Okey doke – here’s what I’ve been up to the last few days, since leaving off with the New Zealand waking up before the sun don’t shine spin class to go check out that cycling studio. Enjoy!
1) Flew back from work in New Zealand
After an exhausting week of 12-17 hour non-stop work days, I headed to the airport in the 4AM hour (after only an hour of sleep that night) and made the first two hops back in the direction of home. First up from Auckland to Sydney, and then from Sydney to Bangkok.
I don’t remember much of either flight. I pretty much slept the entire first flight (3ish hours), and then slept all but the food portions of the next one (9 hours). It was when I arrived in Bangkok that I took a slight diversion from my routing back home.
Here I’d hop on a short 55 minute flight south to Phuket, Thailand to spend the weekend (plus a day) with The Girl, who’s been busy checking out the area, and working on her yoga skills while I was in New Zealand.
2) Catching up on sleep…and cannonballs
This isn’t my first time to Thailand (I’ve been many times in the past), nor my first time to Phuket. Which, makes it nice in that you can both take a vacation in terms of relaxing but also going out and doing the things you know you’ll enjoy most. You know, like cannonballs into the private plunge pools at the hotel:
This is apparently the low season here, judging by the approximately six other people we’ve seen in the vast hotel resort. Which means everyone seems to get nicer rooms than normal, on top of the fact that they were incredibly cheap to begin with. Ours had a little pool that was semi-shared with our non-existent neighbors. Officially we were “testing” the high speed action camera settings of course. Very serious experimentation!
3) Going to the Phi Phi islands
If you go to Phuket and don’t get to the Phi Phi islands you’re missing out. No doubt it’s a bit crazy and touristy, but, that still doesn’t take away too much from just how awesome it is. Like most tourists, we boarded a speed boat in the morning for the one hour trek over to the islands.
Once there they run you through a gauntlet of different stops to check things out. From amazing snorkeling to unreal bays carved into the inside of the islands. Here’s a handful of what we saw:
At one of the island stops they had a buffet out for us, which included these little Thai pancakes which you sprinkled sugar over. My running paces hope that I can’t find these in Paris, otherwise we’re both hosed. So good.
And for those curious – virtually everything here was shot on the GoPro Hero4 Black or Silver editions (except the very first photo, a panorama on the phone) The Girl took over the touch-screen capable Silver edition for the weekend while I had the Black one. Worked out perfect.
4) Going to the huge weekend night market
I’ve been to more night markets in Asia than I can count – from Hong Kong to Thailand to Korea. However, this one felt a bit different. The stalls had a bit more variety, and it felt a bit less chaotic than others.
While we searched for a few specific non-edible items in the market, we enjoyed the vast food section the most. Endless stalls of mostly local foods available for the tasting.
The vast majority of items could be had for less than $1US, usually half that much. So we just sampled our way through the market:
Yup, simply awesome. Well, except the bugs/worms seen in the last photo above – we had everything but that.
5) Wrapped up photos for the Garmin FR920XT & GoPro Hero4 Reviews
I also spent some time getting the final photos and videos, as well as tests for both of these reviews, which should exit the chute here very shortly. Just a 12 hour plane flight of writing stands between me and getting these published. Seems reasonable, sleep is overrated (except when testing sleep tracking devices).
With that – a busy week for posts up ahead! Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!
Sounds like an awesome weekend, but for some reason your photo links aren’t working so we can’t see all the awesomeness! I’m a bit blown away you had time both to exercise and write about it while you were working that hard – I know you seem to have unbounded energy compared to most people, but tacking anything on to those kind of workdays that isn’t just “eat/sleep” is pretty incredible!
OK, now I can see them, and I’m very jealous! That photo of the boat with the rainbow canopy is just fabulous, the water in the near-field looks incredible. Glad you managed to squeeze in a bit of well-earned down time!
These Thai pancakes look exactly like Poffertjes which are dutch. Lucky for you while closer than Thailand it is still a few kilometres to the Netherlands from Paris. 🙂 They even eat them with butter which makes them worse and better at the same time!
It might actually indeed be Dutch influenced, Erik 😀 We have the exact same traditional pancake here in Indonesia called poffertjes, influenced by the Dutch during the occupation era.
I’ve known those pancakes as Aebleskivers (Danish Pancake Balls). My mom has an Aebleskiver iron that can make 7 or 8 at a time and fits on a standard stovetop.
For the 920XT review will you be able to confirm availability with Garmin? There are various rumors on the 920XT forum about delays and problems and potential slippage to late December. If you’re able to confirm ahead of time you’ll probably cut a thousand comments from being posted asking the question 🙂
Once again quite jealous of your trips, when I work away I only ever have time to visit a hotel and a customer site!
FR920XT units are shipping already, though slowly, to various places. There was a slight delay of game due to an issue seen in the first production batch concerning waterproofing, two beta testers saw problems (fwiw, I’ve spent a ton of time in the water over the month and haven’t had any issues).
