To my pleasant surprise, the southern islands are exactly how all calendars, postcards and screen savers portray it, there’s no photoshop there! The sand was white and so so fine, the water warm and clear as could be, the islands were funky, beautiful shapes popping out of the turquoise ocean all different sorts of colors of stone. It was absolutely breathtaking!
The first day we spent our time on trains, buses, vans and of course thai long tailed boats. When we finally arrived at the Ao Railey beaches, we all wanted to just jump immediately in the water!!! Not only was there the ocean, but within the bungalows we were staying at there was a pool too. We ate lunch, bought bikinis and then headed to the beach! It was paradise. We swam, explored caves, laid in the sand, and Katherine and I even got pedicures on the beach! And to end it all off, we watched a sunset which words cannot even describe. It was a perfect afternoon. That evening we all got all prettied up and went out for dinner and drinks! We ate at this buffet (which ended up not to well for some people over the next few days) which had incredible food and of course delicious drinks. We spent the night dancing, exploring the pier, watching the fire show, making friends with other foreigners and wandering the beaches. Very successful first day if you ask me!
The next two days we spend on one of the Thai long tailed boats exploring the many white sand beaches and life filled coral reefs of many different islands. I had never been snorkelling before, and I couldn’t believe how colourful the fish were! Or how many there were or how close they got to us! I even saw an eel! And somehow I avoided being stung by jellyfish. The first night we stayed on a different island in some cute little huts and ate dinner with a Muslim family, which was an incredible meal of course!! And the next night we stayed in the house of a Muslim family and again had an incredible meal made for us by them.
The last day and a half was spent sleeping, beaching, eating, reading and fully enjoying ourselves. This was a very appreciated break from our crazy month in Thailand, and a nice time to prepare ourselves for India! Of course we all didn’t want to leave the Southern Islands because they were so incredible, but we were all also extremely stoked to be moving on the next part of our trip!
We spent one last day in Bangkok before having to make our way back to the airport. A bunch of us made our way one of the malls here and enjoyed pizza and shopping! Kathleen and I went to the theatre there and watched a movie. And I bought an iPod! Day 1 in Thailand my iPod stopped working, so the entire month I’ve been without. I thought I could make it for the whole three months but sometimes you just need music. (The new Mumford and Sons album is fantastic btw!) And easy access to Internet is a plus too. I’m super content with this purchase.
We stayed in the Tavee Guest house our first night in Bangkok and our last night as well. It was a pretty neat way to see the transformation I’ve made since the beginning of Thailand. I remember being so afraid of the strays outside of the house and being heartbroken when seeing the poor shape they were in, I made sure to use bottled water to brush my teeth, and I stayed far far away from street venders and anything with ice in it! But this time around none of those stuck. Iced drinks and brushing my teeth with tap water are now my fav things, the strays dont even phase me anymore, and street vendors make some of the best food. My favourite of all the changes: Kathleen and I were able to get a cab at a reasonable price (300 baht ?!? Yeah right! Us white girls will pay 70 baht TOPS!) and managed to make our way to from the mall to the guesthouse ALL BY OUR SELVES! That was a pretty great feeling of accomplishment.
I do wish that I had learned more than 3 phrases in Thai, and I hope that in India I’ll be able to pick more of the language up! I have managed to make it an entire country without getting any sort of sickness from the food, which many of my fellow travellers have not at all been so lucky with, and I pray that this strong stomach of mine continues on for the next two months. I have faith! And fingers crossed. And even though for the past month I have almost been in a different place each night, I feel so content and at home everywhere I am. I can truly say that I loved Thailand and that I’ll be back! And that this is not where my travelling will end.