Saturday, September 17, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
The nice thing about arriving so early was that I was up and out exploring the city before any of the other tourists. I hit the Grand Palace, the Emerald Budda, and Wat Pho all before 11am. The architecture of the palace and watswas completely different from what I had gotten so used to in Korea and I really enjoyed it.
The next morning I found the best part of the Thai train – you can stick your head out the window! The scenery was beautiful and even better with the wind in your face.
Friday, September 9, 2011
The next day Jen went rock climbing, but I decided to stay behind to give my foot a rest. It was the first time I had been alone on this solo journey of mine. Over breakfast at a little restaurant I realized how much more
aware I was when I was alone. A mother and daughter, of about ten, were running the restaurant. Every electrical appliance in the place was plugged into one extension cord that was dangling from the ceiling. The little girl would deliver each person's food individually on a tray as her mother did all of the cooking. When I asked if I could take her picture she was almost honored. I felt like it was my first genuine interaction with locals.
Monday, August 15, 2011
In the morning we took the hour and half ferry to Koh Phi Phi. On the boat I met Hasan, a very talkative Turkish man that had been living on the island for seven years. He took us under his wing and showed us where to stay and where to eat once we got to the island. The hostel he recommended was completely booked so we stayed right across the road and moved over to “The Rock” hostel the next morning. We went out for a bit of the beach night life and enjoyed a very dangerous fire show where they were constantly throwing the fire sticks into the crowd.
At the hostel the next morning we ran into Jen, a Canadian teacher that had stayed at our last hostel as well. The three of us got settled in and headed to Long Beach, one of the nicest beaches on the island. I asked a local how to get to the beach and he told us to just walk along the shore and we would be there in 15 minutes. No so. We walked along the rocks, not easy in flip flops, for 45 minutes before we arrived. On the way back we of course found the trail that got you back in 15 minutes. Long Beach is absolutely beautiful and relatively empty, so we spent the entire afternoon there before walking back to see the sunset from one of the viewpoints.
The next morning I woke up covered in bites, and I am not talking a couple little mosquito bites. It looked like I had chicken pox and I, knock on wood, almost never get bitten. I freaked out, had a mini panic attack scared that they were bed bugs, then tried to calm myself down. Jen and I were the only ones that had them in the dorm, and if they were bed bugs I assumed that they entire place would be infested. I saw some ants in my bed and prayed that they were just ant bites. Just to be safe we moved into a double room and sealed our pj's in ziplock bags, which I carefully examined for five days before opening.
When I got to the beach it was like a scene out of “The Beach”, well maybe not that bad, but there was blood everywhere. People had scrapes all down their backs and up and down their legs. There were swelling ankles everywhere I looked. This obviously made it difficult to enjoy the scenery. I got in the water for a bit, but found trash floating all around me, so Jen and I decided it was time to brave the trip back to the boat. Once we were on top of the stairs the water looked even worse and the Thai guys that were helping people up before had left. Some girls from another boat motioned to their guide that he should come around to Maya Bay to collect them. They were successful in getting their driver to come around so we did the same.
Yes, I had a bit of a rough time on the island, but I still really enjoyed my time. It's absolutely beautiful, and I've never seen water that color. I would definitely recommend visiting the island, just stay away from the 250 baht tour!
Next Stop: Railay
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
These mistakes I speak of started about 20 minutes after I got off the plane. I am ashamed to admit it, but I managed to lose an ATM card immediately. In Thailand the ATM gives you your money before your card, which is opposite of what I am used to, then steals the card after five seconds if you don't take it. Luckily I am pretty paranoid about stuff like that, so I had a backup and was able to learn my first lesson with minimal damage.
My second lesson came shortly there after. The Phuket airport is quite far away from Patong Beach where I was staying, so I knew that I wanted to try to split the cab with someone. I started walking around talking to the foreigners to see if anyone else had the same idea. I quickly met a friendly British guy and we tried to talk the cab drivers down a bit, but they didn't go quite as low as we had hoped so we booked a mini bus.
They told us to wait for a bit, a bit turned into 20 minutes, this is when the taxi drivers that work for the same company started to approach us and tell us that it would be at least another 40 minutes before the bus would fill up and they would leave. They were no longer willing to negotiate the price. We waited another 20 minutes and realized that we might never leave, so we got a taxi. Lesson learned – make sure there is always a departure time.
I checked into my hostel, Bodega, which was fantastic, and met up with a friend from Korea, Garreth. We spent some time walking around the city and the rest of the day on the beach where I got properly sunburned despite applying sunscreen four times. Next lesson – aloe is very, very expensive in Thailand, so bring your own. We went out for drinks in evening, which definitely gave me a window into the seediness that is Patong Beach - creepy old men and ping pong shows are everywhere! I still had a great time, but I would recommend staying on a different beach.
The next day we went on an island hopping and snorkeling tour. The best part about it was that almost our entire boat was a missionary group from Korea. They absolutely loved that we could understand a bit of Korean. Having a small
When we got back to Phuket we headed for the food stalls. It was the cheapest and the best food of my trip so far. I met up with some girls from the hostel and spent the rest of the evening dancing.
Next stop: Koh Phi Phi
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
As for the next adventure, I am flying into Phuket, Thailand and flying out of Hanoi, Vietnam two months later. I have a general route planned through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam and a hostel booked for the first night, from there I am just going to let the adventure unfold.
So, goodbye Korea and hello Thailand!