As for dates of December, that’s likely cases where retailers didn’t place proper pre-orders orders and likely for new orders. Many times shops will fault Garmin in cases where they didn’t place a pre-announcement order (as in, prior to October), and then lack availability once Garmin ships them. Those folks basically go to the back of the line and the consumer has to wait.
Thanks for the reply, I was aware they had started shipping but even Garmin don’t seem to have any right now so what appears to be batch 2 must be in-transit on the high seas somewhere if they are actually shipping. Good point about the retailers, it’s a shame Garmin don’t put up a list of which shops have placed early orders to save time looking around 🙂
On the bright side, there’s no point seeing stock until your review comes out anyway!
I guess Garmin states that they are “shipping”, but none of the retailers or Garmin’s own online stores have received any shipments since the first very small batch (and apparently there has been some teething problems with this first batch). so yes, would be nice to know if any store has actually received any units in the last 2-3 weeks.. Likely no.
Now the expected shipping is Nov/Dec, no exact date – and have pre-ordered from the biggest Garmin retailer in country, being in the top three of preorders (and yes, they have ordered plenty).
I’m interested in this as well. I ordered mine through amazon on 10/16 and I’m getting expected delivery date of 11/10-12/2.
What lens/camera did you use for the outdoor night market?
Everything there with the Hero4 Black. Some where photos, and others were snaps from the video I shot. If they were taller pictures, they were photos, and less tall they were video snaps.
In retrospect I probably should have used night mode there for the photos, didn’t quite have as much light as I would have thought.
Thanks. It’s interesting to see how (well) it handled the white balance, it looks like difficult lighting.
Yeah, for that aspect it did well. None of those photos were tweaked from a WB stand point. Just a slight bit of sharpness increased on a few stills, but too lazy on the others.
Are you using the ‘lick the GoPro lenses cover before going near the water’ trick? (serious question) They are great photos.
Great photos, I never use my GoPro when I am out and about like that, what settings did you have it?
Just normal for everything. For the photos I was using 12MP wide, and then for the video it was 4K/24fps. I had Protune enabled, but didn’t leverage it in post for these photos – so it’s just a wash there.
YAY, 920 reviews soon!! Can’t wait to read!
These Thai pancakes are called Kanom Krok. Glad you enjoyed your weekend in Thailand.
I take back what I said about spending extra time to explore the South Island. It’s obvious that The Girl has excellent judgement!
Looking forward to the GoPro Hero4 review. Really interested to see the 4K sized shots so we can see Phi Phi in all it’s glory?
Yup, I’ll have three video montages of 4K footage in my review:
1) About 15 different clips from the night market strung together
2) A similar pile of clips from Phi Phi islands, including above/below ater
3) A compilation from above New Zealand via the Phantom2 with gimbal
There’s also random other clips as well that I’m using to illustrate certain stuff of course (like ones taken in a speedboat in Malta, cycling, etc…)
That’s why I like your site and your reviews.
I think its a perfect blend of work and play.
Thanks Ray, was stationed in Bangkok for 2 years back in the early 70’s with the Army. Enjoyed the country and the people. Enjoyed it a lot more than my tour in Vietnam Nam in ’67-68. Keep up the great work. Nick
What? No blue ringed octupus photos? No OWS?
A true vacation…
Gorgeous photos. Looks like a splendid trip. My bucket list includes a market district like that. Must travel more while I’m young enough.
Wow! Seriously, wow! Those thialand photos look amazing. Cant imagine how you have the energy to travel/work so much and still find time to test/write as much as you do. Seriously jealous!
Glad you enjoyed Thailand. We love living here. Interestingly, I was just in Europe and had a few days in Paris with the family. Had a great run around the Eiffel Tower, Seine, Invalides, Ecole Militaire, etc. The weather was much more conducive to running than Thailand.
Cheers from Bangkok.
Ray, are you comfortable sharing what hotel/resort you stayed at in Phuket? It looks awesome!
Hi Stephan, we stayed at the Westin.
Ray, nobody likes you, you know that right☺
Great to read that you are able to sleep during your flights now. If I remember correctly you aren’t able to do so 2 or 3 years ago.
And please allow me to say that your reports are really great stuff out here. THX!
I’ve always been a pro at sleeping on planes. 🙂
It’s just that I tend to spend much of it working/writing/etc…
What hotel do you stayed in Phuket?
Hi Deli, we stayed at the Westin.
Great pics of Ko Phi Phi – was there just after “The Beach” was released but was disappointed it wasn’t nearly as big as in the movie (but the lagoon is spectacular).
I don’t know what it is about plunge pools in Asia, but they are just begging for cannonballs…
The only problem with our pool was that it was sorta shallow. So it was pretty tough for me to do them as well without hitting the bottom with a fair bit of force still. :-/
Regarding 920XT review – can you please do as many GPS accuracy tests as possible? Esp. compared to Fenix2 and trail running… I’m not buying another Garmin unless I’m sure they fixed these problems.
Hey Seems you had a nice weekend.Can you please let me know where did you stay in Phuket the one having an awesome private plunge pool.