Monday, November 22, 2010

Oct. 26th-Nov.2nd From Ko Phangnan to Railay Beach to Ko Phi Phi to Phuket (Thailand)

Oct. 26th: Beth, Liz and I woke up at 5am to head to Railay beach. So here is what was in store for us starting at 5am: A mini van was going to pick us up from our hotel to take us to a ferry boat back to the main land. We then hop on a bus to a stop in Krabi where we get picked up by another van to take us to a longtailboat which would then take us to Railay beach. Each stop you make they give you a sticker which lets the drivers know where to take you. I literally felt like we were cattle getting branded by stickers. Such is life!

While we were on the longtail boat heading to Railay beach we fell in love with our surroundings. Railay is one of Thailand's most sought-after beach areas. In just one small peninsula we were surrounded by white sand beaches, soaring limestone cliffs, viewpoints,  the diamond cave and a lagoon hidden inside the cliffs, shaped and fed by the changing tides. We stayed on the east side since it was cheaper and noticed that there are no roads; only footpaths, no buses, no cars, just longtail boats. It was a great way to get away from the party island life and here is where I was going to rock climb.

Beth, Liz and I were going to stay in the Diamond resort for one night and Beth was unfortunately leaving us the next day to join her tour group and Liz and I would have to find a cheaper place to stay. Luckily we got in early and had enough time to kill to explore the island. The hotel gave us a map of the peninsula and it looked like a little kid drew it with intent to look like a treasure map. First stop the Diamond cave.

After going to the caves in Laos, which were extremely disappointing, we were hoping that the diamond cave was a proper cave with stalagmites and stalacmites. Phra Nang Cave, known as the Diamond Cave,  is on the east side of the was beautiful , but small and in the middle of the cave was a large shimmering limestone that looked like it was covered in glitter.

We got a little hungry so we decided to grab some food at a place called Ya Ya's. Here is where we met Tyson and Phil from Canada and Nick from Australia. These guys were traveling together and were heading to Vietnam after Thailand to ride motorbikes throughout the entire country. I tried to coordinate rock climbing with them but they looked like they needed some rest. After we ate we tried to walk up to the Lagoon but it was pretty high up, steep and we were wearing flip flops. Plus it was getting late and we did not want to head back down in the dark. We decided to head over to the west beach to check it out and it started to down pour. We stopped at  a cafe and ordered some tea. Liz asked for some milk and they brought it to her in a baby bottle with the tip cut off. We were a little weirded out but we found ways to amuse ourselves with it since Beth decided to take a nap in her chair and we took pictures of her sleeping with the baby bottle. It was time to head back to the hotel but it was raining, and there was thunder and lightening. We had no idea what path we were on and the ground was covered in mud and massive puddles. It felt like we were walking through a swamp. The thunder was so loud that Beth and I started to scream. Liz lead the way back to the hotel and the locals were laughing at us because we screeched like little girls.

Got to the hotel, watched some TV and passed out.

Oct. 27th: This morning we said farewell to our beloved Beth and Liz and I headed to the Ya Ya hotel. We then headed to the west beach and we ran into two girls from England named Rachel and Anna. They are sisters traveling together. They were going rock climbing at 2pm so I was going to meet them and join them. They told us to check out the cave full of wooden willies. When I say willies I mean mens....... yah know. Here is a link to a picture of the cave it was well.... interesting.
"Dedicated to the spirit of the drowned princess (phra nang) who gave the beach her name, this small shrine in a small cave is notable primarily for the dozens of carved red-tipped phalluses donated by fishermen seeking her favour." We then walked a long the beach and I was able to order pad thai off of a long boat. I love this country! Any time I want pad thai its right there even on a boat on the shore.

Unfortunately it started to down pour again. No rock climbing for me today.... sad panda. We headed back to Ya Ya's for some tea and thats where I met Meeka and Sarah from from Canada. They were only traveling for a short period of time but I was able to coordinate rock climbing with them for the next morning. Thats why I came here to rock climb!!! I wasn't going to leave until it was done!

