Posts in Thailand

Post 11: Ko Samui

SawadiKaaaaaa* (Hello in Thai with extra emphasis)!

Our ferry arrived in Ko Samui at 9:30 AM on Tuesday morning. A bit groggy from sleeping the entire time, we managed to find our bags and exit the boat. When we arrived at the port we were immediately surrounded by the usual suspects (the hollering taxi drivers), before we found a tuk-tuk sent by our hotel. We hopped onboard, and within 10 minutes had arrived at our last hotel in Thailand, Lanna Resort.

Ferry from Ko Tao to Ko Samui
Daniel sitting on the ferry from Ko Tao to Ko Samui.

 

Tuk Tuk to Lanna Resort in Ko Samui
Tuk Tuk ride to Lanna Resort from the ferry port in Ko Samui.

The hotel was beautiful! It kind of reminded me of a more modern Palm Springs hotel, with all of the rooms surrounding one enormous pool. We checked in with a man named Alex at reception and were show to our room; a little studio type space with all white evrerything (walls, linnens, floors, couch, TV, etc.). The room smelled like vanilla with a hint of lemongrass—so delicious. We put our stuff away, changed into bathing suits and headed to the pool cafe for one of the best hotel breakfast’s yet. Then we spent the rest of the morning/afternoon reading, researching, and swimming. I’d like to share that I finally finished the book I was reading, Skippy Dies, which left me with a sense of profound accomplishment as I’d actually managed to finish a book that made me want to light myself on fire for the majority of the time I was reading it (I can’t say I’d recommend it).

Lanna Resort Studio Room in Ko Samui
Our all white studio room at the Lanna Resort.
Lanna Resort Room Interior Design Detail in Ko Samui
All white everything room detail.
Lanna Pool in Ko Samui
Relaxing at the Lanna pool in Ko Samui—not enjoying “Skippy Dies.”

For the sunset we went to a bar called Sunset Bar (so cliche) and had surprisingly good mojitos. Then we took a taxi to Chaweng, the busier side of the island to get dinner. Chaweng had all the usual tourist stands and attractions, but here more than anywhere else I noticed that there were an abundance of well-dressed men (drip-sweating because who wears a suit in this humidity?) peddeling their tailoring services. We found an authentic looking Italian restaurant on Trip Advisor, called Duomo and decided to go there. The food was insanely delicious and surprisingly authentic, it was even managed by an Italian guy named Giuseppe (just kidding, I never got his name, but he looked like a Giuseppe if I’ve ever seen one). We ordered a cuatro stagioni pizza (eighty-six the ham) and a pesto linguini—we’d highly recommend both!

Sunset Bar in Ko Samui
The aptly named Sunset Bar for viewing sunsets in Ko Samui.
Buddha over the Ocean at Sunset Bar in Ko Samui
Watching the sunset at Sunset Bar over the water.
Sundowners at SunsetBar in Ko Samui
Mojito sundowers to watch the sunset.

After dinner we found one of those doctor fish foot spas, the ones where the fish allegedly eat the dead skin off your feet, and I decided we had to do it before we left. So we negotiated with the owner of “The Foot Spa” to let us go together for half the price (I think he was so confused by our offer that he finally just agreed). I can honestly say that this was one of the weirdest experiences of my life. The feeling of multiple fish sucking on my feet was a combination of surprise, tickling, pain, and disgust (or that last one may have just been for me). Daniel and I asked the guy to record us, and well you can see our reactions in the video, but we pretty much giggled like school girls. After that we went back to the hotel, showered, and went to sleep.

Dr Fish Foot Spa in Ko Samui
Kiss fish, aka garra rufa, aka doctor fish, aka nibble fish, aka kangal fish—by far the weirdest sensation I’ve ever paid for.
Dr Fish Foot Spa in Ko Samui
Doctor Fish foot sucking = weirdest feeling ever! I’m freakin’ out here.
Dr Fish Foot Spa in Ko Samui
“Fishermen Village’s Dr. Fish”—silly sign for a silly feeling.

Yesterday morning we slept in (probably the result of sleeping in a bed that depresses when you lie on it), went for breakfast, and then went to the pool. We spent the afternoon relaxing, swimming, and brainstorming. I’m finally back to feeling creative after months of being stuck, so now ideas are flowing out of me like the Nile—I couldn’t be happier.

Alligator Float at the Lanna Pool in Ko Samui
For some this may be a crocodile float—for others it is the portal to a place called Carrot World. I love a cool pool float.

Last night we went to the beach for our final Thailand sunset, found lounge chairs at a restaurant/bar called Secret Garden (wifi password happypeople12345), and ordered a few happy hour drinks. The sunset was yet again, absolutely stunning. As we were drinking, a man passed by on the beach holding a red, heart-shaped paper lantern (or “lucky balloon” as they call them here), and we decided to buy it. (Side note: I was so excited for the Full Moon party on Ko Phangan because all the photos show the sky full of lanterns—not red, heart-shaped ones—however, we never saw a single one there… I’m assuming it’s because they banned them.) When the sky got dark we lit our lucky balloon and watched it float up into the sky, along with a few others, until it disappeared. Satisfied, because I felt like I’d done all the random things one needs to do while in Thailand, we went up onto the restaurant deck for a lovely last dinner. After dinner we went back to the hotel and went to sleep.

Lucky Balloon Paper Lantern in Ko Samui
The man selling a red, heart-shaped paper lantern (or “lucky balloon” as they call them here).
Lucky Balloon Paper Lantern in Ko Samui
The process of lighting the paper lantern requires a moment of sitting and waiting for the lantern to get hot enough aka waiting until your fingers burn.

This morning we woke up and went down for our last authentic Thai breakfast—a bagel, schemer, lox, onions (basil leaves and green olives?). Then we packed up the room and took a taxi to the Ko Samui airport. I spent the plane ride writing this post and now we’re in the Bangkok airport waiting to board our flight to Hong Kong. I’m not so sure what the Internet will be like there, with all the firewalls and what not, but we’ll find a way to keep the posts coming.

Authentic Thai Breakfast in Ko Samui
Our last authentic Thai breakfast—a bagel, schemer, lox, onions (basil leaves and green olives?)
Ko Samui Airport
Us about to board or flight in Ko Samui to go to Bangkok.

Thanks everyone for all of your support and for following along with our travels.

KapKunKaaaaaaaaaaa* (Thank You in Thai with extra emphasis, courtesy of the *Scott Jacks School of International Language)

LJ + DS

Post 10: Ko Tao

Howdy Doody!?!

We haven’t been updating the last few days because we really haven’t done much here. Ko Tao has been pure relaxation, lots of swimming, reading and eating. The Amanjirah Resort, where we are staying here, is located on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean (spectacular), however it is not so conveniently located. It’s about a 20 minute walk to town down some very rugged, very hilly “roads”.

Sunset over ocean  in Ko Tao
Jumping Jaxy—from this infinity pool overlooking the scuba divers in the Ko Tao sea.

On Friday night, our first night here, we opted to stay at the hotel for dinner. We had a decent meal overlooking the sea and retired early. As I mentioned before, our first room here was decent but both of us are pretty sure it was not a real room (it was located directly behind the reception desk, and I’m pretty sure they store stuff in the room when people are not saying in there—but that’s besides the point).

Saturday morning we woke up, ate breakfast down by the pool, and moved rooms to our ocean view bungalow aka “Sunset Ocean Dream” as it’s called here—a definite upgrade (especially since we are paying the equivalent of $75 for a room that costs $140 per night), not so bad! That morning we read an article on Business Insider about a new trend emerging among teenage girls who create videos about their morning routines. Considering that we have nothing but time on our hands, and have both reverted to being teenage girls, we decided to make one ourselves.

Breakfast ocean view  Ko Tao
Breakfast at the pool overlooking the ocean in Ko Tao.

In the early afternoon we went to the infinity pool, swam, read and ate lunch. We met a Dutch couple (who live in Amsterdam and host on Airbnb) in the pool and they introduced us to Coconut Shakes here. All my life I’ve pretty much detested all forms of coconut aside from coconut water—but these coconut shakes are the most magical and most delicious shakes of all time, I’ve become absolutely addicted over the past few days. With coconut shakes in hand, we watched the sunset.

My Happy Place—reading over a spectacular sunset, coconut shake in hand.
My Happy Place—reading over a spectacular sunset, coconut shake in hand.
View from the "Sunset Ocean Dream" balcony in Ko Tao.
View from the “Sunset Ocean Dream” balcony in Ko Tao.

