Hey, is that you?
Welcome back to my blog!
It’s been a while, so please take a seat and relax! Now that you’re here again, where does this post begin?
It might suffice to mention how it’s 6pm in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam right now. It perhaps is also appropriate to add that Jack and I have been here for exactly fifteen minutes.
We just said farewell to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, in what was a quick two-day stop over after exploring Siem Reap in the northern part of the same country.
I’d like to shed more light on what we’re doing here and what exactly are the plans we have in store during our wanders through Vietnam, but there exists a large time lapse of information between right now and the previous blog post.
Ten days ago, my good buddies Jack, Eric, and I were in Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand. We capped off our five days there with partaking in a Full Moon Party, which in the end gave the sensation of attending a massive frat party along a widespread beach. Haad Rin is a town along the southern edge of Koh Pha Ngan and serves as the entry point to a beach that dons the same title. It was here where countless makeshift bars were constructed along the shore, with DJ’s spinning various genres of music, and gangs of fire-dancers drawing in swaths of people like moths to a vibrant lamp. It was similar to a music festival with no headlining acts blended with a county fair. Overall, it was an interesting experience and we enjoyed the evening, but it felt nice knowing that we’d be moving on to a new destination soon.
The next morning was a farewell to the island and also to our friend Eric. He took a ferry to Surat Thani and flew back to the capital, while we boarded a vessel to the mainland then bussed to Phuket. Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, located southwest of the mainland. It took us about nine hours via a ferry, a bus, then finally a shuttle van before we reached our AirBnB. During the next five days, Jack and I split our time between Patong (Phuket’s most active city), Phi Phi Island, and various beaches in Krabi.
Patong is a seaside city that doesn’t have very much to offer besides sweltering heat, bustling night markets, and many opportunities to lose money. At first glance it’s a tourist hub, with lots of Russians, English, French, and Thai tourists on vacation. Its allure is the weather, the affordability, and also nearby Patong Beach. Patong could be Las Vegas, except the hotels aren’t as tall and there’s no ferris wheel. The traffic is heavy with racing motorbikes and, contrary to Koh Pha Ngan, internal stress from so many accelerating gears brought back memories of Bangkok. We primarily just relaxed, ate at some delicious street food at Malin Plaza, and looked for a quality kebab after checking out the energetic nightlife along Bangla Street. We turned down offers for massages and bouquets of roses but got suckered into a few games of Connect 4 with the bartenders and a “working lady” of one only slightly-seedy establishment.
Phi Phi Island is a haven for visitors in search of sunburns, scuba certifications, snorkeling, and anything related to playing in turquoise water. With endless postcard-worthy sights such as Maya Bay (famous thanks to the film The Beach), Monkey Beach, and Long Beach, guests of the island have plenty of distractions. We snorkeled for a day, relaxed at our hostel, then hopped a ferry the next morning across Phang Nga Bay to Ao Nammao Pier. On this day we checked into the Reset Hostel (it soon became our favorite of the trip), which is located in Klong Muang. At the last minute, we made an agreement with a longboat taxi to take us to Kong Island. With limestone rock formations, mirror-like water, and temperatures reaching the high 80’s, we found a gem. The longboat taxi didn’t try to swindle us, making us feel certain that Krabi was our favorite part of Thailand. We also wandered along the rock-climbing mecca of Railay Beach, which is located along an opposite shore of Krabi. We opted to rent kayaks instead of climb and ferried back to Patong. This was on Friday, and early on Saturday we reserved two seats on a plane destined to Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Writing this post, Thailand feels like a lifetime ago. It’s been a whirlwind of ten days, and I’d like to keep going but it’s probably best to wrap this post up. Now that Jack and I have migrated east, through Cambodia, and now to Vietnam, it’s easier to reflect on Thailand.
Thailand has many good’s and bad’s. It’s fantastic for spice and an endless selection of mouth-watering dishes. It’s wonderful if you want to start your day with strong coffee or with a blended fruit shake. If you want to ride a cheap motorbike or stay up until sunrise on a beach then you’ve found the place. It’s not good if you don’t like humidity, mosquitos, or people constantly soliciting you for a massage, tuk-tuk ride, or something else. If you need a 7-11 then you’re in luck, but if you want to throw away your garbage there aren’t many places to toss your rubbish. Due to the overly developed tourism industry, the interactions with locals in Thailand felt more transactional than personable. The language barrier didn’t help, and very rarely did we meet a Thai who could speak conversational English. Overall, Thailand is affordable and scenic. It makes sense why so many people come out there and I’m glad we started our trip there.
Well, it’s time to go. Thanks for reading, you look great! Have a wonderful day, the next post will be about our stay in Cambodia and a visit we paid to Angkor Wat. Take care.