Joined September 2017 Message
  • Day58

    Day 58 - Koh Chang - White Sand Beach

    November 6, 2017 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Best day ever. Koh Chang is huge - the third largest island in Thailand. There are several beaches surrounding the island. We are staying on Bangboa Beach on the southern part of the island, which is beautiful and desolate and popular with long-stayers and hippies. It is great here - the sand is soft and white, the food is amazing, the people are so friendly, and our bungalow is perfect. But there's not too much to do so we decided to venture away for the day. The most popular and most beautiful beach on the island is White Sand Beach, on the northwest coast of the island. We didn't stay here because it is supposed to be incredibly touristy and crowded. But after visiting and seeing how beautiful the beach is, it would have actually been a nice place to stay. It's kind of like the 7-mile beach in Negril, Jamaica, without the annoying hustlers and hip hop music blaring from the spring break beach resorts. And there's really not all that many people. We could've stayed forever.

    We were going to rent a scooter to get to the other side of the island but after seeing how crazy steep the jungle roads were after the ride to our scuba pool session, we decided to take a taxi. We got there right after breakfast and spent the entire day and evening at the beach. We swam and drank coconuts with rum and beers and ate so much seafood - scallops and garlic shrimp and a spicy white snapper. We had so much fun. After dinner, we took the long taxi ride home. Now it's time for a good night's sleep before our final day and scuba trip.
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    Patti Conrad

    Those look good.

    11/6/17Reply
    Patti Conrad

    Pretty.

    11/6/17Reply
    Patti Conrad

    Be careful tomorrow.

    11/6/17Reply
    Julia Mullen

    Your mom's comments are cracking me up. Sounds like her mom Helen!

    11/15/17Reply
     
  • Day57

    Day 57 - Koh Chang "Tropical Storm"

    November 5, 2017 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Well...there was no storm. Not one drop of rain. Very little wind. It was a bit cloudy but there was still enough sun that we needed sunscreen and lots of water! It was another great beach day!! Tim did a lot of swimming, I did a lot of reading, we went for a couple of walks, and went on a long kayaking trip. We finished the night off eating BBQ at our favorite beach restaurant.Read more

  • Day56

    Day 56 - Koh Chang Wind Storm!

    November 4, 2017 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Well, today's scuba trip was postponed because of bad weather. There was no rain but there was a pretty crazy wind storm that started last night and continued on and off all day. The sea was way too rough for a dive. We woke up this morning and the power was out on the whole island (it actually still is but the hotel has a generator running from 6:00pm - 11:00pm). We were still able to enjoy a nice day on the beach. Tim swam and walked on the beach most of the day while I was lazy and laid out in the sun and read all day. Despite the occasional wind gusts (and falling coconuts), it was actually a very pleasant day. We played some chess on the beach, watched one of the most beautiful sunsets of the trip, and then got ready for dinner - red curry with shrimp for me and panang curry with seafood for Tim!! Now we are having a relaxing night.

    The storm is supposed to continue into tomorrow (with some rain added in), but there really isn't a better place to watch a storm than from our covered deck in the sand, or even from our bed that is 15 feet from the water. Hopefully this clears up so we can dive on Monday or, more likely, Tuesday!

    No pictures today because I was trying to save my battery since the power was out and I wasn't sure when I could charge it again.
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  • Day55

    Day 55 - Koh Chang

    November 3, 2017 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Another beautiful day in Koh Chang. We woke up early and went to the nearest restaurant on the beach for breakfast - yummy Thai chicken soup for Tim and eggs and bacon for me. Then we got picked up by David, a scuba diving instructor that we've been chatting with (and had a beer with last night). He took us to the dive shop to try on the gear and then we drove across the island (passing monkeys, elephants, a lots of little towns) to an outdoor pool for a practice dive and basic training in a pool. Tomorrow's the real deal (and now we actually have some training rather than just getting thrown from a boat)! We returned to the beach around noon, had a delicious lunch, then relaxed on the beach all day. We laid in the sun, swam, read our books, had a few beers, and napped in hammocks. After watching the sunset, we showered and went to dinner. A local restaurant had a barbecue to celebrate Loy Krathong, a celebration in which people light incense and candles on floating baskets made of banana leaves and flowers. After having a delicious dinner of grilled red snapper (Tim ate the eye once again!), we lit a basket, made a wish, and floated it into the sea. Now time for bed. Diving early in the morning!Read more

    Liz Corallo

    So romantic to send a wish out to sea!

