A Travellerspoint blog

Monkey Thiefs and World Class Climbing

I love Railay Beach

rain 30 °C

I sit here writing this on the porch of my bamboo bungalow in the middle of some monsoon like rains. The experience of Railay Beach could not be scripted better in a Hollywood movie. Its night time and I am enjoying some take-away pad Thai while listening to the frogs croak and the geckos run across the roof. To make things even greater, only moments ago a monkey was eating the fruit off the tree in front of our bungalow when he saw my pad thai and thought that was a better option. Needless to say I have grubby monkey hands in my supper now!

Our last couple of days here on Railay beach have been great despite the rain we are getting. Started off with a rocky ferry ride from phuket where the boat was tackling 12 foot waves and many people were loosing there lunches. We made it safe and sound though and have met lots of great people on this secluded beach from all over the world. Today was filled with some world class climbing with our guide Em. Absolutely fantastic climbing with great views of the bay at the top. A highlight for sure. The afternoon was spent lying on the beach and laughing as the monkeys stole whatever they wanted from unsuspecting tourists. Had a baby one jump on my back on my back on the way back to my bungalow.

There are also quite a few really cool caves here filled with thousands of bats. Tomorrow we are going to attempt to trek to a hidden lagoon if the mountain side isn't too muddy from the rain.

Railay Beach is a must do for anyone who loves climbing, the outdoors, or great beaches. I'm excited for our last couple days here before we move to krabi and koh Tao.

Live Love Laugh,
Kaitlyn

Posted by kaitlynmitchell 06:21 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Airport Terminals, Gibbon Monkeys, and Waterfalls!

In Thailand at last!

storm 33 °C

After a rough flight from Nha Trang to Hanoi Vietnam, I finally said goodbye to my parents as their adventure was coming to an end. My flight didnt leave for 15 hours to Bangkok so I decided to grab a hotel room close to the airport to catch some sleep. After the taxi driver getting very lost, I finally showed up at the hotel...well they call it a hotel at least. The most sketchy hotel I have been in to date! The sheets on the bed were dirty, the windows were "open air", and the bathroom was flooded (a common occurance on our trip haha!)! All adds to the story I guess! Needless to say I didnt get any sleep that night so I went to the airport bright and early!!

The flight to Bangkok went smoothly and I finally got to the hotel that we would be staying at the first night. The hotel was nothing special but it had clean sheets so that was a big bonus! The hotel was situated across from a Buddhist temple that was inhabited by dogs, pigeons, and HUGE catfish! The catfish were absolutely massive and there were hundreds of them! After getting a bit of sleep at the hotel I went back to the bangkok airport to meet up with Mike. Unfortunetly his flight was delayed for a couple of hours so I got to know the Bangkok airport inside and out! When he finally arrived the airline had lost his bag! Long story short, the next day was spent chasing his bag around and spending lots of time in the Bangkok airport! Definitely felt like I was in the movie "The Terminal"!! Still not having his bags we decided to fly to Phuket to start our Thai adventure (and we would meet his bag in Phuket!). We arrived in an absolute downpour but we were happy to be here none the less. Our hostel that we are staying in is fantastic with really great staff!

Today we spent a full day in Phuket which started off by us eating breakfast in a street side resteraunt...good food. We then headed off to a Gibbon Rehabilitation Facility where they rehabilitate the Gibbon Monkeys that have been rescued from abusive owners. The hope is that they will be able to release almost all the gibbons back in to the wild that they save. A very interesting place... Mike even adopted a gibbon monkey! The "singing" of the gibbon monkeys is unreal!! We then took a short hike in the rainforest up to the largest waterfall in Phuket. We were finally getting a real look at Thailand and definitely enjoying it! After a quick swim in the waterfall (attempting not to think about the potential water serpents), we headed back down the mountain. Was a really great first day.

We are hoping to head off to Railay Beach tomorrow where its known for its nice beaches and rock climbing. Its pouring rain right now so hopefully the weather clears up so we can enjoy Railay to its fullest!!

Hope all is great with you guys!
Kaitlyn

Posted by kaitlynmitchell 02:00 Archived in Thailand Comments (6)

Good Bye Vietnam

The end to our Vietnam trip...I have a sneaky feeling that we will be back one day though (Pho Real!)!!

sunny 38 °C

Today is our last day in Vietnam and what an amazing trip it has been. Everything that I imagined Vietnam to be it was 100 times even better! The people, food, and sights were all memorable!

