|The bus from KL to Hat Yai on the border of Thailand was freezing. I was however able to sleep a majority of the time with intermissions for crossing the border and clearing customs. On the bus we befriended some Malaysians headed to Ko Samui so we shared a bus to Surat Thani. There we packed 4 deep in the back of a small Toyota and headed to the port of Don Sak to ferry over to Ko Samui. The express ferry took about 1.5 hrs. Then it was a taxi 15 minutes to Chawang Beach. Our taxi finally found our place at Holiday Guest House (locally known as 'Holiday Guess How'). Our suite was super, er, sweet. Two bathrooms, futon, king sized bed, huge balcony, fridge, cable, etc. We set out for food and found a crowded Tropical Murphy's. We both had beer and burgers! A great way to welcome ourselves to Thailand, right?
On the way back to the Guess How we checked out the Thai boxing bouts for the night. Once back at the room we decided to take a quick nap. I woke around 11 pm and found myself paralyzed. I was so exhausted from the travel my body was making no effort to go out for the night. I looked over to the futon to see Brian wasnt going anywhere either so that was that for the first night.
New Years Eve we made a last minute call to go to the famous, infamous, NYE party on Ko Panang. This is an hour ferry across the Gulf and legendary for their full moon parties.
About 6:30 we boarded the ferry. Upon arriving we met up with our Malaysian friends and had a good time bar hopping making convo with randoms. Around 9:30 or so B and I decided to make it towards the beach for the real party. Here it was packed with an estimated 7,000 people on an enormous beach lined with clubs off the water front. There were tons of fire dancers and all kinds of crazies doing anything you could imagine.
I lost Brian on the beach immediately and ended up getting mixed up with a great group of Aussies. We partied it up until they had a speedboat lined up to go back to Samui. I got a free invite on the boat and we were back to Samui in no time.
Friday (1/2) we had to check out of our nice digs and moved to the cheaper, although right on the beach, Relax Resort. After a night at the Relax Resort I had decided I was ready to move over the West coast of Thailand on the Andaman Sea. I checked out of the room, booked a ferry and bus combo to Krabi and set out to travel solo for a while. It is really working out well so far.
Brian and I had gotten on different agendas for our travels and instead of slowing each other up I think it is best that we do our own thing for a little while.
Upon arriving to Krabi I settled into the KR Mansion and booked a day trip to Ko Phi Phi for the next day. I wasnt feeling great so I got some medicine and laid down awhile. Feeling a little better that night I went out for some dinner with a Canadian and then heard some good live music coming from a park festival. We decided to check it out and listened a couple of really good Thai rock bands, as well as, some traditional Thai music.
Today is Monday 1/5 and just had probably the best day of my travels so far. A van picked me up from the KR around 8 am and went to the port at Ao Nang, a beautiful beach town, about 20 kms away from Krabi. Along the way I met a cool French couple of a few Brits I would spend most of the day with. We took a speed boat 45 minutes to the first in a cluster of islands that make up Ko Phi Phi. This place is beyond words. I am going to upload a bunch of photos, but know they cannot do it justice. We went snorkeling in beautiful, emerald water with great visibility off 3 different islands. The water felt like silk on your skin and you could see down 100 feet. A couple of the other stops they let us just hang out on the beach and explore. One of the beaches Ma Ya is where the movie, The Beach, was filmed and it was amazing. I really cant explain how great a day it was. We passed by several other beaches outside of Phi Phi. I have decided to check out of Krabi tomorrow and take a long tail boat 30 minutes over to Rai Leh. Alonzo had recommended it before but after getting a glimpse today I definitely am going to have to spend a couple of days there.
1/10: The 3 days at Railay Beach were just what the doctor ordered. I had some of the most relaxing and best days of my entire trip there. The beach at Tham Phra Nang has to be the most amazing beach I will ever go to. West Railay beach on the peninsula is better than most beaches but the edge def goes to TPN Cave Beach. One morning I hiked up to the view point at Ao Railay. It faces the east side of the peninsula and then down into the lagoon. Then hiked over at Phra Nang Cave, where I created a couple of my own view points. A couple of days ago at Krabi I chased a guy up three flights of stairs to return a 50 Baht bill that he dropped. Then while hiking at Ao Railay I found a 100 Baht bill. I thought that was kind of cool.
Last night (first night in Bangkok) was actually pretty fun. I am staying on Khaosan Road at...well I am not really sure the name of it. It is off the main road front and there is a pharmacy sign, internet sign, and close to 40 others, any one of which could be the hotel where I am staying. I got some pad thai with noodles off the street after a massage. Then met up with a crazy group of Swedes. Went to a, cool behind the store front, local kind of feel, raggae bar. Shared a bucket which I really didnt have the stomach for. Then on to a live music bar before tucking it in for a relatively (by Bangkok standards) early Friday night.
I think I have decided to catch the bus tomorrow on a long path up North to Luang Prabang, Laos. Then head down the Mekong River to Vang Vien and Vientene. There is one more stop that I want to make in Laos before heading on to Cambodia. Well that is the plan as of 11:39 am on 1/10. Of course that leaves out Chang Mai...