Saturday, February 16, 2008

My Vacation

I'm finally getting around to writing about my Chinese New Year's trip to Thailand after a busy week back.

We decided to go to Thailand because it's close, easy, and our friends were all telling us that it's beautiful and warm, and lots of fun. We were not at all disappointed.

We planned the trip a couple of months in advance. By planned, of course, I mean we picked a destination (in this case, the peninsular paradise of Railay Beach) and bought a plane ticket. We would sort out all of the details about where to stay and what to do once we got there. A risky plan, considering tourism was at its peak this month, but it all worked out.

We got there at night, our longtail boat gliding over the water, huge crags looming in the moonlight. We could make out lots of lights and commotion on the water's edge-- these were the rasta bars and restaurants that we would later come to know and love. As our driver cut the boat's engine and we floated through the mangrove trees and onto the beach, we all knew that yes, we had made the right decision and that this place would actually be as good as it looked in the brochures.

The first night, we checked into the hotel that we had booked at the airport. It was nothing fancy, but it was convenient, and fairly cheap. We went looking for a bar to chill at and we found that there were many to choose from on our end of the beach. We had a good first night out.

The next day, we decided to get a lay of the land. Railay, as I said, is a peninsula surrounded by high limestone cliffs. These cliffs make it a very popular place for rock climbers, and we constantly saw 20-somethings walking around with ropes looking to get 'belayed', haw. The cliffs also spared Railay from any serious damage in the 2004 tsunami. In fact, my tour guide told me that 0 people died in Railay. The peninsula is basically divided into East and West beaches. We stayed on the East beach, where all the inexpensive bungalows and restaurants were. The East beach was nothing to look at, though. The sand was stony and the mangrove trees blocked the view. There were several paths going over the land to the West beach, maybe a 15 minute walk. There we could sit on wide, white sand and see the cliffs rising out of the turquoise sea and the bikini girls playing volleyball. Ahh, life was good.

We spent the first few days just warming our bones on the beach and filling our bellies with exotic curries. We were in no rush to do anything that required the use of our bodies or brains. Rock climbing? No thanks. Kayaking? Sounds good, maybe later.

We did eventually get around to doing some stuff. One day we rented kayaks for a couple hours and explored the rocky coastline. Another day we took a boat to the nearby city of Ao Nang, looking for entertainment. We found it to be dirty and bland, too much like Taiwan. We opted for the more scenic views. Our last two days we spent taking tours. The first tour was an afternoon island hopping tour. We went to four islands, including one inhabited by thieving monkeys, and one called Chicken Head Island, where we donned snorkel masks and looked at the tropical fish. It was like swimming in the aquarium at my dentist's office. The water was that clear, and the fish were that colorful.

The second tour we took was an all day trek around the Krabi Provence of Thailand. We went to a hot spring, a crystal limestone pool, and to a rubber plantation (how exciting.) We also went to a temple on a mountain. Luke and Mike decided to be real men and take the 1200-something stone steps to the top of the mountain and visit the big golden Buddha. Will and I took the easier route up 300 steps to see a 1,000 year old tree. We also saw some monkeys humping.

Our last stop on this tour was an elephant trekking place, where we got on these big Pacific Pachyderms and headed out into the jungle. Actually, we just took a short 40 minute loop up a road and through some ditches, but I still felt like Indiana Jones. We also got to feed the elephants and that made me happy as hell.

We headed home the next day, and were treated to a week of rainy, cold, miserable weather. Still, looking at these photos makes me a bit warmer.


Joe's Photos:
Thailand - February 2008


Mike's Photos

Luke's Photos: 1 2 3 4 5 6 (some overlap with mine, but different captions)

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was nice. Do you have any pictures of the monkeys humping?

February 18, 2008 at 10:44 PM  
Blogger Joe W. (林子宇) said...

Unfortunately, no. Those dude monkeys don't last long enough for me to get my camera out and focus up. The action really only lasted for a few seconds. Pitiful.

February 19, 2008 at 1:05 PM  
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February 3, 2010 at 3:36 AM  

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