For dinner we decided to be “adventurous” and leave the hotel. We used the headlamps we had packed in our bags to navigate the hilly, gravely, roads until we found our way into town. The town was cute, unlike Ko Phangan it didn’t feel overly touristy or loud. We found a little Italian restaurant (which for some reason feels weird for an island in Thailand) called Farango Pizza and decided to eat there. The food was great! We also had our first glasses of wine in over a month (pretty sure it came from a box even though they insisted it came from a bottle).  After dinner we walked down to the strip of beach bars to check out the scene.  Exhausted from a tough day, we schlepped back up the hills to our hotel.

Farango Pizza Italian Restaurant  Ko Tao
Our meal at Farango Pizza on Ko Tao—greek pizza, peso pasta, (boxed) red wine.

Sunday morning we woke up, ate breakfast, and had virtually the same day at the pool as we did the day before. At dinner time we walked back into town, but this time headed to a sushi restaurant we spotted the night before, called Oishi Kaiso.  The food was great (we’d been missing sushi for almost as long as wine). After dinner we ran into someone we met on the beach in Ko Phangan—who also got stung but the jellyfish larval or sea lice—before going back to our hotel.

Oishi Kaiso Japanese food on Ko Tao
Oishi Kaiso Japanese food on Ko Tao—bright roll, oishi roll, ginger bucket.
This was our view while we ate dinner at Oishi Kaiso. Cat on a leash with a pink food dispenser. Cat looked miserable.
This was our view while we ate dinner at Oishi Kaiso. Cat on a leash with a pink food dispenser. Cat looked miserable.

Monday morning (yesterday) we woke up a bit later than usual and brought our breakfast from the pool back into our air-conditioned bungalow. We spend the early afternoon reading in the room before walking into town (so wild and crazy of us). We found a restaurant on the beach called Island Resort that served edible food and then found a place to rent paddle boards for 200 Baht ($7). Paddle boarding was awesome because the water here is crystal clear and there are coral reefs everywhere you look. For those of you who don’t know, Ko Tao is a scuba divers paradise—almost all of the people we’ve spoken to on this island have come here to get scuba certified.

Daniel the entomologist studying the different sizes of ants and how they behave, on our way to town.
Daniel the entomologist studying the different sizes of ants and how they behave, on our way to town.
Standup Paddle Board in Ko Tao
Standup Paddle Boarding—”Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath,”
Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Ko Tao
Daniel stand up paddle boarding for the first time.

One thing that we noticed here is that there are tons of horizontal/bent palm trees that seem to be uprooted and growing parallel to the ground, except for the last three feet which are bent upwards towards the sky—very unique.  After we spent the afternoon standing on the ocean, we hustled with a taxi-truck driver to take us back to our hotel. The drivers on Ko Tao are extremely lazy, as in they sit in a line of beach chairs on the street and wait for people to come offer to overpay them before they so much as acknowledge you.

Bent Palm Tree Ko Tao
One of the many horizontal/bent palm trees that seem to be uprooted and growing parallel to the ground, except for the last three feet which are bent upwards towards the sky—very unique.
Another bent palm tree in Ko Tao.
Another bent palm tree in Ko Tao.

Back at the hotel we resumed our daily activities of swimming, lounging, reading, and enjoying the spectacular sunset. We have some serious footage of the sunsets here—it’s magnificent. We ate dinner at the hotel pool (I fed a decent amount of my food to one of the stray cats  meandering around the table) and came back to our room to pack up and try to get an early night’s rest.

Today (Tuesday) it’s 5:30 AM—way too early for those of us who haven’t needed to be up early in over a month—and we are taking a taxi-truck down to the pier to catch a 6:30 AM ferry to Ko Samui (our last island).

Sunset  in Ko Tao ocean
Our last sunset from this amazing view in the infinity pool in Ko Tao.

TTFN

xx

LJ + DS

Part 9: Full Moon Party and Ko Tao

Last night was wild.

After our festive dinner at Little Israel, we headed over to HaBait to check out the Purim party, however, since we only got there at 11 PM, most people had already left for Haad Rin beach. So Daniel and I said goodbye to the people who ran the place, bought a bucket, and headed for the Full Moon party.—I know we keep saying it gets more packed everyday, but last night was beyond words, they said there were between ten and twenty thousand people on the beach…total insanity.

Purim Party costumes double as Full Moon Party costumes. Us at Habait.
Purim Party costumes double as Full Moon Party costumes. Us at Habait.
Full Moon Party Face Paint
Welcome to the original Full Moon Party on Ko Phangan!

Full Moon party is basically a massive children’s birthday party (with a few adult modifications). All over the beach you can buy beach buckets (filled with alcohol), you can jump rope (rope dipped in kerosine ablaze with fire), you can play games (these also involve fire), you can get someone to paint your face and body (this gets quite raunchy), you can pee in the ocean (most people are too drunk to go to a bathroom), you can strip completely and roll in the shallow waves (doesn’t have the same cute connotation as when you’re a kid). The whole experience is definitely a trip, it’s kind of like a massive spring break on steroids. Every bar at the beach blasts their own music and has their own vibe, and everywhere you look you see neon. From the moment we got to the beach there were already people falling over themselves because they were too drunk. We found one guy that Daniel had some serious fun following with the GoPro—he was a mess.

Later on, we started to hear rumblings of people getting pick pocketed and decided to snap a few more photos before taking all of our possessions back to the hotel for safe keeping. Once we deposited our stuff, we headed back to the beach to party. Throughout the night we met a string of characters, too many to describe in detail, but it was throughly entertaining. Around 3 AM we walked to one side of the beach to sit down. After sitting for a while I turned to my right and realized I was sitting directly next to Graham (a friend I worked at Airbnb with for two years)… I mean of all ten/twenty thousand people on that beach what are the odds?—well actually Daniel worked this out last night. (Backstory: the night before, Graham had messaged me, but we realized it would probably be impossible to meet up at Full Moon and never really entertained the thought any further). Such a small world.

Look who we ran into on Haad Rin beach for Full Moon Party!—Graham, a friend/co-worker from Airbnb.
Look who we ran into on Haad Rin beach for Full Moon Party!—Graham, a friend/co-worker from Airbnb.

For the remainder of the night, we danced, walked, drank, people watched, and waited for the sun to rise (which it eventually did at 6:20 AM). After that we headed back to or hotel, put in earplugs (because the hotel’s next door neighbors host the monthly Full Moon after party which starts at 7 AM), and passed out until 11:30 AM. I hate to say it but I think we’re past or prime with regards to pulling all nighters.

We took a open taxi-truck to the Haad Rin pier and boarded the high-speed Lomprayah ferry to Ko Tao. On the ferry we listened to Serial (podcast) to keep ourselves awake. We arrived in Ko Tao around 2:30 and were picked up by our hotel and driven to the Amanjirah Resort. The place is beautiful with an infinity pool that looks right over the ocean! When we booked the room a few weeks back, we selected “The Mystery” option on their website, which means you basically roll the dice and take your chance at ending up in any room from a private pool villa to a budget room for a fixed price. Tonight we are staying in a nice room, but the next three nights it looks like we hit the jackpot with a really nice sea view room.

The high-speed Lomprayah ferry to Ko Tao.
The high-speed Lomprayah ferry to Ko Tao.
Lomprayah Pier in Ko Tao
Taxi-hunters madness on the Ko Tao pier, right after getting off the ferry.
Aminjirah Hotel Room Mystery
We booked “The Mystery” at Aminjirah Hotel. This is our room for tonight.

This afternoon we ate a late lunch (our first real meal in a while), and went for a dip in the pool—beyond refreshing; it’s humid as can be here. Daniel took a nap while I did some writing. Then we came to the pool to watch the sunset—it was spectacular, obviously. We’ve seen two consecutive sunsets and a sunrise now—we definitely won’t make it for tomorrow sunrise.

Ko Tao Sunset Infinity pool
“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss os many of them.”–We managed two consecutive sunsets and a sunrise.

Sorry for the lack of excitement in today’s post, the lack of sleep is finally wearing on me.

Ok tootles.

Part 8: Ko Phangan

Chag Purim Sameach!

