Thailand, Part 3: Island Hopping

It’s pretty difficult to ever get enough of sleeping in, relaxing on a beach all day, and eating too much great food every evening, but by Day Three Jeong Hie and I figured we’d mix it up a bit and take advantage of one of the many activities in the area.  Railay is known mostly as a rock climbing destination, from the steep cliffs that make its setting so beautiful, but neither of us were particularly up for that.  Instead we took Option 2- island hopping.

We got an early (for us) start the next morning, grabbing a quick bite then heading to the longtail boat that would ferry us around for the day.  We ended up sharing it with two Australian couples who were pretty fun-loving folks.  Our first stop was snorkeling near the alluringly named Chicken Island.

Alternate Names: Camel Island, Turkey Island

I’d actually never done it before my Philippines trip, and this was Jeong Hie’s first time ever.  The water was clear and warm and there were plenty of small fish to peruse.  However, we didn’t see anything much bigger than Nemo, and the coral was pretty drab.  After my mask filled with water for the ninth or tenth time, I switched to diving from the boat.  Still, Jeong Hie enjoyed it quite a bit (and had a bit better luck with her mask) and I’d still be down to give it another spin in a place that had a little more natural diversity.

The next stop was one of the many small, sheer islands that dotted the Andaman Sea around us.  Rope ladders had been hung from rocky overhangs to get you from the water to the cliff face, where you could climb the rocks and then jump into the water.  I didn’t get too high, but a twenty foot drop was plenty good enough.

We had to watch out for jellyfish, though, who probably wouldn’t have taken too kindly to us landing on them

By this point it was getting pretty late in the day, so we headed to the nearest white sand beach to have a small fish dinner and watch the sun descend into the ocean through the rocky islands all around.  We had a bit of time while dinner cooked, and since we noticed some monkeys running around the far end of the beach when we’d passed by on the boat earlier in the day, Jeong Hie and I set off to find them.

It turned out that they found us first.  The male came running up to us as soon as he saw us, which was actually pretty damn intimidating, but after a short retreat we found out he and his small band had just gotten used to seeing tourists around and now equated them with free food.  I went back to our towels to nab some crackers, but it turned out they were just as, if not a little more, interested in the beers in our hands.

Who am I to deny a poor, thirsty soul?

Plenty of other marine life to explore, as well

After sunset we had one more item on the agenda before heading home.  Back in Tongyeong we get a natural phenomenon every once in awhile (although I’d never been lucky enough to see it)- phosphorescent plankton.  You never know when you’ll get it, but apparently it was a bit more common in this part of Thailand.  There wasn’t a whole lot to see when the boat stopped, just more black water, but after diving in it was obvious what all the fuss was about.  The water was full of the tiny, glowing creatures, which lit up in neon green swirls all around your limbs as you moved around in the water.  It wasn’t like anything I’d ever experienced before, and the perfect ending to a full, fun day.

About zijerem

I spent two years neglecting my Peace Corps blog in Peru (zachinperu.blogspot.com) and now I've relocated to Korea (teaching English) and promise to get off my ass and write something every once in awhile...
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