Thailand - Island Hopping & Bangkok

Ready to move on from Koh Samui to explore some more of Thailand we booked our ferry boat the morning before we were due to leave (as no one seems to book more than a day out).  What we were blissfully unaware of (until our landlady questioned us) was that there was a big tropical storm headed straight for us and that numerous boats were being “grounded” for the next 3 days in preparation for “Pabuk”.  We did our best to sort out if our ferry would leave the next morning but couldn’t get any definitive answers, so we packed up as normal the next morning and by some sort of miracle we got on one of the last two ferries that were leaving from the island that morning.  They had packed our ferry so full that every seat was occupied, and people were standing everywhere.  We ended up sitting outside on the back of the ferry on top of people’s luggage, which turned out to be a good thing because the fresh air helped keep my motion sickness in check.  After a bus ride and another boat, we arrived at our first destination- Koh Phi Phi Island.

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We were told that the storm was extremely intense on Koh Samui, the worst one to hit Thailand in 10 years!  We were expecting the aftermath of the storm near us especially with some of the dark moody clouds that loomed above us but lucky for us we only had some rain clouds and that didn’t stop us from exploring the island! 

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The island itself is very small and the inhabited parts are easily walkable within a day so that’s exactly what we did.  We went and explored every nook and cranny that we could of this beautiful island. The limestone cliffs are some of my favourite parts of traveling Thailand, they truly leave me in utter amazement of their beauty. That coupled with the incredible blue colour of the water.. well that’s what makes Thailand so famous and why this is my third trip back!

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The Night Life

While here, we also experienced some of their infamous nightlife and crazy beach bars.  This is one of the spots that made the Thailand “bucket” so famous.  The buckets consist of an alcohol of your choice, mix of your choice and red bull- but not the red bull we are used to back in North America but this crazy syrup red bull that kicks your adrenaline into high gear! That mixed with neon headbands, huge jump ropes, loud music and a lot of beach dancing was definitely a night to remember! 

The Longtail Boats

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Our favourite part of Phi Phi?  Definitely the long tail boat we hired to take us out to explore around. We woke up bright and early and met out driver we had hired the night before and we took off as the sun was rising all around us, leaving us in the beautiful warm glow.  He took us to a couple of private bays, luckily, we arrived before everyone else, so we had some time to really appreciate the natural beauty that surrounded us.  Unfortunately for us the famous Maya Bay was closed as Thailand is working on reinstating its natural ecosystem, so we were only able to view it from afar.  

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While we were making our way to another location, Emma decided to pull out the craziest move ever and take her drone out, launch it from the boat while we were moving so that she could get the most epic drone shot ever (see below).  To watch her control the drone in the wind, 500M up in the air and 500M away from us was something else.. pretty sure we were all sweating in anticipation until finally she started guiding it down to our small long tail boat where she basically had to grab it midair, with propellers running to make sure she didn’t accidentally land it in the water.  It was an incredible job well done and definitely took some guts!!  It was the perfect way to end our island holiday on Phi Phi.

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Koh Lanta

From Phi Phi we took a slow, very hot and rocky boat to another island nearby called Koh Lanta.  Unfortunately this boat ride didn’t fare too well for me and I ended up getting sick.  I swear if they allowed some air flow to come through the bottom of the boat it would be a much nicer ride for a lot of people.  

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AJ’s

We stayed at the cutest beach “resort” called AJ’s- that we would highly recommend staying at if you are ever on the island. It had simple bamboo huts with a mattress, a mosquito net and a fan, nothing fancy but it was perfect for what we needed.

Koh Lanta itself was a much slower paced island and it was perfect for the environment we were looking for after Phi Phi. What started off as a place to stay for a week turned into almost 3 weeks and we ended up feeling like one big family with everyone who worked there!!

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AJ’s was about 20 meters from the beach with great wifi and probably some, if not the best Thai food we’d had our whole trip.  The lady who runs it “J” from AJ was one of the best chefs- her food was just outstanding.  We made the mistake of venturing off and trying a couple different restaurants, but nothing compared to her thai cooking.  That being said, we did find this awesome little pizza cart that was setup right outside the 7/11 every night with homemade Italian pizzas. There was always a long line waiting for his pizzas but it was worth it.  We would sit on the curb outside 7/11 with a beer and wait for our pizzas. 

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A lot of our time here was spent working, working a lot of long hours as the time zones from North America to Thailand are between 12-15hrs so when we were up everyone back home was going to bed and vice versa so we learned to operate on very few hours of sleep during this time to ensure that we put the time and effort in to growing our business. Lucky for us the payoff was well worth the effort as we had our biggest month of our business in January! 

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 Bangkok

From Koh Lanta we took off to head back to Bangkok with a short one-hour flight from Krabi.  Note to self when purchasing Air Asia flights to make sure your luggage isn’t massively overweight.  Mine and Piets suitcases were right on the exact amount we had paid for with our bags but Jared had brought an extra checked luggage with him and they wanted to charge an additional $200 for a 6KG suitcase!  So we were the people who were unpacking suit cases in the middle of the airport, throwing out unneeded items, putting absolutely anything we could stuffed into our carryon bags so that we didn’t have to pay the outrageous fee.  Lucky for us we somehow managed to get it done and they let us check the empty suitcase without charging us.

 

Upon arriving in Bangkok we headed straight to our hotel in Khao San Road, backpacker central of Thailand and took to the streets.  Khao San is a whole other level.  There are street vendors, food stalls, massage chairs everywhere you look.  The pad thai vendors can be seen hauling their food carts down the road, stopping to make a quick pad thai for $0.50 and boy is it some of the best pad thai that we experienced the whole time we were in Thailand. I was even able to get behind the pad Thai cart and make my own (with a little help from the cart owner).  Every cart carries these plastic little stools for you to sit on the sidewalk behind their stall while they cook and while you eat- it’s a cool experience. There are also tons of other little food carts that line the streets selling spicy papaya salad, fruit shakes, pieces of squid and some deep-fried shrimp and many other options.  

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At night the streets of Khao San really come alive and these vendors come from nowhere with tables and chairs and setup these makeshift bars all the way down the street.  They are littered between foot carts and dozens and dozens of massage chairs where people go to get neck massages and foot/leg massages for extra cheap once the afternoon is done but before dinner starts.  The latest craze at these popup “bars” is to purchase laughing gas- everywhere we looked they were promoting laughing gas and buckets. People were definitely extra giggly at some of these bars.

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It was fun to experience Bangkok again with the cheap food, massages and nightlife but after a few days we were all way over stimulated and ready to get out of the extra level of dirt and grime that the city’s pollution leaves on you.  We are definitely looking forward to a cleanse in Bali- healthy eating, no alcohol and an abundance of walking and exercise will be the perfect change of pace.

 Next Stop: Canggu, Bali