18.00$ – 35.00$
The Pilgrimage of Chelsea
After days of careful consideration, I have found myself in the south of Thailand on a bright purple ferry headed to the island of Koh Phi Phi. With the full moon party in just a few days, my inner grandma told me to go to Phi Phi and not Koh Phangan, just to be safe. If my inner 21-year-old decides to come out, I can always hop on over to the world-famous full moon party, no problem. I soon found out there really isn’t much of a difference.
Walking off the ferry, I was ready to hail a taxi when I realized there are no cars here, you silly goose; there are barely scooters. Getting around here means walking everywhere, or in most people’s cases, stumbling. I’m amazed by just how compact Koh Phi Phi is – so much is crammed into such a small space. This island is filled with endless shops and restaurants, and right away I noticed that not only Thai people work at the shops. For the first time I saw “young adults” working, tourists who probably came here on holiday and decided to stay just a little while longer. With no surf available, I had a hard time comprehending how one could possibly live on this island, but different strokes for different folks.
Back in Chiang Mai, I was recommended a hostel on Phi Phi by the name of Hangover Hostel. The name had me worried, but the reviews and ratings were amazing so I gave it a try. This hostel might have been a simple dwelling, but Mr. Singh, the “hostel dad,” is what really made this lodging so popular. Upon my arrival, I noticed my future hostel family surrounding a table, drinking and talking. I felt shy, like I usually do upon first entering my new hostel home, but Mr. Singh would not allow it. He immediately introduced me to everyone, tenderly forced me to sit down at the table, and put cold beer in my hand. I felt at home right away, if home was some sort of vagrant filled flop house. Another perk to this hostel is that it’s a close walk to the beach parties and bars but far enough so when you come home at night, you come home to silence. No sane person wants to fall asleep to bad dance music.
On Halloween Day I soon learned that this island, for better or for worse, is not a morning person. I naturally wake up on my own anywhere between 6 and 8 am. Walking along the white sandy beaches, I was surprised to see there were zero remnants from last night’s party. Oh they were good. Later that day, I let my inner tourist shine and took a boat tour to see the various islands that surround Phi Phi. The most notorious being Maya beach, which is featured in the movie The Beach with our man Leo. It was crowded and very touristy but cool I guess? I remain skeptical.
That Halloween Night was one of the better Halloweens I have had in awhile. I headed out into the wild with my new hostel fam and convinced a young German man to partake in a specialty shake of the fungi variety with me. For the first half of the night, we sat on the beach about 150 meters away from the fiesta as the music was too irritating coming up on our trip. But once everything evened out, we rejoined our friends and laughed and danced and tripped for hours. At one point, I think I tried to join a pack of wild dogs but I can’t be sure. If I’m being real with you guys, I probably just saw a couple of stray pups and started howling. Mushrooms will do that do ya.
I woke up the next morning feeling great, no hangover as I did not drink, but ready to get off that island. There was pressure to go to the full moon party that would take place in two nights, but grandma did shrooms last night and she knows better than to push her limits. So, I set sail on the open seas via that damn purple ferry again, and made my way to Klong Muang Beach in Krabi. My goal was to find a nice quiet place to reset and I did just that.
My time in Klong Muang ended up being exactly what I needed and craved from Thailand. I did yoga, took long walks on the beach, went kayaking, actually drank water. But the highlight was experiencing the Loy Krathong Festival, where small handmade boats are floated down the river. A candle and some incense are lit and a prayer is said, as you “float” all your unhappiness away. It was a peaceful and spiritual experience, and something I’ll remember forever.
My time in Thailand will be coming to a close soon as I head off to Vietnam, which is something I’m really looking forward too. I will spend two weeks in Vietnam, staying in the central and northern region. After that I head home, which is such a wild thought as I’ve been traveling for so long, it’s hard to remember what it feels like to not live out of a backpack and always be on the move. Will I be able to integrate back into western society? Hopefully not.
More from The Pilgrimage of Chelsea:Vietnam is Drowning—Week FiveBack to Thailand—Week ThreeNever Leaving Bali—Week TwoOut into The Wild—Week One