Wednesday, yesterday, we decided to take a little day trip to a place called Thongsala, per our friend Steve’s recommendation. We got into a taxi aka the back of a truck and drove, or rather gunned it, for 30 minutes up and down some serious hills to get there. In the back of the truck we met two guys from Germany who told us places to go in Ko Tao (our next island). When we arrived we decided to go for lunch at a place called “Clean Vegetarian Restaurant”. Now I’m not sure if the owners of the place thought that Clean Vegetarian Restaurant sounded like a cool name, but I can assure you this place was the opposite of vegetarian and definitely not clean. We opened a menu, the size of a children’s book (complete with lots of colorful pictures), to find pages and pages of pork dishes. We finally found a small section that said Vegetarianism and ordered from there. The food was good, but nothing special, especially since Daniel found two hairs in his (is hair vegetarian?).

Vegetarian Restaurant Thailand
“Clean Vegetarian Restaurant” – aka lots of meat with a side of hair.

After lunch we wandered around the streets for a bit, went to a shop Steve told us to go to run by an Indian man named Hit, and then went to haggle with some of the local vendors to buy Full Moon attire (neon clothing) for Purim and Full Moon party. After about two hours we decided to take another truck-taxi back to Haad Rin beach. The ride back reminded me of the way taxi drivers in Buenos Aires drive—fast, furious, and with no regard for other drivers or people on or near the road. We were thrilled when the ride was over.

We spent the majority of the day back at Haad Rin beach hanging out in the ocean—the water was much calmer than the day before, however the beach was twice as packed. It’s amazing how the number of people in Haad Rin has at least doubled everyday since we’ve been here because everyone is starting to come for the Full Moon party. When we left the beach I couldn’t help but notice a local vendor selling rad tie dye print clothing. Long story short we decided to be Hippies for Purim.

We came back to Little Israel, changed into our Purim costumes, applied some body paint and went down to the beach to watch the sunset and the Israelis. I don’t think I’ve mentioned his yet, but the Israeli girls here make my photo game look weak. These girls spend all day taking hundreds of modeling shots on the beach, regardless of the fact that their friends all take the exact same shots. It is quite possibly one of the most entertaining things to watch…ever. I’m pretty sure competitive posing and modeling will at some point be considered a national past time for Israel.

Chag Purim Sameach—Hippies were as creative as we could get because the only clothing for sale on Ko Phangan is neon or tie dye. Also an Israeli friend at the Cocohut directed this photoshoot (with the sunset in front of us).
Chag Purim Sameach—Hippies were as creative as we could get because the only clothing for sale on Ko Phangan is neon or tie dye. Also an Israeli friend at the Cocohut directed this photoshoot (with the sunset in front of us).
Ko Phangan Sunset Full Moon Costumes
Hippies for Purim
Full Moon Party clothing  Ko Phangan
Jumping Jaxy—Full Moon/Purim attire in Ko Phangan for good measure.

After sunset we walked over to Habait HaYisrael for a Megillah reading (it had nothing on you Peretz). Turns out Daniel and I were the only people there in costume (not that I mind as I love any opportunity to dress up). We later learned that even though the Megillah was read, the actual Purim party was moved to Thursday night (the same night as the Full Moon party) because of Buddha Day. As I mentioned before, no one is allowed to sell alcohol or throw parties on Buddha Day, and if they get caught doing so, they will receive a 22,000 Baht ($7,300) fine. So, we hung out at Habait for a few hours and had another amazing dinner. While eating we met a Swedish chick who lives in Israel named Naomi. She told us about the northern part of Ko Phangan, much more of a yogi/hippie vibe up there and about a yoga retreat she did in Ko Samui—sounds awesome. Then we chatted with Steve for a while about Full Moon party before leaving to go to Haad Rin beach.

The beach was fuller than any other night, but eerily quiet without any music playing. As we walked down the beach it was the first time we could really hear people talking—so many different accents here it’s crazy. Over the beach, we went back to our room to pass out.

This morning we woke up and went to breakfast. The breakfast bar was so much more full than it’d been every other day. Another observation I’ve made about the Israelis is that they eat bread at breakfast like it’s going out of style. In the middle of every table, whether there are two people or six people, is a plate of bread (about half a loaf, no exaggeration) stacked pretty high. Such an interesting thing. Go gluten.

We spent the afternoon working on Say it with a Sock and then went back to Habait for lunch. No new restaurants ever (I mean we found a place that serves delicious food with a great atmosphere and nice people, so why chance it with hairy food). After lunch we went to a very very full Haad Rin beach and got in the water on our floats. All of a sudden we started feeling stinging sensations everywhere, as did many of the people around us. We got out of the water, skin burning and turning red, from either jellyfish larval or sea lice (gross). As we sat back down on the beach, all the people surrounding us told us they left the water for the same reason. We decided to call it a day at the beach and head back to our pool.

Last sunset aka last Israeli modeling competition in Ko Phangan.
Last sunset aka last Israeli modeling competition in Ko Phangan.

We watched our last sunset in Ko Phangan and scouted for the future Miss Israel pageant—the jury is still out on the winner.

Tonight we had a Full Moon dinner at Little Israel, which entailed a decked out dinning area complete with a DJ booth made to look like a boat and a very earnest welcoming committee of staff ready to give out lei’s made of Styrofoam and purple flowers.

Now we’re headed back to HaBait for a Purim party, and then to Haad Rin beach for the Full Moon party.

We’ll give you all the details in the next post!

Xx

 

LJ + DS

Part 7: Ko Phanang

Happy Buddha Day! (I just learned about this holiday last night, which recognizes nine full months after Buddha reached Enlightenment, but to tourists it really just means a day where almost all places don’t sell alcohol).

No alcohol in Thailand on Buddah day
Buddha Day – no alcohol sign in 7-Elephant.

Sunday was a day of planes, trains and automobiles (minus the planes and trains and add in a ferry and a high speed boat).  We got up early (at 7:45 am) and boarded a two and a half hour ferry to Krabi. From Krabi we took ten minute taxi van to a double decker bus. We took the double decker bus two and a half hours (driving under 30 mph the entire time) to Don Sak Pier, where we waited an hour because the high speed ferry was delayed—thank goodness for the Serial podcast. At 4:00 PM we boarded the two hour high speed ferry and headed for Ko Phanang. Mid way though the ride someone’s backpack (from the pile where they make you store your bags when you get on) flew off the boat and the crew just kind of shrugged—I can only imagine how frustrated the owner of that pack must have been when they arrived because there is definitely no such thing as luggage insurance on these boats. When we finally arrived on the island we took a twenty five minute taxi van and then a five minute truck ride to our hotel the Coco Hut. All I can say is I was definitely glad that this was where we landed after such a long schlep. The place is magnificent!

Sunset view from the CoCo Hunt upon our arrival.
Sunset view from the CoCo Hunt upon our arrival.

The hotel is run by an Israeli and is basically little Israel—you hear more Hebrew than any other language here (I keep waiting for Adam Sandler to make a surprise entrance as the Zohan). We checked in and were shown to our room, a fantastic modern bungalow with an insane view. The only catch is that a bungalow with a view requires climbing A LOT of stairs. As in, we feel like we are climbing the 306 steps up Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, so basically our bungalow is a temple that requires an act of great strength and meditation to get to.

The view from our bungalow at the top of the world's tallest staircase.
The view from our bungalow at the top of the world’s tallest staircase.
Stairs up to our bungalow wat.
The stairs up to our bungalow make us feel like we are climbing the 306 steps up Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, so basically our bungalow is a temple that requires an act of great strength and meditation to get to.

Delighted with our accommodation we realized we were starving from not eating a real meal all day. We walked to the town and found a restaurant with Israeli food—quite a nice change from everyday Thai food.

I know that earlier I touched on the notion that I was not designed to carry a backpack, but I really wasn’t joking. I must have done something really bad because my lower back was in a bad way the whole day of travel. Sitting and lying down every which way I tried on all the busses, boats, and taxis was a struggle, so after dinner I decided a back massage was in order. For 300 Baht ($9) an older Thai woman named Gidt was able to change my life. I showed her where I was in pain and she proceeded to give me the works. It was definitely the most unconventional massage I’ve ever had but I’d do it again in a heartbeat. She performed moves* (that I’ve named myself) like Santa’s Sleigh, Flappy Bird, the Elephant Dancer, Snap Crackle Pop, and Surprise I’m Standing On Your Back like a true champion. I now know what a dog feels like when it’s getting trained. Gidt would tell me to do something. I would proceed to move myself into every imaginable position I thought she might want me to move into, only to be corrected again and again. I had her in tears laughing at me, but I don’t care because after that massage I felt like a new person. Later that night we walked the beach where the full moon party takes place and watched the poi shows. Then we went back to our hotel, ascended the steps to our personal temple and passed out.

