First, an adventure in the night. At some point in the middle of the night I got up to use the bathroom in the dark, barefoot. When I walked into the bathroom, I stepped on something. I quickly picked my foot up and peered at the floor, not being able to make out what it was without contacts/glasses and in the dark. I used the bathroom, covered the thing with a piece of toilet paper as a reminder to deal with it in the morning, and went back out to bed. As I got into bed, Brandon got out of bed, on the same errand. I then warned him that I had stepped on something, but that I was pretty sure I'd killed it and had covered it with a piece of toilet paper so he wouldn't step on it. Pausing, he asked me to turn the lights on, just in case. I did, he went in, and when he came out he said that it was some sort of centipede and it definitely looked dead. I squealed a little (not something I normally do!) as no one likes to step on squishy little creatures in the dark. In the morning I got up and took a good look at it and determined that I would neither walk around barefoot at night any more or go into the bathroom without turning on the light first.
Happily away from that experience, I've just read this little piece of information collected on the internet and I realize how close of a miss it might have been for me.
If you spend some time in Thailand, however brief your visit, you should be aware of the Centipedes, known in the Thai language as 'Tdakab'. There are several varieties found throughout the country and most are capable of giving you a very nasty sting. If you see one, don't attempt to touch it, play with it or pick it up, as it will certainly sting you and if it does, you'll be in great pain for several days and while not fatal, it will be an experience you'll never forget.
They vary in size, from just an inch or so, up to five inches, so they're very easy to spot, unless they find their way into your shoes or clothing and giving you a shock when you put them on. The Thais take them very seriously, almost as much as snakes. The ones most feared are quite large and appear to be quite flat. They are also notoriously hard to kill. You should take care lifting stones, logs, or when gardening. They are also often found within homes.
It's best to avoid any kind of centipede in Thailand.(I've now read quite enough about centipedes to be thoroughly repulsed and creeped out by them.)
Our first morning in Railay! We got up and had breakfast at the hotel, the nicest selection we probably had had since our first hotel in Bangkok. We met the man we'd arranged the excursion with at the hotel front lobby around 9:00 AM and headed to the West Beach to meet our boat.
We had a tour with a large motor boat with about twenty people on it, not including the three or four staff. The boat ride to the Phi Phi Islands (a.k.a. Ko Phi Phi) took about 45 minutes, passing a number of small islands on our way there. There are two main islands, Phi Phi Don (the big island) and Phi Phi Ley (the small island).
Now, honestly, it is a little difficult to remember the names of the places where we were, but I can get most of them. First we stopped at a bay-like are for some snorkeling. I thiiiink it was Loh Samah Bay on Phi Phi Ley (nope), but don't hold me to that. For the record, I do not love snorkeling. By ability to immediately calm my breathing down to function properly with the snorkeling gear leaves something significant to be desired. I should probably never scuba dive. Anyway, we all snorkeled a bit and then I decided to ditch the mask and just swim for a bit. Brandon and I swam over to the little beach and then back to the boat.
From there we took the boat to the Viking Caves area (still on Phi Phi Ley). I should mention that Brandon hadn't been feeling great when we set out that morning and the rocking of the boat was making both him and Duane a little dizzy. They both "fed the fish" at some point, and for Brandon it was around now. :/
On from the Viking Caves are we headed Pileh Lagoon to wait a little longer for Maya Bay to clear out. Maya Bay is the location where the movie "The Beach" was filmed. I have never actually seen that movie, but the film is popular enough to have made the beach a huge draw to tourists. As such, we were happy to hang out for awhile either on the boat or in the water at Pileh Lagoon.
After awhile we finally set off for Maya Bay. Even after waiting for it to clear out a bit it was still very busy. We got off and walked around on the beach and then headed into the jungle to walk to the other side. We'd heard there was a waterfall but instead we found a little deck like area that led to a rope net that Brandon and I climbed down to the water with. We didn't get in as the pull and push of the waves was pretty strong there. We wandered the island space a bit more, stopping at the restrooms, and then headed back to the boat area to wander the beach more before heading out.
Lunch time! Finally waving goodbye to Phi Phi Ley we headed up to Phi Phi Don. There the boat driver shimmied our boat into a previously non-existent space and we hopped off to head to lunch at a pavilion set up for exactly these types of tours. After lunch we found some ice cream at a local shop (not 7-Eleven for once) and then hopped back on to the boat.
Our last stop of the tour was Monkey Beach (Phi Phi Don). We were here for quite awhile observing the monkeys. Having been warned carefully by the international health staff before we came, I knew we needed to avoid getting bitten or anything like that, as that would necessitate a rabies shot which would probably mean going back to Bangkok or some such. So I definitely poo-pooed the idea of feeding them. I can be a little bit of a spoil sport sometimes. :)
But, as we watched them, I felt completely vindicated as those little monkeys were brutal little beasts! As I came over to where they were, I first observed three or four of them all over a guy who was holding things in his hands. Notably, at least one of the bags was full of food. As the ones in front distracted him, one ran around behind and ripped the bag out of his back hand and then proceeded to spread the contents around (mostly food). Understandably, the guy was not happy, although I didn't feel very bad for him. Probably the worst part, in my opinion, was that all he was wearing was a speedo, so the little critters and left little scratches all over him.
Worse, a little while later the monkeys mysteriously attacked two women - neither of whom had any food on them. One monkey ran at the first woman and then three more quickly followed, thinking there must be food. She ran, screaming, to the waters edge and they left off. The second was slightly less lucky as one bit her as she was running away. The staff from our boat looked at it and cleaned it, but that was all they could do.
The boat ride back to Railay was uneventful. And we were back! We showered and relaxed until dinner time and then headed over to the little walking street to drop off Duane and Shauna's laundry and pick up our own. We also signed up for a rock climbing excursion for Brandon and myself for the next morning. Then we wandered the hotels at the West Beach to find a different one to eat dinner at. And after dinner we headed back to our villas and called it a night!