So Thailand is actually much more enjoyable after you get off those godforsaken islands. In fairness I am reading 'Robinson Crusoe' right now, so maybe I am just prejudiced toward "Islands of Despair." Thankfully I was able to catch a ferry before I had to start shooting goats and fending off cannibals. Anyways, we are now in Krabi on The Isthmus of KRA. Sounds like something out of 'Lord of the Rings,' doesn't it?
We just had an epically fun day of motorscootering. We scooted up to the Tiger Cave Temple and saw some monks in the cliff dwellings. We also saw some sort of monitor lizard running off into the woods and some more tropical squirrels. And monkeys! which was actually scary because they can steal things from you. We also saw a dead cat in a dumpster, which was not so cool. Then we hiked up a 1200 steps to see another Buddha footprint and the site was supposed to be really sacred but Thai kids were up there hanging out singing along to their Thai pop from their cellphones. I was also stung by a bee, perhaps sent by Buddha to punish my exasperation with his footprints.
Next we scootered up to a Khao Panom Benja National Park and started off on a 'nature trail' that went straight up the side of a mountain. I don't think I would classify that as a nature trail, but it ended at a sweet waterfall. During the hike, another sort of monitor lizard was surprised out of his sunbathing revelry and scurried last minute over my foot, which made me scream. Then I walked headfirst into the web of the largest spider I think I have ever seen. It's legspan was the size of my fist... luckily it did not end up on my face. I am not sure why all the bad things happened to me today.
And I almost forgot! On the way back from the National Park there was a turn-off for a cave. We scooted down a dirt path through palm and rubber plantations, honking at cows, swerving around elephant poo, when a lady flagged us down. She rented out headlamps for the cave. We borrowed two and she explained to us how it would go: 'walk up the steps to a small opening, crawl through to a small cave, then follow the arrows to a larger cave.' So far so good, right? Then she said, 'Don't worry about the bats.' John said, 'The what?' 'The bats,' she repeated while flapping her arms, 'you know, like batman? but they are ok. It's Thailand, it's ok.' The hike went like she said and I am glad she warned us because there were alot bats in that cave, but it was the most interesting caving experience I have had outside of Mount Saint Helen's lava tube hike. Basically you crawl into this cave with arrows as your only guide and decaying wooden staircases and elevated walkways are the only thing between you and murky cave water at times. Stalagtites and stalagmites and weird cave molds grow all over the place. Unfortunately, most caves that I have visited are completely lit up, which seems to defeat the thrilling purpose of caving.
We had petrol to burn so we scootered down to Ao Nang's beaches, but it was dark by the time we arrived and as it turns out, there isn't much to see or do at a beach in the dark unless you have the means to build a bonfire, which we did not. Luckily there was a night market happening nearby and we ate some chicken skewers (passed on the chicken heart) and a custard-apple. On the way back we debated the best defensive driving tactics for stray dogs in the road at night... but luckily we arrived safely back in Krabi.
We just gorged ourselves on foods at Krabi's weekend night market: fried onion and peanut dumplings, seafoods served on a bamboo-half, homemade rice sausage, baked quail eggs, fried ice cream, and a banana 'pancake,' which, we have finally learned, is more like a crepe. Who knew Krabi was a good place to spend a Saturday night?
So I take back what I said about Thailand. The Andaman coast is very nice.