Guest Blog: by Max and Kristin Rose
After 7 months of not seeing the little brother and Sarah, we said enough is enough! Let’s hop on a plane and visit them in Thailand. It only took us 30 hours to get to Bangkok. We had one day on our own to visit this wild city and here are the highlights. We took a tuk tuk ride to Starbucks (I know…) then the guy drove us to the wrong pier and we saw a dead body (yuck), we then walked to the correct pier and rode along the river seeing the city. We stopped at the Kings Palace, which was lovely but we sweat a lot. We had a nice Thai meal, which we later learned was way over priced (more on that later). We enjoyed the infinity hotel pool overlooking the city and the next day we were off to Phuket to see Eric and Sarah.
We arrived at the beach town of Kata and promptly went to the pool. It’s hot here. Eric and Sarah arrived a little while later and we all enjoyed Chang beer because Singha was 10 Baht more. (Roughly 33 cents US). It was interesting to see how my brother has changed! Not only looking slim, but he who was once known for enjoying the finest things and not too worried about spending money has learned some lessons on his travels. Eric and Sarah are now experts at finding the deals. (I think they eat 7-11 dumplings everyday, about 17 Baht, 20 cents.) They are delicious by the way. We walked the town in search of food that would fit their budget and found a great Thai restaurant that would later be recommended to us by a local cab driver as the best and cheapest in town. Again, E and S know their way around the world now.
The next day we visited the Big Buddha, which is correctly named, as it is a BIG Buddha. E and S went scootering as Kristin and I decided to ride an elephant. That was fun! That night we tried to go back to our great restaurant find but it was closed. So we settled and had a disappointing dinner but got to play some Connect 4 while we waited for the meal. The next day was spent traveling to our favorite spot of the trip, Krabi.
Railay Beach is where we spent the next three days. We learned to love pineapple shakes, (pineapple, water, and ice), we learned how to build a sundial, and we learned to watch the tides as not knowing the tides can lead to issues getting back to our hotel. E and S had to wade waist deep in the ocean to get back. This peninsula (we looked it up) was amazing, huge cliffs, great beaches, some massages, some rain, and even monkeys. Crazy monkeys! We spent a day roaming the area going through caves, finding “secret” beaches with the other tourists and eating at our favorite restaurant “Mangrove.”. We had great bungalows to stay in and Eric and Sarah were our neighbors. I beat them both quite handily in cribbage too. They seemed a little cocky from their years worth of practice so I had to take them down a peg. (For two) ((cribbage joke)). Our second day here it rained, well poured or what some call a monsoon the entire day. It was nice to relax and not worry about where to find another pineapple shake for a while. The next day of course was clear blue sky or what we travelers call a great day to sit in a bus for a while. We bought a long boat to mini-bus to big bus to ferry boat to taxi trip (what could go wrong) from a “ladyboy” (look it up if you have to) named Emi. Everything was perfect and we arrived at what we now know as a party town called Koh Samui.
We were unaware that this remote island was actually spring break central for the entire world and our hotel was right in the middle of it at Chawaeng Beach. Our biggest booking mistake. Eric and Sarah found a much cheaper and more morbid place to stay just down the road. After a little research by the pro’s (not us) we were able to find a great beach, which if we return to Koh Samui is where we will stay. The beach was called Crystal Beach and it was great. Eric and I got sunburned and we all enjoyed the calm clear turquoise blue water. The following day we found yet another spectacular beach, a 7 km stretch of white sand called Mae Nam. Eric found us some beach chairs in the shade for 100 baht each, which nobody ever collected from us. A highlight here was when a vendor strolled down the beach selling grilled corn on the cob. It was great. Our last night in Koh Samui was spent with the four of us going to another great Thai restaurant where the meals are roughly 90 baht a plate (between 2 and 3 dollars). Yes Eric and Sarah found this one too. Kristin and I spent the rest of the evening checking out the craziness of Samui where you can’t go 3 meters without a guy asking you if you need a tailor, or getting tickets to the boxing match, or getting pulled into some shop.
Bangkok Round 2
We headed back to Bangkok for an afternoon and overnight stay. We spent about 4 hours at the Saturday market where Kristin shopped for more elephant pants. She decided 2 pairs of pants and 1 pair of shorts was enough. After all, they have elephants on them. We walked for miles through the different stalls, bartering as we went. We even splurged on a 180 BHT meal and it was delicious.
Overall we had a great time visiting with the professional world travelers. They have a multitude of stories from every corner of the globe. They have met great people, and learned a lot about the world. And they know how to save a buck. We are off to Dubai now and they are now in Cambodia. We wish them well on their travels and can’t wait to see them again in Seattle. And we will be back to Thailand for sure…next time with the kids!