Thursday, April 30, 2015

Phuket and Raya Island

Sunday we rented a van to take us from Krabi to Phuket.  Our hotel folded our towels for us.

Tanner still wasn't feeling well.  He stayed at the hotel to rest while Brad and I went to get lunch.  Brad ordered a coconut smoothie and they served it in the coconut shell.

Brad and I then walked down to the beach.  There were a lot of shops along the way.  The beach there wasn't very impressive (compared to the others we had seen that week).  After that brief walk we decided that Phuket is a lot like Krabi but more pushy, crowded, dirty and expensive.  If we did the trip again we'd just spend all our time in Krabi.  That evening Tanner joined us and we went to dinner at a sandwich shop.  We found these gems along the way!

Our last full day in vacation Tanner continued to rest and Brad and I went to Raya Island.  We took a speed boat 30 minutes south of Phuket.  We were one of the first boats that got there so it wasn't very crowded.  

We spend a couple hours on the beach.  Brad and I even got to FaceTime with some of our family while we hung out on the beach.  After our beach time we went snorkeling and had lunch.  There was more beach time after lunch, but Brad and I were feeling done.  It was getting really hot by then and the beach was really crowded!  We ended up going to a little gelato shop and eating it realllly slowly.  

That evening, Tanner joined us and we went to Pizza Hut and walked around a little bit.  We turned in early that night since we had to fly out early the next morning.  Overall I'd call our vacation a success!  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Krabi: Kayaking

Our second day in Krabi we went kayaking.  Dinner from the night before didn't agree with my belly and that caused me to be low on energy and enthusiasm.  Luckily I shared a kayak with Tanner and he picked up my slack.. Such a good husband!  We drove about 45 minutes on a windy road.  We loaded up in Kayaks and headed out.  It was SO beautiful!  These pictures do a terrible job accurately showing the beauty.  I must have said, "This is so amazing!  I can't believe how beautiful it is!" 10 separate times.

On the way back to the dock we stopped at a little beach and swam.  There were wild monkeys there and it was so fun to hear them calling to each other and watching them climb the trees and cliffs.   

At a sand bar Tanner got out to pull the boat through the shallow water.  As he got in I leaned the wrong way and tipped us both over!  I guess I don't have the best instincts in a boat... For some reason it struck me as being really funny and we had a good belly laugh about it.  The second time I leaned the right way and Tanner got in safely.  

Krabi: Scuba diving

Scuba diving has been on my list of life goals for a looooong time.  I was thrilled that it all worked out and I got to go!  Poor, poor Tanner got food poisoning and was too sick to come.  In our 7 years together this was the sickest he's ever been.  It was tragic really, because I know he would have loved it.  

The scuba diving company came and picked us up at 7:30.  We got on a boat and went out to Kho Phi Phi for our dives.  We didn't get certified, we just did DSD (discover scuba diving)--it was one day, 2 dives.  The boat ride was about 2 1/2 hours.  They had breakfast on the top deck.  We ate while we enjoyed the scenery.  The wind and shade made it the perfect temperature and it was a really delightful ride.  When we got closer our instructors came and reviewed the gear, rules, expectations and showed us pictures of marine life we might get to see.

On the far right you can see chicken island--it looks like a chicken neck/head.

We did one dive, came up and had lunch, then did a second dive.

It was really incredible.  There were so many colorful fish.  The water was so clear.  We saw a puffer fish, box fish, needle fish, clown fish in an anemone, schools of brightly colored fish, a couple sea turtles, beautiful coral and more!

Our tanks started at 200 and we had to come up when it was at 50.  Brad got down to 50 both times faster than me. I was still just over 100 when he got to 45/50.  he claims it's because his lungs are bugger and he naturally takes big breaths... sure... :)  

After our dives, on the way back to Krabi.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Krabi: 7 island tour

We flew from Chiang Mai down to Krabi.  We got there earlier than our hotel check in so we looked through the pamphlets up front to decide on and book some activities.  We decided on a 7 island tour that day, kayaking the next day, and scuba diving the day after that.  

The tour left around 1:00.  We rode on a long tail boat and visited some different beaches and islands.  Brad and Tanner   L  O  V  E  D the longtail boats.