7-Elephant (an interesting approach at 7-11) .
7-Elephant (an interesting approach at 7-11) .
Many of the bucket booths have people's names on them, like Johnrambo and Anna (but we wouldn't have gone to Anna because she was tweezing her leg hairs over the buckets).
Many of the bucket booths have people’s names on them, like Johnrambo and Anna (but we wouldn’t have gone to Anna because she was tweezing her leg hairs over the buckets).
One of the many bucket bars. This is one of like 40 named Sara.
One of the many bucket bars. This is one of like 40 named Sara.

Monday we woke up, ate an Israeli breakfast, and went down to the beach. We may as well be in Israel with all of the cucumbers, Israeli music, Hebrew and matkot down here. It’s amazing how much more Israeli than Thai this place feels (all the restaurants serve hummus, schnitzel, Israeli salad, in addition to Thai food—they definitely know their audience).

Ko Phanang beach aka Little Israel.
Ko Phanang beach aka Little Israel.
"the University of Timbuktu never existed —the only thing that existed in Timbuktu was a beach bar hut." Shake your coconuts at the Coco Hut in Ko Phangan.
“the University of Timbuktu never existed —the only thing that existed in Timbuktu was a beach bar hut.” Shake your coconuts at the Coco Hut in Ko Phangan.
CocoHut - volleyball courts sponsored by Swatch?  (which no one seems to play on).
CocoHut – volleyball courts sponsored by Swatch? (which no one seems to play on).

After a day of chilling at the hotel we went back into town and had dinner at the Israeli restaurant called Habayit HaYisraeli. Our Thai waiter asked us in Hebrew what we wanted to order—so funny. We had a lovely meal and then decided to lay in the hammocks in the restaurant and digest. At some point we met a guy from Brooklyn named Steve, who has been living here for two years running a company called Sababa Tours from inside of Habait HaYisraeli. Steve is kind of like the glue in this very transient island life atmosphere. He’s just constantly networking trying to connect people with each other to go to parties and such. He told us some cool places to go on the island and introduced us to Avivit (from Israel-obviously). We hung out with them for a bit and later ended up at Haad Rin beach again to watch the entertainment.

Habayit HaYisraeli restaurant vibe.
Habait HaYisraeli restaurant vibe.
Us at Habayit HaYisraeli in a hammock with Steve of Sababa Tours and Avivit (from Israel).
Us at Habait HaYisraeli in a hammock with Steve of Sababa Tours and Avivit (from Israel). We took this photo cause Steve said this selfie would do wonders for us.

At the beach we ordered our first bucket since being here (gin and tonic, which were both pretty sure was gin and soda) and watched yet another poi show. Curious by lights we saw up on the side of the mountain surrounding the beach, we climbed up some serious stairs to get to a bar called Mellow Mountain. From up there we could see all of the activity going on down on the beach. Not a bad way to end the night.

First Bucket
First Bucket—(gin and tonic, which were both pretty sure was gin and soda). Don’t worry mom, I didn’t drink this all by myself.

 

At Hadd Rin beach they have these swatches of neon paint designs at that they will pain on your body (for a small fee ;) of course).
At Hadd Rin beach they have these swatches of neon paint designs at that they will pain on your body (for a small fee 😉 of course).
Mellow Mountain —art on the walls.
Mellow Mountain —art on the walls.

Yesterday we slept in and went to breakfast at the last possible minute before they shut down. Then we wandered around town for a while and got lunch at the self-proclaimed Delight Restaurant.  We spent the majority of the day on the beach playing in the waves—it was the best!  At one point in the day I went to go to the bathroom and  happened to walk in on a local sitting on the throne, speedo around his ankles, smoking a cigarette with the door wide open—I was much more startled by the interaction that he seemed to be. After we saw each other he kind of half shut the door without so much as flinching. I couldn’t stop cracking up.

Daniel playing in the waves with his selfie stick (waves not pictured).
Daniel playing in the waves with his selfie stick (waves not pictured).
A memorable day at Haad Rin beach!
A memorable day at Haad Rin beach!
Mellow mountain koh phangan
Bathroom where I walked in on a local sitting on the throne, speedo around his ankles, smoking a cigarette with the door wide open (man not pictured for obvious reasons).

We came back to the Coco Hut (aka Little Israel) to watch the sunset and it was absolutely magnificent! Between the sky and the ocean, every beautiful color you could imagine was represented. After sunset, we went into the pool to cool off.  Everything was going swimmingly until we turned around to see two of the maintenance staff using a hairdryer to dry something in the pool filter. Oy. It really goes without saying (but I’ll say it for your sake), that our swim at the pool ended there.

Sunset in Ko Phangan
Sunset from Coco Hut beach—between the sky and the ocean, every beautiful color you could imagine was represented, but this shot doesn’t do it justice.

Last night we went back to dinner at Habait HaYisraeli (same place as last night). After dinner we went to partake in usual beach night fun before calling it a night.  All in all, we are very happy to be here!

Hammock Chiils at Habait HaYisraeli.
Hammock Chiils at Habait HaYisraeli.

Now it’s Wednesday morning and we’re putting up this blog for you to enjoy before we switch rooms (long story).

Boker Tov from us and Laila Tov to most of you. Xx from Ko Phanang (the Israel of Thailand)

*I can later show these moves if anyone would like to see.

Part 6: Railay and Phi Phi

Hi!!!

Sorry we haven’t updated lately!

We caught some type of bug “from the local fauna” and have been down for the count. I didn’t feel like updating you on the mundane and semi excruciating details of our illness so I’ve just left you in the dark for a bit. Apologies.

Thursday morning we woke up feeling pretty terrible. We didn’t get out of bed until Friday morning when we had to pack up, check out, and board a ferry to Ko Phi Phi. Let me tell you, when you’re not feeling well a two hour ferry ride in Thailand is your worst nightmare.

Bedridden at the Bhu Nha Thani.
Bedridden at the Bhu Nha Thani.

Anyway we arrived in Phi Phi, an absolute jewel of an island, and schlepped our backpacks (which I can definitely say I am not designed to do) down several narrow, unpaved roads (which housed much better shops than any other island) to our accommodation, the PP Casita. The PP Casita was definitely a downgrade from the Bhu Nha Thani, but not nearly as terrible as the Pardon A Decrepit Accommodation. We were shown to a corner room on the bottom floor, which was engineered so that you couldn’t possibly access natural light unless you wanted the entire village (from one side) and/or the rest of the bungalows at the Casita (from the other side) to watch your every move—which, for the record I don’t think anyone would have enjoyed much considering how horrible we were feeling. Daniel suggested that lunch might be a good idea, so we walked to a local place called Anita’s. Barely able to stomach the food, we went back to our room to recover until dinner. Feeling a bit better we went to dinner at place recommended by Trip Advisor called Anna’s Restaurant (the sign was written in Disney’s Aladdin font—definitely legal), which was amazing. I was delighted to finally find a delicious and truly vegetarian, vegetable noodle soup!

Postcard perfect Phi Phi (not our photo).
Postcard perfect Phi Phi (not our photo).
The PP Casita (no idea where the Spanish came from).
The PP Casita (no idea where the Spanish came from).

 

Anna's Restaurant (the sign is written in Disney's Aladdin font—definitely legal).
Anna’s Restaurant (the sign is written in Disney’s Aladdin font—definitely legal).

After we ate we decided to walk down to the beach parties that half of the island was advertising for. Side note: Phi Phi smells like poo poo and fish guts (gross but true). All down the beach there must have been 5 almost identical bars with plastic chairs set up around them. All of them had different types of poi/fire throwing shows going on. We ended up going to one called 4Play where we noticed a man standing on top of a tall poll about to walk a tight rope (aka a discarded piece of rope from a long boat anchor—very safe) while juggling fire. The guys doing the show were absolutely amazing, except for when they would accidentally drop the fire directly onto an unsuspecting audience member’s head, foot, or crotch (which happened twice). Oops.

Poi
Poi tightrope walking (aka a discarded piece of rope from a long boat anchor) at 4Play.
Poi stack—nothing like jumping on top of your friend while juggling fire sticks. I'd hate to be the guy attached to the front.
Poi stack—nothing like jumping on top of your friend while juggling fire sticks. I’d hate to be the guy attached to the front.

