04.03.2012 - 12.03.2012 35 °C
We made it out alive, and with all our memories intact!
On the day we left for Thailand we packed up, had a final meal at our favourite Indian restaurant, Gem, and did some walking around before hopping into a small van for the boarder. It was a 16 hour journey from Malaysia to Ko Phangang and included a mini van, an overnight bus, a ferry and finally a taxi to our new home for the next five nights. The longest portion of the journey was the overnight bus, being 8 hours and over capacity. We were smart enough to get to the front of the line and snag two of the last seats available, but others weren't so lucky, having to stand for the entire 8 hour overnight trip. We arrived at the Ferry terminal at around 5 am that morning and had a three hour wait until the next ferry arrived to take us to the island of beautiful Ko Phangan. Once we were on the island we were quickly swept up by a taxi and driven about half an hour to the southeast side where we had our five night bungalow booked. The place was simple and clean, but had only a small fan to keep us cool, so we remained endlessly sticky for our stay. We had our own small porch with a hammock and it was only a few steps to the beach front from our place, altogether it was pleasant.
The days leading up to the Full Moon Party were quiet and spent relaxing in our room or on the porch, walking through the colourful shops, eating some mediocre food, and trying to stay cool. On the second day we treated ourselves to an hour long Thai massage...this was interesting. We were poked and prodded, stretched and pulled, walked on and sat on. It was unlike anything either of us had experienced, and it was wonderful. The third day we headed out for a day long boat trip around the local islands and to visit some beaches. We snorkeled off the boat and visited a natural lagoon surrounded by jutting rocks and lush forests. We then headed to an island resort for some lunch and then relaxed under some coconut trees to read for the afternoon. The limestone rocks that shoot out randomly all over the ocean are truly a sight.
March 8th was the day of the Full Moon Party, and also the morning of Sarah's phone interview with SFU. In short, the interview went well and Sarah received some positive feedback regarding her application and research topic. Once that was over we spent the rest of the day lounging and preparing ourselves for the evenings events. We picked out our florescent clothing and accessories, body paint, and, of course, our buckets. We had a late dinner and didn't start to really get ready and drink until late, so we would have the energy to stay out as long as we wanted. We painted each other with the bright body paint and drank our buckets on the front porch. When we were done we made our way down the street to the party, where thousands of partiers were roaming the streets, all in their bright colours and paint. The streets we lined with vendors and make shift store fronts selling everything from buckets, to glow sticks and hats, to masks and clothing. When we finally pushed our way down to the beach the 3 kilometer long beach front was completely covered with thousands of people and vendors. This was the Full Moon Party. We walked the shore line sipping our buckets and taking in the sights and sounds all around us. There were dozens of stages set up along the beach with party goers dancing and singing the night away. There were DJ's and bars set up along the beach front and small Thai women selling glow sticks and masks. The ocean was being liberally used as a toilet, and the sandy shore a soft bed for the night. We sat for a while people watching and then made our way back up to the streets to walk and observe. We found some great bars to dance and some excellent street food. We watched people pass out in the middle of the streets and others, being encouraged by their friends, getting tattoos they would surely regret. We pretty much saw it all, and it was awesome. We were definitely glad to have enough sense to find our way back, as some were not so lucky. In the early hours of the morning we headed for bed, but not before stopping to get some fried chicken and doughnuts...yum!
The next morning we woke up late for a full breakfast and another day of relaxing. We checked in at home to let the parents know we had made it out unscathed and to catch up on some trip info. The last two nights on Ko Phangan were pretty uneventful, mostly filled with books, walks and some cheap shopping.
On the morning of the 10th we took a morning ferry to the mainland and then got on a bus direct to Krabi where we would spend 2 nights. We arrived into the bus station that evening and booked a taxi into town, which turned out to be quite eventful. The cab was more than overloaded, with 25 passengers filling the back and 5 of those people having to sit on the floor. The driver was clearly overwhelmed, refusing to take some people to their accommodation and getting into fights with others about where they were staying. Luckily we made it to our hostel and made a quick turn around to get back into town for a late dinner. We went out and found a good looking Indian place and then toured around the busy tourist streets. We happened upon an awesome local art studio where they had dozens of beautiful hand painted pieces on display. The artists painted as we walked around, and we set our eyes on a particular painting that we later bought, our first major art investment. The picture will be travelling with us for the next 40 days in a plastic tube, so that should be interesting. The next morning we hired a long tail boat to Railay Beach, an area off the mainland accessible only by boat. Its was a beautiful view and captured Thai scenery perfectly.
This morning we took a ferry from Krabi to Ko Phi Phi where we will be for the next two nights. The island seems to have a really cool vibe and a great beach front bar scene that we plan on checking out tonight.
We love and miss you all so much! We'll update again soon,
S & J xoxo