(Paul came up with that gem of a title)
Thailand is awesome. If you haven't been, you simply must. We started off our adventure braving the freezing weather in no more than longsleeve shirts. Who wants to carry a jacket around the tropics all week? Followed by a quick flight to China. Bejing is the shittiest airport ever. It's huge and clean, but there is absolutely nothing to do there. You can buy stupid Chinese souveniers i.e. panda bear everything, or sit. There are 3 restaurants all of which totally suck, oh and yeah, there's a Pizza Hut. Paul and I sat an bitched over a couple beers then we were on our merry way to Thailand!
We arrived and booked a hotel right on Khosan Road which is the main party street in Bangkok. We then met up with Garrett, Paul's friend from home who left Korea 4 months ago to travel for a year. Khosan Road is a show. There are 100,000,000 tourists, mostly Europeans, wandering, drinking buckets, and solicitors up the butt selling anything from fake diplomas to tuk tuk rides. Despite the solicitation and ads for ping pong shows everywhere, it truely is beautiful. There's definitely an energy in the air. Oh and the air is an amazing 85 degrees...at 9 o clock at night. Asa! We hit a few bars and I called it a night. Day 2 Paul and I hit up some street food (again) for breakfast. The food in Thailand is simply amazing. There is so much flavor, seafood, spice, and it's all super super cheap. I think we probably spent less than $100 between us the entire time. After some wandering we meet up with Garrett again who promises to take us out to a different area for a good time. It starts out fun enough. We take a boat ride at dusk down the river where you can see all of the palaces and temples all lit up.
It was really spectacular. But this is where Garrett's idea of fun, and Paul and I's idea of fun differ. Garretts single. He's been traveling for months in poor countries (Philippines, Loas, Thailand) and he is all about the Asian women. He takes us to an area, Nana, where there are rows and rows of titty bars. He insists we walk into everyone to find the one with the hottest girls.
I'm a good sport, but after 10 or so of these, it's getting old. We finally settle on Spanky's (ha remember I used to work at one in college!?) and pay a stupid amount of money for a stupidly watered down whiskey. We sit and watch the "show" which consisted of a topless girl rubbing oil on herself. Garretts totally into it and thinks we should stay for the next show, but Paul and I drag him out. Let's go back to the fun area where we can buy giant cheep beers. A large Chang (think 22oz) will cost you about $2 at a bar. And it's 6.8% boozy.
Paul and I have a flight at 6 am the next morning so we decide not to get a room and just stay up all night. Garrett lost interest in us back near Khosan, so Paul and i venture around and end up getting leg massages
at 3am while we wait for the 4am van to the airport. Day 3 and we fly to Surat Thani and take an hour bus to the port. I remember none of this as I slept the whole time. Then there's a 2+ hour ferry boat ride to Koh Phagnan. For whatever reason most of the Euros sit down in the AC deck. Paul and I are here to get tan. We rub on the 30 spf sunblock left over from the mudfest last summer, and lay on the top deck in our bathing suits. It was an amazing ride. As we pulled out of port we saw a dolphin, then you cruise and can see all sorts of islands amist the blue Gulf of Thailand. Totally spectacular. We get to port, are immediately directed to a hotel (we didn;t book one) and put in the back of a tuk tuk. We get to our resort, The Great Bay Resort, and we have our own bungalow!!!!
I've always wanted a bungalow on the beach! It was immacuately clean, had a queen and twin sized bed, mini fridge, tv, huge tile bathroom and an awesome balcony. Have I mentioned I <3 Thailand? Oh, so apparently the SPF we had was watered down or something because as soon as we changed both Paul and I were streaked red. My hand, inside of my left leg, and below my bellybutton were RED. Im talkign sun poisoning painful.
Pauls entire chest was streaked red. Pretty funny really, but hey were on vacation and we;re not giving up that easy. We got checked into our hotel by 1 and we were on the beach right after. We walked the beach, then in the evening walked along the street through "town." Not really much town, just a few restaurants spread out here and there. We settle on one that looks like a mom and pop place. It was all outside, including kitchen, as are all restaurants on the island, and we had the BEST BEST BEST meal. I had a seafood salad and paul had some noodley or ricey meat thing.
But YUM. It has totally inspired me to learn to cook Thai. We meet a nice German couple at this place and they tell us we MUST get mopeds as that's the only way to get around, and we decide to meet that night down at the beach where the full moon parties go on. We never ended up meeting them, but the party was insane. There weren't a lot of people there, but it was still insane. There were fire thrower/twirlers all up and down the beach and just rows and rows of vendors selling buckets. Fukin Good Buckets.
A bucket of whiskey, redbull and coke runs you about $4. We had a few of those, almost got hit by smoe fire ropes, and then hit a bar with an awesome cover band. Beach life is so relaxed.
Day 2 KP we go rent mopeds. BEST IDEA EVER. Motor biking is the most fun thing in the whole world. They cost you roughly $5 a day and you have the freedom to go anywhere on the island. We biked up the West coast the first day.
We went through the jungle and stopped at an awesome waterfall, passed by elephants and monkeys, stopped for watermelon shakes (which are my new favorite thing- watermelon + ice + blender. yum!) and eventually ended up at the Northern most beach. The beach was basically desserted. The beach near our hotel was pretty rocky and had some fuzzy stuff in the bottom and no waves (bayside) but this beach was white sand and had coral so you could snorkel. There were tons of fish and sea slugs. But the coolest part is that there was a sandbar so you could walk 200 or so meters to Koh Ma, another small island. There was nothing there, but it was still cool to be able to walk through the water to an island.
