Adventures with Heidi & Jessie

10 Dec

One of the best things about moving to Thailand is that this lovely country is an extremely attractive destination for those in need of a vacation; therefore, we’ve been lucky enough to have all sorts of visitors, from honeymoon-ing ex-roommates to family members to random friends of friends. Any and all visitors are welcome! I LOVE playing tour guide and introducing people to everything gorgeous and zany that I adore about this country. In the beginning of November, my dear friend from forever, Heidi (whose mother was my kindergarten teacher ~ blame all spelling errors on her), and her good friend, Jessie, came to share adventures for a week or two. We explored my favorite beach, they explored Chiang Mai flying solo, and we found new things to do together here in the BKK. All in all, an awesome visit.

IMG_3152The first stop on the itinerary was one of my favorite beaches in Thailand, Railay. Railay is tucked away on a little peninsula in Krabi province, inaccessible by anything with wheels. The main beach is surrounded by gorgeous karsts, and the chill vibe makes it a great place to hang out. Orestes and I have been here several times already, so we left him at home and had a ladies weekend. 😉 In addition to enjoying some killer sunsets, wild rainstorms, and multiple massages, we took a boat trip around several of the surrounding islands and did a bit of snorkeling. On the advice of a friend, Heidi and I also attempted a cave hike that turned into quite the random escapade.

On the left side of Railay’s west beach, there is a particularly large karst. If one walks around it to the far side, one finds a large cave opening. What is not immediately obvious, but can be found with some poking around, is a bamboo ladder leading further into the cave. My friend Bridget had assured me that this ladder leads to other ladders, ropes for climbing, and a spectacular viewpoint, so up the ladder we went. After a bit more poking around, Heidi and I found a tunnel leading down into the unknown. Heidi was all set to explore the dark, creepy tunnel but nothing short of disaster IMG_3172was going to entice me to go down that! Fortunately, additional exploration uncovered a rope leading through a hole further up into the cave. Viewpoint = high up right?? With my cell phone in hand for use as a flashlight, we boosted ourselves through the hole. We found ourselves standing in a large, pitch black, cavern. Again a bit of searching and then… another ladder! Up ropes and ladders we went, in the humid darkness until a sliver of sunlight and a breath of fresh air let us know we were close. A final rope climb brought us here (see photo at right). Totally worth all the sweat and accumulated dust, plus diving into the ocean in the aftermath felt amazing.

After a weekend of fun, I headed back to work while Heidi and Jessie spent four days frolicking around Chiang Mai. They returned Friday afternoon just in time to spend another weekend with yours truly. On Saturday, we set out early to the Kwan Riam floating market near my house. I love this market because it’s super Thai and super random. We enjoyed soup breakfast and iced lattes before hopping on a khlong boat heading downtown. Heidi and Jessie were great enthusiasts of Thai-style transportation, and enjoyed the khlong boat thoroughly, especially the times when the roof was lowered to accommodate low bridges! Post-boat and tuk-tuk ride, we explored the shininess that is the Grand Palace, and then headed IMG_5396over to Wat Pho. Having never been before, I was excited to check out Wat Pho, which houses a giant reclining Buddha. At 46m long and 15m tall, the Buddha is one of the largest and oldest in Thailand. The Buddha is laying on his right side, which represents him achieving Nirvana. There are also 108 bronze alms bowls near the Buddha, and one can drop in coins to bring good fortune. We tested it out – couldn’t hurt, right?

Our final adventure of their vacation was a night out in Bangkok, which included a stop at a secret, Havana-style bar accessed via dodgy telephone booth. We followed the night up with a trip to Chatuchak Market. Heidi and Jessie were Chatuchak pros in no time, orienting without my help, bargaining like champs, and eating street food. I was super sad to see them go!! Hopefully they’ll be back next November. 😉

And finally, a quote from Heidi that summed up Thailand perfectly: “If it was easy, it wouldn’t be Thailand.” True words my friend, true words.

 

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