Our tour took us to Railay beach, two gorgeous islands connected by a sandbar, snorkeling by Chicken island, cliff jumping, to another island at sunset for dinner and to snorkel with bio luminescent plankton once it got dark.  We were supposed to go to a second snorkeling site but someone on another boat hurt her foot and they ended up using our boat to take her to the hospital.  Due to those unfortunate circumstances we were stranded on the island with the sandbar for a few hours.  (To be honest it was much nicer and quieter once everyone else left and only our small group was there.)  Guys, the water was incredible!  

I was a happy spectator for the cliff jumping.  Brad is the second from the right and Tanner is the third.

The climbing got pretty crazy and they had to go sideways a bit.

Brad and his fancy jump:

Tanner and his silly jump:

There was a family with us on our boat and I got to snuggle their two girls.

Also, this is how my hair looks after I swim in the ocean water and let it fly in the wind on the boat.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pai (and a little Chiang Mai)

After I finished teaching for the school year (more on that later) Tanner and I headed up to Chiang Mai to meet my brother.  The plan was to do an overnight trip to Pai.  It's a little town I had heard described as "a Thai San Francisco".  It was a fun little city and we enjoyed the trip.  

We took the night train for the first time here.  It stared in Bangkok and went all the way to Chiang Mai.  We got on when it stopped in Phichit at 1 in the morning.  The cars had AC and the bed wasn't terrible.  I got a good amount of sleep.  Around 8 in the morning the workers came in and folded the beds into a long seat.  We got to Chiang Mai around 10 and my brother met us at the train station.

We were going to be back to Chiang Mai the next night so we dropped off our luggage in the storage room and then headed to our favorite Salsa Kitchen for an early lunch.  It was tasty as usual.  At 2:00 we took a bus to Pai.  Here we are in the van:

We made a few stops along the way and it ended up taking about 4 hours to get there.  It's up in the mountains and the road is incredibly windy.  There were more than 700 turns on the 50 mile ride!  I was really grateful for my Dramamine and the front window seat!

We got in around 6:00 and wandered around the town.  There avocados are rare over here and when you can find them they are expensive (about $3 each) and not very tasty.  I was really surprised at all the avocados they had here.

Thailand excels at making fruit smoothies.  I had a mango smoothie and a passion fruit one.  Tanner got avacado/coconut milk.

The streets were full of little shops and vendors. 

Little quail eggs

That night we rented scooters and after a few wrong turns found out hotel.  It was a delightful little place.

The next morning we were up early.  It was a slightly chilly and I got to wear a sweater!  We spent the day adventuring in our scooters.  As you can see Tanner was thrilled :)

First we went to an old memorial bridge.

Then we headed to Pai Canyon.

They had signs labeling the different types of trees and we had a great time reading them in the silliest ways possible. 

I enjoyed the sights at the beginning, but opted out of walking along all the high, skinny paths.  Brad and Tanner enjoyed a little hike while I relaxed in the safety of the wide, flat area up front.  

After the canyon we headed to a waterfall.  The water is low this time of the year, so it wasn't extremely impressive.  THe rise to the waterfall was really fun though!  It went up a mountain past small clusters of homes.  We saw an orchard of tapped trees and single gas pumps connected to gladd barrels. We didn;t stop for many pictures since we thought we would get pictures on the way down but we unintentionally ended up taking a different path down...
Small spring coming out of the mountain.

By the time we rode our scooters back to town it was close to 10am.  We went back to the hotel and showered before returning our scooters and getting lunch.  We took a 2:00 van back to Chiang Mai.  We weren't in Pai for very long, but it felt like just the right amount of time.  The ride back only took 3 hours. 

Close to the bus station there is an abandoned roller rink.  It's always intrigues me when we have driven past and this time we took a look.  

Back in Chiang Mai we went to our favorite Italian restaurant.  

After dinner we went to the night market.  We net the sassiest lady in one of the shops.  We had a great time bartering with her.  She was so spunky and kept trying to spank my brother.  He told her that she had to pay 40 baht (just over a dollar) to spank him.  She pulled out 1 baht and gave it to him before giving his booty a little smack.  We got such a kick out of that.

As we walked back to our hostel we walked past one of the foot spas.  I have wanted to give it a try since I first heard of them.  I loved and hated it.  I hated it more than I loved it, but I'm really glad I did it,  My poor feet are SO ticklish so that make it difficult.

Early the next morning we headed to the airport to fly down to Krabi for the next leg of our adventure.