That’s life! Sometimes you get hit by a car in Nashville, sometimes you get sick and miss your favorite DJs, Zeds Dead, and sometimes you get food poisoning on your dream vacation in Thailand. Many great things happen to me, but it’s realistic to remember that many bad things happen, too. That balance in life reminds me that everything is temporary.
I won’t go into detail about my deathly food poisoning experience, but I will say I’m glad it happened towards the end of my trip so it didn’t interfere with much of my exploring. In fact, it was my own fault that it happened in the first place because I was already finished with a great day, but I just had to make true this vision of me sitting on a beach drinking from a coconut. It was satisfying in the moment, and never again after that!
The Solo Traveller
My mom told me to always use the buddy system. She’s right….BUT, I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and see if I was capable of traveling to another country by myself. The answer is: Yes!
I got the idea from looking at pictures on Tumblr when I was a teenager. I saw beautiful pictures of cliffs on the beach and I thought it would be really incredible to see those in person. Before that, when we were kids, my best friend, Michelle, and I watched The Beach — a movie based off of Alex Garland’s 1996 novel. While I was not obsessed with finding the “perfect” beach like Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, I was keen to swim in crystal clear waters and escape the noise of Macau for a little while.
I spent a full day in travel from Macau to Krabi, each step of the way becoming more and more….bumpy. When I landed at the Krabi airport, I purchased a shuttle ticket to Ao Nang Beach, the place I stayed at for the first and last nights of my trip. In between, I stayed in a bungalow at Railay Beach which is only accessible by longtail boat.
When I got on the shuttle bus, it was dark and raining and my hands were shaking. I felt really stupid all of a sudden for coming to a new country all by myself and thought about turning around and going home. But I came all this way for a specific reason so I continued on. The bus ride was….scary….considering the driver kept crashing into trees, but once I finally got to my hostel at Ao Nang, things started to look up because I was the only person booked in the four-person room that night! And, the hostel was really clean and modern so I was happy. For dinner, I had the most delicious Indian food I’ve ever tasted.
In the morning, I was off to the beach! But not before a yummy, sweet breakfast and a cheap clothes shopping spree! The exchange rate is 1 USD to 33 THB, therefore, I was rich.
The Beach (minus Sal)
It was definitely like I saw in the pictures. I felt like Mary Poppins jumping through beautiful paintings to new worlds on the other side!
Don’t miss the hidden trails — guarded by monkeys — that lead to other beaches….
A bit rainy in Ao Nang, it was now time to spend the weekend at Railay Beach. Like I said, Railay is only accessible by longtail boat; there are no cars on this “island” (it’s not really an island, but it’s cut off from the rest of the world by high mountains and cliffs).
Passengers have to wade through water to mount the longtail boat, so be sure to travel light! A longtail boat is no fancy thing, just a wooden boat with an exposed generator on the back that’s connected to a manual propeller.
When I finally landed, a kind local showed me the way to my bungalow. I definitely would not have found it without him because Railay is a little less developed than Ao Nang, meaning, there aren’t any marked roads to show you the way, only a few signs. A bungalow means there was no air conditioning and I chose this as opposed to a nicer resort because I thought it would be “fun” and really test my limits. All in all, it was quiet, dark, and beautiful like I wanted.
My time in Railay was spent exploring most parts of the island. The island offers several beaches — West Railay, East Railay, Phra Nang, and Tonsai — complete with cliffs, lagoons, viewpoints, and special caves. Thanks to my local friend, Tom, I saw more of Railay than I would have alone, and I am grateful that he showed me the way.
When in Thailand….
I would have loved to see the live Muay Thai fighting at Tom’s bar, but that was the night I got sick so I couldn’t go. The night I was alive, however, I was able to try a few touristy things like getting a Thai massage (twice), indulging in a Thai pancake with Nutella and banana, and watching the most insane fire show ever.
When I finally made it home, I was grateful to be back in Macau. It actually felt comforting to ride the bus again and listen to Chinese voices I can’t understand. I realized that I’ve made Macau my home base and, even though it was nice to get away for a bit, I’m not ready to leave yet.
Until next time, enjoy this compilation video of my fun times in Thailand!
Fun fact: The cliffs are stained red from iron, white from limestone, and black from….ah, we couldn’t figure that one out.