Koh Phangan to Koh Tao

We set an alarm early enough to clean our room before checking out. There is some face paint and glitter on just about everything, and it will cost us 500 baht if they have to clean it. We do our best to cover up any paint stains that we can’t remove, which I don’t feel bad about because our sheets were stained and had patches sewn on when we arrived. The glitter will do the room some good, it’s pretty now. When we’re done it looks acceptable at best, but it’s check out time so we just drop the keys and hope that they won’t check the rooms before we’re good and gone.

We tuk tuk over to the pier where we are supposed to catch a ferry at 2pm. We’re extremely early so we go get breakfast at a small cafe close by. The cafe lists American sausage, and English sausage on their menu, which gives me hope that they actually know what they’re doing. Why differentiate between two different types of sausages if they’re just going to be hotdogs? I roll the dice and order the English sausage which arrives later, looking like everything I’ve ever dreamed of. I take a bite and it is heaven. I have finally found a real breakfast sausage in Thailand. The kind of breakfast sausage that is good, even by Canadian standards. If I walked into a cafe in Canada and ordered this, I would say to myself, wow this is a delicious breakfast sausage. I am now content.

We walk over to the pier, still early so we stand and wait for a while before our boat actually arrives. We get on close to last, so it’s a challenge to find seats together. AJ and I find one across the aisle from each other and I don’t know where the other girls go. It’s a short ferry ride, just an hour and a half, so I watch some of The Apparition on my phone. It’s finally fully downloaded, but iTunes only gives me 2 days to watch a rental movie and I don’t think I’ll find the time to sit down and fully watch it, so I’ve been watching it in pieces. I start to feel sick, the same way one does when reading in a car. The stillness of my iPhone screen in contrast with the rocking of the boat as it cuts through the waves has caused my brain some confusion, which it does not like. I start to feel slightly nauseous, so I turn off the movie with still half an hour to go…I’ll watch more later. I soon fall asleep, doing my best, in my barely conscious state, not to flop over onto the shoulder of the small Thai lady sitting next to me… but I don’t think I’m successful. I wake up when we arrive, and she gives me a funny look as we’re standing up to go, which confirms my assumption that I did indeed fall asleep on her shoulder. Whoops.

As we arrive in Koh Tao I can already tell that I am going to like it. Sarah has already done some research and has looked up a place to stay so we get in a free “taxi” to go check it out. When I say taxi, I mean an over sized golf cart with promotional ads for the hotel we’re going too. The thing about Koh Tao is that it’s been named one of the best places in the world to scuba dive. This has resulted in an over abundance of dive shops at extremely cheap prices (about 290 Canadian dollars) to get your full diving license over a period of 4 days. Almost all the resorts and hotels on the island are linked to a dive shop, so in many cases you can arrange to have free accommodation if you sign up for a diving course. Not a bad deal.

The place we go to look at is luxurious and fabulous with free accommodations for all those who want to dive. None of us have fully discussed whether or not we will be diving in our time here, and I am still unsure of whether or not I am able to do it given my medical circumstances, so it’s a bit of a mess trying to figure out if we should stay. They have offered us one room for all 7 of us traveling together…with one bathroom. (Did I mention that there are 7 of us now? Tim, one of the boys we met from Waterloo, has decided to travel to Koh Tao with us before returning back to Canada in a few days).The bathroom is my only reservation but even that I can deal with. I have learned while traveling that I can and will sleep absolutely anywhere as long as I am prepared for it. I don’t need comfortable beds or hot showers. If I can pay 3 dollars to sleep somewhere, and not die, I’m cool with whatever they wanna give me.
Everyone is still tired and we’re all generally awful at making any decisions as a group, so we end up walking down the road to another resort just to check it out. They have the same deal for divers, but cabin-style rooms that can house 3 of us in one and 4 in the other, which seems like a more comfortable option. It’s also directly across the street from the beach, which appeals to me. We decide to stay here for at least one night because we can’t be bothered to roam around Koh Tao with heavy backpacks on, especially when we don’t know who will or won’t be diving. Some of the girls stay behind to take a nap while the rest of us go out to check out the beach and find some food. We find a cute strip of shops and restaurants in town which are all walking distance from our hotel. We’ve lucked out with our location for sure. I like being able to walk around to places, instead of being forced to pay 100 baht every time I want to tuk tuk somewhere like in Koh Lanta and Koh Phangan.

On our walk around town we magically stumble upon Alonso, our Mexican friend who we met in Laos. He is carrying his backpack over his shoulders as he searches for a place to stay, because it has ripped open. Classic backpacker problem. We tell him to come stay with us for the first night so that he doesn’t have to wander around with a broken bag. Now there are 8 of us between 2 rooms, which makes it a little cozy but Ilona and I share a double bed as per usual so I am comfortable. It’s so nice to run into friends we’ve met previously on our trip! We go back to the room, collect the well-rested girls and all go for dinner down at the restaurant on the beach. Afterwards we walk down the shore to see what else there is in the way of night life in Koh Tao, because Ilona’s birthday is tomorrow after all! We find some cool fire twirlers, but still nothing in comparison to what we saw in Railay, and then a cool bar a little further down with wi-fi so we hang out there on the beach for a bit. Our hotel shuts down the wi-fi at 8pm, which is super annoying. Why have it at all?

It starts to downpour outside so we have to run for cover inside the bar, which is not as cool as it’s beach tables set up outside, so as soon as we get a break in the rain we leave. I am exhausted and just want

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Full Moon Party

My day consists of various preparations for the evening. We go into town to get breakfast, and afterwards walk down the street to shop. We need full moon tank tops, glitter, and a pedicure. Ilona and I choose a random nail salon on the street to get our nails done which only cost 150 baht (4ish dollars). All they do is soak my feet in cold water and paint my toes, there is no scrubbing or filing or much else at all. For 4 dollars I don’t care, but my feet still look atrocious.

Afterwards we come home and have a nap, because I know we are going to be up all night and the last thing I want is to be too tired to carry on. We go over to the night market for dinner where I get a pad Thai, and then we come back to start the face painting. Cara draws another awesome cheetah print pattern on my face in pink this time instead of blue, and I cover it in sparkles. Then, I cover my entire body with sparkles too. I am now ready to attend the biggest party in Thailand.

Unfortunately, this is where I must leave you. What happens at The Full Moon Party… stays at The Full Moon Party.

Jungle Party

The rain has hit Koh Phangan at the absolute worst time. Since we arrived last night it’s been wet and rainy, but today in particular it’s absolutely pouring. I wake up thinking Ilona is in the shower because the rain is so loud outside our window. All I can do is hope that it stops by tonight, but more importantly by tomorrow night for the Full Moon! Ilona and I have woken up a little later than the other girls who are all ready to go get massages, so we tell them to go ahead and we’ll do our own thing for the day. It’s been a pretty long time since I’ve spent a day where it’s just me and Ilona. We eat breakfast at our guesthouse and then grab a tuk tuk into town to go shopping. I am in need of a cross-body bag. I refuse to ever go out dancing or even to a bar again with a huge tote hanging from my arm.

