Because I grew up in Colorado, Christmas = snow & cold, and seeing Christmas decorations in 90 degree weather doesn’t seem right- it’s just not natural to me. So needless to say, I had a hard time getting in the Christmas spirit this year in KL. And instead of packing up our beanies and snowboards to head home to the Rocky Mountains, we threw on some sandals and sunscreen (LOTS of sunscreen), and made our way north to Krabi, Thailand, which everyone has been calling “the new Phuket”.
We did some research and decided to stay in Krabi’s most secluded area, Tonsai Bay, which is only accessible via a long-tail boat. Tonsai Bay is surrounded by crystal-clear turquoise water and towering limestone cliffs, which is actually what makes it a world-class rock climbing destination. With a kinda cool, kinda weird hippie vibe, this place is made for backpackers. We stayed at Tonsai’s nicest resort (the only resort in the area with hot water and AC); it was far from luxury but only a one-minute walk from the beach so it was perfect for us. Speaking of the beach, this is where we were for about 90% of this trip. It was a true v a c a t i o n.
To get to the “village” of Tonsai (if you can even call it that), we would walk inland from our resort and through this gate we deemed “the portal”. The other side of the portal is hippie central. The first thing you see is a never-ending row of psychedelic murals, definitely there for the kids tripping on magic mushrooms, which they sold in shakes for just 500 baht (no mom, we did not indulge). You also have your pick of several Rastafarian-themed bars and restaurants, where you could typically see the bar staff rolling joints or hitting a hand-crafted bamboo bong. Weed is very, very illegal in Thailand, by the way, but I guess when the police have to take a boat to reach you it’s less of a worry? Talking to some of the other travelers, it seems like Tonsai is a place where you end up staying for a loooong time if you have nowhere else to be- and their slack lining skills were a testament to that.
While in Tonsai we heard about this cave that is essentially a phallic shrine (I can’t make this up), so we thought, what the hell, let’s check it out! To get there, we had to hike through the forest and across Tonsai’s more crowded neighbor Raliay Beach, where there was no shortage of tourists wearing Santa hats. The shrine, named Phra Nang Princess Cave, is located on this tiny stretch of gorgeous (albeit crowded) beach, and it definitely lived up to its reputation… there were two separate caves with wooden dicks EVERYWHERE. Why? Well, legend has it that Phra Nang was an Indian Princess who was killed in a shipwreck. Her ghost has since moved to the cave, and fishermen leave her offerings – you know, flowers, incense sticks, and PHALLUSES – for good luck. Oh, to be a princess.
With Phra Nang out of our system, we went on a nearly vertical hike through the jungle that led to an incredible lookout spot. Although, I have to say that the hike was a bit too much effort for someone on vacation, but I guess the physical exertion was worth the view. 🙂
Well, we may not have gotten to spend Christmas and Hanukkah with our families this year, but we did get the gifts of sunshine, tan lines, and memories that will last a lifetime. I think we have a lot to be grateful for.