North America, Asia · 70 Days · 102 Moments · January 2018

World Trip Part 1 - The Far Side of the World


6 April 2018

Don't hesitate to go if you get the chance. I recommend a minimum of 3 weeks and no more than 2 countries for that period. Thailand may have the most to offer with beautiful islands, mountains and crazy cities, but Laos is beautiful and Vietnam is more developed. Cambodia's temples are awesome but malaria is a concern if spending much time there. We took meds while there, but nowhere else. Next - thinking about heading to Galapagos/Ecuador/Amazon in 2 weeks.
So now that we're home safe and sound I feel more comfortable to discuss trip safety without jinxing myself. People keep asking me if we felt safe in SE Asia, especially in a country where we killed 4 million people and left a chemical wasteland where 10% of the pregnancies have some form of birth defect and where unexploded weapons continue to kill or maime hundreds per year. The truth is that I've never felt safer than I did on this trip. It's much more dangerous here in my home town. The people of SE Asia love Americans and they are a totally non-violent culture by nature. Hostile interractions are incredibly rare (except from tourists!). Petty theft, minor scams and dangerous road travel are the only real concerns that I see - other than learning to walk the sidewalks as previously covered.

2 April 2018

The displays of booby traps are quite disturbing. Smoke from cooking fires was channeled underground until only a small puff of smoke emerged 40 feet away. The Americans once set up a major base right on top of some of this network. They were slowly picked off until they pulled out, never having found the source if the problem.
Just outside US-occupied Saigon was a 140km-long network of tunnels that was key to the American defeat, known as the Cu Chi Tunnels. The Viet Cong here lived as long as 2 years underground, only coming up to fight, bath and gather food. They ate mosty boiled tapioca root. Most of the tunnels were 40 by 40cm. The "tourist tunnels" that we used were increased to 40 by 60. Very claustrophobic.

1 April 2018

There is something very wrong with what I'm about to share, but the best pizza this New Yorker has ever encountered is in Saigon. Actually, it was the 2 best pizza's, half and half, "4 mushroom" and "margherita". Done perfectly at Pizza 4P's. The service was 5 star as well. They shared their secret - they brush a sauce on every pie crust. Whipped cream with salt in it! They make their own mozzarella because importing is impossibly expensive. It's gourmet-grade.
Pasteur Street Brewing makes an awesome IPA. Difficult for them to export to USA though. Buy some when you can!
War Remnants Museum was a pretty amazing reminder that the Vietnamese beat Goliath. The photos inside are almost too much but should be seen. Many trophies are displayed in the grounds of public buildings throughout Saigon
Vertical shopping mall in Saigon. Everyone told us that Saigon traffic is crazy, but what we've seen is actually more civilized than most of SE Asia. I would consider driving a motorbike here and that's saying alot. Remind me to tell you about safety and crime in SE Asia when I'm in my way home.

31 March 2018

Signed up for a seat but ended up with a sleeper berth from Nha Trang to Saigon. Pretty good way to travel. There were two more tiers above us, but everyone seemed comfortable. Glad we had the experience so that we know it is a good option.

28 March 2018

Danang Rail Station
Taking a taxi to Danang Rail Station where we'll catch a 9 hour train to Nha Trang, another beach town. The weather will be about 90 vs Hoi An's 83. We picked up sandwiches for the ride at a place Anthony Bourdain called the best Banh Mi. About 80 cents each. I got 4 not knowing how big they were. We'll share a couple with someone on the train.

26 March 2018

4 nights in Hoi An were very enjoyable, quiet mornings followed by busy evenings when the tour buses came in. We stayed in a nice boutique hotel that was a 2 min walk from the "ancient city". The beaches were a $3 taxi ride away.

24 March 2018

Hoi An was very lively every night of the week and the food options were awesome.