    11/3/17Reply
    Kathy Youngquist

    😳

    11/3/17Reply
    Patti Conrad

    Lovely.

    11/3/17Reply
     
  • Day54

    Day 54 - Koh Chang Arrival

    November 2, 2017 in Thailand ⋅ 🌙 23 °C

    After a crazy speedboat ride from Koh Kood to Koh Chang, we checked into our seaside bungalow by about 11:00 am. The bungalow is amazing, right on the sand and about 15 feet from the water. We spent the whole day on the beach. This beach is beautiful with white sand and clear water, stretching about a mile down the southern side of the island. We had a delicious candlelit dinner on the beach - spicy chili basil shrimp for me and a whole snapper for Tim. Excited for the next 5 days here!Read more

    Liz Corallo

    Doesn’t get much better than this!

    11/2/17Reply
    Kelly Thompson

    I want to stay there!!!

    11/2/17Reply
    Patti Conrad

    Yum.

    11/2/17Reply
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  • Day53

    Day 53 - Last Day in Koh Kood

    November 1, 2017 in Thailand ⋅ ☁️ 3 °C

    Another amazing day in paradise. After breakfast, we decided to kayak to a waterfall. The roundtrip, including a little hiking and swimming, was only supposed to take 2 hours. But the lady at our hotel who was giving us directions told us it would take double because the sea was a little rough. We decided to give it a try anyways (it didn't look very rough at all). We didn't know it at the time, but we had gotten almost to the turn off from the sea to the river when it started to get pretty scary. The waves were big, the sea was shallow, and the waves were crashing hard into the rocks. After two large waves almost took us out, we decided to turn around. On the way back, we had a lot of fun riding waves into the sandy beach on the kayak. We finally made it back and it was time for some relaxing on the beach and reading.

    Tim decided to go SUP boarding while I continued to read. He returned awhile later and said that was pretty tough too, with the choppy sea. We had another amazing lunch (this food really is the best) and placed an advance order to get a crispy whole fish for our last dinner at Shantaa Resort.

    After lunch, we decided we needed to get to the waterfalls one way or another. We rented a motorbike and set off on another adventure! Tim has become an awesome scooter driver (once he finally figured out how to make a right turn from the left side of the road!!) and cruising around Asia on these things is a blast. After hiking through the jungle, we made it to the falls. We swam around for awhile and Tim jumped off of a swinging rope and then we hiked back to the bike. Next, we set off for a beach that's supposed to be one of the most beautiful on the island. And it was - a long stretch of white sand, crystal clear water that's still up to your waist after walking out about 200 feet, palm trees lining the coast, and barely a single person on the beach. We swam for awhile, and then headed back to our resort.

    We had about an hour left before sunset so we went down to the beach to watch our 6th and final Koh Kood sunset. It was beautiful, once again (though we haven't yet seen it drop straight into the sea!!). After sunset, I finished my book, then we got in our hot tub to relax until dinner.

    This restaurant is amazing - some of the best food I've had in my life. We have had so many amazing dishes - curries (the best we've ever had), pad Thai, and fish, shrimp, squid, king fish, crab in a dozen different sauces and stir fries. But our last meal topped it all. We started with vegetarian fresh rolls with mint and sweet and spicy sauce. Then we shared a crispy whole fish (not quite sure what kind) covered in a garlic chili basil sauce and crispy kale. It was incredible. We cleaned every ounce of meat off of the 1.2 kilo fish. We finished it off with a mango and sticky rice for dessert. Yum YUM!!!