It’s surprisingly much easier to shop with two girls instead of 6. We stop into a lot of little shops on the “busy” strip in town and sift through a lot of junk to find the good stuff that we do. I buy a long black tie-dye dress (I know, who am I?), a small nude toned cross body bag, a used version of Life of Pi, and a pair of flip flops, because mine have been breaking every 100 steps I take ever since the motorbike accident. Ilona buys a dark brown box hair dye, and trusts me with the task of dying her hair for her later tonight. Exciting!!

It’s a successful shopping trip, and on our way home around 3pm we stop at a nearby restaurant titled “Proper Fish & Chips M8!”… We can only assume the M8 is meant to be mate. We order 2 fish and chips while we watch the credits to Finding Nemo on the TV screen mounted against the wall. We’re the only people in the restaurant, but we are eating at an awkward hour after all. About 20 minutes pass before we start to wonder where our food is, but we’re content just chatting and exchanging any details we’ve heard about the jungle party tonight, so we don’t think too much of it. An absolutely massive man comes rolling up on a tiny motorbike to the restaurant with some street food style chicken, and sits at the table next to us. He strikes up a conversation with us about where we’re from etc etc while we’re waiting, and even after the food comes he keeps talking. We find out he’s originally from America but has been living in Thailand for 12 years. The wrong end of a bounty hunter situation, he tells us (cool story, bro). Ilona is the first to bite into the breaded fish, only to find out that it is actually chicken. Not so Proper Fish & Chips after all! It’s good all the same so we just laugh about it and continue eating, but when the large man beside us asks what we’re laughing about, we find out that he is the owner of the restaurant. Oops.
It’s good for him to know that the order was messed up but I don’t want our waitress getting in trouble because I’m just as happy with chicken instead of fish, Whatev. He apologizes to us and I think he says something to the waitress about our order, but it is all in Thai, so I’m not sure.

We finish our meal with him continuing to make awkward conversation about just about anything, including mosquito larvae in the shower water…while we’re eating. He also confirms that the M8 on the sign out front is supposed to be ‘mate’. We laugh all the way home about our Proper Fish and Chips experience. When we get back, all the girls are all about to leave for dinner at the night market, so we plan to meet back at the guesthouse at 9. While they’re out, Ilona and I dye her hair, shower, and start to get ready for the party tonight. We run out quickly to grab neon face paint in order to do animal print make up for the occasion. Koh Phangan is always filled with neon-clad tourists!!

When we come back the girls are waiting in the common area with the group we met from Waterloo while in Koh Lanta. Everyone who travels Thailand goes to the Full Moon Party, so a lot of people that we’ve met along the way will be here tonight (and obviously tomorrow) which is exciting! We paint our faces as quickly as we can, because we hear we can get in for free before 11pm. We are in such a hurry that some of the girls don’t have time to paint their faces, but Cara does a really cool cheetah print design on my face in blue. We grab a tuk tuk, and drive down to the party which isn’t far from where we’re staying. They can only drive us so far, and we have to walk the rest of the way, which is about 500 meters down a pathway lit by black lights stuck to various trees on the way. We make it just in time to still get in for free, and avoid the 300 baht charge. It’s an absolute shit show of tourists all wearing bright greens, oranges and pinks, with a DJ blaring dance music across from the jungle-hut bar. A small river runs through the party area, but they’ve installed wooden bridges at many different points along the way so it’s easy to cross. We’re actually in a jungle. On my way to the washroom, I see the largest spider I have yet to see, which is legitimately the size of my face with its legs included. I almost die.

We do our best to stick together all night, even though it’s hard for such a large group of us. I manage not to get lost in the jungle alone so that’s a plus. The amount of backpackers at this party is apparently only half of what we will see at tomorrow’s Full Moon event, and I am already over whelmed.

To Koh Phangan?

We’re all nervous to find out what will happen with Matcha Tours today. Will we get to Koh Phangan? Or will we be stuck in Krabi for another day. or 5. Forever? Who knows? We go get a quick breakfast where I FINALLY find a decent breakfast sausage!! Ilona points it out on the menu to me, that it says “most other restaurants serve hotdogs as breakfast sausage and one piece of fruit to make it look like you’re getting a variety”… and I know that they will not serve me a hot dog. It’s the most exciting part of my morning so far, so I order it. Obviously I am still in Thailand so it’s not the most delicious breakfast sausage I’ve ever had, but it’s good and most importantly, not a hot dog.

We walk over to the travel agency where we are half an hour early, so we sit and wait until 11 for a bus. Sam, our lovely travel agent from yesterday, pays no attention to us at all, even when Ilona goes inside and stands at the desk waiting to ask a question, he just doesn’t acknowledge her. I am not surprised though, let’s be real. When 11:01 rolls around I am beginning to be concerned, but by 11:15 a bus does actually arrive for us. He almost doesn’t let us on, when we tell him that we’d like to keep our original ticket (which we’ve read you are always supposed to do) so we give him a fake ticket instead so that we can get on the bus. He doesn’t notice, and tosses our bags in a pile in the van. Success! We are one step closer to Koh Phangan!  We drive 10 minutes away and are dropped off at another bus station. He gives our fake ticket to the staff member at the counter, where she glances at it and gives us new tickets for the boat or the van or something, I am never sure exactly what they’re giving me, and apparently neither are they.

We wait 15 minutes before a new van rolls up. This van seats 14, and we have exactly 14 people with 14 backpacks all crammed into it (they don’t have a trunk). It’s not the most comfortable 2 hour ride I could have asked for, and our driver insists on flying over each speed bump or pothole at full speed, but we’re getting there so that’s all that matters. We get dropped off at yet another bus station in Suratthani, a town much closer to the pier. We wait there for half an hour and grab some snacks. We are offered the option of paying 50 baht to upgrade to a “high-speed boat” which gets us there an hour earlier, but we don’t care and don’t want to put ourselves in anymore weird situations, so we decline and decide to stay with the slower ferry for 3 hours. No big deal. As the bus pulls up and we are about to board and have it take us to the pier, a staff members pulls me aside and tells me that we can take the fast boat for free as long as we don’t tell anybody. I figure what has happened is that there are two boats anyway, and not enough people paid the far upgrading price of 50 baht and now the “slower” boat is over booked. So I grab the girls and tell them to wait for the next bus. Obviously we’re not hopeful that this alleged high speed boat will actually get us there any faster, but if it does that’ll be cool and if not we haven’t lost any money. Whatever.

