A lot of people ( more like 3 ) have messaged us wondering when we were going to post some new content. The last couple of weeks Breada and I have been on island time, which is really just a euphemism for we felt like doing nothing but relax on the beach and eat all day. We’ve neglected the blog and our social media quite a bit, but now that we’re no longer beachside we’ll be back at it, posting more content than we ever have before.
As I write this, Breada and I are on a 6 hour bus ride to the Thai border town of Aranyaprathet. 2.5 hour bus ride from the Cambodian border town of Poipet to Siem Reap.This is part of our traveling day from hell, beginning with a van ride from our “resort” in Krabi Town to the airport, a plane from Krabi to Bangkok, a taxi from the airport to the bus depot, a bus to the Thai border town of Aranyaprathet, a tuk-tuk from Aranyaprathet bus station to the border crossing, getting stamped out of Thailand and applying for our Cambodian visas, walking through the no mans land ( a seedy looking area between the two countries I hope to never see again), and finally a bus from the Cambodian border town of Poipet to Siem Reap. All in all we’re looking at about 15 hours of travel today, but I digress. I’m here to talk a little about something that happened to us on Koh Lanta as well as planning, and why planning too much in advance can screw you in the end.
Originally, Breada and I had a pretty action packed month planned out for Thailand. We would be moving around a decent bit, more than I would have liked to be honest, but it was our first month away and we wanted to get as much in as possible. Some of our activities included a day trip to some of the smaller islands, doing some rock climbing on the limestone rocks surrounding Railway beach, getting our open water PADI certifications ( SCUBA diving) , and attending the Full Moon Party, held once a month on the infamous island Koh Phangan. Unfortunately, and i’ve mentioned this before in previous posts, things rarely go according to plan.
The wrench in our gears came in the second week of our trip. We had been on Koh Lanta for about 3 days of our planned week stay, and we were loving it. I really can’t say enough good things about the island and it will get its own post soon highlighting some of the best parts of the island. We hope to go back and try to get gigs in the high season working at hostels or Bnb’s later in the year, but again I digress.
We were on our way back from the Koh Lanta National Park, a beautiful piece of land on the southern tip of the island. We had a nice day of hiking and taking in the scenery, watching the waves crash off the rocks on the shore and seeing the monkeys fly through the trees deep in the woods.
After the hike we had decided to take a nice long motorbike ride across the island. We had the bike for a week so we figured we should use it as much as possible. I love riding and miss my own scooter, which I sold a week before we left to raise cash for the trip. Unfortunately though, the bike is the reason our plans went awry. Long story short I was going around a turn and hit my brake at the worst possible time, hitting a patch of sand and sending the bike sideways throwing us off in the process. It sounds a lot worse than it was. Luckily nobody was seriously hurt, but we did have to go to the hospital to get our abrasions cleaned up. Again, that sounds worse than it was so nobody panic. There was just dirt inside of the cuts and it was better left to a nurse to handle then us half-assing it and it end up getting infected. We were in and out of the hospital in less than an hour, all cleaned and bandaged with a few days supply of ibuprofen all for the low low price of $18. Had we been back home we probably would have waited for 3 hours and it cost a couple hundred bucks each.
Though there were no broken bones, it did ruin the next couple weeks worth of plans. The open wounds would not heal in time for the PADI course, so we had to cancel the diving course. The guy running Simple Life Divers and Resorts, the diving program we planned on using, wouldn’t even respond to my e-mail asking to reschedule or receive a credit so we can still go and do it so we were out about 100 USD there, since we only prepaid for our place to stay and not the diving course itself. It’s unfortunate because we still plan on going to Koh Tao to do a PADI certification, but now we know it won’t be with his company. He was so prompt with replying when I was inquiring about the program and then all of a sudden he forgot how to e-mail back. Even if he just said sorry no refunds it would have been fine, at least write me back. Oh well, plenty of other schools to do it with.
Breada took the worst of the fall and had a cut right on her palm, so rock climbing was out. Luckily that wasn’t anything we had paid for, just something we planned on doing while on Railway Beach. Also, because we cancelled the diving course we wouldn’t be on that side of Southern Thailand for the Full Moon party so we decided to cancel that too. We received half of our money back from that, but we still lost about 50 USD in the process.
In the end we reworked our itinerary and stayed an extra week on Koh Lanta, which ended up being awesome and I’m happy we chose to stay there. The 2nd week we moved to an AC room in a guesthouse, which was a nice break from the open air bungalow we had the first week. The place was just $6 each a night and it had everything we needed and then some : a queen size bed, AC, a fridge, and a TV. Also, after staying there and watching the 1 English channel on the TV we fell in love with the TV show Grimm! We’re now binge watching all of the episodes. Plus our place was right across the street from the beach!
I like to think i’ve been around when it comes to traveling, but even I make mistakes, and will continue to make them as we go. Nobody is perfect, but we’re going to take this as a learning moment. First, understand the road conditions you’re dealing with when riding somewhere new. The #1 cause of death in Thailand is by motorbike accident, so this isn’t something to joke around about. I’ve had a scooter for almost four years and never had a fall or even come close, but it didn’t take long in Thailand for that to change. One momentary lapse of judgement and you can take a mean digger on the pavement, something I don’t exactly recommend for your own trip. When you’re in Thailand just walk around the cities and look at people and you’re going to notice there are a lot of people bandaged up. More often than not it’s a motorbike accident. We had at least 20 people come up to us in the week after the accident, point to a bandage and go “motorbike accident?” ,then proceed to show us their own bandage or scars. Certainly made for some interesting small talk.
The 2nd thing we’re taking from this unfortunate event is a lesson in planning. Normally we keep our plans pretty open by booking things just a few days in advance, but because it was still high season we booked things a few weeks in advance before we left. We didn’t plan on getting into an accident, nobody does, but things happen and if you have everything planned to a t there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to switch things around. Some of you are probably wondering “well don’t you have trip insurance?” The answer to that is yes, but that only kicks in if you’re seriously injured, and luckily we weren’t. In the end, everything we had planned and booked could have been done day of or the day before, with the exception of the hostel on Koh Phangan. The island gets crazy the week of the full moon and if you want to have a place thats decent and close to the festivities, you need to book that a little in advance or you’re going to pay through the teeth.
I don’t want to say the accident was a blessing in disguise, because the accident itself was terrible, but we really enjoyed our 2nd week on the island. We got to relax on the beach every day, we found a couple new favorite restaurants we’ll be going back to whenever we return, we saw a Thai cover band, and we got to celebrate Songkran, something we would have missed since it would have been a long travel day for us. The diving schools and the Full Moon Parties aren’t going anywhere, and we’ll be back in Thailand before we know it so it gives us some stuff to tackle the next time around.
Moral of the Story : Drive safely and book things that are fully refundable.