    We will be sad to leave this place, but we will definitely be back. This is the most beautiful resort I have ever seen. Everything is pristine and the service couldn't be better. The free kayaks, SUP boards, and amazing snorkeling right off of the shore is awesome. The food is delicious. The rooms and the view are incredible. We will miss it here!

    Now off to Koh Chang - the final stop on our journey!
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    Patti Conrad

    So Christmas 2020??

    11/2/17Reply
    Courtney Johnson

    That's what we're thinking. Whenever you and Tim have off 2 weeks.

    11/2/17Reply
     
  • Day52

    Day 52 - Koh Kood - Scariest Day Ever

    October 31, 2017 in Thailand ⋅ ☁️ 27 °C

    We did it! We finally went scuba diving. It was absolutely the most terrifying thing either of us has ever done. But it was also amazing.

    We set off this morning for a snorkel trip that we arranged with a local dive company. We got on the boat with the other 15 or so tourists, 3 dive/snorkel instructors, and 2 boat staff. The majority of the group was diving. Within about 5 minutes, I asked if we could switch from snorkeling to diving.

    The boat trip to the first dive location was about 30 minutes. Long enough for the beginners dive group (just me, Tim, and a Bulgarian girl, Maria, who can't swim) to get some basic (frightening) instructions and get all of our gear ready. We anchored in, the advanced divers and snorkelers took off, and the 3 of us and our instructor jumped in. Non-certified divers can go down 12 meters max. This didn't sound deep at first for some reason. We started with some surface breathing exercises and, after just a couple of minutes, were "ready to go". We held on to the anchored rope and the goal was to pull our way down slowly. I made it about a half of a meter before I freaked out. All of the instruction and safety precautions about lungs exploding and ear drums exploding was all I could think about. I made us all come back up (even though the instructor basically refused when I pointed up) and told them I couldn't do it. She insisted I try again. We did some more breathing exercises, and set back down the rope. Again, I immediately freaked out again, this time hyperventilating, and came back to the surface. I told the instructor I was absolutely not going and that I wanted to go back to the boat and snorkel. She pretty much refused but once she saw there was no chance I was going, she let me go back to the boat, as long as I promised to try again, one-on-one, after lunch. I said "okay" - anything to get out of the scuba gear.

    Tim, Maria, and the instructor set off without me. Tim said it was really scary at first but after about 5-10 minutes he got comfortable. They all stuck together but the instructor really had to focus on Maria, since she can't swim, so Tim had to learn quickly! They all said this first dive was pretty murky and the visibility wasn't great, but they saw some cool coral and fish. By the time I caught up with the snorkelers, I had missed the giant sea turtle they saw. But I was able to see a lot of colorful fish.

    We all got back to the boat and ate a pretty good chicken curry lunch. Then, while everyone else went to snorkel or to walk on the nearby beautiful beach, I set off for my private dive lesson. This time, where we jumped in the boat was only about 2 meters deep. I could see the bottom and was a little more comfortable. After finally getting comfortable with the breathing techniques, we set off slowly underwater. Getting to the bottom here wasn't hard (except for the ear pressure - I really had trouble with the "equalizing" techniques we briefly learned). But as she started to pull me away from the boat, I knew we were getting deeper and deeper and two or three times panicked and made her take me to the surface. We eventually got down about 6 meters, which doesn't too sound deep, but it really feels deep when the furthest down I've ever been is a 12 foot swimming pool for a second or two. Especially when the visibility isn't great, there was no way I could see the surface, which was a little unnerving. But eventually I got comfortable. The next 30 minutes or so was amazing. She finally let me swim on my own. We saw a ton of cool coral and schools of fish. It's crazy how different it feels down there. One breath in and you float up 3 feet, one breath out and you go back down. I never quite got used to the ear pressure and how to equalize it. But it was an amazing experience. I had a crazy adrenaline rush for awhile afterwards.

