Pictures are of my last sunset at the beach in Railay Beach, Thailand, me rock climbing in Railay, and me with Zac and Jeff on my second to last night in Bangkok.
I was ecstatic to be back in Thailand, the so-called “Land of Smiles” and immediately noticed the difference between India and Thailand. First, Thailand has got to be one of the most touristy countries in the world. I think foreigners might out-number Thais – alright so that’s an exaggeration, but it’s definitely very touristy. After spending some time alone in India – often feeling as if I was the only foreigner, this was a welcomed change. I’m reminded why I like traveling alone – I barely have a minute to myself before someone strikes up a conversation, which I absolutely love. This is the best part of traveling in general (for me) – meeting people – and it’s even easier to do when you’re flying solo.
I spent a day in Bangkok. I decided to get a suit made. I had one made when I was here a few years ago and was quite pleased, so I decided to have another one made. A custom-tailored suit for $130. It’s a steal. Let’s just hope this one turns out well! I took the night bus to Krabi, which is actually pretty pleasant. The seats recline almost fully; they give you blankets and show a few movies – there are definitely worse ways to travel, but Thailand is definitely the country most set up for catering to tourists and they’ve got it down pat. I sat next to an interesting girl from Montreal. She was a waitress in a strip club in Montreal and told me of the bundles of money she made, that her customers literally just throw at her. Apparently, one customer pays her credit card bill every month AND gives her a $200 month stipend. The craziest part is that she’s a lesbian and absolutely doesn’t engage in the sexual services side of the business. Since she makes more money than everyone else in her life, she can’t contemplate leaving the sex industry, so she’s hoping to be a dominatrix when she returns. My naivety about such things prompted me to ask her a slew of questions. But, she wanted to get away from the business for awhile, so she is traveling in Southeast Asia for 3 months and then will get work in Australia for a couple of months before returning home.
When I arrived in Krabi, I hopped on a longtail boat and headed to Railay Beach (thanks Niki and Chanti for the recommendation!). I’ve been told by multiple people that this is the most beautiful setting in southern Thailand and they may be right. Rock climbing is all the rage here, as there are massive limestone karsts shooting straight up out of the water. It’s not a bad place to pass a few days. The main downside is that this place is expensive. I’m paying the most for accommodation that I’ve paid on my entire trip and it’s certainly not the best place I’ve stayed. For $12, I’ve got a mattress on a floor and a fan. It is barebones basic, which is fantastic, but just expensive compared to the $2-4 range that I’ve come to expect in my travels.
I spent my first two days relaxing on the beach. The first night, I went out and hung out with a group of Canadian guys. On my second day, I met up with Elad, an Israeli guy who I met on the Annapurna Circuit. It was great to see a familiar face again! As soon as Elad and I parted ways for the night, I saw a couple swimming in the pool of a fancy resort and images of Lombok when Niki and I swam in a couple of resort pools was conjured up in my head. I hopped the fence and jumped in the pool and spent some time chatting with a Russian couple who were incredibly friendly and interesting. That evening, I hung out with some guys from Argentina. Today was one of those days that makes me really love traveling alone. I literally went from hanging out with one person to the next group with only a matter of seconds alone – it’s fantastic just how easy it is to befriend people in situations like this. I definitely love it!
Then, I finally tried what Railay Beach is famous for – rock climbing! I’ve done a bit of indoor rock climbing, but have never had the opportunity to go outdoors. Well, I LOVED it. It was so much fun! I think it’s definitely a sport I would like to continue to pursue once I’m back home. On my last day in Railay, I spent the day with two guys from Australia, Jeff and Zac, and a Canadian girl, Meghan. The four of us just sat near each other for breakfast and ended up having a conversation that lasted for at least 2 hours. In my life, I’ve found that groups of four that have good chemistry are often the most fun. I’ve had a solid group of four friends in both high school and college and had the most fun on my trip in Sumatra, when with another group of four. We continued our day at the beach and then spent the evening playing cards.
The next day, Jeff, Zac and I headed to Bangkok on the night bus. I spent my last two days in Bangkok getting fitted for a suit, shopping and getting a massage. I’ll certainly miss the $8 massages, that’s for sure! I said my good-byes to Jeff and Zac and headed to the airport for my 30+ hour commute home. I will write one final blog entry (for this trip) to sum things up. Expect it soon!