Koh Lanta (January 20-24)
Everything about the islands is spectacular, but I think there is something true about the phrase “west coast best coast”. Our first stop on the west Thai islands was Koh Lanta. This is definitely a more chill, family vacationing spot, similar to Koh Samui. The long stretches of beaches are filled with restaurants and resorts, but it also easy to escape all that by going inland or further down the island away from the dock.
We were all feeling a little dirty from our 2 weeks in what were essentially party hostels, so we decided to spring for a hotel. The nice part is that this “spring” is that split 4 ways it is about equal to a hostel cost, so no damage to the bank on this one. We stayed at Lanta Residence Boutique that was a 20 minute walk from one of the main beaches. So we all had much needed, thorough shower and then had a picturesque, relaxing walk along the beach to mark the end of a very long travel day. There’s always a story, so this time it was while we were walking to the beach from the hotel. We hadn’t been walking more than 10 minutes when a shared taxi pulled over next to us and basically told us all to get in and that he would drive us to the beach for free. Something my wise mother has always told me is that nothing is free, and I think this is even more applicable in foreign countries. We all said no, but he insisted, and since we’re weak (and possibly lazy) we hopped into the taxi, but kept the hatch open in case we needed an emergency exit. Thankfully we made it there safely and the walk was much further than we expected, so we tried to give him some money, but he wouldn’t accept it. I guess some people just want to help where they can, who would’ve thought eh.
The next day we attempted to do a snorkel trip to the four islands around Koh Lanta, but we set off in the boat to the first stop and it was so rough that they (thankfully) made the call to turn back and give us all a FULL REFUND which I’m pretty sure is unheard of around here. So, rolling with the punches as we do, we went to plan b…brace yourself dad… scooters. We got them individually as we’ve been told that it’s more difficult with someone on the back. After a semi rocky start and our new pal Kirsten (also from Vancouver, but only met in Koh Phangan) cutting someone off leaving the rental place and nearly causing a wee accident we were all good. Slightly to my surprise I absolutely loved driving the scooter! Although turning was definitely my weakness, going fast (again, sorry captain cautious/ dad) was so much fun! We toured around the entire island, went through the national park and then did a very muddy hike to a waterfall! It was unreal. Except the mud was a pain in the ass and since it wasn’t apart of our initial plan we were all in flip flops and ended up with some cuts on our feet. At one point on our adventure we had to make a u-turn and this was where my inexperience sparkled like a very very bright. As we were turning, albeit slowly, I managed to hit some mud and then proceeded to crank the gas instead of grab the brake. Don’t freak because I am ok, but I did go flying over a semi cliff with the scooter landing on me. I was in a bit of shock but knew I was a-ok, just a couple scrapes and bruises. I had so many people rush over to help me and they all wanted to help me but I was just saying “no, not me! I’m fine help me get the bike up!” So they knew I was a tough bitch and then me and two guys lifted/pulled the bike back up the hill. I was a little nervous for the 40 minute ride we had back to our place, but you have to keep going/ I had no other choice. I gave the bike a little rinse and wipe (aka: spit on it and rub it with my shirt) before returning it and played it cool through the inspection and passed! That was my biggest worry, paying for damage. I got my passport back that they take as insurance kind of thing and got out of there relieved.
The next morning we got the ferry to Koh Phi Phi where the madness would begin. This island was the most spectacular piece of land I’ve ever seen. Like took my breath away kind of beautiful. I’m going to be honest though, this island is overwhelmingly geared towards young foreigners out to party.. and so we did. We checked into Stones Hostel that we had booked for two nights, pretty much threw our stuff on the bed, put a bathing suit on, got lunch and then went to the Ibiza Pool Party conveniently location right next to our hostel. One of the best parts was that mid way through the party a rain storm hit so we were all in the water with the rain pouring down. Meanwhile all the guys and gals who for some unknown reason did their hair and makeup were cowering together under the bar. Why people do their hair and makeup for a pool party is still a mystery to me. Kirsten had booked her ferry for the following morning, so we made the team decision to do the Shipwrecked booze cruise the day she arrived. We’re good friends to have around that’s for sure!
To paint a picture of how the booze cruise day went I think I can just tell you that it was open bar. So, automatically a fantastic time.. although there may or may not have been some of us that don’t recall getting off the boat. There were around 25 people on the cruise and I would say a third were from British Colombia, specifically Vancouver. It was a beautiful disaster as we are all quite similar. On the cruise we stopped at Monkey Beach (aka: my nightmare), snorkelled, went for a walk and swam at the famous Maya Bay and then stopped for another swim/ bathroom break if ya know what I mean.
It was also on this day that Madison decided it was a good time to get the first of our Thailand tour tattoos. Was she drunk? Take your best guess. Kirsten woke up looking like a rappers girlfriend with a floral Nike cropped tank and not 2, but 4 French braids. It’s the things like this that make me love the people I’m with more and more. We’re a wild and great team. May get names the “Crazy Canadians” everywhere we go. We’ll take it as a compliment. The rest of our time here was spent relaxing on the beach, soaking up the sun. Although there were multiple flip flops and sunglasses lost, and multiple bruises and cuts acquired, I would return in a heartbeat!
Krabi (January 24-26)
Our next stop was Krabi. Although we did not have a lot of time here we found the most amazing restaurant- Boat Noodle. In two days we probably went 3 or 4 times it was that good and the price was right! On our full day Madison, Kennedy and I went on a half day morning kayak tour. This was what I had been waiting for. It wasn’t anything like what I expected, which was the simple kayak tour following the shore line. Instead, we went across the river and since it was high tide, we were able to circumnavigate a mountain that is in the middle of the water. We were going through caves of vines and trees, so cool! Kennedy and I made a great team leading the pack for a portion of the way, while “Princess Madison” rode with the tour guide and didn’t touch the paddle until the last 5 minutes of the trip. Everyone has their strengths. The rest of our time there was rather torrential rain filled, except for the morning before our flight out where we had some beach time and I burnt my ass like never before. Still recovering. This was also where we had to say goodbye to Kirsten who had been with us for a couple weeks, but we’re thankful that she is conveniently from Vancouver which makes reunions much easier. We have a full day sorted out for when we’re all together again, primarily consisting of the food we miss. We also went separate ways with Haley who was going to Cambodia before meeting us in Vietnam on February 7th. Even though we knew we’d see her in 10 days it was so sad to leave her. We’re all equally as emotional, so their were many many hugs. Our flight for Chiang Mai left at 8:30 and we got to the airport around 5. My dad would be proud.