Over the past couple of days we have been winding down and taking the time just to sit and relax and soak it all in. One morning my Mom and I had the opportunity to visit a local orphanage and play with the children for the morning. Good thing I have no room left in my backpack or else I would have brought 10 of them back to Canada. The kids (25 under the age of 6) seemed so resiliant to the circumstances that they were in. Happy children that just wanted to hug and play with you. We essentially became a human jungle gym for the kids. A highlight for them was playing with my watch, taking my moms favorite hat, and learning rock paper scissors...I no longer have a functioning watch and my mom almost didnt get her hat back... but hilarious to see the joy on their faces! Very adorable kids...ask my mom about her friend "Kevin" that she fell in love with/ he fell in love with her!

The past 2 days we have stayed at the most amazing hotel to wind down and enjoy the blue ocean and white sand. The "Mia" is the name of the resort and they have the most amazing staff ever. Last night to celebrate my graduation with my parents they brought us out some amazing drinks and a grad gift of a vietnamese cook book. Our South African friend Cindy is an absolute gem...we want to take her home with us! We wished we booked a runned down place at the end of our trip so it would be easier to leave! The last few days have been spent paddle boarding, swimming, reading, and relaxing. The water here in the ocean is so warm and clear...a great place to snorkel! Very different then the hustle and bustle that we have been used to the past 3 weeks in Vietnam but a fantastic way to end Vietnam.

My parents now head back to Canada and I continue my trip to Thailand where I will meet up with a friend from High School, Mike. I have a 15 hour + layover in the Hanoi airport before I get to Bangkok (and then about a 12 hour wait in Bangkok before Mike arrives) which will be an adventure in its own but the wait will be worth the next leg of the trip. I know that it will be a very different travel experience then the last 3 weeks but I am stoked to see what Thailand has in store for the both of us!

Hoping to keep up the blog over the next couple of month but it will depend on the availability to Internet. Love reading the emails and messages from home so keep them coming. Hope everybody is doing amazing!

Until Thailand,
Kaitlyn

Posted by kaitlynmitchell 21:02 Archived in Vietnam Comments (3)

The Beauty of Nha Trang

sunny 39 °C

We are now in the final stage of our Vietnam trip with our final location of Nha Trang which is the furthest south we have been. Nha Trang is absolutely stunning but in a very different way from the rest of our trip. Nha Trang is located right of the ocean (South China Sea I think) and has the gorgeous white sandy beaches and blue waters. This is a small city for Vietnam with only 440,000 people!! We have been here for 2 1/2 days so far but it is amazing how much we pack into the short time.

The first day we got to Nha Trang we spent the day walking the beach and exploring the area. This city is different from any other one because it is more touristy then any other location we have been at...it still has that Vietnamese charm but just in its own way! We finished our night off with dinner at a resteraunt called "Lanterns". Some of the best food we have had all trip. The resteraunt also supports some local orphanages and schools so we are trying to hook up with some of their staff to take us out to an orphange hopefully before we leave.

The following day we had a great city tour with a man named Hip who took us to 4 different locations. The first one being "Long Son" which was a buddhist temple that had a 75 foot big white buddha as well as a huge buddha laying down as well. It was a very spiritually intese location which surprising was one of our highlights. We even had the chance to go in to a prayer bell while a little lady would bang on the outside of the bell while you could make your prayers. Very unique experience. We then went to the next location which was the Cham Towers which was the prayer location for the Cham people. Before going into any of the temples we had to put on white robes as we were not dressed appropriately to be in temples (shorts on). Also very interesting place with lots of history. We had one more stop at Hon Chong Promontory which is a collection of big boulders invested in meaning of Vietnamese fairies and giants. To finish off our city tour we went to some local mineral mud baths. What an experience!! Who knew rolling around in a tub of mud could be fun...it was. And it did wonders for your skin! We started off in a tub of warm mud. You then move through a series of mineral baths, mineral waterfalls, and mineral pools. We all agreed that we enjoyed it enough that we might do it again! I tell you getting the mud off you is an experience in its own...I know we were getting laughed at by alot of people (funny pictures of it that you have to see!). Finshed the night off with dinner at the Brewhouse with some amazing live music! Great day that couldnt be beat!!

Today we had a very different day where we went on a 4 Island Boat tour. Long story short, ended up being more of a party boat...we decided that it wasnt a trip highlight but we did have a chance to do some snorkelling, enjoyed feeding some massive sea turtles, and had a good laugh (or cringed) at some very bad karaoke!!

