Phang Nga Holiday! Part 8, The Heaven And Hell Temple

The final part of this adventure involves me going to a temple thinking it would be pretty meh and then saying to the world it was ‘slightly above meh’. However I was pleasantly surprised how interesting this temple was.


Strictly speaking, this isn’t your traditional temple of a big building made of gold and with typical Asian architecture. Wat Thamtapan is more of a holy building with multiple sculptures of animals and deformed humans. The story behind it (As in: ‘What my mum told me’…) is that the temple is split into two parts; heaven and hell. And I assume was built to deter people from murdering each other with machine guns or hip hop dance moves…


So I went off to explore the temple. As I walked in I wasn’t expecting much. Then again, that is normally the best way. You normally get disappointed the most when you expect something to be good, then are disappointed to find out it isn’t the best place you’ve ever been to (The Taj Mahal is a prime example of this: Sure, it’s majestic, but you expect it to be the best thing you’ve ever seen in your life because you’ve built it up. But when you see it even though it is beautiful you can’t help but feel a little bit disappointed.).
So I expected little, went to explore anyway in case I was wrong and saw this:




First of all there were all these random animal statues. I stared at them pretending to be an art connoisseur, slowly lifted my glasses and sighed “…Adequate…” Then I turned around and was greeted with could only be described as some people from a council estate on a stag do, complete with the messed up tongues…



“This is what happens to you if you are naughty…” I could hear my mum telling my eight year old self. The statues seemed to be constantly begging for change. I muttered, “I DON’T HAVE ANY CHANGE!” Like Randy from South Park, giggled to myself and carried on walking to the left, where I was greeted with a beast of a dragon…


You could walk in and through the dragon usually, but that day the door was locked. At first glance it looks like there’s a lady at the entrance but that was in fact a statue blocking the entrance way, which I thought was pretty cool.



Finally I spent a good ten minutes exploring the rest of the temple. There was a big old Buddha statue with a smile on his face that suggested he was enjoying a bit of GTA, a mesmerising golden statue and a nice rock feature with various carvings and things.



I left and grabbed some lunch. Again, the Thai people there were in shock when I spoke to them in Thai. I ordered a chicken fried rice with a fried egg on top and it was bloody huge! So big in fact that I only ate half of it. I normally eat quite a lot as well but this dish really defeated me, and for 50 Baht (£1) as well! Hopefully they gave the leftovers to the stray dogs and didn’t throw them in the bin. I’d hate to think they wasted food…


And that’s it! My whole Phang Nga trip spread out into eight whole posts! I want to say thank you to my mum and stepdad for looking after me, and I did feel a bit guilty being spoiled for ten days straight. Hope to see you soon, whether it is back in Phang Nga or here in Chiang Mai…



Holiday In Phang-Nga! Part 7, Panyi Floating Village: It’s A FRICKING Floating Village Man!!!

So after doing all the generic tour stuff that I talked about in the last post:

It was time to do what everyone had raved about when they were talking about this trip: Panyi floating village.


I was excited about going; I’d heard they had a mosque, a school and a floating football pitch. I was excited about the football pitch the most. I’d heard of a similar pitch in Singapore but this was the first I’d heard about one being in Thailand. I haven’t played for a long time but was pretty handy back in the day (I’m sure everyone says that)!


So we pulled up onto the village and my boat-taxi-driver-possibledrugdealer guy told me to take my time and he’d be in the same place. I wandered around for a bit and was in awe of the fact that this village I was standing on was actually floating. I assume they had some decent foundations on bits that weren’t very deep, but yeah, we were bang in the middle of the sea, the nearest land being a few kilometres away.


I walked around in search of greatness and found a tour group. They were speaking French, so I deduced with my genius IQ that they were most likely from France. I wanted to shimmy past them but there were hundreds of them, and the English famously aren’t good at dealing with French armies. So I screamed “Viva le France” and blended in with them. (I’m so fucking intelligent. I should become a spy…)


Me and my newly adopted army soon stumbled upon a school. Yep, they have a school for all the children there. Sod being the western teacher there having to apply for a work permit, live on the village and sod off to immigration every three months! Luckily I’m not that guy. I’m the guy with a smartphone pretending to be a professional photographer. I saw a very small football pitch for the kids and thought to myself maybe they had slightly talked up their ‘pitch’. However I took photos and broke free from the French army, shouting, “DELE ALLI IS BETTER THAN POGBA!!!” As I made my escape…