    Once we got back to the boat, everyone else had already returned and so we set off for the third stop. I wasn't ready to try another group dive, so I set off with the snorkelers, and Tim set off for his second dive. He said the visibility was much better this time. They got down to about 9 meters. He had an amazing time and was so glad he did it. My snorkeling this time was a little intense. The waves were rough. But I saw lots of huge colorful fish, Angel Fish, some crazy crawling fish with wings, and beautiful coral. The swim back to the boat through the waves was tough though and I was ready to be on land for the day.

    We got back to our resort around 3:00. We relaxed on the beach for awhile, Tim went SUP boarding, then we watched the sunset before getting ready for another delicious dinner. What an exhausting, scary, amazing day.
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    THJMonterey

    Sweetie: I think I told you that the same thing happened to me in Maui, Hawaii (scuba diving after 10 minutes of on-boat training). But we went 60 feet into a underwater volcano and I totally freaked out -- by FAR scariest thing, I ever did.

    10/31/17Reply
    Kathy Youngquist

    Gorgeous! What are the water temperatures?

    10/31/17Reply
    Kelly Thompson

    Way to go Court!!!💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼

    10/31/17Reply
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  • Day51

    Day 51 - Koh Kood - Another Beach Day

    October 30, 2017 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Another day in paradise. More of the same - swimming, snorkeling, SUP boarding, jumping off of the pier, reading, eating, drinking, and relaxing. This place is incredible.

    I met a lady today at our hotel who said she's been to Thailand 45 times (as well as several other islands, in Europe, the Caribbean, and Asia). This is her first time at this resort. She says it beats anywhere that else she's ever been. I absolutely believe it. This is the most beautiful place I've ever seen.Read more

    Patti Conrad

    Jealous!!

    10/30/17Reply
    Kathy Youngquist

    Another kitty! 😻

    10/31/17Reply
    Kelly Thompson

    Lovely!!

    10/31/17Reply
    Julia Mullen

    Looks like it!

    11/15/17Reply
     
  • Day50

    Day 50 - Koh Kood - Paradise

    October 29, 2017 in Thailand ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

    I never want to leave. Today was another amazing day in paradise - Woke up. Worked out. Ate breakfast. Relaxed and swam and read on the beach. Snorkeled. SUP boarded with our snorkel gear. Snorkeled out deep in the sea. Swam and read on the beach some more. Ate lunch. Drank a few fresh coconuts with rum. Napped on a beach chair. Swam and snorkeled again. Read. Ate an amazing dinner. Now relaxing in our amazing villa. I could do this every day.Read more

    Patti Conrad

    Me, too!!

    10/30/17Reply
     
  • Day49

    Day 49 - Koh Kood - Best. Day. Ever.

    October 28, 2017 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Wow. Maybe we should have spent the entire trip island hopping around Southeast Asia. Or even spent 60 days straight at this resort (it would have still been cheaper than Europe!). We could stay here forever.

    Today was incredible: Woke up. Worked out. Ate a delicious breakfast with an amazing view. Tried stand-up paddle-boarding (SUP boarding) for the first time and LOVED it. Relaxed on the beach. Read. Snorkeled (the coral right off of the resort beach is incredible). Relaxed and read on the beach some more. Ate lunch. Swam. Walked to the end of the beach. Jumped off of docks and swings into the sea. Swam some more. SUP boarded for hours and watched the sunset from the water. Relaxed in our private jacuzzi. Had a delicious dinner - this resort has by far, the best resort food, best Thai food, and maybe even best all around food that we have ever had.

    We are in paradise. Today was really the best day ever.
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    Kathy Youngquist

    It truly does look like paradise!

    10/28/17Reply
    Patti Conrad

    Beautiful.

    10/28/17Reply
    Kelly Thompson

    Love this!

    10/31/17Reply
     

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