En route to Koh Tau, we spent a night in Krabi on a tip from some good friends in London. After finding a great bargain on a place to spend the night we decided to check out the city on scooters that we rented at a nearby store (no experience or license needed, just a passport and cold hard cash). The scooters turned out to be one of the best decisions we could have made, as it afforded us a great deal more flexibility and range in our explorations- and we a ton of fun. We spent the rest of the evening roaming around the city and getting used to the bikes (I’ll admit that I started off driving like a grandmother, especially since the all similarities to jet skiing stop with the difference between pavement and water).
The next morning we set off early to explore the Tiger Temple, another tip from our Thailand experts back in London (thanks Shirley and Blane!) The drive there was pretty enjoyable and it was nice to be on the road and not packed into a crowded bus that was either roasting hot or blasting sub-arctic air conditioning. One we got there we encountered the 1,237 steps that led to the temple at the top of the “mountain”. (Note: these stairs were much higher and narrower than in the “standard” Western staircase, perhaps because the monks like the challenge, or perhaps because they didn’t want to lug the extra cement up to build them). The climb was a different sort of fun and although it didn’t take that long, we were all sweating pretty profusely by the time we reached the top. The views en route and at the top definitely made up for any discomfort and we spent a while taking photos, doing handstands, and watching the troupe of monkeys that acted like they owned the place.
|Slightly intimidating for some... a mere morning jaunt for us. Photo courtesy of Annty Marais.|
|The view from halfway up.|
|The view from the top.|
|Enjoying the view from the top, and scaring the crap out of the tourists watching below. Photo courtesy of Annty Marais.|
|The local inhabitants of the temple and very effective at hustling tourists for food. Photo courtesy of Annty Marais.|
|Shameless brand placement? Yeah, maybe.|
Hunger and menacing clouds on the horizon finally drove us back down the stairs, where we found little food of and substantial quantity and even more aggressive monkeys. Despite that, we had to drag Annty away from the wildlife (she has an intense urge to watch, film, and photograph most of nature’ creations, be they insect, mammal, or unidentified moving objects). Fortunately she enjoyed whizzing around on the scooter even more than watching wildlife so it wasn’t too hard.
|The PkGen biker gang. Photo courtesy of Annty Marais.|
As we had a few hours left on the bike rental (we took the 1-day rental pretty literally) we decided to use up the last of our gas and freedom to explore a bit before grabbing our bags and heading to the bus station. We came across an abandoned boat in our wanderings, with a rickety ladder conveniently set up by the bow that afforded us to this “time capsule playground”. While I struggled to quell my American instinct of “it’s not my abandoned boat and the owner of said abandoned boat may be angry that I am exploring it- and said owner may be armed”, Annty, V, and Kiell were already well ahead of me and scrambling up onto the deck. However, once I was on deck and started looking around I was able to put my doubts aside and enjoy our find. The boat was a pretty awesome place for pictures so of course Kiell and V got some good ones.
|The "entrance" to our new playground. Photo by Andy "Kiell" Day. More photos can been seen at his site and Tumblr page.|
|Feeling a bit more at ease with the whole "trespassing" thing after looking around a bit. Photo by Andy "Kiell" Day.|
|V scouting out some shots.|
|The trademark pose of the trip. Photo by Andy "Kiell" Day.|
|Kiell in action.|
|So tempting... Photo by Andy "Kiell" Day.|
|I couldn't resist. Photo by Andy "Kiell" Day.|
After stretching our time on the boat to the last possible minute we whizzed back to the city to give back our bikes, grab a bite to eat at the local market, and board yet another bus to go the dock for the night-ferry to Koh Tau.