Another month, another country – I’ve spent the past few weeks in the south of Thailand. Which incidentally feels like a whole other country to the north of Thailand. After spending New Year’s Eve on Koh Phi Phi (which was beautiful but so touristy, but a great party island for NYE), Aimee and I caught a boat to Koh Lanta with Marieke and Sanne, our Dutch friends. Koh Lanta is a massive island, touristy but much more chilled out than Phi Phi. I spent the week swimming and snorkelling, and I also added some weight to my luggage with a big ass pink hammock. Pretty bulky but so far, so worth it.
Then it was on to Koh Lipe, which was my favourite island – an idyllic blue water, white sand tropical island. The place is tiny and has a great bunch of expats as well as the local community. We spent every night at Longtail Bar, run by two American women. Every night two guys, one Swiss and one Dutch, played cover songs for free beer and tips. They’d been there for over three weeks and didn’t look to be moving any time soon. The bar also made amazing cocktails and shots, one of them was called ‘Kaaaaaaa’ (you’ll get it if you’ve been to Thailand). The Americans also ran a cafe that had a board-game collection so Aimee and I ended up having epic games of Scrabble every morning.
After Lipe we landed at Ton Sai beach, a twenty-minute mountainous trek from Railay beach, Krabi province. Luckily when we arrived the tide was out and we walked over the rocks with our backpacks. I didn’t know what to expect at all but it’s a pretty cool place. Not very busy or developed, and I had to get used to not having electricity (ie WiFi, hot water, ATM etc). Altogether I spent about three weeks with limited or no access to Wifi, which was really nice (helped break a nasty Facebook addiction). We also met up with Cass (who I met in Pai and then Cambodia) there.
We planned on four nights in Ton Sai before Aimee had to head home, with my plans being more flexible as I had another five weeks before my Thai visa expired. There wasn’t much to do there apart from rock climb – we were surrounded by beautiful, massive cliffs so it’s one of the world’s best places to learn. I figured I’d give it a go, and got a bit hooked. Long story short, Cass and I were offered a job in a beach bar, working evenings in exchange for a beach bungalow, dinner and alcohol so we ended up staying for ten days. We were working nights and climbing days, not a bad life.
We also tried deep water solo climbing, which is rock climbing over the ocean without a rope. You basically climb in your bikini and climbing shoes then jump or fall into the water – fine if you suck at climbing like me, but some people were able to climb really high then had to jump in from about 30 metres. Heaps of fun!
After ten days in Ton Sai I felt it was time to move on so I farewelled the bar and my beach bungalow and hopped a longtail to Ao Nang, the start of my pilgrimage back to Pai via Bangkok. More on that to come.