Where in the world am I now?
I don't stop...
To keep up, please subscribe.
Feel free to share this blog.
Visit @SailGirl Design on Instagram!
To keep up, please subscribe.
Feel free to share this blog.
Visit @SailGirl Design on Instagram!
We made it out alive! Klang Cave in Krabi Province, Thailand
I'm behind again on blogs, as usual, so here we go! Don't forget, if you receive these by email, click the link, as there are slide shows embedded that don't show up unless you are on the blog site! You can also visit www.sailgirldesign.com and take a trip down memory lane with us. I do this occasionally. It's one reason I'm sharing our fun, so I can remember it later. Thanks for following our shenanigans! If you are having fun, please share our website and comment.
A few weeks ago I had some time in Thailand. Corey and I rented a car for the weekend and ventured over to the seaside town of Krabi. We really had a ball in Khao Lak (see previous blog) and the motorbike ride was definitely part of that adventure, but Krabi is a bit too far for a motorbike, especially in rainy season. It took us around 3 hours to drive to the beach side of Krabi as we stopped along the way to check out what ever tickled our fancy. One amazing detour took us into Klang Cave.
Klang Cave is a significant cavern with a small river and huge stalactites and stalagmites. The mountains in the Phang Nga and Krabi areas are limestone so there are quite a few caves. We think we found the best one! Happening upon a sign, we turned off and drove down a small dirt road surrounded by jungle and coconut palms. There was a little welcome center, with no one there. Actually a bit spooky. It has to be manned sometimes as there was a flashlight sitting on a bench and the batteries were ready to go. Corey borrowed it and I used my phone flashlight app-- off we went. The pictures below are some from Klang Cave. Don't miss the ghost globes and the captions.
We also explored a very beautiful temple on the way to Krabi. It was actually between Phuket and Phang Nga. An older lady selling temple goods told us that the monk the temple was dedicated to had a "good mouth and was very wise." In other words he spoke good things! The temple had multiple buildings and everything was perfectly maintained. A beautiful place!
Another discovery on the trip was a temple near Krabi called the Tiger Cave Temple -Wat Tham Sua. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_Cave_Temple
It's actually a complex of temples plus a hike up 1237 stairs to the top of a cliff overlooking the region. The view was well worth the climb!
The story behind the name Tiger Cave Temple in summary is that many years ago a local priest was meditating in the area and would see a tigers living in, and around the cave. There are no longer tigers in this part of SE Asia but the cave was named for them. It is one of the most sacred areas in the Krabi province.
The hike up those stairs was brutal as they were very steep. Actually, it was worse coming down! My legs were jelly! I was lucky I've been exercising as we didn't stop there. We went up and down some more stairs and then around the back of the next hill. We followed a trail through a canyon with thick trees that took us by more caves, plus a Buddhist monk village. It was absolutely beautiful and felt like we'd gone back in time. Their rust colored robes were hanging out to dry on the clothes lines outside petite, well-kept shacks. This area was all arranged near the caves and a large outdoor worshipping area with a large Buddha statue. It seemed most people don't do this extra hike, so once again we were pretty much the only ones there taking in the wonderful sights. The air was thick with humidity but the rain stayed away.
Our final destination was the beaches of Krabi. We spent one night in the shopping, nightlife area on Ao Nang Beach, and the next night around the corner at Hat Noppharat Thara Beach. We both enjoyed Krabi. We imagined it is like Patong used to be. It is also slow season so it was particularly quiet.
We enjoyed the different scenery and some time at the beach. Including some great massages. If you visit on slow season expect cheaper prices but the water is rough and not a blue and clear.
Well, that's it for this week's update. Stay tuned for a write up about our jaunt over to Puerto Galera, Philippines for a weekend of diving! I seem to run about 3 weeks behind but I'll try to get to it shortly before I forget any cool details. Cheers!!!
Hey, blog readers! I notice when I get this blog in my email it only seems to show single pics. Some of the sections of most posts have a slideshow imbedded. Please let me know if you are seeing the slide shows. If you are not, try viewing the blog in your browser. This is easy to do by clicking on the title of the blog in your email.
You can always visit our website- www.sailgirldesign.com and check out the last page of the site which is the blog.
Thanks!! Just wanted to make sure you were seeing all the fun pics.
