Posts Tagged With: adenture backpacking

Jungles and Flights

On our second day in Chiang Mai, we all decided we wanted to try ziplining in the rainforest, and we booked a tour with a company called Jungle Flights. They picked us up from our hotel in the morning and drove us up the mountain. I was sure our driver was out to kill us or someone else. Just sayin! It was a wild ride.

Our guides Johnny and Robin were so nice, spoke great English, and laughed and joked with us the whole day. They made our ride fun + the highlight for me was being lowered straight down 40m to the end of the course, it was so thrilling! I hate heights!!

We also got a free t-shirt, a yummy lunch and a (bumpy) ride back to our hotel. We loved the whole experience. The night brought us to the market, a surreal maze of stalls all selling a variation of the same souvenirs and trinkets. We shopped. Of course. I bought a sweet pair of sandals that I am still wearing, a birthday present for my sis, and a few shirts for my guy friends ūüôā prezzies!

One thing we learned about Chiang Mai is that the bars are packed with “bar girls” and the massage girls wear a lot of makeup and less clothing, basically the sex industry is very visible there, and we saw a lot of older white men alone on their vacations…we actually were so turned off by this, we didn’t go out our second night in Chiang¬†Mai, either.

We took a shiny tuk tuk (with a female driver and a pink roof!) To the airport, and departed rainy Chiang Mai, flying all the way down the country to Hat Yai, one of the southernmost points of Thailand. Total flight time? A whopping 2 hours. Both domestic flights I took in Thailand were quick, efficient, clean and so pleasant, much more pleasant than the average Canadian airport experience!!

Hat Yai was a pit stop on the longer road to Ko Li Pe, we still had to rent a minibus to take us to Pak Bara….the strangest place I went in Thailand.

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Dives and Hunts in Phi Leh Bay

Our dive the next day was thankfully at 1pm, so we didn’t have to stress out too much about lost sleep or hangovers.

It was a good thing too, cause the dive was not to be missed! After a lesson on diving at the shop, we headed out on the boat to Phi Leh bay, the island which is the smaller (and more beautiful) sister of Phi Phi, untouched by development as it is a national park. It is also the site where The Beach was filmed, we got to see the real beauty of this little island the next day, but today was for exploring under the waves!

I was nervous and a bit claustrophobic in the dive suit on land, but as soon as we got in the water our dive instructors totally put us at ease!
It was amazing to swim through the depths, watching the neon fish swim in schools, the nemo fish dart in and out of the sea anemones, and we even saw a sea turtle feeding on the wall!! Our two dives were over too soon, and lunch on the boat was super good as well.

The next day we went on a boat trip, where we had an ocean swim party in a secluded bay, and climbed the (treacherous) rocks into Maya Bay to gaze in wonder at the pristine beach. It was truly breathtaking, even though the weather wasnt perfect we could all appreciate how beautiful this place was, and how lucky we all were to be there together experiencing it.

The third stop on our boat trip narrowly got rained out, but not after a yummy lunch and several successful beach pyramids!  The ride back on the front of the speedboat in the pelting rain listening to loud hard rock was a fun, albeit very wet, memory from that day!

The night brought us back  to land and off on a scavenger hunt that would lead me to the piercing parlor, down the street on a piggyback ride, into a muy thai boxing ring, and off the club, to dance with my friends and fend off all the guys we had met on our various misadventures on the island during the night!!

Overall I’d say Phi Phi was crowded, touristy, and not my favorite place we’d visited even though the natural beauty of the island was incredible. Id hate to think of what that island would be like during the high season, if I found it too busy right now during low season!

I was happy to leave the next day for Railay, which rivals Bottle Beach as my absolute favorite place I’ve visited in Thailand so far!!!

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The Night Train Adventure


The bus took us to a little town, very very authentic Thailand. My friend Lindsay and I decided to take a walk and check out this busy lil’ town. There were schoolchildren giggling and plying, a super rad Thai skate shop complete with crazy pierced dude with a handlebar moustache, his store also sold t-shirts with moustaches on them, how fitting.

Our best find, though, was an outdoor Thai aerobics class ( which we may have or have not joined in on;)  ) it was superfun, the ladies doing the class were just as amused as us to have some new people in the class!

Back at the train station, our group gathered and we boarded for what would be an eleven hour train ride to Khao¬†Sok, our next stop.¬† We boarded around eight, so there was lots of time to sleep and “enjoy” the very long ride.

Each of us had a little bunk with a bed and curtain, pillow, blanket and not much else. The walls in the train were a beautiful puke green and everything you touched was immediately covered in a layer of soot.



I had a top bunk, so I climbed up and got comfy, locking my bag to the rack provided (good traveller!) And failing to realize that my lock had somehow reset itself to a new code in the process without me noticing (dumb traveller!)

After noticing this and trying a bunch of codes around my old one, I had to tell my guide what I’d done (haha!). Me and Jon puzzled over this for a while, thinking where we could find bolt cutters or heavy-duty scissors to eventually unlock my bag….we thought about this for waaaay too long, until realizing that we could just cut the strap holding my bag to the rack without too much trouble…duh.

Sooo¬†Maia, sis, your backpack has some new…modifications….nothing that can’t be fixed by an expert mom and a sewing machine though!! It was not one of my prouder moments, but makes for a funny story!

The night train was not fun, to sum it up.  It was dirty, smelly, loud and full of vendors crowding the aisles trying to sell you stuff.

I managed to sleep with a combo of beer and motion sickness pills (the ultimate knockout method I have discovered, good for long bus and ferry rides!) I woke up feeling pretty fresh, actually, but was sooo ready to get off by the time we arrived in the south.

