A Life Engaged

Island Life: Andaman Sea & The Gulf of Thailand

Krabi Town

After a very long 15 hours of travel, we finally made it to Krabi Town, where we met Betsy, one of Dan’s high school friends. The three of us spent the evening playing drinking games at the hostel bar with an English chap and some fratpackers. Once midnight hit, it was Jessie’s birthday and Dan decided to get her a celebratory shot. As Dan was leading Jess to the bar, we could see the bartender pouring three large shots (apparently one just isn’t enough in Thailand). To prove to Dan that she could do it, Jess downed all three shots in a matter of seconds. Dan quickly went from impressed to concerned and finally to annoyed as he retrieved wastebaskets, paper towels and bottles of water for the next several hours.

 

Railay Beach

The next day, we made our way by longtail boat to Railay Beach, which was highly recommended to us by a friend and several other travellers along the way. We spent the afternoon lounging on West Railay Beach, playing in the crystal clear water and taking in the views of the limestone cliffs jutting out of the water. We were truly in paradise and taking in every single moment. Once over the hangover, we went out to celebrate Jessie’s dinner with a romantic dinner by the bay and a long, alcohol free, stroll by the beach.

View from our guesthouse in Railay

View from our guesthouse in Railay

Enjoying our longtail boat ride!

Enjoying our longtail boat ride!

It rained nearly the entire next day, but we didn’t let that ruin our fun. We explored the peninsula and found our way into various caves. We also sat on a covered part of the beach and watched some rock climbers scale the limestone cliffs. We relaxed in this little beach community and took in its beauty.

 

Koh Phi Phi

Our next stop was Koh Phi Phi (pronounced ko-pee-pee) and we were all a little reluctant to leave the beautiful scenery of Railay.

When we arrived, the views were gorgeous. Right away it was evident that this was a tourist island and it was no secret that they catered to twenty-something partiers. Within the next hour, we found a hotel, threw on our bathing suits and hopped on a tour of the surrounding islands. The boat tour was about 6 hours and we cruised around the beautiful islands stopping at various locations to snorkel. One of our last stops was Maya Beach on the island of Phi Phi Lei, which is now famous as the place where “The Beach” was filmed. The tour ended with an underwhelming view of the glowing plankton, which Betsy and Jess were convinced would be the highlight of the tour.

Longtails after longtails

Longtails returning from day-trips and surrounding islands

Kayaking around Koh Phi Phi

Boating around Koh Phi Phi

Enjoying the scenery at Maya Bay

Enjoying the scenery at Maya Bay

On our third day in Phi Phi, we went down to the beach and rented kayaks. Dan bought a large Chang and was very glad to crack it open after the deceivingly long kayak trip. We paddled to a beach and swam where Jess met a jellyfish. Once we returned the kayaks we decided our exercise was not over and hiked to two of the viewpoints on the island. We gazed out at the gorgeous views while swatting mosquitos and ringing the sweat out of our clothes.

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Kayaking around Koh Phi Phi

Fully exhausted from the long day of physical activity, we headed down to the beach at night to party. The main beach at Phi Phi comes alive at night with fire dancers and twirlers. We watched in amazement as island natives made human statues and threw flaming torches.

After a long day of travel on busses and ferries, we woke up on the other side of Thailand on the island of Koh Phangan. We rented motorbikes to explore the island. We lunched on masaman curry amidst the stunning blues and greens of the water. After lunch, we waded in the shallow sea and dreamed of our next endeavors and what life may hold for us in the future. This was what island life was all about.

We left the beach in great moods. After a 20-minute ride on the bike, Betsy realized she left 300 baht in cash (equivalent of roughly $10 USD) at the last beach. She was convinced it would be there waiting for her. On the detour back, our gaslight came on and we were nervous of being stranded on the mountainside. We bought some petrol out of an unmarked bottle from a local Thai on the side of the road and prayed it didn’t screw up the motorbike before we had to return it. We continued down the coastline and stopped to take in the pinks and oranges of the striking sunset while the smell of jasmine tickled our noses.

Breathtaking sunset views

Breathtaking sunset views

Our last day on the islands was spent relaxing as we saved up for the notorious Full Moon Party that evening. The beach was littered with thousands of partygoers covered in neon shirts and glow-in-the-dark body paint. We watched the young and brave run through flaming rings of fire and participate in a fiery jump-rope competition. We sipped on our buckets full of Thai vodka and redbull and danced to thumping house music.

Enjoying the buckets and body paint

Enjoying the buckets and body paint

Fiery Ring of Fire

Ring of Fire

A view of the crowds at the Full Moon Party

A view of the crowds at the Full Moon Party