- Langkawi (h4ll23.wordpress.com)
- To the Beach, where the Liquor is Cheap! (toanotherplace.wordpress.com)
- Langkawi 19th – 22nd August (jordansontour.wordpress.com)
What a busy month! I’ve been trying to cram it all in – work, seeing friends and family, and all those thousand little trip prep things that need to get done before I get on the road and head out to Bali, Indonesia, the first stop on my travels. The most important part of my pre-trip prepping is my BRAND NEW Mountain Equipment Co-op fancy 70L backpack. Yes – it’s big, but since I will be gone for close to four months, I need something that’s gonna hold all my crap!
Oooo Aaaaah. Note the cool zipper front that allows you to see everything in your bag. I had too many frantic packing moments last year to not invest in a good backpack of my own. I also beat the S**T out of my last bag, so it was time for a new one!
I started packing with a jumble of stuff on the floor two months ago. Yes. Two months. I was excited!! I began with the things that served me well last year.
After doing this I emptied my closets and made some “maybe” piles with clothes that I wouldn’t mind losing if they did get stolen/lost/wrecked. Then the ruthless sorting began.
My Top Ten Packing Tips
Dont forget your phone charger, pajamas and underwear!!
Ok that was eleven. Oh well. Happy Packing! If you have any questions, comments, quips or queries, please leave me a message below 🙂
Also, if you are curious, ask me for my itemized and categorized packing list and I will share it with you. It is extremely nerdy. I don’t care! I love organizing!
Our arrival at Bottle Beach was full of mixed emotions – we were so happy to be going back to one of our favourite places in the world, but sad to be doing it without our group of friends that we had made during our Beach Travellers trip. Our ferry ride over from Ko Tao had been uneventful – the extra ta-wenty Baht we had paid for air-con in our little ferry had been a sweet luxury item.
In Thong Sala (the main town on Koh Phangan) we loaded up on supplies to take with us to Bottle Beach, where everything is a bit more expensive due to the fact it’s on a very remote beach that you can only get to by boat. We were loaded up with all kinds of goodies when we caught our ride across the island to Chalok-lum, the town on the North side of the island, and boarded a little long tail boat which would finally take us home! The staff greeted us as if we were long lost friends – “welcome home!” they said as we checked in and got settled. We had been dreaming of Bottle Beach for so long – it seemed surreal to finally be back there again in paradise.
We spent the afternoon with our friends who worked at the resort, practicing fire spinning with Cheeky my favourite bartender, trading stories and making plans for the full moon and our next few days. We met up with some German friends of ours who had taken our advice and decided to stay at the resort, and had a fun reunion night! The next day we waited for some more friends to arrive, and got ready for what would be the highlight of our time on Bottle – Full Moon!
The morning of full moon we climbed to the viewpoint to check out the amazing view from the top of one of the surrounding hills. Everywhere you looked from the top was unspoiled green beauty – there was very little in terms of developed resort land on that side of the island – it was so beautiful, pristine and untouched – took my breath away.
I had a completely different experience of full moon this time around – Chelsea and I got ready together and helped the other Beach Travellers group with their paint and party preparations. I felt like a pro – the nervous excitement I had from the first time was gone – I felt like I knew what was in store for us, but still was excited to watch the night unfold again!
We boarded the speedboat and the anticipation was the same – rounding the bend, hearing the pulsing music under the bright light of the full moon, and finally seeing the beach lit up and spread out before us as we landed and formed a human chain to get to our meeting spot. This time I had so many energy drinks at the beginning of the night, all I did was dance for about – oh – four hours until realizing I was starving and set out with a group of friends to find the amazing chicken place I had found last time. We found it and ate yummy chicken schnitzels whole watching the mayhem unfold around us. I managed to walk all the way down the beach this time to the very last bar, listening to all the different music on offer as we walked by snapping pictures of the drunk, passed out, and generally outrageous people surrounding us. Eventually we figured out that the spot our group was hanging out at had the best music, so we made our way back to our rendezvous point and danced the night away, watching the sun come up together.