My freedom sounded good in theory, but I soon panicked and found some Italian tour. I walked behind them pretending I didn’t understand Italian and was thinking to myself, “Look at me, stealing a free tour. I’m such a bad boy…”
There were a surprising amount of Italians in this village as my group was chatting away to loads of other passers by in Italian. I smiled, wondering whether I should join in and give myself away. In the end I threw out a few ‘ciao’s’ here and there. Then as we walked around another corner there she bloody was…




I used to do football tricks when I was a teenager, and would have lots of places I would use as my ‘stage’. I’ve used roundabouts in roads, second floor balconies, classrooms… But this would have been the absolute pinnacle; imagine doing a five minute football trick video in the centre of this pitch? It would have been incredible.


Sadly for me I didn’t bring a football (Of course I’m very rusty now, but I can still pull off a few tricks now and then) so there was no chance of me doing that. But next time I visit my mum I may buy a football and do the tour again just to do a freestyle on there. My teenage self could die in peace if I did something like that. I’m smiling just thinking about it…


After taking a few million photos I looked up from the pitch and could see the mosque in the distance. It took me a few seconds to absorb the fact that this was in fact a village on the water, but they had still managed to build not only a football pitch but A BLOOMING MOSQUE AS WELL! And there’s me not having the motivation to go and get a takeaway…


So off I popped. A few wrong turns later I was there. The sad thing was because the village was understandably compact, there were no good places to take a picture of the entire mosque apart from ridiculously far away. And when I say far away, I mean not even on the floating village anymore. We weren’t allowed in though because the sign on the door said ‘Muslims only’, and as I went out the side exit I saw that they were expanding the village, either for housing or for shops. It made me smile that their little world was sustaining itself so much that they were building further and further out.


Finally it was time to grab some lunch. There were a few very upmarket looking restaurants that I completely ignored. Normally in Asia the upmarket restaurants are extremely pretentious, overpriced and owned by the elite. I much prefer going to a place run by a family trying to make ends meet. Not only are they much more welcoming, but more often than not the food is sublime because they are genuinely appreciative of your custom.


I wasn’t wrong either. I had fried rice with squid and a big bottle of water for 100 Baht (£2) The bottle wasn’t for me – I had my own bottle already – the bottle was for my boat guy who I’m sure was uncomfortable sitting around waiting for me in the heat. Anyway the food was great, they did speak any English but were super friendly, and to top it all off you couldn’t beat the view.


I did get lost trying to find my way back to the boat, but I’ve had much worse situations in my life than this. This tour is highly recommended. I had a great time and I will be back one day armed with a football and possibly wearing a Watford shirt with ‘Redemption’ printed on the back…


Holiday In Phang-Nga! Part 6, James Bond Island.. Break Me Off A Piece Of That TOUR-IST-SCHIZZ!!!



Give me a break…Give me a break…. TAKE IT AWAY ANDY!!!!!!


So yeah, tourist schizz. You can’t go to Phang Nga without going to James Bond Island. Well, that’s what everyone was theatrically telling me anyway! I’m not really a big fan of James Bond, so I nodded politely when people would scream this in my face. The only problem was that the day tour was being advertised at 4200 Baht (nearly £100) I didn’t fancy spending a hundred quid on something I pretty much didn’t give a shit about. I’d much rather throw £100 at my nephews than at some generic Asian day trip where I had to smile and pretend it was a lot better than it actually was…


I spent a few hours with my stepdad (@badbadger) while he was volunteering at the rescue place and I spoke to Ton, the big boss guy at the rescue. He laughed at the fact I could communicate with him in Thai and we chatted about random things before I asked about the trip. He excitedly got on the phone and booked me in for tomorrow, saying he ‘knew a guy’ (when someone uses this phrase, things never go badly…) I asked him a couple of times how much it would be, but he kept avoiding the question and smiling. “Oh shit, this is going to cost a fortune.” I said to myself.


I went off and did Lewis things, then as I came back to the rescue centre Ton pulled me to one side, talking very softly and shyly about how much it was going to cost me. I braced myself, ready to apply for loans at 3 separate banks.