We get on the sketchiest bus I’ve ever been on, with a rainbow painted ceiling, stuffed monkey dolls hanging from all over the place, and a front door that won’t close. They pile all of our bags in the back, except for these two absolute princesses who are carrying two purses each and a duffel bag. They bring all their bags to the front with them and lay their stuff across a seat beside them. The bus is, as usual, packed with people, so their bags taking up two entire seats to themselves doesn’t work for me. There are no seats left for me to sit down in, or I wouldn’t have said anything, but when I am forced to choose between standing or saying something, I ask one of the girls to move their shit so people can actually sit down. She does it after rolling her eyes, and I take my seat. Now it’s awkward because I have to sit beside her, but luckily she just pulls a pillow out of one of her two purses, and goes to sleep against the window. I don’t know why people like this even come to Thailand, or how they’ve survived this long. Who knows, maybe today is their first day. The broken front door that remains open for the duration of our trip, does not become a problem until the rain starts. Then, I am splattered with cold and tiny rain drops every now and again while I try to sleep.

We finally make it to the pier for the last stretch of this ridiculous adventure. It looks like we’re going to make it Koh Phangan!! I notice while we’re waiting in line that my right ankle with the scrape from the motorcycle accident is definitely much bigger than my left. And it’s throbbing, a lot. In fact it has been all day…which concerns me a tad. The rest of my body is healing but my ankle is getting worse if anything.
We get on our fancy speed boat, which I’m still sure is the same as the regular boat, by pushing and shoving through a large crowd onto a very small metal board connecting the boat to the dock. We pass by the princess with her two big purses and duffel bag, whining about when she can get on the boat to some staff members instead of just pushing and shoving like the rest of us. I can’t help but laugh. We are so lucky that we shoved our way down here when we did, because it becomes clearly pretty quickly that there are not enough seats for everyone, but we manage to snag 6 close to each other. The downside of this is that our seats are also directly behind a crying baby. It starts puking everywhere and wailing when the boat starts up. Dear god. I just hope that maybe, just maybe, this boat really is faster than the other one, and I can get to Koh Phangan without the smell of child vomit being burned into my nostrils forever.
I don’t know how (but I thank my body for it regardless) but I manage to fall asleep until we arrive at Koh Samui, which is another island just below Koh Phangan. We will be at our destination soon! I almost can’t believe it. There was far less conflict than yesterday even though today was a little rough at times, we’ve made it and that’s all that matters.

The ride is not “smooth sailing” by any means. I feel more like I’m on a roller coaster than a boat, with the strong waves pushing the boat up and out of the water and causing it to go crashing back down over and over again. I have a relatively strong stomach in most cases. I am un-fazed by stuffy car rides, I can eat fried bugs and keep them down, and I have yet to get sick from any questionable Indian or Thai food. But this boat makes my stomach feel uneasy. It’s like being on a 2 hour roller coaster. 10 minutes after I go outside to get fresh air because I am DYING inside, the boat stops and we’ve made it!  We get in a tuk tuk with a Swedish couple who hopes to find accommodation at our guesthouse, because they haven’t booked anything in advance. They are fortunate and find a room at the place we booked, which is very clean and the rooms are quite comfortable. I am definitely happy to stay here for the next 4 nights.

We walk down the street to grab a real meal which none of us have had since breakfast. There aren’t a lot of options but the restaurant across the street has Pad Thai so I’m content. Just happy to be here! To Koh Phangan?

We wake up at 9am, all nervous to find out what will happen with Matcha Tours today. Will we get to Koh Phangan? Or will we be stuck in Krabi forever? Who knows?. We go get a quick breakfast where I FINALLY find a decent breakfast sausage!! Ilona points it out on the menu to me, that it says “most other restaurants serve hotdogs as breakfast sausage and one piece of fruit to make it look like you’re getting a variety”… and I know that they will not serve me a hot dog. It’s the most exciting part of my morning so far, so I order it. Obviously I am still in Thailand so it’s not the most delicious breakfast sausage I’ve ever had, but it’s good and most importantly, not a hot dog.

We walk over to the travel agency where we are half an hour early, so we sit and wait until 11 for a bus. Sam, our lovely travel agent from yesterday, pays no attention to us at all, even when Ilona goes inside and stands at the desk waiting to ask a question, he just doesn’t acknowledge her. I am not surprised though, let’s be real. When 11:01 rolls around I am beginning to be concerned, but by 11:15 a bus does actually arrive for us. He almost doesn’t let us on, when we tell him that we’d like to keep our original ticket (which we’ve read you are always supposed to do) so we give him a fake ticket instead so that we can get on the bus. He doesn’t notice, and tosses our bags in a pile in the van. Success! We are one step closer to Koh Phangan! We drive 10 minutes away and are dropped off at another bus station. He gives our fake ticket to the staff member at the counter, where she glances at it and gives us new tickets for the boat or the van or something, I am never sure exactly what they’re giving me, and apparently neither are they. We wait 15 minutes before a new van rolls up. This van seats 14, and we have exactly 14 people with 14 backpacks all crammed into it (they don’t have a trunk). It’s not the most comfortable 2 hour ride I could have asked for, and our driver insists on flying over each speed bump or pothole at full speed, but we’re getting there so that’s all that matters.

We get dropped off at yet another bus station in Suratthani, a town much closer to the pier. We wait there for half an hour and grab some snacks. We are offered the option of paying 50 baht to upgrade to a “high-speed boat” which gets us there an hour earlier, but we don’t care and don’t want to put ourselves in anymore weird situations, so we decline and decide to stay with the slower ferry for 3 hours. No big deal.
As the bus pulls up and we are about to board and have it take us to the pier, a staff members pulls me aside and tells me that we can take the fast boat for free as long as we don’t tell anybody. I figure what has happened is that there are two boats anyway, and not enough people paid the far upgrading price of 50 baht and now the “slower” boat is over booked. So I grab the girls and tell them to wait for the next bus. Obviously we’re not hopeful that this alleged high speed boat will actually get us there any faster, but if it does that’ll be cool and if not we haven’t lost any money. Whatever.

We get on the sketchiest bus I’ve ever been on, with a rainbow painted ceiling, stuffed monkey dolls hanging from all over the place, and a front door that won’t close. They pile all of our bags in the back, except for these two absolute princesses who are carrying two purses each and a duffel bag. They bring all their bags to the front with them and lay their stuff across a seat beside them. The bus is, as usual, packed with people, so their bags taking up two entire seats to themselves doesn’t work for me. There are no seats left for me to sit down in, or I wouldn’t have said anything, but when I am forced to choose between standing or saying something, I ask one of the girls to move their shit so people can actually sit down. She does it after rolling her eyes, and I take my seat. Now it’s awkward because I have to sit beside her, but luckily she just pulls a pillow out of one of her two purses, and goes to sleep against the window. I don’t know why people like this even come to Thailand, or how they’ve survived this long. Who knows, maybe today is their first day. The broken front door that remains open for the duration of our trip, does not become a problem until the rain starts. Then, I am splattered with cold and tiny rain drops every now and again while I try to sleep.

