Friday, December 19, 2008

climber's paradise.. .

from koh phangan, we caught a 3-hour boat ride to surat thani and a 2-hour bus ride to ao nang - a nice little shoreline town on the andaman sea. then, we caught a longtail boat with a few other couples to haad tonsai, a nice quiet beach next to the popular railay beach.

here, we found an amazing place to stay, nice restaurants, and pleasant people. we called the andaman nature resort our home for almost a week -- cheap bungalows with an amazing restaurant (it got very popular at night, showing movies 'til 10, and having seating and cushions to lay out on the viewing floor). also, during low tide, we could walk over to railay, a pretty stretch of white sand beach, full of very pricey resorts.

haad tonsai is a climber's paradise. surrounding the waters are large steep cliffs that fall either to the beach below or straight into the ocean. one day, we rented kayaks and navigated through the cliffs and into caves.

one day when playing cribbage at a local restaurant by the shore, we met two other fellows playing as well. we met them (smitty and bruce), and their reading friend val, and spent the rest of the day playing cards and conversing. they were all from brighton in the u.k. and regaled us of tales of beach raves with fatboy slim and their random hatred of beckham. we met up again with them at night to play crib under the waning full moon.

leaving, we still felt like we wanted to return. and, even now, we're trying to figure out a way to get back and are hoping that andaman still has a bungalow for us even thought it's so close to christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

island living. .

after bangkok, josh and i headed for koh tao in search of some island life.
after a long train ride and an EXTREMELY rocky boat ride, we arrived tired and travel-weary on koh tao.
the island was quaint and small, with nice beaches -- but it turned out it was mainly devoted to scuba diving, which we, it turns out, cannot participate in.
after staying a night at a scuba resort, we traveled north to haad sanrei where we found a cheap bungalow close to two of the shore towns. the bungalows were nice and clean and were owned by a lovely motherly lady. we beach bummed a few days, reading and relaxing, and also took a long very steep hike up a mountain to two view (where you can see both shores of the island at once).

also of note in koh tao, i had the most delicious pad si yew i have had since i've come to thailand -- so far, nothing can beat it. (also pictured: josh's american breakfast)

after koh tao, we took a much more pleasant boat ride to koh phangan, where we ended up staying for about a week. koh phangan is a much larger island with more to offer than just scuba diving so we made it our home for a while. we stayed at the awesome haad rin thai resort, where we made friends with the front desk lady, mam. (we even took her out to dinner one night which made for a fun adventure since she spoke little english and we spoke even less thai.) haad rin, the beach we were staying at, was full of restaurants playing illegally copied movies all day long and random party buses cruising the town. we frequented a local bar/restaurant most days and also took a few trips on motorbike to other parts of the island to see other beaches and to check out waterfalls.

overall, it was a little more touristy than we would like, so we packed up and left for krabi.