23 March 2018

After a day of travel we're relaxing on China Beach, a 20 mile crescent that runs from Monkey Mountain and Da Nang in the north to Hoi An in the south. Perfect weather, 70 at night, 83 in the day. After a 2 night stay at the north end we'll move to Hoi An, cuisine capital of Vietnam, for a longer stay. Hoi An was my primary SE Asia city for future long-term visit consideration (of 3 to 6 months). We'll see.

22 March 2018

Today we're on an 8AM bus from Sapa to Hanoi followed by a quick flight to Da Nang, arriving at 6:30PM.

20 March 2018

Day 2, a perfect day hiking with our Black Hmong Shaman guide Lisa. A couple of waterfalls and a 10 mile hike across the Sa Pa valley. Local tribe guides are mandatory to go anywhere in the backcountry - a very good idea for many reasons. The 1st photo is a friendly family who just finished a full day of tending crops on the mountain above their village.

19 March 2018

Day 1, the weather is on our side. Views from Fansipan, tallest mountain in Vietnam, were awesome. We went up by cable car, longest in Asia.
Returned to Hanoi by bus, stayed overnight and then hopped a "sleeping bus" to Sa Pa, 7 hrs northwest near China border. Bizarre laying down as we wind our way up mountain roads. Not for people with motion sickness. Hmong tribes ladies couldn't wait to talk to us to see if we would visit their villages.

17 March 2018

On the way back to town we visited a large cave that housed an officer's military hospital during the American War. 3 stories high, operating rooms, swimming pool.
Next we hiked in Cat Ba National Park, the refuge for the last 63 Cat Ba Langurs (primates). Didn't see any of those but did see beautiful jungle views from our hike up into the mountains.
Our motorbike tour of Cat Ba Island was well worth the $4 rental fee. We started off at the Canon Fort Museum. It was created to fight the French but was also used during the American War. Great views of the bay.

16 March 2018

A very large floating fishing village is just offshore. Most people never leave the boats except to sell the fish. The small fish are kept in pens until fattened up. They also farm oysters and other mollusks.
Took a full day tour of Cat Ba and Ha Long Bay. The weather was about 70 and misty, normal here for about 6 months of the year. It's a coastal microclimate. The interior of the island is usually sunny.

15 March 2018

On a hydrofoil entering Cat Ba Island. May cruise Ha Long Bay tomorrow.
After 2 nights in Hanoi we're on a 2.5 hour train to the Ha Long Bay area. We have a room booked on Cat Ba Island. Nice train for $2.80 and our room is only $12 but I don't expect much. Update: The room is actually pretty good, and includes a decent breakfast. Our only gripe is that the linen is all quilted and we don't see how it can be laundered every day. We just used our silk travel sheets.
Our first stop in Hanoi was the "Hanoi Hilton" museum. I was surprised to see that the museum was almost entirely about North Vietnam's struggle to break with French oppression and the birth of their socialist revolution. The presentations concerning the imprisoned American pilots was simply "we treated the Americans humanely" and "we kind of like Americans". Compared with what the French had done there, it was probably a fair statement.

