Peace out beautiful islands and beaches of Southern Thailand, it's time to head up North. I've been hearing so much about how great Chiang Mai and Pai are and I'm ready to see for myself. Chiang Mai is the capital of Northern Thailand and is known as the cultural hub of Thailand with great art, music and food. I've had an amazing time in Southern Thailand just hanging out on the beaches and meeting new people but I'm ready to say goodbye to the beach for a bit and dip my feet into some true Thai culture up north.
Full moon was...interesting. It was full on craziness and just insaneeee!! When Bryan and I arrived to the beach I was shocked at how intense it was and thought we were NEVER going to find Calina. We waited at our meeting point for about half an hour after midnight which was when we agreed to meet up. At that point we were almost ready to give up on waiting and trying to find her and just go into the heart of the party and have a good time. I was nervous because I did not want to lose Bryan and end up all alone after seeing how crazy it was. I looked him straight in the eyes and said "Don't leave me, I'm scared" with a very firm voice and I truly meant it. There was no way in hell that I would want to be alone during a full moon party in Thailand. Whistler, yes but Thailand was a whole other story! A couple minutes before we almost have up Calina crept up behind us and grabbed us giving us the biggest hug because we were all so happy that we finally found each other and could party together! Calina needed to get a bucket so we took her to the stand that we got ours for at a pretty good price. We all cheers our buckets and made our way onto the beach and into the craziness. Calina took us up to this lookout at the top of a giant slide which was covered in oil and had fire sticks along the side of the slide so people would go down it at their own risk. I didn't see anyone get burnt while we were watching but I'm sure it happened more and more over the course of the night. We say a lot of guys asses as their pants would practically fall off and a few people take a nice spill at the bottom. We hungout at the top dancing our asses off and overlooking the whole beach party. We then decided to go back down since Bryan and I needed another bucket and wanted to make our way into the crowd. Things started to take a different turn after I drank a bit of my second bucket and my night didn't exactly go as I was hoping because I ended up having to leave because I wasn't feeling too well but it was fun while it lasted. Bryan walked me back to our room where I stayed and just swam in the ocean because for some reason water cures all. I made him go back to the party because I was okay and didn't want his night to be ruined because of me. I hungout on our beach and met a couple other party goers who decided to leave the party early. We swam and talked until the sun came out and I was proud that I are least made it til sunrise. Bryan stumbled home not too much after the sun came out and was pretty surprised to have found me still on the beach and in the water. I think I got about an hour of sleep that night before making my way back outside because I felt a lot better being in the sun and water.
Bryan and I decided to stay in Koh Phangnan for four nights because we knew we would need a full day after full moon to recover and wouldn't want to be travelling anywhere. We came to an agreement that we would leave for Koh Tao the next day where we would spend two nights together and then I would leave him on the Saturday to head up to Chiang Mai. Unfortunately almost every other party goer on the island had the same plan and we were unable to book a ferry to Koh Tao because they were all full. This was a major game changer especially for Bryan because he still had 3 nights until he had to leave for Cambodia and wasn't sure what he wanted to do instead now. I basically gave him a bunch of options as to where he could go and what he could do because I've been travelling long enough to know the common routes and what would be accessible to him in that short amount of time. Luckily for him he is just on vacation and still has funds coming in and a good amount of savings so he could fly to save time. It's super cheap to fly domestically in Thailand but even cheaper to take buses, trains and ferries so I've been sticking to the cheaper routes. He decided to go to Railay and stay on Ton Sai because I had loved it so much. This would of been a trek if he wasn't flying but it ended up being cheaper for him to fly even further south and then fly from Krabi to Cambodia so in the end all worked out well. I am now on the train to Chiang Mai from Bangkok and he should be in Ton Sai. He left at about 9am yesterday morning and I at 11. I had to take a ferrie to Surat Thani (2.5 hours) then a bus to the train station (2 hours) where I had an hour and a half until my train was supposed to depart but ended up being delayed over an hour. Once it finally showed up it was a 12 hour sleeper night train to Bangkok where I then had to get on another 12 hour train all the way up to Chiang Mai. So while Bryan is now on Ton Sai and probably having an amazing time I am still in transit but was able to do all that for a total of 2100baht which is just over $60. Not bad.
So I am now back on my own and feel like a true backpacker again. It was nice to see Bryan and have a friend around but the dynamic of travelling was just so different when I was with him. I got lost more because I wouldn't pay attention as to where I was going as much knowing that I was with someone else who was probably paying attention but that wasn't always the case. We didn't meet many people at all because we spent all our time together and I had the comfort of having a friend around and didn't feel obliged to strike up random conversations and make friends with fellow travellers. Already since I have left him I have made close ties with two Dutch girls who are also backpacking solo and on the same route to Chiang Mai and we are all staying at the same hostel. I've met a really nice kiwi boy (new zealander) who is sitting beside me on the train right now to Chiang Mai who is heading there to pick up a motorbike he bought to travel more of Southeast Asia by bike. I met a group of three Dutch guys who were on holidays for two weeks in Thailand for the full moon party on my night train to Bangkok where they were heading to fly home as their vacation was coming to an end. I know I also won't be spending as much money up north because it is a lot cheaper and because I am back on my own and can stick to my budget a little easier. It was great to see Bry and have a little vacation with him for a week where we basically just partied and then lied on the beach recovering the next day or walked around Haad Rin and did some shopping and went out to eat. It was nice but different from what I've been doing the past couple weeks. I now know why a lot of people prefer to travel alone and I definitely think that I am one of those people. It's just different and everyone has their own opinion about how they want to travel but I think solo is the way to go for sure!!! I've met a lot of solo travellers and can see why so many people enjoy this method of travel in which I was so scared of before doing so.
Only 6.5 hours left in my travels up to Chiang Mai and I am just dying to get there and see what all the fuss is about! I will make sure to keep my blog updated while I'm in the North as there should be lots to see and do.