Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Haad Yao

A hillside bungalow overlooking the palm trees and white sand beach, a Frisbee, a chess set, and a few bottles of beer. Yep folks, things are looking pretty great from this side of the globe.

Last week we made the journey from Laos to Thailand, which turned out to be a piece of cake. From Vientiane we crossed the border by bus and hopped on the overnight train to Bangkok. Sleeper trains are definitely an awesome way to travel; only downside is you can’t see the scenery going by. These trains have the program down pat. Not only to they make up your bunk with fresh sheets and a pillow, but they serve food and wake you up for your stop. Not the best night of sleep we’ve had, but certainly not the worst.

We arrived in Bangkok at 6:30 am. Of course nothing was open, but we watched Letters from Iwo Jima, ate some donuts, and bought another train ticket farther south. Our second sleeper train arrived in Chumphon at 4 am. Surprisingly this small city port was not completely dead, there were moto taxis milling about and a few businesses open here and there. We decided not to rush to the islands, but find a hotel for the night and catch our breath before any more travel. Chris found a café with free Wifi and worked for much of the afternoon. The following morning we caught the ferry to Koh Tao, the first in the group of three islands we are planning on visiting.

Stepping off the boat in Koh Tao brought us into a swarm of taxi drivers and people advertising various hotels and bungalows. The majority of the accommodation options on these islands are camps of bungalows. These small structures vary from very basic with only a bed and fan to those complete with aircon and hot water showers. We opted for a cheap room in town and decided to explore the rest of the island. Koh Tao is a very tiny island, it took us all of 15 min to drive from one end to another on our moto. The main attraction here is the scuba diving. There are dozens of diving operations offering week only PADI certification courses. The island was definitely picturesque, but not quite the vibe we had been hoping for. After a few nights we decided to move on to the second of the three islands.

Our current location, the island of Koh Phangan is well known for its famous Full Moon Party. Some 30,000 visitors flock here for the giant party of the beach. The next party is February 21st (another reason for our change in location). By a stroke of good luck Chris was able to find a vacancy at one of the bungalow operations on one of the northern beaches. Because of the upcoming party, cheap rooms are almost impossible to find on the island this week. We were picked up from the ferry and showed up not quite knowing what to expect.

We jumped out of the pickup, exchanged looks and knew we wouldn’t be leaving this place for a while. Our bungalow is situated on a steep hill overlooking the bay and beach below. It contains a comfy bed, bathroom and has a small deck in front. The best part? The hammock, of course. (In fact, I’m lying in it right now.) Walking along the beach that night, we felt our kinda vibe. Quieter, clean beach, chill people, I’m not really sure how to explain it. We decided it was absolutely necessary to buy a Frisbee and Chris bought a mini chess set. Today we spent the afternoon lounging in the sun, tossing our bright green “Flying Ring,” and reading. Chris destroyed me in a game us chess, but we are both pretty terrible right now and in need of more practice.

Other news…Chris loves driving around on our bright pink moto.

Miss you all! Love,
Emma

4 comments:

chelsea said...

that sleeper train sounds a lot better than the ones in India! when are you going to know if you are coming to visit! I feel like I'm the only family member in civilization right now! You in Thailand, Ethan in Vietnam and Mom and Dad are in some hippie no cell phone place in Big Sur...no one to chat with! Anyway, glad you're having so much fun, keep me updated (aka email more) about school decisions! love you

chelsea said...

ew, I can't believe I used exclamations after every sentence in that last post

stevethongsala said...

Hi from Thong Sala, KPN

Peter Spiro said...

Sounds like a great place!

I'm reading a mystery cum travel book based in Thailand an dthey talk about the full-moon party!!

Mom and I are at this great nude hippie place, better than the co-ed showers in Austria!!!

See you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!