Monday, October 31, 2011

Phi Phi Islands Tour Package @ Krabi (Ao Nang), Thailand

Following that super fun trip to Ko Hong island, Alex and I decided to book for another island package the next day. This time, we took the celebrity route to the world-famous Phi Phi islands!

It should have been a lovely trip but unfortunately, the speedboat broke down while on its way to pick up two customers at Railay Bay. We were sent back to Aonang and made to wait for three hours before the problem was eventually rectified!

Barracudas Tour was actually very professional about it as they could have jolly well cancelled the tour and saved the operating costs after twelve persons opted out due to the delay. Which they didn't of course.

First stop was Bamboo Island (Ko Mai Phai); a small enclave surrounded by a beautiful ring of really sandy beach. Trust me on the sandy part, the sand was as fine as flour.

Like most of you, we expected to see loads of bamboos but there wasn't any. In their place were actually towering pine-like trees providing good shelter from the sunny mid-day sun.

We had been pre-informed that due to the devastating tsunami in year 2004, most of the corals around Bamboo Island are dead and it will take a long time for the ecosystem to recover. I did some snorkeling in the shallow waters and could barely catch the sights of any live underwater activity.

Next up was Phi Phi Don; the main island filled with shops, restaurants, pubs and accommodation for visitors. Our purpose there? Lunch!

Lunch was Thai cuisine, buffet style. Nothing to marvel about although i did enjoy the scenery while having my meal on the second floor of a no-frills restaurant.

This is, by and large, a touristier town than Ao Nang. Staying at Phi Phi Don is definitely an option for the future as i can partake in extended period of snorkeling without being asked to leave for another island.

Third destination for the tour was Monkey Beach - a complete waste of time.

It is at most 50-100 meters long and the monkeys belong to the long tailed macaques species commonly see in Singapore. Furthermore, we watched them from a far yet safe distance due to a recent attack on a visitor.

Impressive view as the speedboat travelled to the next stop; Maya Bay which happens to be the main filming location for the movie (The Beach) starring Hollywood heartthrob (then) Leonardo Dicarpio.

Some basic information on Phi Phi islands (the above shows Maya Bay).

As the name suggests, Phi Phi islands is a group of six islands with Phi Phi Don being the largest and Phi Phi Leh being the significantly more famous one (no doubt the help of the movie since Maya Bay is located there).

Slices of juicy watermelon and pineapples were dispensed at this point and they tasted extremely marvelous under the hot weather with the assistance of salty sea water residue on my lips. Hannah would not have rendered that as being sufficient and might proceed to dip them in seawater instead.

As anticipated, Maya Bay was popular! Definitely beautiful although i found the snorkeling experience to be less than satisfactory; albeit better than Bamboo Island.

Fifth stop; Loh Samah Bay. This is the place promised by the guide to be a much better place for snorkeling as compared to the miserable ones i mentioned.

The following few iPhone pictures will best describe the under-the-sea experience that i frequently brought out to my friends who have never tried snorkeling.

Alex prepared bread to act as lure to entice as many fishes as he could. He bought a total of four loaves!!! I told him he might as well sell them at a 200% profit to tourists!

He did manage to attract quite a few greedy ones!

I took a few pieces of bread for my personal agenda; coax them to swim nearer so that i can take some pictures!

It might not look deep but the seabed is around two to three meters with many jagged stones. I almost crashed into one when i first dived in. Note of caution; please enter the water gently.

Up to this juncture, i am 70% satisfied with the underwater exploration!

Now entering Pileh Bay which was described as a beautiful lagoon in the brochure.

Judging from the picture, i would say the brochure wasn't too far from the truth! The water was crystal clear and given the seemingly shallow depth, i am surprised this place wasn't popular with snorkelers. Until i saw the possibly thousands of spiky sea urchins lying at the bottom!

With reference to the brochure again, Viking Cave is in fact a place where locals harvest bird's nest and visitors can also go in for sightseeing. However, the tour guide told us that the cave is getting to be really unsafe due to the heavy tourist traffic and is now closed to all visitors.

I am not sure how true that is even though i could not help but have this nagging suspicion that she was sacrificing this venue to secure more time for our next snorkeling station. Which i would have agreed anyway. ^_^

Our last stop; Hin Klang, described as the best place to snorkel in the Phi Phi islands region.