The day after was a bit of a write-off, on account of us staying up all night to do the full moon thing. We luckily had a fantastic pool and some great friends to entertain us, so there was no shortage of laughs to keep us going into the evening. During my second time around at Bottle, I felt like time had stopped – I had everything I needed with me and nothing to do but just simply enjoy and relax. During our last night I bar tended behind the bar with the staff, wearing my staff shirt of course!
Our last night was bittersweet, because we just had so much fun with each other but we knew it had to end, too soon. We stayed up all night as our ferry was ridiculously early and we had to catch a 3:30(am!) ride to the other side of the island to catch it. It was a long, bumpy, pitch dark ride on bad roads in the early morning, taking us away from our Thai family and friends and onwards onto separate journeys….my solo adventure was about to get real.
RAILAY has to be one of my absolute favourite places on earth – so glad we made it back for a second stop to re-visit the memories and meet some awesome new people, including the newest batch of Beach Travellers!
After getting in on a (rainy) longboat, we checked into our pad (sweet porch included!) and unpacked. I tried Crocodile at the buffet at the Viewpoint resort that night. Tastes like chicken, but chewier…lol. Also ingested large amounts of salad – a rare treat after so much rice and curry!
A local friend of the guides had opened a new bar just down the road (path) and we stopped to check it out. It was perfect! Good chilling areas and tunes, a dance floor, busy bar and even an indoor fire show 😉 crazy! We caught the fire show at Last Bar later on as well, and a free bucket for being the first (craziest) girls on the dance floor! Oh Railay, how I love thee!
We crashed the BT boat trip the next day, glad we did cause it gave us the chance to get to know the new peeps – they were nice enough to let us in on the party! We floated, snorkelled, cliff jumped, iced each other and got up to all the usual boat trip shenanegans, and ended up on the beach for dinner and an epic sunset.
The next few days were about as perfect as I could have imagined – good friends, fire spinning, crazy party nights (Anything but clothes? why not?) and a healthy dose of sun, fun and sand. We only got to spend three nights in Railay this time, but they cemented my love for this beautiful, hidden gem of a place. For the rest of my trip, I couldn’t help but gush about to every fellow traveller I met – and when I had heard they’d been there themselves, it was always the same response: they had loved it as much as I did!
We left Railay for Krabi with sad hearts – I know it will be a while before I make it back there, but I can’t wait to bring some new friends there to experience it themselves!
The next morning, a speedboat took us (quickly!) On the two-hour journey through a perfect blue ocean, we stared at the gorgeous scenery and made friends, drinking (messy) beers with them on the boat.
I have never been so amazed by a place upon first arrival as I was when we landed on the bay at Li Pe. The water was turquoise blue, the kind of blue that exists only in postcards. Green mountains rose out of the water on the neighbouring island (a national park) and a pristine white sandy beach laid before us in the water, populated only by many colorful long tails floating serenely.
Our resort was called, appropriately, Castaway, and after a short bumpy ride on a converted moto/taxi, we arrived at what I can only describe as paradise on earth. Our two-story beach hut was cosy, clean and right by the ocean, the eatery overlooked the water as well, and there were wooden cabanas placed along the beachfront with little cushions so you could lounge and relax on the beach away from the fierce sun.
Luckily for us, we had tons of friends visiting the island during that same time – the 36 day BT group, some guides having their much-needed time off, and a group of fun guys who we had gotten to know on our BT trip as well. There was always someone to hang out with, and this made our deserted resort feel like one big house that you live in with all of your friends 🙂
Our first night on the beach, we partied right on the sand, sitting on mats and low tables watching each other spin fire and listening to music. I got to spin that night and every night after, which of course made me the happiest girl in the world! We adventured off into the night and ended up at OMG bar, run by the ever-smiling Oh and his gracious wife. The bar would end up being our local haunt, and that first night I may or may not have hit the buckets too hard…I’d like to thank Camille for helping me home that first night or I might still be wandering around the island!
The second day in paradise brought clear skies, a scorching sun, and good food at the local bakery. Since it was low season, there were hardly any other tourists there and it felt as if we were the last people on earth, sitting at the end of the world in the Andaman sea.
