Micah: Unmitigated

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Posts Tagged ‘Andaman Coast’

Time To Say Goodbye

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Last post from Thailand. My time here has gone by at a rate of 60 min/hr, so today being the end of my 2 month adventure, seems about right. Here is how this post will go down: First will be a brief catch up, followed by some reflections and final business.

Wednesday: In the morning, I hit the beach one last time before my day of transit to Bangkok. With low tide in full effect, I decided to walk along the rocks and see the smaller cove to the north.  Turned out to be a brilliant decision, as it may be the best on Koh Lanta and was empty. The beach is called Ao Nui and has no resorts due to it’s topography. It has one soda shack in the middle and most people get here by motorbike and a short hike. I had it all to myself, a great way to start the day.

My journey back up north involved 6 vehicles and 18 hours. Nice personal truck from one travel agency to another, then another nice truck, minivan to small Krabi bus station, sorng-taa-ou to bigger station, big “VIP” bus to BKK, finished with meterless taxi to guesthouse and sleep.

Thursday: Staying away from the main tourist part and near the skytrain, my plan was to shop. I have been holding myself back from making purchases due to concerns about lugging stuff around. No more, I bought a $20 backpack and exchanged my baht for varying items that shall be wrapped and placed under a tree. I am not the best shopper but figured that I can buy anything and it will be cool because it’s from another country. We shall see how my theory holds up on the 25th.

While shopping I got my first glimpse of Christmas, at the mega mall. Huge trees and other symbols were all around and the music was just like home. Also, I hit McD’s for the first time, Samurai Pork burger was enjoyed, but after ordering I couldn’t stop staring at the Double Big Mac. Now that I have typed those words, I am planning my route back to the guesthouse around 1 more stop.

Friday: More shopping with another visit to the Chatachuk Market. Since it wasn’t the weekend, only a few stall were open and a lot were just setting up shop. Still able to find what I wanted. I let the skytrain whisk me around to more malls and markets the rest of the afternoon, while I politely turned down offers for bootleg DVD porn. (“No thanks” , “Not interested”, “I already have that one”) And now I sit here, surrounded by gamers, using my fingers to press keys on a peripheral. 02:30am Saturday is the scheduled launch for my plane, so I have some time to kill. The total transit time will be 29hrs with 11 hours of layovers. Well, I think that you should all be up to speed now.

Reflections and Thoughts: I have really enjoyed writing this blog. After a long day of walking or biking around, I looked forward to sitting in a comfortable computer chair, relaxing, drinking a beer, going through photos, and recapping my activity. Also, with a semi-long trip like this, having all of these words to look back on will help me remember.

My favorite parts are tough to pinpoint. Obviously, the time on beaches was joyous and the Full Moon party will not be forgotten. On the flip side, that time was like I left Thailand, due to the number of tourist and accompanying shops. I rarely used my Thai greetings, for some reason it just felt fake when everyone spoke English clearly. My thinking may be way off base, and I do have a history of rejecting the popular thing to do (ie: Harry Potter, Farmville, Coffee, Pogs, smoking, and working), but it felt more right in the small towns.

The WWOOFing was great and I will be doing it again, hopefully soon. Both farms offered a unique look at Thai life away from the tour route. Every Thai person I met on the farms was kind and funny, and looking back realize how important it is to meet those that are not after your Baht. I have even had thoughts about return visits to both hosts.

I would say that my highlight would be the bike rides around the country sides. Big cities have never been my thing, although my current time in BKK has been filled with markets and street food, which I love. But, getting the looks and waves while riding around, seeing the farm land, and the fresh air are just a winning combination.

Another joy, the bus rides between the small cities with a majority of Thai passengers.  My ride up from the south to BKK was a tourist bus that just didn’t feel right. Stops at the designated rest stops filled with tourist food, the latest “Jacka@#” movie on TV, and everyone exchanging drinking stories from the beach parties on Koh Phi Phi, grows tiresome. The night bus ride I took from Sukhothai to BKK was all Thai’s and the one stop had friendly vendors and bowls of things I did not know. I learned so much about everyday Thai life on my 6 hr ride with revolving clientele. If you can do it, state buses are the way to go.

Anyways, I will continue to write and reflect as time goes on. My unmitigation shall continue as I seek new adventures or as I crash back to reality. Either way, I will try to include pictures.

Last note of business: Mother and Father, I arrive to PDX, Saturday Dec. 12th at 3:50 pm PST. All others, I beg of you, please do not show up at the airport with banners and gifts. I am a shy man and that would be too much. Just thinking of the raucous crowd and the noise and security issues that would create, make me nervous.  So, the rest of you can show your love at one of the many homecoming parties which are disquised as Christmas events. ขอ ขอบคุณ และ พระเจ้า ให้ ศีล ให้ พร อเมริกา

Blister In The Sun

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

I found it. It was the last one I saw, but I found it. After 2 days of boat tours and island hopping, it was closer than I thought. If I only knew it was there before my last full day in the south, I would have made multiple trips and maybe even an overnight stay. My 1 hour glimpse will have to do for now and these photos and words are all that I can offer to you:

Monday: One day romp around Koh Phi Phi (the H is silent so pronounced Pee Pee). After a ferry ride, we hopped a long tail boat and the tour began. Saw beautiful rock formations and snorkled in perfectly clear waters. The colors on the fish reminded me of the Full Moon Party. They were very friendly and often seemed to gather around me in curiosity. After we snorked for a while, we made a lunch stop at Maya Beach on Koh Phi Phi Lei. I had highly anticipated seeing this “Top 10  Beach” and it was stunning. Lots and lots of boats and people, but enough space to take it all in.