“You will have to pay a few hundred Baht extra for the canoeing, but the whole thing will be 1000 Baht.” He said apologetically.

“Oh go on then, if I have to…” I said sarcastically.



So 1000 Baht later I was dropped off by the boats and got on with some randomino. I made the mistake for saying a few pleasantries in Thai and the geezer assumed I could speak fluently. Within five minutes I’d heard his entire life story, not that I understood anything he said anyway…

After taking a few photos of stuff I assume everyone else likes, we soon got to James Bond Island. I was told it costs money to go on the island (it didn’t) and that it wasn’t worth going on. So I declined to go on the island, much to the confusion of Talkbot 5000…


Then we spun around and headed for a floating village (I’ll elaborate on that in my next post) and we then headed back. I was told it was a whole day trip, including canoeing through the caves (which I was told was the highlight of the tour) so I was slightly confused. There was an energy in the air that suggested the day was over, so I asked him (for the fifth time I might add) if we were doing the caves and the canoeing.

He seemed reluctant to go because apparently we’d already passed it and was kind of hinting for me to say “No problem.” But I wanted to go, and after a few awkward smiles and huffs he took me to the canoeing.


It was good, but it definitely was much better if you went as a couple. It was very romantic with many couples getting gorgeous profile pictures showing the pinnacle of their relationship, whereas I was canoeing singing “One is the loneliest number” like Lisa Simpson (click the video before you get weirded out by the eyes…):


I still enjoyed myself though. I was told you had to tip the canoe guy before I got on, and it felt very mafiaesque when as we were pulling in some big Thai guy rowed past me saying sternly “You tip him!”
Whatever, it’s only 100 Baht. Take it and I never have to see you again. You probably need it a lot more than me…


Then I tipped my boat guy 200 Baht; 100 for the day and an extra 100 because I felt bad having to make him do two trips and I thought at least I know I’ve covered his extra petrol and then some. I was still in holiday mode and again thought that this guy would appreciate it more than I would. He snatched the money off of me and didn’t give a shit. He didn’t even smile. I’m such a good judge of character…



So overall it was definitely worth it because I paid a quarter of what other tourists would pay. (See, it pays to learn Thai! Well, that and know a guy who knows a guy, who sleeps with a girl who is married to a guy who is cousins with… Well you get the point.) I wouldn’t recommend it if you are paying 4000 Baht though. It was breathtaking, but remember we are in Thailand; pretty much the whole country is breathtaking! You don’t have to spend £100 to see beautiful sights, you can literally just look around you and it’s everywhere. If you are a huge James Bond fan then sure, stump up the money and orgasm in nostalgia. But 4000 Baht is well overpriced for what it is.

Oh, and go with someone. Preferably someone you feel comfortable kissing on the lips…


Holiday In Phang-Nga! Part 5, Khao Lak: The Marmite Of Thailand…

“So what places are good to see here?” I asked my stepdad while at the same time wondering if Ariana Grande secretly digged obscure up and coming authors…

“Well, James Bond Island obviously,” He replied. “But there’s also a nice little place called Khao Lak that’s really good.”

So he took me to the bus station so I could ask Mr Man sitting behind the desk when the buses left. He told me 8:30, 11:00 and 5:30. He also said the bus took an hour and that there were buses that went back the same time. Sold, sold and sold! Except it wasn’t sold because I didn’t actually buy a ticket. I’m not good at mornings, so the plan was to aim for the 8:30 bus and then catch the 11:00 one when I inevitably overslept…


Strangely enough I actually woke up at 7, had breakfast and was at the bus station for 8:15. Ended up falling asleep on the bus and was ready to explore Khao Lak by 9:45.