14 March 2018

Last night we went to see the water puppet show. It was interesting considering the language barrier. We also had a great time sipping cold, fresh Bia Hoi. Made same day without pasteurization. Perfect! Much better than the national beers we've had thoughout Asia. 25 cents a pint. After the day is up they pasteurize bia hoi, inject it with CO2 and bottle it so that it keeps, but then it tastes like all the other bottles.Yes, I'm talking more about the beer than the cultural event. (It was more fun.)
Many buildings in Hanoi's Old Quarter are extremely narrow, sometimes 8 or 10 feet, due to the old tax system that charged by foot of storefront. They also had specific streets for selling each type of goods. We went down a "packing tape" street with more than 20 stores selling the same stuff.
Comrade Lenin is still in style in Hanoi.
A word about walking in 3rd world countries. It takes some practice. Each time I go to one of these places I get better at it. Here are some facts: Sidewalks aren't really for walking. They are for parking your motorbike, or driving it around the traffic in the street. The sidewalks without motorbikes are being used for FisherPrice-sized cafe seating, or for a shrine for Buddha, or for your guard dog parrot. When you do find a stretch of walkable sidewalk it will certainly be pock-marked with ankle-busting craters and missing sewer covers. While you're watching where you step you also have to watch fore and aft for motorbikes. Stairs are never the same height twice. One way streets are always used in both directions. Always look both ways. It is rare to see a motorbike or car stop for anything but parking. It's almost like they think they're going to die if they stop so they just keep snaking along. Merging into traffic and left hand turns too much to go into here.
Our first meal in Vietnam was absolutely delicious. We had Bun Cha and Banh Mi. We even had a world class IPA with it. I think that this country will easily win the favorite food contest. They had me at Pho.
After a great rest stop in Siem Reap we caught a $70 flight to Hanoi. The weather at 11PM was a welcome 68 degrees and misty - the first break from hot and sunny in 8 weeks. Not complaining! Beginning to get accustomed to the abundance of green uniforms with red stars in the 3 socialist countries we've visited. I was expecting Hanoi to be a bit gritty and a little stand-offish, but so far it's one of my favorite cities. It's a happening place with very friendly people. We're staying in the Old Quarter that is the old walled city. Many lakes and canals and some old French colonial architecture add to the environment.

11 March 2018

Ta Prohm was another favorite. The jungle overgrowth has made it into a number of adventure movies.
Lots of baby monkies in Bayon.

10 March 2018

People who visit Angkor Wat are usually touring a larger complex of temples about 50km across and not far apart. One of our favorites was Bayon. There are 4 faces in each of its towers
Monkey watches the sunrise over Angkor Wat. The moat around the temple is 197 meters wide and appears to be about a mile long on each side. The temple itself is surrounded by 3 squares of galleries containing carvings of historical events, mostly battle scenes. Half of the middle gallery on 1 side is shown in picture 3.

9 March 2018

Angkor Beer is a little different than the standard lager. I haven't had much but it seems better than Thai but not quite as good as BeerLao which passed the warm beer test. It only takes 5 min for your beer to get warm so that is important. It's common to get spiced peanuts with drinks. Most commonly lemon grass, ginger, sugar, salt and some toasted leafy things. Much more sophisticated than at home.
We may have to extend our stay in Cambodia. Our room is one of the best we've stayed in anywhere in the world, and only $37. The people are very friendly everywhere. Lot's of deep subserviant bowing in the hotel and in the town - I wish they felt more equal. Maybe they do feel equal and it's just my misunderstanding. You can't out-bow these guys either. Tomorrow we plan to get up at 4AM to catch the sunrise over Angkor Wat.

8 March 2018

Typical gas station in the back country, same all over SE Asia. Motorbikes get 0.5 to 1 liter at a time.
Bernie scored a very nice luxury room in Siem Reap for 10% of the high season rate. Siem Reap is the town you stay in when you visit the Angkor Wat "complex". Angkor Wat is the largest religious building in the world. I hope that it doesn't fall down when Bernie and I enter. It's surrounded by other temples and the surroundings are abour 50 km across. It will take 2 days for us heathens to skim it.

7 March 2018

We were both sad to be leaving one of the most beautiful places we've ever been. Keep in mind that this place is not for everyone due to hard travel, heat and dust mixed with water buffalo dung. On the other hand the Laotians are among the nicest people we've ever mingled with. I liked their food better than Thai. Their beer was certainly the best encountered to date. A fifth of Lao-Lao at $1.20 is hard to beat. Bernie likes it with a little Sprite but Sprite doubles the price! Our boat and minivan trip coming out was much nicer than going in. The seats were made for 5'6" instead of 5' riders. Luxury! Took pictures of the Chinese dam being built across the river, while driving. Like they're doing in Africa, the Chinese are investing heavily in infrastructure in Laos. They are also building a super highway into Cambodia where rich Chinese are building summer homes on the ocean. Gas costs about ten grand per liter in Kip. In dollars that is between $3.50 and $4.50. A fortune here.

