Our trip to Thailand included two mini-trips (THREE if you count China!) because my hostess is a massively gifted and ambitious planner. We'd been in Chiang Mai for about eighteen hours (enough to get street food, soak in a midnight city view from a mountainside lookout, and drink coffee at like ten different cafes) when we hopped on a southbound flight to Krabi.
Even months later, I am still strangely obsessed with the trendy little guest house we stayed in. The Mini House had clean lines, tons of lush greenery, loads of natural light, and a great cafe. And obviously lots of miniature potted cacti. My weakness. Pro tip: when you're the only Westerner at a hotel, you've made the right decision.
Our first big adventure was a sea kayaking tour of several islands. Admittedly I was kind of nervous about kayaking when we booked it, since I'm not particularly athletic (don't let my muscles fool you.) But plot twist! The kayaking tour was without question my favorite part of the entire trip. I felt as though we'd jumped into a preloaded computer screensaver image, one of those gorgeous island photographs I always figured were Photoshopped. We paddled the entire circumference of an island and my brain could not fully compute that I was really floating on this bright turquoise ocean.
After kayaking for a few hours, we got to relax on the beach and eat a homemade Thai lunch. We explored the forest where a few boats still remained stranded high in the treetops, just as they'd landed during the 2004 tsunami. So eery. Aye, our sweet kayaking guide, recounted how he'd survived the tsunami, which struck as he was fishing out at sea.
Tiger Temple is a must-do in Krabi. But be warned – those 1,600 steps feel every bit like 1,600 steps. Also, the first 500 steps are littered with the most ferocious monkeys and I am still suffering a tinge of PTSD after being chased by what I can only assume was the alpha. There may have been tears. The views from the peak of Tiger Temple were stunning and (maybe probably) worth the monkey attacks.
Funny story: Before climbing to Tiger Temple, we wanted to leave our luggage with a friendly vendor (normal, right?). He happily agreed to store our bags under a table for the price of a few Cokes. When he lifted the table cloth to tuck our bags away, he brought out a plastic container and opened the lid to reveal several baby hedgehogs. It was kind of horrifying and kind of adorable. Should I have rescued them!? I feel guilty every day!
We went out to dinner and happened to turn a street corner just in time to catch one of the most gorgeous sunsets I've ever seen. The sun looked just like that glowy pink bubble that transports Glinda the Good Witch around in The Wizard of Oz. You know the one? Then we got rotee, this amazing Thai dessert that's a magical French Toast/crepe combo drizzled with Nutella. 100 emoji. (Full disclosure: I'm not sure how to correctly use the 100 emoji. Embarrassed monkey emoji).
We spent a gloriously hot Sunday morning on the gorgeous public beach and grabbed some food at a beachfront restaurant. We took a songthaew (think a truck with benches in the bed that serves as a taxi) over to the town center, where we wandered and soaked in all of Thailand's charming little details, colors, and vignettes. We even browsed a Thai bookstore, which was such a great dose of culture. Long on the hunt for Thai Tea, we finally hunted down a street vendor and purchased a few. In the spirit of transparency, the Thai Tea did not live up to my dreams. Maybe I was put off by the large can of Carnation condensed milk poured into each tea?
Full of sunlight and newly-minted memories and Pad Thai, we grabbed a late night flight back to Chiang Mai. I will never forget that divine weekend getaway to the southern coast of Thailand and I cannot recommend Krabi highly enough to you, dear reader!
Check out Alli's blog for a view of this trip from a different lens!