Monkey Salad Bowl- Ton Sai–Thailand

While on our trek over to Raleigh beach I saw a sign with a cool little monkey painted on it. This particular monkey had little white rings around its eyes and looked super cool so I said the guy at the bar with the monkey sign, ‘Hey, cool monkey sign.’ He responded by telling me that that type of monkey normally visited the tree the bar was under and that the same type of monkeys were over on Ton Sai beach as well. This was super exciting news. Sometimes my skills for talking to random people pay off. Well actually most of the time it does. More on that later.

With new information in our brains we decided to wake up early to catch the shy white–ringed eyed monkeys munching on breakfast.

We had seen a path from the jungle path where our guesthouse was to the beach on a different day and decided that this little used path would be a good monkey sighting spot.

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And right we were!

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The little white-eyed guys were the second monkey species we saw.

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Then all of a sudden we were surrounded by monkeys. The not so shy brown monkeys as well as the super shy white-eyed ones.

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After a moment of, ‘uh, are these monkeys going to turn on us?’ we followed the group down to the beach.

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We strolled past our favourite fruit smoothie place on the way back to our room. When we got there we were amazed to see that there where more of the white-eyed monkeys in the tree above our room. This whole valley is a total monkey salad bowl with the little guys munching away in every tree.

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Raleigh Beach–Thailand

After a few days of relaxing on Ton Sai Beach we decided that we would make the trek over to the more touristy neighbour beach of Raleigh. From Ton Sai there are four ways to get there; walking around the rock outcrop at low tide, taking a boat, taking a long walk around through the jungle or crawling and climbing over a shortcut through the large rock outcrop that separates the beaches.

We opted to wake up early and catch the low tide for a stroll on the way over. What we found on the other side reminded us a lot of the tourist street on Boracay Beach in the Philippines. Lots of little shops selling over priced stuff and a couple of bars along side expensive resorts.

Walking to Raleigh West Beach we checked out the other shops along a boardwalk they had built to connect all the resorts and bars on that side of the beach.

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The tide was out so we saw lots of marooned boats amongst the mangroves.

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Then we took another path to another section of beach.

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As soon as we arrived on this beautiful section of white sand beach we noticed a couple of shrines tucked into some caves on one side.

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These were not just any shrines, they were fertility shrines. We learned from the sign that if a family is having problems conceiving they make a special penis carving to leave at either of these places in the hopes that they will be blessed with fertility.

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These two caves are famous for helping desperate couples so they are filled with these home made statues. There was also a sign that warned if you took one of the carvings with it you would be taking the ‘bad luck’ of the person who placed it there.

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Away from the caves the beach here was idyllic.

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What was not idyllic was sharing it with sooooo many other people. So we struck out for the far end of the beach.

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and found one of the only shady spots left under the brush.

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After a few hours of fun swimming we decided to head to the view point trail on our way back to Ton Sai. This trail is pretty much a vertical climb anchored with lots of ropes to help visitors get to the top. Some people got pretty muddy on their way up to the top too but the view was certainly worth it. Short and sharp with a sweet sweet view as a prize.

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The bay on the right is the one that we had walked past earlier at low tide and the rock wall on the left is the one that makes up the bowl that makes Ton Sai beach accessible only by boat.

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We used the long lens to get a closer view of our beloved Ton Sai from the look out.

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Here’s a little pic of the trail to the viewpoint on the way back down. No the image is not the wrong direction. It is totally vertical.

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Pic of me making it look easy and documenting the beginning of my love for rock climbing.

Lazy Days on the Beach–Ton Sai–Thailand

After a fun night out the best way to spend the next day is relaxing on the beautiful beach. Ton Sai is the perfect place to do this.

For the real lazy beach experience you must have the perfect beach hang out complete with beach bum chair.

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Even the cats on Ton Sai like to hang out all day.

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And when its time for lunch, we head over to our favourite Pad Thai restaurant.

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Back out on the beach everyday life continues.

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From Ton Sai you can see lots of water taxi’s carrying tourists and locals to and from Krabi.

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One of the favourite pass times on Ton Sai is slack rope walking. It’s a lot harder to do than it looks!

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Every day more tourists come and go..

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and we hung out in the heat waiting for the electricity to start up so we could sit behind a fan…

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and did a lot of swimming…

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Sunset on Ton Sai

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As in Boracay, it was a lot of eat, sleep, swim, repeat.

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and their was a goat…

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While writing this I’m reminded of that lazy beach attitude…I think I’ll adopt it today as well. Enjoy the rest of the pics. I’m headed to the beach!

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I Like the Night Life Baby!–Ton Sai–Thailand

If you thought that Ton Sai beach was beautiful during the day you should see it at night. Night time is when the heat of the day gives over to the less stifling heat of the night. It’s also the time when the generators start up and this secluded beach get power. It’s only on from 6pm to 6am. So the fairy lights on the bars begin to twinkle and beach bonfires are lit.

