Koh Lanta, Thailand

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Koh Lanta island was amazing. Definitely my favorite spot we went to in the islands. It's not touristy like all the other well known areas, but almost everyone still spoke English so it was very easy to get around.  All the islands are incredibly gorgeous, but Koh Lanta was gorgeous and laid back so perfect for me.

We stayed at the best hostel - Lanta New Beach Bungalow. We stayed right on the beach for about $8 a night. The sun was starting to set when we arrived so we just played around and watched it. I promise that photo isn't edited one bit. 

The view of our hostel in the daylight. 

The first day we were there we rented scooters and rode around the island. They drive on the left here so that was a little scary to get used to but we all made it out alive. It was actually my favorite day of the trip in the islands. That's a gas station below. They basically have a sign with handwritten "gasoline" for 40 baht (a little over a dollar) and then glass bottles sitting out full of gas and you buy per bottle and they dump it in your bike. 

I pretty much just took the lead because I felt pretty comfy with the craziness of the way they drive. It was the same as how they drive in China....except even a little safer. I saw a sign on the side of the road that said handmade jewelry so we decided to check it out. We just went down the road and it was the forest area with a couple houses and families hanging outside. We found the house that was selling jewelry and we stepped in to see a beautiful thai women with long dark hair and a foreigner sitting there with her. While we looked through her jewelry talked to the foreigner and found out more about her. Her name was Cookie...from Germany and she was just taking lessons that day from the lady on how to polish the stones for the jewelry. Her boyfriend was there too and his name was Klaus from Austria. They were just traveling around. It was the coolest moment to sit in this little hut and talk to them and the Thai women. Just one of those unexpected moments that only a traveler could understand. 

We stopped for water at this little stand and this lady and her sweet daughter talked to us for a minute.

One of the best things about Thailand are the fresh fruit smoothies! There was quite a few Muslims living in Koh Lanta and they would do the prayers during the day over a loud speaker over the city. That was pretty cool to see.

We ate at a restaurant that turned out to be food from Myanmar they said. They weren't open yet but they hurried and opened for us and even had our food out within minutes. I ordered my meal first and it was on the table before the last person ordered.  They also gave us free appetizers and fruit for after the meal. The dinner was so yummy! Super good and super spicy even though I ordered the least of the spicy levels. I'm a super wimp. On Maddie's plate she got these weird puffy chip things...not sure what they were. They did not taste good though! She put them to the side of her plate and the cook asked if she didn't like them. To not be rude she said, "Oh no they're good. I'll eat them later." And the woman goes, "Ok. I give you more. Why not?" And then she brings over a huge bowl of them for us to share. Awesome. And I can't stop saying how nice the Thai are. Seriously...the nicest. 

That night rode our scooters to a nearby beach to watch the sunset again. After it set, we decided to go night swimming (and when I say night swimming I really mean skinny dipping).  We stripped down and all ran in the water. About 30 seconds after we all got in Leslie suddenly shot straight out the water and started yelling and running back to the beach. I felt this sting on my leg kinda like a few bee stings and then Mallory started running to the beach too so I knew something was up. We threw on our clothes and ran to where there was a shop that had a light and looked at our skin. Leslie had big red bumps all over her torso and was itching and painful at the same time. As fast as we could (earlier that day Nicole had had a little scooter accident and hurt her ankle so she was limping through the sand to keep up with us) we got back to our scooters.  We were going so fast trying to get Leslie help that I didn't even put my bra back on. I just hung it on the handle of my scooter so I was driving around with my bra just flying on the handle bar. We were a hot mess. We went to the nearest 7/11 hoping they could help us. We all ran inside and asked the clerks if they could speak English...but they couldn't. They probably thought we were crazy, American girls, soaking wet, and scanning the isles for...something. We didn't even know what we were looking for.  A woman walked in about a minute after us and we asked if she spoke English. She did! Kind of.  We did some charades trying to explain what happened, showing her Leslie's body and when she understood the look on her face was like "ooooooooooh no!" So that was a little terrifying. She said it was a jellyfish that stung her so she grabbed something from the medicine isle, opened it, and started rubbing it all over her body. It smelled like Vicks vapor rub or something like that. The jellyfish had wrapped all over her torso so the woman was like rubbing up her shirt, in her belly button...all over right in the middle of 7/11 in front of the cashier area.  We were like half laughing, half scared to death.  She told Leslie to go to bed and if it was bad tomorrow to go to the doctor. It worked! By the morning you could barely see any marks on her.  #donttellcasey

Another restaurant we ate at was a little less on the clean side.  We always walked by this stand this old man would wave at us to come in so one morning we decided to just go ahead and eat there. 

