Holidaying in Thailand (at long last)

Photo gallery

(English below)

Ferien (24. Januar bis 9. Februar)

James Bond Island, Thailand

James Bond Island, Thailand

Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Beach time in Phuket

Beach time in Phuket

Sunset with the masses, Koh Phi Phi

Sunset with the masses, Koh Phi Phi

The beauty of Koh Phi Phi

The beauty of Koh Phi Phi

Longboat tripping

Longboat tripping

Phuket, Ko Phi Phi, Krabi und Railey Beach: Orte, die ich vor über 10 Jahren schon besucht habe, die nach wie vor und je nach Strand von westlichen Pensionären, Partylöwen, Strandschönheiten, Muskelprotzen, Abiturabgängerinnen, Tauchern, Klettererinnen, ledergebräunten Sonnenanbetern und schönheitsoperierten Barbiepuppen überrannt werden und mit dem authentischen Thailand abseits des Massentourismus kaum noch was gemeinsam haben. Damals als 19-Jährige, stets auf der Suche nach der nächsten Party, gehörte ich zweifellos zu einem wichtigen Zielpublikum dieser Touristendestinationen. Niemals hätte ich jedoch gedacht, dass ich diese Orte ein Jahrzent später noch mal bereisen und dort wunderbarste Tage verbringen würde.

Das Schönste an unseren Strandtagen war der Besuch meiner Schwester Jana, die vom 26. Januar bis am 3. Februar zu uns stiess.  Zu dritt erkundeten wir die Insel Phuket, amüsierten uns über das Partlyleben auf Ko Phi Phi, faulenzten an Bilderbuchstränden, bewunderten akrobatische Klettereien an Railey’s Karstwänden und krakselten selbst über paar Felsen, verschlangen Curry um Curry und spielten Yhazee um Yhazee. Nur ungern liessen wir Jana am 3. Februar weiterziehen und freuen uns nun umso mehr aufs baldige Wiedersehen in Bern.

Paul und ich blieben noch paar weitere Tage in Phuket, wo wir bei Pauls Onkel Bruce, der mittlerweile von seiner Geschäftsreise zurückgekehrt war, wohnen konnten. Wir planten unsere letzten paar Kilometer nach Singapur und liessen uns von Bruce und seiner Frau Mei verwöhnen: Wir tranken köstlichen Wein, liessen uns in noble Restaurants und Massagestudios ausführen und genossen die gemeinsamen Abende an Strand und Pool bei kitschigen Sonnenuntergängen.

Ganz besonders freute mich auch ein Wiedersehen mit Agi und Thierry, Freunden aus Basel, die unweit von uns Ferien machten. Das spontane “Käfele” mit Freunden liess mich an zu Hause denken und ist etwas, worauf ich mich in Bern freue.  Vor unserer Heimkehr haben wir aber noch viel Schönes vor: Bald schon (9. Februar) verlassen wir Thailand per Boot (Phuket à Langkawi), um anschliessend Malaysia zu bereisen und am 3. März von Singapur nach Melbourne zu fliegen. In Australien werden wir hauptsächlich Familie und Freunde besuchen und im März durch Tasmanien radeln. Da uns ein Rückflug direkt nach Zürich etwas zu abrupt erschien, fliegen wir Ende April nach Amsterdam und radeln von dort aus gemächlich heim. Spätestens am 23. Mai (Datum merken!) sind wir wieder in Bern: Dann organisieren wir nämlich ein Apéro und freuen uns, möglichst viele vertraute Gesichter wiederzusehen. Details folgen.

Holidaying in Thailand (at long last)

Railay Beach through the forest

Railay Beach through the forest

Nina and Jana cruising Tonsai, Railay Beach

Nina and Jana cruising Tonsai, Railay Beach

Railay Beach

Railay Beach

Catching up with Swiss friends, Thierry and Agi

Catching up with Swiss friends, Thierry and Agi

Even the umbrellas get a rest, Phuket

Even the umbrellas get a rest, Phuket

Another stunning sunset to accompany dinner

Another stunning sunset to accompany dinner

Having a tipple with Bruce and Mei

Having a tipple with Bruce and Mei

Nina had often regaled me with stories of her misdemeanours on the beaches of Thailand ten years prior, and as such, after ten months of sitting on a bike pedalling firstly eastwards and now south, living it up on the beach seemed like it was going to be a definite change from our more recent endeavours.

The last ten years has seen a veritable boom in tourists heading to Thailand for a week (or two) under the sun. Wandering through many of these tourist hubs leaves one wondering whether they’re actually still in Thailand, such is the concentration of westerners and western oriented restaurants and bars. The coast and islands of Thailand really offer something for everyone: school leavers and pensioners, young couples and families, muscle bound Adonis’s and wafer thin Barbies, leathered bags of skin and injected, lifted and tucked specimens devoid of blemishes and resistant to gravity.  We were just another two added to the masses.

Having an uncle living in Phuket gave us good incentive to hop off the bike and spend a week or two recharging the batteries.  Although away on business, Bruce gave us free reign on his luxurious apartment until his return, and we enjoyed days filled with sunshine and stunning sunsets, Mojito in hand, from the comfort of his balcony.

Nina’s sister, Jana, made the long journey from the wintery jowls of Switzerland to visit us for a week of delicious Thai food and beautiful beaches.  With the bicycles safely locked up and enjoying a holiday of their own, we whizzed around Phuket, enjoying the stunning scenery of the island and catching up on the last year.  Aboard a tourist-laden ferry, we coasted the azure waters of the Andaman Sea, stopping off at Koh Phi Phi for a few days, before continuing onwards towards Krabi and Railay Beach.  We filled our days lazing about picture postcard beaches, ravenously devouring mouth watering curries, sipping on ice-cold Chang beers and playing game after game of Yahtzee. A week passes quickly, and just as we’d become accustomed to having Jana as part of our posse, it was time for her to depart.

Upon our return to Phuket, Bruce was waiting for us and we enjoyed a few days letting ourselves be treated by him to the finer side of town.  His wife Mei also returned a few days later after visiting her family for Chinese New Year in Singapore and together the four of us set about making “happy hour” at one seaside vantage point after another a permanent fixture of our otherwise lazy days.  Having not seen each other for almost three years, we certainly had plenty to catch up on.

With the time counting down until our flight from Singapore, we finally dragged ourselves away from the incredible comfort, hospitality and generosity afforded to us by Bruce and Mei, and boarded another ferry (February 9th) heading south towards Malaysia, this time taking our bike along for the ride.  Under a scorching sun, the riding was certainly going to get a little tougher.

Annina working up a thirst with Bruce and Mei

Annina working up a thirst with Bruce and Mei

Just an update: With the end of our trip slowly appearing on the horizon, and fearing that a touchdown at Zurich Kloten Airport would leave us far too suddenly back on Swiss soil, we’ve instead decided to prolong the cycling and fly from Melbourne back to Amsterdam towards the end of April, leaving us 1000km of bicycle paths to re-integrate ourselves into European society.  At the latest we’ll be back in Bern on Friday 23th May for a “welcome home” apéro, where we hope to catch up with as many familiar faces (and of course potential new ones that have appeared upon the earth in our absence) as possible. Keep the date free and more details will soon follow.

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