I left of heading south on the train from Chaing Mai on my way to Bangkok. This overnight train got me in to BKK with plenty of time to spare before the next train to Surat Thani in the south of Thailand on my way to Railay/Tonsai.
During my 12 hour layover in BKK I managed finally to get my Visa application in for Myanmar and then walked around heading to the Palace and walked through the grounds. I was somewhat templed out and didn't really feel like spending 15$ to walk around and take more photos. Instead I walked back towards the train station and stopped in a park to read and watch old men do exercises. No one stepped on the grass the entire hour I was there. They simply jogged around the sidewalk over and over again or did squats and stuff in the wider parts of the walkway. Kinda funny.
Onto the train, and off to the south! Arriving in Krabi (jumping point to Railay/Tonsai) I wasn't sure where I was supposed to meet Corinne and Erich. Erich was flying in that day and Corinne had been there since the night before but unfortunately we hadn't managed to communicate where we were meeting. I arrived at a restaurant, ordered lunch and got the wifi password and learned where Corinne was hiding, some hostel which google maps showed being far and on the opposite end of town. I wasn't pumped about this. So I sat, ate my lunch and asked the server what the best way to get to this hostel was. She was confused by me question, because it turns out that the hostel was literally next door. The entire time I was eating, I wasn't more than 20 feet away from Corinne.
I walk the quick steps and we hang out and 15 minutes later Erich shows up. Success! Erich is super pumped:
First because of how awesome my beard has become; and
second because we are rocking out in Thailand!
We arrived in Railay which is more expensive than the further more remote beach of Tonsai, so packs and all we walk the beach and climb through the mini jungle to the second beach and find some pretty cheap digs for 6$ a night, No power during the day, padlocks on doors for locks. Pretty basic. Corinne and Erich bunk up and I grab my spot and we feast on a massive dinner! For anyone going, Tonsai has significantly better and cheaper food than Railay.
Railay beach is the right, Tonsai is the far left, and that green bit is the treacherous path we needed to hike through far too often everyday.
That night Erich and Corinne called it a night early, and I went back to my room to read. Not being in the mood to read and not able to sleep I decided to go for a walk. Through the treacherous path (in the dark using iPhone light) and across back to Railay where I could get wifi. While awkwardly lurking around one of the fancier hotels a group roughly my age (which I realize after writing that means 20-38 when I reflect on who was there) came through and were headed swimming! Seeing as how it was now midnight and I was wide awake, I could see nothing better to do with my time. Well, am I ever pleased I did. There was bioluminescence in the water! As you moved your arms and legs it looked like you were swimming on a cloud! Definitely an experience I did not expect to have that night. On my walk back towards Tonsai I noticed a lot of people on skype so I shared my experience with them and finally made it back to my room sometime between 4 and 5 AM.
Needless to say the 8AM meeting with Erich and Corinne came super early. Quick breakfast and we were off! What do you do in this area of Thailand you may ask? ROCK CLIMB!
Corinne had never really rock climbed before, she started out having trouble keeping up with the routes Erich and I were doing, but by the end of the week she was rocking them out no problem!
Shaving my beard. One of lifes big regrets
Some of the routes were HUGE! 30+ meters (which is tricky on a 30M rope)
Erich unfortunately had to leave us after only a few days. We mixed up our days by either rock climbing, or hanging out on the beach. It doesn't look too sunny, but believe me when I said it was HOT! Super humid. We went and discovered caves, Erich avoided monkeys so that they didn't steal his food again like they did in KL, and ate. Yes we ate A LOT!
Erich and Corinne cruising the beach
On Erich's last night we decided to go big. For years I've been heading Erich and Pat talk about Thai Buckets, booze concoctions so great that they don't even remember what they did those nights.
Needless to say, Erichs last night we purchased a few and people went missing. Sure there weren't the goodbyes everyone would have hoped for in the morning, but I think the story makes up for the missing people. I'll leave it at that. Another good night with buckets!
Now it was back to just Corinne and I. Corinne decided that my beard needed a trimming and unfortunately she did a terrible job! No just kidding, I was getting tired of it because it was getting really hot and itchy with all the moisture so I decided to shave. BIG MISTAKE! Surprisingly there weren't any dorky tan lines or anything of the such. But I was instantly cold! Corinne and I had big plans to visit other beaches on neighbouring islands, however, this place was so relaxing that we decided we really didn't need new adventures. This was Corinnes last week of travel and I was about to depart to Myanmar so relaxing was definitely a great plan. Our 3 days at this beach turned into 8 with nothing other than climbing, eating, drinking and swimming to report. It was fantastic! And this attitude wasn't just the two of us. Nearly everyone we met and hung out with while there also extended their trip from a few days to weeks. We met some fantastic people from all over. Some Montreal, Vancouver, California, All over Europe! Was great!
Corinne and I finally had to leave this beach paradise, and head back to Bangkok. This is where the first unfortunately event took place. Everyone always warns you of theft etc while traveling and I had encountered none. You are also told never to leave your money in the same spot in case of robbery. So I had a bunch of cash on me, and a bunch in the depth of my travel bag, and while on the bus someone must have been camping out in the storage compartment because I had roughly 400-500$ stolen from my bag, exact amount not exactly certain. As rotten as this was, I reassured myself by saying that at least it was stolen in a non violent way. I've heard of people being mugged, kidnapped and beat up for significantly less money while traveling, so a simple loss like this I could deal with. Not wanting to let this be a damper on my travels and Corinnes last night (which also happened to be her birthday), we went for massages and to a fancy dinner of mussels and chicken and then other items from the menu as we got hungry. Unsatisfied with dinner, while walking on Koh San Road Corinne found a food item she just couldn't say no to.
Roasted Grasshoppers or something like that. Tasted mostly just like roasted nuts but with a different crunch
For about a quarter we got like 20 of them, so Corinne and I had plenty of photo opportunities. We also tried to offer them to strangers as they walked by. Not many takers...
Thai money was really funny. my favourite was the 1000 Bhat which has the king of Thailand on it, he is acting photographer!
Corinne imitating the King
And here we parted ways. Corinnes last night in Bangkok and the next morning we went real early to the airport where she caught a flight home and I went off to Myanmar! But more on that later!