them around the floor.

Jenny was attracted to a number of items but invariable she was put off by the price tag. The Thai price needed to be divided by about 33 to bring it to US Dollars this then has to be multiplied by 1.33 to bring it to AU Dollars. She was pretty good and resisted many of the 30 to 40 thousand Thai Baht items. After some considerable time she selected a pendant and chain that made only a slight dent in the credit card.

Shuttle back to the hotel where we gathered our directions and headed down to the beach. There had been a massive increase in activity and traffic. The beach is free but it costs AU$ 4 to hire a sun lounge. There were all manner of vendors and roadside stalls. Prices are fixed in most shops where individual items have a sticker price. The market style stalls are prepared and fully expect to have their asking price reduced. In one shop I picked up four jars of Thai Herbal Balm for the princely sum of 220 Baht. The bargain of the day however was in a 'Family Mart' where we bought two small bottles of Pepsi for just 36 Baht.

Back to the hotel where a shuttle bus provided a welcome air-conditioned sanctuary. The expectation was that we'd be there until the bus filled up. To our surprise it left with at least 20 empty seats. We were back at the terminal by about 12:30 and breezed through the screening and back on the ship without delay.

After lunch Jenny gathered her craft bag and went to the nightclub for her regular session with fellow craft enthusiasts. My task was to record the events of the day and account for the money spent. I was viewing my images and noticed the lineup of coaches awaiting our arrival. There were 50+ coaches, guides and drivers - where do you find them and where do they go when the ship leaves??

For dinner I had the roast pork belly again, I was not disappointed. Tonight's attraction in the Theatre was Canadian Comedian Scott Harris. He gave us a preview of his act last Friday, we were a bit uncertain about how he would go for a full 45 minutes. As it turned out, he may have lasted the 45 minutes but we didn't. I didn't think he was all that good a few nights ago, my opinion wasn't changed tonight.

Tonight we start three sea days on our Southward leg to Bali in Indonesia.

One of the beautiful shrines at the hotel in Pattaya is the feature image for today you can view my photo by following this link to the image.

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony.

Posted by greynomadm 06:47 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Ko Samui - Thailand

Sunday, 30 October 2016

View 2016-09 Southampton to Sydney on greynomadm's travel map.

Total overcast continues and the humidity must have exceeded 100% because we've experienced almost constant drizzle, expected high temperature 29 °C/84.2 °F again. We are at anchor off the island of Ko Samui on Thailand's East Coast. Once again the company has hired a number of local boats to assist in the task of ferrying up to 3000 people ashore.

We went ashore at about 09:15 and walked around the local town and inspected a number of clothing stores. The constant drizzle did little to make the place attractive and even walking was a challenge with sizable puddles being difficult to negotiate. Being a Sunday the traffic was remarkable light which reduced the potential hazard of stepping onto the roadway.

Despite having money in my pocket all we could find to buy was a Pepsi. On return to the pier we were marshaled into a covered area to await the next tender. We decided to sit on the open deck on one of the local boats and the breeze created by the boat went a long way to drying our tops. It was about 12:30 when we returned to our floating hotel.

It was surprisingly quiet on the Horizon Court and we had a pleasant lunch. Jenny went off to catch up with the Knitter's coven in the Night Club and I scoured the ship for some suitable images. It looks like a shot of a local tender boat will be it for today.

Wrote the blog and reviewed the images which filled in some time. I must have dozed off because before I expected it was time to change and go down to dinner. We were well into the main course before there were other people in the room, Jenny had the lamb shanks and they were so good she almost licked her plate clean.

Tonight's entertainment was Piano Headliner Jon Darsk playing everything from Beethoven to Billy Joel, Country to Rock and Roll. Jenny missed an impressive display of musical talent. I tried to convince her to get up for the 22:00 show but that suggestion was not well received !! He'll be on again in a few days, I'll certainly will be going back.

Tomorrow we're in Laem Chabang (port for Bangkok). The weather forecast isn't promising, with nothing booked we'll see what the morning brings.

A loaded local tender approaching the ship is the feature image for today you can view my photo by following this link to the image.

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony.

Posted by greynomadm 07:15 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Bound for Ko Samui

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Another sea day with humidity up to 98% it feels like it is raining. No sign of the sunrise, the sky went from dark grey to a somewhat lighter shade.

Solved the outstanding mystery with regard to my Internet Account. The have carried forward the remaining minutes and additionally added another 250 minutes for the remainder of the cruise. My minimal use of that account should see me through as I use about 10 minutes each day to upload this blog, scan my Emails and upload the image of the day. Because of the heavy use of the satellite connection it takes ages just to load a page.

Busy morning, after breakfast at 09:30 Destination Presentation for Ko Samui. Time for an early lunch then the 12:00 Destination Presentation for Laem Chabang (port for Bangkok). Shortly afterwards, 13:00, History Presentation by Evon Anderson on the Mutiny on the Bounty. Each of these presentations are scheduled for 45 minutes but invariably run to 50 minutes. I tend to stay seated from one to the next but sometimes there an urgent call from nature.

I was surprised to find Jenny in the cabin, she's had trouble getting to sleep and is finding it difficult to concentrate on her Craft work. She's talking 'Room Service' rather than Formal Dinner in the dining room tonight. With two ports due over the next two days I hope she's not coming down with something.