6 March 2018

I wonder just how wild that boar is on the trail?

5 March 2018

It's good to be well-balanced over piranha-infested water. Actually piranha are a western hemisphere thing. In Asia the water is more likely to have those fish that tickle you as they eat your dead skin. But it is agony if you don't like to be tickled.
Dinner in Laos is often served under the strict supervision of the house dog who sits conveniently next to the sloppiest eater.
Officially Lao-Lao (rice whiskey) doesn't exist, but every restaurant, bar and shop has water bottles filled with a very inexpensive brown substance that tastes great with a little lime, mint, lemon grass, sugar and soda - just don't tell anyone. It's cheaper than Coca-Cola which, by the way, looks like "Erin" in the local alphabet. All of the usual liquors are available in Laos but Lao-Lao is practically free because it isn't taxed - because it doesn't exist. BeerLao is my favorite SE Asian beer so far, another lager but better tha Thai.
Many of these tiny hydrolectric dams power the little villages with a number of weedwacker-sized generators. Guest house bungalows cost $1.20 a night. Not sure if that includes breakfast!
A magical day of walking through remote rice paddies and tiny villages. One of the most beautiful places we've been to. Just why we came.
A pretty deep cave on our hike out of town. Underground river with fish.
Morning mist over the main street. Take all "facts" with a grain of salt: Laos was the most heavily bombed place in the American War, we don't call it the Vietnam War around here because there have been many wars in Vietnam. In Laos it was really the Secret War that resulted in bombings. You'll have to look it up. Muang Ngoy was completely destroyed and was rebuilt so it is now called Muang Ngoy Neua (new). Bombs are all over the place, sometimes decorated and on display. From 1964 to 1973, the U.S. dropped more than two million tons of ordnance on Laos during 580,000 bombing missions—equal to a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, 24-hours a day, for 9 years – making Laos the most heavily bombed country per capita in history. Have to stay on trails. We see some of the locals are missing hands and arms. The caves we're seeing were used as bomb shelters by the farmers. Really not sure why we were bombing bamboo huts and water buffalo.

4 March 2018

Our room in Muang Nagoi is hanging over the river and has a great view.
Lunch spot before we catch the 90 min boat to Muang Ngoi.
A guy from Paris sharing tunes with a local women on our minibus. The weather has been great every day of our trip, although hot from noon to 5. It has only rained once for an hour in the middle of the night in Chiang Mai. Tricks for travel: - I downloaded Google Maps of all the areas that we planned to visit so that Maps works when there is no cellular service. Many people don't know you can do this. I always keep a map of the Adirondacks offline. Good for trails too. - I also downloaded Google Translate languages for each country for similar offline use. Lao was not available. Sign language works, but we do know Hello and Thank You, phonetically sab-by-dee and kob-jye. - I use a VPN app for times when I do banking on a non-secure wi-fi. It also helps with refreshing my Amazon music because I can vpn into a US server. Amazon music won't refresh in Asian countries and the songs inactivate in 30 days without the refresh.

3 March 2018

Fruit shake flavor options.
Luang Prabang is a pretty little town on the Mekong that has a good international expat community. Good food options that are reasonably priced. I can see why many people decide to stay here. Yesterday we relaxed and explored the town. We also mapped out a potential route through Cambodia and Vietnam. There are a few sights in Laos that we decided to pass up because the travel was arduous and/or our visa into Vietnam would not allow a land crossing. Plain of Jars would have been nice to see but required 2 days in a minivan on mountain roads. We may be able to catch it from the Vietnam side if we make it that far north - west of Hanoi.

