Eric and I had our first visitors to Thailand who are actually still here with us! Eric's mom, Eileen, and his sister, Lauren, got to Bangkok Wednesday night and we met them Thursday afternoon. We were both able to get our classes covered on Friday (thanks Anna!) so we had yet another three day weekend! Pictured below is our welcome to Thailand fruit basket.
We flew out of Don Meung Airport in Bangkok Thursday afternoon and had the incredibly pleasant 11/2 hour flight to Krabi (which would've taken 10-12 hours by bus or train). Flying is awesome AND we ate our first real sandwiches in over two months (thank you globalization for giving me Subway in Thailand) AND AND (a doubley excited and) Eileen and Lauren brought me home made chocolate chip cookies from my sister! I was really looking forward to these and they definitely delivered.
Anyway, we landed in Krabi when it was still light out, which was great! One of the many great things about traveling with parents is that they like to spend the extra $6 to make things convenient. Eileen had booked a hotel on Railay and transportation to it from the airport. We were picked up at the airport from a very friendly driver happy to practice his english. He dropped us off at the pier where a long boat took us to Railay. THEN a water tractor-taxi picked us up from the long boat so we didn't have to walk through the stretch of shallow murky water. Finally, the tractor-taxi took us to a golf cart that drove us up the hill to our hotel. One thing I enjoy doing when I travel is counting my modes of transportation. I have found myself doing this and getting really excited anytime it is more than like 3 different types of transportation. So, we left school Thursday morning by a truck, took a van to Bangkok, a plane to Krabi, a SUV taxi to the pier, a long boat to Railay, a water tractor-taxi, and a golf cart. Seven modes!
Our hotel room was very nice and a huge change from the hostels Eric and I have been staying at or camping last weekend. This is the view from our hotel room where we could also watch people rock climb. In the morning we headed down to one of the beaches. Unfortunately it wasn't really beach weather (and actually we never really experienced real beach weather unfortunately), but we swam nonetheless. We then explored Railay with its really amazing landscape, crazy caves, and stalagmites and stalactites. There was a lookout spot that we rock, rope, and root climbed our way up to in the somewhat muddy clay. It was a really nice view of Railay and was a nice little exercise.
After climbing we decided to rent kayaks, which was probably my favorite part of the weekend. We kayaked under rock overhangs and into tunnels (AKA Eric forced me against my will to kayak into a dark tunnel). We watched as the rain came in and it started pouring on us as we padelled to an overhanging cliff to take cover. The rain cleared and we watched a beautiful sunset on the beach until another rain cloud came in and we scurried to a little non-resort restaurant (which unfortunately is rare on Railay) and ate dinner as the rain poured around us.
The next morning we signed up for a 4 Island Boat Trip to see some of the small islands around Railay. Turns out every yucky European and Thai thought this was a good idea too and this was our first island stop. Eric and I should have known, but it did get better at our next stop where we snorkeled (for my first time!), saw some really cool fish, and where it was less crowded (and the lame people on our boat stayed in the longtail). It was a nice little touristy thing to do, but unfortunately Eric started feeling a bit sick at the last island. When we got back to Railay, Eric and Lauren headed back to the hotel while Eileen and I spent a little more time on the beach before another rain storm hit and watched people like this:
I used to hate hearing that statistic of how few Americans travel and thought it was embarrassing. I am now very grateful that Americans that look (and act) like this stay within our borders.
I won't go into details about Saturday night as Saturday evening to Sunday morning Eric, Lauren, and I took turns have "stomach issues," which is a nice way to say we were either throwing up or having diarrhea. I will remain mysterious and leave it up to you which it was. If I go to Railay again, I will definitely want to do some rock climbing, which is what it is really known for.
It is also known for this penis- cave shrine:
We flew back to Bangkok Sunday afternoon and made it on the last bus to Suphan just in time. Even with the rain and not feeling well, it was a great weekend and we are currently hosting Eileen and Lauren at hotel Yu Dee Mi Suk (our apartment) and taking them to school today!