Not looking forward to the night train back to Bangkok, after that journey.

Good thing I was feeling peppy, it was going to be another awesome day in paradise!

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Kan-chan-a-buri (say it with me)

FIRST OF ALL Рthis seems like SO long ago as we have been traveling through some very remote places and I havent been able to update this blog in a long time!  I have 40 mins left on the interwebs here in Koh Phangan and will do my best to update fully and fill all you lovelies in on whats been happening in the land of smiles since we left off.

Jolly Frog


Jolly Frog 2

We left Bangkok around 8am in a cute little minibus, off to the west of Thailand and a place (town?) called Kanchanaburi.  I had my first of many interesting experiences with the squat toilets that are the norm here, good thing I did so many squats before I left (thanks Peter!!) cause I certainly need that lower body strength now!

We arrived at Jolly Frog Backpackers Inn and had a group lunch, some announcements from our lovely guides Jon and Nikki, and put our stuff in what is possibly the UGLIEST room I have ever seen – think floral 70’s bed spread, paint splatter walls circa 1992 (with cracks secured by duct tape) accompanied by a scary bathroom and musty smell. ¬†As my trip went on I realized – really – not such a bad room after all!!

We visited a school that afternoon, after a quick stop at TESCO. ¬†Tesco was surreal because it seemed SO American (complete with a Dunkin Donuts and Dairy Queen) after all the¬†foreign¬†places I’ve experienced in the last week, it was strange to be in what felt like Wal-Mart! ¬†We were only there to grab toys and games for the school kids, we loaded up on treats for the kiddies and headed out into the hotness.

We arrived at the cute little school (under 200 kids), and the little ones waved at us from their classrooms, visibly excited we were here to play with them. ¬†Apparently the area we were in was pretty remote and they don’t see a lot of falang (foreigners), so the teachers were taking as many pics of us as we were of them!!

We got introduced to them as they sat in neat little lines by class, and performed a cute song for us. We then did the chicken dance for them, to their ultimate delight!  After getting acquainted, it was time to play soccer, blow bubbles and draw with them for an hour or so.  I drew a tic tac toe board for one of them on a little piece of paper and it was ON.  A tournament of wits ensued (I lost, maybe on purpose :P)  and we played happily together.

After a Kap-khoon-ka (thank-u) and goodbyes, we headed off to the River Kwai and the famous “Bridge over River Kwai”. ¬†We walked over it (kinda dangerous as it was rusty AND there was a running train we had to avoid mid-pass lol) and had a wee history lesson as to it’s importance during WW2, apparently it was bombed many times and rebuilt in¬†darkness¬†during the night to keep crucial supply lines open. ¬†I bought SWEET genie Thai pants that have proved very useful and the day was not even over yet!

Bridge over River Kwai!

Dinner at the Jolly Frog was delicious (coconut soup yumm) and we had some free time to get ready for the EPIC river cruise that was to come.  We took a bus to the riverside (still Kwai) and got on this giant floating covered raft complete with a DJ booth and crazy light show.  Jon (our guide) plopped down a 2-4 of M-150 (Thai red bull, twice as strong=twice as fun) and told us to go nuts РI knew then it would be a crazy night!!

We danced and danced and daaaanced to awesome music and our little group definitely became a family that night, we played games and got to experience a fire show (flaming batons twirling, being passed back and forth, being dropped, flung, twisted = so safe haha). ¬†It was such a good party night and nothing like I’ve ever experienced before. ¬†We were paired up with the 36-day tour for that part, so we got to bond with them for a bit too.

And then night wasnt even over yet!! After getting back to the guesthouse, we headed out to a place called Sugar Member (tee hee) and danced and drank some more, till we shut the place down.

After writing this I cannot¬†believe¬†all of that happened in one day!! More blogs to follow…much love peeps.



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En Route to BKK – Part Two

Ok so we left off at Heathrow, and my flight from London took off in a reasonable time, THAI Airlines was the BEST flight I have ever taken in my life Рand it was an 11 hour long haul, so thats saying a lot.  Free booze, hot towels, extra empty seat beside me so i could take a nap (kinda) and a lovely friendly Thai girl beside me, great food (3 meals!!) and an endless array of movies and TV shows. I cant believe Im saying this but I walked off the plane totally refreshed!

As I walked off the plane and into the Bangkok airport, a secret smile crept over my face. ¬†Here I was, totally alone in a place I had never been before, didint know a soul. ¬†I felt compeletely capable, at peace and wondfully…alone. ¬†I have a strong¬†belief¬†that we are our own best comapny, being comfortable in your own solitary presence is sometimes the best company you can have. ¬†I felt that way¬†walking¬†off the plane. ¬†It was amazing.

And then….my bag did not show up in the luggage. ¬†I¬†didn’t¬†panic, i thought something like this migjt happen as I only had an hour to connect to my flight at Heathrow. ¬†I went to the¬†baggage¬†are and they were very sweet, filing a report and saying it would show up on the next¬†plane, to go to my hotel and they would send it to me.

After a quick phone call home to say I was here in one¬†piece, I sought out my guide who was supposed to meet me at the airport…..but there was no sign of them so i trusted my luck and hopped in a cab. ¬†The¬†Thai¬†phrases he kept trying to teach ¬†me¬†probably¬†could¬†have stuck if I¬†hadn’t¬†felt¬†the whole time I was going to puke on account of his awful driving….I arrived feeling sick and disoriented – 8am¬†Thai¬†time, 9pm¬†Toronto¬†time.

I slept for a few hours and finally ended up meeting my guide Nikki who had just missed me at the airport. she informed me i was the first to arrive so i had a few days to explore before everyone else got there. Perfect!

to be continued….

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