The Things that Shape Us
Our second week in Thailand is now just a bundle of memories in our heads. This week we bounced from the Phi Phi Islands to Ao Nang Beach, then finished the week in Railay Beach. All were gorgeous places, and all had their own allure.
Phi Phi highlights:
- The diving! Dives sites were close, less crowded than Phuket, and extremely cheap. Dive trips out of Phi Phi are usually only half-day trips with 2 dives, which was super convenient for us because it meant that Jannika and I were back around 1:00pm to be with Freya, as apposed to 6:30pm when diving out of Phuket.
- Phi Phi was a great place for Freya to wander the streets without a care because there are no cars, and the very few mopeds only come out at night. The streets are lined with restaurants, souvenir shops and dive shops with shop owners that are very happy to greet Freya with open arms.
Ao Nang Beach highlights:
- An amazing street food scene. On the road just between Ao Nang Beach and Ao Phra Nang Beach there are food carts that start setting up around 8:30am. By 5:00pm there are close to 20 food stalls that all deep fry, pan fry and grill delicious meats and seafood. They also make the traditional Thai dishes upon request.
- The southern part of Ao Nang Beach was a great stretch of beach for posting up for the whole day. There was a great mixture of shade and sun, and the massage huts seriously take care of you. There is a stretch of 19 massage huts, and all of them ‘claim’ the section of beach directly in front of their hut as their own. Upon arrival we were given a plate of fruit and beach blankets, then we were given a 33% discount at their massage hut just for sitting on their section of beach. We ended up doing a three-person rotation of massage, swim/stand-up paddleboard, and watch Freya.
- Ao Nang Beach was very accessible to Krabi Town, which offers a lot more authentic Thailand. Krabi Town is more of a city for locals, so we definitely wanted to make it a point to visit. One evening we took a taxi (approx. 20 min. ride) to the Krabi Town night markets. The food was stellar. We counted afterwards… we ended up eating at 7 different food stalls.
- It’s the only beach I’ve ever been to that you can only reach by boat. So, I can check that off of some sort of list.
- Great beach with such dramatic rock walls coming out of the water. We rented a kayak for a few hours on Railay beach, and we were amazed at what we saw within a 10-20 minute paddle. Caves, cracks, and other stunning beaches that could only be reached by kayak… check that one off another made-up list!
- Like Phi Phi, Railay doesn’t have any cars or mopeds (obviously), so it was great to let Frey Frey wander about.
Nature vs. Nurture
When Jannika and I started planning this trip, we knew that it was for us. With Freya being just 14 months old when we left, we knew that she wouldn’t remember this trip, but we also knew that this would be one of the last times that Jannika and I could ‘just go’… for five months, and really freakin’ travel again.
Even though we know that Freya won’t remember this trip when she’s older, I really think that (only two weeks in) this trip is shaping who she is. I’m not talking about catching the proverbial ‘travel bug’ for future trips. I was 17 when caught that bug, and I think that I’ll always be a traveler at heart. In Freya’s case, seeing her personality change in just the first two weeks of this trip has been astounding. She has become so much more outgoing within these last couple of weeks, simply because she’s been around very curious people that want to interact with her all the time. At times when she would have cried or turned around and ran back to me or Jannika, now she will high-five people in their shops, blow kisses to all the massage ladies, and even let people hold her when they run up and grad her with no concern for personal space. I say that last part in a joking manner. The Thai people (especially in the tourist areas) are very loving, and always want to interact with, and hold, Freya. She was definitely not open to these types of interactions when we first arrived, or back home before we left.
I know this is all a part of the age-old debate of nature vs. nurture. I’m sure that some/most of these things would have happened with time. However, seeing the changes in Freya’s personality in just two weeks has definitely been a reaction to her immediate surroundings. I hope they stay with her throughout her life.
Advice from a relatively new dad… don’t let parenthood become a life sentence to stay at home. Get out. Explore. It’s good for you, and great for kids.