Sun, Sea, & Sand

Just imagine for a second. Waking up to the bright sun as it pierces through the window pane.  Looking out the window to clear blue skies, the sound of birds singing their early morning tune, and the oh- so- green landscapes that cascade across the horizon.  What I am describing to you may sound like paradise or a simple beautiful image that you may glance over on postcard or calendar, but the beauty I describe to you was my typical morning when I traveled to Krabi, Thailand. Everyday felt like paradise.

While on exchange, visiting Thailand was what I wanted to do the most. I watched short a documentary about Thailand over year ago about its history and politics and it really changed my perspective about the country. So I was so ecstatic to have the opportunity to travel there!  Now when people think of Thailand they think of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Pattaya. I too thought the same way. So when my friend invited me to go Krabi, my first thought was: where? That’s in Thailand? She of course reassured me that it is a beautiful place known for its beaches! I am on exchange and part of making this experience worthwhile is moving away from my comfort zone to experience new things and going to Krabi, I was doing just that.

I traveled to Krabi with seven fellow exchangers for 5 days during recess week. We stayed at a beautiful villa owned by couple. The wife was a local and the husband was from Scandinavia. He explained that years ago he moved to Krabi and designed the whole villa himself and never looked back.  They were so welcoming! The first night we went to a local restaurant and splurged on local dishes, like Pad Thai, Curry soup, mango salad, Thai spring rolls and the list goes on. The Pad Thai and mango salad were by far my favorite dishes throughout trip. While my spice tolerance is little to none, I endured so I don’t miss out on trying any foods.

One day we traveled to the Tiger Temple. The temple was at the top of a mountain. I was initially stoked to visit the local temple. I had a great time visiting temples in Malaysia, so I had no reason not enjoy temples in Krabi. As we arrived, I overestimated the hike to the temple. 73 flights of steep stairs, with the casual interaction of monkeys along the way. I think I made it to the 5th flight, when I just became overwhelmed by height. We were quite high even at the 5th flight. My friend and I decided to head back down and explore the other parts of the temple from the ground. My fears were definitely tested that day. While exploring and taking pictures, around noon, about 40 monkeys came down from the mountain. They all were heading to fountain to take bath and play in the water. I’ve never been that close to monkeys in my life.  While not aggressive, it was just surreal to be surrounded by so many at one time. They were playful and trying to find any food visitor left behind. We also came across a cave temple in the mountain. The monks of the temples lived in houses that were in the caves. It was quite interesting to see. The temple was called Wonderland. The caves were quite eerie, yet full of life. While I did not take on the big challenge of climbing the mountain to the tiger temple, I was still able to have such meaningful trip to temple and explore the beauty of nature while traveling to the caves.

One of the smaller temples at the base of the Tiger Temple.
The steep steps to the Tiger Temple at the top of the mountain.

Now, the bulk of our trip was spent at the beach! If you love fun in the sun, then Krabi is the place to be. We island hopped most of the time. We traveled to Phi Phi islands ( Ko Phi Phi Don and Ko Phi Phi Le). This is where it felt like paradise the most. The sand was soft, the water crystal clear and blue. I just kept thinking, “How am I here right now?” It was so beautiful! Then we spent a day at Railay Beach. With my beach towel in one hand and a refreshing orange- pineapple smoothie in the other, I simply indulged in the beauty around me and relaxed the whole day. My trip felt so surreal. A place I initially knew very little about, turn out to be an experience of life of time.

Beachside at Railay Beach
Ao Nang Beach
Dora, Shubha, and I were channeling our inner High School Musical Jump beachside at Phi Phi Island
Our boat was approaching Ko Phi Phi Don. This was one of seven stop on our Phi Phi Island Tour.