Luckily the trip from KP to KS was pretty easy… we took the fast ferry too, because someone got a little sick on the 3hour slow ferry from the mainland to Koh Phangan some days before.
Koh Samui… I didn’t really know what to expect. I know that, second to Phuket, it is the tourist hot spot Thailand. That being said, we were staying in Mae Nam, slightly away from the mayhem of Chaweng (which in my opinion should be avoided). Once again, right away rented a motorbike and hit the road… which was a nice paved one, with a fair amount of traffic (although, not at all that bad), very much unlike the past couple days on Koh Phangan. KS has one major “highway” that circles in the island, doable full-circle in a couple hours, to give you a rough size of the island. But yeah, I had expected way too many tourists and that I’d be apalled by the ran-sacking thereof… but I actually fell in love with the place. As great as a Koh Phangan was (it really was), for a city-boy like me, I can’t be too remote, Samui offered a nice mixture… easily a place I could live for years. Although I wouldn’t get much done.
This first night we tried to go inland up into the mountains to take some night photos, but the roads got really bad… pretty much impossible for 2 people on a small motorbike (piles of bright red mud… and it had recently rained, a lot), so that idea was scraped. Instead, we went to the area between Mae Nam and Bo Phut, where to our great surprise there was a lively street market going on. I bought some t-shirts, stuffed myself with mystery street food and 50baht Long Island Ice Teas, after some evening photography of course… easily one of the most pleasant nights I’ve ever had.
We got up super early in Phuket… taking a taxi (15min) to a van (4.5 hours) to a bus (1.5 hours) to a ferry (2 hours) to a jeep (35min) to our bungalow on the beach on the north-eastern coast of Koh Phangan island, in a village called Haad Thong Nai Pan. Interestingly enough, the most expensive part of the journey was that 15 min taxi ride.
We were on a mission to check out the full-moon party going on in Haad Rin later that night… but Koh Phangan is a seriously beatiful island, much smaller and much much much less crowded than Koh Samui next door. Well worth a visit.
I met up with a buddy yesterday and we aimlessly hit up SH, meeting at People’s Square and walking east down Nanjing towards the river, grabbing some dumplings then catching a ferry over to Pudong and hitting up the Jin Mao Tower. We had wanted to go up the SWFC, but weren’t about to drop 150RMB for the experience. We figured we didn’t have to spend 70RMB for the JMT either, as we could just walk into the Grand Hyatt (the hotel that occupies the top 35 stories) as “hotel guests”. We were right.
Standing from inside the Jin Mao, I had forgotten how unsettling it was to stand there and look down all those hollow stories, the spiraling balconies don’t help either.
One picture also shows the footprint for the 632m (2073ft) Shanghai Tower set for 2014 completion and designed by Gensler (a nice video can be found on their website).
One thing that I think is kind of funny, is how back-in-the-day all the tallest buildings were in Europe, then they all moved to North America, and now Asia. China/Hong Kong/Taiwan as of right this moment account for 6 of the top 10, Malaysia has 2, the US has 1, and I hear there’s a beast of a building in Dubai. Europe’s tallest on the other hand, comes in at #89… and it isn’t even in “Europe-Europe”, it’s in Moscow.
To put it in perspective, the Shanghai Tower will be 3.5x taller than the London Gherkin or almost 2x that of New York City’s Chrysler Building. I’m pretty excited to witness the birth of a crazy structure (I gave up on the Freedom Tower).