Cambodia to Malaysia, Via Thailand

Well, I was gonna write all about the rest of Laos and Cambodia but I've fallen dreadfully behind so let's take up from our reentry into Thailand.

This time through Thailand began with a 24 hour trip from Siem Reap, in Cambodia, all the way to Krabi, with a brief stopover in Bangkok long enough to arrange the next leg. Krabi is well known for its world class climbing. The small beaches in Krabi are isolated from the mainland by towering Limestone cliffs.

Rock climbers paradise

The main beaches are Aow Nang, the busy primary stop accessible from the mainland, Railey East and Railey West, two beaches on the peninsula and accessible by boat, and Ton Sai, a tiny cove that can be accessed by boat or from Railey at low tide. Aow Nang is used as a jumping off point for the islands in the area or to catch boats to the other beaches. Railey's beaches have excellent climbing but are dominated by expensive family resorts and the families that go with them. Ton Sai is wonderfully removed from the resort beaches and far cheaper. The result: Ton Sai abounds with rock climbers from around the world; it is to rock climbing what Koh Tao is to diving.

The first day we were able to rent gear and enjoy some of Krabi's epic climbing at Ton Sai, a short walk from our bungalow. By the end of the day we could feel the effects through our unconditioned arms and opted to make the next day a day of rest.

Limestone makes fun features!

The next day we rented a kayak to explore the area and get up close to some of the offshore formations. On our way home we watched as ominous looking clouds poured over Railey beach ahead and rushed to block our path. We altered course and raced for shelter but the storm was upon us before we had gone 20m and pushed us back, so we let it blow us up alongside a boat at anchor and held on while the rain beat down.

A bit of rain

Kayaking under the cliffs The storm relented after a short while and we were able to continue towards home, taking shelter from the rain below the undercut cliffs. Unfortunately the pathways at our bungalows become treacherously slippery when it rains and finally got the better of my footing. My body went horizontal about chest high and gravity brought it down hard, directly on my shoulder. Certain that a fall like that should by all rights snap a collarbone I lay in the mud assessing the damage. After deciding that anything requiring immediate medical attention would hurt worse when probed I got up and moved inside to nurse my injury. Nothing appears to have been permanently damaged but it did prevent any further climbing in Krabi.

From Krabi we had a strict schedule to follow, of which timing was critical. It had come to us from a reliable source (Google) that Job 2 Do was playing in a town somewhere in Krabi Province on Friday the 28th. For those unfamiliar with the Thai music scene, Job 2 Do is a Thai reggae band that we fell in love with, as have many other travelers we've met. Since the town is small and not a typical destination for whiteies we had trouble finding people who knew of its existence. In the end we took a local bus from Krabi and jumped off in an unknown, non-tourist town. After inquiring at a few places about the whereabouts of the supposed restaurant where the supposed concert would be held we were rewarded with recognition and excited Thai babble which included the words 'Job 2 Do'. Nodding vigorously we were pointed towards the restaurant, where we found people preparing for what appeared to be a concert later. The prospect of Goodells at the concert excited them and they drove us to a nearby guesthouse so we could drop our bags and do our hair and stuff before the nights festivities.

My prediction that there would be only 5 other whiteies was about 5 too high, and it seemed the Thai people noticed the discontinuity. In Thai culture you offer someone a drink by actually offering them your drink. At several points I would hand someone's drink back to them, graciously, only to have another one immediately replace it from another source. The Thai people, especially those in attendance that night, are wonderful people.

Job 2 Do fans

The concert itself was nothing short of legendary. It was a tiny venue though it wouldn't have mattered considering our celebrity status. We danced dead center in front of the stage and sang along to words we couldn't understand, though we were familiar with many of the songs. After the show we went and met the band briefly as they were sitting down to dinner. The walk home was on cushy clouds of contentment. Too bad we had to wake up bright and early to get to Phuket.

Job 2 Do

The bongos

Singing for the camera

The next day we caught a string of local busses and vans to Phuket, then over the hill to Patong Beach with just enough time to drop off bags and meet up with the Phuket Hash House Harriers for their Saturday hash. The run took us through some very scenic terrain in the southern part of the island and as usual we were honored as guests afterwards. Songs, dancing and hilarity ensued as this happened to be an 'Irish Themed' hash.

Hashing into the jungle

Patong Beach is a giant party retreat for westerners and the town reflects it in every way. The beach is paved with lounge chairs and the waves are torn apart by jet skis and boats towing parasailers. Booking travel to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia turned out to be a challenge since everyone was being rerouted out of KL due to the closure of Bangkok's airports. We booked as far as Hat Yai, in southern Thailand, and lucked out on arrival to find that two seats had opened up on a night bus due to cancellation. The bus was the most luxury bus we have been on and we arrived in KL early, after a comfortable 9 hour bus ride.

Tune in next week for impressions of Kuala Lumpur.


For the photo gallery visit: http://s470.photobucket.com/albums/rr68/GoodellsRule/Thailand%20Again/?albumview=slideshow

Posted by nik 12/03/2008, revised 02/06/2009 by nik