day two in thailand was one of my favorite days of the whole trip… it was the most insane combination of adventure, excitement, beauty and relaxation… but mostly adventure! my ideal kind of travel is the kind where you are on the go and experiencing new things constantly. i’m not really a relax all day on the beach kind of gal, although that does sound lovely… i’m more of a “don’t waste a moment” kind of traveler. this day in thailand was exactly that kind of day.
after a delicious breakfast we went off to find a longtail boat in search of maya bay (leonardo dicaprio’s beach!). turns out that the water was too rough for a long tail boat, but the nice woman on the dock assured us that we could take the large ship to the phi phi islands and then take a small boat to maya beach… sounds great right? well…
the fact that the woman said the water was “too rough for long tail boats” should have warned us it would not be an easy ride. the boat was full of backpackers and other travelers headed to visit the phi phi islands as well… the energy on the boat was full of excitement. we all lined up along the sides of the boat looking out on the majestic scenery… that was the waves started to get rough. before we knew it the boat was like a roller coaster ride and the trash cans were being utilized for more than “trash” if you know what i mean. thank god i don’t normally get seasick. sadly, alessandra didn’t get by so easily. she, along with a large percentage of the boat, were not doing so well. miraculously kristine, katie and i were doing fine, but it was pretty heartbreaking to watch alessandra and not be able to help.
this pictures isn’t amazing, but i had to include it because when i see it it reminds me of the moment when i asked someone how much longer of a ride we had and they said an hour and we had already hit the hard core waves. eek. somehow we forgot to ask exactly how long it would take to get to the phi phi islands. at this point i was more worried about the fact that the only way back was on the same boat–ahhh!
finally, after two hours we were approaching shore… no one was more excited than alessandra.
the phi phi islands were initially made famous by the movie the beach with leonardo dicaprio. it was sadly made even more prominent again in december of 2004 when the tsunami hit the phi phi islands and completely devastated it… it has now been almost completely restored.
i felt like the phi phi islands were a backpackers paradise… the kind of place that, had i visited in college, i might have stayed for the rest of the summer. it has this easy going beach life vibe that could easily suck you in.
so, as the them of the trip is “when in…,” we couldn’t make it all the way to phi phi without venturing further to maya bay. kristine had already been so she stayed in phi phi with alessandra and chilled out a bit so they could venture the courage to brave the seas for the way home. katie and i were determined to see maya bay so we hired a speedboat to take us there. our drivers/guides were two (maximum 17 year old) boys and we joyfully hopped on the boat and were on our way. it is hilarious thinking back because we felt so free and elated to be coasting off in our speedboat to find maya bay. we felt that way until about 10 minutes into the ride when the “boys” told us that we needed to put our life jackets on because the water was going to get rough. at this point fear was paramount. we were clutching the rails of the boat literally in fear of our lives… i might have at one point shouted out “we aren’t going to die right? i have two kids!! reckless. completely reckless is what i kept saying to myself. thinking back though, i mean, the “boys” were laughing so i am guessing we were safe all along, but i kid you not… it was SCARY!!
funny that once we got close to the limestone formations the water kind of slowed down. all of a sudden we were popping in and out of coves and it was complete and utter paradise.
katie and i are pretty psyched at this point… although you can probably tell we are still a bit scared. the lifejackets stayed on of us the rest of the journey. tan lines? oh well.
ok, so this is were it gets good. maya bay is known to be this stunningly beautiful bay sheltered by high cliffs with silky white sands. kristine had been and mentioned that is was beautiful and encouraged us to go with no preliminary warnings of any sort. imagine our surprise (especially mine since i don’t like going in the water) when we found out that we had to swim in, climb a rope ladder and then find our way through the island and past the campgrounds to the infamous “beach.” not. okay.
katie and i kept laughing and thought the “boys” were kidding, but no. it was time to man up. so, we jumped in and swam towards the rope ladder. i would normally be terrified of fish and any other particularly scary creatures that lurk in the water amidst the rocks, but i was so scared of the current and ramming my body into the limestone wall that the ocean creatures hardly crossed my mind. thankfully one of our 17 year old guides turned out to be our hero and jumped in to help us make it to the rope ladder. after a serious “survivor” moment, katie and i made it to the top… panting. once i was up there the only thing i could think was–”I DON’T HAVE A CAMERA!!!” my overdocumenting self could hardly cope… but it was probably a good thing that i just had to take it all in. no photos this time, just experience it…. and let me tell you, it was worth it. the sand was so white and the water was crystal clear aquamarine. it was breathtaking.
god bless one of our darling “boy-guides” because he must have noticed how much i loved to take pictures and he grabbed my camera and snagged some shots of us climbing down the ladder… not the best picture, but proof nonetheless!
as part of our “tour” we stopped by monkey bay… sadly, we didn’t really see any monkeys except for this one–which you would only know was a monkey if you had been there!
back on phi phi, we explored the town, took pictures and bought some souvenirs. we wanted to eat so badly, but the fear of the upcoming boat ride made us think it might be better to have an empty stomach…. so, i took lots of pictures!
confession: we did sneak in a doughnut or two as a snack. i mean, when served up like this you gotta try them right?
can you believe these are pineapples?
kristine got to hold a monkey!! how cute is this photo!!
our last photo before getting on the boat… we were a little nervous, but hopping for the best. after all, it was literally our only option… we even considered a plane!
i think the ocean gods were ruling in our favor that afternoon because it was a dreamy ride all the way back. totally chill and hardly any waves.
i adore this shot of kristine… she looks so beautiful and happy.
did i mention that i adore being on boats… really really love. there is something so relaxing–especially when you can take in this spectacular scenery.
i mentioned that the day was full of adventures… well, they still continued. as we were getting off of the large boat to board a small long tail boat that would take us back to the resort the skies darkened and we were all of a sudden in the middle of a monsoon. picture us girls, with about 5-6 other people in this tiny long tail boat, that appeared to be sinking, trying to make it back to land. alessandra and i were literally hugging–out of fear for our lives i might add. we were not only concerned for our lives but for our cameras and phones–all of our pictures!! it was a bit dramatic for about 10 minutes and then the storm stopped and all of a sudden we saw a double rainbow. it was really a completely surreal experience.
our evening in thailand ended at the end of railay beach at last bar… literally the name and the last bar at railay. we ate at a little hut serving local thai food on the way… 6 bucks a person and it was a feast of noodle dishes, fried rice and forties of chang beer. it was amazing. at last bar we watched the world cup, saw fire dancers perform and danced till the wee hours of the morning. it was the most incredible day.