Spent our last two days in Thailand at one of the most popular tourist destinations: Phuket. My opinion on the place is that there’s a lot to do in terms of nightlife and it’s among the most westernized locations, but if you’re looking to relax, it might not be the best. The beach is packed with people and the beach vendors are anything but shy. All in all though, I was happy to sit on the beach one more day and we enjoyed a great dinner at a local market on our last day!
Off to Bali!
Arrived in Ao Nang, Krabi around midday. Elai and I headed to the beach for afternoon to get our tan on. After a walk down the beach we ended up discovering our own private little cove with just two lawn chairs. It may or may not have been on the grounds of a private resort but hey, what they don’t know won’t hurt them.
We got up bright and early the next morning to get a WOD in on the beach before leaving for camping. We completed 5 rounds of: 30m run through the ocean at knee height, 20m partner wheelbarrow, and 10 partner squats. Was a toughie but being on the beach makes time go faster!
We headed out for the day on our long tail boat for a four islands tour before reaching our camping destination. We made stops at Railay Island, Oda Island, and Tup Island.
We then made our way to Bamboo Island where we would camp overnight. We had been warned that the ride could be rough and the overnight trip was in danger of being cancelled due to bad weather, given we were traveling in an ancient looking long-tail boat. I sat near the front of the boat–the equivalent of sitting in the splash zone at a Sea World show–as we made our way through very rough waters. Despite my track record of sea sickness, I kept it in my stomach. Two on our boat were not so lucky.
We had never been so happy to be on land once we arrived. Once we settled in we set off for a walk around the whole island that took about 30 minutes. When we woke up the next morning we got to enjoy the whole beach to ourselves–pretty sweet!
We returned to Ao Nang by long tail boat and spent the afternoon soaking up the blazing heat on the beach. At the end of the day my friend Tessa and I went for a walk, met some monkeys, and made our way to another one of Ao Nang’s nicest beaches!
While in Ao Nang I ran into two people I know from home! My moms friend Libby and a guy I went to high school with. It’s a small world after all.
We arrived by Songtaew to our jungle bungalow mid afternoon just in time for a quick dip on the pool.
We were scheduled to go “canoeing” for the rest of the afternoon around the river that runs through the national park. Naturally, I pictured wooden Langford canoes and reminisced about the shoulder fatigue that characterized my canoe trips around Kenesis as a kid. Luckily the Thai definition of canoeing is having a local guide paddle an inflatable raft with a kayak paddle. This made the experience significantly more relaxing, though I did take a few turns paddling. We stopped along the way to feed fish that would jump out of the water to fight for the food and to swing off a Tarzan style rope into the water–I opted out given the water you were supposed to drop 7 ft into was waist deep.
Elai and I did a 12 min AMRAP of lunge walks to combine working out and exploring the grounds of our resort.
We had din din at our hotel that was both delish and merited 10/10 for presentation.
Our tour buddy Josie, Elai, and I got up early the next morning for a trail run through the jungle of Khao Sak National Park. Hills and humidity made for my running nightmare but the scenery made up for it.
Mom and dad you should be proud, as I am finally the person that is getting told “I’m so jealous you just tan straight away without burning”. Can you believe it? All those years of 3rd degree burns in Cabo have finally smartened me up and taught me the perfect tanning formula and how to not be the most burnt person on the trip: lots of SPF 8.
We arrived in Koh Samui around midday and were able to soak in the sun for the entire afternoon on the beautiful beach. I enjoyed a pedicure on the beach for the small price of 100THB ( approx $3)–she didn’t even cringe at the state of my feet which was an added bonus.
Dinner was on the beach at a place called Swing Bar. All the seats at the bar are swings, so fun! After dinner we enjoyed a few bevvies on the beach while we watched the fire show. After the big shots performed the 9 year old pictured below put on a show for us and told us about how he recently won a competition on the island.
For our second day in Samui a few of the girls and myself joined an excursion to Angthong National
Marine Park–a park composed of 42 small islands located 1.5 hours from Samui by ferry. We scored the best seats in the house for the ferry on the top deck where there were mattresses for us to lay and tan. We kayaked through caves, swam on some remote beaches, and completed a rigorous climb to a lookout of an unreal view of the marine park. Literally paradise.
We took a plunge off the top deck of the boat and were on our way back to Samui, catching rays all the while of course.
We have a new tour guide for the Southern leg of the tour and his favourite sayings are “same same but different”–to describe two similar or more commonly two completely different things–and “oh my Buddha”, the Thai version of “oh my god”.
Morning spent touring two of Bangkok’s most famous attractions: Wat Poh temple and the Grand Palace.
Temple dress code is long pants and covered shoulders–not the most comfortable attire in sweltering heat.