Peggy and Corey
As most of you know, Corey spends most of his time in Thailand and I spend much of my time traveling in SE Asia and living between Singapore and Thailand. On a recent weekend spent together we adventured out from our place in Phuket, north to Khao Lak. Two friends of ours, Paul and Mon, tagged along and together we had a grand time. Keep in mind that we are now into rainy season in this part of the world. In the tropics when it rains, it absolutely pours! At least for a few minutes or so at a time. That said, we took this jaunt on motor scooters. Not sure if we should be considered brave, or silly! Turns out either way- we were quite lucky!
This picture is of a beach we stopped at on the way to Khao Lak. It was part of a huge resort that seemed all but closed. It was absolutely gorgeous! Since we were on our motor scooter we took a lot of breaks. Any sign that we could read or any suggestion of something interesting took us on a side trip. This beach was a reward for following our whimsy that day. Khao Lak is about a 3 or 4 hour motorbike ride north of Phuket. It can be done much more quickly, and comfortably in a car, but hey, where's the adventure in that? Right?
Above are some pictures from our way up the coast towards Khao Lak. There were some beautiful beaches and we stopped at the Hot Springs Resort, looking for the hot springs. We didn't find the hot springs. As I mentioned the resort was all but closed. It is slow season, but really? I was so surprised as I would certainly recommend it if someone wants a gorgeous get away. The downside was that is was quite far from anything to do but relax... is that a problem?
Elephant rides are offered in many places in Thailand. I personally am not a fan of this attraction and don't plan to ever partake but the owner of the Full Moon Bar, whose beach we hung out on, said that the elephants used for this local attraction are free ranging at night. That made me feel a little better. They were a great photo opp.
We ultimately stayed at a resort called Brisas in Khao Lak. It was beautiful and since it is low season we got a killer deal. Corey, Paul, Mon and I went for a swim in some pretty significant surf, then relaxed in the pool with drinks before going out for a tasty Thai meal. Such a nice little get away!
Our visit to Khao Lak falls almost 10 years after the huge tsunami that wiped out much of this region and beyond. The SE Asian tsunami struck after a very large earthquake on December 26th, 2004. For Corey and I, it visiting the memorial was a sober reminder that you never know when your time on this earth may come to an end. Not only because of what happened where we now call home, but also because we were supposed to be in Phuket that day years ago. Some of our family and friends may remember hearing about the event from thousands of miles away and becoming very worried about us. Corey's work had taken us to China and we had plans which included a stop over during Christmas for a few days in Phuket. Phuket was hit very hard by the tsunami and no doubt we'd have been staying at the beach. Instead, Corey's project was delayed, and we made a detour to Hong Kong instead, but did not tell anyone about our last minute change. I don't know how many of you watched 'The Impossible'- a movie about a family staying at a beach resort in Khao Lak. While living in Australia I watched this movie alone. It was intense, and I knew it would be very hard to watch realizing we could easily have been there. I cried and thanked God for our timely detour and the chance to do more things on this earth to hopefully make it a better place.
On our way back from Khao Lak, we did hit some rain. We had little rain overcoats in the motor scooter that we put on, and took off... and put on. It was quite funny as it seemed that every time we put them on, the rain stopped. In Thailand, it is very humid even when it's not raining- and hot! The discomfort of sweating in a plastic cover was not appealing and the flapping sounds the jackets made was quite annoying. I'm happy to say our use of the jackets was quite minimal and overall we had a pretty dry trip! Following the "stop when we see something interesting" principle found us at a waterfall, a cute coffee shop, and a lovely temple. Such a great way to travel.
I'm back in Singapore now as this little jaunt was a few weeks ago. Stay tuned, I have one more little side trip to share!
Vesak Day is celebrated by Buddhists in a variety of forms and on slightly different dates across SE Asia and beyond. It is the celebration of the birth, enlightenment, and death of Guatama Buddha. The dates are based on the different Asian calendars and it is usually celebrated in related to the full moon. Wikipedia has a nice summary of Vesak Day. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vesak
There are some basic aspects of Vesak Day that I really admire such as bringing happiness to others, especially children, the elderly, and handicapped. Worshippers plan a trip to the temple that day to buy incense, pray and offer flowers in worship. Traditionally animals have been let free on this holiday in a symbolic act of liberation. This is to signify the liberation of those in captivity against their will. Singapore had a government announcement to encourage people to let bugs go as a gesture instead of any other animals. Vesak is also a day where many Buddhists will eat a totally vegetarian diet.
