Category Archives: driving

Public Service Announcement

Only in Thailand do people have to be told not to drive on the sidewalks.  I came across this video the other day and thought it was pretty funny.  First, the characters:

  • Douchebag – The guy driving on the sidewalk.  You know he’s a douche bag by the shirt he is wearing.
  • Grandma – Almost gets run over by Douchebag.  Lays down the law.
  • Pinkguy – Adds color.  Possibly diabetic and gay.
  • Pologuy – Calm and reasonable.

The translation:

เสียงแตร
Honking

Douchebag: โอ๊ย !! เร็วๆ ดิยาย – Ouch.  Quickly!  Quickly!  Grandma!
Douchebag: เก็บเร็วๆ ดิวะ ! – Hurry up! Pick up (your things) !
Douchebag: โถ่เว้ย ช้าเว้ย – Oh!  Slow!
Douchebag: หลบดิ๊ !! – Move!!

เสียงแตร – Honking

Pinkguy: จะบีบแตรทำไมคะ !? – Why are you honking !?
Douchebag: ก็หลบไปดิ !! – Step aside!!
Pologuy: นี้มันฟุตบาทนะครับคุณ – This is a sidewalk
Douchebag: แล้วไงอะ ? หรือจะให้กูชนไหม !?! – So what? Or you will crash into me!?!
Pinkguy: แล้วทำไมกูต้องหลบด้วย – So why do I need to get out of your way?
Douchebag: ก็กูรีบอะ – I’m in a hurry!
Pinkguy: ก็กูไม่รีบอะ – I’m not in a hurry!
Pinkguy: พี่รีบเหรอคะ You’re in a hurry?
Pologuy: ไม่เลย พี่ไม่รีบเลย – Not at all.  I’m not in a hurry at all

เสียงแตร – Honking

Douchebag: กูรีบ ! มึงเข้าใจไหมกูรีบ!? – I’m in a hurry! Do you understand I’m in a hurry!
Pinkguy: ไม่ !!! No!!!
Douchebag: แล้วมึงจะเอายังไงกับกู ห้ะ !?! อีเบาหวาน! – So what do you want with me !?!  You diabetic!
Pologuy: พวกผมไม่เอายังไงกับคุณหรอกครับ – We don’t want anything with you at all.
Douchebag: มึงก็หลบไปสิ ! มึงขวางทางรถกูอยู่ มึงเข้าใจหรือเปล่าวะ – Then step aside!  You are blocking my road. Do you understand or not?
Pinkguy: ไหนทางรถ !? ก็เห็นแต่ทางคนเดินเนี่ย – Where is the road !?  I see only the sidewalk.
Douchebag: หลบไป! หลบไป! – Step aside ! Step aside!
Pink guy: ไม่ !!! – No!!!
Douchebag: หลบไป !! Step aside!!
Douchebag: หลบไปดิ !! Step aside!!
Grandma: ใจเย็นๆ ลูก Calm down children.
Grandma: นะ ใจเย็นๆ ลูกอย่ามีเรื่องกันเลย – Calm down.  You don’t have any concern with each other.
Grandma: ใจเย็นๆ – Calm down
Pologuy: คุณยายเป็นอะไรไหมครับ – Grandma, are you ok?
Pologuy: ของในถุงไม่เป็นไรนะ? – Your things in the bag are ok?
Grandma: อ๋อไม่เป็นไร ยังอยู่ดีลูก – Oh, don’t worry child.  They are still good.
Grandma: เดินต่อกันเถอะ – Lets move along

