Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Asian Adventure: Part Four - Thailand Revisited

We returned to Thailand after a whirlwind tour through four other countries and found ourselves in the POSITIVELY GORGEOUS southern island region. Flying into Surat Thani, we took a bus to the ferry that would take us across to lovely Ko Samui:

On the ferry I was delighted to locate a can of Thai Diet Coke.  Do you know how hard it is to feed my diet coke addiction in Asia?  It's all Coke Zero!  What's that about?

We arrived in Naphon, Ko Samui and hopped a "bus" (pick-up truck with seats in the back where you can negotiate prices to various popular spots around the island) to Lamai Beach where we would be staying, on the opposite side of island.

But all our planes, buses, ferries and "buses" were worth it when we got HERE:

We had our own little hut right on the beach (the one with the blue roof just to the right of the main building) and our preferred method of getting back and forth to town was just to wander up the beach.

That first night, on a wander up the beach, we found a restaurant with tables right in the sand, had more delicious (still my favorite cuisine) Thai food and watched a show of traditional Thai dancing.

After the busy sightseeing of the previous four countries, we were ready for a few days lounging on the beach, reading Kim Law's Ex on the Beach and drinking Mango Daquiris ...
...and Thai Iced Tea. I am soooo addicted to Thai Iced Tea. I would gain twenty pounds drinking that stuff non-stop if I ever decided to live in a hut on the beach in Thailand.

After some R&R, we snagged a boat out to Angthong National Marine Park where we saw Thale Nai (the Emerald Lake) on Ko Maiko...

And kayaked in, around, and through the islands and sea-caves of the park.

The afternoon was spent on another little Ko, where we hiked up for a view of the islands (which was quite an adventure with only flip-flops on our feet and a trail so steep you had to use a rope to pull yourself up at points)...

Then we swam and kayaked some more (at this lovely beach) before returning to the main boat, which became an impromptu diving platform...

After much leaping and diving off into the ocean, our fellow travelers were worn out and lazed in the sun as we cruised back to Ko Samui.

That night we caught a "bus" over to the much busier area of Chaweng Beach, where we saw fire-dancers performing in the surf - one of whom turned out to be an Australian musician who claimed to be somewhat famous, though we never could figure out who he really was (perhaps he was just putting us on - if you invented a fake persona for yourself on the beach in Thailand, who would you want to be?  Rockstar?  Spy?)

Then, after our lovely, interlude on lovely Ko Samui, we hopped a night train back to Bangkok.

Our first priority on our second trip to Bangkok was The Grand Palace - oh the opulence!  The majesty!

And check out this palace guard who looks about twelve years old:

An afternoon rain shower (read as: sudden torrential downpour) cut our visit a bit short and we jogged through the rain back to our hotel to dry off.  That night we wandered over to visit the famous Khao San Road, which really comes alive at night.  We got a bucket (yep, you read that right) of (slightly watered down) margaritas, listened to an ear-splittingly loud traditional Thai band, shopped, and munched on some local delicacies (I ate a grasshopper!).

Then it was time to head to Hong Kong!

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