BC: THAILAND | MARCH 9 - APRIL 2, 2012
1: Let the adventure begin... | march 9, 2012 19 hours flying. 24 hours total YEG - YVR - HKG - BKK Finally arrived. Bangkok Thailand.
2: Tuk tuks. Our favorite way to get around.. And cheapest.
3: Tuk Tuk ride from our hostel to Koh San Road - BHT 40 ( ~$1.20)
5: Koh San Road is a popular tourist destination in Bangkok. Tons of little shops and western restaurants (McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, etc) Budd and I hung out here every night. Great food, great atmosphere, and excellent shopping!
9: For our last day in Bangkok we decided to do something cultural and learn a bit about Thai history, so we visited the Grand Palace. Built in 1782, it was the King's intention to create a new capital city. [We referred to the king as King Tuk Tuk for our trip]. Real gold was used for all the buildings. Being a place of worship, the Palace has a strict dress code - pants (or below knee), shoes (no open toe), and shirts (no exposed shoulders). Pretty uncomfortable in 35 degree weather, not including the humidity.
14: Fun Bangkok: - Donut = "Hole Thing" at MBK Mall - A sign in the mall bathroom. You dont flush paper down the toilets. Instead you throw the paper in a waste basket next to the toilet and you rinse yourself with a hose.. But apparently not your feet.. - My favorite flower 'plumeria' at our hostel. - We have tanning lotions in America.. In Thailand they have whitening cream. - A funny sign on Koh San Road. - A hilarious sign at a gas station in the middle of nowhere on our 12 hour bus ride from Bangkok to Krabi.
15: On March 14, Budd and I boarded a 12 hour overnight bus for Krabi. A couple hours of in we ended up stopped on the side of the highway because another bus broke down, so we waited for those passengers to hop aboard with us. Uncomfortable seats, no food, and a strong smell of BO would all be worth it when we finally arrived at the beach in Ao Nang. Ao Nang is an up and coming tourist town, not as popular as Phuket, which is what makes it perfect. There are tons of shops, restaurants, and street vendors. It was full of tourists which made it safe to walk around at all hours of the night. The town was a great size - you could walk from one end to the other in an hour, although with all the shops to check out it would take much longer. The beach was great - clean and not crowded and only a short boat ride to Railay beach, which was where we spent a lot of our time.
19: Railay beach is one of Thailand's most famous beaches, nestled in the south corner of Krabi. You can only get there by boat and it is expensive to stay there. Its made up of mostly resorts but there is a walking street that has a few shops and restaurants, | The water was very warm - it felt like a bath. Sometimes we'd go in to cool ourselves only to find the water warmer than the temperature on the beach. Nevertheless, it still felt nice. Krabi also has some of the world's best rock climbing. People come from all over the world to climb.
20: “If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up someplace else.” Yogi Berra On our trek to find Railay East Beach, we missed the path and got lost. On the detour we found ‘Diamond Cave’ to explore. Something we would never have known about, had we not gotten “lost”..
23: We rented a kayak at Railay beach and went exploring on our own. We kayaked around a few of the pinnacles in the water and saw Phra Nang beach. This was a floating store at Phra Nang.
24: Deep-water soloing (DWS) is a form of solo rock climbing, practiced on sea cliffs at high tide, that relies solely upon the presence of water at the base of a climb to protect against injury from the generally high difficulty routes.