เสียงแตร – Honking

Pinkguy: มึงจะบีบทำไมอีก !? – Why are you honking again?
Douchebag: มึงจะคุยกันอีกนานไหมเนี่ย !?! – Are you gonna talk a long time !?!
Douchebag: กูรีบ – I’m in a hurry.
Pinkguy: นานแค่ไหนก็เรื่องของกูไหม !?! – How long i talk is my concern !?!
Pinkguy: กูจะอาบน้ำ แต่งหน้า หล่อเทียนพรรษา มันก็เรื่องของกู – I will shower, put on makeup, making candles.  It is my concern.
Douchebag: มึงหลีกทางให้กูก่อนได้ไหมล่ะ ? – So can you move out of the way for me?
Douchebag: แล้วจะทำกับข้าว จะต้ังเตาบาร์บีคิว ทำอะไรก็เรื่องของมึงเลย! – Then i will cook food, setup the bbq.  Do whatever you need to do!
Pologuy: คุณขี่รถมอเดอร์ไซค์บนนี้ มันผิดกฎจราจร คุณไม่เหรอครับ ? – You are driving a motorcycle on this. It is against the traffic rules. Don’t you know this?
Douchebag: ก็ขี่แบบนี้มาเป็นปีแล้วอะ – I have driven like this for one year already.
Grandma: หนุ่มๆ – Boy.
Grandma: อย่ามีเรื่องกันเลยนะ – Don’t make an issue out of this.
Grandma: นะ อย่ามีเรื่องกันเลยนะ – Don’t make it an issue.
Douchebag: อะไรวะ ? ก็บ้านกูอยู่ทางนู้นอะ – What the fuck?  My house is that way over there.
Douchebag: แล้วกูจะไปทางนี้อะ – So i will go this way.
Douchebag: มึงจะให้กูวนรถอ้อมเสียเวลาเหรออะ !? – You will have me drive all around and waste time !?
Pinkguy: มึงก็ต้องทำไหม !? – You must do that !?
Pinkguy: หรือมึงจะตาย !? Or you will die!?
Pinkguy: กูอยากให้มึงตายตรงเนี้ย ! – I want to let you die right here!
Douchebag: รอมึงมีรถก่อนไง ค่อยทำแล้วกัน – Wait until you have a car.  Then you will do whatever you like.
Pologuy: นี่มันทางเท้าสำหรับคนเดินนะครับ – This is a sidewalk for people to walk on
Pologuy: แล้วถ้าวันนี้คุณไปชนคุณยายเขาเข้าเนี่ย – So if today you go crash into Grandma
Pologuy: คุณจะทำอย่างไง? – What are you going to do?
Douchebag: แล้ววันนี้ยายมึงเป็นอะไรไหม !? – So today is there anything wrong with your Grandma!?
Grandma: เออ..ยายไม่เป็นไรหรอก – No..Nothing wrong with me at all.
Grandma: แต่หนุ่มฟังยายนะ But you listen to me.
Grandma: ขี่รถบนทางเท้าเนี่ยมันผิด – Driving a vehicle on the sidewalk is wrong
Douchebag: อะไรเนี่ย !? นี่กูเสียเวลากับพวกมึงมากเลยนะเนี่ย – What!? This wastes my time so much.
Grandma: ฟังยายแป๊บนึง – Listen to me for a moment
Douchebag: อูยย เสียเวลาคุยเว้ย กูรีบ – Oh! Waste so much time chatting. I’m in a hurry!
Douchebag: มึงหลบทางไปเลย – You are blocking the path. Get out of the way
Pinkguy: ไม่หลบเว้ย! – I’m not moving!
Douchebag: มึงจะหลบไหม !? – Are you going to block the path!?
Douchebag: มึงหลบเลยนะ ทั้งอีตุ๊ด – You are blocking the path completely you faggot!
Douchebag: ทั้งไอ้หนวด! – Completely you fucking mustache guy!
Douchebag: ทั้งอีแก่เนี่ย !! – Completely you old hag!!

