Thursday, December 5, 2013

Tourist for a weekend

Once I returned to teaching in Saikeaw I knew that my next weeks will be calmer as I will stay here until the end of my volunteer program. The third work week passed quickly. Days at school were busy and I was focused on getting to know my students better. In my free time I searched for lessons’ materials that will be both informative and interesting and planned my weekend trip to the “famous south”. My friend Javier was visiting Thailand and we tried to match our travelling paths at least for a weekend. What a cool idea to meet up on the other side of the world and explore the unknown together. :) Due to adverse weather the trip was different from what we expected, but still it was a memorable weekend.
The trip was quite long. In order to get reach Bangkok I had to take an overnight bus on Thursday evening. A bit hesitant on that, but left with no other choice I left Prasat around 10pm and quickly fell asleep in a comfortable chair with massage… Around 4am I arrived to Bangkok and took a colorful taxi to the airport – taxis in Bangkok have all colors of the rainbow – starting from standard yellow to orange, flashy pink or green. J My flight was comfortable and around 8:30am I arrived to Krabi. I was welcomed by rain… That’s not exactly what I expected, but as always I tried to stay positive. We met with Javier and Felipe at their hostel and took a boat to Koh Phi Phi island. We planned to stay one night in Koh Phi Phi, take a morning boat around to see Phi Phi Leh and spend the next night in the mainland, in Ao Nang.
So how was the amazingly beautiful Koh Phi Phi island? Not too impressive under the rain I must say… Due to weather conditions boat trips were cancelled and we didn’t manage to see the Phi Phi Leh with the paradise beach. Also the day after, when we were supposed to leave the island we learned that due to wind and high waves there are no boats today… Some people scared us that last time it happened it lasted 5 days, but luckily for us the day after everything was working. After we heard that one boat sank in the morning we haven’t searched for alternative ways to leave the place…
So what do you do when stranded on an island? Thai people took care of that – along the streets were dozens of tiny shops offering souvenirs, clothes, tattoos, Thai massages, beauty treatments etc. During our two days on the island we walked around those, bought some gifts and enjoyed the massages. Thai people we met there had a real entrepreneurship spirit and would try to sell you as much as possible… You could feel that they were very friendly, but not because of their hospitality, but because we brought them money. What would I expect? Some decency I guess… I was especially disappointed with restaurants. Not only we paid at least two times higher price comparing to what I’m used to pay in the north, but the portions we were served were very small and not very tasty… Adding to that service of poor quality didn’t make our restaurants’ visit very successful. The last night was the only exception – even if weird waiter served us the meals were delicious and we even received a free lesson of Thai language – a printed page listing a few basic expressions to communicate, so called survival vocabulary.
Luckily, the night life on the island didn’t slow down in the rainy weather and this saved our weekend J While walking in the rain in the search of pancakes ;) on our first night we randomly found a bar with a ring and Thai boxing fights. It appeared that anyone interested could fight, even the tourists – for what they would receive a bucket of alcohol. And the later in the night the more tipsy tourists would try their luck fighting on the ring. I couldn’t’ believe in it, especially because just before we entered we saw a young man knocked out – carried outside by a few other guys  who put him on a small rickshaw explaining him and his terrified girlfriend (as I assumed) directions to hospital… But still, people were very courageous and watching the fights was a lot of fun for us. A special show was when we saw two girls fighting on the ring. One of them was pretty good, while the second one did kind of dance / attempt to fight...  Once midnight struck we started birthday celebration for Javier and the night was a lot of fun.  
The night after just before heading home to get an early sleep we went to the beach which was supposedly a place to be in the evenings… And there the real Koh Phi Phi opened its door to us welcoming us to a crazy night… People were dancing everywhere along the beach, each of the bars played its own music styles and offered a different atmosphere. But most of the crowds were focused at the entrance, more explicitly where crazy fires games where – burning ring, bar, jumping rope were the main attractions! I’ve never seen something like that before J
On Sunday the sun finally shined over the island, but for us it was the time to leave… We enjoyed the various attractions Koh Phi Phi offered to us and will certainly go back once again to appreciate the nature wonders we would missed on this time. I was going back reflecting if the atmosphere in all tourist places in Thailand is similar… Although I had a lot of fun I had a feeling that I didn’t experience any real culture during the weekend. I was very happy to return back “home”, where people were naturally friendly, the food was spicy & delicious and my lunch costs less than one euro ;)
A few pictures from the weekend:
 The adventurers!

 View from my bungalow

 Koh Phi Phi pier on a windy morning

 The famous beach as we don't see it on postcards...

 Leaving the island

No comments:

Post a Comment