KAYAKING IN THAILAND
Well we arrived in Thailand after a very long pair of flights on Kuwait Air from Rome to Kuwait City and then to Bangkok and then Phuket. Again the time adjustment was not too bad (having only slept about 6 hours in 2 days helps to fall asleep regardless of the time). I must say it is kind of nice to type on a keyboard rather than an ipad for this post. Especially as during the last post, I was assisted by a 5 year old ,who stood beside me on the flight and kept playing with all sorts of buttons on the ipad while I was typing.
The kayaking trip was great. We did a 3 day “tour” where all of your transportation, hotel, boats, guide and meals were organized. Each day we went out to a different island in a “long tail”. This is a teak boat with a motor on a stick out the back of the boat and the kayaks were carried on top. We went to a bunch of different islands from the island base of Koh Yao Noi where our bungalow was. We were in a rather primitive rattan and thatch hut with a cold water shower complete with wireless internet.
The islands we went out to were steep rocky jungles that popped up out of the sea without much beach. There are canyons with water cutting through these islands and caves or “hongs” to paddles through. One of my favorite days was kayaking through a mangrove forest. That day we came across about 20 longtail monkeys some of which are very used to people. So much so that they jump down 10 or 20 feet out of the trees onto your boat and will search it for food and then just hang out for awhile. I will try to include a photo of Warren and Keiran each with a topless primate date. That same day we stopped at a beach for Thai lunch and found there was also a monkey there. Our guide said we needed to feed him or he would keep trying to steal our lunch. That 10 lb glutton ate 3 ½ bananas! Other highlights were seeing a 4 foot monitor lizard, a mama and baby monkey, and a big stingray jump out of the water.
The Thai food has been fabulous! The bay where we were kayaking in is known for it’s prawns…..good for Sandy, not for Warren and Keiran.
On a rather weird note, anyone who knows me well, knows that I have gross crusty feet. Well, I think I have discovered the best pedicure ever. I will spare most of you the particulars, but ask me if you are interested.
I knew he had forgotten to pack everything!!!!
Warren looks adoringly at his new date.
Keiran looks on….clueless
Sandy feeds glutton
Kayaking in the mangrove forest.
Our longtail and kayaks.
Well I started to stress out about the flooding after one of the people on our kayaking trip said her hotel had been closed and that she had never been notified officially. Our hotel was directly across the river from hers, but on arrival, everything was fine and in fact her hotel was business as usual. There is still a lot of evidence of the flooding and the river and most of the piers for the water taxis are still under a few inches of water. The Chao Phraya river is even more polluted than usual with tons of crap and plants washing through. The boat traffic on the river is never ending and we saw taxis, tugboats (6) pulling barges (4), private tour boats shaped like temples, a night time disco boat with dance floor etc, etc.
Our hotel was amazing and Keiran easily adjusted to a white fluffy robe and room service. The huts on Koh Yao Noi were fun and very laid back, and made you appreciate the hotel that much more.
The pier for the water taxi was only about 100m from the hotel, so we started out with a quick tour up and down to see the city. It seemed pretty common to see a luxury highrise, a temple and a corrugated iron shack standing adjacent on the riverfront. We saw a couple of the most famous Buddhist temples, Wat Arun and the Grand Palace. The emerald Buddha is in his winter jacket for the season. That reminds me that on the first morning in Bangkok, I said that Bangkok wasn’t as hot as I remembered. I now take that back as I feel like a can of Crisco in the sun.
There is a ‘weekend” market that we checked out and that was an experience! It is massive!!! We started in the tropical fish section and I started to think that the market must be fish only after walking through an area about half the size of Home Depot. As it turns out, all sorts of creatures and wares are represented. We picked up a few things and Keiran and Warren sneaked away and bought some of the ugliest shorts I have ever seen while I was looking at silk. It is funny how one feels all awkward about the bartering at first, and then pretty soon you are squawking back over 10 BHT. I am pretty sure we really suck at it, but on the other hand, who cares? We also saw the Patpong night market, and managed to shield our baby’s eyes from most of the raunchy stuff. The other side of the shopping experience was had at the Siam Paragon Mall where there was an indoor car dealership for cars like Lamborghini and Lotus. Didn’t buy anything there though :)
Next up, Cambodia………….
Keiran beside a Lotus. Dream on………………
Keiran climbing up Wat Arun (Buddhist temple)
Keiran and Warren in their modesty pants at the Grand Palace. I was issued a long skirt which helped to keep me toasty.
Sandy and Keiran on a water taxi on the Chao Phraya.