"The Beach"

"The Beach"

Our ride to "The Beach"

Our ride to "The Beach"

As you might be able to see, the water is extremely clear and the sand is softer and whiter than the Stay Puft Marshmallow man. One sight is good enough, and I was satisfied.

We proceeded to snorkle some more and then were dropped back at Koh Phi Phi Don, the bigger of the Phi Phi’s and the only one with development. Another dazzling yet overcrowded beach, where I swam and relaxed.

"The Other Beach"

"The Other Beach"

I enjoyed watching the parasailers take off, and once saw a guy take out a girl on a kayak while trying to rise up. She escaped unharmed, but returned the kayak and argued for her money back.

Ferry ride back to Koh Lanta, sunset meal at another beach establishment, then sleep.

Tuesday:  The boat rides were quicker for the 4 Island Tour. This time I traveled south in a long tail boat, with only 4 other tourists. I was begining to consider myself the Snorkle Master, until we dropped off one of the Thai guys on our boat, just off some rocky coast, with mask, fins, net, and a spear gun. We jetted to snorkle it up and see the “Emerald Cave”. I am getting decent at the “Dive down and blow out”, and can’t get enough of floating and looking down 50+ feet to the sea floor. An awe-inspiring sight which I highly recommend to everyone.

Next stop: water cave. We strapped on some vests and our guide grabbed a flashlight for the journey. A short and sometimes pitch black swim, led us to a small beach, surrounded by rock walls. Like being inside a volcano filled with plants, sand and water. Very, very cool.

We boated it back to pick up our speargun toting friend, 2.5 hours after we dropped him. He had a sack full of goodies: 2 lobster and I think 5 assorted fishes.

Pinchy and I

Pinchy and I

Our last stop was the island of Koh Ngai and my perfect beach. It had been in my dreams, but I was beginning to feel like my eyes would be left wanting. Long stretch of sand, shallow calm water, nice sandy sea floor, views of neighboring rocky islands, a strip of coral within reach, and very few people (oh, how I loathe people).

I

I

this could be yours

this could be yours

There are only a few resorts and they are not backpacker cheap, but this is the place I would stay next time. The views and space are what seal it for me, best beach, no contest.

A smooth boat ride back to the main island and yet another meal with sunset view for entertainment. My last night on the island, as tomorrow I begin the long series of bus rides back up to Bangkok. I regret not seeing Railay beach and in hindsight would have done a 1 day trip there from Krabi, but am very pleased with my time in the sun. And I have not actually blistered yet thanks to my new belief in sunscreen. I had always feared that the stuff would hurt my bronzing, I must be getting old and sensible.

ฉัน รู้สึก ว่า เรา เกาะ ทั้งหมด – ใน ทะเล ทั่วไป.

The Continuing Story of Bungalow Micah

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Saddened by the Beaver’s loss to the Ducks, I drowned my sorrows in the clear blue ocean waters off the coast of Koh Lanta. The beaches have been beautiful and the days have been relaxing.

Friday Afternoon: I arrived at my accommodations around 4pm and had just enough time to stroll down to the beach for a quick dip. Upon returning to my rugged bungalow, I noticed that I had no running water. Alerting the staff caused them to errupt in laughter. I joined in, though mine was of the nervous variety and not a joyous chuckle like the theirs. The room was already not the prettiest of sites, but now I was beginning to wonder whether it had been condemned and the yellow tape was removed before my arrival. A man went under the structure and was able to turn the water back on, but the shower pressure was a mere dribble.

A few other notes: the bathroom door was too big for the doorway and didn’t close, bathroom had many openings for leaves and things to fly in, no electrical outlets, and the roller chair/stool had only 2 wheels. The complex is placed up on one of the hilly outcoppings which made walks to the beach and shops a bit of a hike.

sun down go

sun down go

The bar/restaurant did have a sweet view of the sunsets and surrounding coves. I am just stating things and actually would have stayed if the shower would have been decent, since it was dirt cheap.

Saturday: After a full day spent on the beach, with the entire town powerless due to wind, I decided on a new venue. I booked a slightly more expensive bungalow in the next cove south, to spend my final 3 nights.

Sunday: The new place is better, shower dribbles harder, and I am satisfied. The beach is only about 50 skips away, smaller, quieter, and more swimmer friendly.

view good

view good

I spent the whole day snorkling and although it was only average conditions, had a blast. Another stunning sunset and scrumptious meal at a beachside eatery.

I can't get enough

I can't get enough

I have sightseeing trips planned for Monday (Koh Phi Phi, setting for “The Beach”) and Tuesday (Koh Lanta National Park 4 island tour).  Both should include snorkling, caves, and rejoicing. The weather has been perfect the past 2 days and I am slightly sunburned.

I had stressed most about this part of my trip, hoping to find a nice beach for a reasonable price, while not missing out on the best that Thailand has to offer. After about 3 days, I have to say that I am at peace with my choices. รักษา สิ่ง ที่ มี น้ำ เกลือ – เหงื่อ, น้ำตา หรือ ทะเล