We finally make it to the pier for the last stretch of this ridiculous adventure. It looks like we’re going to make it Koh Phangan!! I notice while we’re waiting in line that my right ankle with the scrape from the motorcycle accident is definitely much bigger than my left. And it’s throbbing, a lot. In fact it has been all day…which concerns me a tad. The rest of my body is healing but my ankle is getting worse if anything.
We get on our fancy speed boat, which I’m still sure is the same as the regular boat, by pushing and shoving through a large crowd onto a very small metal board connecting the boat to the dock. We pass by the princess with her two big purses and duffel bag, whining about when she can get on the boat to some staff members instead of just pushing and shoving like the rest of us. I can’t help but laugh.
We are so lucky that we shoved our way down here when we did, because it becomes clearly pretty quickly that there are not enough seats for everyone, but we manage to snag 6 close to each other. The downside of this is that our seats are also directly behind a crying baby. It starts puking everywhere and wailing when the boat starts up. Dear god. I just hope that maybe, just maybe, this boat really is faster than the other one, and I can get to Koh Phangan without the smell of child vomit being burned into my nostrils forever.
I don’t know how (but I thank my body for it regardless) but I manage to fall asleep until we arrive at Koh Samui, which is another island just below Koh Phangan. We will be at our destination soon! I almost can’t believe it. There was far less conflict than yesterday even though today was a little rough at times, we’ve made it and that’s all that matters. The ride is not “smooth sailing” by any means. I feel more like I’m on a roller coaster than a boat, with the strong waves pushing the boat up and out of the water and causing it to go crashing back down over and over again. I have a relatively strong stomach in most cases. I am un-phased by stuffy car rides, I can eat fried bugs and keep them down, and I have yet to get sick from any questionable Indian or Thai food. But this boat makes my stomach feel uneasy. It’s like being on a 2 hour roller coaster. 10 minutes after I go outside to get fresh air because I am DYING inside, the boat stops and we’ve made it!

We get in a tuk tuk with a Swedish couple who hope to find accommodation at our guesthouse, because they haven’t booked anything in advance. They are fortunate and find a room at the place we booked, which is very clean and the rooms are quite comfortable. I am definitely happy to stay here for the next 4 nights.

We walk down the street to grab a real meal which none of us have had since breakfast. There aren’t a lot of options but the restaurant across the street has Pad Thai so I’m content. Just happy to be here!

Afterwards we go back to our guesthouse and hang out for the rest of the night to prepare ourselves for tomorrow night, when they have the pre-full moon party party, the jungle party!!

We Hate Matcha Tours.

We wake up early enough to pack up our things and check out before the bus is due to pick us up at 11:30am. We are finally on our way to Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party! Woot woot! We have a full day of traveling ahead of us first though, where we will be on long bus rides and overnight sleeper boats. Our first mode of transportation is a van. We are fortunate, and get to climb into a very spacious van and toss our bags in the back. We pick up many more people on our way to the ferry, and quickly the van feels less spacious, but is still quite comfortable for what we expect to be a short ride. The ride however, is not short. We’re in the van for over 2 hours, on our way to Krabi. This doesn’t bother me though, because it means less transferring of heavy backpacks to and from boats and busses. We finally arrive at our not-quite-half-way destination of Krabi town, where we are supposed to be transferring to another bus, and then to a ferry for Koh Phangan. The bus driver drops our bags on the curb outside the Matcha Tours office, and drives off before returning our original ticket back to us.

When we go inside to ask what time our ferry is leaving, the awkward and gangly man at the desk, Sam, tells us that the ferry is full and we can’t get on until tomorrow. Obviously we are not happy about this, especially after booking our ticket two days in advance to avoid this problem. When we ask what went wrong, he tells us that there are no overnight ferries on Sundays, yeah right. Ilona walks down the street to another travel agent to confirm the fact that there is indeed an overnight ferry leaving tonight, but that it is full. We have paid for the ferry tonight, and counted that as one night’s accommodation as well, so the last thing we want to do is stay in Krabi and have to pay for a hotel. We ask for our money back for the ferry, knowing that they have screwed up by forgetting to book our boat ticket. But of course, he refuses to refund our money and tells us our only option is to for him to book us into (definitely a flea bag) motel for the night at their expense, and get on the ferry the next day in the afternoon. This is not acceptable for any of us. We had traveled through Krabi on our way to Railay Beach, and it’s a shit hole.
We argue with Sam for hours. First off, Carrie tries a friendly approach where she sits down alone and calmly tries to reason with him, but he’s not having any of it. He refuses to call the original office we booked through, or to let us use a phone to call them ourselves. He blatantly tells her that it’s not his problem, and he doesn’t care. He’s rude to her, despite her calm tone, and clearly has no interest in trying to fix the mistake he’s made, he just continues to lie about there not being a ferry. Next, I try my approach. I can’t say I am as calm and collected as Carrie is; my approach is more similar to the one a ONE restaurant clientele would have used, but I like to think it’s more dignified. I basically just tell him that he has made the mistake, and needs to find a way to fix it…now. But he simply plugs his ears like small child and tells me he doesn’t want to listen, he doesn’t care, etc. I raise my voice and we yell at each other for a few minutes. Soon enough, Sam becomes aggressive. He is pointing his finger in our faces and throwing our bags across the room. He later tries to spray us with a hose to get us off the sidewalk when we have given up, and are standing there with our backpacks trying to figure out what we were going to do next. It is out of control. They complain to us that they lost money after booking us a 50 baht hostel (basically free, which is why I know it would have been garbage) and having to cancel because we refused to stay there. All we want to do is get on a boat. We don’t even care if it’s all the way to Koh Phangan, we just want to get closer, but I certainly did not pay 900 baht to get to Krabi. No.

