With our time soaking up the sun in Thailand's vast archipelagos of islands come to and end, we made our way south to our 20th country, Malaysia. Like the city of Bangkok, much of Malaysia has been transformed and modernized by capitalism. In stark contrast from rural Thailand, Malaysia is a country of modern conveniences and commercialization. Most traces of the simple indigenous life have been erased and replaced with a land of shopping malls, resorts, restaurants and cafes. If you are looking for a relaxing holiday in southeast Asia, with beautiful weather and a plethora of great food, but don't wan to stray too far from your convenient lifestyle back at home, Malaysia might just be for you.
Koh Kradan, our last destination in Thailand before heading for Malaysia, and our last chance to find Thailand's perfect beach. Sitting just across the water from Koh Mook, for once our travel day was quite short and easy and hardly interrupted our busy schedule of relaxing on the beach at all. Thirty minutes by longtail and we found ourselves standing on a long gorgeous white sand beach. Uninterrupted sand stretching as far as we could see in either direction and the brightest blue green water either of us had ever seen. Could this finally be the perfect beach?
Still in search of Thailand's perfect beach we packed our bags and left our little beach bungalow on Koh Yao Noi behind. We headed to the closest pier to hop aboard the next longtail to the mainland, to continue our quest at our next island destination. We traveled further south and east towards Malaysia, to Thailand's Trang Islands, a promising archipelago of small picturesque isles. After some intense research, which included random pointing at a map and some light reading, we decided on the island of Koh Mook. There we hoped to find some striking towering rock cliffs, vibrant turquoise water, great snorkeling and of course our perfect beach.
After our first tropical island getaway we were excited to explore a few more islands over the next couple weeks in order to get a better idea of what Thailand's islands have to offer. Our next destination was the island of Koh Yao Noi, this time on the western side, or Andaman Sea side (that's the Indian Ocean side), of the Thai peninsula. So we boarded the high speed catamaran from Koh Tao to the mainland...
Leaving the modern city of Bangkok, and all its malls and modern conveniences behind we boarded a night train heading south in order to catch a boat to the islands and beaches of southern Thailand. Our first destination, the beautiful white beaches and green jungle covered cliffs, and perfect turquoise water of Koh Tao. A place to soak up the sun, snorkel over the reefs and drink apparently sun shy beverages with tiny umbrellas on the beach.
After spending two weeks exploring Sri Lanka we boarded a plane to our next destination Bangkok, Thailand! We had been moving around fairly often in Sri Lanka, not spending more than two or three days in once place, so we decided we wanted to spend a week in one spot without moving and where better than Bangkok, an exciting city with tons to do! So we got on airbnb and booked a week at a great little apartment with pool and a view!
Polonnaruwa, a city of overgrown ruins in the jungle would be our next and last destination in Sri Lanka. Polonnaruwa, once an ancient capital city of Sri Lanka sits in the sweltering hot lowlands and offers many archeological sites to explore and museums to visit. Anyone interested in the history of Sri Lanka, or who just likes seeing jungle covered ruins should consider checking out the city of Polonnaruwa.
After spending some time in Sri Lanka's central highlands checking out the tea country, we descended back down to the sweltering hot lowlands to visit the countries most famous ruins. Sigiriya rock, like Ayers Rock in Australia, is a large rock seemingly sitting out of place on the surrounding level plains. It is also the sight of a large complex of ancient ruins, built on and around the large stone.