I got dropped up right by the Tsunami Memorial Museum, which was handy because that was one of the places on my radar while I was there. As I got to the museum I came face to face with a monumental police boat, which had been washed over one kilometre onshore during the tsunami, and had subsequently been left there…



Next was the museum. It cost 300 Baht to get in and I could see it was tiny. It looked like a small bedsit with a few pictures of the carnage scattered around the place and a TV with tsunami news stories on loop. It seemed a bit extortionate for things that had clearly been taking from either Google Images or Youtube, but I felt like I’d be a bit of a dick if I didn’t go in, and huffed theatrically like a diva as I paid the angry looking lady…

There was an upstairs though, so I wondered what crazy contraptions could be upstairs. Maybe a Saw trap? or some objects recovered from the wreckage like parts of a motorbike or a necklace of a person who still has been undiscovered? You know, something that would really tug the heartstrings…

No… Turns out there were just two more videos on loop – one in English and one in German – of relatives being interviewed about the loved ones that sadly perished in the tragedy. It was sad, but again it was something I could have seen at home on the internet. It wasn’t exactly worth the money. The only positive being that I was told the money went towards the victim’s families. So in that case it became less about how good the museum was and more about simply giving money to people whose lives were destroyed directly or indirectly as a result of what happened in 2005. So the museum was pretty meh, but the fact you are donating money to people makes it worth it…


Next on the agenda was a cheeky Spag Bol for lunch. I spoke to the girl and asked to order (in Thai) and she was very disinterested in me which I thought was rude, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt. After being ignored a few times or being greeted with a huff and a point to the bar while she didn’t even look up from her phone, the restaurant owner finally came out, and swiftly gave a load of takeaway food to the girl who then smiled and went on her way. Which I suppose would explain why she didn’t give a shit…

Then for the next hour or so I found out why Khao Lak was so marmite; it reminded me of all the bad things about tourist areas in Thailand. There were persistent tailors who wouldn’t leave you alone and made you uncomfortable; overpriced food, bars with huge ‘happy hour deals’ spread all over the bar and massage shops EVERYWHERE with each girl screaming “MASSAGE!” as you walked by. I realised pretty quickly this place wasn’t for me, and after walking a few kilometres to a few random places I decided it was time to call it a day and grab a bus back to Phang-Nga.


The beaches were nice. I reckon I was in the wrong part of town though as I could see about a kilometre or so south that the beach was much nicer. I couldn’t access it directly though because the rocks were in the way. Maybe they (the beaches) belonged to a resort?



Only Khao Lak had one final fuck you planned for me; I got to the bus station and met another angry lady. I asked to get a bus to Phang-Nga and she said there were no buses to Phang-Nga, only Bangkok.

“But… I got the bus here this morning from Phang-Nga!” I squealed in vain.

“No you didn’t…” She replied completely deadpan.


So after asking a few people in Thai how I was going to get home, I was told that I had to wait on the side of the road and wait for a big bus to drive past, and then frantically wave it down. They also told me that these buses ran once an hour and looked at me like I was mental when I asked if I could have a vague time when the bus would come past so I didn’t have to focus intensely for one whole hour in case the bus flew right past while I was in a middle of a quick daydream…

Forty minutes later two buses flew past at the same time. I waved one of them down and prayed I’d waved the right one down. I did! And even though I had to sit on the floor I was soon in a small place called Klok Kloi, where a minivan would apparently take us back to Phang-Nga.


On the bridge in Phang-Nga town

I asked the guy behind the desk when the next bus to Phang-Nga was leaving. “One hour!” He scoffed as he continued to watch his random Thai TV show. “Great! I’ve got an hour to kill, let’s go exploring!” I said excitedly. However on the way out of what I could only describe as a large bus stop, I walked past a minivan and noticed it said Phang-Nga on it, and asked the driver when he was going.

“Now…” He said in a confused tone. So 50 Baht later I was on my way back. Not only that, but the legend dropped me off right in the town centre. So I slipped him an extra 20 Baht and walked back to my Mum’s house. 30 minutes later I was lounging on the lilo in the pool looking at the gorgeous view, vowing never to go to Khao Lak again unless it was to make someone else happy…

Holiday In Phang Nga! Part 3, Phang Nga Town: Park, Viewpoint and Caves. The Old PVC Combo!!!

Good News: I got a bicycle, ready to attack the town.

Bad News: It was one of those bikes where you have to pedal your heart out to go 2 mph…


I found this out the hard way, when I got to the end of the road (a seismic one kilometre…) and I was truly cream crackered. Which meant plan B was on the cards; a quick detour to grab some lunch while strategically resting my heart before I had a heart attack… Luckily there was a local noodle shop that had a good reputation in Phang Nga. Apparently this particular restaurant has been run by the same family for over 30 years, so it had withstood Tony Blair’s regime, could it pass the Lewis test…?


