What Type of Traveler Are You?

My Mom is never thrilled when I tell her I’m going on a trip because she knows something like this is coming…

I found this excursion online, and it sounded terrifying, so I read on about it.

“The Shark Watch provides visitors with the unique opportunity to experience the majesty of swimming with these shy creatures with nothing more than mask, fins and wet suit.”

I’m in!

After booking it, I didn’t think much of it until the day arrived, then I realized I was a little bit nervous that I was actually willing pay to go out of my way to seek out sharks to swim with, yet under any other circumstances I would be swimming as fast as I could in the opposite direction.

But I already paid for it, so I’m not backing out now.

I soon learned we were off to see black tip reef sharks, a timid and non-aggressive species of shark, which was slightly more comforting. Our guide explained that if we were to move too quickly or splash loudly when we spotted a shark we would actually scare it away.

We hopped on a long tail boat during sun rise and headed out to what our guide described as the sharks bedroom. 10 minutes later we were hopping off the side of the boat into the water with fins and snorkels!

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Our sunrise ride out

The water was perfectly clear straight down to the sand and bits of coral scattered about. There were big bright colorful fish swimming within arms reach, and sure enough within minutes, we spotted the first shark! Crazy enough, I didn’t feel nervous or scared, but I wanted to get closer!

Our guide was incredible, she gently pushed the backs of our feet (if we wanted) to get us closer to the sharks without scaring them away, we were literally swimming WITH them.

One of the things I was happiest about was the company we chose to go with – “The Adventure Club”. They were so passionate about sharks and how people have been treating them that they put this tour on to show people how incredible they are and that they aren’t the stereotypical killer we associate them as. They have truly changed my view and I would love go back!

*Pictures to come!*

Regardless of your vacation style, Thailand has it all. What type of traveler are you?

  • Backpacker?
  • Relaxer?
  • Outdoor Enthusiast?
  • Extreme Sports?

 

H.B.-

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Railay Beach, Thailand a.k.a Paradise

I checked off a list of cities to visit while backpacking Thailand, and Krabi was number 3.

RAILAY BEACH

Although Railay is not an island, you still have to take a boat over because the location of the mountains blocks off any possible land route. The boat ride is only about 15 minutes, cost 400 Baht, and leaves every hour from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

I debated on a day trip to Railay versus staying there for a few days, and I know now that even if I had planned a day trip I would have stayed anyway.

Because how can you not stay in a place like this:

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Railay Beach just after sunset

 

I haven’t yet mentioned the world renowned rock climbing… Don’t worry, you don’t have to be an expert to try it out. Many people of different skill levels were there, they have everything from beginner to expert routes, and they’ll put you on routes based on your skill level, and they’ll let you try some harder ones if you want to give it a shot.

My guide really pushed me into doing a route that I really didn’t think I could do which involved shimmying over a tough overhang, it felt incredible to conquer it!

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Another hidden gem of the Railay area is the viewpoint lookout and the lagoon, both involve a bit of a sketchy vertical climb.

  • The viewpoint – Took us about 15 minutes to get to, and it was relatively difficult.
  • The lagoon – Took us about about 20 minutes to reach, it was more difficult than the lagoon hike, and we are faster hikers.

Many people didn’t trek to the lagoon as they found it was too far, after the vertical climb up, you basically climb vertically straight back down, so it’s a long round trip for those not used to strenuous hiking. I had read that there was a rope at the end but it was still extremely difficult to get down to, so we were just going to just check it out and see, however my update is that they actually have put in ladders to get down, so it’s really not that bad!

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The lagoon – WORTH THE HIKE!

We climbed it barefoot because we didn’t want to ruin our sneakers. Everyone we passed thought we were crazy! The funny thing is we actually enjoyed the climb a lot more with no shoes – the rocks and roots we were climbing up were very smooth, they honestly didn’t feel real. Being able to grip the smooth surfaces with our whole foot made it easier, I would not have wanted shoes on!

The lagoon was completely EMPTY when we got there, it was such an incredible sight, and the fact that no one was around made it even more beautiful. We got in the water and we yelled to hear our voices echo throughout.

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We couldn’t believe no one was here

 

We finally trekked back up to the viewpoint, which was relatively easy after the lagoon, and signs pointed us in the right direction. The viewpoint was also no disappointment.

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I plan to go back in the future and spend a lot more of my time rock climbing.

Overall, I’m so happy I took a chance on Railay!

 

AO NANG

Because we had an early flight out and wanted to visit the Emerald Pool, Hot Springs, and Tiger Cave Temple, we wanted to get to Ao Nang. In hindsight, Krabi Town would have been a better base as a place to stay.

