Saturday, January 2, 2010

Island Paradise

I am, without a doubt, the luckiest woman in the world. For one, I'm on this trip. Next, my parents have allowed me to be here during the holiday season, and most of all, I get to share one month of this crazy adventure with the man I love. Also, his parents let him go off adventuring during the holidays to come see me, which is extremely generous.

I met Spence in the airport and we spent one day exploring Bangkok before catching our sleeper train down to Ko Tao Island in the Gulf of Thailand. After a long journey by train, waiting in the wee hours of the night at the train station for the bus to the ferry to the island, we found ourselves on a longtail boat taxi on the way to Sai Thong Resort, a cluster of delightful bungalows scattered throughout palm trees around a white sand crescent beach with crystal clear, turquoise waters. Paradise.

We hopped into the shallows and were led to our bungalow, about 30 yards from the beach so when we opened the windows we could see the water and hear it all night long. There are no roads to the resort so we had to either take a boat or walk about 25 minutes through the jungle to get to the main town where food options were more diverse and we could seek out a diving outfitter and buy things like hammocks and really large hats.

Right around the corner from the restaurant, which is open-air right on the beach is the Banana Rock Bar run by Kof and his brother, two Thai hippies that certainly have the coolest bar and most laid-back place to chill-out ever. The bar is built up over the water and looks like one big artistic piece of driftwood thanks to all the work Kof does decorating. There are pieces of shells, stones and wood strung up everywhere as well as posters of NSYNC...not sure where that came from but I like it. They could care less if they have customers, you want a beer go grab it from the fridge. You want to smoke? Ok. You want to swim? Alright! You want to walk with me to the other side of the island to get some fresh fish to grill for Christmas? Let's go! So we did.

We were on an island known for diving, so of course we had to go! We planned to do an overnight dive safari but that fell through so we did a refresher course for Spence and went to a less-visited site, Sail Rock where we saw all kinds of huge shoals of fish, Spencer spotted the biggest moray eel of all time, and lots of large grouper. We visited one last site at the end of the day where we swam through rock caves and I saw a sea turtle jetting off into the water! So cool!

Our last day on Ko Tao we joined a yoga class for a couple hours before starting a ridiculous journey north to Chiang Mai for the New Year. Yoga was spectacular, we both felt awesome, which was good because that was followed by hours of waiting, uncomfortable seats, more waiting, more uncomfortable seats and waiting, then finally getting to Chiang Mai 30 hours later, exhausted. But we made it. And boy, was it worth it!

After the night train and 5 hours at the train station, ready for the ferry (not for those weak of stomach)
Long-tail to Sai Thong

View from the bungalow. Seriously.
Our bungalow


Spence enjoying the restaurant view

Our favorite bar
Banana Rock

Sai Thong Sunset

Most romantic dinner of my life over the water at Sensi Resort
Delicious dinner, so romantic
So tasty!
Snorkel adventure
Christmas trees!
Merry Christmas! Thanks for the tree Mom!


  1. So glad you had such a wonderful Chirstmas and got to share it with Spencer! What a cool bar and bungalow- paradise sure does sum it up! Nappy NEw Year Karina! Way to start it off right!!

  2. Karina!!! I'm so glad you had such a romantic holiday time with Spence! I can't wait to see both of you and hear all about it... way to tough it out and teach kids that didn't know what you were talking about :). I can't wait to do that next fall! I loved that the doors in the school were so ornately carved! I love you! Have fun out there ;).