It’s officially our last full day in Thailand. Today started off early, we had to be out of our hostel by 7:20AM, which has been pretty normal for us. Our day was going to be filled with traveling on a speed boat to the Phang Nga Bay and Ao Phang-nga National Park to see the iconic Jame’s Bond Island (Where they filmed the movie The Man with the Golden Gun)… but as we were waiting to leave, we realized it wasn’t going to be as sunny and hot like all the days we have had in Thailand, it had rained the night before and the clouds were dark and gloomy.
When we got to our drop-off at 9:00AM, they handed us yellow wristbands, and they told us we weren’t going to depart until 10:00AM. We ate the breakfast they provided; the coffee was too bitter but the bananas and bakery cakes were delicious, we did alittle window shopping; everyone got waterproof phone cases, and then we sat together until they called our group. Our tour guide, who told us to call him “Bond” called our group the “Sexy Yellows.”
As Bond was telling us more information about our trip ahead, it started to drizzle. He provided us with panchos to put on as we were headed down to the docks. When we got to the boat, Bond told us only 8 people could sit in the very front, if anyone was ready for strong wings. Noel, Drea, Ariane, Khie, Joba, Camille, Lo, and I took up the challenge. What we didn’t realize, it was ten times worse with the rain, because it felt like little hail hitting your face and body at full speed.
After thirty minutes, we were all completely drenched and the panchos were pretty much useless. But we arrived at our first stop and Bond gave us about 40 minutes to go snorkling. It was a first time some of us had gone snorkling, it was amazing seeing the little fishes swimming between our feet. Our second stop was getting to kayak the caves of Hong Island. Our rower was great, he pointed out all the funny shapes in the rock formation and guided us through the caves and caverns.
The third stop was Ao Phang Nga National Park, the famous James Bond Island. The mountain formation was unbelievable to witness and seeing people take the infamous James Bond Pose was a sight to see.
The fourth stop was at lunch time we ate at New Fern Restuarant on the fishing village of Ko Panyi. The selection ranged from, seafood soup, fried rice, coconut fried chicken, stirfry, and Pad thai. My table was particularly fond of the coconut fried chicken… we had to order seconds. Then after lunch we got to walk around Ko Panyi, all of their houses are above water.
Our last and final stop on the tour was a smaller nicer beach close to where we had boarded on the dock. The sun had finally come out of hiding and we were playing in the ocean and making sand castles to end the day. When it was time to go back to the boat, we were all pretty tired, at this point every time we got back to the boat to get to our next destination, our group would take small little power naps in between. And although it was cloudy, we all got tans, I think the ones we were most excited to get were the ones from our sandals.
When we docked, there were no showers back at the building, we waited for our driver, and uncomfortably sat in the bus. We got back to the hostel we showered, we relaxed for a bit, and we ordered takeout to pick up.
After dinner some of us were headed to see the Simon Cabaret Show. It’s Thailand most famous Ladyboy show, our US equivalent of a Drag Show. But it was completely different, it seemed more like a Broadway production. The production value was amazing, the costumes were amazing, and all the acts one by one were great in their own way, It was a very entertaining show, but I could tell it was a pretty busy and tiring day, because everyone struggled to stay awake. They enjoyed the show, but we were all just ready to get back and sleep.
I just wanna take this time to recap all we’ve done, we visited the Grand Palace and the Doi Suthep Temple, recycled paper to make notebooks with Paper Rangers, learned how to make authentic Thai food at the Bangkok Thai Cooking Academy, learned how to bargain at the Floating Market and Night Market, taught kids how to play our childhood games at the Kids Ark House of Hope, hiked the highest point and through of the Doi Ithanon National Park, fed and bathed Elephants at the Elephant Nature Park… And that doesn’t even account for the taxi rides, the different family dinners we’ve tried, the massage group outings, the heart to heart conversations and the many amazing people we’ve encountered… I guess you would say we’ve had a pretty eventful trip.
Imagining what we have done the last couple of days has been so surreal I can’t even imagine where we were 10 months ago, all the research, projects, presentations, and fundraising… I think if you asked any one of us- Was it hard? We would probably tell you, YES. If you asked us- Was it worth it? We would tell you, YES OF COURSE IT WAS. And if you asked us- Would you do it again? We would answer, YES IN A HEARTBEAT OVER AND OVER AND BACK AGAIN. As sad as I am to be leaving, I know I will always remember the memories and the people that are on this trip with me. How close we’ve gotten on this trip, I don’t think I’m ready to say goodbye to them yet or seeing them everyday for the last week and a half to not seeing them for the rest summer, I’m really going to miss it. Maybe one day, we’ll have a Thailand Reunion in Thailand! Until then we’ll be back, Thailand. One day. Thank you. ❤