Monday, 2 January 2012

Khoa Sok, Koh Phi Phi, Railay...then it's hello Malaysia...

Venturing back on the boat to the mainland from Koh Tao was not as bad as I'd anticipated, I awaited the array of crashing waves, wild winds and swooshing swarms of motion sickness to hit me like a bat. Luckily, it was smooth (ish) and not too bad at all. The journey itself was quite a long trip, leaving Koh Tao at 9am and not reaching Khao Sok National Park until 8.30pm at night. As we arrived in darkness, we settled into a decent enough place called the 'Jungle Hut', it was literally in the jungle, tucked away in a winding tiny track along the jungle. The next day, I was able to take everything in around me, the surroundings, the smells, the sounds...everything. This place was vast in size and enormous in beauty. There was lush green coating that smothered the mountains and around the mountains you had stumps of gigantic karst cliffs that overpowered the small village. Our days in Khao Sok where spent walking through the National Park, visiting lots of small waterfalls, engaging with lots of wildlife, even not intentionally, as they tended to engage directly with you. I shall expand on this morning, I was awoken by a tapping sound on the window and strange noises on the roof, as I looked out, there was a family of monkeys hopping on our bungalow, ravaging anything they could get their hands upon. The monkeys didn't seem too aggressive, however, with jungle or any wild monkey you always have to be cautious and keep your distance. It was brilliant as looking out the window, one monkey popped up and looked back a me through the window, in an almost telepathic way, I was communicating, moving my head up and then the monkey followed and then moving my hand and then the monkey followed, such a brilliant experience. Other wildlife that engaged upon us, as I was going to sleep one night, a mouse was running around the walls inside the bungalow, we had two juicy cockroaches living in the bathroom, a military unit of ants which where each around 2cm in size living all over the place. On the way back to the room one night, a large group of bats swarmed through the tree's, so you had to slowly work your way through the flying creatures in order to reach my room. While I adore nature, this was definitely a trip where I lived with nature side by side up in the jungle huts.

After chilling and spending some time in the National Park, we headed to Koh Phi Phi, the paradise island and beautiful beaches for Christmas. Around this area is where the famous film 'The Beach' was filmed and the scenic beauty is clear; the luxurious green sea glistening in the bay, the mountains enclosing with lush greenary and the smooth golden sands to spend my days is what this place has to offer. Koh Phi Phi is a tourist resort, so there are plenty of restaurants, guesthouses and most of all a buzzing nightlife. There are many bars in the small town and the night follows as everybody heads to the beach to worship the fireshows and downing the buckets. We enjoyed Christmas Eve doing just this, having lots of fun, laughs, I even ended up doing press-ups with people from Newcastle, something that I am known and moreso prone to do, during night's out with alcohol, you could even describe it as a 'party piece'! I must admit, the fitness had diminished over the past 5months, therefore, I achieved only 10 pressups, back in the day...I could easily do 50, how times change! Christmas Day was spent mostly recovering...then me and John noticed that Santa had paid us a visit all the way over to Koh Phi Phi. Therefore, we managed to open our presents around 3pm and ventured out for dinner around 4pm, we opted for a quiet evening, therefore, indulged in snacks and watched a brilliant film called 'The King's Speech' on good ole HBO. For me, this was a perfect end to my Christmas Day!

The next few days where spent taking it easy and relaxing on the island. As it is a resort style place, the island was swarming with tourists. We have found this a bit too touristy for us, therefore, opted to head over to a smaller, more chilled place called Railay to enjoy New Year. Railay is a beautiful place, surrounded my karst cliffs which are a rock climbers dream. We opted to stay on Tonsai, just further North, a lot more chilled and calm vibe happening. We originally planned to stay up West, however, as we arrived late in the day, all the guesthouses on the whole place was full or at an extortionate prices. We evidently hitched a ride by a fisherman in his boat over to Tonsai, where we hiked up the jungle hill and begged each guesthouse to offer us something. Finally, as the night was filled with darkness and plenty of blood sucking mosquito's, we found something. I say 'something' loosely as it was basically a mattress on a floor in a room with holes as windows and a door hanging on for dear life. As I was so tired at this point and fatigue from all the stress of finding somewhere to stay, we thanked the owner and whipped it up straight away. We felt so happy having found a place to sleep for the night. Thankfully, the next day we booked into another accommodation, where we had a real bed and our own toilet, I felt as though I'd checked into a 5* place, having my own toilet and running ice cold shower, marvelous! We spent the days lounging on the beach, paddling in the deep green sea, surrounded by amazing cliffs and climbing routes, I watched many times in awe the climbers wrangle and hitch their way up the mountains. As New Year approached, we opted to have a traditional Thai curry then head to the beach, where the shack bars are an array of reggae/rasta style colours and in each place you can find a Bob Marley song blasting into the darkness. We welcomed the New Year with laughter, smiles and so much fun, looking out into the sea, as many fire lanterns lit the sky and fireworks exploded to display amazing colours and formations. The rest of the night entailed dancing to a brilliant Thai Reggae Band, who played everything from The Beatles to Spice Girls...reggae style, superb! 

As we awoke on New Year's Day, the heaven's welcomed us to 2012 with a huge amount of rainfall. It literally did not stop raining for 12 hours, we now have the news that nobody can head South and cross the border to Malaysia, as the Southern Province is flooded. So, we have decided to come to Krabi Town and wait here chilling for a few days and grow even more excitement for our next adventure to Malaysia. I have enjoyed this roller-coaster of a ride in Thailand, I have embraced so many beautiful places, met some very interesting people and tasted some of the most delicious curries in the world (I highly recommend Thai Green Curry!) However, the time had now arrived where I feel ready to move further on the adventure and explore a new country...the Magestic Malaysia awaits me!

On our first walk through Khao Sok National Park

Dressed in my jungle attire...

A spider saying hello outside my door

Mother and baby monkey heading home after paying me a visit

A baby gecko in a lamp shade

The view from my jungle hut over the National Park

Koh Phi Phi, overlooking the whole island

Brisk walk along the beach on Koh Phi Phi

Enjoying being in the sunshine, adoring the beautiful island...

Yey...Santa's been!! 
Feeling delicate on Christmas Day! Loving my new present 'Beatles Top' 

Enjoying some brunch in Koh Phi Phi
The beautiful place of Railay

Our 5* luxury guesthouse! This is the most the door will close, good enough for me.
John playing bass with the Reggae Band on New Year's Eve

Me and Nancy enjoying the party on New Year's Eve

As the party rolled on, we all danced, laughed and had fun to welcome in the New Year

Happy New Year, welcome 2012!! My view on Railay Beach
Awaiting my journey to Malaysia, tucking into some insects in Krabi...yum yum!

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