Thailand

Bioluminescent Plankton and (Surprise) More Climbing!

Thailand continues to surprise us with more to see and more to do, even when we’re only staying in the Southern side of the country! Today we went back to Railay and Tonsai to climb again, meeting up with our friend on the island and setting out around 10:30. We got to our first wall, but it was packed with guides and the tide wasn’t in our favor. We moved on to Phra Nang beach and looked at some walls, and met a traveling Frenchman who was looking for climbing partners. He joined up with us for the day and showed us to some climbing areas he’d been wanting to visit.

We ended up having a great day of climbing, visiting new walls, climbing different styles, and generally seeing some beautiful overlooks from the tops of the climbs we checked out. It might be our last day climbing in Thailand, and it has been a ton of fun so far! I’m definitely glad that we came out here to try it out.

We climbed until sunset, and then went back to return our gear in Tonsai. Then we quickly crossed the entire island and went back into Phra Nang cave to disturb the dark waters off the coast of Railay. We were rewarded for our decision to wade and trip our ways back through Phra Nang, as we saw little blue sparkles in the dark water that was crashing into the stone below us. We climbed down, turned off our flashlights, and waded out into the water. It was a pretty amazing experience to see all of the little blue lights pop up as we moved around through the water. We played around with the plankton for a few minutes, and then hurried back to Railay to catch a boat back.

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Thailand

Tiger Cave and More Climbing!

We’ve had quite an active past couple of days, especially considering we were planning on taking it easy and recovering a bit from traveling so much over the past few weeks. We thought it’d be nice to check out some local sights, and the Tiger Cave Temple was one of the highest recommended things to see. Reviewers consistently said that the 1237 steps were not to be taken lightly, but after all of the hiking and walking we’ve been doing, we figured it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. We were quite wrong.

First, let’s establish that the reviewers and the signs were also wrong. There were 1260 steps to the top. It mattered, because after the first 100 steps each one could be as high as a foot each time. After the first 400 steps, I was seriously questioning how worth it the hike could possibly be, as it was incredibly taxing. However, seeing the incredible views of the Thai countryside and coast from the top of the temple was really amazing, and absolutely worth it.

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Today we went back out to Railay to climb again! We got up early, caught the first boat over to Railay from Krabi Town, and still didn’t get to the gear rental shop until 11 (getting to and from Railay can be a pain). We rented a harness and met up with our new friend from New York, who fortunately had a rope and plenty of gear and was looking for people to climb with! We spent the day climbing in a couple of different areas around Railay and generally having a great time. Even with the slippery and polished limestone, the climbing was a ton of fun and it was cool to spend the whole day out climbing and seeing all of the other people doing the same thing!

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Thailand

Ao Nang and Climbing!!

It’s been a busy and also slow past few days in Thailand! We’ve been moving around and seeing lots of new places, but also spending plenty of time relaxing on beaches and enjoying the warm weather (sometimes entirely too warm).

Yesterday, we went out to Ao Nang and spent the day walking around the town, traversing the “Monkey Trail” over to a fancy resort beach, relaxing, reading, and cooling off in the ocean. The Monkey Trail wasn’t an entirely planned expedition, we sort of just saw a trail up a nearby cliff and decided to check it out. We found out later that we were lucky not to be robbed by monkeys on the trail (hence the name), but through most of the walk I was too worried about slipping and scraping my way down a rather high cliff, so monkeys weren’t exactly on my mind. Getting to Ao Nang itself was a bit of an adventure, as you ride in the back of a pickup truck that has been retrofitted for passengers. And by retrofitted, I mean they put a couple of benches along the sides, took out the back (so bags could very easily slide straight out onto the road, I seriously don’t know why they’d take that piece off…), put a few bars to hold on and called it a day. I’m not sure how fast the drivers go, but I can confidently say that it feels like at least 150 the entire way when you’re staring out the back at the road with nothing to keep you from falling out.

Today we went back over to Railay beach with the plan of spending most of the day climbing. Rough seas meant that we got to spend about an hour waiting for a boat to leave to Railay and then another hour to get over there, so that was fun. Once we got there, we figured we’d walk over to Tonsai and rent gear. Unfortunately, of the two ways to get to Tonsai, we took the incredibly difficult and roundabout way. Instead of a short stroll along the beach, we found ourselves scrambling up a massive hill and then precariously down-climbing the other side, all in all taking something likeĀ 40 minutes when it should have been closer to 10. Whoops.

Once we finally got to the gear rental shop we’d looked up, everything went much smoother! We spent about four hours climbing around various areas of Tonsai, mostly along cliffs that jut out along the coast. The limestone in the area ranges from “a little slick” to “oh my god this is polished glass” as a result of the popularity of climbing in the region and the coastal conditions. Even so, the climbs were a ton of fun with a variety of different features to scramble up and some very rewarding views from the top!

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The day concluded with a longboat ride back to Ao Nang and then another fun “bus” ride back to Krabi Town. Once low tide comes around, the longboats can’t come in all the way to the shore or to the docks. So the passengers go out to them, meaning everybody wades in knee-deep water out to the boat and the in to the shore when we arrive. Pretty funny and a new experience for me!

 

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Thailand

Hello, Thailand!

Cambodia had incredible temples and was a great stop on our tour, but now we’re on to Thailand! We arrived yesterday evening and discovered, to my dismay, that it was a Buddhist holiday and the sale of alcohol was forbidden. Alas, I had to wait a full day before I could try the local beers in Thailand (spoilers: they ended up tasting like the local beers everywhere else. Which is to say, like a cheap beer).

While there aren’t temples or museums that I’m looking forward to here, the beaches and limestone cliffs are unbelievably gorgeous and I can’t wait to get back out and see more of them. We spent the day yesterday at Railay Beach, a popular beach near Krabi town. Interestingly enough, I actually got to pilot the longboat that we rode over to Railay. As we rode along, we noticed that the boat was taking on an awful lot of water along the floor and by our feet. Our driver also noticed and pulled me back to drive the boat while he tried to keep us from sinking. So that was fun.

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We did eventually make it safely, and it was worth the risk of sinking. The beaches were absolutely beautiful, as were the giant cliffs. We also saw a group of macaques, which liked to steal from tourists and were extremely possessive of things they took (we saw a few bare their teeth at us and other tourists for trying to protect our belongings). We didn’t do much by way of adventures today, just hiking up a very steep hill to an overlook and otherwise lounging around on beautiful beaches, but over the next couple of weeks we’re looking forward to possibly visiting a floating village, an elephant preserve, some climbing spots, and more beautiful beaches!

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