The famous reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, this guy is huge.
The location of the next MTV cribs episode–the King’s palace a couple days a year.
We spent the majority of the day roaming the Chatuchak market–a shopaholic’s dream. There are literally thousands of stalls full of anything and everything you could imagine but organized by section to make for a more enjoyable experience. This place is a haven for cheap clothes, jewelry, bags, and amazing vintage stuff.
So many good street eats. Check out this deep fried potato with sour cream and onion powder, nom nom nom.
Got our WOD on at the hotel–see Elai’s blog for deets. Was great until it got cut short by a noise complete, buncha Debbie downers.
Had a big night out in Bangkok complete with local drunk food!
Yep you heard it here first, I went out on a limb, put an apron on and tried my hand at cooking. Though I was the obvious weakest link in the class after my poor chopping skills were exposed, I still had a great time.
We cooked four dishes: coconut chicken soup, pad Thai, masoman curry, and spring rolls–all very tasty. And we even got to have a Thai cookbook if I so choose to continue on the path to chefdom. I have to admit though the class was my kind of cooking–go to fry up some pad Thai, come back to the cutting board to find the dishes have been done and new ingredients laid out for me.
Finished the day off with a one hour Thai massage to get loosened up before another night train. One hr= $6, not too shabby. Thai massages are a little more rough and tumble than what I am used to; they are not afraid to use their feet and give you a smack here and there, literally.
And back to Bangkok on another overnight train.
Started the night off watching some good ol fashion Muay Thai boxing.
Afterwards hit up a bumpin reggae bar with a killer live band.
First stop on the way to our jungle trek was the elephant park. We were split onto four different elephants and when they asked who wanted to ride on the neck I eagerly volunteered. We rode around a large valley in the middle of the rainforest for about an hour. Being on the neck was a little scary at times–especially on downhills which felt like teetering on the peak of a roller coaster without a seatbelt!
Elephants are extremely gentle and loving creatures for their size. Every time we hit a milestone on the route my elephant would put his trunk up looking for me to praise him by patting it. One elephant had a real trainer on the neck so he was able to get their elephant to spray water on all the other groups as we crossed the river. Anywho put it on your bucket list, it was pretty incredible.
After this we drove to a remote village in the mountains from which we would start our jungle trek. We spent two and a half hours hiking through the mountains and valleys of the jungle before we arrived at our destination. Our guide had described the trek as easy after the waterfall hike that we had already completed. To our surprise it was not the leisurely stroll we all envisioned. At the half way mark our guide said to the local leading the trek “you not trekking you running.” So I guess Dong’s description did not account for deadly pace.
We took put our things in the bamboo hut we were to sleep in and went for a stroll in the local village. The people lead a very simple life but they are very happy. We had the most delicious meal of our entire trip for dinner cooked by locals. Following dinner the local children joined us for a campfire in traditional costume and danced and sang for us. In the morning the locals set up a small market for us at which we could purchase jewelry, scarves, or little trinkets.
Finally, we began our much more leisurely two hour trek back to the cars.
I finished the day off with a run around Chiang Mai, literally. Chiang Mai was, at one time, a completely walled city. Today you can walk alongside the “moat”–long ponds with beautiful fountains in them for 7km in a perfect square around the city.
We pulled into Chiang Mai at 8 am and by 10 we were on a 4 hour bike tour. Our guide Tukta was the cutest Thai girl who led us through Chiang Mai’s beautiful countryside. We biked through the forests and beside fields of crops like rice and kale, making stops along the way at a number of temples. Our guide was saying to us that regular Buddhists live by five rules but the monks we have seen everywhere must abide by 227 rules. Too much room for error for my liking.
We also stopped along the way by a river. A man came out to greet us and handed us what looked like Thai rice cakes–we immediately all started munching on it until we saw him start feeding it to catfish in the water. We had all just eaten fish food. To our relief we learned it was in fact okay to eat and the horror subsided. Everyone warns you to watch what you eat so accidentally eating catfish food is pretty traumatic.
Stopped at a little spot on the side of the road for our best meal thus far! This famous Chiang Mai coconut curry based soup knocked Sinfully Asian’s spicy laksa out of the park.
Later we explored the city centre which is enclosed on all sides by a giant brick wall. Let me just say that there is no shortage of temples anywhere in Thailand but they haven’t gotten old yet, each one is so intricate and ornate in its own unique way.
Prior to my trip I had zero clue that the Thai transsexual community was so bumpin. We ended the night with a Thai Cabaret show and let me tell you these “ladyboys” as they call them can dance! The show was “heaps” entertaining as my new Aussie friends would say. One of the stars even came into the audience and got right up in my grill.
Off to the mountains for a trek to the hill tribe villages and will post upon my return. Happy New Year!