I got into the monkey suit and went down for a quick dinner. Returned to the cabin and ordered something from Room Service for Jenny.
Clocks go back an hour overnight, hopefully the extra hour will help Jenny bounce back. Tomorrow is a tendered port and we don't have an excursion booked so we will most likely just do the tender trip, check out the stalls and come back. It will depend on how Jenny feels.

Yesterday our minibar was refreshed. I arranged the spirit bottles and captured my feature image for today you can view my photo by following this link to the result.

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony.

Posted by greynomadm 04:30 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)


Friday, 28 October 2016

View 2016-09 Southampton to Sydney on greynomadm's travel map.

Low cloud delayed the sunrise and it was almost 07:00 when a soft light broke through. I was impressed by the number of ships waiting to enter the port.

We had nothing organised for today and we wandered ashore at about 08:30 with a specific plan to replenish Jenny's knitting materials for the remainder of the cruise

I'm recording some of this detail for possible future reference. Once we were through Immigration and Customs we obtained a map from the friendly ladies at the Level 1 Information Centre. Last time we were here we walked both ways to the Marina MRT Station, a vigorous 30 minutes. This time we located and boarded the Local No 402 bus which for $1 each delivered us to the Downtown MRT. We purchase two return tickets to Dhoby Ghaut. A change of line was required at the Chinatown Station. Jenny had information that Spotlight has a store in the Plaza Singapura located above the Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station. We found the shopping complex but it took some time to locate the store on Level 5. We were a little early and the shop didn't open until 10:00. The check-out docket indicates that we were there for just under 45 minutes.

Back down to the station and we took the train to Chinatown. Picked up a few essentials and even two new shirts for me. Back to the MRT to find that I had spent all my small change and the ticket machine will not accept $10 (and above) bills for the purchase of single trip tickets. The ticket office cheerfully split the $10 to two $5. A short ride to the Downtown MRT Station to catch the bus back to the Cruise Terminal. Small problem, not enough small change to pay the $2 for the No 402 bus.

A lovely lady at the information desk of the retail complex provided us with small change, succinct directions to the bus stop and a charming smile. Back aboard the ship we handed in our passports and went to the Horizon Court for a quick lunch. Back in the cabin we both relaxed for an hour or two then gathered our Life Jackets and attended our Muster Station. Returned the life jackets to the cabin and off to the dinning room. It appears that some of the 'regular' staff have been re-assigned while others have completed their contracts and returned home. Our two were still there and welcomed us back.

Attended the evening entertainment in the Theatre, a short burst from the Singers and Dancers and a brief appearance by Canadian Comedian Scott Harris.

The uncertainty about the 48 Day Cruise continues, we have new cruise cards, our account has been cleared by charging the credit card and the mini-bar has been refreshed. I'll bet that there is a fresh Internet account to be set up too. Will find out when can establish a WiFi connection. It just doesn't work from the cabin. In about every respect it is as if we started a new cruise rather than continue an existing one.

A day at sea tomorrow as we head in a Northerly direction for Ko Samui in Thailand. An early morning capture from the balcony is my feature image for today you can view my photo by following this link to the image of the waiting cargo ships.

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony.

Posted by greynomadm 06:26 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

In the Straits of Malacca

Thursday, 27 October 2016

As I made my way to the open deck this morning the ship was passing through a tropical downpour. Any attempt to photograph the sunrise was put to rest. Went back to the cabin and waited for Jenny to get ready and we went off to breakfast.

Jenny went off to her Knitters in the nightclub and I spent some time reviewing yesterday's images from Phuket. I have a number that reflect the period of mourning for their deceased king. Images of the king decorated with large wreaths of black and white bunting. Dress shops with an entire section of black outfits from simple dresses to elaborate gowns. Most of the locals were dressed in black and many had a black ribbon bow pinned to their sleeves.

Off to the theatre for the Culinary Demonstration, similar in format to others we've seen, this one with a more serious note than some others. Didn't bother with the galley tour, seen one - seen them all. Miles of spotless stainless steel.

Lyndon Jolly followed shortly after with a further presentation on the Arrival of Mankind and used a set of excellent slides to show the spread of modern man across the land mass of the planet. Then Evon Anderson launched into the final chapters of the War in the Pacific. The staggering numbers of casualties on both sides left me reeling. I've heard much of this story before and it never ceases to overwhelm me, each time there is yet another element that was previously unknown.

A late lunch and a much needed "Nanny Nap" and off to dinner. The primary topic of conversation being the absence of passports. I suspect the Singapore Officials would have been extremely busy processing the documents for over 4500 passengers and crew. Some 1200 passengers will disembark tomorrow in Singapore.

Returned to the cabin and Alston had our passports and a new cruise card for me. Jenny is off trying to track down her new card. Many aspects of this ship's administration are not up to the standard we've experienced previously.

Tonight's entertainment was an abbreviated appearance by the comedian Tom Briscoe and a short bracket of songs by the Elton John wannabe Greg Andrew.

Singapore tomorrow, Jenny has some shopping plans, hope the weather is reasonable.

No significant images today, used this from yesterday you can view my photo by following this link to the image of the watchful officers on the bridge.

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony.

Posted by greynomadm 06:32 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

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