MANGO STICKY RICE [IV]
Day 9, 10, 11, 12: Ko Yao Noi, Phang-Nga Bay and Khao Sok National Park.

What we experienced:

  • Phuket smells like a fresh bouquet of flowers! Not much else to say about this huge island. Not particularly attracted by its infamous trendy reputation, we decided to skip it and after no longer than one hour since our landing, we jumped on a long-tail boat heading to the remote and wild getaway of Ko Yao Noi.
  • we need to stop this stupid habit of switching to German every time there are some Italians around. Guess we started with the aim to prevent awkward or unwanted conversations with typical annoying Italian tourists, but now it has become somehow automatic. And it gets very embarrassing when people start talking (in English) to you anyway, you realize that they’re not bad at all, and that, actually, they’re not even originally from Italy… And the question comes: “where are you guys from?” 5 seconds of silence follow. What if I say France and they will turn out to be french? Dammit! This happened on our 40 minutes journey to Ko Yao Noi, where I struggled to keep my answers as generic as possible.
  • one day in paradise in Ko Yao Noi. leave all your worries behind, pick one of the many off the beaten track islands in Phang-Nga bay and spend a whole day on a secluded beach, swinging on a hammock with the signature karst islets on the horizon (and make it even more unforgettable by spending the night in one of the jaw dropping wooden bungalows of Lom Lae beach resort: http://www.lomlae.com). We picked this specific island to meet two dear friends of Isabel’s mum, Walter and Gigi, who spoiled us as if we were their own kids for two consecutive days. Perfect chance to catch our breath.
  • Get sunburned in Phang-Nga Bay. Why going on a crowded touristic tour around the famous multitude of limestone karst and islets, when you can rent a long tail boat for one day for a very reasonable price and have a tailored and much more adventurous experience (bats colonies and secret caves just to mention a few)? Row in the early morning low tide to reach the long tail boat (and do your best to forget that you’re carrying your backpack and cameras along, and that it won’t take much for a wave to capsize the kayak…), jump on the boat, make yourself cozy on bow and feel the breeze and the chilly sea foam on your skin while marveling at the show around you. This is something you don’t see everyday, so be ready to taste every single second of it! And don’t be surprised if you find yourself humming All Saints’ “Pure Shores”.
  • Let your inner kid win over you and sleep on a tree house in the jungle (http://www.khaosok-treehouse.com). After a glorious day on the long tail boat, we said goodbye to Walter and Gigi and ventured a two hours packed and sweaty bus trip from Phang-Nga to Khao Sok National Park. As if we hadn’t treated ourselves enough that day…
  • Chiaw Lan lake. Don’t get fooled and expect the Khao Sok visitor centre to be near the mesmerizing lake, famous for its Jurassic Park-like limestone scenery and its raft houses. The lake is actually one hour away, and tours leave very early in the morning. But, of course, it takes much more to discourage us. Especially when renting a scooter for the day is so cheap and the landscape on your journey is that breathtaking! Feel free to give in to one of the several Muslim food markets on your way there, it would be a pity not to.
  • keep on going with the feasting frenzy and learn how to spit fire with the amazingly spicy curries of Pawn’s restaurant (http://krabidir.com/pawnsrestaurant/)
  • monkey attack in the rain forest. Wild macaques seem to love everybody. Except from me and Isa. While on our jungle trek in the bamboo forest of Khao San national park, we bumped into a troop of monkeys, and, as expected, I grabbed my camera to take some shots. They probably didn’t fancy my golden shiny petzval too much and started chasing me while growling and showing their sharp teeth… Isa, who was trying to take a picture with her mobile, accidentally recorded a video of the whole scene. Most memorable quotes: Isa “We shall hit them hard with our bags!” Me “No, they’re gonna kill us all!”. Funny now, not so much by then.

Nikon N55, Petzval 85, Fuji Velvia 50 (35, expired) / Kodak Portra 160 (35) / Fuji Velvia 100 (35), 14-15-16-17/02/2016, Ko Yao Noi, Ao Phang-Nga and Khao Sok (Thailand)