Douchebag: อุ๊ยๆ โอ๊ยๆๆๆ – ouch ouch ouch
Grandma: มึงเรียกกูอีแก่ได้ไง – How can you call me an old bag?
Grandma: กูนะรุ่นยายมึงแล้ว – I am of the older generation than you.
Grandma: กูใจเย็น นับ 1 เกือบถึง 1000 มึงยังไม่ยอมหยุด – I am calm.  Count 1 to almost 1000. You still do not accept to stop.
Douchebag: โอ๊ย!! – Ouch!!
Douchebag: ใครๆ เขาก็รีบ – Anybody, They also hurry.
Grandma: กูก็รีบ แต่กูเดินเร็วได้เท่านี้! – I am also in a hurry but i can only walk as fast as this.
Grandma: ถ้ามึงบีบแตรใส่กู – If you honk at me,
Grandma: แล้วกูหัวใจวาย ตายไป Then I will have a heart attack and die.
Grandma: มึงมีปัญญาพากูไปโรงพยาบาลไหม: – Will you take me to the hospital
Pinkguy: หูยย ตัวยายของจริง – Wow!  Grandma is a boss ass bitch!
Grandma: มึงรู้ว่าผิด มึงก็แค่ขอโทษ – You know it’s wrong you are just sorry you got caught.
Grandma: ไม่ใช่ เสือกอันธพาลมาเถียงกูกลับ – No?  You want to mess with being a gangster? Answer me.
Grandma: นะ..มึงจะขอโทษไหม!? – Are you going to be sorry?
Grandma: หรือจะให้กูพาไปส่งตำรวจ – Or are you going to let me take you to the police
Douchebag: ใจ…ใจเย็นยาย ขอโทษจ้ะยาย ขอโทษจ้า – Ca…calm down Grandma.  I’m sorry Grandma.  I’m sorry.
Grandma: ไม่ใช่ขอโทษกู ขอโทษสองคนนี่ – Don’t be sorry to me.  Say sorry to these two people.
Douchebag: อ๋อ.. ได้จ๊ะยาย – Oh.. I can Grandma.
Douchebag: ขอโทษครับ ขอโทษครับ – I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.
Pologuy: กฎจราจรอะ หัดทำตามบ้างนะครับ – The traffic regulations, practice to follow the example of other people.
Pologuy: มักง่ายกันอย่างนี้ แล้วจะอยู่กันอย่างไร!? If careless like this, Then how can we live with each other?
Douchebag: ขอโทษครับ ขอโทษครับ – I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.
Grandma: เรื่องง่ายๆ อย่างนี้ยังไม่ใส่ใจ – Easy issue.  Like this is still not mindful.
Grandma: ที่ลังมึงอย่าทำอีกนะ จำเอาไว้ – Don’t you do this again.  Remember it!
Douchebag: โอ๊ย ขอโทษครับ – Ouch.  I’m sorry!
Grandma: ไป! – Go!  Get out of here before I bust a cap in your ass!
Grandma: นู่น ถนน – There.  The street!
Douchebag: อ๋อ ทางนู้นเหรอยาย – Oh.  The way over there.

 

Stop For Step

I haven’t ranted about driving in Thailand for awhile.  Here are some thoughts, observations, and tips for staying alive I’ve learned after living here for a little over a year.  This post is meant to be partly humorous, partly critical, and partly helpful.  Hope you enjoy it!

Driving Culture

I read somewhere that Thai people treat driving like a videogame they are out to win at all costs.  This could explain a lot except nobody is winning.  For a very long time Thailand has been ranked near the top of road deaths per capita.  The culture of driving here is very much “up to you” / “no problem”.  Want to drive 60+ mph when the speed limit is 30 mph?  No Problem!  Want to pass cars around a blind corner?  You can!  Want to run red lights or drive on the sidewalk?  Go for it!  From a western point of view Thai people are rude, selfish, impatient, and inconsiderate drivers.  Imagine a drunk, roid raging immature teenager and that’s 90% of the drivers here.

