Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What I did for my Christmas Vacation Part 2: In the Footsteps of Leonardo

Leonardo Dicaprio that is :)

As our 3 day weekend approaches bringing with it another beach trip I knew I needed to finish this blog or everything was going to get mixed up. So here it is, the crazy second week southern thailand beach adventure.

After getting back on the bus from Chang Mai at 5am on saturday we left again at 4:30 to get tickets for Krabi in southern Thailand. It's a good thing we got there when we did. The bus station was more crowded than ever and buses were selling out fast. After much confusion we finally got our bus tickets. Our bus didn't leave until 8:30 so we still had a good 3 hours to spend at the bus station. Lets just say I read a good chunk of my book. So then at 8:20 we went down to get on our bus and it was just pandamonium. There was people crammed everywhere, a handful of buses to Krabi and we didn't know what one to get on. It turns out none of them, our bus got in a little late.
The bus ride this time was pretty nice (and for 12 hours you would want it to be). It was a double decker bus again with a small 8 seat compartment on the bottom floor which is where our seats were and we took up all but 2 which were occupied by a dutch girl and a thai girl. I slept really well all night, almost the whole ride except for the few times I woke up fearing for my life because the driver was driving like a bat out of hell. I took some of the turns pretty darn fast.
We made it to Krabi at about 8am. Now we weren't acatually staying in Krabi we were staying in an area called Railay so we had asked our hotel to send us a ride to pick us up. When we got to the bus station we called them and well, they'd forgotten so we ended up getting an overpriced taxi to Ao Nang beach and then a longtail boat to Railay (you can't drive to Railay because it's cut off by large limestone rock mountains so you have to take boats). When the long tail dropped us off we walked up to same guys to ask where our hotel is and they point to Tonsai Beach which is down a little from Railay meaning we were going to have to pay to take another long tail that little way. HUGE rip off. So eventually we made it to our bungalow. WE couldn't check in until like noon so Heidi's friends (heidi and her friends flew to Krabi the night before) let us change for the beach in thier room.

Now this area is SOOOOOO beautiful. I'm never going back to Phuket if I can come here. Crystal beaches surrounded by towering limestone mountains. It's like Phang Nga Bay and Koh Samet got mixed together to make this paradise. It's a rock climbers paradise too. They were everywhere. Anyway after eating breakfast that first day we took a longtail over to another gorgeous beach where we lounged around and swam all afternoon and ate lunch off of a longtail. Seriously beach food is AMAZING! BBQ chicken and corn on the cobb. Yum!
After spending all afternoon on the beach a few of us decided to try to get to the lagoon inside the "mountain" next to the beach. To get to the point where you can climb down to the lagoon you have to climb up the side of the mountain clinging on to rocks, roots and ropes as you go. At the beginning it clearly says DO NOT wear flip flops. Oh well it added to the adventure. Once we got to the top it was a gentler walk into the middle, at least at the beginning and then the real challenge began. To get to the lagoon there were 3 minor walls that you literally had to repel down holding on to only a rope. Now I'm not going to exaggerate, the longest one we had to go down was probably only 15 feet or maybe 20 and they weren't sheer faces but if you slipped you could still get seriously hurt so it was scary. At first I wasn't going to do it but then I kicked off my flip flops, took off my backpack and let the monkey in me take over and once I started it really wasn't as hard as I imagined. Now was the lagoon worth it? It was muddy and kinda dark and no I think it wasn't, but I'm still glad I went otherwise I would have been questioning myself afterwards.
The second day me and Bridget rented a sea Kayak and paddled around for a little bit, eventually winding up at the same beach as the day before (because it was so awesome) then later when the tide was out we met Meridith and walked over to Railay beach to get dinner which was SOOOOO good and there was the most amazing sunset but finding a longtail back to our beach was quite an experience, mostly because they know how to get the money from you and inflate the price greatly after dark.
On the third day we caught the ferry to Koh Phi Phi. Now the Island was virtually wiped out in the Tsunami so I was interested what it would be like. I would say it's almost 100% recovered. It's a pretty crowded place. A total opposite from our place in Krabi. I had found our hotel here (my contribution to the trip :) ), A place called up hill cottage. I was a little nervous what it would be like because it was all on me if it sucked but our room was great. It was nice and big and we had a deck with a view. It did live up to the uphill part in it's name though. Lots of stairs.
Our first 2 days on Phi Phi we spent on the beach again. I didn't think the water was as nice as Railay but it was still nice, and in the afternoon the tide was crazy, it got so shallow.
A little souvenir we all got from our hotel in Railay was some sort of sickness/food poisoning. WE don't know exactly what it was because we all got it at different times but me and Meridith spent or first night on Phi Phi taking turns running to the bathroom. It was awful. Then our neighbor was puking too. Poor Bridget, she had to listen to all of us.
WE also spent New Years on Phi Phi. I was pretty excited to actually be doing something that didn't involve sitting at home this year. Now I'm not a party girl, that's just not my thing and Phi Phi is a notorious party place, but we still managed to have a great time and rang in 2009 dancing on the beach and watching fireworks, it was pretty awesome. Then we spent new years day on a snorkel trip that took us all over the place including Maya Bay where they filmed the movie "The Beach" (hence the Leo Dicaprio comment). Maya Bay was pretty much the most beautiful place I've ever seen. Hands down. If you ever get a chance you should totally go there.

It's amazing how quickly breaks can go by because before we knew it it was friday and me and Meridith were leaving ( we had to do worship team at church on sunday) so we caught a ferry to Krabi and flew back to Bangkok. That's right, no more buses for us we were living the high life on Thai Airways. And it was nice to have a couple days to recover before we had to teach again.

WE are heading out to Koh Samet again in the morning. More beach. I'll update again when I get back.
Until then sorry for the lack of pictures. It's almost midnight and I still need to pack and take a shower so I don't have time to resize them but here's a link to my photo album. Enjoy :)

The Beautiful Koh Phi Phi

And then also some pics from the first week in Chang Mai too

Exploring Chang Mai
The House of Dreams Orphanage
The kids stole my camera and took a ton of pictures

Let me also mention, I just made my third order from Two Peas since I've been in Thailand which means I'm going to have some awesome scrapbooking things to play with when I get home in April. I can't wait! Everytime I see the sassafrass lass stuff I just drool and Cosmo Cricket and an amazing new line coming out soon called "Girl Friday." I can't wait to get my hands on it :) Goodness knows I have enough pictures to keep me occupied for the next ten year.

Ok now I must pack..... hope you have a great weekend!

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