That night Liz and I went to the last bar all the way at the end of the east beach. We made so many friends on that beach everyone joined us..... Tyson and Phil, Rachel and Anna, Meeka and Sarah and this awesome guy named Darren from England who is traveling to China to learn Kong Fu. Had an amazing night!!

Oct. 28th: Woke up at 8am to meet up with Meeka and Sarah to go rock climbing. They took me to the company where they booked it and they were able to take me as well. The guide was hilarious and called me his American girlfriend. So it was me Meeka, Sarah and this woman who was really annoying. I don't remember where she was from but she only went rock climbing for 1 day and thought she knew everything. I think she was trying to be helpful with trying to explain how to climb up the cliffs but she was extremely bossy and yelled.

Anyways, I climbed up 4 different cliffs and climbed up to one that had a cave in it. Once I am able to download my photos I will attach a link for everyone to see. I had a blast with Meeka and Sarah those girls were hilarous. We then headed back to the rock climbing office where we needed to hop on to a longtail boat to get back to the mainland in Krabi to hop on a ferry boat to Ko Phi Phi. I ran to the west beach to grab Liz, who was having tea with Darren, and we ran back to the office and got on the boat. On the boat we met a girl named Anita, from England, who was teaching English in Bangkok and was on holiday.

We arrived in Krabi and when we got off the long tail boat all these Thai men surrounded us asking us where we were going and carried our bags to the ferry office. They marked our hands in pen for Ko Phi Phi. We then got on a van to the ferry that took us to Ko Phi Phi (The Island of Free Buckets).

When we got to Ko Phi Phi Anita was extremely helpful. She showed us the way to the cheap hotels and where to find the greatest pad thai on the island. We walked towards Harmony Hotel and low and behold who do we run into... the crazy Canadians Dustin and James!!!! Emma and Kerry were on the Island as well! Basically everyone we had met at the full moon party ended up at this island.

That night we walked around the island where people pass out flyers for happy hours and free buckets. This is why I call Ko Phi Phi the "Island of Free Buckets" because there are a number of bars a long the water that will supply you with free alcohol. So much for getting away from the party island life here I go again!!!

Oct. 29th-Nov.2nd Life on Ko Phi Phi:

I had soo much fun on this island all of our friends that we met on other islands made their way here and they all stayed at the harmony hotel. Our gang which consisted of Wayne, James, John, Sophie, Kat and somehow San Diego managed to change his flight to head over and then Tyson, Nick and Phil made their way over as well. It was nice to be on an island where you know everyone.

During this time frame Liz and I discovered our favorite restaurants and had breakfast at a bakery near our hotel every day and had dinner at Calamaro which was a restaurant that served everything but specialized in Italian food.

For Halloween I wore my full moon devil horns and watched a little girl Thai box and watched John and Wayne get in the ring and Thai bo for a free bucket. We either danced the night away or stayed at our hotel watching free movies when it rained.

On Ko Phi Phi we were able to see the most beautiful viewpoint, which is the picture above, we visited long beach and I was able to schedule a tour to monkey beach and Maya bay where they filmed the movie The Beach. We also experienced Thailands rainy monsoon season. It was a shame that it rained a lot while we were on the island but we lucked out on the weather when we went to see Maya Bay.

To all the friends that I have made on this trip it has been an absolute pleasure meeting all of you. We had such a great time on Ko Phi Phi even though it rained for a majority of the time, and my legs were covered in millions of misquito bites, it was totally worth coming here.

Nov. 3rd: Liz and I decided to check out Phuket for the day and then take an over night bus up to Bangkok. Some advice about going to Phuket... DO NOT EVER EVER EVER GO TO PHUKET!!!