What To Expect

  1. Children as young as 7 or 8 speeding around on motorbikes.  Usually with 2 or 3 of their friends on the back.
  2. Thai people do everything possible to avoid wearing a helmet even if it causes more problems than just wearing the helmet.
  3. Entire families on a motorbike.  Small kid in front.  Dad driving.  Another kid or two behind dad.  Mom behind the kids and holding a baby off to the side in one arm while carrying the groceries in her other arm.
  4. Oncoming traffic in your lane at any time and for no reason at all.
  5. Being passed / oncoming traffic around blind corners.
  6. Vehicles pulling out in front of you.
  7. Using a lane of traffic as a parking lot.
  8. Ninja motorbikes.  No, not the Kawasaki Ninja.  In Thailand, these are the motorbikes driving at night with no headlights, taillights, or turn signals because the owner is too poor or lazy to replace them.
  9. Overloaded trucks with bad brakes.
  10. Etc, etc…

Stop For Step

Stop For Step is an awareness campaign started some time last year in an effort to get drivers to stop for people crossing the street in crosswalks.  It is widely known that one should not stop for pedestrians to let them cross because if you do then other vehicles will just try to go around you and end up hitting pedestrians or rear end you.  So it’s actually safer for everyone to not stop.  Which is exactly what is shown in the video they created.  So although I think it is great that people are finally trying to raise awareness to change the poor driving habits here I think this approach is misguided.  Better would be to enforce speed limits, licences, and basic rules of the road.  Stop at stop signs, don’t run red lights, no passing around blind corners, etc…  Without any actual enforcement of the law and suffering consequences when one breaks the law there will be no change in driving habits.

Trying to understand the mentality of the Thai driver is an exercise in futility.  The Stop for Step video mostly shows a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk, people crossing, then the pedestrians getting plowed over by another vehicle that didn’t stop at the crosswalk.  But one clip shows a group of pedestrians crossing a crosswalk with a car approaching the crosswalk and slowing down (brake lights on).  Then, right at the last moment while one person is still in front of the car the driver takes their foot off the brake and accelerates into the person.  How the driver thought this was the correct course of action given the present situation is beyond me.

Why

This is the million dollar question.  What I have been trying to figure out since I got here.  There are a few obvious reasons why:

  1. Thailand is a developing country.  Though there are some very wealthy people here, most are poor and not well educated.
  2. Very little and arbitrary enforcement of the law.

This would be enough to explain these observations if it was just any other country.  But this is Thailand!  Land of Smiles where the people are known for being compassionate and polite so I think there are some other factors at play.

I read on another blog that tried to explain a theory of the Thai driving culture being rooted in their language.  That Thai people are unable to modify future behavior based on negative past experiences because there is no way to express tenses in the language.  I think this is incorrect for two reasons.  First, although it is true there are no verb tenses in the Thai language, there are many ways to specify past, present, and future in the language.  See words such as จะ (ja) which is used to indicate something will happen, กำลัง (gamlang) which is used to indicate something is currently happening, and แล้ว (leaow) which can be used to indicate an action that has been completed.

Second, even if there was no way to indicate tense in the Thai language it still wouldn’t make sense to me why the structure and grammar of a language would have such a dramatic impact on driving.  And like I mentioned above, the people (when not driving) are very polite.  This politeness is even built into the language and other aspects of Thai culture, so why aren’t they more polite drivers?

But I think they were on to something when suggesting that Thai drivers are unable to modify future behavior based on negative past experiences.  Thai people seem to very much live in the moment.  They do not dwell on the past and do not worry too much about the future.  I think this is due to the dominant religion in Thailand being Buddhism and the practice of meditation that goes along with Buddhism.  Now I don’t know much about meditation but I do know that it teaches to be in the present moment and to clear your mind of thoughts.  In western countries we learn to not pass around blind corners or pass when cresting a hill because there might be another vehicle coming that we can not see.  In Thailand drivers do these things because in the present moment they can not see another vehicle coming.  Then when there are close calls but no collision occurs the Thai person considers themselves lucky because Buddha was watching over them and quickly forgets about it.  So the next time they are confronted with a similar situation they do the same thing as last time.