There was one audience member, an extremely drunk bald man wearing just a bathing suit, who decided he needed to be involved throughout the show. He kept running up whenever the guys were throwing fire and would try to stand next to them, or sit under them. His girlfriend, who seemed absolutely horrified, kept running up to grab him and pull him back while he would vehemently resist—this happened so many times it became a show in itself. Unphased, the poi guys started a fire limbo and invited everyone to participate. Obviously, the drunk bald guy was the first one to join and the second, and the third, and the forth, etc, because he kept going back and forth until they pushed him aside. I thought this was hilarious, until he started flashing himself and trying to lick the fire. Amid the drunk man’s insanity, Daniel managed to sneak in a low limbo before we decided to call it a night.

Saturday morning we woke up feeling much better. We ate a semi-edible breakfast at the hotel next to an older woman with about thirteen fake lily flowers haphazardly placed throughout her bun (if you could call it that) and headed to the beach. The beach was absolutely magnificent, exactly what you see on a postcard—white sand that fades into clear water that goes from turquoise, to green, to light blue. (They call Phi Phi “Thailand’s Superstar” because of the islands beauty as well as its appearance in films like Danny Boyle’s The Beach.) At the beach we rented beach chairs (cause everything on these islands is for a price—even if it is cheap) and spent the morning reading and relaxing. We ate lunch at a pretty cool place called Grand PP Arcade and went back to the beach to chill a bit more.

Jumping Jaxy on Phi Phi island—Thailand's "superstar"—land of warm water, scenic views, "The Beach", and poi
Jumping Jaxy on Phi Phi island—Thailand’s “superstar”—land of warm water, scenic views, “The Beach”, and poi

In the afternoon we rented kayaks and snorkels from a woman—who laughed at Daniel’s every attempt to bargain with her—for 300 Baht ($9), and paddled out to another side of the island called Monkey Beach. The beach was absolutely littered with garbage and trash that the monkeys were trying to eat, which was pretty sad. Daniel hooked his GoPro to a wooden swing to see how the monkeys would respond, which was lots of fun until he realized we may not get it back (little thieves). So we grabbed the GoPro, put on our snorkels and went looking for fishes. The water was so hot it must have been 90 degrees +. I’ve never been in an ocean, or even a pool for that matter, this warm in my life. The snorkeling was decent, nothing too exciting down there, but lots of fun. We paddled back to the main beach, returned the kayak, and went swimming for a bit. Eventually we headed back to the Casita to get ready for dinner.

Kayaking in Phi Phi
Kayaking in Phi Phi
Snorkeling in the waters of Phi Phi.
Snorkeling in the waters of Phi Phi.

We went back to Anna’s again for another amazing meal of vegetarian noodle soup and something called chili cream, which Daniel fell in love with. Then we walked all around the island to see everything we had previously missed. Daniel found an ice cream shop, kind of like Coldstone, except that that actually freeze the ice cream with the mix-ins on a cooling table in front of you. The finished product looks like little ice cream rolls. Super cool and pretty tasty. Towards the end of the night we walked back to or room and packed our bags for an early morning departure.

The "Coldstone" of Thailand.
The freezing process at the “Coldstone” of Thailand.
The ice cream rolls—finished product at the "Coldstone" of Thailand.
The ice cream rolls—finished product at the “Coldstone” of Thailand.

We”ll write more later.

Besitos

Part 5: Railay

Hi Diddly Ho!

The blog is finally up and running, which has been quite a bit of work. But now you can check here for updates, rather than waiting for novels to come thorough to you via email. After this post we’ll try to make them shorter. We hope you enjoy!

Sunday afternoon our ferry arrived in the shallow (which is all relative, when it comes to how tall you are) waters of Railay, and we transferred to a long boat to get to shore. Daniel put his backpack on and hopped off the boat landing shin deep in the water. I tried to do the same, but wasn’t so skilled with my balance and found myself teetering back and forth a good five times, almost falling backwards onto the boat. The guys driving the boat were having a good laugh at my attempted “dismount” until I eventually plunged myself (thigh deep) into the water.

Our first view of Railay from the ferry (we happen to be in it).  Please excuse GoPro clarity.
Our first view of Railay from the ferry (we happen to be in it). Please excuse GoPro clarity.

Railay is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen; it is completely unique unto itself with its massive limestone crags jutting about every which way.

A pristine beach view.
A pristine beach view.

Daniel and I spotted a man from our hotel, who took us on a three-minute walk to find our accommodation. From the moment we set eyes on the place we realized we’d finally booked a good one! The Bhu Nga Thani was truly a sight for sore eyes after fiascos at places like the Royal Shithole, the Royal Ripoff, and Pardon A Decrepit Accommodation. We checked in at the counter with a man who introduced himself as Little Max (I suppose he thinks many of us American’s use our rap names when we first meet). We had some purple lemonade (somehow related to a bougainvillea flower) and went up to our room.

We spent the rest of the day wandering around exploring the hotel and its immediate surroundings before going to dinner at a place called Mom’s Kitchen—pretty decent pad Thai and great coconut curry. We met a couple from London who had been traveling for two weeks—they recommended some places for us to go during our travels. After dinner we wandered down a narrow pathway along the water until we passed the accommodation Daniel had stayed at when he was last here seven years ago. Excited to show me where he had spent his formative years, Daniel and I ascended 67 steps and arrived at a hippie bungalow style hotelish place, needless to say, I’m very pleased I wasn’t here seven years ago. Satisfied with his trip down memory lane, we climbed down and walked back to our hotel to go to sleep.

Daniel's trip down memory lane—the place he stayed 7 years ago.
Daniel’s trip down memory lane—the place he stayed 7 years ago.

Monday morning we woke up, ate breakfast and went to the pool. In the afternoon we headed over to Railay East beach to check out Phra Nang Cave aka Princess Cave aka Phallus Shine aka Dick Mecca for Dayz (we may have made that last one up). Legend has it that in the 3rd century BC, a royal barge carrying an Indian princess sank here during a storm. They say the spirit of the princess came to inhabit the cave, grating favors to all who came to pay respect so long as they brought artfully carved wooden phalluses with them. While neither of us brought wooden dick offerings, it was definitely a spectacle worth seeing.

Located at the southern end of Phra Nang beach is a cave known as Phra Nang Cave aka Princess Cave aka Phallus Shine. With beautiful limestone stalactites this cave is better know for its legends and ornate phallus offerings rather than its natural formations. Legend has it that in the 3rd century BC a royal barge carrying an Indian princess sank in a storm here. The spirit of  princess came to inhabit the cave, granting favours to all who came to pay respect so long as they offered beautifully carved wooden dicks.
Located at the southern end of Phra Nang beach is a cave known as Phra Nang Cave aka Princess Cave aka Phallus Shine. With beautiful limestone stalactites this cave is better know for its legends and ornate phallus offerings rather than its natural formations. Legend has it that in the 3rd century BC a royal barge carrying an Indian princess sank in a storm here. The spirit of princess came to inhabit the cave, granting favours to all who came to pay respect so long as they offered beautifully carved wooden dicks.
"Dick Pic"–for "luck and posterity" as they say here in Dicks for Dayz Cave
“Dick Pic”–for “luck and posterity” as they say here in Dicks for Dayz Cave

After checking out the dick shrine, we walked in beautiful white sand down the crescent-shaped beach. We bought lunch from one of the floating boat restaurants to eat on the sand so we could watch the rock climbers scaling the amazing rock formations that surrounded us. After some time on the beach we went back to the hotel pool and hung out until sunset.

East Railay Beach—with a side of tropical pineapple fries. These outfits are what I got us for Valentine's Day.
East Railay Beach—with a side of tropical pineapple fries. These outfits are what I got us for Valentine’s Day.
Floating lunch boats and a french fry.
Floating lunch boat and a french fry.

We watched the sunset from Railay West beach. It was the most spectacular sunsets I’ve seen in a while (and we’ve seen quite a few since we’ve been here). My dad would have gone crazy for it, so in his honor we took a bunch of photos as well as a time-lapse video of the sun slowly sinking down below the horizon line. Then we had dinner on the beach before heading back to the hotel.

"Jumping Jaxy"—from the beaches of Railay where some of the Japanese tourists are starting to catch onto the #JumpingJaxy trend.
“Jumping Jaxy”—from the beaches of Railay where some of the Japanese tourists are starting to catch onto the #JumpingJaxy trend.
Us in our tropical sunset costumes.
Us in our tropical sunset costumes.