1 March 2018

Started our slow boat down the Mekong River. The name means "big muddy", home of giant catfish and endangered freshwater dolphin. The river in dry season is surprisingly swift, many whirlpools and eddy currents. We hit class 1 whitewater every 20 minutes. The river appears to get about 10 feet higher in the wet season with another 10 feet during flooding. The forest on the Lao side has been heavily forested so far. The Thai side is a little better but we've only seen 1 or 2 areas of old growth as of the halfway point, Pak Beng, home of $6 steak dinners. We hadn't had western food in a while so we tried it and it was good. Got a late start this morning because a pair of hungover Englishmen couldn't find their tickets. The boat sat at the dock for an hour in a Mexican standoff until the "pier pressure" forced them to buy more tickets. Sometimes the "ports of call" involve climbing over other boats or up steep rocks. Not a great place for standard luggage. 40 liter backpacks are king.

27 February 2018

Hill Tribes people, these were Akha, and Bernie tried on the rings of the Longneck Karen Tribe. They still practice the neck stretching with 15 pounds just around the neck. Black House, created by Thailand national artist Thawan Duchanee, the grounds include nearly 40 small black houses made of wood, glass, concrete, bricks, or terracotta in various unique styles and design scattered around the temple area. The cluster of houses accommodates Thawan’s collections of paintings, sculptures, animal bones, skins, horns, and silver and gold items from around the world. Several of the houses exhibit Balinese and Burmese architecture and art dating back to the Ayutthaya Period. The artist uses bones as a source of inspiration to paint. It is definitely not a place for animal lovers.
Today was an awesome day of touring with Grandma Kaew's nephew Ping. We saw so many things that it will take me some time to comment but I'll improve the narrative but start from this list. Blue Temple Hill Tribes Village Black House Tea Plantation Monkey Cave Northernmost Thailand Golden Triangle Opium House (museum) White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) is a unique temple that stands out through the white color and the use of pieces of glass in the plaster, sparkling in the sun. The white color signifies the purity of the Buddha, while the glass symbolizes the Buddha’s wisdom and the Dhamma, the Buddhist teachings. It was designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a famous Thai visual artist but won't be completed until 2060.

26 February 2018

Today was an easy travel day from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, except for the sideways bus sliding incident. Just a timely evasive maneuver that you see all the time - in Hollywood. Today we checked out the downtown area. Elephants are a big part of the local artwork. There was a beautiful clocktower in a major intersection. Tonight we stay at Grandma Kaew's Gusthouse and tomorrow Grandma's son is going to take us on an tour of everything to see here in the Golden Triangle.

25 February 2018

Went to a big event tonight, the Sunday Night Market is a big craft fair where you can get almost anything made in Thailand at a good price. About a mile of street was closed. VW vans are still alive and kickin in Thailand. We see quite a few.

24 February 2018

Today we visited an elephant sanctuary in the mountains. They had a 5 month old that loved his soccer ball and could knock you on your ass. We gave the elephants a bath. Elephants need a lot of bathing for about 1500 baht at a rip and the Thais like their elephants clean as a whistle. It's for a good cause and it was one of those things that you just have to do in Thailand. It was fun, they squirted you and you threw buckets at them. The 5 Dutch girls in bikinis made it fun too. The whole day was amazing because we saw elephants and waterfalls everywhere we went. On a 2 hour long hike we walked through a valley with many elephant sanctuaries as well as some places that used elephants for labor. Swam in the waterfalls and did a whitewater bamboo raft trip.

23 February 2018

I always knew that those olympic curling athletes were doping! How else can you explain the level of concentration it takes to walk on ice with one slippery shoe and one sticky?
Chiang Mai is a very welcoming city, lots of different nationalities living as expats. Our hotels have been very affordable and located in great parts of the old city, a walled city with a moat that was built around 1200 AD. Great food that is very affordable. Bernie said that she saw one of the wax monks blink - miracles happen every day! Maybe it was more of a wince as the farang passed by. People if European descent are referred to as farang by the Thais, not derogatory, just a fact. Life size elephants on the temple.

22 February 2018

Flying today from the far south to Chiang Mai in the far northwest of Thailand. Took another plankton tour last night. The late afternoon snorkeling was great. Lots of soft corals, clownfish and everything. The plankton show was better here probably because the water is so clear. The bow wave from the longtail had sparks in it. To leave the island you take a longtail to a platform boat where your speedboat gets loaded.

21 February 2018

Krabi Patty!
Things are always brighter after coffee!

20 February 2018

I think that this means we're about as far south in Thailand as you can get. Catch of the day. Bernie's arm was not on the menu - just needed to give some perspective to the crawdads. The squid in the lower right are going to be the dominant catch about 10 years from now after most everything else gets fished out. They are the survivor species that will fill in the gap. Same thing in New England, and everywhere else, maybe 5 years later. Lucky thing they taste pretty good. And there will always be fish farms - at least until they catch some over-crowding disease. I don't mean to be so dark, the world will adapt, but the menu will change. The fragile beauty here brings out the biologist in me.
Went to the 3rd largest beach on Koh Lipe and went to the view point on the mountain top. Only saw trees. It was all an easy walk.

19 February 2018

We heard that Koh Lipe was nice but I think that it may be the nicest island we've stayed on so far. There are numerous white coral sand beaches. Our hotel is between two, 5 minutes on either side of us. Each is a long crescent of pure white and crystal clear water. Lots of fish, no waves or current. It would be hard to visit this island without alot of time. It would be easier to include it on a trip to Malaysia. There is a "walking street" between the 2 largest beaches where there are lots of good places to eat and where the entire island goes at night. I think that Koh Lipe is at its peak right now for being easy to visit - other than the 8 hour trip from civilization. Within a year or 2 it will be too developed. I wish that they wouldn't eat sailfish though.

18 February 2018

Had our first burger last night, Australian, and watched some of the Olympics. Nice seeing events other than figure skating. Curling can be exciting. There are actually non-Americans competing in the Olympics!

16 February 2018

Sandy Koh Yao Yai beach. Saw many golden eagles, herons and cornered a 40 lb monitor lizard while snorkeling in a cave. Brakes came on. They're not as nasty as the Komodo Dragon version but very similar lizard that is common here.
Today we hired a longtail to take us around the more remote islands in Phang Nga National Park. Khao Phing Kan was made famous in The Man with the Golden Gun. Koh Hong had many caves with a large lagoon in the center. Two of the islands had lagoons completely walled in and only accessible by caves. Bernie thought that the caves were especially dark here, until she noticed she still had her sunglasses on. Stopped at a tiny beach with a hammock for lunch and a nap. Finished at a beautiful sandy spit on Koh Yao Yai.

15 February 2018

Yesterday we visited the Surin Islands near the Myanmar border. Home to one of the largest colonies of sea gypsies. The Moken were the indiginous settlers of the southern Thai islands. They're allowed to live in the national parks because they were there first. They had no tsunami victems because they knew how to read the signs. Best snorkeling yet. Over 100 ft visibility. Caught lots of fish tails with my phone camera in a bag. The video came out pretty good. Today we bus back to Phuket for a ferry to Koh Yao Noi, close to James Bond Island and Phang Nga.a

13 February 2018

Ferry from Phi Phi to Phuket (it's poo) was quick and easy. Stayed in Phuket Town, the historical center. Nice but not a lot to interest us. Taking a 2.5 hr bus north to Khao Lak for $3.27 where we plan to visit 2 national parks. Surin Marine Park is supposed to be the best diving in Asia and in the world's top 10. Khao Sok National Park has some of the oldest rainforest in the world. It survived the last ice age because the glaciers never made it this deep into the tropics to scrape it away.

12 February 2018

Our luggage looks like this, less than 20 lbs, and more than enough. A service washed 5 lbs of our clothing at the 2 week point for $1.89 - all neatly folded for travel. They didn't expect the tip. We previously sent home about 10 lbs of stuff we determined to be unnecessary so that we could more easily get everything into our 2 packs. The beach mat will be gifted when we head inland.

11 February 2018

The Beach beach, Maya Beach, was very beautiful but full of tourists and we still loved it. Powdered sugar and a cool jungle behind. Stayed out for the sunset then swam in the bioluminescent water. Bernie said she felt like Tinkerbell. No way to take pictures of it.
A very cool bay tucked way into the cliffs.
I'm assuming that Viking Cave is where Vikings used to come when they were sick of the cold.
Monkey Beach is where they send all the bad monkees. And it's where I found proof that aliens do exist.
Koh Phi Phi (its ok to say pee pee) is a great place even though it's quite touristy. Did a multi island tour. Kohs Moskito, Bamboo, and Phi Phi Leh where they filmed much of The Island (Leonardo DiCaprio). Crystal water everywhere, coral sands that stay cool, and great snorkeling. Almost stroked out trying to get an underwater selfie - and the fish moved anyway.

9 February 2018

Thai bug zapper. Geckos hang out inside the blue lantern and eat the bugs. Drinking Long Thailand Iced Tea tonight.
Another beach shack dinner. I hope the resorts don't ever crowd these places out but I think that they will.
Moracot Cave on Koh Ma could be the most beautiful place we've ever seen. Swim through a 200 yd crystal clear emerald cave, except where it's pitch black in the middle, and out onto a beautiful beach completely encircled by cliffs. Like inside a volcano. Jungle inside was pristine and lush.
Bird nest gatherer's camp. For bird's nest soup. We snorkeled around the area - Koh Mook.

8 February 2018

Our bungalow beach bar at night.

7 February 2018

We were wiped out last night but feeling good today. Ferry to Ko Lanta, bungalow and beach are nice and chill. Bernie had a Thai massage on the beach. $12 is the going rate. Planning to do a 4 island tour tomorrow. Koh Cheok, Koh Mook, Koh Kraden and Koh Ma.

6 February 2018

We are feeling a little under the weather yesterday and today. Low grade fever, malaise and GI bug. Probably 24 hr bug and not food poisoning. Feeling better today. Taking a ferry to Koh Lanta where there are more nice beaches.

5 February 2018

More monkey shots. Everybody loves monkies - until they take your backpack up a tree and throw their poo at you.
Railay has quite a few endangered monkies, mainly 2 types. The tan colored crab eating monkey and the grey spectacled bogen (or something like that). I only captured the spectacled on my real camera so I can't show you that one right now.
Phra Nang Beach is the 3rd beach on Railay. Our favorite. A towering karst shades the powdery coral sand that reaches deep into the crystal water. Some sacred caves and rock climbing add to the scene. We climbed a challenging trail to a viewpoint and a hidden lagoon.

4 February 2018

I changed the name of our trip. I originally started typing "The Far Side of the World" after one of my favorite adventure books (by Patrick O'Brian - it's awesome) and stopped at "The Far Side" with Gary Larson in mind due to the circumstances of the few weeks prior to departure.
Longtail to Railay Beach today which is only accessible by boat. It's actually 3 beaches with caves and some of the best rock climbing in Asia. Spending 2 nights here.

2 February 2018

Didn't have much of an appetite tonight. Could only eat 1 oyster.
Another beautiful day in Thailand's cool season - only 96 today, but it felt good. We're getting used to it. Not a place for people who wear makeup.
Flew from Bankok to Krabi and traveled 30 minutes to Ao Nang, a nice beach and a good base from which we can explore some very beautiful islands. Keaton split off for his Muay Thai kickboxing training about 10 minutes away.
Great day on the beach. Hotel pool and breakfast. Flowers from the trees on the beach. So far we've been staying in more expensive hotels as we ease into the culture. The high season here makes it tough. $60 to 90. We may check out the $15 places so.

31 January 2018

Saw Muay Thai kickboxing on last night in Bangkok. Keaton is excited to get to his training camp in Ao Nang where he will study the sport.

29 January 2018

Long tail boat ride to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.

27 January 2018

Finally have a few minutes to start a journal after 3 busy days in Bangkok. Good flight, left at midnight out of JFK. Adjusted quickly to the 12 hour difference. Nice view from our hotel.