It did! I walked in gingerly (mainly because I was about to keel over…) And the lady – who obviously didn’t speak a word of English as we were in rural Thailand – looked at me in pure panic. However when I started rapping my order in Thai she turned to her staff in relief and burst out laughing. Well it was either that or because I was wearing a mankini. Either way I’d ordered my pork noodle soup and 50 Baht later (£1) my tummy was full and my heart wasn’t beating 200 beats per minute. It was time to head to the park. Energy permitting…



The park was excellent! There were a few exercise machines that are in most parks in Thai cities (They should have these in England) and I walked across the logs because I have a mental age of seven and a half. Then to my right I noticed a few caves. I thought back to the dangerous caves I went through in The Philippines a few years ago and wondered if it was a good idea. Whilst I was pondering this my legs thought, “Fuck this!” and walked there anyway…


Don’t worry, it was completely safe. I walked up the path, over the bridge and under some low hanging caves and took a few above average photos. I looked at my phone and the time was 1:30. I wasn’t doing too bad considering I was procrastinating all day whether to have a lazy day in the pool at The Casa Del Badger Fortunately I’d pulled my arse out of bed and went exploring. I’d seen a fair bit, and thought it may be time to head home. That was until I remembered there was a viewpoint nearby that I could go to.


“Fuck cycling there!” I thought to myself. “It’s only an hour’s walk there and back, and I don’t think I can physically cycle anymore!”

…So off I popped, and before I knew it I was heading up the hill. I was singing this song as I went up the hill:

…And mid-song I came face to face with an old Thai guy who looked just as shocked as I was. I broke the tension by saying in Thai I was heading to the viewpoint and he point. He flashed a toothless smile and pointed in the direction I was going, and I continued to murder my song.




Ten minutes later I saw a coffee shop and thought this would be an excellent place to look out at nothing and sit on my phone for five minutes. Only for the coffee shop to be shut when I got there. I still sat on the outside chairs and took some photos because WE’VE GOT SALAH!!!!!!

Then I kept going up the steep path for another ten minutes. I was knackered, but I knew it would be worth it. And it was…kind of. The end of the road was some random power plant and there was a viewpoint, but no one could see anything because the bushes were too high. I managed to balance on something that was definitely unsafe and hold my phone up as high as I could to take some photos. I had no idea what was on the other side so I hoped for the best. Fortunately it was actually quite nice so by default I got to see the view. Yay phones! And Bobby Firmino…




Finally once I got back I cycled ever so slowly back to The Casa Del Badger. I got back at around 4:30, had a shower and jumped straight in the pool to pretty much collapse on the lilo. In the evening I introduced my mum to Black Mirror, so we watched a few episodes of that before I retired back to my boudoir. Game over! I needed to sleep for 4 days straight before I could even think about moving again, but I was glad I did it…

Holiday in Phang-Nga! Part 4, The Night Market: Food, Clothes And Shit…

As it’s Thailand there was some random festival slash market thingy in the evening. I was on holiday so we all thought it would be a good idea to check it out.

Mum was going to take her quad bike but she didn’t feel comfortable wading through all the traffic (and to be fair I didn’t blame her!) So my stepdad (The geezer in the bottom right corner of the first picture) did two trips taking us there. It was only in the town so it was ten minutes maximum there and back…


The cool thing about this particular market was everything had prices on them. One of the things I’m not a fan of in Thailand is the haggling. Maybe it’s the Englishman in me but I don’t feel comfortable bartering in case I insult them with a low offer, and at the end I always feel like I’ve probably been shafted regardless of the price we agreed on. However this market was all Thai prices with big signs everywhere. I felt much more comfortable browsing through all the different products here…


We then got to the plant section, and stumbled across all different types of fruit trees in the early growth stage. I thought this was incredible and kept mentioning this not-so-subtly to The Mother, hoping she’d get one. Unfortunately she didn’t bite, and we carried on our merry way.

