Time to slow down. After that good week of diving in Koh Tao we were ready to hang low and relax. We were fortunate enough to get the better night ferry back to the mainland on our way to Phuket, so we actually got a little sleep in our bunks. Unfortunately, the ferry was followed by a much too long bus ride for just a short distance, although it was amazing to cruise down the coast and see these amazing, huge limestone karsts jutting up all around. This just seemed to be a glimpse of what was to come.
Phuket is one of the places always mentioned when talking about Thailand. It is the party central of S.E. Asia. One beach in particular, Patong Beach, is just a bigger version of Khao San road in Bangkok. That isn’t our style so we headed just south of that to Karon Beach. We got super excited as we ended up with a room that had a balcony, fridge, and more importantly an electric hot water kettle. Time for a little grocery shopping! We had copious amounts of coffee and tea, and for two nights we made spaghetti. I can not tell you how exciting this was. One night we did get to have dinner with some friends from Colorado who now are teaching English in Phuket. It was nice to see some familiar faces and spend an evening chatting it up. Other than enjoying the room amenities we spent some time on the beach, but swimming was a bit difficult with the rough waters.
(Bryan getting smashed by a wave)
Quickly moving on, our next destination was to be straight to Railay Beach through Krabi, but we had to spend a few days in Krabi first. During the past month and a half leading up to Phuket, Megan’s grandma had been in the hospital not doing well. Before we left Koh Toa, it became obvious that she would not be going home. After several difficult days, she passed away peacefully. We were in Phuket and headed for Railay, where we couldn’t expect reliable internet to communicate with the family, so we made a pit stop for a couple of days in Krabi. I can’t say how difficult it is especially when you are thousands of miles away. Megan’s family has been really great about making sure we stayed updated, especially her brother, Nick, who Skyped with us numerous hours. We want to express our appreciation for everything Megan’s family has done to help her grandparents and each other.
(Bryan, Megan, and Grandma Clara before we left on our trip)
Hitching a ride in a longtail boat, we ventured on to Railey Beach. Railay, although it is a penninsula, feels like an island because you are blocked from the rest of the mainland by karsts and you can only really get there by boat.
(Railay Beach from the karst viewpoint)
After really trying to bet against the weather we signed up for a day island hopping trip. This was quite the outing as we were on the boat with several Malaysians. They were super excited for snorkeling, but their idea of snorkeling was much different than ours. With a loaf of bread in one hand, they stayed close to the boat and lured some of the fish to them. We saw angel fish, crab, pipe fish, rainbow parrot fish, and I was fortunate to see a small reef shark. Quite exciting! We explored a few different islands where we got to do a small hike and see some left over debri from the 2004 tsunami. Our guide was most interesting as he went on and on about how U.S. movies/shows are the best, and his favorite is Mega Man. He also has a mohawk and tattooed wings on his back. Never a dull moment.
(One of the beaches we stopped at)
With the water starting to get a bit rough the following day, we decided to climb a trail up the karsts on the end of the beach. On top we expected there to be an amazing viewpoint and hidden lagoon. Heading up wasn’t too bad but it was quite steep and rope was strung around the trail to assist the climb up. We made it to the viewpoint easy enough, and it did provide for an amazing view. Sadly we couldn’t make it all the way to the lagoon as the trail down got increasingly dangerous. The trail ran throuh the water gully which currently was just thick, slippery mud. Some of the drop offs were ten plus feet down and we couldn’t chance slipping down them.
(Bryan standing by one of the drops down to the lagoon)
Megan always wanted to try deep water solo climbing, and this area is the mecca for such a thing, which was our true intention to visit anyways. We started to run into issues where a group would be going then cancel and then some other group would be set for the next day and cancel. Things weren’t looking good. It wasn’t until our last full day and a few hours before the last tour might head out that she got the green light. It was like a Saturnalias miracle! Not only did she get to climb, but she did a bit more snorkeling and got to see phosphorescent plankton lighting up at night like glitter. Pretty awesome experience she had!
(Megan deep water solo climbing)
Since then we are back in Krabi about to catch a minibus to Georgetown, Malaysia. Not completely sure whats in store for us, but we hope to be visiting a national park to possibly see the rainforest in full bloom.