Eventually, after about 4 hours (I am not kidding) Sarah and I decide to go to the police station because he keeps telling us to go and saying it won’t make a difference. We decide to call his bluff, and go anyway. It’s about a 5 minute walk so we leave our bags behind and climb the hill to the police station. When we walk in, I approach a police officer sitting at a desk doing nothing. I speak slowly and clearly so that he can understand, but he says nothing the entire time. Just stares blankly at me. Eventually, he gives me a piece of paper and motions for me to write down my problem. I do so, again as neatly as I can, and explain that this travel agency has essentially stolen our money. He walks out of the room in silence and returns with a cell phone. The person on the other end speaks English and asks me to explain the problem. I do, for the third time, very calmly and very clearly, and at the end he tells me that he will translate everything to the police officer. He listens to the translation for about 5 minutes, and again gets up silently and walks out. We are not sure what to do so we follow him. He walks outside to where some other police officers are watching TV and smoking casually. They chat and laugh for a few minutes, not even looking at us so I’m pretty convinced their conversation has nothing to do with us. Right when Sarah and I are about to leave, a man on a motorcycle comes to get us and says he works for Matcha Tours and that they’ve finally arranged for us to get on a bus to a town closer to Koh Phangan. Sarah and I have to cram ourselves onto the back of a motorbike with this stranger (and after what happened to me yesterday I am not too excited). He drives us back down the hill and drops us off. It turns out that they are not actually taking us to a closer city at all. Sam has changed clothes. Why? I cannot tell you, but it’s weird.
He continues to yell at us and tells us to leave the property, and we continue to hold our ground and ask for our money back, or just SOME form of compensation that doesn’t involve a crappy motel. blah blah blah this goes on forever. Eventually after hours of this garbage, his manager/maybe the owner comes out. She is much more friendly but still won’t get us on a bus or a boat. She apologizes for his mistake, and tells us that we are booked on a ferry tomorrow morning at 11:30am. We’re all exhausted and they aren’t budging, so all we can do is trust them and hope we can actually get on a boat tomorrow, but we won’t know until it happens. We find the cheapest accommodation we can right down the street so that we can get up bright and early to be waiting for this so called bus. I swear to god I am going to lose my mind if they mess this up again.

At the end of the day it’s only 30 dollars that I lost, but the fact that he lied to my face, was rude to my friends and me after HE made a mistake, and wouldn’t help us at all, made me absolutely hate him. Raging. I don’t want him thinking he can just push tourists around, it’s ridiculous. This would never happen if I were Thai. I begin writing negative reviews on Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor before we’ve even left the property, which is conveniently when the manager comes out to remind me that it was his mistake, not hers, and not the fault of Matcha Tours…which is bullshit. I notice that Sam is wearing yet another outfit, WTF, why are you changing clothes so frequently?

As I am Googling the company, I notice that the first results on Google begin with “beware of Matcha tours”, “don’t book through Matcha”, which now I wish we had seen earlier. All I can do now is try to spread the word to every traveler I encounter, and hope that they go out of business. As other travelers walked into the tour office, we would tell them to leave and not to book with the company, which Sam didn’t like and told us to shut up numerous times. It was worth it though, because everyone who walked in turned right around and left. They’ll thank us later. We. Hate. Matcha. Tours. All I can do is pray that we get on a boat tomorrow. And if not, if the Matcha staff have the balls to screw us over AGAIN, I guess I will just spend the extra 30 dollars to book through a different, reputable company, and some old smelly eggs…

The only upside to us having to stay the night in garbage Krabi, is that some of our friends we met on Koh Phi Phi are here as well. We meet up with them and visit a fun night market where they have lots of games to win prizes, some prizes being a fish. Sarah wins a fish, but we don’t know what to do with it. She gives it to the boys who have also won a fish, and asks them to keep him alive as long as possible. Oh no. We come back to the room early and sleep, preparing ourselves for what madness surely awaits us at Matcha Tours tomorrow morning. Dear god.

Oh, and if you’re a current or future traveler and didn’t get the message, DO NOT BOOK ANYTHING THROUGH MATCHA TOURS.
 

Motorbike Scrapes and Bruises

This morning we have planned to go out to the Emerald Cave, where you can swim to a lagoon through a dark cave. It sounds so cool and I can’t wait to go so we eat a quick breakfast and get on our motorbikes. Ilona and Carrie stay behind but plan to go out later in the day to possibly meet us at the cave. AJ doesn’t feel comfortable driving so she hops on the back with one of the boys and I drive the motorbike alone. How hard can it be? It’s my first time really driving one, so I take it easy, but most of the group is already gone so I try to learn fast. It’s an automatic bike so it’s not so difficult, just gas and brakes really. I make a couple turns and all is well so we set off on our way to the cave. Some of the other girls waited for me so I follow them down the road, where there are some windy curves. We can’t find the rest of the group anywhere so we wonder if maybe the cave is the opposite direction and turn around to look down the other side of the street. I don’t know exactly how this happens, but as I am following the road around another curve, I lose control of the bike. I don’t bank my body with the turn, so the bike doesn’t turn as much as I want it too, which freaks me out because now I’m headed for the ditch. I freak out and bail off the bike on the side of the road where I fall on my side. The girls are ahead of me so they don’t know what’s happened, but 4 different Thai people all come rushing over to make sure that I’m okay. Mostly just my dignity is lost, and I feel extremely embarrassed but the scrapes don’t hurt much. I get up and walk my bike over to the side of the road and wait for the girls to realize that I am not following behind. It only takes a minute before I see them down the road driving towards me. By the time they get to me and pull the bike over the pain has actually begun to set in. My hands and legs are shaking out of shock, and the whole right side of my body is stinging. I am the luckiest bike wounded girl ever, because 20 steps away from me there is a pharmacy. I walk in and buy some antiseptic and Bandaids to clean the scrapes myself, but as I’m walking out of the pharmacy I notice a nurses’ clinic directly across the street. I decide it’s better to have these cleaned professionally considering I can barely handle having a hangnail let alone cleaning out my own cuts, and I want to make sure it’s done right. The ladies at the clinic are very kind and friendly, they help me clean the scrapes on my ankle, knees, hip, hand, elbow, and shoulder while the girls wait for me out in the waiting room. I feel awful that they haven’t been able to make it to the cave yet, and I encourage them to go but they stay until I’m done. Sarah drives me back on her motorcycle, which truthfully I am afraid to get back on, but Sarah is the best and most experienced driver of all of us, so I try to calm down and just trust her. Our bungalows aren’t far from where I fell fortunately, so it’s just a short ride. They all continue onto the Emerald Cave while I lie in bed drinking water and reading a book. I am so jealous that they get to go on such a cool adventure, but know that I couldn’t possibly swim under this condition. Ilona and Carrie still haven’t left yet by the time I am back in my room so they come over to visit and find out what happened. They tell me that they have just rented motorbikes and are going out to drive around the island for the day. Hopefully tomorrow I will be well healed and able to do something fun, too. I’m just thankful that it wasn’t much worse. So many tourists and locals alike drive around the islands on motorbikes in flip flops, shorts and tank tops which is really dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. I was lucky that there were no other cars on the road for my accident, and that I wasn’t driving up the side of a cliff or something. I guess that protection bracelet I was given in India is legit!

I lie in bed all day, reading a creepy horror/mystery book that a girl we met on the slow boat gave to Ilona. Ilona is still in the middle of reading it, but lends it to me for the day. I read 150 pages in and out of napping. Reading always makes me so sleepy.

