During our first year of marriage, Madison took off to Thailand to complete an internship for her exercise and wellness degree. She lived in a village in northern Thailand and created health and P.E. programs for the local children. I didn’t get to go with her – I had to stay behind and take calculus. Let me tell you – it was a lonely existence suffering through the accelerated summer course all alone.
After I wrapped up my math class, I flew out to meet her and then we traveled together to Southern Thailand for a few days. That is when we fell in love with Ton Sai/Railay.
The only way to get out to the beaches is by long tail boat. We loaded up the crew and set out for our beloved beach. As we jumped on the boat, Madison said to me, “I don’t feel very well.” I just figured that it was something she ate and that she’d be back to normal by the evening.
I was completely wrong. It got worse. We are pretty sure she got it from someone on the plane – there are always nasties floating around in that shared air! But it wasn’t long until we all got it. I was sick. Jace got sick. Giddi got sick. And even the babies got a bit of it (luckily they didn’t get it as bad as the rest of us did).
We spent 5 of our 8 days laying around in our hotel! It was so sad. We felt HORRIBLE. We were achy, feverish, and nauseous. It was the WORST way to spend our time at one of the funnest places on the planet! Luckily for me, the Cubs were in the playoffs, so I was at least entertained in my death baths (even though it was a crap showing – there is always next year.)
We would try to get out in the evening and at least lay on the beach for sunset, but honestly, any movement was a struggle.
When we finally started feeling a little bit of life come back to us, we went hard! We swam as much as we could! Getting Theo out in the ocean is always fun. Honestly, he hasn’t been the hugest fan of swimming before. He just hates the shock of coldness. BUT, he got a lot better during our time in Thailand! It may have to do with the shark, but I think he just got used to it because we just spent more time in the water.
Can you say shark wedgie?
We wanted to check out a water line that we saw rigged on the way in. We didn’t know anything about it, so we left to go talk to the climbing shop on Ton Sai. Ton Sai is the neighboring beach to Railay. The only way to get there is through a jungle trail (unless it is low tide, then you can kind of pick your way along the sharp limestone if you want). We loaded the kids up and took off down the trail.
The beach at Ton Sai was full sun, and we were still kind of recovering from our sick days. We wanted to get to the line as fast as we could. We talked to the shop owner and he said that someone just left the line rigged up a few months ago, and that it is only safe to walk during high tide. Luckily for us, we had timed it perfectly. So, we shuffled our way over to the secret beach just west of Ton Sai, where we could more easily swim out to the line.
We didn’t really know what to expect. Any line that is just left exposed to the elements for that long could be pretty sketchy. We swam around and made sure that if we were to fall, that we wouldn’t bash our heads in on any hidden rocks. Even though the ratchet (yes, it was a 2 inch ratchet line, which is sketch in and of itself) was all rusted and looked pretty beaten up, we figured we would give it a go. Fun times, but honestly, the limestone that it was rigged on was SO SHARP, that it was near impossible to climb up without cutting your body to shreds. We made it up with minimal damage, but we weren’t really excited about seasoning it over and over due to the insanely sharp geology.
We hung out with the babies in at our secret beach, and had a fun time just being. It was nice to take a break in the shade when the whole other beach was in direct sunlight.
One of our favorite spots to eat when we came to Ton Sai the first round was Legacy. I swore to myself that I was going to take a picture of the menu and post it online, cause I tried once to find it and came up unsuccessful, but I totally spaced it! We were too worried about monkeys swooping in an stealing our meal off our plates to remember to take photos of the menu. But, if you are in the area, be sure to check this place out (it is on the west side of Ton Sai beach).
Like I said, we spent a lot of time swimming. The pool was really nice because we didn’t have to deal with sand in Theo’s every roll. The dude gets sand EVERYWHERE within a matter of minutes. Pool = easy clean up.
Because of our sick times, we almost didn’t make it out climbing. Our last day though, we rented some gear and set off to bag a few routes. Nothing crazy, just some easy things to make us feel semi accomplished. Jace and I kept trying to find simple routes that we wouldn’t have to really struggle on; we are officially fat dads now. Whatever, I love myself.
One of our favorite climbs takes you out on a stalactite. It isn’t every day that you get to get on those, so that was fun. It is funny how our climbing days have evolved. It used to be all about going hard, and really getting out there. Now it is more about hanging out with the babies while we get on the wall mainly to touch rocks. And you know, I am perfectly okay with that.
The time came for us to ship back to Bali. We wanted one night in Krabi Town, just to see the night market and experience a bit of “mainland” Thailand.
Our boat driver thought it was pretty funny that Jace and I would pose Titanic-style for The Gram. But actually, we never posted it – LAME.
We had to get up super early to ship out back to Bali. We didn’t want to pay the outrageous fee from our hotel for the airport transfer, when we knew that we could get a cab on the street for much less. Then, once we hit the street, it didn’t look too promising. There just wasn’t anyone out and about at 4:30 am – go figure.
Then we saw one pair of headlights turn on and start driving towards us. As luck would have it, it was an airport taxi. Here is where the story gets interesting. As we were negotiating a price with the driver, both Jace and I saw something massive scuttle across the windshield. Then, it came around the door and we realized what it was. It was the BIGGEST spider that I have ever seen in my life. And not just long leg large, it was THICK. As we were talking to the driver, it dropped into the cab driver’s window! And he didn’t even notice!
For those of you who don’t know, Madison is deathly afraid of spiders. I looked at Jace in total disbelief as to what we just saw and said, “no way. We can’t.” He just smiled and said, “Dude, we have to! Just don’t say anything.” We piled in, and the whole time I just sat there in attack position ready to swat the King Spider of Thailand if he decided to make an appearance. But honestly, I don’t think I would have been able to do much damage… I mean, you would need a 2×4 to take this guy out.
Luckily for us, the spider never showed itself. As soon as we were safe and sound in the airport, I told Madison the whole story, and she didn’t talk to me the rest of the morning.
Here is an excerpt from our Instagram about our flight over:
“We are everyone’s absolute nightmare on a plane ✈️. As we were flying back to Bali from Thailand we were laughing waiting for unlucky passenger 24E to come sit by us. While trying to pack light, Cees opted for no deodorant, we had no clean clothes, and Theo who normally doesn’t make a peep on planes, was getting hungry and fussy. Who wants to be stuck between bearded beef and cheese and tiny poopy pants 🙋🏼”
Luckily, the seat stayed empty. Until next time, Thailand!
This is a goofy little video of our first trip to Thailand. This is what inspired our visa travel run.