The second we got off the ferry to Phuket there are taxi drivers harassing you. There are no tuk tuks here and you have no choice but to take a cab with a set price. We told the cab to drive us to the bus station so we could book our tickets for Bangkok. We bought our tickets and walked to a cafe to eat some breakfast. We then found a tuk tuk driver to drive us around the island to all the major points for 40 baht. We were not impressed at all with Phuket. It was dirty and overcrowded with tourists. After our tuk tuk tour we took a bus to one of the beaches and it just didn't compare to Ko Phi Phi. We could not wait to get out of here.

So some news: Here is where Liz and I discussed the fact that I would continue to travel with her to Vietnam and Cambodia. These places were not on my list but hey carpe diem! Why not right?

We walked into an internet cafe to check flights from Bangkok to Hanoi and met a woman who we ended up paying 100 baht to drive us back to the bus station. Now I know I am a horrible horrible driver, and those of you who have been in a car with me know this, but this woman could not drive for her life. Liz was soo stressed out for the first time I thought she was going to strangle this woman. We made it back in time to the bus station ran to a seven eleven for snacks and ran back to catch the bus.

I'm going going back back to Bangkok Bangkok.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Oct. 21st-25th Ko Phangnan Full Moon party 2010!!!!!!!!!

Oct. 21st.: Liz, Beth and I got on a boat from Ko Samui to Ko Phangnan where we would be staying at the Vimarn Samut Resort. I ended up paying $300 for 3 nights here and when we got to the hotel we were extremely disappointed. I swear there was asbestos and the room was extremely damp. I ended up meeting Aaron and his friend Dave there and they both had really nice rooms with a TV and Fridge which we did not have in our rooms. We decided to make the best of it even though our room wasn't as nice. I did have to look on the bright side and noticed that the good thing about our hotel was that it was far away from the party beach so if we wanted to get away from the crazy chaos, neon paint and fire dancers we could.

The full moon party was on the 23rd but there are a number of parties before the date that lead to the full moon party. So we decided to have dinner by the beach and see what Ko Phangnan was all about.

Beth, Liz, Aaron, Dave and I ate dinner by the beach and I of course ate pad thai. Aaron thought it would be a great idea to get the party started by ordering buckets. Now let me tell you about these so called buckets. They are buckets used to make sand castles and there are a number of bucket stands surrounding the beach all with a different name and inappropriate messages. The buckets are 150-300 baht... its 30 baht to $1 so you do the math. These buckets are lethal!

We ended up bumping into the Canadian guys, James and Dustin, and here is where the neon paint and dancing started. Aaron had a neon dragon painted on to his arms and he was nice enough to buy me devil horns that light up. We all were covered in paint and neon necklaces, braceletes and horns and got up on a table and started to dance.

I felt really bad for our friend Dave. He came to the island with pink eye and when he tried to take a picture of us dancing on the tables he ended up falling backwards and it looked like it hurt. He was also trying way to hard to get the ladies and was being way too picky when we told him just to dance and have fun. He ended up getting lost in the crowd.

Beth, Liz and I just continued to dance till 3am. 

This was only the beginnning till the full moon party.

Oct. 22nd: This morning we woke up, had breakfast and went straight to the beach to relax and get some color. Since we had such a late night that night we decided to take it easy and I ended up taking the longest nap ever. Liz and Beth woke up earlier than I did so they headed into town to grab food.

When Aaron, Dave and I woke up we met up at the front of the hotel and walked to the town where all the restaurants and bars. We chose to eat at the Mona Lisa, which was run by Italians, and I ended up eating a pizza. Beth and Liz walked by and decided to join us and take advantage of the free wifi.

So things to know about the islands: 1. Everything is kind of pricey for Thailand. 2. They have bars and restaraunts that will play family guy or friends all day long. 3. You have to pay for internet at the cafes uless you are at a restaurant and use their free wifi. 4. You will have your clothes damaged by neon paint 5. You will see people with burns from playing with fire (either from the jump rope, hoop, or spitting fire) 6. You party till the sun comes up!

