The best was saved for last!

 

Well I made it to Kolkata…And I do not think this place could be more opposite from the Thailand beach paradise I just came from.  I have been extremely spoiled these last few months traveling throughout Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia, and meeting some amazing people along the way.  Pacific Discovery, the program I traveled with, had a final shebang in the stunning Railey Beach near Krabi, Thailand.  I have seen a lot of beautiful places in the last few months, but nothing can compare to this one.  It was absolutely breathtaking with the rocks jutting hundreds of feet out of the green-blue ocean.  During our fabulous last few days together in paradise, the group had a chance to go scuba-diving in one of the most renowned corral reefs in the world off of Koh Phi Phi Island, famous for where The Beach was filmed.  As my first time scuba diving, the experience was absolutely stunning with the so many stunning colors and crazy fish life I never knew existed; it also convinced me that I not only want to become a climbing instructor now, but switch off as a scuba instructor as well.   Our instructor was actually one of these lucky people who was originally from England and offered to take Jackie and I out rope rock-climbing for free at one of the most coveted rockwalls in Asia!  We set a date for two days later, and spent the next day deep-water solo climbing, snorkeling, and cliff jumping with some of the PD groupies.  This marked our last day together asa group and we ended it with a great catered meal, watching a spectacular sunset and skinny dipping in the ocean. haha  On the morning of March 24, Pacific Discovery departed back to Bangkok from the three girls staying behind, me included.  We haddecided to take an extra week to soak up the sun at a few different islands.  This marked the first of many goodbyes, which was a lot harder than I imagined it would be.  

 
It was a strange transition traveling independently after being with 15 other people on a more or less guided tour for two months.  On our first day “alone,” Jackie and I distracted ourselves by rope-climbing at, according to our [sucba] instructor, the best wall in Southeast Asia, ending with a 150 ft 6A that shot straight up hundreds of feet above the aqua-blue water.  What a spectacular view we had!! It was a moment I will not forget for a long time. To thank our previous scuba guide for taking us out climbing for free, we made him and his mom (who happened to be visiting) lunch on the beach and watched our last picturesque sunset at Railey.   The night ended with some crazy fire dancing (by Jackie herself) and slack lining frenzy as did most nights at Railey/Tonsei.  I will never forget this little laidback climbing mecca and can definitely see myself coming back here in the not-so-faroff future.
 
We left early the next morning to catch a bus and, then, ferry to Koh Phangan, the final destination for our last week together.  We arrived late that night groggy from our lack of sleep and day-long travel.  But as soon as we arrived we could feel a whole different world of energy than the chill backpacker beach we had just left.  There were signs everywhere posting about parties and celebrations for everyday of the week.  This place was going to be a bit wild, to say the least.  The rest of the week was like a dream, and by far the best I have had on my entire trip altogether.  We spent six fantastic days lounging on the beach staying during the day and staying out all night, and motor biking around the island to secret, pristine swimming holes, each with their own distinct vibe about them.  We also got to take part in the infamous Full Moon Party, which is basically when a few tens of thousands of backpackers come together for one last huge party on the beach under the full moon every month.  We got there at midnight and stayed until sunrise.  It was an incredible night!
 
And then I flew into Kolkata…
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