Sunbaking in the shade

Sometimes you need a little holiday from your holiday. Santorini did it in Europe, so now it was Ko Phi Phi’s turn in Southeast Asia.

Unlike in Europe, this time Ko Phi Phi was planned. We were walking zombies for half our visit to Malaysia, victims of our own “go go go” itinerary. So we arrived in Ko Phi Phi, fresh off the boat from nearby Krabi with an idea to get some R&R.

We should have known better. Our visit included kayaking around the bay and to Monkey Beach (much harder than in Ha Long Bay due to the current), snorkelling around nearby Ko Phi Phi Leh (where the movie “The Beach” was filmed) and hiking up to the viewpoint to get a good idea of the layout of the mountainous island. The hiking almost required resuscitation on my part, and snorkelling was just as demanding for Paul.

We still got plenty of down-time, enjoying the beach, our pool and Phi Phi Town. I was even a bit suprised about how much I liked the island – I was prepared to rediscover my inner backpacker snob and turn my nose up at the hordes of Aussies on footy trips and their significant others trying to catch rays after sunset. Which I did – they were there in their hundreds – but on our second night, we had a short respite.

Just like my visit to the bullfighting in Valencia rubbed some people up the wrong way, so will Thailand’s indigenous sport. Yep, off we went to the Thai boxing, and enjoyed every second of it. We were a bit hesitant about seeing it in tourist central, but we needn’t have worried – pretty much the entire stadium was chockers full of locals. We bumped into the guy who rented us our kayak, a kid who almost knocked us over on his bike the next day, et cetera. And the first fight was our favourite – the competitors were no older than ten years old.

Tonight we arrived in Chiang Mai, up in the north of Thailand. Today was our major designated Travel Day, boasting of a ferry to Phuket, a few hours wander around which made us grateful we passed on staying there, an hour taxi ride to the airport, and two flights via Bangkok. Here in Chiang Mai, reggae is playing at all the pubs, food is again closer to the two-dollar range and there is absolutely no sign of any Barbies and Kens.

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