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Southern Thailand: Back to the Beach

Maybe kids should play with fire? Ko Phi Phi, Thailand.

Back to the beach at last. After two months of traveling through South East Asia, Jeff and I were exhausted. Our muscles ached and we were in need of some R and R. We hopped a flight from Vietnam to Phuket Thailand. A popular tourist destination, the white sand beaches of Phuket were a warm welcome to our weary bodies. We immediately signed on for a dive trip that took us out to a karst outcropping in the middle of the ridiculously clear turquoise blue water. It had been five months since our last dive in Egypt and it felt great to be under the sea once again. We saw our first giant manta ray, nurse sharks, moray eels and myriad of colorful tropical fish.

After a few days of sunning ourselves along side the Scandinavians that flock to this part of the world, we were ready to find something a little more “out of the way”. We heard of a little hotel on a nearby island only accessible by boat and decided to check it out. A couple of hours on a ferry brought us to Koh Phi Phi. The spot was perfect. We checked into a little thatched hut perched over the sea with just enough room for a bed and our bags at our feet. We spent our days between the little restaurant, reading and playing cards, and the private beach just out front.

Feeling rested and ready to head off on the next adventure, we hooked back up with our friend Josh in the small town of Krabi back on the mainland. We rented scooters and spent days riding through the spectacular karst studded landscape. We visited the Tiger Cave Temple and climbed the 1200 steps up to the giant Buddha statue overlooking the spectacular landscape below. Krabi had a fantastic night market and Josh knew just the place for breakfast – roti with Musaman curry. Yum!

Koh Lanta, a long narrow island just off the coast of the mainland, had lovely pebble beaches and crystal clear water. We spent a few days crisscrossing the island, exploring the many beaches, and searching for the perfect fruit smoothie.

Next stop, The bustling town of Trang. As usual Josh showed us the best places to eat and we spent the afternoons in the main public park exercising along side hundreds of locals. The countryside surrounding Trang was similar to Krabi with the giant limestone cliffs jutting skyward. Josh, having been to this part of Thailand many times, acted as our guide leading us on hikes to beautiful waterfalls and through traditional villages.

After several weeks, we said goodbye to Josh once again and Jeff and I headed off to continue the rest of our journey. We hopped on a ferry to the tiny southern most island of Koh Lipe. Not a car or scooter to be seen, the island is easy to explore on foot. At it’s narrowest point it is about a fifteen minute walk from one side to the other. Being the height of the tourist season, the island was crowded and the nights were filled with western tourist kids that had obviously come to party. Fire dancers spun to the rhythm of the pulsing music that played throughout the evenings. The coral reefs, just off shore, were some of the most spectacular I have ever seen. We were happy to spend our days snorkeling amongst the massive coral heads, radiant schools of fish, and giant purple clams. It had been nearly half a year since our days in the Seychelles studying coral and, when we surfaced, we tried our best to remember the names of the species we had just seen below.

Click here to view our photos from Thailand.

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