That night we had a handcuff party (where all the names of our friends were placed in a hat and randomly drawn out in pairs, destined to be tied together with fishing cords by the wrist for the rest of the night) and I drew Ben, a tour guide on the 36 day tour. Lol. I knew I was in for a funny night! We all got paired off and the drinking olympics began. There must have been something in our giant “thai-size” buckets, because we all partied like crazy people that night. I even got Ben to spin fire around me somehow while we were still attached!
That night brought an ocean dip, and a bit of bed swapping to accommodate the more aggressively competitive among us (me) who wanted to win the contest and stay tied together. DAMN YOU CHELSEEEEEAA! Her and carter ended up being the lucky winners – but we got second place!
The next day I had what might be the worst hangover of my life, but since there’s not much to do on the beach but nap, shower, tan, repeat, I did just that and felt much better. I didn’t even miss the “yoohoo” lady, who walks down the beach every afternoon calling “yoo hoo! Yoo hoo!” And carrying a tray of amazing baked goods and samosas. It was hilarious to see the tourists flock to the cheery, smiling lady as she hawked her wares, feeding hungry falang in the afternoon sun.
That night was quieter than the last, we shared (smaller) buckets at OMG and wasted the night away joking, laughing and poking fun at each other about the events of the night before. I even had a porch party!!
We were so sad to leave the next day, although since everyone was leaving it was bittersweet – not as much fun on paradise island if you don’t have some people to share it with! Our speedboat brought us back to (uuuaaaghh) Pak Bara, and Nikki, Carter,Chelsea, Alex and I took a minibus to Krabi after a tearful goodbye to Ben and his group, and my beautiful roomie/partner in crime Camille, who would be flying back to Canada (wah!)
I so wished she could have been there to be with me and Chelsea for our next adventures, but next year is another trip and another wild ride, right baby?? 😀
The rainy bus ride brought us to Krabi, and one choppy long tail ride later we were back – in Railay!!
My first two days have seemed like a total blur! So much has happened, I feel like yesterday was ages ago. I slept like a baby on my arrival at O Bangkok, the beautiful traditional guesthouse I was staying in. The room is literally two beds, and a bench but hey it does the job. The hand sprayer in the toilet and lack of TP left me puzzled though (are you supposed to spray your bum with this? I wondered) lol. and yes. yes you are. no TP in sight.
I woke up around three pm BK time and asked about my bag…no dice. So I went on an epic walk around the area we are staying in, the very touristy Khao San Road. I had a heavenly Thai massage (my first!) which cost me about 8 bucks and caused me to cry inside cause it was so good after sitting in an airplane for the better part of two days. I reveled in my alone-ness, totally cut off from everyone and everything I knew.
Now that I know how to kill someone with my bare hands from taking Jiu Jitsu, the prospect of walking alone through the crowded streets of Bangkok seems pretty safe 😉 People were alternately friendly and pushy towards me ( “You want Thai massage? Come with me, very good price, hey Lady! LADY!”). I eventually wandered back to my hotel feeling relaxed from my massage. I met a cool girl at the massage place and we planned to meet up at the full moon party later on in my trip.
After this I sat in the “lobby” (loose term as it is an open air patio that looks onto the street which is actually a restaurant and soooo beautiful) and befriended two Canadian backpacker girls who were travelling together. from Markham. hahahah small world.
I thought the rest of my night might be pretty uneventful so i read a book and went to bed pretty early.
1:30 AM KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK. Wha? Where am I ? Who am I? What side of the world am I on? And who is knocking on my hotel door?
Turns out it was my new lovely roommate who had arrived, very apologetic for waking me up. She immediately reminded me of my dear friend and former roomie, (Hi Myriam!!) a French Canadian girl named Camille who was so sweet I knew we would hit it off. My guide invited me out as it was only 1:30 (lol) and after chatting for a few mins I felt wide awake and decided to join them. Off we went into the night to drink humongous beers on the street patios, dance till 4am at a crazy club, and stumble home amongst the children selling us roses and the drunk tourists spilling out of the clubs, seven elevens, alleyways and who knows where else.