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But the electric lights are not the only lights that shine at night on Ton Sai. There are also the awesome fire shows put on by certain beach bars. Our favourite Ton Sai beach bar, Chill Out Bar, had some of the best fire dancers. Here are our slow shutter speed pics of them doing their thing.

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The image below is of all the beach bar lights.

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A night in Thailand would not be complete with out the launch of a paper lantern. Below is a pic of one floating up into the sky; again taken with a slow shutter speed.

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And what night would be fully complete without making some friends! Happy days.

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Hidden Paradise–Ton Sai – Krabi–Thailand

Hello Thailand!!

From Siem Reap in Cambodia we hopped a flight to Krabi in the South of Thailand. This gave us a bit more time at the beach and saved us from another frightening mini bus ride on the pot hole ridden Cambodian roads.

We arrived at our Krabi guesthouse after sunset so we were excited to see the view from our window in the morning.

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Thailand you are beautiful!!

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On our first full day in Krabi our mission was to relocate to the boat only access beach of Ton Sai. The lesser known sister of Raleigh beach.

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So down to to Krabi beach we drug our bags,

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purchased our boat tickets,

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and took our bag on board.

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This little pic below is for my brother Dan of the boat taxi motor. These crazy contraptions where eye opening and seemed a bit dangerous.

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Check out the lower unit on these things!! They are designed to be lowed into the water so the propeller is at a distance from the sandy shores where they land.

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What’s even stranger is the way these outboards are used. Can you see what is strange about the image above? The boat captain is swinging the motor around to the side of the boat. This nifty method means that boats can park close to each other and still manoeuvre out of their tight spots.

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Like the boat in the image above our water taxi pulled away from the beach and headed towards our hidden paradise.

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oh that beach looks amazing…

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and then we turned a corner and got our first look at Ton Sai beach.

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And finally we were on shore. No joke this place is beautiful. A secluded white sand beach bay neighbouring a touristy beach = lets stay here!

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Can you see the dot in the pic above? That’s James in his happy place; swimming.

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Cambodia Summary

Our visit to Cambodia was short but packed with cultural experiences. A history lesson in both the ancient culture at Siem Reap and in the recent genocidal rampage of Pol Pot and ‘Western’ Governments on modern generations of what was once a strong people who ruled the main peninsula of SE Asia.

Given the recent brutal history it is not a surprise that the present generation is still suffering. In our time there, we saw poverty much like that of the Philippines but with more begging; especially the more aggressive young children out in the streets on their own.

Highlights of our time in Cambodia were getting to know a Cambodia man who worked at the hotel we stayed at in Siem Reap, cycling around the Temples of Siem Reap, especially the scale of Angkor Wat and the serene smiling face of Bayan Temple.

The natural beauty, which so often reminded me of home [Florida], influenced by the countries rich culture and history makes Cambodia a fascinating place to visit and one to which we would quickly return.

It’s Looking Really Temply Here–Siem Rep–Cambodia

Day three of our temple adventures. On this day I had a much better bike to ride as I managed to get them to give me the best one they offer for rental in compensation for the shambolic experiences of the two previous days.

On this last day we were really just cruising around and stopping at whatever temples took our fancy.

The first one we stopped at was more of a break than anything. James decided to make a little sketch of the temple and I decided to conquer the steep steps to find out if anything was in the room at the top.

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Nearly to the top…

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Ta-da, made it!

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Yes there was a little shrine at the top and one that was in use. With only one camera though the only pics are from James’ perspective. sorry.

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Back on the road again we cycled through another set of ‘gates’.

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Admiring an elephant sculpture on our way through.

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And through the other side was another sculpture lined bridge over what would have been quite an impressive moat.

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Some close ups of the figures that made up the bridge statuary.

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This guys seemed quite intense!

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While this guy seemed quite friendly!

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A look back at the gate we had just gone through.

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This guys seems a bit sad. Sorry dude we can’t hang around here all day. More temples to see!

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James taking a break from all the muggy temple fun.

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more trees growing out of temples

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a section of this temple complex awaiting restoration.

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temple

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temple that was being destroyed by the growth of a tree

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a lintel carving

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Back out on our bikes we took the long loop around the park and were struck again by the beauty of the Cambodian country side. Still reminds me a bit of Central Florida.

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After a bit more ridding we stopped at another temple complex.

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Yep, you guessed it! The place looks really ‘temply’.

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More beautiful landscapes.

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What did we do next? You guessed it we stopped to walk around another temple.

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Getting creative photographing an elephant sculpture on one of this temples corners.

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Rice patties

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By the time we reached this last temple I think we had had our fill because a drive by photograph was as much interaction as we were interested in.

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We did have an hour long cycle ride back to the hotel.

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Good night Cambodia. Tomorrow we got to Thailand!