Second, there is this concept of “saving face” in Thailand.  I still don’t fully understand this but based on what I do know, in Thailand it is very frowned upon to show anger.  It is also frowned upon to embarrass or make other people look bad.  Losing face by showing anger or causing someone else to lose face by embarrassing them could just result in them ignoring or being rude to you or in some cases result in extreme violence.  Which I find ironic considering it is so culturally unacceptable to show anger.  Because of this, Thai people will never criticize or point out mistakes made by someone they are with.  They are always tiptoeing around this idea of saving face.  So nobody ever gets told they are acting like an idiot, not to do something, or that their behavior is inconsiderate or dangerous because doing so would embarrass them and cause them to lose face.

Speaking of saving face, this guy completely lost it.

There are two other smaller reasons I can think of to explain the driving here.  Thai people literally grow up on a motorbike.  When / if they are able to afford a car, they drive the car just like a motorbike.  Meaning they zip in and out of traffic, and in general do things that you can get away with in a motorbike but are more likely to cause problems in a car.

Finally, when driving a car to get the same perception of speed in a car as on a motorbike the car will be going 30 to 40 kph faster.  I realized this after I rented a pickup truck to move to a new room not too long ago.  I thought I was going 50 or 60 kph and was a little surprised when I looked at the speedometer and saw I was going 80 kph or so.

Culturally Acceptable Behavior

All this brings up another issue I’ve been interested in.  What is considered culturally acceptable behavior?  I’m pretty sure Thai people are not trying to be inconsiderate, selfish, and impatient when driving.  I’m also pretty sure that other Thai people don’t view these actions in a negative way either.

Thai people also wait in line like they drive.  They will blatantly cut in front of people and can be very pushy.  The change in personality of a Thai person when driving still amazes me.  It seems Thai people have never been taught that patience is a virtue and the concept of waiting your turn.

Then there is the culture of the Chinese tourist in Thailand.  Despised by everyone, Chinese tourists are even worse drivers than Thais.  They are known for making a complete mess of bathrooms and eat dinner as if they are attacking their food like rabid dogs.  But I guess this is considered OK in China.

And of course Thai people probably think tourists drive like idiots.  To be fair, plenty of them do.

How Not To Die While Driving

Many people say that if you’ve never driven a motorcycle or scooter you should not learn in Thailand.  There are some places this is true.  I’m thinking specifically of Koh Tao which has many very steep poorly maintained roads.  Koh Tao is also filled with tourists who think that just because they are in Thailand they can act like idiots.  But the fact is a motorbike is the best way to get around Thailand, especially in the city.  A motorbike really isn’t much harder to drive than riding a bicycle so most people will have no problem.  Just approach with caution and you’ll be fine.  Here’s a few tips I’ve learned after being here a year:

  1. Drive DEFENSIVELY!
  2. Anticipate unexpected actions by other drivers.
  3. Do not expect other drivers to follow any western standard of driving etiquette.
  4. Check your ego.  If somebody cuts you off or does something to anger you just let it go.
  5. Don’t speed!
  6. Wear a helmet!
  7. Right of way is determined by vehicle size.  The larger vehicle has right of way.  Always!  Pedestrians and motorbikes are at the bottom of the food chain.  Don’t get out of the way and you will be run over and it will be your fault.
  8. Don’t be afraid to use your horn to make a couple short beeps to make others aware of your presence.  So far it hasn’t caused a problem and I’m pretty sure has avoided a few crashes by now.
  9. Longer more aggressive sounding of the horn is not appropriate but could be done on rare occasions.  Thai people will definitely think poorly of you for doing this but I’d rather avoid a crash than care what some random Thai person thinks of me.
  10. Motorbikes are expected to drive on the shoulder to the left.  But Thai people do not look before pulling out into the street.  So if driving on the left or on the shoulder go slower than normal and give extra caution when approaching side streets.
  11. Front brake is on the right.  Rear brake is on the left.
  12. Thai drivers are erratic and not good at planning their route or anticipating when they will need to do something.  Because of this, give them plenty of room.  Don’t tailgate, etc…
  13. At night be extra cautious and watch out for the ninja motorbikes.
  14. Don’t let your guard down just because you are on vacation.
  15. Don’t do things you wouldn’t do in your home country just because you are in Thailand / on vacation.
  16. When cars flash their brights at you it means DO NOT go because I will not stop or slow down and will run you over if you get in my way.