Post sunset chills on the beach looking at the beach walk behind us.
Post sunset chills on the beach looking at the beach walk behind us.

Tuesday we went back to East Railay beach to go kayaking. We rented the kayak for two hours for 350 Baht ($10.75), and started to paddle out around the amazing rock formations and underwater caves. It was absolutely spectacular, aside from realizing there were multitentacled box jellyfish directly underneath us (the most dangerous kind) and almost being run over by a long boat speeding through the water until he heard us screaming in panic (he must have missed us by 2 feet). We had a bit of a scare, but it all worked out.

Relaxing on our kayak in the middle of the ocean before a long boat almost ran over us.
Relaxing on our kayak in the middle of the ocean before a long boat almost ran us over.

What do they got? - A lot of sand. We got a hot crustacean band.- Each little clam here, know how to jam here. Under the sea.
What do they got? – A lot of sand. We got a hot crustacean band.- Each little clam here, know how to jam here. Under the sea.

As we walked down a narrow pathway to another side of the island for lunch, we spotted about 11 monkeys hanging out on a fence. It kind of insane how much they look and behave like humans when you watch them for long enough—aside from the picking bugs out of each others fur and eating it aspect. After a while, one idiot man approached them and started to pet the monkey. It went from sweet to ferocious in about 30 seconds, which is when Daniel and I decided to hightail it to lunch.

We spent the rest of the afternoon lounging at the pool, setting up this blog, and prepping for another sunset at Railay West beach. The beach, during the sunset, kind of feels like San Francisco’s Dolores Park in that everyone brings beverages, snacks, blankets/beach matts, music, and entertainment; it’s a magical place to be, and once again, the sunset did not disappoint. Deliriously happy we went for dinner and ran into our friends Juilan and Margarit (from France—who we met on Ko Lanta). They told us they knew we were here because they could see me doing a “Jumping Jaxy” on the beach during the sunset the night before. So funny.

Sunset Selfie Stick Shot.
Sunset Selfie Stick Shot.
Sunset on Railay West beach.
Sunset on Railay West beach.

When we woke up this morning it was HOT outside, so we decided to spend the entire day chilling at the pool. At six we left the hotel to go to Railay West beach to watch the sunset. Then we went for dinner at the Railay Princess hotel—delicious Pad Thai and grilled snapper. Daniel acquired a cat friend who meowed under the table the entire meal until we finally caved and give him some fish. Railay must have previously had some type of good luck associated with cats—before the obsession with wooden dicks—because the place is crawling with them and for some reason none of them have full length tails. Now we’re getting ready to go to bed.

All in all, it was another awesome night in Railay. This place is amazing!

That’s all for meow.

XoxOox (big kiss, little hug, little kiss, big hug, little hug, little kiss)

 

P.S. We both just finished our books and are looking for some fun, light beach reading recommendations. Please provide any suggestions you may have in the comments. The more the better!

Part 4: Ko Lanta

Hey! Hi!

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend! Here’s more reading material for when you’re bored or in need of something to read.

Friday afternoon we arrived in Ko Lanta. The moment we stepped off the ferry we were swarmed by 40-50 men all hawking their taxi and tuk tuk services. It was completely ridiculous. Eventually we decided to entertain one guy standing next to us rather than on top of us (but I think we really chose him because he was wearing the brightest and most colorful pants). He told us it would cost 400 Baht ($12) to get to our “hotel,” Daniel told him 250 Baht ($7) and he quickly agreed to the price (which makes me think we still overpaid), before trying to work us up to 300 Baht ($9) on the way to the car. Kind of comical actually, as he was trying to raise our ride price while other drivers standing in the “parking lot” were trying to poach us to ride with them (so popular). Tourism is definitely the money maker for this island.

We climbed into his truck bed (2 bench rows facing each other under a little canopy) and then he disappeared back into the massive crowd near the ferry. His wife came and sat guard on the end of the truck. Five minutes later the man returned with two tatted up Finish women (one with a tooth piercing—I’m not making this up, she had a little hole punched out of one of her front tooth with a purple crystal embedded for reasons I’ll never understand). The two women climbed in the truck, the wife came to sit guard and the man disappeared again. Daniel realized we could be waiting until the truck was full and tried to get off to find a tuk tuk that would drive us on our schedule. He was quickly intercepted by the wife on the back of the truck, who all of a sudden turned into a professional goalie because she refused to let Daniel get off. She started calling for her husband who came running over. Daniel told him (in his best Thai accent—which has been totally necessary every time he’s used it) that we didn’t want to wait longer and we could get another ride. The man jumped into the truck and drove us to our hotel. When we got out he and his wife unsuccessfully tried one more time to negotiate for 300 Baht.

We walked into the Pada (Pardon A Decrepit Accommodation) Hotel, which we had booked online the night before, and found two very mangy looking Shih Tzus in dresses lying on the floor. We approached the front counter and were greeted with papaya juice (not that they knew, but they were already off to a bad start cause neither Daniel nor I like papaya). The man behind the counter explained that we had only reserved a place, but still had to pay. We tried to look for another accommodation but he said they would charge us a no-show fee if we left. So we paid too much (by Thai standard) and were shown to a lime green bungalow—not so bad we thought until we walked in (which took a few minutes because “the key has to be almost fully in the door, but not too far in, and pressure has to be slightly applied to the left and then forcefully applied to the right or it don’t work”).

A lovely welcome to the Pada by lively Shih Tzu's in dresses.
A lovely welcome to the Pada by lively Shih Tzu’s in dresses.
Pada (Pardon A Decrepit Accommodation) "Hotel".
Pada (Pardon A Decrepit Accommodation) “Hotel” bungalows.

The room looked fine, but the bed must be a box spring (no mattress) with years of loose change floating around inside of it, covered in a thin sheet the texture of tissue paper. The bathroom is a pink tiled palace with a lovely combination toilet/shower (a concept I wasn’t privy to previously). Charming. Also, I forgot to mention that they require you to rent a beach towel every day. You are not allowed to reuse the one you had from the day before, and if you take your shower towel they will charge you the beach towel fee. We learned that this is the only hotel on our side of the island that requires this.

Combos that don't work—I've heard of shampoo/conditioner but never toilet/shower.
Combos that don’t work—I’ve heard of shampoo/conditioner but never toilet/shower.

We flung our stuff down, changed into bathing suits, went to the shared pool next door and ate lunch. Not a bad way to start the afternoon! The views out over the water are stunning beyond belief. In the distance you can see these amazing islands/rock formations that distinguish this place from anywhere else I’ve ever been.

Beach view from Ko Lanta.
Beach view from Ko Lanta.

After a two and a half hour lunch (only because “service” here downright shouldn’t be called service—the people run away as fast as they can, even when you’re trying to order…?) we walked down on the beach to check it out. Eventually I heard someone screaming my name on one of the wooden massage decks at the top of the beach. I walked closer and realized it was Daniel and Laura (the people we met at the elephant park). They said they were able to spot me on the beach because I was taking a “Jumping Jaxy” photo (silly). Daniel and I walked over to say hi and they convinced us to get massages as well. We got an hour massage for $9 each while watching the sunset directly in front of us through strands of seashell wind chimes. It was in insane!!!

Sally sells sea shells down by the sea shore. Sunset shabbos massages with a view of Ko Lanta.
Sally sells sea shells down by the sea shore. Sunset shabbos massages with a view of Ko Lanta.

We walked back to Pardon A Decrepit Accommodation hotel and were told to climb through the bushes to get to our room, as there was a man standing in a human-sized hole in the middle of the wooden plank pathway. Ok.

For dinner we went back to the hotel next door (Lanta Palace Resort and Beach Club—where we had lunch) because the restaurant puts on a show every Friday night. Since we didn’t book we were looking for a place we could sit and found this awesome French couple—Julian and Margarit—who told us to join them. The show consisted of some dances that involved sarongs, pyramid structure, “poi” aka fire dancing, and Thai boys dressed up as middle eastern men (wearing the Groucho Marx glasses, except that the noses were cherry red) holding their beards and watching women dance and do some type of work—very “interesting”. Random note: Ko Lanta is a Muslim island, which is crazy as we’ve been told that 90% of Thailand is Buddhist. Anyway, Julian and Margarit were awesome. We had a lot of fun with them and closed down the restaurant/bar with them at one AM. When we got back to our grand palace we could hear the man still hammering away at replacing the walk way—a lovely way to fall to sleep. If anyone would like a soundtrack of the soothing sounds of Ko Lanta, please let me know and I’ll try to acquire a CD for you.

