Influenced by the solar and lunar eclipse during my travels in Thailand
They often say that eclipses, like new moon (sun eclipse) and full moon (moon eclipse), are the closing down of one thing and make way for new beginnings. There are also sayings that it is not a good time to make decisions or make purchases because things can turn out differently than planned and miscommunication can also happen. In my case, all of this happened. Things did turn out completely differently than planned! I always struggle with decisions, so that´s nothing new, I did close down my ´isolated time´ on quiet islands and started a new, more social time on the Phi Phi island, the place I skipped in the first place! Also, I did purchase a Nikon Coolpix, which has a whole other story, because not much later it broke down on the Maldives but I received a new one from Nikon! So it all has happy endings, but first back to where I was.
After travelling to 9 islands in the Andaman Sea… time for decisions!
So, after the island hopping to 9 islands in the Andaman Sea, where I write about in my previous blog posts, it´s time for me to make some decisions. And if there´s some area in my life where I am a disaster queen, it is in making decisions. But I always, like everybody, am forced to make them as time goes by. And somehow, while I am confused, it always feels like something is pushing me in a certain direction. I can see this clearly if I look back at the time since 2006 when I left the Netherlands for good (although not planned at that time), and write about all those years in the book Safety Stop.
I did not want to travel to the Phi Phi Island because they seemed too touristic after all quiet islands
On my journey from Koh Jum Island back to Phuket, I had a ´stopover´ on the Phi Phi Islands of 4 hours, in between taking 2 different boats. At the start of my island hop adventure, about 2 months before that, I skipped Phi Phi because it´s seemed too full there, too touristic and too much partying. I wanted to see more ´real´ Thai islands. And now, I did so many quiet, and not very touristic, islands, I still did not want to go there. But I needed to wait 4 hours, so I decided to check it out at least and get the most out of my waiting time.
First people I met on the Phi Phi islands were ´colleague´ scuba diving instructors
Not really interested in the Phi Phi islands, I did not inform myself much about it. So I felt overwhelmed by the amount of scuba diving centres on this island. And after I have been working as an instructor myself for some years, I still always feel kind of ´in my element´ chatting to ´colleague instructors´! In my experience, they are always relaxed people willing to share some good tips. Of course, I say this having been one myself LOL! After chatting with an instructor about the diving around the island, he recommended me I should go to the viewpoint during my 4-hour wait on Phi Phi.
The viewpoint on Phi Phi Island: a little climb but breath-taking!
Even though the diving instructor explained me the way well, and he even provided me with a map of the island, I wouldn´t be me if I did not get lost. That´s why I never dive without my compass, but on dry land, I never have one. However, it turned out being a good thing, because when I thought I was following a road, I was actually on the path to an accommodation I was going to live in for about 6 weeks! But this story comes later. I did find my way to the viewpoint finally, and it was a bit of climb, but absolutely worth it. The view was absolutely breathtaking!
The first eclipse effect: miscommunication in Nai Yang Beach
After my ´quick visit´ to Phi Phi, I continued my journey back to Phuket Island. On booking.com, I booked a budget accommodation close to the beach, so I didn´t need to bother Manfred or get a taxi with my heavy dive bag. However, it took me a while to find the place because apparently they were very close to the airport and far away from the beach! So at first I was very disappointed, I wanted to cancel my stay but this was all a bit complicated last-minute, so then I agreed to stay at least for one night. And I´m glad I did because I stayed there the other days as well and had a great time! This is a typical example of judging something or let your emotions of disappointment take over if you still don´t know what´s going to happen.
So I had a great local Thai experience, whilst picking up my diving equipment
It turned out to be a very Thai experience, with the most lovely people. I later figured out that they just started the ´guesthouse´, their English was not great and they started it so that their son could work. He had a bad accident making him not being able to walk very well. It´s a lovely Thai Buddhist family owning the place, which only consisted of a couple of rooms at that time. This made me really feel like being part of the family. I was the only guest at the time and got invited for dinner with them, could borrow their private scooter for free and in the evenings we had a drink whilst playing ´four in a row´. Remembering my stay there still makes me smile, it was really a lovely family. Also, the father of the family brought me to the bus stop when I took off again to leave for Phuket. Here is a link to the accommodation, if you ever need budget accommodation super close to the airport in Phuket, please go there. I had such a good time, that I forgot to take any photos here!
Second eclipse effect: making hasty decisions…
I enjoyed my island hopping and travels through Thailand ( & a bit of Malaysia) so much, that I decided I wanted to travel more. I felt so free last months in my fairly small backpack, but now I had one problem: I was carrying my scuba diving equipment including teaching material of about 20 kg in a weekend bag on wheels of which one wheel almost rolled off and the bag itself almost felt apart too. Although I´m still not sure if it was a bad decision, because a few days later various diving instructor jobs came my way, and maybe I would still have been travelling one year later instead of returning to the Canary Islands. However, at this point, I decided I wanted to travel more than to teach diving. By the way, the eco-hostel was fully booked and this time, I had a great time in M-bed which is also located next to the bus station. The Thai couple owning the place is super friendly! They offer comfortable, clean rooms with an amazing price-quality rate! Here is the link to the accommodation.
Sending my scuba diving equipment from Phuket in Thailand to my ´home´ on Gran Canaria by Thai post.
Soon after that, I figured out that I could send the whole bag by ´land & sea´ transport to Gran Canaria for a fairly cheap price. It took about 4 months, and it was going to be tracked, but sending my pretty valuable scuba gear by Thai Post, still felt a bit, yeah let´s call it ´funny´. I also needed to claim at Spain immigration that this was my personal belonging and not something I bought in Thailand, to avoid paying tax about it. But in the end, it all turned out well. Not an eclipse effect: it did arrive about 4 months later and I have to agree I felt more relaxed when I received the e-mail from my aunty saying that the bag has arrived. I also went to the museum next to the post office in Phuket, and I saw this stamp there, love it!
So, ready to travel again and explore more of Thailand!
And so it happened this time that I went back again to the immigration office, I was dressed properly, so no embarrassments this time and my passport got stamped before I knew it. I did a bit of shopping in Phuket and then I was ready! My plan was to go back to Phi Phi because those 4 hours on the island changed my mind about it! I already booked the accommodation I found while I got lost on my way to the viewpoint, and after that, I planned to go to Railay Beach before continuing to the Gulf of Thailand. However, I got stuck on the Phi Phi islands, met a bunch of scuba diving instructors with whom I had a lot of fun and I stayed for 6 weeks, before departing back to the Maldives where I worked in 2010. So, I would not be the real Ellis if my plan did not change completely… Or, I can just blame the eclipses 🙂
Tip for your travel plans to Thailand!
There is a great online travel agency, called 12go. To make your travels through Thailand (or anywhere really) a lot easier without paying extra for it. They have search tools to find either your cheapest international flight to Thailand or to book any boat, bus, train or accommodation for your travels through Thailand. You can click through in the links provided or use the search table below, and Splashpacker earns a little commission. The same for the links provided by booking.com for booking your accommodation in Thailand.
What are the next travel plans on Splashpacker?
In my next travel blog update, you can read more about my time on Phi Phi Island before I return to the Maldives. I go back to the island I used to work in 2010 and see my ´Divehi´-brother after all those years! I do some great scuba diving there, 3 dives every day this week, including a night dive, diving with Mantas and the many sharks are still living at Madivaru Corner! It felt like I was back in my old working- and living life on Veligandu Island for one little week.
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