26: March 17. We signed up for a full day tour of mangrove and cave kayaking. We started early in the morning by getting picked up by our tour guide 'Mel Caveman' (Fitting name). At first, I wasn't sure if we'd make it because of the insane way Thai's drive. Passing when there clearly is no time to pass - other cars are coming, we're on a hill, turning... you name it, but obviously we made it. First we toured Mangroves, which is pretty neat, and we walked through a cave. It had paintings that were thousands of years old. They used blood from people and animals as paint. Then we stopped for an amazing lunch, and I mean AMAZING! After lunch we kayaked through caves and went to an area that Mel calls "Garden of Eden". Its the closest thing to paradise that Ive ever seen. Majestic even. One of the caves we went through was shaped like the inside of an anaconda stomach. It was really neat. On our way home from Kayaking, we visited a small village where we could swim in the lake and drink fresh coconut water. I saw Mel and some people kicking around a soccer ball like a hacky sack so I told Budd about it and he showed them his hack. Mel and the others were impressed and they joined in. Budd offered to mail him a hacky sack from home but Mel said we'll have to bring him one the next time we go to Thailand. I hope that one day we'll be able to do that!
31: While exploring the cave, my bottom lip all of a sudden swelled and throbbed. Not sure if a mosquito bit me there or what happened, but its all i could concentrate on.
37: After our kayaking trip, Budd and I bought a floating lantern. That was a lot of fun. We then went to the restaurant and had a few drinks. It started raining and got a bit cold, so I went back to the room to change quickly for supper. I saw a couple dark spots on the floor in our room so I turned on the lights and I saw 3 cockroaches in the corner. I ran back to Budd and he went to the room and when he opened the bathroom door - this is what he saw. So gross.. Some were dead and others almost dead, except for one that was crawling up my bed. Needless to say, I got a worker and she had us switch rooms to a much nicer and more expensive room, for the same price. They were really great about it.
38: March 18. The whole reason of the trip to Thailand. ROCK CLIMBING! Well for Budd anyway. We booked a half day rock climbing day. We were with 3 other people - Will and Maroslav (They were from UK so I called them Will and Kate), and Dani from Germany. Since Budd was the most experienced out of us, he helped lead belay and he did the routes first. They were pretty easy climbs, although much different than bouldering in a gym! There were 5 routes for us to do, but Budd got to do an extra one down the rock a bit. It went much higher and he had to swing out to a stalactite which was his highlight! After climbing, we went for lunch with Dani and just hung out on the beach.
42: Railay East. We rock climbed on the rock in the background | Budd insisted on wearing shoes on the beach | Railay west
43: March 19. SNORKELING! This is what I was most excited for. We booked a boat tour/snorkeling trip so it wasn't solely snorkeling which was great so we could see some popular spots in Thailand. We stopped at Koh Phi Phi island and saw Maya Bay where the movie "The Beach" was filmed. We went snorkeling to 3 different spots which was nice and saw lots of different fish. Unfortunately my camera died halfway through the day so i didn't get pictures of everything I wanted, but it was still an amazing time.
49: March 20. Elephant trekking. On our way to ride elephants, we stopped at the Emerald Lagoon. We were told it was 'Unseen Thailand', except there were 50 other people there with us. It was pretty but it would have been nice to go after we rode elephants to cool off. I was excited about elephant trekking until we got there. I felt bad for the elephants as it was so hot, over 30 degrees, and the elephants do this ALL DAY. Poor things. Not something I would do again, or recommend to anyone else.
55: On March 23, we went snorkeling again. This time I made sure my camera had FULL charge! We went with a different company this time because we were told we would have more time for snorkeling. We went to the Hong Islands with our last stop lasting 2 hours all for snorkeling. This time wasn't as fun for a couple of reasons. Number 1 - it was a smaller boat so we were more crowded. Number 2 - something about the time of the month and the moon's position had affected the tide and brought out the sea lice (baby jellyfish) so we were constantly being stung. It was uncomfortable and some really hurt and it made the water really cloudy so it was hard to see anything. Number 3 - My camera broke!!! Well, kind of. The display broke, but with no view finder, I couldn't tell what I was taking pictures of so it was pointless. Just a fail of a day. The best thing about this trip was one of the island stops. There was a swing on the beach and I was just sitting and enjoying the view and my life at the moment when a big group of Chinese tourists were just staring me down. One of them came to me and motioned for the swing. I got annoyed and started to get up to give her the swing but then she told me to sit and she wanted a picture WITH ME! The group all took pictures and everyone took a turn taking pictures with me.. boring me just sitting on a swing. The funny thing is that Budd didn't see any of this! I would loved for him to see or get a picture or something so someone else would understand just how strange and funny it really was!