I really like this description of how to celebrate Vesak Day and pay homage to Buddha from Wikipedia:
" Tradition ascribes to the Buddha himself instruction on how to pay him homage. Just before he died, he saw his faithful attendant Ananda, weeping. The Buddha advised him not to weep, but to understand the universal law that all compounded things (including even his own body) must disintegrate. He advised everyone not to cry over the disintegration of the physical body but to regard his teachings (The Dhamma) as their teacher from then on, because only the Dhamma truth is eternal and not subject to the law of change. He also stressed that the way to pay homage to him was not merely by offering flowers, incense, and lights, but by truly and sincerely striving to follow his teachings. This is how Buddhists are expected to celebrate Vesak: to use the opportunity to reiterate their determination to lead noble lives, to develop their minds, to practise loving-kindness and to bring peace and harmony to humanity."
So, I do keep a fairly regular blog on this site. It's primary purpose is to keep family and friends up to date on our wanderings. As a somewhat regular "tweeter" I ran across a contest for amateur photographers and figure, why not?
The mission is to create a blog with photos that fall under these categories...
Let's see what Black's thinks of my examples of Wild, Fast, Panoramic, and Epic:
This was taken from a beach in the Similan Islands, Thailand. We were on a live aboard dive boat over Christmas.
A gorgeous place, where even mermaids may be spotted...
Songkran is Thailand’s lunar new year’s celebration and has been going on for centuries. It is celebrated across the country, from small villages to the alleys of Bangkok and there are two main themes- water and powder!
"The throwing of water originated as a way to pay respect to people, by capturing the water after it had been poured over the Buddhas for cleansing and then using this "blessed" water to give good fortune to elders and family by gently pouring it on the shoulder. Among young people the holiday evolved to include dousing strangers with water to relieve the heat, since April is the hottest month in Thailand (temperatures can rise to over 100 °F or 40 °C on some days). This has further evolved into water fights and splashing water over people riding in vehicles.
Although many people are focused on dousing each other with water, there is another way of marking someone and blessing them, by putting powder on their face.
Songkran is traditionally a time to visit and pay respects to elders, including family members, friends, neighbors, and monks.
Thais often travel back to where they grew up for family reunions and especially to visit and pay respect to their elderly. A visit to the temple is always important to ensure the upcoming year is blessed and bountiful." (Wikipedia)
This year’s Songkran found Corey and I in Phuket. Corey had been lucky enough to experience Songkran once before but it was my first. Hopefully it will not be my last. We packed a supposedly-waterproof bag, dressed in clothes that we hoped may dry at some point, and jumped on our scooter. I have to mention here that we both were wearing flowery shirts as this is another symbol of Songkran.
As we rode carefully into Patong from Kathu, armed with super soaker water guns, Corey kept a steady hand and navigated past a few “wet” spots. Families and neighbors, including kids come down to where their side street meets a main road and set up soaking stations. Many put ice in their water. The first ice water splash definitely got my attention! On the way to town we stopped by our last apartment. The kids we had befriended were standing on the side of the road, they recognized Corey and started yelling "Mac, Mac!" They truly enjoyed soaking us as we feebly attempted to give them a bit of a watering down.
The town of Patong is a crazy frenetic place at the best of times, at Songkran it is absolutely nuts. We again carefully made our way past multiple soaking stations to the WE Hotel, our hangout for the night. The WE is on Bangla Road, but the calmer section. It was a perfect place to play from, and use as our home base. We had a rooftop pool and our rooms looked out over Bangla Road. We were only on the second floor so we sprayed people from our window.
After getting settled at the WE, we took our first stroll up Bangla towards the beach. Throughout the day it just got crazier. You can see the pics, which although fun, don’t really do it justice! You really have to experience Songkran at least once yourself.
After we wore ourselves out playing in the waterfight in front of the WE and cruising Bangla, we made our way to the clubs, ending up at the TaiPan. Since we were also celebrating Mon’s birthday, we had champagne and not sure what else. Long story short, I ended up being invited up on stage with the performers. Luckily there are NO pictures of this…
Enjoy the photos. This is one festival that has to be experiences in person. Preferably on Bangla Road!
