Thailand, the Land of Smiles สวัสดี ครับ
Thailand. The land of smiles. A country filled with mouth-watering, chili-induced food, breathtaking scenery, and chaotic but colorful cities. Yes. This was the perfect place for a little vacation.
My brother and sister took off on their month long Asia tour 2 days before the New Year and started it off in the sprawling, sweltering heat of Bangkok, Thailand. Sarah and I decided what the hay, let’s take a few days off from school and meet them there. To all of the readers of this blog and our Facebook friends, it probably looks like we’re just on a giant vacation, but in reality, teaching is exhausting. Not in a bad way, but we were definitely ready for a few days off.
So we happily took the 3.5 hour flight to Bangkok and we couldn’t have been more excited. Finally we could get some much needed vitamin D, but more importantly, we were ecstatic to see Jordy and Brittni.
We started out Thailand right. A tower of the local Chang brew, and the most famous dish and equally tasty, Pad Thai on what is probably the most famous backpacker street in the world, Khao San Road. You can literally find/do/eat anything you want on this hippie, dreadlocked backpackers road. From dirt cheap elephant T-shirts and questionable food stalls, to bamboo tattoo shops, forged diplomas, and fried scorpions on a stick, to seedy trance clubs, and the constant “would you like a massage?” from the rather manly looking girl on the corner…you can literally find it all. The road is electric with energy, although maybe a few too many people who had a few too many Changs. Other than that, it’s a great place to soak up the backpacking vibe and acclimate to the sensory overload of a vibrant Southeast Asian country.
The following day we took a short 1 hour flight to the Western, coastal town of Krabi. Krabi is the gateway to the postcard perfect islands of Thailand. Jordy and I had done quite a bit of research before arriving in Thailand and decided that Tonsai Bay and Railay beach would be ideal places to stay. After a longtail boat ride to Tonsai Bay, we were ready to chill. And we did just that. Tonsai Bay is a rock climbers paradise. The beach is surrounded by massive limestone cliffs scattered with carabiners and quick draws for the people to climb. It’s a laid back island. There’s not a whole lot to do past dark. There’s a couple bars and restaurants but it’s mostly quiet. We played some euchre and caught up on life with our siblings.
We rented a longtail boat and driver for a day and island hopped to Koh Poda, Chicken island, Koh Tup, and Phranang Cave. Freaking paradise. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
We headed back to Krabi to catch a boat to Koh Phi Phi. Before the boat, we needed to fulfill one of Brittni’s lifelong dreams of riding an elephant. We trampled through the jungle on huge elephants and it was awesome.
Koh Phi Phi is one of the most famous islands in Thailand and rightfully so. The water looks fake it’s so blue and the beaches are impressive. It’s also incredibly touristy. Thousands of tattooed sleeved students on their gap years partying their brains out gets a little old. It was fun to get a change of pace from the chillout-ness of Tonsai, but it was loud on Phi Phi. All that aside, it was fun. It was fun to watch drunken white guy try out their Muay Thai, or Thai kickboxing skills on each other in the ring. It was fun watching the bamboo tattoo shops fill to the brim with people wanting a permanent souvenir from Thailand…after drinking a lethal bucket of Thai whiskey and red bull. Not a good idea. Luckily we didn’t see anyone with a Mike Tyson face tattoo.
We took a longtail boat tour to Monkey beach, dove off a 12 meter cliff, and visited Maya Bay, which has to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Now, when you see a longtail boat, “safe,” or “unsinkable,” are not words that come to mind right away, but after our ride back to the island, those words turned out to be true. We noticed at Maya Bay that it was getting cloudier and real windy. We didn’t think much of it at first, but after we started making our way back, we realized this was going to be a very interesting ride. Let’s just say we were surrounded by 15 foot rolling waves and our measly longtail, who’s greasy engine looked older than dirt, was barely carving through them. It was scary. Jordy was freaking out, Brittni and Sarah were doing the laugh cry and I just couldn’t believe we were about to capsize and drown. Thankfully our driver was a BOSS. We made it back soaked to the core, but safe and sound!
Our last 2 days were spent in Bangkok walking through Buddha temples and sitting at the riverside. Our last night, my roommate from studying in Taiwan, Filip, met up with us. I’m always amazed that we live on different continents but still run into each other once or twice a year. Great times.
All in all it was a great vacation. It was so nice to spend time with my bro and sis in Thailand. Now back to Taipei we go. It’s going to be a fun 2 weeks showing them around Taipei!
So what was worse Kyle, our cab ride in Taipei back to the airport or the boat ride in the storm?? 🙂 Oh, the adventures of traveling, gotta love it.
Thanks for the post Kyle. What an experience of a lifetime. So Bert convinced you guys to take an elephant ride, good for her. Can’t wait to see more photos & hear your stories in person as well.
“on their gap years” haha cracking me up. And two pictures up… looks like they took notes on my Pagoda’s from my article in “Pagoda’s unlimited” a couple weeks ago.
The big waves let the boat ride up and down and you defiantly feel insignificant, blu they are much safer than 5 to 8 foot waves that slap at the hull and often break it apart. Glad you made it through, yor journey is amazing as is life on this earth. How great is our God is so evident in all we say and experience every day, with every breath our body’s of dirt are enchanted. Love the post, love you both, go Ohio!!