Island Hopping in Southern Thailand

After 16 hours on a bus from Bangkok we arrived in Krabi Town in the Krabi Providence of Southern Thailand.  We'll spare the details of the bus because it was not very glamorous and pretty dirty to be perfectly honest.  It got us there so that's what is most important.  Josh still doesn't understand how you can be freezing cold and a hot sweaty mess at the same time.

We took a 30 minute taxi ride from there to our final destination in Ao Nang.  We shared a ride with 5 other dirties (other travelers on the bus from Bangkok) to Ao Nang.  When we pulled up to our hotel it looked deserted.  The other travelers weren't interested in staying at Diamond Place with us so we were left on the front doorstep with our imaginations of what awfulness waited inside for us.

We had a welcome sign meaning Josh had a welcome sign.  In Thailand, the man is king, as we were told several times.  Josh says it's good to see somebody has it right!  It turns out the place was deserted and we were the only guests in the entire hotel.  

The hotel was absolutely fabulous and the lady that worked and took care of the place was so pleasant that we will always look fondly on the hotel.  They should rename it "Diamond in the Rough Place."

The hotel was right next door to the local Muay Thai stadium.  There were no fights going on that week but we did get to see fighters training and were able to go in for a quick photo.

It was monsoon season so we had to endure several downpours but the scenery was beautiful of course.

Here's a shot of one of the locals hanging out on the beach.

We wanted to do some island hopping so we booked a snorkeling trip to some of the surrounding islands.  This was round two for Leanne being on a rickety old boat.  The seasick monster didn't show his ugly mug this time!  Maybe Leanne is a sailor after all?

We snorkeled around this red rock in the middle of the ocean:

The next stop was called Paradise Island.  The water was crystal clear and full of fish as well as a lot of spiky sea urchins!

We even ran across a couple of native pigs on the island!

We spent the rest of the day exploring Hong Island.  We snorkeled, hiked, and lounged on the beach for hours:

This guy has definitely not been reading our blog or else he would know how we and most of the civilized world feel about wearing budgie smugglers.  Besides, who the hell poses like this on the beach?  Maybe when he was reading about the trip he misunderstood and thought we were taking a trip to Dong Island?  Regardless, it's all clean fun.  Ok, take out the part about clean and fun. 

After we rubbed sand in our eyes to remove that image, we headed out to a lagoon that was on the other side of the island.  It really struck a cord with Josh because growing up his favorite book was Robinson Crusoe and this lagoon reminded him of the setting for that book.

One of the best things about our day long snorkeling trip was meeting a wonderful Irish couple by the names of Neil and Fiona.  Neil gave us tips on our upcoming trip to India.  We spoke about traveling, life, and generally enjoyed each other's company.  We met later that night for some tasty street food.  Leanne's favorite quote from Neil is when he said by traveling around the world we are "Human being rather than human doing."  An interesting thing about traveling is that you run into the same people in different locations.  We ran into and spent time with Neil and Fiona here, in Ko Phi Phi, and in Ko Lanta.  Unfortunately, this is the only picture we got of the four of us together.  They were sneaky and treated us to two dinners.  When we fought back and said it was our turn they wouldn't have it.  We can't thank them enough for their time and generosity.  Ireland may have a couple of yanks hitting their shores in the future to return the favor!

Next, we island hopped to Ko Phi Phi.  The beach was amazing!  You could walk for 200 meters and the water only came to your knees.

This was our home in Ko Phi Phi at a whopping $12 a night!  The cost of this place was having club music play into the wee hours of the morning.  Sometimes the price isn't worth the cost.  We'd say they were just about even.

Most of our four-day, three-night stay was spent laying and playing on the beach and religiously watching the sunset every evening.

Although the beach was gorgeous, the island was full of young Brits looking to have the time of their lives. After the second straight night of being kept awake from loud music, we said if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

The pizza "slides" were surprising good. We had to give into some comfort food because there is only so much Thai food a person can take.

Here's an example of what we were dealing with. These bucket stops were all over the island.

Josh wanted to see a Muay Thai fight. Turns out it was a bunch of drunk tourists fighting for free buckets of booze. (See above photo)

It still made for an interesting night.  No, Josh did not get a bucket that night.

With one last sunset, we said our farewell to Ko Phi Phi. 

The island that we hopped to next was Ko Lanta.  This island was much more laid back.  Definitely more our speed and had the real Thailand feel to it.  We rented a scooter from a nice lady with a restaurant.  We ate dinner there and Leanne taught this little one how to count to 10 using rocks.  While Leanne thought the little one was a he, Josh was fairly certain the little one was a she.  Either way, he/she was really cute. 

We rented a scooter which was the gateway to witnessing the true Thailand culture and beauty. 

A few things that we did/saw along the way:

Hiking to a tiger cave.  After a solid attempt, we never found that cave!

But we did see these little fellas.

 And these little fellas.  Side note, these monkeys are known to bite so we kept our distance.

We scooted to the end of a pier in Old Lanta.  It doesn't matter if you are a tourist or a local; a beautiful sight is appreciated.

While in Old Lanta we were temporarily set back with a flat tire.  It only cost $7 so it didn't break the bank.

The motorbike repair shop had the coolest bird.  Check out this video of the bird mimicking Josh's laugh!

How many times do you get to scooter past an elephant?!

Riding a motorbike is so easy... even a monkey can do it!

Stopping to take in the views at Mu Ko Lanta National Park. 

This little boy (100% certain of that) prompted us to take a snapshot of his picturesque neighborhood. 

Fill 'er up, please!

Shortly after filling up, we had another motorbike repair encounter.  This time several of the spokes broke causing one heck of a wobbly back tire.  This was most likely directly correlated to the previous flat tire incident.  It cost $8 to repair so our total damage tally was $15.  Not too bad.  You win some, you lose some.  This time the repairs took 2 hours so we watched another sunset to pass the time. 

Whew, that was a long one!  Our next stop is Ko Samui on the east coast.  No monsoons there. 

As always, thanks for following us.

A special side note: 
The news of what happened in Colorado has gone international.  One of our friends lost her sister in this tragic event.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the Medek's and all of those that have been affected by this disgusting act of violence.  We are constantly reminded that life is short.  Make the most of the time you have on this beautiful planet.  Love to all of our friends and family.

Leanne & Josh