 

Koh Tao

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Koh Tao is an island in the Gulf of Thailand near Surat Thani.  Since I came to Thailand, I haven’t done much travelling but a friend from home was on vacation there so it gave me an excuse to get out of Ao Nang and see a little more of Thailand.  Koh Tao also has climbing so it was an easy decision to go for a few days.  Anong and I packed our bags and headed out.

Getting to Koh Tao (from Ao Nang)

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Just got off the bus. Waiting for the ferry on the pier at Surat Thani.

Koh Tao is kind of hard to get to.  There are a few options.  The first and probably quickest is to catch a flight from Krabi Airport and fly to Koh Samui.  Bangkok Airways does one flight a day for about 3100 baht.  Once to Koh Samui take a taxi to one of the piers then a ferry to Koh Tao.  Total price would be around 4000 baht per person including taxi to / from airports and total travel time around 4 to 5 hours depending on how schedules line up.

The next option is to take a take a Songthaew from Ao Nang to the Krabi bus station and get a bus to Surat Thani.  Find your way to the pier then buy a ferry ticket to Koh Tao.  I’m not sure how much this would cost but I’m guessing around 700 baht and it will likely take all day and might require an overnight stay in Surat Thani depending on how the ferry schedules line up which would eliminate any savings.

The third option and what I think is the best value is to book a tour package through one of the resorts in the area.  I ended up at Slumber Party Hostel because they are close to where I live and they provided me with a package through Lomprayah High Speed Ferries that included pickup in Ao Nang for 1100 baht per person.  Total travel time was about 8 hours.  It also looks like tickets can be booked on their website.

Coming back, I was able to book tickets online through Seatran Discovery that included drop off at my room in Ao Nang for around 900 Baht because they were discounting tickets for some reason.  Standard price is 1100 Baht.

Where To Stay

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Sairee beach.

Sairee beach has the highest concentration of resorts, restaurants, and things to do.  I’ve also heard it can be very loud at night with many bars playing loud music all night.  I ended up staying about 1 kilometer past the end of the beach at Koh Tao Hillside Resort.  It was nice and quiet but I probably wouldn’t stay here again since my room was rather run down and not very nice for the price paid.  But the pool was nice and the restaurant had pretty good food.  If I go back, I might try staying on the other side of the island where it’s even quieter and more secluded.

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Getting Around

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Depending on what you want to do / where you want to go you’ll need your own transportation.  Taxi’s on the island are ridiculously expensive.  I heard one couple was quoted 400 baht (just over 11 dollars) to go from Sairee beach to the pier which is about 5 minutes away by car and only 2 or 3 kilometers away.  But a quick search online shows motorbike rental shops are notorious for scamming tourists and charging outrageous fees for small scratches on the bike that were already there at the time of rental.  But be careful.  If you’ve never ridden a scooter or motorcycle before, Koh Tao is a bad place to learn.  It’s hard to believe but the people on Koh Tao drive even worse than the people in Krabi.  On top of that, the roads are filled with potholes, covered in sand or dirt, and some of the roads are extremely steep.  I had heard good things about Oli’s Motorbike Rentals and that they were an honest shop.  So I took my chances and rented a 125cc Honda Click from them.  I also left my passport with them even though it made me throw up in my mouth a little bit.  The bike was had just enough power to get Anong and I with our climbing gear to the top of Mek’s Mountain where we went climbing.  No incidents while driving and Oli’s is indeed an honest shop.  If you find yourself on Koh Tao and need a motorbike, use Oli’s.

