Krabi’s Tiger Cave Temple

The Tiger Cave Temple just outside Krabi town is known for its big caves and big views. But what really captured my attention was the big trees along the nature walk behind the temple. One tree in particular stopped me in my tracks. It had to be the biggest buttressed trunk of any tropical tree I had ever seen anywhere in the world. It was bordering on the dimensions of a Continue…

Beautiful Beaches and Barbed Wire

The modern incarnation of Phra Nang fascinates me on so many levels that I could write a book on this one single beach. Phra Nang is stunning, preposterous, perfect, horrifically flawed, a sham, a jewel, a white-powder contradiction. It’s also a rather unique achievement.

At some point in the second millennium, I strolled across a flawless, deserted version of Phra Nang that was truly deserving of the word perfect.

The beach was so perfect that humanity decided to carve into the jungle which backed the beach and construct the Rayavadee Hotel, a luxury resort designed to cater to exclusive individuals who like their decadence sitting in the middle of what was once a pristine natural location. Marketing hyperbole swirled, travel magazines swarmed, and Phra Nang was declared the most beautiful beach in Thailand. As of this posting, Rayavadee lists its rates between $750 and $5,300 per night, depending on just how much decadence you require. Ouch, that beats our $11 room in Krabi town.

Now, I know what everyone is expecting, yet another lecture on how humanity is destroying nature – oops, I just did that – too late.

No, the focus of this post is on something far more mundane, yet strangely fabulous. And that is the fact that Continue…

Penises for a Princess

Let me start by saying that this posting is not about me, contrary to what the photo or the title may suggest.

During a recent island-hopping trip, our guide Ooh told us the local legend behind the Princess Cave, a small shrine in the karst at the southern end of Phra Nang beach.

“The cave is inhabited by the spirit of a princess who killed herself there,” Ooh said earnestly, looking around to see our reactions.

“What happened?” a Danish woman asked curiously.

“A long time ago,” Ooh continued dramatically, “her father wanted to marry her off to a man in a foreign land. During the sea journey, she was kidnapped by pirates.”

“And then?” Tony probed Continue…

Look What the Kat Dragged In

We frequently meet up with people who we have met earlier during our multi-year journey. While Tony and I are still on the same trip, all of these guys have gone home in the meantime, and come back to Asia for their next vacation.

Recently, we crossed paths with Kat in Krabi town. She’s the first traveler from the Rishikesh crowd we’ve run into again. It’s almost been three years since we spent a week together in India, talking hours on end during the monsoonal downpours. This time around, Kat brought rain again. Call me superstitious, but I see a trend here.

Kat just wrapped up her 3-month Asia adventure which included India, Nepal, Thailand and Cambodia. Unfortunately, she had to cut her trip short and is now back in Britain after she got Dengue fever, food poisoning and another mystery virus – all at the same time. Rather than pepping herself up on papaya salad and chicken satay, she’s back home probably eating kidney pie and trifle (or whatever the British eat). Get well soon and thank you for a great reunion, Kat. Next time, it’s our turn to visit.

So everyone out there, friends, family or anyone reading our blog, let us know if you are coming our way. We love company and can’t wait to meet up with you!

Krabi Karst and Beaches

Just a quick glimpse of TnT exploring the beaches and karst landscape of the Thai province of Krabi, one of the most stunning regions on the planet. No lectures on crowds or over-development. Today, just a vision of nature at its best.

Matthieu and Aurelien

It has been quite a while since we introduced any nomads on our blog. One reason for that is that long-term travelers are fewer and further between these days. Another reason might be that pricier southern Thailand is not as good hunting ground for nomads as India, Cambodia, Laos, or Myanmar.

Enter Matthieu and Aurelien, two French bicyclists we met, who were camping at Ao Molae on Koh Tarutao. These two prove that real travel is not dead – not quite yet, anyway. They are spending a year bicycling their way around the world (in chunks, at least). They have already cycled from France to Italy, Tanzania to Zambia, across India to Nepal, and from Kunming in southern China to southern Thailand. From here, they plan to continue south to Singapore. Their trip will then continue in South America, where they plan to cycle from Peru to Argentina. That’s one awesome world trip.

Quite wisely, Matthieu and Aurelien Continue…

Torn Apart

Our lives are unusual. We are adventurers, we are gay, we are nomads, and we are different nationalities. Yes, our story is so queer that it has been made into a documentary. And now, our story even appears in the newly published book Torn Apart, which demonstrates that we are not that unique after all – by no means.

There are thousands of other same-sex binational couples out there where one partner is American and the other is not. All of their lives are unusual, all with stories to tell, all waiting for marriage equality to give them a place to build a life together.

Torn Apart: United by Love, Divided by Law tells the story of the author Judy Rickard and her British partner Karin as well as the stories of 17 other same-sex binational couples whom Judy interviewed. Each story is equally compelling, each story is a testament to why marriage and immigration equality are so essential.

By following the link, you can read an excerpt from the book and the foreword by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. If you buy the book directly from Findhorn Press, they’ll donate $4 to one of the groups working to overcome immigration hurdles for same-sex binational couples. You can even choose where your donation goes: Immigration Equality, Love Exiles, or Out4Immigration.

Magical Bioluminescence

Here on Koh Tarutao, the electricity shuts off promptly at 11 PM. For many people, that is a serious disadvantage of staying in a national park. For us, it is a MAJOR plus. The lack of artificial light, combined with the relatively healthy beach environment makes the spectacle of bioluminescent plankton truly spectacular. But bizarrely, we seem to be the only ones out at midnight snorkeling. Go figure!

If you have never experienced bioluminescent plankton, it looks like blue-green sparks floating in the water. The plankton only seems to light up when there is movement in the water, so it’s quite easy to miss if you are not looking for it. If there are small wavelets, you can sometimes see sparks in the white foam; however, the blue-green is not as noticeable against white as it is against the darkness of the clear water. One good way to see the bioluminescence is to stand knee-deep in the clear water and stir your arms or legs around to stimulate the plankton. An even better method is to go snorkeling. The magical effect underwater is phenomenal.

Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult to get a good picture of the bioluminescent plankton as it’s only clearly visible in total darkness. To help visualize the effect, I photoshoped the image above. It’s actually quite close to what you would see in reality.

Lu Du Falls

“Vat can you do here besides beach activities”? the German couple asked just after they arrived at Ao Molae. When I told them about the 14-km round-trip walk to Lu Du Falls, they threw their arms up in the air and gasped, “We don’t walk.” The next day, they were gone. As Tony mentioned before, Koh Tarutao has a way of getting rid of lazy vacationers. Of course, this is great news for us because Lu Du Falls is best enjoyed in solitude – if you can find it. Continue…