Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Thailand Part 18 - Puking in Railay

Sunday, March 22nd
And this is the part of the story where everything went horribly wrong. I woke up in the night to the sounds of somebody throwing up in the bathroom. My condolences to whichever one of my friends drank too much. As the night went on, I thought "wow, whoever this is must really not drink very often." That morning, I again got out of bed quickly, ready to hit the pool. As the others stirred, Jaime and Marta admitted that they'd both been throwing up all night. More specifically, "projectile vomiting." They felt terrible, and knew it wasn't just alcohol related. Then, Kimber confessed that she was afraid this might happen. She explained that because Railay is an incredibly secluded place, contained by massive limestone cliffs, the norovirus is known to live there. She said that most people get it when they first arrive there, but then your immune system builds up a tolerance. She'd been hoping that we were all fine, since we'd been there for a few days now with no symptoms. Alas, it got us at the end. Needless to say, I was livid. Besides sharing a room for the past few days, we'd also been sharing drinks and meals and I hadn't taken any precautions to help avoid getting sick. But, two of us had it and at this point in the day, I felt fine. So I got the girls some toast and watermelon from the breakfast buffet and spent my day at the pool in the fresh air.

Check-out was at noon, so as the time approached I went back to the room to check on the others. Entering the room was pretty unpleasant, the air wreaked of stale vomit and the girls did not look good. I turned the AC down, opened the windows, and tried not to breath. It was evident that they were in absolutely no position to leave Railay now. Fortunately, the front desk understood and gave us until 4pm to check-out. And, back to the pool I went.

A few hours later, I ventured back to the room to assess the situation. Jaime was doing a lot better, and had already started packing up her things. We helped get Marta together, as Kimber returned from a day of errands. And, only then, as the three of us were ready to depart, did my stomach decide it was time to start hating me. I puked in the bathroom just as we were leaving the room.

As I mentioned, Railay is only accessible by boat and is not built for car transportation. Thus, we had to schelp down from our hotel to the boat docking station and catch a taxi boat to the nearest town, and then catch a shuttle van to the Krabi airport. En route, I threw up twice on the streets of Thailand. Although I felt absolutely miserable, I was really glad to have my friends with me and really glad to be going home. Jaime, Marta, and I made it to the Krabi airport and spent a very long time sitting on the ground just outside the bathrooms whereas Kimber stayed in Railay. She had another friend from the US joining her later that day and was venturing on to Ko Phi Phi.

Fortunately, the three of us made it to Bangkok without any barfing on the plane. We parted ways with Marta, who was staying the night in downtown Bangkok so she could explore the next day, before her flight back to Barcelona. I'd booked a hotel near the airport because I had a 6:30am flight to Chicago the following day.

Thailand Part 17 - Last Full Day in Railay

Saturday, March 21st

Despite our very late night, I woke up bright and early, in typical Jane fashion, ready to start my day. Why, breakfast on the lanai surrounded by monkeys? I think I will.

monkeys (and humans) loved to climb that cliff
When the other girls woke up they wanted to hike to this hidden lagoon swimming hole. I was a little disenchanted by Kimber's guide capabilities, so opted to stick around the pool/beach while the others explored. In retrospect, I probably should have gone with them.
at the top of the view point

all of Railay

the girls swimming in the lagoon
I was chillin' while they were trekkin'.
They were very ready for a swim when they got back from their trek.
That night we went back to the three bars in Railay to hang out with our fire dancer "friends" and make the most of our last night together.
watching the Muay Tai boxers

"where is Kimber?"

Monday, March 30, 2015

Thailand Part 16 - Relaxing in Railay

Friday, March 20th

After traveling for days and partying it up on a boat, we were all ready for a day of solid Thai relaxation. We started the day at the beach. Railay is teeny tiny, you can get around the whole town by foot. There are two main beaches, divided by a gigantic limestone cliff.
the path between beaches

Jaime and I woke up from our nap surrounded by Chinese tourists snapping photos of us.

That afternoon, we treked to the next beach over to explore. It was a tiny little hippy town, super removed from the rest of the world.
On our way home we stopped and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

That night we ventured out in Railay, made friends with the local fire dancers, and had a great time.
authentic Thai cocktails

the fire dancers picked ME to spin fire around. VIP.

Thailand Part 15 - Railay Beach

Thursday, March 19th

We left Ao Nang early to catch our boat to Railay, our last stop on our journey across Thailand, and Kimber's second home.

the weary crew

homesick yet? Nah.

Railay is famous for the huge limestone cliffs jetting out of the water and all around the mainland. These cliffs make it only accessible by boat, thus very secluded.

limestone cliffs from the boat
Postcard Thailand

so happy to be here

In Railay we stayed at Kimber's go-to, the Putawan Resort. She's a regular and got us a deal for a suite with two bedroom areas, AC, and free breakfast so we'd be comfortable for the next three nights. However, we did not spend much time there before joining up with Kimber's friends and boarding the Krabi Sunset Cruise.