The girls who went to the cave return around 5pm and tell me that they were unable to get to the cave because they got lost on the map so they went shopping instead. Secretly I am sort of happy that they couldn’t make it out to the cave, because I am so upset that I had to miss it, and at least now I’m not the only one, but I’m also sad for them that they couldn’t go. I plan to find something similar in New Zealand, where I’ve heard they have awesome caves to explore. The group from Waterloo made it to the cave, but found out that the entrance fee was 1000 baht ($32), and decided not to go inside. It seems like no one’s plans to get to the cave unfolded the way they had expected today! When the girls come back they’re tired, so they hang out with me in the room where we watch some Thai TV, sleep for a little while, and I continue reading. We plan to go for dinner later, but luckily nowhere that requires me to get on a motorcycle.

We eat dinner at the hotel where they offer a fish barbecue. Like a full fish. With a face. That’s not for me, so I order a small salad and a sweet and sour chicken dish instead. The barbecue is cute though, because the hotel is family run and they catch the fish themselves. 3 of the other girls order the full fish barbecue which is less than impressive. I am extra happy I didn’t order it, because I hadn’t taken into account the possibility of bones, which are definitely a problem, and I am finished my entire meal before any of their dishes arrive. We laugh about the ridiculousness of this meal, but I have yet to have a meal in Thailand where everyone gets what they want. At one point Cara asks our waitress to open her beer, so she nods, takes it off the table, and never comes back with it. We have to ask numerous staff members many times to find out where the beer has gone. It does finally come back but now we don’t know where it’s been or why. It’s just a very confusing meal in general. It’s funny to have this happen sometimes, and tonight especially I think it’s hilarious, but sometimes you just want to get what you’ve ordered and it’s hard to sit down and KNOW that you aren’t going to get it. But I can’t complain because the most I’ve paid for a meal probably tops out at $10 maximum. I have trouble at dinner with my scrapes, being unable to rest my elbow on the table in any way. The only comfortable position is for my arm to hang at my side, so I’m really hoping I heal sooner than later.

After dinner I wait for Sarah Lindsay to Skype me. We were supposed to Skype this morning (morning my time, night her time) but we left for the cave before we had time to Skype. Now I wish I hadn’t cancelled the Skype date because I would have been safe and sound in my bed without any cuts, but the idea of missing such a cool experience got the best of me. Bad friend karma! But then she stands me up. Hoe. So we’re even now.

We meet up with the kids from Waterloo to hang out and chat in the common area, but I’m exhausted so I go to bed relatively early.

 

Monkey Bites and Motor Bikes

My day got off to a good start. I roll out of bed at my leisure and get ready to eat some breakfast. Two of the girls are gone when I wake up so it’s just me and Cara. We walk up to the reception area of the place we’re staying in, to find out if they have rooms available for Ilona and Carrie when they arrive in Koh Lanta this afternoon. (In case you were wondering, I’ve given up on trying to leave out names to avoid confusion. Pretend you know them.) We get distracted from our question when we notice Jack the monkey tied up outside to a tree. Jack is about the height of my forearm and very skinny. He’s just a little baby monkey and is apparently very friendly. When we walk over to him, I’m skeptical at first because he is still wild in every regard besides his little leash, but he’s so adorable I can’t help but want to play with him. He’s eager for some attention and climbs up my arm without hesitation when I reach out my hand. Cara, one of the boys we met yesterday from Waterloo, and I all take turns holding Jack. I see him chewing on the plastic around Cara’s water bottle holder and realize it could be dangerous if he swallows any pieces, so I make the mistake of trying to pull it away from him. Jack the monkey does not like this at all, and lunges at my forearm, bites me, and digs his claws into me. My reaction is no better, and I shake my arm hysterically until he goes flying off. Luckily, his bite didn’t actually break my flesh there are just teeth marks on forearm, but around the side of my arm I have a small cut from his nails which is bleeding. I am not too worried, because I don’t think these people would keep a monkey as a pet who has rabies, and it was only his nail that really cut me, but I will definitely be keeping an eye on it. Jack and I are no longer friends…but he’s still cute.

Just after I am bitten AJ and Sarah come back with motorbikes. We will need them to get around Koh Lanta so they rent two which can each fit one driver and one passenger on the back seat. We all walk over to the resort across the road where they have a breakfast buffet. We miss the buffet but can still order off a menu so I do, and I order breakfast sausage with my eggs, hoping that MAYBE at a resort they will have the real deal, but I am again, presented with a hot dog. Silly me. I just can’t give it up.
The other people we met from Waterloo also come to the resort for breakfast and while we’re chatting we arrange to meet up after to go scooter around the island. There are some caves and waterfalls worth seeing as well as a market area we’d like to visit.
We go back to the bungalows and change before hopping on our scooters. AJ drives ours, as I’ve never done it before. Even though I think I’d be good at it, I don’t want to risk AJ’s life on the back of it while I test it out, and we don’t have time for me to practice so she drives. She also doesn’t like the idea of having my life in her hands and feels slightly uneasy on the scooter but I trust her just the same. I wear my helmet though… just in case.

The first place we drive too is a cave on the south shore. On our way around a gravel corner leading up to the cave we lose control of the bike as we’re breaking on the gravel and fall off. We are only going about 5 km an hour when we fall, so we both escape relatively unharmed. AJ scrapes her knee and hand, and my toes had folded over funny when we fell so I cut the top of my second toe, and the bottom of my big toe. It stings a little bit, and I wish we’d thought to bring a first aid kit, but it doesn’t hurt enough that I can’t continue on so I do.
Unfortunately when we get to the cave we’re told that it costs 300 baht ($10) to get in, and we have to wait until 1:30. None of us want to do either of those things so we decided to drive somewhere else instead. Someone suggests the beach because it’s super hot today, and we are on an island after all. The boys from Waterloo lead the way, I get back on the motor bike with AJ and we drive up a mountain road just high enough that I am confused about how this is leading us to a beach. Just when I start to wonder where we’re going, we pull over into a cliff side restaurant. Apparently this is the way to the beach. We walk through the restaurant to the other side where I can see the ocean down below us. We climb down some questionable stairs of different shapes and sizes, with only a bamboo pole to help us keep balance lining the side all the way down. It takes us down to a completely empty beach with a small abandoned long boat on the shore. The beach is rocky and full of shells but the water is wavy and cool so we drop our stuff in the long boat and run down to the water.

It’s such a clear day that I can see Koh Phi Phi and some other islands off in the distance on the horizon. The water is refreshing and salty, with strong waves crashing against the rocks by the shore. It’s absolutely beautiful and I can’t believe that we are the only people here, there’s nothing better than finding your own beach. Eventually some small groups of other people do come down to swim as well, but it’s still such a good find. We stay in the water for about an hour (though I never have a concept of time over here) before we get hungry and decide to go somewhere for lunch. We climb back up the steep steps and decide not to stay at the cliff side restaurant but to drive over to a market for a quick and cheap lunch instead. This time I get on a bike with one of the guys from Waterloo, because AJ feels more comfortable only carrying her life in her hands after falling. We find a “market” area with two stores and a tiny restaurant next to it where we all order Pad Thai. It’s a late lunch, at 3:30pm, but the portion sizes are so small here that we will surely be hungry again by dinner time.

