We woke up early to join the Elephant Rainforest ride. I had been hesitant to do this, as I had heard that many elephants are abused and treated badly. I felt better after finding out that we would be going to a reputable place that treats the elephants really well – they aren’t chained up or mistreated at all.
The first thing that hits you when you see the ellies is their size. They are huge. Which is weird to think, because these are Indian elephants which are quite a bit smaller than the African elephants that I’m used to – that said though, it’s not like we ride African elephants to work every day. Or do we?!
We hopped on our Ellie – her name was Samboon, but her guide calls her “Boon” for short. She is 47 years old. This ride was amazing. You start off on a carriage on her back, while the guide takes you through the rainforest. Next thing we knew, our guide hopped off and told me to move forward onto Boon’s head to guide her. Now this was cool. It feels extremely unstable, especially when Boon decided to eat all the trees by leaning way over the river. The skin behind her ears was so cool, but the rest of her skin is super coarse, with thick wiry hairs poking out. It was such a great experience. Ross had his turn up front too, and Boon totally loved us – probably because we were constantly rubbing her head and back and telling her what a good girl she was. Man, I love ellies.
Once we were back from that amazing experience, it was lunch time. Now, after having nothing but Thai food for what feels like forever, we were dying for Western food. We found a cute little Italian restaurant with amazingly cheap pizzas, on the beachfront.
After our lunch, we had time to waste. The weather was not great, so we weren’t keen to lie on the beach. The next idea was, of course, to have a massage. Ross and I had a hot oil Thai full body massage. It was magical.
After our massages, we had the genius idea to go to the Tiger Cave Temple, also known as ‘Wat Tham Sua’. Boy, did I regret this idea. It is a Buddhist temple, and is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the province of Krabi.
There’s a catch though. To get to the top of the Tiger Cave Temple, you have to climb 1,237 steps. One. Thousand. Two. Hundred. And. Thirty. Seven. Steps.
Summit to the temple is 600 metres. This was insane. I was extremely unfit thanks to all my inactivity, and this was the first proper exercise I had since breaking my foot. At many times during this climb, I thought I was having a heart attack. Lolzies. It wasn’t THAT bad (I think). Poor Ross stuck with me the whole way. The humidity and heat was a massive problem, and it made things even worse. Our rookie error was going just after midday – proper madness. Along the way, we saw a diabetic sprawled on one of the steps, eating sweets to try get his sugar levels up. Everyone was sweating, and stopping every few steps. It was ridiculous. I literally hated every moment of it. Ross and I climbed it with only 500ml of water each, and this wasn’t nearly enough for us. NEVER. AGAIN.
Although, once we were at the top, it was pretty great. I’ll admit that I was happy that I decided to make the climb. There is a huge golden Buddha statue at the top of the mountain which is 278 metres tall. HUGE. There is also a panoramic view of Krabi from the top of the temple. It was a great view, and I’m thankful to say I’ve seen it. If I ever find myself in Krabi again, I will not be climbing these steps again.
At the bottom of the steps, the grounds were ambushed by the sweetest little monkeys everywhere. We fed them nuts and drank tons of water.
Once we got back to the hotel, we were pretty sore and tired. So, what did we do? You guessed it, we had another massage. This time, it was a hot oil Back, Neck and Shoulder massage. I felt guilty. It also felt so great.
It was our last night in Thailand. :( BIG SAD FACE. It was destined to be a big night. We had some dinner, and then made our way out to the ‘party’ area of Thailand and found a cool bar with pool. We watched the boys play pool, and then the party really started with a great DJ, so we danced the night away.
In the early hours of the morning, we made our way back to our hotel. We stopped past a McDonald’s and joined some buddies for a ‘midnight snack’, which was AMAZING.
The inevitable had come.. Our trip was over. We woke up early the next morning, had our breakfast and said our goodbyes. We made our way to the airport, wandered around, had some lunch (delicious Burger King, again – no surprises as to how much weight I gained on holiday – the answer is all the weight). We then sat together, as one by one, our Contiki friends joined their flights.
Ross and I sat and waited – bored as hell. Let me warn you, there is not much to do at Phuket Airport.
Our flight was delayed by an hour or two, which made me panic a bit, because we had a short layover before our next flight. We arrived in Bangkok airport, in a rush, and weren’t sure where to go to join our next flight. We asked for help, and someone directed us out to check-in, which we did.
Oh, bad plan. Doing this means you have to a. Wait in a queue for 25 mins, b. Have to pay almost R1,000 in airport taxes, and c. Have to pay with cash, because card machines tend not to work when you’re in a rush. I was so pleased seeing as I had JUST gotten rid of all my Thai baht. Anyway, we paid it, and feeling very frustrated, rushed off and thankfully made it in time for our next flight because that one was delayed too!
We just caught our flight out of Kenya back to Johannesburg – it was a real rush, and it was an awesome flight home. The sun was rising, and we flew past Mount Kilimanjaro. We drifted in and out of sleep while watching movies. We both felt so refreshed and relaxed. A part of me could have stayed in Thailand forever, but another part of me felt we had spent the perfect amount of time there. It was time to come back home and get back to routine and Western food.
It was such an amazing holiday. It was also the perfect test for Ross and I – they say if you can travel with someone without murdering them, then you are well-suited. I won’t lie, I think we wanted to strangle each other once or twice, but Ross is the best. He’s such a simple, happy and chilled out guy that it at least lessens my anxious, neurotic side. Thanks for an amazing holiday, bae. ;)
Where to next?