VIP in Railay

Kimber was friends with the boat captain, and knew a lot of others on the tour, so it ended up being a little reunion for her.

Dinner on our sunset cruise

One of the first stops on the cruise is to see Chicken Island.

Rock climbing and cliff jumping
sunset cruise
Perhaps the coolest part of the pirate boat cruise was the bioluminescence you swim with at the end. It's too tough to photograph so I have no proof, but swimming around with it should definitely be on your Thailand bucket list.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Thailand Part 14 - Koh Phangan to Ao Nang

Wednesday, March 18th

DAY OF TRAVEL! We covered a lot of ground by boat, bus, and car this day. It had to be done, and we did it in the cheapest, best, way we could. But, boy oh boy, were we happy when it was over.
from one end of Thailand to the other

way too much AC on the boat to the mainland. My Chicago clothes came in handy.
For dinner in Ao Nang, Kimber's favorite is the Mexican restaurant

In Ao Nang we had trouble finding a suitable guesthouse for four, and ended up staying in a lovely apartment above a nail salon. It was weird, for sure, but complete with AC, a balcony, a nice king sized bed and pull-out couch so nobody had to sleep on the floor.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Thailand Part 13 - Koh Phangan (Thong Nai Pan to

Tuesday, March 17th

After an amazing night's rest, the four girls traveled by boat to another beach on Koh Phanang. Head Yuuan, one of Kimber's favorite spots, filled with lots of super-cheap housing, hippys, and real bad service. Basically, Thai paradise.

journey on a boat
mode of transportation
our home for the next two nights

When we pulled up to our new beach, the surf was pretty high causing me to very graciously get pummeled by a wave. Attempting to keep my bag above my head, the rest of my body was drenched underwater. Furthermore, our room was far from ready for us to check into, so we camped out on the beach to let my stuff dry and soak up some rays... Thai Paradise. 

First, stopping for lunch, and other things you buy at Thai restaurants.

Pina Colada was way too sweet at first taste.
Sometimes you just want to take a quick nap.

The rest of our stay in Head Yuan was very relaxing. We spent most of the time at the beach, and ended the day doing the crossword puzzle with a group of ex-pats who call Thailand home, including the "International Love Doctor." All in all, an experience not to forget. 

Thailand Part 12 - Trust Your Gut in Koh Phanang

Monday, March 16th

Good Morning
The plan for the day was to check out the secret beach, only accessible by boat or foot. Kimber had heard rumors about the "moderate" hike from Haad Khom to Bottle Beach. "Oh, it's just up the hill and around the corner, I'm sure flip flops are fine." Oh, how naive we were. While it was no week-long Grand Canyon hike, this was a very strenuous hike, made 10x more difficult by our inadequate footwear.
map to the Bottle Beach hike. If you're ever in the area.
Texans in Haad Khom (please note our footwear)

at the trail-head, about to start the trek

Treking up the mountain in flip flops. Nobody is happy here.

Bottle beach trail markers

we made it!

Bottle Beach
After fresh coconuts, lunch, swimming in the ocean, and napping on the beach. We're all smiles on the boat back to our beach.

Thailand Part 11 - Koh Samui to Koh Phanang

Sunday, March 14th

Matt, Kimber, and I spent the morning visiting the Big Buddha statue, and taking care of a few travel errands as we packed up our things in Koh Samui.
very big Buddha on Koh Samui

pre-ferry boat beers on Koh Samui
Ready to board the ferry to Koh Phanang
 The plan was for us to meet Jaime and Marta at the boat dock on Koh Samui so the five of us could ride together to Koh Phanang. We waited for a bit, but neither of them arrived.
our ride
 Just as we were about to depart, I see a blonde girl with a gigantic purple backpack, wearing flip flops and yoga pants, running up to the boat. I say, "JAIME!" Kimber and I run up and go to the boat entrance, but she's nowhere to be found. We walk back around to the front of the boat while I'm thinking, "she was just there!" Eventually, we make it back to our seats to find Matt and Jaime chatting away. Long story short, she JUST made it!
on the boat. Jaime barely made it!
 We arrived in Koh Phanang, still uncertain of Marta's whereabouts. Knowing she'll figure it out, the four of us boarded a songthaew and headed north to our next destination.

She made it!

the front yard of our guest house in Koh Phanang
 In Koh Phanang, we spent two nights at the Baan Panburi Village at Yai Beach. It was beautiful. Not long after we checked in, Marta joined us. One thing learned with international travel, just meet at the hotel.

All of us together
beach time in Thailand

Sunset, our first night all together.