It’s pretty fitting that on our seventh day we toured seven islands.
The entire trip our sleep schedules were pretty messed up. Still used to Canadian time, we went to bed before midnight and woke-up before 8am every morning. By the seventh day we ended up waking up semi-later than usual, woo! After eating breakfast at an air-conditioned cafe with the worst iced lemon tea ever, we decided today was the day for an excursion.
After bargaining our way for the cheapest rate, we ended up paying 550 baht each for 7 islands (that’s approximately $2.92 CAD per island). If you’re ever going on the tour don’t accept the first price they give you, I’m pretty sure the original price was 700 baht each. Because we woke up so late we had to wait for an afternoon trip so shopped for dresses for a while and ate at another restaurant. Only Deanna could see a dress the night before and manage to find it the next morning. I got French Onion Soup which turned out to be cream of onion #translationproblems.
*update* The Ao Nang strip is a little bit like Clifton Hills, Niagara Falls (the Canada side), but on crack – every single store sells basically the same thing and there are hundreds of stores. Jenn and Deanna were also celebrities again as an international student decided to interview them for a school project on “Why Foreigners Visit Thailand” and were disappointed to find out that I too, the Asian girl, was a foreigner.
They interviewed me, because I was a foreigner, whether they used the footage or not was another question. **
The tour consisted of:
- MaeUrai Island
- Railay Beach
- Snorkelling at an island
- Chicken Island
- Rock climbing at an island
- More snorkelling
- Tup Island
- BBQ Dinner at Poda Island
- Swimming with phytoplankton
The tour system is pretty established in Ao Nang. We purchased our tickets down the road but were able to sit in our hostel lobby and wait for a van/tuk tuk to take us to our longtail boat.
Our tour guide, Brian, was from Massachusetts and had the weirdest Asian/American/British accent. He was also a contractor and architecture. I love hearing about people’s lives on vacation, they always seem so much more interesting than mine.
The first stop was MaeUrai Island/Railay Beach.
The beach had a sandbar that led to the island, where we took some photos and played some frisbee. Next up, snorkelling! This was my first time and I was scared at first – partly because they told us the place was full of sea urchins. Whenever I go to the Caribbean I hate the idea of fish swimming around my legs. We had lifejackets so floating on the water put my mind at ease as I observed the coral and fish. The water was a bit cloudy due to boats and lots of tourists, but we saw Dory’s and Nemo’s (yes, those are the scientific terms I chose to use).
Our next “island” was actually a stop-by at Chicken Island (because there was nothing to do there but look).
The next stop on the tour was rock-climbing. And by rock-climbing I mean, “hey here’s the side of a limestone cliff. Climb it. Without any gear.” Again, I know my strength and limitations so I opted to be photographer for the girls. There was a 100% chance that even if I had made it up the rickety ladder I would’ve slipped and fell back into the water.
Our tour guide ended up taking us to another snorkelling spot because it was slow season in Thailand. We met the nicest girl named Mandy on our trip and it turns out she’s from Mississauga! It never ceases to amaze me just how small the world is. She worked at the Fairmont Lake Louise (except of course when I actually went to Lake Louise and tried to find her) but regardless, so glad we met her.
The next island was our prime opportunity for tourist photos, Tup Island. I’m not even ashamed because everyone was jealous and tried to copy us. I am however, ashamed by my cartwheel skills…
*the photo also won me a $100 gift card at North By NorthWest*
We also had extra time on the Island because our longtail boat was being used to ferry other tourists. After Tup Island we headed for a sunset BBQ dinner on Poda Island. It was grilled barracuda, pineapple, curry and vegetables (they were okay). The BBQ dinner I could’ve lived without, the sunset, not a chance.
There was a huge lightning storm and I was pretty sure my life was about to end (but hey, at least I got to cross snorkelling off the bucket list right?). We were in the tiniest, unsafe, longtail boat on the water – and the thunder and lightning just seemed to get closer and closer.
Just as we thought we were heading back to the safety of shore, we forgot we had one last stop on the tour – swimming with phytoplankton. Essentially any movement makes these tiny little fish around you light up and it looks amazing. It’s really hard to describe how incredible it looked, and even harder to capture on film but here’s a video I found online that’s pretty damn close.
After seeing it for a couple minutes I was pretty ready to head back to the dry and safe shore. We grabbed a drink with our new friend Mandy, obviously got more Hawaiian pizza and ended up calling it a early night because we were all exhausted (but we made it past midnight!!!!).
What a great end to a great day.