Tuesday, August 12, 2014

highlights from thailand: koh phi phi & koh lanta.

Well over a year ago, I went to Thailand and am finally finished blogging about it with this post. Since it was so long ago, there's a lot I don't remember, but I'm sharing what I do. (I know this for sure: the trip was fun and relaxing and I'd recommend it to anyone!)

I've broken the trip into three parts: Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and islands Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta. 

After playing with elephants in Chiang Mai and sightseeing in Bangkok, Alanna and I flew to Krabi and then took a ferry to Koh Phi Phi. 

I feel like Koh Phi Phi is most known for two things: being beautiful and being a "party island." I'd say both are true. But other than drinking one bucket, I didn't party. (Partly because I'm just not usually a partier, and partly because I didn't feel like partying after finding out my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer while I was in Bangkok.) 

I loved the little details, like the Thai writing on the Heinz ketchup bottles and the inspirational sayings on the sugar packets.

Another thing that struck me but I didn't take a photo of were the signs on the island that said something like, "In case of tsunami, go this way" with arrows. Sombering. 

After a couple days laying in the sun (and eating delicious food!), we took another ferry to Koh Lanta. If Koh Phi Phi is known for partying, Koh Lanta is known for relaxing. And relax we did. 

We were only here for a couple nights, so we splurged and stayed at a tiny resort right on the beach. (It helped that we booked it last minute while we were in Bangkok.)

These two photos (above) were from our tiny balcony off our room. 

While I was on the islands, I tried to eat as much seafood as possible. Mmmm. (But I also ate as much green curry as possible; I discovered it and fell in love with it on Koh Phi Phi.)

This was our view from dinner at the resort. I loved watching all the fishing boats come in. 

We didn't explore Koh Lanta at all. We spent all of our time relaxing here, splashing in the water to cool off, and playing Candy Crush (Alanna) and reading (me) in our room. Heaven.

While waiting in the Bangkok airport for our flight back to Beijing, I wrote this note on my phone: 

Innocent, joy-filled smile from a girl, playing with kittens as the worn out momma looks on, a waiter saying, "slow down, sister!" because I'm stirring my tomato soup too quickly, causing it to spill over the side of the bowl, laughing 'til my belly hurts, a scoop of mango gelato, riding in the back of a pick-up truck - a common mode of transportation - feeling a breeze.

Those little things and all of the inside jokes I now have with Alanna are the real highlights from Thailand. I will also remember all of the iced coffees from 7-Eleven I drank.

P.S. One of the things we laughed the hardest about:

Our last morning in Thailand, we had to fly from Krabi to Bangkok. We got up super early to get to the airport for our flight, but almost no taxis stopped for us and the ones that did, refused to take us. Stressful. We thought for sure we were gonna miss our flight. Then a tuktuk driver stopped for us. We tried to explain that he couldn't help us, there was no way his little tuktuk could make it to the airport and even if it could, it wouldn't make it on time. He kept motioning for us to get in, so against our better judgement, we did (7-Eleven iced coffees and plastic-wrapped pastries in hand). 

He drove us slowly to what we assume was his house and motioned for us to get out of the tuktuk and into a nice looking half-ton truck in the driveway. Again, against our better judgement, we listened to the man. And he disappeared into the house. 

We were nervous. I mean, we were in danger of missing our flight, but more than that, WE HAD JUST GOTTEN INTO THE BACKSEAT OF A STRANGE MAN'S TRUCK! Ummm... 

And then we saw this and felt a bit safer: 

"There's no way someone with a stuffed toy Spider-Man would hurt us, right?" Ummm... 

And then a mustached, puffy-haired, tired-looking teenage boy came out of the house and got into the driver's seat. We imagined what had taken place: The man (father?) walked in and yelled, waking up his teenage son, "Hey! Wake up, ya lazy bum! You gotta take two silly white girls to the airport!" 

Alanna and I laughed and laughed. What else could we do? 

We got to the airport safely. I can't remember if the man had asked for money, but if he did, it couldn't have been that much. I remember thinking these people were so kind. Just like everyone else we met in Thailand. 

P.S. Highlights from Chiang Mai and Bangkok, Shanghai, Boracay, Vermont, and Montréal

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