As you all have figured out by now, I travel, a lot! Mom spent her last week in Singapore with Corey and I. We did as much as we could cram into those few days including the Cable Car that flies from Sentosa to Mt. Faber and a fun day trip over to Pulau Ubin. I would bet you haven't heard of Pulau Ubin unless you've spent more than a few days in Singapore. More on that in a bit.
Corey helped Mom get on her plane home as I had to leave for work in Australia prior to her flight.
I hated to see Mom go but knew she had to get home to enjoy spring in the Tri-Cities. I am sure she has memories to carry her a ways! I hope you all have enjoyed her adventures written here!
If anyone fancies a trip to SE Asia, let us know so we can figure out what country we will be in so you can find us!
As I mentioned, Corey, Mom and I crammed quite a bit into her last week. The cable car that runs between Mt. Faber and Sentosa is fun way to see some of the island. We took the subway to Harbourfront station and from there we flew up to Mt. Faber. After having a snack at the top over the top of a couple of cruise ships, and landed in Sentosa. Sentosa is an island off the southern tip of Singapore that has been turned into a destination. It has hotels, a casino, Universal Studios, beaches, and more. It's a fun place to go for the day. Mom and I spent a day at the beach there a few weeks earlier. See below for that adventure. Here are some pics of our cable car ride and more.
Pulua Ubin lies a short boat ride off the NE corner of Singapore. It's truly a step back in time. Instead of traffic noise, there are crickets. The pace is as fast as you choose to pedal your own bicycle. It's a welcome escape from the city.
The picture to the left is Mom and Corey riding the bumboat over to our island adventure. Getting to this little ferry was a trek in itself, as it was a long bus ride from our apartment. The ferry doesn't have a schedule. It leaves when enough people show up. Luckily, we weren't the only ones looking for a ride. The primitive wooden boats hold about 12-20 people and most are brightly painted. They sputter smoke as they carry you across the small expanse of water between the islands. We were one of a couple groups of tourists joined by some shoppers that had obviously gone over to Singapore to grab some things that likely just aren't obtainable on their small island.
Upon arrival to the island, we rented bicycles and took our time riding along shady roads. It felt a bit like riding in a sauna but the pace was leisurely. We ended our day at one of the seafood restaurants near the wharf where we caught a return ferry back to the mainland after a tasty lunch.
Mom made it all the way to Singapore! Thanks to Corey for picking her up at the airport and getting her to our current apartment. He is a champ!
Mom travels so well. She came in about 1:00am and she and Corey made it back to the apartment after 2:00am. Although I did wake up enough to give her a big hug, I had a crazy work day coming up so back to bed I went. When they got to the apartment, Corey took Mom to the roof so she could get a view of Singapore at night. Our rooftop pool area is an amazing place. As you can see from the pic to the left we can view the Singapore Flyer and much of the downtown financial district from our current building. Later the day Mom arrived, I made it home for lunch and Mom was already up and ready to start exploring Singapore! Corey flew back to Thailand and Mom hung out at the pool and walked around the general area.
Over the first weekend I showed Mom how to use an MRT pass. Singapore has an amazing public transport system that includes trains, buses and cabs. It is actually very easy to get around, and if you aren't afraid to walk a little you can see a lot of Singapore on foot (locally we call that using Bus 11). Saturday Mom and I took a walking tour in Little India. It was so much fun! Our tour guide was a local guy named Bernard. His laugh was contagious! He was full of information, from the history of Singapore to current day politics and more. We learned a lot about his home town/country of Singapore and especially the Indian community since that was the focus of the tour. The pictures below are mostly from our Little India Walking Tour.
This lovely building is Raffles Hotel, named after the British founder of the colony in 1819. Up until that time the area had been under the rule of India, Thailand, the Portuguese, Dutch, Malaysia, and more. Singapore gained it's independence in 1965. Much of the city was destroyed during WW2 bombing raids by the Japanese but some very wonderful little neighborhoods remain. I have been lucky enough to find a small apartment in what is called the "Arab Quarter." Mom will help me move this coming weekend. It is an area of mostly renovated shophouses that are clustered around the oldest Mosque in Singapore. Just down the street is a lovely old Catholic church and both Buddhist and Hindu Temples are just a few blocks further. Singapore is a wonderful melting pot of cultures. Mom and I took a Hop on- Hop Off Bus Tour around the city this past Saturday. It was a great way to get your bearings and see the city from an open topped bus! Here are some pics of our adventure.
