The ferry to Railay beach is a long tail wooden boat. It costs 100 Baht per person and my small kids (3+, but look smaller) didn't have to pay. We took the ferry at noon, when there was low tide. It means you have to walk to the boat, where water reaches to your knees and above. Luckily, we had our sandals and Crocs handy so we were able to switch into them, but our long trousers got wet up to the knee. Make sure your lower pockets are empty. You can also try to change into your swim suits in Krabi airport.
You also have to carry/drag your trolley on the beach sand... It wasn't much fun to drag a 30kg trolley through the sand, but eventually the long tail "captain" gave me a hand on loading it into the boat. Same routine when you land at Railay.
When we traveled (March), there was only a single direct one-day ferry from Railay to Phi Phi. It "leaves" around 9:30 from Railay. Another alternative is to catch a ferry to Krabi, and then take the 15:00 ferry to PhiPhi. It was too much hassle for us so we decided to take the early one. We booked our ride from the hotel - 450 Baht for adult, 300 for kids. Our youngest didn't pay.
What actually happened was that the ferry representative on the beach received a call on his radio receiver when the ferry approaches. Then, all the prospective passengers were forwarded to many long tail boats (be prepared to get wet till your knee caps when you board it). Then, like a scene from Troy, all boats sprung to the ocean and then in a middle point of the sea we met the ferry and boarded it while our stuff was loaded into it.
The ferry was quite large and very comfortable.
Since we had trouble with the Taxi guys on the way to the island, we booked the ride from our hotel to the Bangkok airport in advance. It cost us 4000 Baht which included picking us up from the hotel, ferry transfer (we already had tickets) and taking us all the way to Bangkok.
We did get a minivan but it was more "colorful" than the one we had on the way to KC. The driver used the other pier so there was no use for the ferry tickets we bought the first day. So don't waste money on buying two-way tickets if you don't know which pier you'll use.
The drive to Bangkok took us 4.5 hours (compared to the 3.5 hours on the way to Bangkok). He picked us up from the hotel at 15:00 and we arrived at the airport at 20:45, almost 6 hours (a drive to the pier, a wait for transfer, 20 minutes ferry ride, a drive to Bangkok). I guess I'll never know if it was because the driver was trying to save money on paid highways or due to high traffic (as he told us) but I have my suspicion... over all it was a bit exhausting for the kids, but was worth it.
From Panama City, you can get to Bocas del Toro by overnight bus to Almirante (10-11 hours), then boat/ferry to Boca.
Start at Albrook Bus Terminal (Gran Terminal de Transporte, www.grantnt.com). And from there you can get your bus to Almirante.
Overnight buses from Panama City to Almirante depart at 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m and take around 10 to 11 hours. Busses are air conditioned, modern and have reclinable seats. You will arrive to Almirante between 6 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.
River and Canal Cruises in London:
Thames Cruise: Central London - Greenwich section:
From the Westminster Pier, London Eye Pier or Embankment Pier terminals to Greenwich: various operators. From our experience the cheapest is the Thames Clippers (a transportaion company and not a tourism company - with NO audio explanations) - one way is 6 GBP minus 30% concession for Travelcard holders (cruise also included in 2FOR1coupons). All others are more expensive and more touristic. It takes 40 minutes and the boat passes through the Tower, London Bridge, the Docklands and other regenerated areas. You can buy ticket on board. The tickets are checked on exit. Most boats are wheelchair accessible and all have toilet facilities.
The Thames: Hampton - Kingston Cruise
25-minute cruise which offers stunning views of Hampton Court palace, its golden gates and gardens. The trip along the river from Kingston or from Hampton Court will take in three beautiful miles of one of the most attractive stretches of the world-famous River Thames. The schedule varies according to time of year, with more sessions at weekends and during school holidays. Adults Single - 4 GBP, Return - 6 GBP (on Thursdays - Return - 4GBP only). The service starts from Kingston 10.45 and from Hampton Court at 11.15. Weekends - every half an hour, weekdays - every 75 minutes. Departue points: Hampto Court - the stage is at the foot of the Hampton Court Bridge -the opposite side from the Palace. Kingston - the Queen's Promenade, Portsmouth Road, Kingston, KT1 2ND, a short walk from Kingston Bridge.
Regent Canal Cruise:
The route with most frequent services is from Camden to Little Venice (near Paddington). At least three boat companies operate regular services in summer. There are less frequent boats at weekends and during the winter. THe London Waterbus Company operates occasional all-day trips to Limehouse. Sample fares for the Camden-Little Venice route: One way - 50 mins Adult £8.00, child/senior £6.60 or Return - 110 mins. Adult £11.30, child/senior £9.20. You can make a stopover and go back later. from Little Venice ; 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1.15pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm and one way at 5pm. from Camden Lock ; 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1.15pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm and one way at 5pm.
There are a few trains a day from Hsipaw to Mandalay. The trains usually come from Lashio, and they will try to sell you a tourist seat.. I recommend you to take a normal seat for the real experience.
The view alongside the railway is breathtaking. The road from Hsipaw to the Gokteik bridge has fantastic views, and passing the bridge itself over the canyon is really something special!!
I uploaded a short video of crossing that bridge to:
The train is very slow and very shaky, but the view is awesome.. you actually feel you are in an old Indiana Jones movie.
Arriving at Phuket International Airport (HKT) after an 11 hour flight to Bangkok, a 3 hour stopover then a further 2 hour flight with zero sleep at 12:30am was interesting. I managed to zombie my way through Customs to the baggage carousel, where I found my bags after waiting 20 minutes for them to start unloading the aircraft. First thing on my mind was to find a Thai Simcard so I could post the obligatory Facebook "Im here wow its amazing" post. Less importantly, contact my family to say I hadn't crashed on arrival. I found a small corner mart in the far side of the airports foyer. It cost me 600 Baht for a Simcard, preloaded with credit and 1GB of data, which to me seemed reasonable. Although i'm pretty sure she jipped me. In the rush to get out of the airport and into a taxi, I managed to leave my bag in the small mart in the corner of the airport. Worse yet, I didn't realise until I arrived in Patong, which to anyone familiar with Phuket, is about 45 minutes drive from the airport. My taxi driver, who I had awkwardly shared a beer and a broken english conversation with on the drive to the resort, offered to drive me back to the airport and back to the resort again for 1000 Baht all up. I was in no position to barter and accepted his offer. Fatigue was really kicking in at this stage. So 45 minutes later I arrive at the airport to find the little mart I left my bag in had shut. Luckily my taxi driver spoke good enough english so I was able to talk to security who had taken my bag into lost property. Crisis averted. Back to the resort it is, at 3:00am, for my first nights sleep in Phuket, Thailand. Phew.