Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Southern Thailand

 So now that I'm back in Thailand traveling on my own again, I decided it was time to see the much talked about Southern Thailand.

Southern Thailand is known for it's beautiful beaches, friendly people, great diving and snorkeling, good food, limestone formations and plenty of other things.

I started off by going to Hua Hin, which is just about 4 hours south of Bangkok. This is more of a vacationing spot for the city dwellers of Bangkok and less a backpackers haven, for example the royal family has a vacation beach house here. But I wanted to see it regardless. Luckily, I met a French lady on the train, Magalie, and got to chatting and found out that she lives in Hua Hin with her long time boyfriend, David, from South Africa. He is teaching there at Webster University and they have been livin gin Hua Hin for 2 years. She was kind enough to invite me to their home and give me a place to stay. This resulted in me staying here much longer than most backpackers would stay in Hua Hin. They were so nice, we spent the days going to the beaches, hanging out with their Thai friends, other foreign teachers, riding bikes, eating seafood, noodle soup and other yummy cuisine, and just hanging out . They were so lovely and it was a nice thing for me to be in a home and be able to relax in one place for a bit. Plus their puppy, named 'Puppy' was just to adorable with it's cone on her head from her recent neutering!

After thanking them for letting me crash at their place and for showing me around Hua Hin, I got a over night bus ticket to arrive in Phuket (pronounced Foo-ket , in case you were wondering!) I chose to go to Phuket because my good friend Jenna who is in the Navy was going to be in port there and we go the chance to meet up. How cool right, a friend since middle school and we are meeting up on two very different kind of trips...in Thailand!! Once there, I met up with Jenna and was introduced to her friends, and from there the Navy 'In port' adventure began. Quite a different pace from my normal travel style, Jenna and her friends had about 48 hours to enjoy Phuket and Thailand, and they were aware that definitely ISN'T enough!! We ended up walking around the town, trying some cuisine, trying the beer, going to get them custom tailored suits (a very popular thing for people to do when they come to SE Asia because it is so much cheaper), and that was just the first day. We ended up spoiling ourselves some more, and Jenna was kind enough to spoil me (THANK YOU JENNA!!!). That night we went out on the town of Phuket, which basically meant the one pedestrian street full of bars, parties, restaurants, and many many other things. The next day was spent relaxing and recuperating and getting Thai massages. The 48 hours we spent together in port were definitely memorable, and I had a great time seeing my friend while traveling abroad. Cheers to more stories chica!

After the whirlwind pace of Phuket, I once again headed off by myself south toward Krabi. I stayed on the remote beach of Rai Leh, which was accessible only by boat although it was on the main land. This beach was absolutely gorgeous and a great place to walk up and down the beach and watch the avid rockclimbers scale the 100's of feet cliffs on the beach. The limestone formed cliffs here are just surreal to look at, and make for an unforgettable and unique beach scene. I was running short of days for my visa, and only had two full days to enjoy Rai Leh. My fullest day I spent on an excursion, which was a blast! We started off by heading on the boat to Bamboo beach, a white sand beach a few miles off the coast. We got to swim and check out the local huts on the beach and see the tsunami evacuation route. From there, we headed to a Pirate cave (!) yes used previously by pirates or just people looking to hide out, and monkey bay. After that to Maya Beach. Maya beach is where they filmed the Hollywood movie "The Beach" made off the popular travelers book. I read the book at the beginning of this trip and I thought this island was quite a good fit, beautiful crystal blue waters, white sands, a small cove, jungle-inland etc... it was gorgeous, packed with tourists, but gorgeous. From there we headed to the popular island of Koh Phi Phi, iconic Southern Thailand. I know I keep repeating myself, but this beach was gorgeous too! Plus I had random groups of Asian tourist come and ask to take pics with me on their camera, and then on mine. Offshore of Phi Phi, we did our first snorkel spot. I LOVE snorkeling, it is so awesome. It also helps when the visibility is about 20 feet in every direction, and I felt like I was diving in the movie 'Finding Nemo.' I saw a puffer fish, anemones, the black and white 'scarfish', huge schools of fish that ate bread and anything else you threw them, coral beds, and much much more. I was the first one in the water and the last one out both times, it was just too pretty!! From Phi Phi we headed back to Krabi and Rai Leh beach, at about 4pm, plenty of time to swim and lounge at the Rai Leh beach until I got to see the repetitively spectacular sunsets! Ahhhh, I see why people get stuck in the South of Thailand and never leave...but I had to be going.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave your comment and show your love here: