After a few days partying and exploring the Phi Phi Islands, we hopped on the ferry with the rest of the backpackers en route to Krabi. Krabi town is very small itself, but is a popular spot to slow down for a few days. It’s also convenient to stay here and visit the nearby world renowned Railay Beach, which is only accessible by boat.
After arriving in the early afternoon, we found a small spot to sit down and enjoy some authentic Thai spicy chicken and basil, as well as a dish of pork with garlic sauce. Add a couple of Singha’s and you will slip right into the Thai way of slowly enjoying their meals. No one seems to be in a rush as I often see in my everyday life in Manhattan. I could get used to this.
1st Lesson : SLOW DOWN
After requesting the check, we made our way down the street to the pier to haggle over a price from the guys running the long-tail boat trips to Railay Beach. We loaded up in a boat with a local Thai man a few years younger than ourselves who went by the name “Monkey.” Monkey didn’t have much, but he loved his boat, and was full of energy and happiness. He offered me one of his last cigarettes, and even though I had stopped smoking about a year earlier, I felt I had to take him up on his offer so as not to disrespect him. After enjoying a smoke and talking about his life and family, and mutual interests such as soccer, we arrived at Railay Beach.
2nd Lesson : BE HAPPY FOR WHAT YOU DO HAVE
Railay Beach is one of the most beautiful places, never-mind beaches, that I have ever been. The tall limestone cliffs are breathtaking. We didn’t have time to do any climbing and jumping off cliffs, so we hiked around the area and enjoyed the beach with some of the locals (see below).
On the way back to the boat, I stepped in a pile of monkey shit, no pun intended with our new friend with the boat…this was the actual monkey, not the Thai fellow. As I struggled to get the shit off of my sandal, our human friend named Monkey decided to take back the previous offer agreed upon and wanted us to pay more money to get back. Sometimes the unexpected happens in travel. We were waiting with a fellow American who was visiting her close family in Thailand, as she has done many times before. Despite it only adding up to a few extra U.S. dollars, she told us we should all refuse until he lowers the price, and that he would eventually cave. It was the principal that mattered, and after about 45 minutes of waiting, she ended up being correct when Monkey finally caved and took us back just as the sun was setting. By delaying leaving, we were able to catch an awesome sunset while on the boat ride back.
3rd Lesson : YOU WILL STEP IN SHIT, BUT IT COULD END UP BEING A BLESSING IN DISGUISE
4th Lesson : DON’T GET TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF
When we got back to Krabi town we headed to the night market to sample a variety of different local dishes. From barbecued chicken to pad Thai, spicy pork and rice to spring rolls, to Som tam (green papaya salad) that was so spicy we could barely eat any of it, and of course, big Chang’s were in hand every step of the way. Chang is the local beer and you are allowed to drink in public pretty much anywhere in Thailand. Talking with the vendors and the local people working there was great as well, and the smile you’ll get if you just look up how to say “that was delicious” is what makes travel so worth it.
5th Lesson : EXPERIENCE THE LOCAL CULTURE THROUGH THE LOCAL FOOD AND PEOPLE
6th Lesson : GO OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONES
Now it was time for some beers, shots and billiards while mixing it up with the other travelers staying in our hostel that night. There was the girl from Amsterdam. The couple from Italy. And the group of friends from England. It started off as a challenge to them at a game of 8-ball. We were already about halfway through our 15 day trip. We were accustomed to the college students or graduates spending 3 months touring Europe while we had our measly 2 week getaways. These guys couldn’t even remember the last time they were home. They worked for some time in Australia to keep themselves afloat, and were now spending the foreseeable future in South East Asia. The way they were so nonchalant about how they’ll get a job again was kind of eye-opening for both of us. They didn’t seem to be concerned about their futures, or their 401ks, or their careers. For me, I was envious, as I couldn’t understand how this could ever be a possibility in my life. Little did I know that less than 2 years later it would not be just a possibility, but reality.
7th Lesson : IT’S OK TO THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE, BUT DON’T LOSE SIGHT OF THE PRESENT.
8th Lesson : ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
After way too many shots of whiskey, some Thai local has offered Nick and I a cigarette. We move on to the next bar with some of our new friends and the local Thai dude lights up. I proceed to smoke with him, while Nick bullshits with some other people. After a few hits, he stops smoking and I continue to smoke it like it was a victory smoke. I was caught up in the moment. What I didn’t realize then was that we never rolled the hand-rolled cigarette, and I never bothered to check what it was really, I just assumed. I also didn’t realize that I smoked almost the entire thing, and the local hardly partook. Til this day, we have no clue what it actually was, but within an hour I was stumbling back to the hostel dizzy and feeling sick, knowing I could not enter the room at 3:00am because I would not be able to hold it together. I went to the roof, where I threw up for way too long, and felt that I had no ability to move my lower body to stand up. I wasn’t scared, and felt strongly that I needed to just last it out, but wasn’t able to convey that clearly to Nick, who was worried I might need a hospital. I was able to mumble and shout, and he accepted my protests. He ended up sleeping on the roof out there in a patio chair making sure I didn’t fall off the roof that I was laying face down on. At 6:00am finally somewhat sober, I arose and we caught another hour or 2 of sleep before checking out to head to our next destination. It was quite the day full of ups and downs. It’s a day that we can picture so vividly, and stands out by itself as a very unique day in our lives with many lessons learned.
9th Lesson : PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU ARE DOING, AND NEVER ASSUME
10th Lesson : STICK WITH YOUR FRIENDS, YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU’LL BE THE ONE IN NEED OF HELP