We hired a driver for the day, as we felt it would be too far for us to scooter. We decided on the following day trip:

  1. Emerald Pool first – we wanted to get there early because we heard it gets quite crowded in the afternoons
  2. Hot springs second – we wanted to experience these before climbing up to the temple, as we didn’t think we’d want a hot bath after the climb
  3. Tiger Cave Temple – a 1,237 step climb (or so they say, it was ACTUALLY 1,260)…

 

Emerald Pool was this stunning clear, cool, turquoise, water, I have never seen anything like it!

Picture to come!

The hot springs were REALLY hot, especially on our poor burnt skin. We still got in and after a minute or so it was enjoyable to sit in.

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Water flows over the smooth rocks

 

Finally, the last stop! We suffered up 1,260 steps. Two stray dogs climbed just in front of us and they would stop and wait for us every so often, taunting us, and our slowness… they put us to shame.

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One of the peaks at Tiger Cave Temple

 

FOR NEXT TIME

I will DEFINITELY revisit Railay Beach!

I’m glad I went to Ao Nang, but I will likely not revisit.

If I had to have chosen one of the two, I would have chosen Railay Beach.

 

 

HB.-

 

 

Two Days in Bangkok

What do you do if you only have two days in Bangkok?

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Monastic living

YSJ –> YYZ: 2 Hours

YYZ –> PEK: 13 Hours

PEK –> BKK: 4 Hours

Time Change: 11 Hours

And so worth it! Especially since I had slept 10 hours on the second haul…

After a 45 minute cab ride and some twisting and turning down little side streets, we found our hostel, and it was time to get some sleep.

DAY 1:

Woke up nice and early for a free breakfast, which was delicious! The orange juice was smooth and sweet, and the fruit was freshly cut.

Floating Markets

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Cooking delicious chicken satay

We wandered around to find our way back through the side roads, through little restaurants and markets, and finally emerged out onto a main road, where we hailed a cab.

I had read about a many different floating markets we could visit, some sounded quite touristy, and others were quite far away, so we decided on Talin Chan, which was only about 10km away.

Once we pulled up we noticed there was actually a very large local market we could walk through before getting to the floating market, which was an added bonus! The smell of spices filled the air as we walked through the main entrance.

After slowly sauntering towards the other side, we found tons of boats lined up cooking incredible food!

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Everyone was very friendly!

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Cooking up a storm!

After exploring, grabbing some snacks, and taking some photos, it was time to head to our next destination.

Grand Palace & Wat Pho

There was no doubt in our mind that we were in the right place. High white walls surround the entire palace, officers stand guard on all sides, and a huge crowd funneled at the main entrance.

As most know, you can’t visit a temple with your knees or shoulders exposed, so I was wearing a long skirt and had a scarf to place around my shoulders, and Nick had long shorts and a t-shirt on. Despite this, we were denied more than once…

Attempt Number 1: Nick’s knees were exposed, so we had go to purchase pants.

Attempt Number 2: My scarf covering my shoulders was not acceptable, off to buy a shirt.

Attempt Number 3: Success!

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Chakri Maha Prasat

The funny thing is that all the vendors nearby sell elephant pants and shirts, so EVERYONE inside the palace was decked out in elephant clothing – I have to say it was one of my favorite parts.

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All of the elephant gear…..

As soon as we got in, we were amazed by the detail and time it must have taken to build such a temple consisting of not only one masterpiece, but many.

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The view as soon as you get through the main doors
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Inside one of the temples at Wat Pho

End of Day 1 – We grabbed some ice cream and headed to find some supper, still jet lagged, it was time to get some rest!

DAY 2:

4 a.m = RISE AND SHINE!! – Not actually, but it was difficult to sleep still being on Atlantic Canada time so I was wide awake, but I tried to force myself to go back to sleep for a bit.

Today we really wanted to get lost! The perfect place to get lost in Bangkok is in the small side streets of China Town.

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Our first sights of Chinatown!

China town was amazing, there was lots to see and buy! We also took our first tuktuk here. I highly recommend it if you want to stay around town.

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Tuk Tuk Taxi!

Oh, and I almost forgot – on our way over, we accidentally stumbled through the amulet market, which a was pretty cool mistake!

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We were very satisfied with our two days, especially with the tiredness we weer experiencing mid-afternoon.

Our flight out to Phuket was at 7 p.m., so unfortunately, we had to head to the airport!

For Next Time:

We agreed that if we had more time we would have likely ventured outside the main city. If we had one more evening, we would have gone to check out the sky-bar.

H.B.-