Dinner at Lanta Palace Resort and Beach Club Restaurant with our new friends Julian and Margarit!
Dinner at Lanta Palace Resort and Beach Club Restaurant with our new friends Julian and Margarit (oh and the guy who took the picture thought he was being “artsy” with his angular perspective).
Daniel loving life in a hammock at dinner—he's been excited to get to Ko Lanta!
Daniel loving life in a hammock at dinner—he’s been excited to get to Ko Lanta!
Traditional Thai dancing, that involves unwrapping the ladies at the dinner show.
Traditional Thai dancing, that involves unwrapping the ladies at the dinner show.
Poi or fire dancing at the dinner show!
Poi or fire dancing at the dinner show!
That part of the dinner show where Thai boys dressed up as middle eastern men (wearing the Groucho Marx glasses, except that the noses were cherry red) holding their beards and watching women dance and do work—soooo strange.
That part of the dinner show where Thai boys dressed up as middle eastern men (wearing the Groucho Marx glasses, except that the noses were cherry red)—?

Saturday morning we ate breakfast, booked our ferry to Railay and went on a walk down the beach to explore. We found a fantastic spot outside of a bungalow restaurant on the beach and decided the only thing that would make the day even better would be to get rafts for the water. We walked to the nearest shop, picked up rafts, ran into two people from our cooking class in Chiang Mai, ran into a couple from the plane ride to Thailand (Thailand is starting to feel like a small village), and headed back to our spot on the beach. We stayed there the entire day, ordered food (we found some fun misspelled words on the menu) blew up the rafts (which took forever), went in the water, and read. Just before sunset we walked back to the hotel next door to our place and watched the sunset from inside the pool.

Our spot on the beach for the day.
Our spot on the beach for the day.
PLAUN yogurt
PLAUN yogurt
Menu fun in Ko Lanta—PORRIDE with milk.
Menu fun in Ko Lanta—PORRIDE with milk.
Nothing goes better with jelly than PENUTTER.
Nothing goes better with jelly than PENUTTER.
"Floating on rafts in the ocean in Thailand, this is what the Gopro was meant for" —Daniel
“Floating on rafts in the ocean in Thailand, this is what the Gopro was meant for” —Daniel

We met Daniel and Laura for dinner that night at the hotel restaurant next door (yes, we could have ventured elsewhere, but the food/ambiance was good and Daniel Seeff was obsessed with their green curry). Just after we ordered we saw Julian and Margarit and invited them to join us. Coincidently, both Daniel and Julian are doctors, so we heard a few good stories from them. After a delicious meal we called it a night.

IMG_3494
Daniel, Lauren, Laura, Daniel aka Waaaarahhn and Peter at dinner in Ko Lanta.
Dinner with friends on Ko Lanta
Julian, Margarit, Lauren, Daniel, Laura, and Daniel at Lanta Palace Resort and Beach Club Restaurant.

We woke up this morning, ate breakfast, checked out, and went to the beach. Now we are in a truck on the way back to the ferry to go to Railay.

Smooches

Part 2: Chiang Mai

Aloha Aloha!

We hope all of you are doing well! Here is another chapter of our novel to read at your leisure.

Two days ago we went to Baan Chang Elephant Park, a elephant excursion recommended by Lonely Planet. We were picked up at our hotel by a driver and a guide named “Jimmy” or “Crazy Jimmy” as he likes to refer to himself.

According to Jimmy, he is referred to as "Crazy Jimmy" because his wife says he drinks too much.
According to Jimmy, he is referred to as “Crazy Jimmy” because his wife says he drinks too much.

An hour later we arrived at the elephant park with our group of 12 people. We were each given the equivalent of scrubs (but for hippies) because they say the elephants absolutely stink and your clothes will never be the same. So we all changed in to matching blue hippie scrubs and headed over to an open area with about 45 elephants all chained down by one leg (something we felt a bit uncomfortable with). Each elephant was accompanied by their “person or trainer” known as a mahoot. Jimmy told us about where the elephants were rescued from and the mission of Baan Chang. Then we were taught how to feed the elephants bananas and sugar cane.  At one point Jimmy called Daniel and I to come up and try something, and another couple approached him at the same time. Confused, all four of us shortly learned that we had almost the same names: we were Daniel and Lauren from America and they were Daniel and Laura from Germany (and with a Thai accent Lauren and Laura sound like “waurahn” anyway). Very funny.

Elephant “hippie scrubs”
Our group at Baan Chang—Daniel and Laura are standing next to Daniel (on the left)
Our group at Baan Chang—Daniel and Laura are directly next to Daniel (on the left—Daniel’s right).
10983696_668250189965082_1091998758_n
Fuzzy and freckled, elephants are contagious. They call her Mary Poppins for her pie crust promises.

We met one elephant who had previously been trained to give kisses, which entailed wrapping its trunk around you and vacuum sucking your check. One of the weirdest feelings I’ve ever encountered because it with both ticklish and terrifying in that I thought it might suck my flesh off. Then we all leaned some basic elephant commands (which for all intensive purposes could have been complete bullshit and just fun for Jimmy and the mahoots to hear us shout) and were taught how to get on/off an elephant—it made boarding and riding a camel feel like second nature (something I never thought I’d say in my life). We rode the elephants bareback, on their necks, because they say that the wooden chair platforms aren’t good.

Elephant Smooches—Thong Comp leaves one ginormous hickie
Elephant Smooches—Thong Comp leaves one ginormous hickie
Daniel riding his elephant off into the distance.
Daniel riding his elephant off into the distance.

Around 12 we all had lunch together inside. Vegetarian pad Thai and pineapple. Pretty decent.  When we were finished we went back out to the open area and were assigned an elephant (one per couple). Ours was named MeeNaa and was rescued from logging work in northern Thailand. At the beginning I rode on her neck and Daniel on her back, half way through we switched.   Aside from having a sore butt within 10 minutes of riding, the exposed parts of my calfs were chafing due to MeeNaa’s wiry black hairs—lets just say a mud bath wasn’t sufficient, she could have used a deep conditioning.

Mee Nah was rescued from logging work in the north of Thailand.
Mee Nah was rescued from logging work in northern Thailand.

At the end of the ride the elephants all went into a deep pool of “water” to bathe and almost everyone got in along with them to scrub them. Almost everyone excluded our new friend Laura and I, as we were informed that the elephants are happiest in the water and when they’re happy they poop—a lot. So basically everyone in the water was standing waist deep in elephant poop soup. Since elephant bathing time is considered bonding time, Daniel and MeeNaa will remain much closer than she and I, but I’m ok with that.

Daniel standing waist deep in elephant poop soup giving Mee Nah a nice scrub down.
Daniel standing waist deep in elephant poop soup giving Mee Nah a nice scrub down.
Daniel getting a shower from Mee Nah in return for her bath.
Daniel getting a shower from Mee Nah in return for her bath.

Smelly and sore, we showered and changed back into our clothes and got back in the car to go the hotel. After second showers at the hotel we met up with Laura and Daniel for dinner at a restaurant called Cooking Love (also recommended by Rakow). The food was ridiculously good as was the company. After dinner we walked around the old town of Chiang Mai, went to the night bazaar (same stuff everywhere), and went back to go to sleep.

Yesterday we went to Thai Farm Cooking School in Chiang Mai. We got picked up from our hotel by a cute little woman named Benny. Benny put us in the back of an open truck with 8 other people (two bench seats facing each other) and we headed to a local Thai indoor/outdoor market. On the way to the market we filled out a form of what we wanted to make from a menu of 4 dishes and a dessert. At the market Benny brought us around to show us different Thai herbs, spices, meats, and produce. She showed us 3 different types of chili—one which she took the liberty of calling “mouse poop chili” due to its size—and then quizzed us on which one was the spiciest. After the group being told “you fail!” after guessing each size, she screamed out, “I’m the hottest! So sexy” and proceeded to swirl her body. Needless to say, this woman was on her game the whole day and she totally made the cooking class 10x better than it already would have been.

At the cooking school our group of 10 had our own outdoor eating patio and indoor cooking hut. Benny took us around the outdoor vegetable garden where we tasted and picked different herbs and produce to cook with, while dressed in traditional Thai cooking attire; red aprons and sombreros. For whatever reason Benny couldn’t remember Daniels name so she just decided to call him Peter the whole day. I think that by the end he actually responded to it.