59: After our snorkeling trip, we went shopping and Budd wanted McDonalds for dinner. Eggs in the shampoo isle! Crazy. That night was my turn to light a floating lantern and send it off with my wish! <3
61: March 22. I figured there was a LOT to see of Thailand and thought we should move on. Koh Phi Phi is half way to Phuket, where we needed to be in a week so I thought we'd spend a couple days on an island. Koh Phi Phi is also expensive so a girl told us Koh Yao Noi was nice. We went there. BIG mistake. It was practically deserted. Such a change from Ao Nang. It was 1km walk to the closest restaurant and 1km further to anything else. We were the only guests at our hotel and with a storm happening at night, it was just a horror movie waiting to happen. We decided to head back to Ao Nang the next day.. The grass isn't always greener on the other side - although the view was spectacular.
62: Back in Ao Nang.. So nice to be back. There were people, shops, night life, food vendors, people...! Being back in Ao Nang meant we could go to Railay and check out the view point and the lagoon. Something we were disappointed about missing when we left. To get to the lagoon and view point - you have to climb the death rocks. They would be illegal in Canada, but thankfully Thai's are braver!
71: We ate lunch at 'Buds' restaurant and they had an interesting sign on the wall. Everyone is freaking out about 2012 being the end of the world - in Thailand, its already 2550!!
74: Thailand had AMAZING street vendor food. You would get a perfect portion size for 30BHT. Thats $1. Budd's favorite was Pad Thai and I loved the chicken fried rice. We also loved the spring rolls. Everything was fresh and made right in front of you. We would eat dinner, go to the next vendor and get a fresh fruit shake (mango and banana were our favorites) and after dinner, we would get a pancake. Deep fried dough with banana slices topped with chocolate sauce. So delicious!! And all for under $5!!
76: I'd love to hear the story behind this tattoo | Interesting flavor | chicken ham? At the restaurant at Baanlay | only cool setting in vehicles | gas prices are same as in Edmonton | the little crabs would do this to the sand so fast. looks pretty neat | Funny signs in our hostel - Grand Inn. $10 each a night for our own room with A?C, tv, our own bathroom with hot water, a couch, coffee table, double bed, and free wifi! | this is probably the reason we got lost that first day. We were looking for the east beach, not becah.. | tose? | A bus stop in Ao Nang, although not once did I see a bus... | Fancy chandelier on the boats
77: March 30. We made our way to Karon Beach in Phuket via 4 hour minibus ride. We only had 3 days in Phuket which was more than enough as there wasn't much to do. There were maybe 4 street vendors with boring food and no English menu. Budd got some pad thai and said it was the worst he's ever had. Even the stray dogs on the beach wouldn't eat it. We sat on the beach most of our stay and on our last day we went to The Big Buddha, so our stay in Phuket wasn't a total waste. Again, there was a dress code, which I forgot about, so they gave me some tacky wraps which didn't match and made it uncomfortable in the 30+ weather.
81: April 1st. Our last night in Thailand was bittersweet. Thailand is amazing and I hope to visit again one day. We did and saw a lot but in no means close to everything there is to see. We ate some amazing food including delicious fresh mangoes. We met great people - Adam (on the bus from Bangkok), Jamie and Scott from Ontario (Jamie was scared of the water), and Dani (we hung out with quite a bit). We experienced 3rd world country conditions from seeing a woman bathe naked on the side of the road in a puddle, to little 7 year olds trying to sell flowers at 11:00 pm at a bar. It was definitely an experience and a good introduction to what we would be dealing with further in our trip. It was time to move forward with our adventure. Off to India...