If I had a house, even if it was back in England. I’d love to have various fruit trees in the front and/or back garden. Even if it meant giving the extra fruit away for free to the neighbours and local businesses. That’s the old man in me…


Finally we needed to grab some food. Phang-Nga has a strong Muslim influence, so some of the foods looked very tempting and unique compared to the dishes in Chiang Mai. I walked past a lady selling what looked like an Indian style spicy chicken and yellow rice for 50 Baht (£1) and I said to myself that I wasn’t hungry, but I’d definitely grab something on the way back. Of course, in Thailand nothing ever works out that way, and a tray of quail eggs, a plate of noodles and two sticks of chicken later I was full, and I’d totally forgotten about Yellow Rice Lady until I walked past her on the way back. Oh well, gives me another reason to go back one day, aside from family living there of course…



And that was pretty much it! Day 5 (Probably. I’m not counting…) was all about going to Khao Lak. I’d never been but had heard good things. So that was on my agenda the next day. I’d like to write something funny, but I can’t think of anything, so here’s a video of Roger from American Dad singing ‘I Saw The Sign’ whilst trying to kill the family…



Holiday In Phang-Nga! Part 2, Sa Nang Manora Waterfall: Just Take My Bloody Money…

Before I got a bicycle and explored the town, my mum and stepdad took me up to some random waterfall that I’ve just Googled to find out the name. I like waterfalls, and have been to many in Thailand and The Philippines, so I was looking forward to seeing what this one had to offer, especially being so close to James Bond Island…


It was a ten minute motorbike ride from the town centre. It would have been five but we (I say we, but I wasn’t driving. I’m not saying I blame everyone else but I’m just leaving it out there…) took a wrong turn somewhere. So we went back on ourselves and five minutes north of Phang Nga town was the MAJESTIC entrance to the waterfall. Was it majestic? Probably, but you can beat a few buzz words every now and then to pretend something is a lot better than it is…


Tony (The stepdad) dropped me off and went back on the motorbike to get the mother. I wandered around aimlessly in search of greatness, and in the end I found a cool little waterfall area by the steps of the restaurant. Once I got bored of staring at nature I bought some watermelon to nibble on the way up the trail to the waterfall, just in time for Tony and The Mother to show up…


We then walked through the fifteen minute trail to the waterfall, on the way there was a family in front of us, and the 20ish year old daughter that for some unknown reason was only wearing a skimpy yellow bikini that was absolute fucking poetry! On top of that, she had a wedgie so I stared at her curvy bum whilst walking over the bridge, humming Jessie J’s ‘Bang Bang’ in the process…

Stare stare right at your bum! Not gonna hide it

Stare stare right at your bum! I hope you like it…


They turned around and asked me if I wanted to squeeze past.


Was my confident reply whilst staring directly at the booty…


After I finished being a sexual deviant for the day, I overtook the family and looked for my own family. I found them at the top of the viewpointish area looking at the waterfall. The other family all decided to jump in the water and although Curvy McWedgie also jumped in, I thought no fucker wanted to see me in my undies, so I carried on with the trail. Well, the trail was finished, but it looked like it went a lot further than we were but the trail hadn’t actually been made safe yet. So in my infinite wisdom I ignored all warning signs and walked across a fallen tree to the other side of the bank trying to keep my waterfall high going…


I waded through a few streams and crossed over a few more on the rocks. It was quite dangerous but safe enough as long as you paid attention. I was barefoot at this point as I kept having to take my shoes off to cross water. Then as I looked back I saw some random guy following my path. I turned around in panic warning him to be careful, and as I did I caught my toe on a rock and cut it open. Well done Lewis…


I carried on to the top and found a few pretty waterfalls, but nothing really memorable. On the way back I encountered the family again (Who seemingly had followed my path as well) and as I crossed the wet tree trunk and rocks on the stream I came face to face with Curvy McWedgie. The Casanova in me wanted to offer my hand so she could cross the stream safely, then she would jump in my arms as the Dirty Dancing theme song played in the background…

Move for move how I expected it to go in my head…


…However the reality was me whimpering that I would go first and quickly crossing with my head down, too scared to make eye contact and smile. If anyone wants lessons from me on how to be so smooth with the ladies then call this number…


I got back to the main waterfall and met back up with my mum and stepdad. Then we made our way back down and went back home. Mum had cooked a roast dinner. George Michael would have sung ‘Club Tropicana’ if he’d tasted it, that’s how good the roast was. Day 3 was bicycle day. There was a park, a viewpoint and a few caves, and I thought it would be pretty peachy to spend the day exploring them. Find out after the break how it went…