Posts Tagged With: khao sok

Paradise Found – Bottle Beach, Ko Pha-Ngan

The minibus brought us from Khao Sok to Suratthani in the morning after an epic 6am longboat ride through the huge lake.

This was a tough travel day for me, I was super sick the night I landed at Bottle Beach, and was feeling crappy on the bus, ferry, truck and boat we needed to take to get to our next destination on Koh Pha-Ngan. Didn’t help that I got iced on the ferry on the way over, either. Thanks guys. Lol.

After a short stop in Thong Sala to buy full moon party supplies (body paint and fluorescent clothing anyone? ) we boarded a truck to our second last stop. The beach is only accessible by boat, and that is one of the things I loved most about it! Totally secluded from the world – with the requisite wi-fi of course!

Arriving there by speedboat was surreal after living in squalor at the lake house. We had these amazing huts on the beach all to ourselves, with a bathroom to die for and a charming front porch. The resort had a pool and a pristine beach, great little restaurant and a bar that was always open. It was Heaven on earth for these weary travellers!

We wasted no time in getting a pool party started, the weather was awesome and everyone was in a great mood, exploring the hotel and eating the food – after tons of Thai food in the last few days, it was great to be able to order a burger ūüėÄ

A few not so nice things about our first day in Bottle Beach: first was my sickness, and second was that we discovered our room had…dun dun dunnnnnn….COCKROACHES!!! Eeeeew.

But now I can proudly say I am a cockroach killer, and I also got over my sickness that evening with the help of my dear friend Danica, ( yup, same name!) who is a damn good nurse – love her for that!!

The next few days brought just the right amount of sun, sand and friends as we relaxed, hiked to a beautiful viewpoint, had bonfires, watched fire spinning, lit wishing lanterns and released them into the sky, had massages and generally had the time of our lives.

The full moon was just around the corner, and it definitely deserves its own blog!!

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The Lake House

I woke up early in the morning after my little river tubing adventure the afternoon before, and got a chance to chat with my dad on the night of his birthday (11 hrs behind my time) while they were having a birthday dinner! It was great to catch up + talk with the whole family, and so surreal to stand amidst misty Jurassic Park mountains and watch the sun rise.

Our next adventure began soon after, as our two groups boarded the hippie bus to Khao Sok national park.  After a taste of the rainy season (aka treacherous downpour that would last 20 mins max) we boarded long tails to the cliff jumping spot among rocky karsts covered in deep green jungle rising out of the lake.

Then we arrived at our floating accommodations on the lake deep in the park.¬† 45 Canadians. 4 to a cabin. On mattresses. Nothing to do but eat and drink and have moustache parties. So we did! When there was sun we would swim and tan, but that didn’t happen too much because its rainy season. Silly tourists!

The highlight of the lake house was the treacherous jungle hike we took…
First off the river was too low to get to the trailhead. So we had to hike- to the trailhead. On a new path. Forged by our Thai guide with a machete. Rough. For sure! The hike from the trailhead was easy enough, and the waterfall and caves at the end were a good payoff, but we arrived back at the lake house pretty wiped.

I was ready to leave the rainy lake house when we did early the next morning.¬† What would come next would remain my favorite place in the whole month I travelled with beach travellers and the experiences I had there changed me forever. Stay tuned….

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Misty Mountains

We arrived in Khao Sok and boarded the raddest hippie bus I have ever seen, it was straight out of a movie, brightly colored, broken down looking, and generally awesome. 3 working fans = not awesome though!

We also met up with the other 24-day tour group at this point, making 40 people or so in total. We would be travelling with them for the next eight days, doing the lake house, full moon and Ko Phangan together.

We arrived at the Smile guesthouse in Khao Sok, a gorgeous guesthouse in the middle of the mountains of a national park.  It literally looked like Jurassic Park, with mist rolling through the mountains, elevated jungle huts and a gorgeous lobby full of heavy dark furniture and little fountains.

Our first order of business was to buy booze for the river tubing adventure.¬† We bought delicious boozies then loaded up the floating coolers for our trip down the river.¬† We grabbed a tube each and walked down the road to the river, jumping into the shallow water and letting the current float us for a blissful, tipsy two hours of fun…

Until I looked down and realized the waterproof camera I had brought had somehow unlocked its “airtight” compartment and was now full of water…I was not impressed. It was such a crap thing to happen on an otherwise great day, I tried not to let it get to me. Back to the guesthouse after to prep for the monkey temple.

Once the cam was safely in a bag of rice drying out, I grabbed my stuff and headed out with the rest to check out the  monkey temple.

Monkeys are the greediest little jerks you have ever seen. Just sayin. We got to the temple and paid for some peanuts and bananas to feed the seemingly cute little guys, they were super grabby and even though it was cute to see them running around, they were actually a little scary….haha. Disney films have it all wrong. I’m not sure I’d want to be alone around a bunch of monkeys now.

My day ended pretty early, on account of me being pretty sauced on the river cruise. After dinner I decided to sleep for an hour to be fresh for the evening, aaaand woke up the next morning instead. Whoops!

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The Night Train Adventure

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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.

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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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