Day 3 was more of the same. We motorbiked, ate our hearts out, and found the coolest beach. This time we went through the middle of the island to get to the East side beaches. Holy shit, scariest/most fun ride ever. The road stops pretty quickly and turns into a dirt path. There are rivets and bumps all throughout from rain, which is does about 3 times a day for 2 minutes, and it's only one lane. Granted there aren;t many people on the island, but you have bikes passing you, trucks, tuk tuks, it can get a little dicey. Paul was such a good sport for putting up with my pussiness. On downhills I refused to go more than 10km/hr. He always stayed behind me to make sure I was safe and ok. What a great boyfriend! We accidently went down one scary ass road (I'm talking 85 degree slope down and BUMPS) and found this secret beach. There was one small resort there, maybe 4 people, and HUGE waves. There's no way you could have swam on this beach, so we couldn't quite figure out why people were there at all. We finally decided it must have been a swingers club or something. Ewww and on the way out of this road a green snake tried to jump onto my moped!! Well, he was probably just trying to cross the street but I almost fell off my bike at the sight of him. EWWWWWW snakes. We finally went the right way and found the sickest beach on the island. There were definitley no more than 50 people along a 1km or so strip of beach.
There were lovely resorts with pools and restaurants, and the water was crystal clear blue with nice small waves. We had an amazing day relaxing, then got to bike back through the jungle. For our final dinner in KP we went and found an amazing restaurant on the top of the mountain overlooking the sea at sunset.
Everything about this trip was totally romantic; definitely a coupley place to go. It was quiet, beautiful, and really peaceful. Paul and I just talked and relaxed the whole time- there was absoultely no stress, except maybe getting through the mud jungle bumps with tuk tuks zooming by. But I made it, and am better off for it. Motorbike pro. By the end of the second day I was zooming around at 60km a hr. Yeah, what!
Every night Paul and I had an amazing dinner, we'd go out for a bit, then sit and make cocktails on our balcony. We walked along the beach at night and just chilled. I would definitely recommend this island to anyone who wants a private quiet beach getaway. Sadly Thursday morning we had to leave. The ferry from KP to the port near the airport only leaves twice a day, so we decide to head over to Koh Sumui for the day and catch a later ferry from there. Again we had another early morning flight. Koh Sumui is known as more of a touristy island, which is why we avoided it in the first place, but it's only a quick 40 min ferry ride away.
We take a taxi down to the the port we need to leave from later that day and then wander. We find a desserted resort and beach. I'm talking not a soul in sight. We chill on our own private beach, then head to our own pool. It was an absolutely perfect way to end our island tour. No one from the resort even bothered us, it was kind of weird. Im used to "what room, maam. Sorry you gotta go." But no one seemed to care.
Then we took a sunset ferry back
to mainland so we could bus it to Surat Thani. We took a bus where it was us and 3 other foreigners and then all Thai people. We drive about an hour and the bus just stops. A man jumps on, tells Paul and I to get off the bus. Who are we to argue? Then we notice the other foreigners get off. We are ushered into the back of a tuk tuk and take off. None of us have any idea where we're going. Paul and I obviously don't have ahotel booked, we don't do that, but the 3 Canadians with us did. After a while we stop and the man tells us this is our hotel; The BackPacker Inn. Ughh sure dude. He then gets us a room, 400 baht (~$12) and tells us he'll come get us in the am to take us to the airport. Now this is service!! The room was actually pretty nice, and we have the whole night in Surat Thani. We venture out and there are temples and a ton of street vendors.
We have a good dinner- 2 curries and a soup with extra rice for just over $1. Thailand is insanely cheap, man! We have a couple beers, then notice the vendors are shutting down. Paul's getting nervous for my safety so we had back to the hotel and drink our Changs and watch TV. There's only one channel with English and it was showing some weird Mila Jovovich movie. I promptly fell asleep. Next morning and tuk tuk dude is there with his son, and early! Quick flight and we're back in Bangkok. We only have 10 or so hours before we need to be back to the airport, so it's only a quick trip. We had a great lunch, of course, walked down along the river and tried to go to the Emperor's palace, or was it the King's, I don't know. Regardless, we weren't allowed in because we were in shorts and apparently it's only open in the morning. Oh well. We could see it from the outside, then we took a the boat up the river back to Khosan area. We were just chilling drinking some beers when we noticed a crowd of people around the TV. We check it out and of course the week that we're out of Korea traveling Japan gets hit with the largest earthquake ever. We're nervous about our friends in Korea, Japan and Taiwan, then realize our parents are probably freaking. A few fb messages later and everyone's reassured. What a tragedy though. I can't even imagine what the clean up is going to be. As far as I know they;re still digging people out and haven't even been able to reach the worst hit areas. We stayed pretty glued to the tv for the evening, but need a break. Paul goes for a Thai massage and I get a mani-pedi. Dinner, and then another massage and it's back to the airport :( Did you know they sell valium over the counter in Thailand? Because I do! I don't think Paul and i remember a moment of our flight back. We flew out at 1, got back to Korea at 11:30 am (slept the entire time during both legs of the flight) got home and slept again until 7:30. But now we're back, more in love than ever, and totally confident in our traveling abilities together. Now we're just counting down the days til India. According to immigration, it's got to be before June 10th. Countdown is on....