What To Do

The main activity on the island is diving.  From what I hear the diving is very good and PADI diving certifications aren’t very expensive.  But I wasn’t stoked on the diving.  Instead, Anong and I found some other things to occupy our time.

Go Climbing!

The island is littered with massive granite boulders and some cliffs so we hired a guide through Good Time Adventures to show us around.  It’s not necessary to hire a guide but since we were only there for a few days I didn’t want to waste time finding the best climbs.  We went climbing the first day with Good Time Adventures then two days later went back to Mek’s Mountain on our own.

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Try Something New

Good Time Adventures also gives flying trapeze lessons.  I’d never tried it before but it looked like fun.  It was lots of fun but one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done.

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Eat and Drink A Lot

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Lap Gai from some unnamed Thai restaurant on the side of the road.

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Som Tam Thai from the same restaurant.

There are lots of good restaurants on the Island.  A few I recommend are:

  1. tHAITA iTALIAN RESTAURANT.  Simple Italian food prepared with fresh ingredients.  The best dinner I had on the island and it was reasonably priced.

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    Bruschetta

  2. The Gallery.  Fancy Thai food.  I only had a drink and an appetizer here but based on what I saw I’m sure everything else is also delicious.
  3. Le Petit Palace.  European / American food.  I had a hamburger here that was very average.  But I liked the place anyways because they have a good but pricey selection of beer.  I had a Deschutes IPA for the first time in 9 months and it was delicious!
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  4. Thai-Riffic.  The Thai food here is sort of westernized but it’s still pretty good.  But the real reason to come here is for the dessert and baked goods.  They are delicious.  Finding this place was extremely difficult.  It’s not on the map where Google says it is and asking local Thai people where it is doesn’t work because they only hear “Thai restaurant” and say oh, there are 3 on this street and point you in the completely wrong direction.  But we persevered and eventually found it.

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    Pad Grapow Moo

 

Practice Yoga

IMG_7791We went to Grounded Yoga two times while we were on the island.  I though the teachers were good and drop in classes are fairly priced at 250 baht.

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Pre class warm up with high plank.

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Yoga students after class.

Get A Massage

There are many massage shops all along Sairee beach.  Standard price for a one hour Thai massage is 300 baht.  A bit more expensive than Ao Nang but not too bad.  We went to one place and got ok massages.  The next night we tried the spa at our resort and got a much better massage but it was 100 baht more.  I’d say it was worth it for the better experience.

Watch The Sunset

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This is the resort next to the one we stayed at. It looks very fancy and much nicer. I checked online and it was about the same price ! 😦

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Windy and cloudy but still very nice sunset dinner at Aminjirah

 

Go Explore

Driving around the island is also fun.  There are several large hills / small mountains and driving up to them provides beautiful views.  There are also some temples and shrines on the island that we visited.

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Thai Buddhist temple.

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My best impersonation of Alex Honnold

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Well, that’s about it.  5 days on the island and I was ready to come back to Ao Nang.  But it’s been raining every day since I got back.  I might need to go on another vacation to a less rainy part of Thailand.

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Speed Limit

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Old sign on the left. New sign on the right.

There’s a big new speed limit sign on the road through Chong Phli where I usually go climbing.  It’s interesting that they increased it.  I think the two signs confuse Thai people though and instead of going 60 km/h or 40 km/h they add the two together and go 100 km/h

Monday

Day 26 climbing at Chong Phli.  I climbed all my 6a+’s.  Exfoliation, Chutzpah, and EFZ.  I also wanted to do Zak Attack and Mad Skills but ran out of time and was getting hungry.  After climbing, we went back to the room, ate lunch, then took a nap.