An exaggeration maybe? Absolutely not! Fishes were in abundance yet the area gave the impression that it's no difference from the sea we have in Singapore.

Categorised as an underwater reef or coral mountain, the depth was roughly around three to four meters and you could hardly find anything to step on for balancing or to take a short break from the tight snorkeling mask.

The deepness was a blessing in disguise as the floor was filled with those needle heads (aka sea urchins)!

As you might have noticed by now, the above fish is the most common (and possibly the most daring) and has been often featured in my Krabi posts. There were other fishes captured on my iPhone but the quality was worse than what i have posted here.

Since this was the last item on our itinerary, Alex figured that if he wanted to catch a marine fish, there's no better time than then! Using an empty bread bag, he tried again and again without success and judging from the setting sun, time was running short.

Luckily for him, he succeeded (look at that smug look) a while before we were dragged up by the tour guide! Okay lah, we were nicely asked to embark the boat. Just to make things clear, the captured fish was released back into the great ocean after being ridiculed by Alex.

On our way back to Ao Nang.

Thanks to the delay, we managed to catch the dazzling sunset. Sometimes in life, things happen for a reason and there's no point in getting upset because eventually, it might turn out to be rewarding.

Time to disembark.

These are the wonderful friends we acquainted with on this trip; Patrick and Pearl hailing from Malaysia, Oshri and Dana from Israel and missing in this photograph are Clarisse from Reunion Island and Satiish from India.

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At 900 Thai Baht, this tour package to Phi Phi islands (map attached for your reference) included the usual stuff like lunch, snorkeling kit, life jacket, complimentary cold mineral water, pepsi, cake and fruits!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kaya Toast Bread (烤面包) @ Chin Mee Chin Confectionery (珍美真) - Marine Parade (East Coast Road)

Chin Mee Chin is one confectionery that had managed to evade my gluttonous advance for the two times i intentionally travelled all the way from Yishun.

Both times were in the afternoon at around 3pm and for the third attempt, i learned my lesson and was in the vicinity by noon. Why am i so desperate to go there? Answer: Kaya Toast Bread that is voted as one of the best in Singapore.

It was teeming with patrons and i had to thank my lucky stars that someone had coincidentally vacated a table for us. As you can see, this is an old school establishment decked out in wooden chairs, stone table tops and nostalgic mosaic tiles!

No toast is complete without a cup of freshly brewed Asian coffee. It had a nice aroma although i found it to be a tad too bitter. Not to worry as a glass of fine sugar was placed on each table for that purpose, i believe.

All along, i assumed the kaya toast at Chin Mee Chin (CMC) was made with slices of bread and was therefore, caught off guard to see this mini burger bun!

The bun was lightly toasted with a comfortable spread of green kaya topped with a thick chunk of butter. At that time, i thought i might prefer a real burger which definitely provides more kick.

You may want to wait for a minute or two for the butter to melt a bit more before sinking your teeth into the complete bun.

This unique version tasted surprisingly good especially towards the end, when the savoury butter started to drip! Having said that, i would choose the kaya toast from Nam Heng over this.

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Location
204, East Coast Road (Look out for this building on your right side if you are driving towards Siglap)

Price
Kaya Toast Bread - S$1.00 each

Additional Information
Apparently i am quite blind to certain details; trays of cakes and buns were prominently displayed for customers to select for consumption in the shop. And i miss it until i was about to leave.

Darn it!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Angry Birds Seasons (Christmas Episode 2010) - Finally Total Destruction!

Usually, i don't spend more than three months to attain total destruction (which means a maximum of 3 stars for each level) for any one episode of Angry Birds; be it the original angry birds, angry birds seasons or angry birds rio.

Except for Christmas 2010 (culprits: levels 1-17 and 1-20)!

It's like a big red cross stuck onto my forehead; reminding me continuously of my failure... Numerous attempts to break this debacle have been thwarted for the past 10 months.... until this evening.

On the train if i may add.

Imagine the happiness that literally exploded when i saw this glowing present appearing on my iPhone!

The satisfying seven words; Total Destruction - Three Stars in All Levels.

Now to open up the big present to see what lies within.

Befitting the Christmas theme, this level is filled with many festive presents!

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