In Japan, Golden Week refers to the week straddling April and May which has three national holidays in it. Ben, Leandi and I, like most of the other ALTs, took leave for the other two days, as well as the previous Friday and flew to Thailand for a beach holiday.
We flew to Bangkok via Shanghai, then straight on to Krabi where we met Leandi’s friend from SA, and Ellie at the airport. With no particular plans, we headed into the township and the adventures began!
The whole trip was a roaring success from start to finish, but there were certainly some highlights which comprise the greatest memories and longest standing in jokes.
Krabi township is nothing special, but having a whole day there we decided to make the most of the area by renting scooters and zooming around like the locals.
We did a few scenic spots, then headed for a beautiful white sand beach. Immediately on arrival we were adopted by a man called Tom who gave us flyers for his massage booth, then bribed us to go there with fresh fruit. We told him we would certainly be there later, but we were going to swim first, so while we lay on the beach and swam in the warm, clear ocean, he continued to bring us fruit.
Eventually, refreshed and full of fruit, we were cajoled into the large, open hut where we lay on mattresses and had full body coconut oil massages.
Leandi found a small, wooden Jenga set in a store in Krabi so we bought it and wrote challenges, questions, games and instructions on the pieces and carried it with us every night after that. It entertained us during the tropical storm, helped us make friends in bars, and provided the ultimate beachside drinking game.
Probably the greatest purchase during the whole trip.
Beach Party on Phi Phi
Arguably one of the best nights out I’ve ever had. This night had everything a good beach party should: fire pois, buckets of alcohol, open dance floors, sand, ocean, sweat, neon paint, cute boys, pop music and good friends.
Oh, and it ended with giant slices of pizza eaten sitting on the sand.
Snorkelling trips off Phi Phi
For a ridiculously small sum of money, we spent a whole day (including breakfast and lunch) on a little covered boat cruising off to different beautiful beaches and snorkeling spots.
There is nothing quite like spending a whole day on the water, only leaving the boat to put on a mask and fins and get up close and personal with little fishies, or roll in soft, white sand.
Sweet roti fried with your choice of filling. Peanut butter and banana was my personal vice.
Riding an Elephant
Do I need to explain?
Ben and I took a Thai cooking course one afternoon. In an open kitchen, with a view of the ocean, we learnt to make pad Thai, spring rolls, green curry, tom yum and a pumpkin coconut dessert. It was an amazing experience, but the pad Thai didn’t taste quite so good in my cramped, inner city Japanese apartment…
Markets in Bangkok
I’m not much for shopping, but even I happily tramped around this ENORMOUS market for six hours one sweaty day in Bangkok. I managed to lighten my wallet a bit, get some really cute clothes and eat some delicious spicy food.
Watching the sun come up on Kho San Road
A night of drinking and partying in some of Bangkoks seedier streets led us back to Kho San Road where we were staying, and into this tiny bar with an open mic and a woman with a voice like a diva.
Ellie was due in on a bus at five thirty, and around three thirty, buzzing off the energy of Bangkok, and chatting to a charming man from the States, I decided to wait it out and meet her at the bus station.
We danced, we sang, we decorated a sleeping man with toilet paper and as the sun rose, the last of us wandered out of the bar onto Kho San Road where nothing really changes from day to night; backpackers were sat on the curb drinking Chang, vendors kept making pad Thai, and if I had felt the need, I could have bought a laser pointer or a hammock.
There were definitely some days I drank three of these . They were healthy, refreshing, inexpensive and really flipping delicious.
Thailand was a blast: great friends, awesome beaches, amazing food, a spot of shopping and the odd elephant combined to make a group of very happy little travellers.
Don’t worry, Thailand. I’ll be back.