We spent some time in Chiang Mai deciding what to do next. Our Thai visa was expiring soon, so we had two options: going to the border with Burma (Mae Sai/Tachileik) for a visa run (which basically means that you cross the border just to stamp your passport and get a new 15-day Thai visa) or actually flying to Burma to visit the country: because Burmese government restricts the areas that can be visited by travellers, crossing the border overland wouldn’t allow us to move into the country as freely as if we flew, say, to Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan or any major destination. Plus, flying to Burma and back to Thailand would entitle us to a longer, 30-day Thai visa on our return. These were all factors to consider…
We heard wonders from travellers that actually ventured into Burma – you can read Laura’s and Ryan’s stories on their travel blog RoundWeGo.com to get an idea. Other people decide not to go Burma due to the country’s political situation, to avoid supporting the dictatorship financially (I found this Lonely Planet article very interesting if you want to read more about the pros and cons).
Anyway, after careful consideration we came to a conclusion: we needed a break from travelling! We were feeling too tired to cope with a country that would probably demand from us the same energy as India or Vietnam.
So we decided to go for the visa run. We got our new 15-day permit and headed south to the some of the world’s most famous beaches. As a fellow traveller told us “The best place to go and do nothing without feeling guilty about it is the beach” – and this was exactly what we needed. Do nothing, relax and recharge our batteries to continue the adventure.
We went to Maikhao beach, in Phuket, following the recommendation of a couple we met few months back in India (thank you David and Marine for your valuable tips). If it’s peace and relax you are looking for in your holidays, this is probably the only place in Phuket where you can still find it. We had a beach with several kilometres and few people to share it with. The bungalow was quite nice and great standard for the price.
However, we didn’t really manage to enjoy as much as we wished, because the weather changed and brought some ugly grey clouds and Emanuele got a nasty skin infection on his leg, forcing us to move to Phuket town to visit the local hospital. The following days, we had plenty of the rest and relax that we wished for, but not in a dream like beach – instead we were in the ugly Phuket town just to stay close to hospital until Emanuele’s infection healed. We took the opportunity to sort out thousands of pictures we took in Vietnam and draft few more posts.
During those days the rain didn’t stop, causing flooding in the South – it was all over the news, some people died and many houses were destroyed due to landslide. Bear in mind that it was supposed to be the dry season!
When Emanuele got better, we went to Krabi where we were deciding if we should wait a bit longer hoping the rain would go away or if we would continue south and go to Georgetown in Malaysia.
We were very happy we decided to stay and wait, because the day after we arrived in Krabi the weather started slowly to improve and we finally managed to enjoy what we were there for: Thai beaches.
The first beach we went to was Railay beach, which can be reached by boat from Krabi town. We stayed just for the day and returned by boat in the evening. The beach was exactly what I was expecting to see in a Thai beach: white sand, crystal clear water, lime stones and Thai long tail boats. Still the weather wasn’t 100% good, as some clouds were looming over the beach and full-blown sun would come out only sporadically. We also caught some rain while we were walking between one beach and another. Fortunately it didn’t last long!
As we had wasted so many days because of the rain, and even though the weather at that point in time didn’t look amazing as we hoped yet, we decided to take a boat trip to the famous Koh Phi Phi anyway. We had heard some bad things about it though – that it was too touristy, too dirty and no longer the beautiful tropical paradise it used to be. But we couldn’t leave Krabi without seeing that for ourselves – Verdict? We found the beaches in Koh Phi Phi stunning despite the amount of tourists populating them, and definitely we don’t regret taking the tour: it was totally worth. The funny thing is that one person from the boat crew told us that because it had rained so much in the previous days many people had left, and so the beaches weren’t as crowded as they normally are.
Our final stop in the south was Koh Lanta, where we stayed only for couple of days as our visa was expiring again. We could have stayed there for a week or two. That was the perfect place to enjoy the beach and do nothing else. We found a nice place within our budget called Lanta Marine Park View Resort, overlooking Kentiang Bay from a hill. The bungalows were nothing fancy, but we immediately fell in love with the beautiful views of the beach: one km of white sand and clear blue waters, almost deserted (even here many people had left because of the rain in the previous days). After two stunning sunsets, countless swims, 4 delicious meals and a nice tan, we sadly said goodbye to Kentiang Bay. I guess the only thing I didn’t like about that place was leaving it.
As we asked our facebook followers: are you able to find the ‘mistake’ in the photo above? 🙂
We went back to Krabi for the night as the next day early morning we were to catch a bus to Georgetown, Malaysia. It was the end of our semi-wet trip in Thailand. Still, we left with a better understanding of what makes this country so famous all over the world: it’s simply beautiful and we’ll be back for more 🙂