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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Riding Giants

April 18-30. Krabi. The island of Krabi is a neighbor of Phi Phi, which conveniently meant that we didn’t need to take another plane, just an hour ferry ride. If my arrival at the island was any indication of the time we had spent there, I would have been miserable. My dad and I were so eager to get off the ferry that we didn’t even realize that we had jumped aboard the wrong longboat, causing us to be separated from my mother and brother. Not until we arrived on the island and walked about a kilometer along the beach to the hotel, with backpacks and the 2 heaviest bags of our family, did we notice our mistake. Will and my mom were sipping tropical smoothies by the pool in their bathing suits when we arrived covered in sweat and with our arms aching. To make matters worse they both informed us that they arrived on an air-conditioned boat on the right side of the island. Now I wasn’t only tired, sweaty, and irritated, but I was also envious.

The hotel we stayed at for the 4 nights we were in Krabi is called The Rayavadee. There is nothing negative I can say about this stunning area and hotel. The people were uncharacteristically and almost unnaturally nice, for southern Thais that is. The beaches were all stunning, the water was green and warm, the surrounding cliffs were breathtaking and the area flourished with the unexpected. Sometimes a monkey would jump down right in front of you to scurry up another tree and other times a bat would swoop overhead and into one its larger dens. The rooms were 2 story villas made and stocked to perfection and the food was beyond delicious. Honestly, I would have stayed there for another week, even with the prospect of going back to the orphanage.

We embarked on several new adventures during our stay. We did more snorkeling, more rock climbing, and plenty more relaxing on the beach. However, my brother, my father, and I went for a few dives one day. I have to say, there is no other beautiful place to dive, in my opinion, than off the coast of Krabi, Thailand. I didn’t see anything I hadn’t seen before, but the mix of rock, coral, fish, and water was unbelievable.
We also went on plenty of hikes around the area, but the most amazing of them was the Big Bat Cave I journeyed into with my dad. True to its name, it was massive. It held plenty of bats, which you could hear fluttering above you as you stepped cautiously through the cave and once at an opening point we were able to cliff jump into the water, which was pretty exhilarating (although it could never compete with The Nevis Bungee).

One of my favorite parts of Krabi, and Thailand itself, was when we rode elephants through the jungle. This was particularly what I had been looking forward to since I came to Thailand, but I never imagined that I’d actually be able to DRIVE an elephant as well. Thai elephants are massive compared to the ones I had seen in Africa, especially the males. When we reached the jungle, our driver turned to me and asked if I wanted to drive the elephant, and who am I to pass up such an occasion? I slid onto its head and uncomfortably sat there for the rest of the journey. The reason why it was uncomfortable is because it was extremely unsteady while the was lifting its head to eat some greens and the elephants head is also one large, rough caliste, and I happened to be wearing shorts on the occasion.

I was also able to feed my elephant pineapple. This was pretty amusing considering that I had never fed anything larger than a dog. The elephant snatched the pineapple from my hand as soon as I picked it from the pile. I developed a close relationship with my elephant during this adventure, and I was heartbroken when I was forced to leave and I’m almost sure I saw a small tear trickle down my elephants face when I left as well.

So my Krabi experience was definitely one of the better ones of Thailand and as I left I wished I could split myself into 4 parts. Part of me wanted to stay, another part of me wanted to continue the journey to Bangkok, the third part of me wanted to go back to the orphanage. The last part of me was a desire that I had not felt since I had started traveling. I wanted to go home. I thought this was strange, because I had just had the best time of my life. Now, I didn’t want to go home because I was tired of traveling or missing the Hamptons. I just wanted to experience what it would be like to go home after all I have done. Well, I guess that time will come very soon, but I hope I experience plenty more of Thailand before it does.


  1. Dear Jimmy,
    I don't know that I know another person that has driven let alone ride an elephant...what a thrill!
    The memories and adventures you have from this trip are more then most have in a life time. You are a lucky guy and I am proud that you have made the very most of your time.

  2. Sounds like an amazing trip! When I went to Bangkok I was able to sit with/touch an elephant. They are truly magical animals.