We saw many of the main landmarks of Singapore and spent some time in Chinatown walking around as well.
Our last stop on Saturday night was down at Marina Bay. We had taken the train to watch the light show, which is well worth the effort, and happened upon the Singapore Jazz Festival. The main stage was right in front of the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. We were standing, elbows over the fence that was keeping the non-paying observers out, and a nice guy asked, "would you want some free tickets to the concert?" Well, anyone that knows me, knows how fast I said, "YES!" He handed us two passes and pointed us in the direction of the entrance. I asked, "Why us?" He answered with a smile and a twinkle in his eye, "Why not?"
What a treat! We relinquished our tickets for RFID bracelets, very Singapore, and were able to catch 3 acts. The first was an amazing singer named Allen Stone. He was from the US and his band was excellent. Mom and I both loved him, his music, and even more so... his vibe. We then were lucky enough to hear James Morrison and his band. He could play about any horn available as well as other instruments. The closing act was none other than than the amazing India Arie! Some of her songs literally brought tears to our eyes as she is one of the most soulful singers I have heard in a long time. What a night!
I've been in Singapore for a almost a month and am very soon moving into an apartment right near Arab Street in Kampong Glam. Work has me put up in a wonderful serviced apartment that I will hate to leave! Mom is actually here as well and the very next blog will be of our adventures.
However, just prior to really getting to work in Singapore I was in Thailand with Corey and we had a grand adventure to Koh Yao Noi. It is a smallish island just east of Phuket. To arrive there you must take a boat (or swim?). There are 2 choices, a fast boat or a slow boat. We chose the fast boat, after all I was with Corey Parker... I now can't remember how much it cost but it wasn't very expensive, about $20 each in USD total to go and return. We rode our motorbike up to the ferry terminal at Bang Rong Pier in NE Phuket. The only negative to the whole wonderful day was that when we returned some monkeys (seriously) had vandalized our motorbike and my helmet. They had basically chewed the lining out of my helmet (my sweat must have been appealing??) and taken a bite out of the seat. Corey was not happy as this motorbike was in prime condition. Anyway, back to the adventure.
Corey had been contacted by an American living there that had heard about some skydiving happening on Phuket. He ended up on Koh Yao Noi as a friend of his had basically homesteaded there with his Thai wife and kids and he lives a good part of the year there, going back and forth to the US to work. He is very interested in pursuing more experience as a skydiver and was hoping for a nearby drop zone. Alas, we are still in the process of getting that going so we went over to meet and hang out. I absolutely loved the vibe of the island! So different from frantic Phuket.
Here are some pics from our day... enjoy! If you ever get a chance to visit us, be sure to take the jaunt over to Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai. Oh and by the way, if you are a rock climber- bonus for you! This island is known for it's rock climbing. Our pals on the island are avid climbers and I'm sure they'd happily show you the sites.
Happy Chinese New Year! This Lunar New Year we enter the year of the Wooden Horse. There were big celebrations going on all over Asia and since we were in Phuket we attended the Chinese New Year celebration down near the Parliament Building. We joined at least a thousand local revelers to watch a live show that was basically a Cirque du Soleil type performance with a Snow White theme (I know, a little strange?). There were acrobats, jugglers, singers and dancers! The entire show was done in Mandarin with Thai subtitles so we were happy we knew the story very well. We do not know the relevance to Snow White, if any... but all in all it was a great spectacle!
I was hoping to see some dancing dragons and such but alas, we didn't. I'm hoping to still do so in Singapore as Chinese New Year Celebrations go on for at least 15 days.
All week there were firecrackers going off around Phuket island. This is one traditional part of the celebration as well as decorations, with red as the dominant color. Both of these traditions are based on an old legend, as they are meant to frighten away the Nian who was a mythical beast- not a nice one either. Singapore was decked out in red before I left to return to Phuket. The night of the big show in Phuket I saw many adults and children dressed in their best red outfits. Pink was also very popular that night.
You will see pics below of Phuket and also of Singapore. Lots of red! Enjoy!
May the year of the horse bring you much health, wealth, and good fortune.