24 hours was just enough time to experience the most memorable activities, sites, and experiences today. It started with a quick one hour bus ride to a natural hot spring waterfall. The slippery rocks and pools created by the pouring water were rejuvenating. There was also a natural swing you could climb on making a great photo-opportunity. Khem is learning how to use her new SLR so she took some great shots of our group playing in the water.
After enjoying myself and feeling revived and naturally refreshed I stepped in a some mud on my way to take off my bathing suit and clumsily hit my head on a concrete overhang. My first thought was, “If I get a concussion I won’t be able to climb the tiger temple!” Luckily sitting down, sipping on water, and taking Advil helped me somewhat recover.
From the hot springs we drove another 40 minutes or so to have lunch in a restaurant at a mall. We were in Krabi now, the town I was originally going to volunteer in. What I saw, which wasn’t very much, made me pleased I had decided to volunteer further south in a more remote city not affected as much by tourism. I had a bit of a culture shock being in a consumer-centric place again. The malls here are the same as back home. Lunch was however different and delicious: Tom Ka Gai and Pad Thai. They also had perhaps 100 different kinds of coffee so I ordered an oreo frappocino concoction as a sweet after-lunch treat.
From there Rupal, Jack, Khem, Mama T, and I wondered the mall hitting up a small arcade that featured a karaoke game. 99% of the games only had thai songs, but I found a song and rocked out for a bit with Jack as my dancer. I have a hilarious video of him dancing like no one is watching.
The next activity involved a 1,123 step climb up one of the many limestone cliffs found in Krabi. This was a site worth the sweat. But, before taking our first step up to the Tiger Temple we had to bypass many free-running monkeys who sat in small groups planning their next snatch from passing tourists. They’re sneaky creatures and will even take your sunglasses from your head if they feel the urge. I guess they assume you don’t want them yourself and would rather rock them out themselves. While there were many tourists around, I could tell they lived there naturally and that they enjoyed monkeying around with visitors. The babies who couldn’t have been more than a week old were adorable as well.
It was not the best decision to have eaten such a large lunch of mainly carbs and coconut milk before this sort of trek. Nor was it helpful having recently bumped my head as hard as I did, but with a few much-needed breaks, I made it to the top of 1,123 steep stairs. Sweating and panting as much as I did was worth it for the view your presented with. It was easier sharing the suffering of the climb with other travelers; I met a few rather stinky French tourists, an Irish dad with his son, and a handful of young monks.
Surrounding Krabi are numerous steep mountains that jut out and rise into the clouds similar to the ones I saw in Halong Bay, Vietnam. I felt a little like a bird sitting atop the temple looking out onto them all and I wondered how on earth monks created the several hundred foot high golden buddha that looks out over the land. We rested on top of the world for perhaps 30 minutes before making our way back down the 1,123 stairs. The wind in my hair and the monks that walked around us made it feel like a dream. It was all peaceful.