Since this was the night before the full moon party we decided to take it easy and just watch the fire show on the beach. The fire show consists of a number of Thai men playing with fire and twirling it like a baton. There are also places on the beach where you can jump rope fire. I mean it the jump rope is litterally on fire and the locals and tourists just go ahead and jump in. We also watched people place alocohol in their mouths and spit as hard as they can from a stick of fire trying to light another stick in front of them. Whoever is able to light the stick up wins a bucket. We saw a number of people get burned either from the jump rope or the  spitting contest.

Like I said we wanted to save our energy for the next night so we headed back to the hotel to sleep.

Oct. 23rd: FULL MOON PARTY!!!!! So my morning consisted of going for a run with Aaron, eating our free breakfast with the ladies, a little beach, a little lunch, which consisted of sketchy pad thai that was bright pink and realized it had shrimp in it, and let the shinanigans begin!!

We walked all over the main streets looking for outfits for the party. I had an idea in my head of what I wanted. Since there are ultra violet lights everywhere I wanted to make sure I wore white. I ended up finding a white shirt and white shorts and decided to splatter them with blue neon paint. Liz and Beth found their outfits as well and we walked to the dock to meet up with Emma, Kerry and Rachel sincelked all over the main streets looking for outfits for the party. I had an idea in my head of what I wanted. Since there are ultra violet lights everywhere I wanted to make sure I wore white. I ended up finding a white shirt and white shorts and decided to splatter them with blue neon paint. Liz and Beth found their outfits as well and we walked to the dock to meet up with Emma, Kerry and Rachel since they were staying on Ko Samui and taking the boat over. Once they arrived they all bought outfits as well and we headed back to the hotel to pregame and cover ourselves with neon paint.

Since I was the artistic one out of the group I ended up painting everyones faces and arms and legs. After I painted the group I chose to paint a blue flower on my face. I wore my hair up and bought a headband that said full moon party 2010. My entire outfit was white and neon blue. Aaron and Dave joined us and we painted a large pink hand on Dave's face to blend in with his pink eye. Now off to the beach!!!

Before we got to the beach Rachel and I decided to grab cheese burgers and fries so we could last all night  and these burgers were amazing! We walked down the beach and the scene was unreal. The beach was packed with people walking around with their buckets. There were 10,000-12,000 people on the beach partying. It was like spring break in Miami but it was 10 times better! There were even places where you could pay people to watch you sleep so you could wake up and party again.

I was happy that we had such an amazing group of girls. We all felt safe and we created a buddy system since the beach can get a bit crazy. Some of us were dancing on tables, others were buying buckets, and I decided to jump through a hoop of fire.... twice. After I jumped through a hoop of fire we ended up meeting a number of people and thats when I met Chris from Chicago. Chris used to work in finance and has also decided to quit his job to travel the world. I told him to take my camera and take pictures of me sliding down the slide with fire pillars on the side. We hung out for the majority of the night and I met his friends who he was traveling with and one of the girls was injured during a motorbike accident but she still came to party hard. Side note: motorbiking on these islands are very dangerous and we saw many accidents happen.

The night was ending and I did not have enough energy to stay for the sun rise. I said goodbye to Chris and walked back to the hotel. I thought it was really funny when I got back to our room Kerry, Beth and Rachel were passed out. Emma and Liz came back later and thought it would be amusing to take pictures of us all passed out. Emma, Kerry and Rachel needed to head out back to the pier to get the boat back to Ko Samui so we said goodbye and went back to sleep. We knew we would run into Kerry and Emma when we head to Ko Phi Phi. 

I had one of the most amazing nights of my life!

Oct. 24th and 25th: When I woke up I was still covered in neon paint and glitter. We washed up and packed and headed down to eat our free breakfast. We then moved to another hotel closer to the pier since it was cheaper and it had a swimming pool.

These next 2 days we used to recuperate and we hung out with Remco, San Diego and a big group of friends from England who we met in Ko Samui.

On the 25th we rented a 4x4. It was soo ghetto and thank god Liz knew how to drive stick. We drove to another beach on the island that was more peaceful and relaxing. We only had one cd in the car and it was techno of course so we drove around jamming to techno around the island.

Next stop: Railay beach!