So...this was him taking our order and then serving the food.  I ordered french toast because that sounded like the safest bet. Luckily no one got sick. 

The next day we did a trip where they take you to 4 islands for the day - for about $20. So glad we did that because it was awesome. Our boat driver was the radest. He didn't speak any English so we had no idea where they were taking us. 

It was so fun though. They took us around to a couple cool islands and we snorkeled a little. Then on the third island they handed us all life jackets and took our snorkels away and told us to jump in and pointed towards the island. We were like uhhhhh say what? They didn't speak any English so we couldn't ask what we were doing and the water was dark and deep so we were a little uneasy. Trying to swim in a life jacket and ocean waves is not the easiest thing in the world but we made it. There was huge tour boats with ropes that led into a dark cave and just a line of asians holding onto the ropes chanting something. I can't even describe how crazy it was. All we knew was a tour group had put everyone in their tour on a rope that led into the cave and our tour guide just through us in the ocean to fend for ourselves.  We jumped onto the chain of asians and swam our wave through the pitch black cave. 

Eventually we could see a light at the end of the tunnel and it emerged out onto this secluded beach. SO AMAZING! We had no idea where we were going but it did not disappoint when we got there. 

After that they took us to Koh Ngai and had lunch which was the most gorgeous if you forced me to pick a favorite beach. 

Thanks for being the best Koh Lanta. Super impressed. 

Krabi, Thailand

Sunday, May 17, 2015

We flew down to Krabi for the first part of our Thailand islands adventure.  Krabi is insane. You feel like you just stepped into the page for the month of May on one of those cheesy free calendars. Turns out those places really do exist.  First on the to do list after traveling almost 30 hours was mango sticky rice and a thai massage (for a few dollars).  Both were the best choices. 

This cutey below kept us entertained while we waited for our massage. Her mom worked at the store and she just kind of threw her at us when we walked in so......massage in exchange for babysitting? We didn't mind though. When a handful of us walked in I think we were more than they normally get because she immediately made some phone calls and told us to wait. After a bit some girls walked in to give us massages. Maybe she just called some friends to help out? It was good anyways. 

We went to Railay beach which is the place that calendars are made of that I mentioned before. Seriously you can't make these pictures up. Its a really tiny place so we just laid on the beach, swam in the really warm ocean, drank yummy smoothies and then walked around.

So you can't go far without meeting a monkey in Thailand islands. 

The next day we decided to do the Tiger Cave Temple hike which was supposed to have a cool buddha and an incredible view of Krabi. I had researched it and heard it was pretty hot and sweaty but I hike a ton so I kinda figured it would be a breeze...

Yeah so the stairs looked like that. 1260 super steep stairs straight up the mountain!  We were dying. Think about doing the stair stepper in a sauna and that's basically the hike. We were dripping in sweat. It was like okay let's walk 50 stairs and then stop and take another break. And that was pushing it. Leslie even threw up twice when we had about 100 steps to go.  But once we made it to the top...wowza. It was worth it. 

Again monkeys were running the place.

There...proof of the 1260 steps! 

In Krabi we found a restaurant that we fell totally in love with. They had both Thai food and American and were open all day long so of course we ate there every single meal while in Krabi. Don't regret that decision even a bit. 

We went there early for breakfast just after they opened and the cook pretty much rolled out of bed and whipped up our breakfast in her pjs. Cutest.

The owner's name was Kitty and she spoke some English so after we kept showing up meal after meal she started talking to us. She was the best part about going there. The restaurant was just across the street from our hostel so we'd be walking by and if she saw us she'd ask if we were coming in later for food. Of course we were. You know we will Kitty.

On our last meal we told her we were leaving and she came out with a gift for all of us. They were the sweetest little money bags.  The look on her face when she gave them to us was priceless...she was so happy. So glad I snapped this shot because it was the best moment. I think she liked us as much as we liked them.

Krabi you were beautiful....but our next stop Koh Lanta was my favorite. I'll give you photo overload of that island tomorrow!

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