After 6 days of bliss on the island of Koh Phangan, Daniel, Jason, Phil and I were ready for a move. We decided to head to Krabi, a gateway point to many beaches and islands on the Andaman Coast of Thailand. We hopped a ferry and, two bus rides later, had arrived. The Krabi Peninsula is home to sprawling mangrove forests, exquisite beaches and a vast array of kayaking, hiking and sightseeing activities. It is easily one of my favorite places we’ve visited so far.
After a delicious and cheap meal at Krabi’s night market, we headed to bed to get some sleep before a busy day of exploring. The next morning, we rented motorbikes to drive us around the town instead of relying on expensive taxi’s. As we zoomed down the hot, black asphalt, we made a left-hand turn at Krabi’s Tiger Temple. With towering tropical trees, monkeys leaping about and the hum of Buddhist Monks praying, the Tiger Temples seemed to be a pleasant stop on our journey. However, as peaceful and serene they first seemed, the Tiger Temples ended up becoming one hell of an undertaking.
As you walk further into the Temple grounds, a daunting staircase rests next to a sign that says “1,237 steps to the top.” I’d seen this sign before. 3 years prior on my first visit to Thailand, a different group of friends and I took the plunge and walked the steep staircases all the way to the top. We discovered the magnificence of the giant golden Buddha statue and a breathtaking view of Thailand that stretches farther than the eye can see. Having done it before, I was alright not doing it again. It was, after all, a grueling hike, especially in the heat.
I casually mentioned to the boys that I didn’t really feel the need to hike those steps again. Daniel, Jason and Phil looked over at me and laughed. Within seconds, I found myself hiking those steps once more, wishing I’d worn something besides flip flops, avoiding families of monkeys and praying for rain to cleanse the dripping sweat. A good 45 minutes later (maybe it was 30, maybe it was an hour, I couldn’t keep track), we saw the familiar golden glimmer and knew we were almost there. The same question I had when I first reached the top 3 years ago plagued my mind once more as I stared at that giant Buddha statue: how in the world did they get that thing up here??
Walking down 1,237 steep steps is actually more nerve-wracking than walking up them. With shaky legs, we carefully reached the bottom, guzzled down water and got back on the bikes, determined to find the nearest ocean to jump in. Luckily, the beautiful coastal beach Ao Nang was nearby, and jumping in the water has never felt so good.
As we headed back to our hostel, we made a stop at the Tesco-Lotus supermarket. I haven’t stepped foot in any market larger than a 7-11 for almost two months. Walking into the cool, air-conditioned super-store had me wide-eyed. As we grabbed a couple bottles of Chang, I noticed Daniel making his way for the snack aisle. I knew he was determined to find Goldfish. The obsession that Daniel and Phil share for Goldfish is die-hard. The first time they both realized this was a shared obsession, they talked for 2 hours about everything Goldfish related. Imagine their excitement when, after two months without their favorite snack, they discovered the familiar smiley face of the Goldfish crackers staring down at the them from the aisles of the Tesco-Lotus.
With beer and one hand and Goldfish in the other, we chalked the day up to be one of the best we’ve ever had together.