After lunch we hop back on our bikes and drive back to the guesthouse where we find Ilona and Carrie. I wash off my monkey bite and toes in cold water, which look pretty nasty after being covered in sand at the beach. The toes, not my monkey bite…that looks the same.

We meet the group from Waterloo in the outdoor common area of our bungalows where there is a fireplace and a small bar. We hang out and chat until later into the night when we decide to go out to the bars. When I say bars I mean a 10 minute drive crammed into the back of a truck to the downtown area, where there are 1 or 2 people in each bar on the strip. We choose to go to Mr. Guitar Bar, for some live Thai music. We are next to the only people in the bar next to a group of lady boys at another table. I like sitting at a bar with locals and listening to Thai music, it’s a nice change from all the tourists and top 40 on Phi Phi. The bar is fun for a little bit but we prefer to be at a slightly more lively location so we find a tuk tuk and ask him to take us to a good bar. He drops us off at a Reggae Bar where we are legit the only people this time, besides some tuk tuk drivers who are drinking in between pick-ups, I guess. So sketchy.
What’s even more sketchy is the menu, which lists “Happy Shakes” among regular items like beers and mojitos. We are hungry so we order some food but the waiter keeps asking us if we’re okay and if we need anything else, like perhaps a happy shake. We keep telling him that we’re happy with the regular food and drink, and he doesn’t seem to understand why we don’t want to drink a drug shake, but does eventually stop asking. We get out of there as soon as we’re done eating and go back to our hotel because it’s clear that absolutely nothing else is open. Instead of going straight to bed, we go for a quick dip in the pool beside the ocean, where we would have swam but there were so many crabs on the beach and it was dark so we stay poolside instead. We go back to the bungalows where I fall asleep almost instantly.

 

On To Koh Lanta

I am over Koh Phi Phi. I have no desire to stay on this party island for even one more night. Nothing is different, there is a limited amount of things to do besides drinking, and I don’t enjoy the main beach. I have to walk out for 5 minutes just to get into deep enough water to tread, the ground turns from muddy to rocky the further you walk. Not to mention that the water by the shore is boiling hot due to the fact that it’s so shallow. What’s to like? Of course the scenery around it is beautiful, but I can find that on any island in Thailand, so I would like to move on. Luckily I’m not the only one, and a few of the other girls are ready to get off this rock with me. Where we go next is the question… and we debate about the best option all day while at the beach. I am happy to go off all on my own to visit a national park in the main land where they apparently have a beautiful jungle, but I would also like to stay in the islands for a few more days. We all finally agree on where we want to go and arrange to go to Koh Lanta, another island just south east of Koh Phi Phi. Two of the girls plan on staying behind to keep partying in Koh Phi Phi. I know that I am going to have more than enough time to party in Koh Phangan, the week around the Full Moon Party, so I am not too worried about missing out in Phi Phi.

The four of us buy a boat ticket to ferry us across to Koh Lanta at 3:30pm. The boat ride is only an hour and a half long so we reach the island before dark. Before we even get on the boat there is a hotel owner with a sign full of pictures and prices listed trying to promote his hotel in Lanta. I don’t know what happened but somehow we begin an actual conversation with him, which never ever happens when I see people with signs. The rooms are 1200 baht, a solid 400 baht more than we’re willing to pay, so we talk down the price. We manage to convince him to let us stay in one double room with two extra beds for 800 baht a night, which evens out to 200 baht each, ($6) not too shabby. We even get a free taxi ride included. I am definitely skeptical, because I feel like anyone who has to take a boat to Koh Phi Phi in order to recruit tourists back to their hotel in Lanta is obviously not very busy, which leads me to ask why? But I’m down for an adventure.
It helps when 4 other people on the boat let us know that they have agreed to the same deal. It turns out that they are all from Canada, and not just Canada but Waterloo! Crazy. They all seem very nice, but I have to admit that beyond the initial excitement from finding people who are from Canada, I always feel like I don’t want to hang out with anyone from home. It’s not fun to hang out with people who are just like the friends you could have made at home. I would prefer to meet people from other cultures and countries. Sorry to all my fellow Canadian travelers. Carrie, one of the girls I’m traveling with now, is from Vancouver but even that is far more interesting and different than Waterloo. It’s cool to meet them all the same. We all share a truck ride back to this guesthouse where we are pleasantly surprised to find spacious rooms with a TV and a mini-fridge (things I don’t need or even want, but a good sign that I’m not staying in a total shit hole). The only problem with this place is that it’s in the middle of nowhere, besides being a 30 second walk to the beach there is nothing around us. We ask some locals and find out it’s a solid 8-10 kilometers to the nearest town, but luckily we are able to rent motor bikes for only 100 baht ($3) a day so that will enable us to get there. I haven’t driven a motorbike yet but I’m excited and I have faith that I’ll be good at it. If I’m not, the three other girls I’m with are, so I can always just hitch a ride on the back of theirs.

The four of us all walk down the street and find a restaurant to eat at. I order a pad Thai. I’m not too exciting over here… I just love it so much! It’s delicious as per usual, and in between bites we all look up things to do and see on Koh Lanta in our Lonely Planet guide book. Today is American Thanksgiving so the three girls I’m traveling with count this as their Thanksgiving meal! Classic Thanksgiving dish – Pad Thai. It’s interesting to see how different their thanksgiving is from ours, it’s a way bigger deal over there than in Canada!

Tomorrow we plan to rent bikes and go into town where there is actually stuff to do. For tonight though, we just decide to take it easy, because we’re all exhausted, so we just take a quick walk down to the beach and back up to our guesthouse where we hang out, watch Thai TV, and Skype various friends and family.

 

 

Maya Beach (The Beach, Beach)

When I wake up and shower its nearly 11am, but I’m not the only one who’s sluggish today, so we all have a late breakfast. I’ve given up my hunt for breakfast sausage (for now) and order a ham and cheese croissant instead, which is good, and comes with a cute little French flag tooth picked into it. Adorable!

After breakfast Ilona and I go down to the beach, where I plan on going for a long swim. I love swimming in salt water because I never feel as tired and can half float, half tread water with ease. I try to get out into the water, but it never gets deep. I am up to my shins in water for almost 5 minutes out into the ocean. I can see people off in the distance who are swimming but they’re SO far away, not to mention that there are boats out there with them, which doesn’t appeal to me so I just end up walking back to the shore and join Ilona in sunbathing. We order two baileys over ice while we’re chilling out in the sun, and sip on them until the other girls come down to the beach. They’ve arranged for us to go visit Maya Beach (where they filmed The Beach, and ranked number one most beautiful in the world) for the afternoon. We leave at 2pm, which is approaching quickly, so we hurry back to the guesthouse to get our things together.