It’s been pretty hot here during the day.  34C (93F) during the day and around 25C (77F) at  night.  I needed a light blanket to keep from getting too hot at night so went to Tesco Lotus in Krabi Town to get a light blanket / sheet and some other things.  I also got a bucket and some rice (to make my fingers strong) and a few other random things.

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At checkout, everything went into a plastic bag.  Even the rice that was already in its own plastic bag.  The cashier was going to put the bucket in a bag too but I said it wasn’t necessary.  One bag saved.  It’s funny how I went from a city that banned plastic bags to a country that can’t give them away fast enough.  The drive home was stressful, having to deal with a lot of selfish, dangerous Thai drivers.  I made it home unscathed but feeling frazzled.

Luckily I made it home in time to go to yoga which was good because I needed some time to relax.  When it was time for Shavasana (my favorite part of yoga class), I realized I had not thought about trying to understand why Thais drive like they are trying to kill themselves and everyone else for at least 40 minutes.  Really, I had not thought about much at all.  It felt nice to clear the mind.

Now, it is time for bed and to recover from today’s activities.  The goal for tomorrow is to get to the top of McLovin 6b.

Wine

It’s funny how some things in Thailand are really cheap.  Other things, not so cheap.  For example, bicycles and bicycle parts are the same price or more in Thailand as in America.  A pint of Black Cock, White Spirit is $2.37.  Pretty cheap.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen booze that cheap back home.  This bottle of wine on the other hand that I’ve been drinking is ฿580 or about $18.  Now $18 for a bottle of wine isn’t very much but a quick google search shows this bottle of wine goes for about $10 in America.  Beer, even Thai produced beer also isn’t that cheap.  I can get a six pack of Rainier in America for less than I pay for an equivalent amount of Chang.  I guess the Thai government doesn’t want people to drink a lot of alcohol.  Seems reasonable since most Thais drive like they are drunk.  Half of them probably are.

So, about this $10 bottle of wine that cost me $18.  It’s a 2011 Long Neck Shiraz, from Australia.  When I poured my first glass, I took a moment to wonder what this wine would taste like.  You see, I really like wine and it’s been over two months since I’ve had any.  The best wine tasting experience I ever had.  Not joking.  Was while playing a game of round rossi with a gallon of Carlo Rossi Hearty Burgundy with friends and co workers after a day of hiking and ice climbing on Mt. Hood.  I was wondering, could this wine top that?  Sadly it did not.  My first thought was this tastes like cheap wine.  Not sure how to describe the taste but all cheap wine has it.  But now that I’m most of the way though the bottle, here’s a tasting note:

Deep, slightly brickish red color.  Initially very closed.  After some time there are faint aromas of leather and some dried cherry or blueberries.  If I try hard enough, I could trick myself into thinking I was drinking a Rhone wine.  On the palate, the wine is tart with underripe flavors.  Almost medium body.  I can say there is some tannin.  And there is a finish.  Overall, this wine is drinkable but that’s about it.  It also does not pair well with spicy Thai food.  But it was ok with grilled chicken.  I give it a score of 77 points.  I think I paid $12 too much 😦

But, it is wine and it’s been a long time since I had any.  So I am still enjoying the bottle.

Car Crash

Today I saw my first car crash.  I’m actually surprised it took this long.  I didn’t actually see it happen.  Both vehicles had front end damage and were facing the same direction but on opposite sides of the road.  One was a pickup truck with moderate damage.  The other was a sedan that looked totaled.  It’s hard to say what happened but most likely one or both of the drivers were doing something stupid, probably going too fast and trying to pass other cars.  Speed limits are rarely posted but when they are they are completely ignored with cars regularly going double or more the speed limit.

It served as a good reminder that Thais are reckless selfish drivers and I need to be extremely defensive when driving.  According to wikipedia, Thailand has the 4th most dangerous roads with a traffic related death rate of 38.1 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.  Compare to 11.6 for the United States, and around 3 to 5 for many European countries.