Winter Break in the Sunshine

It’s hard to believe that it is already February.. where has the time gone? February means that winter break has come and gone.. I was so lucky to have 3 weeks off and I got to spend two of them with Matt!

We spent our first day in Bangkok getting a suit fitted at Raja Fashions between Soi 6 and Soi 8. One suit turned into two suits, two dress shirts and two ties (all of which turned out stunning). We had so much fun picking out fabrics, enjoying complimentary beverages (and the occasional spring roll, or 10) and picking out the styles. An hour and a half later, we were ready to hit Soi 11 for lunch and make our way to the airport, en route to the beach!

We spent two days in Ao Nang, Krabi where we ate Massaman Curry, Tom Yam Soup, Green Curries, Red Curries, Som Tam (Thai style papya salad), Pad Thai and so much pineapple. Our best meal was at hole in the wall restaurant close to the beach (called Jamai Restaurant), where we watched a Muslim-Thai woman cook  right in front of us. We spent the entire day on the beach checking out the monkeys, people watching, snapping beautiful pictures and catching up. It’s so nice to be together and I often have moments when it hits me that we are in THAILAND and TOGETHER!

On day 3, we took a long tail boat for 100 THB each to Railay. Our hotel was on East Beach and the boat dropped us off at West. Fortunately a sister hotel to ours took us and all of our luggage in a golf cart to the other side (by this point I’ve realized that I definitely packed far too much.. I think I was prepared for an entire month on the road.. woops). Railay is such a cool place! It turns out that to walk from East to West Beach is only about 10 minutes. The vibe is very chill, with many backpackers and climbers hanging out. West Beach has lots of fancy hotels with restaurants along the beach. We quickly discovered that the food and drinks were overpriced and definitely not as tasty as the smaller local Thai places. East Beach has more of the backpacker vibe, with Bob Marley and Jack Johnson beats pumping from every bar. We found a really yummy Thai food spot on East Beach where we sat on Thai style cushions at a low table looking over the ocean.

We did lots of exploring in Railay.. spent an entire afternoon at Phra Nang Beach (and Phra Nang Cave), which is the most beautiful place we have seen yet. There are so many long tail boats, even ones that are set up as restaurants with two or three people working inside cooking everything from BBQ corn on the cob to hamburgers and Thai dishes. We had some tasty treats and ice cold beers while lazing on the white sand. Such a magical place! Late afternoon we hiked to the lookout point.. it was quite a trek, especially in flip flops (we agreed that it was enough climbing for one trip so we will skip out on rock climbing this time!).

After two wonderful nights in Railay, we packed up and moved again to Koh Phi Phi. Looking back, I am wishing that we set up home base in Ao Nang and did all of our exploring from there. It has been a drag to pack up and move every couple of days.. but every time we arrive in a new place I’ve felt good about it. To get to Koh Phi Phi we took a taxi (which I was imagining to be a regular taxi.. but it turned out to be a boat) to Krabi Town, where we transferred to a van which drove us to the pier. We took a big ferry for about two hours from Krabi to Koh Phi Phi. When we got to the pier here, we took another long tail boat to the hotel.

Unfortunately Matt got a bad case of food poisoning in Koh Phi Phi which knocked him out for a full 24 hours. The worst part is that we were staying in a bamboo style beach hut with no AC and only 1 fan (which wasn’t even working that night because the power was out). Not a pleasant experience. When he got feeling better, we went on a boat tour around the island. It was a lot of fun, with beers, rum, Thai style rice, snorkeling, kayaking and stops at ‘Viking Cave’ and the famous Maya Bay. When the sun went down, Matt and some of the others went snorkeling with glowing phytoplankton! He said it was a highlight of his trip (I was of course too cold to join in the fun, so I’ve added it to my ‘to-do before I leave Thailand’ list.

The next day we ventured into Koh Phi Phi  town where we walked around for a few hours before heading back to Ao Nang for New Years Eve. We were so glad to spend the last two days of our trip in Ao Nang. What a wonderful place to spend New Years Eve. We bought Thai lanterns, made wishes and watched them float over the ocean. There were many Thais and foreigners mingled together on the beach watching the fireworks, cheering, drinking and floating lanterns into the sky. I couldn’t have asked for a better night.. and would go back to Ao Nang for New Years in a heartbeat.

We spent the last few days of Matt’s trip in Nichada (I gave him a tour of the school and the community) and downtown Bangkok. We ate mangostien on the side of the road, rode together on the back of a motorcycle (Thai style) to the mall and had a McDonald’s cheeseburger “just to see if they taste the same.” We took a river taxi to the Grand Palace, ate fried rice at a street stall, drank freshly squeeze pomegranate juice, went to see ‘The Hobbit’ first class (with a 15 minute massage, glass of wine, and reclining chairs with pillows and blankets) and ventured to Khao San Road for one last Thai meal. Looking back, we did so much in such a short period of time. I couldn’t have asked for a better two weeks together!


One thought on “Winter Break in the Sunshine

  1. Hi Laura: What an adventure you have been on @ so many stories to share with your family, friends @ students. I have only read about those places but through you, I feel like I have been there in person. Just heard youb were home . we are heading to the lake today so we can’t wait to hear about your trip. Hope you had a safe trip back to Thailand. May you continue to be safe @ enjoy the remainder of your time there. Miss you.
    Love Grant @ Marcia xoxo


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