After 5 months of primarily solo decision-making and experiencing, I was unsure how I would adjust to traveling with partners. When Justin visited (and later Brittany and Parker) I quickly realized traveling with companions is as wonderful as traveling solo. The biggest difference between the two experiences was meeting people.
As a solo traveler, I make a conscious effort to meet people and make friends. Arriving in a new hostel I introduce myself to others, welcome people who arrive after me, smile a lot, and make conversation. I enjoy the energy output required to meet people and I have been rewarded wonderfully for my friendliness. Not only do I have great memories from fun adventures with new people, I have lifelong friends. I also know if I did not make an effort to meet others I would miss one of the highlights of travel – meeting many diverse new people. Plus, I imagine I would feel lonely.
As a part of a traveling duo (and later a trio), I instantly had companionship. I had a buddy for activities such as wandering the city, sitting on the beach, kayaking, hiking, making daily decisions, eating, and socializing. It was a surprise when I realized I did not have to exert energy to find a group or an individual to join me for an activity.
As is true in most contexts, each scenario has tradeoffs. In Thailand, I did not make many new friends. However, after months of making great friends fast and then separating just as quickly, it was a luxury to spend large amounts of time with a few people who already know me. While we did not know it when they planned vacations to Thailand to coincide with my travels, traveling with companions became a kind of vacation for me too.
We traveled from Bangkok to Krabi to begin our visit to the Andaman Coast of Thailand. A furniture company showrooms their products in the Bangkok airport. We took advantage of their comfortable loungers while we waited to board our flight.
From the Krabi airport, we boarded a bus to Krabi town. In town we met Ale from Australia. Together, we boarded a long tail boat for the 40-minute ride to Tonsai Bay. The blue/green water and karsts were our first views of the famed Thai beaches.
Justin and I rented a double kayak for a day of exploring. First we visited Phra Nang Beach. The sand and water here were gorgeous. The beach was busy with many groups on island hopping day trips. After Phra Nang we kayaked further and found a small patch of sand in a cove. We stopped in the cove to enjoy some solitude. After our day kayaking, Justin introduced me to this hilarious You Tube video of Max in a sinking kayak – he was worried this would be us!
We posed for photos on the beach at Phra Nang. A man dressed like Justin wanted photos with, “his twin.”
At Phra Nang beach there is a shrine honoring a princess killed at sea. Depending on which myth you read, it is believed she controls safe passage in the water and the fertility of the sea. Fisherman (and tourists we suspect) leave offerings at the shrine to request safe, successful fishing journeys.
Our hotel had a pool! I enjoyed night swimming and lap swimming. Justin was more playful – he jumped from the top pool into the lower pool.
The beach at Tonsai Bay becomes rocky when the tide is out.
Tonsai Bay is a popular rock climbing destination attracting climbers from around the world. We enjoyed watching people scale these massive cliffs. I imagine the views are spectacular.
The ambiance in Tonsai Bay is relaxed. People in this beach community enjoy slack-lining and twirling with fire. Pot and mushrooms, not to mention tobacco, were on the offer. Justin and I were highly amused with these surroundings that are so different from our usual (and preferred) environments.