These blogs I'm writing really dont give this country justice...the sights, sounds, and smells are something that you couldnt compare to anything we have in canada. Little old ladies on the street cooking potatoes and corn over a hibachi, people selling fresh lobster out of a pot on the back of their bike, and so many other unique things! One thing I will never take for granted again when I get home is the luxury (and I do mean luxury) of having fresh clean water whenever we want it! None of their water is potable here so we have to buy 100% of the water we want to drink. Puts everything we have in Canada into perspective.

To leave off, here are some of the prices we pay for things in Vietnam (which would be a lot higher then the local price).
- Pop $0.50
- Beer $0.50- $1.00 (depending if its in a resteraunt or not)
- Meal $1.50 (pho)- $4.00 (chicken curry dish)
- Street Popcorn $0.25

Okay, now its your turn to email me, facebook me, or comment on this blog with how your spring/summer is going! Still want to be kept up-to-date with how everyone is doing and whats going on at home!!!

Kaitlyn

Posted by kaitlynmitchell 07:36 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

Unconscious Competence

Hoi An- Lantern Town

sunny 42 °C

We are now going on our 4th day in Hoi An Vietnam which is located in the central part of Vietnam. Hoi An is very different from Hanoi in so many ways but once again we are loving every minute of our adventure!

In Hoi An, the streets are lined with many unique things that are very distinct to this small town. One of those things being street lanterns. Paper lanterns line the outside of many street shops that are turned on once the sun sets. This town is absolutely stunning at night time. Many different colors of lanterns light up the streets. Another unique thing in Hoi An is the clothes tailors. There are around 200 clothes tailoring shops that will make you any dress, suit, or shirt you could ever want in about 2-4 days. Hoi An is also a UNESCO heritage site due to the "old town". Full of old temples and houses which we are going to attempt to source out tomorrow!

So far our stay in Hoi An has been largely focussed around food! The 2nd day we were here we took a cooking class with the "Green Bamboo" cooking school. Absolutely wonderful! Van (a very nice Vietnamese lady) picked us up at our hotel and took us to the local market to buy our ingredients for the dishes that we were to be cooking that day. Most locals do not have refridgeration here so your food is bought daily. The market was packed with locals and was an experience in its own! We got to the herb section where Van told us the ladies get up at 3am to pick the fresh herbs for the day. We then go to the seafood section, where she informs us that it shouldnt smell like fish because most of the fish/ seafood had been could between a 1/2 hour- 1 hour ago...very fresh. We picked up our prawns that we would be cooking which were still very alive! We then go to the meat section which was slightly visially overwhelming but didnt stink like I though it would. I will spare the details of the sights but we got lots of pictures of the meat section to share when we get back. We then went back to Van's house where we prepared and cooked 8 dishes. Items form BBQ pork, lemongrass shrimp, claypot fish, fresh spring rolls, to stuffed squid. Highlight of the preperation of the food might have been watching my mother have to pull the heads off the live shrimp...pretty hilarious (sorry vegetarians out there)!!! All the food was delcious!

Today we experienced a "food tour" of Hoi An. This was a tour where we tasted over 40 local dishes (street food) to get you more comfortable with eating the food on the street. Half the things I would never consider trying but were actually very very good. We learned that the dirtier the street stall (with littered paper and food scraps) the better the food would be. It was a sign that people enjoyed there meal. Very different from back at home. We got to taste things such as: fruit shakes, Vietnamese subs (egg, pate, hot sauce), pho, lots of rice dishes, and so many other very exotic but great tasting dishes that were passed down from generation to generation. Our tour guide Nevelle, said that the skill of cooking food here was an "unconscious compentence". They had no idea how they made the dishes but it was second nature and they cooked the dishes with such skill. We were also informed that the Vietnamese people were very concerned for their own health so only eat where the local eat, not the tourists, because they are going to ensure that their people dont get sick from the food! We were so incredibly stuffed by the end of the tour!

The last couple of days we have met some amazing people, ate some delicious food, and saw some amazing sights. We are off to a historic sight tomorrow at 5am (to beat the heat) called My Son to see some old temples. Might finish off the day with a massage from our favorite local place (amazing and cheap!!). The day after we head further south to Nha Trang to finish off our stay in Vietnam with some great beaches.

So far, Vietnam is a must do for anyone wanting to travel to SE Asia...unreal!

Hope everyone is doing great back home! Would love to hear your stories as well!

Posted by kaitlynmitchell 05:40 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

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