local time: wednesday, october 6, 2010, noonish
yesterday i took a boat tour of some of the small islands near krabi. it rained for much of the day and the sea was pretty choppy, but it was still a lovely trip.
our first stop was at railay beach, a spot just south of ao nang. though still on the mainland, it is accessible only by boat, as it sits on the other side of ao nang mountain. it is where krabi's famous karst rock formations are at their most majestic, and it was easy to see why rock climbers from all over the world flock there. we took a ten minute walk through some caves and arrived at phranang cave beach. phranang means woman in thai, and legend has it that a woman died in one of the caves there from a broken heart over her lost love. people go the cave to pray for love and fertility and leave phallic offerings to the spirit of the dead woman. just wait until i post pictures - so many wooden penises!! this was also the place where i was hoping to see some monkeys (they congregate there during the day), but they were hidden away somewhere out of the rain.
next we headed over to chicken island for a photo op and some snorkeling. most of the people on the boat didn't want to swim or snorkel, so one other person and i got a semi-private tour of the coral from our guide. the water was a bit cloudy, but we saw tons of tiger fish, sea urchins, swordfish, some gorgeous rainbow colored parrot fish, and the biggest oysters i have ever seen. pretty cool.
we had a thai picnic lunch on poda island, where i enjoyed wet, cloudy, but still beautiful views of some of the small rocky islands nearby. we then headed back to tup island - chicken island's smaller neighbor - and found that the tide had gone down enough to expose the sandbank that connects the two. it was kind of surreal walking from one island to another in the middle of the sea. oh, and the sun came out for a little while!
it was a lovely day, and i can tell that in nice weather this place must be absolutely stunning. i will come back someday when the monsoon is not making its southward trek out of the country. i had hoped to make it to ko phi phi, which is also in krabi provence. unfortunately there is no lodging within my budget so i can't stay there, and the longtail boat day trip i had hoped to take today was thwarted by heavy seas. oh well, just one more reason to come back.
while i did end up enjoying ao nang and its surrounding areas, i think that my time here is done. the weather is iffy in most parts of thailand at the momet, but it is at its worst here (it has rained for all but 2-3 hours of each day that i've been here, and though the sun is currently shining there are more dark clouds looming), and i want to try to find a little more sun before i return to the states (next week!). regardless of the weather, i've also had enough of the hustle and bustle here. i want to finish this trip lying on white sand, lounging in hammocks, hearing the ocean as i fall asleep, and walking down the street without being constantly asked whether i want a massage; a handbag; a suit; a taxi; a ticket to a thai boxing match; etc. . . the pace here just doesn't match my feelings at the moment.
so i'm heeding the syren song of ko phangan and going back to my beloved thong nai pan tomorrow. maybe it's silly to spend so much of my first trip to thailand in one place, but that's just where i want to be right now, and i see no reason to fight it. my apologies to any of you who were hoping for more farflung adventure stories. but this is, after all, my holiday.