Monday, April 19, 2010

A monkey bit my ear (and other tales from Railay)

My body apparently was opposed to all of that blissed out happiness because I seem to have a bit of a cold now. I don't feel bad or anything, but I do have a cough that I'm hoping finds its way out of my body sooner rather than later.

Yes, so Railay was quite nice and a great way to finish up my time in Thailand. I had intended to make one other stop on the island of Koh Lipe, but I was having such a nice time that I figured I'd just stay in Railay until my visa expired. So what did I do exactly?

My cheeks actually ache after my week-long stay on Tonsai Beach. It was just such a chill, laid-back atmosphere, kinda like Rastafarians and Thais got together and had a love child. I stayed on Tonsai Beach, but there was also Railay East and Railay West beaches to trek to and explore. There were a number of caves that gave awesome views over all of Railay and hidden little lagoons that gave views of nothing but rising limestone cliffs and warm, blue green water. Rock climbing is HUGE here, so there was lots of that to watch; I wasn't quite prepared for six and seven grade climbs (where the highest and toughest grade is an eight), so I just did some bouldering instead. Bouldering is rock climbing close to the ground so you don't need ropes or other equipment (I actually did it in my bathing suit and bare feet which wasn't so bad except for the parts with super sharp rocks). It seems like it would be easy until you get up there and realize just how difficult it really is.

Are you familiar with Songkran? Songkran this year occurred on 13 April and is the Thai New Year (Happy 2553!). It's also the time for a huge water festival that happens throughout Thailand. I don't really know how it came about, but the day is all about soaking everyone around you with water. People run around with SuperSoakers and bottles of water, spraying it everywhere. Kids would have an absolute blast, but it's great fun for adults, too, especially when the temperature is in the 30's (90's F).

A place called Happy Hut kept the smile on my face. I've already talked about how much I love Thai massages and I couldn't resist getting a couple more this past week. They were the two best massages I have EVER. HAD. IN. MY. ENTIRE. LIFE. Seriously, they were that good. Now if only Laura could learn Thai massage, I'd be able to get them even when I'm back home. :-)

Things like coconut shakes and kittens that I got to pretend were my own for a couple of days were simpler pleasures, but smile inducing all the same.

Even the monkey who bit my ear had me giggling (it still hurt, though!). I'd seen a couple of monkeys that were being kept as pets while in Railay and it gave me two contradictory feelings: 1) Awesome! I've always wanted a monkey as a pet!, and 2) That poor thing should be out in the wild, not leashed to a chair outside a shop. Anyway, one particular monkey was looking for attention and literally threw itself at me as I walked by it. A bit scary, sure, but he was little and not particularly aggressive. He was really interested in my belly ring (and, side note: let me tell you how weird it is to feel little monkey fingers in your belly button!) until he discovered that I had hair. He jumped up to my shoulder and started playing with it, but was apparently distracted by the tasty looking morsel of an ear and decided to take a little nibble. Don't worry! No blood was drawn and I'm pretty sure I don't have any strange monkey diseases, lol!

This past weekend, 16-18 April, was the Krabi Rock & Fire 2010 show, a competition of rock climbers, slackliners (essentially tight rope walking that's close to the ground), and fire spinners. It was really fun and crazy to watch. I have some videos that I'll try to get uploaded in the next couple of days. 

I've even gained a travel partner, a British guy called Rowan. His plan was to skip straight to Indonesia for surfing because he didn't know anything about Malaysia. When he heard that Malaysia was my next destination, he decided to tag along.

So, to wrap up: Thailand was absolutely amazing and I will definitely come here again. It has everything you could possibly ask for. Culture, friendly people, great food, fairly easy language to pick up (and lots of English speakers when you're not quite there yet). It is more expensive and more westernized than other parts of SE Asia that I've seen, but I think when I come back and perhaps get off the beaten track a bit, I'll still see a Thailand that I very much love.

And now? I'm in Malaysia! Pulau Penang, to be exact, which is an island. Rowan and I will chill here for a day or two, let the sickness leave my body. I also read that Penang is the Silicon Valley of Malaysia, so maybe I'll be able to find a netbook. After Penang, I think we'll head to central Malaysia, into the jungle where hopefully we'll find some cool critters and cooler weather.


  1. I hope you feel better, too! It sounds like you really, really enjoyed the part of Thailand you'd looked most forward to. We got a SPOT message yesterday and were happy to see you'd arrived safely in Malaysia. Love ya!

  2. I,m glad to see you posting again, I was starting to worry! Thanks for the laugh first thing this morning about the little monkey fingers in your belly button. I,m glad your ear is ok too! It was just a little kiss from a monkey freind.

    Love and miss you!

  3. Wow, it sounds as though your travel just keeps getting better and better! Hope your cold lets go quickly. Love you, Cyndy

  4. how very lovely . . . maybe i need to go to thailand with you next time for some authentic hand on thai massage training . . . such a superb idea i think. xoxoL

  5. Laura, I go to your profiles just for the baby pics. :) Ruby is the cutest little person ever. (Except for my son maybe ;)

    Shannon you should write a Thai travel guide. I'd never considered visiting Thailand before but now it's definately on the list.

  6. Thought you'd like to know that I happened to mention to Brianna about the monkey bite and I think she's told everyone she's seen for a week now that her aunt got bit on the ear by a monkey!