Alison's Experiences in Thailand and Malaysia - Part Two

25th January 2018

Waking up on Tuesday morning was an absolute treat. Crystal-blue waters and powdery sands were the order of today at Ko Adang. Another ‘wet landing’ - don’t be put off by these – there are always plenty of the water sports team to help you off the tender and carry your bags/shoes for you to the shore. Today was the infamous Star Clippers beach BBQ – I’ve never experienced one of these, so I was very excited and I wasn’t disappointed.

Everything was set up under the canopy of the trees. Alberto had his bar open and the food was plentiful, with beautiful fresh salads, pasta dishes, fresh fruit and all sorts of BBQ offerings including fish, chicken, burgers, corn on the cob and much more – a real treat.

After the excitement of the BBQ and a little chilling time, it was time to get back onboard ready for Alberto’s masterclass in cocktail making. My own favourite was the Clipper Delight – a tropical mixture of Vodka, Midori, Cointreau & lemon juice - never quite the same now we’re back home and it’s wet and grey outside!

Tonight’s entertainment was ‘The Quiz with the Drum’, which really brought out everyone’s competitive edge and Peter the Cruise Director was a brilliant host. Having got the first few questions correct and gaining a few chips in the process, I was soon taken over by some very knowledgeable guests who raced ahead.

Wednesday brought us to an even more spectacular beach than the last – it just got better and better. Ko Rok Nok was a beach that we had exclusively to ourselves to enjoy watersports or simply relax. The watersports team were once again all on hand to show the best snorkelling spots. After a couple of hours in the morning, we headed back on board the ship for lunch. Lunch each day was different and often themed, with a lovely collection of fresh salads, cold cuts, cheese, homemade breads, soup and a range of hot dishes to suit every palate. There was also fabulous desserts and fresh fruit to finish with – you’ll never be hungry on a Star Clippers cruise.

It was an early sail away today, so we decided to get as close to the bridge as possible. Being able to stand just behind the captain was incredible and really gave the feeling that you were helping sail the ship. Well, we did help… Sort of anyway. Out we were up on deck helping hoist the sales up, pulling the ropes - which is actually a lot harder than it looks but so rewarding to watch them unfold.

Star Clipper Pulling Rope

Tonight was Captain’s Dinner, which saw some of the ladies get dressed up, while others remained casually dressed. Yet another sumptuous meal was served, where I was torn between the beef fillet and the lobster thermidor. I plumped for the lobster, as it’s not something I would eat often and it was cooked to perfection.

After dinner, it was time for the crew to show us their hidden talents. The two standouts were Alberto - our head bartender – singing, and Captain Sergey playing his guitar. The crew work hard looking after everyone, so it’s nice to see them relaxing and enjoying themselves with the guests on board. After a bit of a dance at the end of the evening, it was off to bed to see what Thursday was going to bring.

Opening the curtains on Thursday morning was breath-taking. We were sailing through the limestone cliffs of Phang Nga Bay! I’ve visited this area of Thailand many times but only ever seen it from a packed speedboat on an excursion, so this was a real treat. The weather was superb and perfect conditions for the photo tenders that took off around the cliffs getting some fabulous shots of Star Clipper in the background.

Star Clipper Phang Nga Bay

Some of us had an early lunch because the excursion to James Bond Island was running today. This is the island that featured in ‘The Man With The Golden Gun’ and is one of the most popular excursions in this region of Thailand. I chose to stay on board and read under the masts, watching the many long tail boats whizzing around the bay.

Prior to dinner, we did a virtual tour – behind the scenes of the hotel department with Steve the Hotel Manager. This proved to be most interesting, as we found out more about the catering schedule on board the ship. Here are some fun facts that you may not know.

On an average seven-night sailing on Star Clipper, guests get through:

  • 1,200 eggs
  • 100kg bananas
  • 336 small bottles of water
  • 40 bottles of gin
  • 240 toilet rolls

Off we went to dinner, knowing we were contributing to these figures. A fine feast was had by all including sea bass, steak, chicken, lasagne and some delicious desserts.

This evening’s entertainment was a local Thai folklore show, with traditional dancers and a spot of guest participation. The colours of the costumes were striking and it was good to learn about the cultural dances of Thailand.

Friday’s stop was the Similan Islands – well known for fabulous diving and snorkelling. As we got closer to the main island, we were told we couldn’t gain access because the Thai Royal family were in residence, so this meant no access to tourists (only in Thailand could this happen!). The wonderful thing about being on a small ship is that we could divert to another island, so we got a bonus really. There was more sailing time for us to watch the beautiful scenery go by and an afternoon of snorkelling. However, we chose to stay on board and listen to the breeze lapping at the sails.

Sadly, tonight was our last night, so we all headed up on deck for one last time. The bartenders had set up their own champagne bar on deck (just E7.50) a glass. Once again we were just behind the captain for our final sail away of the week as the sun set just behind us - a beautiful farewell sight.

Star Clipper Thailand

We were all very subdued over dinner. All of the crew stood on the stairs and sang to everyone in the restaurant, which was one lovely final touch. It was time to pack up and leave our cases outside our doors for a seamless disembarkation back in Patong. The next day, after breakfast, we transferred back to the Seaview Hotel.

We had one final afternoon and night in Patong at the Swissotel. The hotel had a lovely pool area where we had some lunch and I then went off for a Thai massage and a pedicure – all of which came to a total of about £15 for both! From the hotel, we could easily walk into Patong, so we chose a nice restaurant displaying all of their fresh fish on ice outside for our final dinner together. At £10 a head for drinks and a meal, we knew we couldn’t go wrong. We were being picked up at 2am for the transfer back to the airport, so we all had an early night and managed to get some sleep.

Everything ran like clockwork and soon we were back at Phuket ready to make the journey back to Birmingham via Istanbul. We’d had a truly fabulous trip and, as always, I was sad to leave Thailand. It’s a beautiful country with beautiful people and it certainly lives up to its nickname – ‘The Land of Smiles’.

Thailand, farewell… Until the next time x

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