Farewell to Thailand - for now
Suddenly our time in Thailand is at an end and it's time to check out with immigration and start to head slowly South. We've spent the past couple of weeks revisiting some favourite islands - Ko Hong, Ko Phanak, Ko Roi - and relaxing in the delightful Racha and Railay. Every beach and anchorage has its own charms - craggy limestone cliffs or flocks of sea eagles, a hidden hong or a fisherman coming to sell us a bowl of newly-caught prawns.
Thailand has been very different to the other countries we've visited in that it is choc-full of tourists - elbow room only on many beaches, mainly Russians and Germans. The Thais have been quick on the uptake - most beaches come with cafes, beach umbrellas, beach hawkers, massage huts. There's fake everything for sale and a wide range of designer junk, amongst the carved elephants and buddhas. There are beautiful lady-boys working in every restaurant and massage shop, their five-o'clock shadow sometimes giving away their genetic history. Underneath all of this activity and commerce, the Thais are kind, good-humoured, tolerant and spirited people - we would love to spend more time with them. We've managed to get away and find islands where there are fewer people and only small resorts and another time would love to do some land travel.
The last week, we've had Scott's dad Kev and his wife Paddy here staying with us. We had a lovely time together and the boys loved having their grandpa to wrestle with!
The photo of the boat was taken in a hong called Ko Kudu Yai. I was unsure about squeezing Anui into it but Scott was determined that we should do it and so we waited for high tide and in we went. I had to agree that the photos were worth it. The other shot of the boat was taken when we were sitting on the beach at sunset whilst some local elephant trainers were taking their big mates for an evening swim. Magical.
Terrible news from New Zealand today. Mother nature is testing her might, yet again.
We will take a few days to sail down to Langkawi, stopping at some island groups on the way- the Butang islands and Ko Muk look good. We're in a routine of doing school work every morning, with both boys working hard (most of the time....). Finn has a box in which to collect all the words that he has learnt. The collection is slowly growing.