Thai cooking attire; red aprons and sombreros.
Thai cooking attire; red aprons and sombreros.
Team Benny eating our food outside.
Team Benny eating our food outside.

The facility was awesome and Benny was an excellent instructor. For our first dish we made soup. I made Tom Yum (vegetarian) soup and Daniel made Tom Kaa (coconut milk) soup. For the second and third dishes I made yellow curry and tofu with cashews and Daniel made red curry and tofu with basil (Benny made rice for everyone). Before we sat down to eat our group asked our driver to pick up beer for us. Lunch was delicious! For our fourth dish (which we took home for dinner because we were all too full to eat) I made pad Thai (using Benny’s special sauce recipe) and Daniel made vegetarian spring rolls.

What
Tom Yum soup, Tom Kaa soup, red curry, yellow curry, tofu with cashews, tofu with basil, and rice.

Throughout the day, as we were cooking, Benny went around the room taking selfies of herself on our cameras (with us in the background). For dessert we made mango sticky rice (coconut milk with palm sugar and salt). Before we left Benny added us on Facebook and then the car took us back to the hotel around 4. Thai Farm Cooking School was definitely a trip highlight!

Benny taking a selfie. Oh yeah, we're in the background.
Benny taking a selfie. Oh yeah, we’re in the background.
Homemade mango sticky rice.
Homemade mango sticky rice.

For the rest of the night we planned out our island travels, ate our pad Thai and spring rolls and passed out early because today we drive to Pai. Pai is a small hippie town filled with Israelis and chillers. The drive takes about three hours because the roads are ridiculously windy.

Lastly, and most importantly, Daniel has expanded the Scott Jacks School of International Language* to Asia. All syntax and pronunciation looks and sounds like ESL (English second language) Asians—replacing “L” sounds with “R” and “W” sounds, completely eliminating the use of the plural, and repeating the same word for emphasis (e.g. “I want nice nice car, not bad bad.) So happy to report the *SJSIL is alive and thriving.

From the Asian branch teachings of SJSIL “Hope you enjoy. Keep you post!”

Xx
Waaaarahhn and Peter

Part 1: Bangkok and Chiang Mai

Aloha (as they say in Thailand)!

***Disclaimer: this is a short novel That we’ll be parceling out over several long posts Read when you’re bored.

Missing all of you and thought we’d give you all a little update since we’re not able to chat with all of you yet on What’s App.

We’re having an awesome trip. Spent 3 days in Bangkok (the city is basically organized chaos to sum it up). The first day we went on a river boat, did 2 out of the 3 major temples—Wat Phra Kaew (The Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and Wat Pho (the birthplace of the Thai massage and the home of Thailand’s largest reclining Buddha)—and went to a vegetarian Thai restaurant (Arawy Vegetarian Restaurant) where they spoke no English. We asked what everything was and they thought we ordered everything, so we ended up with a random smorgasbord of vegetarian food.

Chao Phraya River in Bangkok
River boat down Chao Phraya River in Bangkok

 

Owner: "What you want?" // Us: "What is everything?" // Owner: "Everythinnnggg" // ... and that's how we ended up with a smorgasbord of spicy non-distinct vegetarian Thai food // welcome to Thailand — thanks for the recommendation @lonelyplanet
Owner: “What you want?” // Us: “What is everything?” // Owner: “Everythinnnggg” // … and that’s how we ended up with a smorgasbord of spicy non-distinct vegetarian Thai food // welcome to Thailand — thanks for the recommendation @lonelyplanet

 

Wat Phra Kaew
Monkey see, monkey do. Use at Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)
Wat Pho // the birthplace of the traditional Thai massage and Thailand's largest Reclining Buddha covered in gold paint // mother-of-pearl toe inlays
Wat Pho // the birthplace of the traditional Thai massage and Thailand’s largest Reclining Buddha covered in gold paint // mother-of-pearl toe inlays

The second day we went to the Jim Thompson House (an ex-pat American who moved to Thailand and made crazy things happen in the silk industry)—a really cool experience. Then we walked the streets. Went to a local market and then to one of the massive shopping centers for a food court lunch. We went to a sushi restaurant for dinner and then to Khoasan Road (the most touristy, dregs-of-the-world/middle earth type of place) to see what we were missing out on—absolutely nothing was the answer.

Jumping Jaxy emoji // at "The Legendary American of Thailand"—Jim Thompson's house
Jumping Jaxy emoji // at “The Legendary American of Thailand”—Jim Thompson’s house

The third day we woke up early and went to Chatuchuk Market—one of the largest weekend markets in the world, known for everything from amazing vintage wear, exotic animals, plastic fruits and foods (yes there is a whole section for this), food and much much more (27 full sections). I loved it! Then we went to another massive shopping mall for a food court lunch and air conditioning. We chilled at our hotel pool until we had to go to the airport that night. Daniel bought me a $1 fried rice at the airport for Valentines Day dinner (so romantic).

"Assuming the Identity"—I got bored waiting for Daniel to find something so I decided to try on all my vintage wears from Chatuchak Market at once. Oh and Daniel got me a selfie stick for V-Day . Happy ValentinesDay to you and yours
“Assuming the Identity”—I got bored waiting for Daniel to find something so I decided to try on all my vintage wears from Chatuchak Market at once. Oh and Daniel got me a selfie stick for V-Day . Happy ValentinesDay to you and yours

We got to Chiang Mai (up north) Wednesday night. This city is awesome.  We hired a driver named Mr M, who Rakow recommended to us when she was here.

Yesterday we met Mr M at our hotel The Royal Lanna (which Daniel as been calling the Royal Shithole) and went to The Tiger Kingdom —where we got to choose to go in the enclosure with “big, medium, small, or smallest” size tigers. Daniel and I went with the big ones and it was terrifying. It made the cheetah park in South Africa (where you either look at animals in a large enclosure or sit in a safari truck with a guide with a gun)!look perfectly safe. At this park it was us in a cage with 4 tigers, 4 boys with sticks and a few other idiots like us. It made for some awesome photos, though can’t say we would do it again. Best part is the animals were named Michael, Frankie, Nancy, and San Diego.

Daniel and lauren with a tiger
I imagine that if either one of us were on tinder, this would be the money shot // I’d call a tiger Shere Kahn but they went with Frankie (not pictured Nancy, Michael, and San Diego) // very safe

After the tiger park we went to Baan Tong Luang Village where 5 tribes live—most notably the Padong/Karen Long Neck tribe. All the tribes live in huts separated across the hillside and sell random goods according to their tribe’s style. We went straight to the Long Neck tribes and I feel very good saying that I supported all of them enough to send a child to school for a year. Just kidding, not that insane—but I played a very good tourist in true Jacks form.

Padong (Long Neck) Tribe
Malay is a Burmese refuge and member of the Padong (Long Neck) Tribe // she weaves beautiful scarfs, table cloths, & bags and her husband carves wood dolls, instruments, & penis shaped whistle—bottle openers // Malay said I’d look nicer with rings on my neck, a bag under my arm, and a penis shaped bottle opener // I followed 2 out of 3

Once we left the hillside we went to a traditional Thai restaurant and then to a small town’s local wat (Wat Pa Dara Phirom). It’s insane how much detail they put into these places, especially when there are so many of them around the city. After the local wat we went to northern Thailand’s most sacred temple at the top of a mountain Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep.  You have to climb 306 steps (not terrible, but we got our shvitz on) to get up there. Same thing there- lots of ornate paintings and enough Buddha statutes to populate a continent. We also found that lots of couples and families like to match identically (which I went insane about and chased them until I got them to let me take photos of them so Daniel could slyly get some good photos).

Two families dressed the same, priceless picture by Daniel
Two seperate families dressed alike, completely unrelated, coming together into one frame to create the perfect “Same Same, but Different” moment.

Around 5:00 pm Mr M dropped us off at the Sunday Walking Market—a massive street market that never ends (seriously we never found an end cause it just zigs and zags down each street).  We found an Italian restaurant (Girasole) outdoors that faced onto the market. Got a Thai pizza and wine and then went back to the Royal Shithole and went to bed.

Us with our driver Mr. M
Us with our driver Mr. M

This morning we checked out and found another cheap hotel (which Daniel thinks is better than the previous one —I can’t tell the difference) and just got picked up to go to the elephant sanctuary where you ride bareback. We’ll report more later!

Xoxo

LJ and Danny Boy

#DanSchlepsJax on Instagram