We walk down to where the boat is due to pick us up, and find out that we are not the only people who’ve decided to go on this little excursion. There are at least 50 other people waiting to get on an army of longboats that are all waiting for us, lined up on the shore. We get in a boat with 4 other people from the States, Sweden and England, and set off. Our first stop is to a monkey beach where tourists are able to feed monkeys bananas and take pictures. They give us 5 minutes to hop off the boat, snap a photo, and hop back on, so I choose not to go. I can see the monkeys from my boat, I’ve seen a million monkeys at this point, I don’t like the crowd, and don’t like the fact that these monkeys are tourist attractions in their natural habitat. Something about it just rubs me the wrong way so I just stay on the boat with everyone else who feels the same way.

After the monkey beach we drive by “The Viking Cave” which no one knows anything about. They slow the boat down for us to take pictures, but we don’t actually stop and we don’t get any information, I’d like to know WHY it is called the Viking Cave and why it’s significant, but our boat driver is too busy horking spit off the back of the boat to tell us anything, so I am forever in the dark. I shall Google it later, I suppose.

The next stop is much more appealing to me, we get to snorkel. I’ve never actually snorkeled before, only ever at camp in the murky lake water where there wasn’t much to see but muddy green plants growing up from the bottom. I’m excited to snorkel in an actual ocean! We anchor the boat (among 10 other boats, naturally) and dive into the clear blue water with our snorkel gear. The first thing I see when I put my face in, is a huge sea urchin at the bottom among countless different kinds of colourful fish. It takes me a couple tries to feel comfortable breathing underwater, and even when I get used to it I am breathing like a lunatic, but at least I can see all the cool fish!! We get 20 minutes to swim around in the clear blue water and explore the reef before we are called back to our boats to move onto the next stop.

The main attraction is Maya Beach, a small stretch of soft white sand and the most clear green-blue water you’ll ever see. It is protected from touristy shops and resorts by the fact that it is now a national park. Of course, when we arrive there are a billion other boats full of tourists who’ve come to see the beach, which takes away from its beauty. I hate tourists. I know that I am also a tourist, but I dislike all other tourists around me… we ruin things.

We get one hour to get out of the boat and visit the site, which is literally just a beach. We try to explore the jungle area behind it, but there is only a small trail leading to a rocky pond area next to the sea, so we stay there a couple minutes then turn around and go back. There is one tiny hut just behind the beach that sells beer, pop and chips. Beer here costs twice as much as it does back on Koh Phi Phi, which just makes me sad that they’ve found a way to exploit the tourists even in a national park. I’m really struggling with the tourist thing, if you can’t tell.
We walk down to the beach and talk about its similarities and differences to the movie. It was definitely a mistake to watch it two days before going to the site, because we all notice the things that have been changed, but none the less it is still the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen. The sand feels like velvet beneath my toes and the water is so clear that I can see right down to the bottom even when I’m out to deep to actually touch it. The entire shore is encased by a circle of tall rocky cliffs all covered in greenery, with only a small opening between two of the cliffs out into the sea. Everything has been kept clean and there are trash bins everywhere (a novelty in Thailand) to encourage tourists to keep it that way. We all swim around in the water, along with the 4 other people who we met on our boat, until it’s time to go back to Ko Phi Phi. We watch the sun set from the water on our ride back, but unfortunately it isn’t as spectacular as you would think, because the sky is slightly overcast.

Back at the guesthouse, we get ready to go out for dinner then out to the beach bars. The party scene in Koh Phi Phi is insane, which doesn’t suit my taste as a constant occurrence but it’s fun for a night or two. We do all the same things we did last night because there isn’t much else to choose from. We visit some different bars along the main strip, go down to the beach to watch a fire show, and dance in the sand until the bars shut down.

Koh Phi Phi

My skin is layered in salt and sand, and I wonder if by the end of this month it will be permanent. That wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but I do get sick of having to empty out my purse every day to rid it off the tiny bits of sand that somehow creep in and pile up in each nook and pocket.

I wake up in my bed at the guesthouse, which is also littered with sand, with a towel as my blanket. I pick up my laundry, and have a quick shower before packing up all my belongings. Today we travel to Koh Phi Phi, which is another island in the southern part of Thailand, not too far from Railay Beach. We get on a long tail boat that takes us out into a deeper part of the sea where a giant white ferry is waiting for us. We awkwardly climb from one boat to the next, and thank god someone is there to take my bag, because I would definitely have fallen in with all 16 kilos of it on my back.
The boat ride is an hour and a half long, and I fall asleep easily to the rocking of the boat on the waves. When I wake up, I look out the window to see crystal blue water on white sand beaches and palm trees along the shore. We are in Koh Phi Phi and this island is even more beautiful than the last. It’s also a lot more popular, and absolutely loaded with tourists. We struggle to find a guesthouse at a decent price, but we do finally stumble upon a place in the middle of town. All the items in the shops lining the streets are way more expensive than in Bangkok or even Railay. Instead of 25 Bhat for a little country flag to sew onto my backpack, like I had found in Bangkok, they charge 80 in these shops. Way too much, but it’s a giant tourist attraction so I guess they can do whatever they want.
We get lunch at a nearby restaurant that is less over-priced than the other restaurants we’ve seen. In the realm of things, the meal is still only about 5 dollars but it just seems so much more expensive when we’re all used to paying 1 or 2! After lunch we go to the beach and get in the water just as the weather turns from sweltering and sunny to overcast. The water on this beach is not as blue and crystal clear as it had looked when we were approaching the shore on the ferry. There are bits of dirt and some sort of worm-type things swimming around in the murky green colour water. Definitely not as appealing as the last beach we were on. Alas. Swimming will never be the same without the phosphorous plankton. We plan to explore the island a bit more tomorrow, and I’m sure that Maya beach will be beautiful as well so there’s still hope! I can’t very well complain about one cloudy day and one dirty sea, so I won’t.

The rain starts coming down hard, so we walk back to our guesthouse and take a shower before dinner. I take advantage of the cool air and overcast sky to do my make up for once. Maybe it won’t melt off my face in the heat and humidity tonight, but who am I kidding? Yes it will.

We all go out for dinner near the hotel which is also near where all the parties are, so it’s loud and we watch people walk by with buckets and beers in hand as we eat. Afterwards we join the party and go down to the beach with our buckets, where they have a different variation of a fire show. Here, they have jump ropes engulfed in flames, and ask audience members to come up and jump in. I don’t think Naomi, alcohol, and fire mix so well, so I don’t jump in but some of the other girls do. No one dies. A little further down the beach they have a flaming limbo bar, which I feel as if I can try. I get under without burning my face, and am greeted with a shot of vodka-something on the other side. Koh Phi Phi loves to party!
We walk around the town for the rest of the night checking out different bars here and there, and grab a slice of delicious street pizza before heading home.