This is Where Screen Savers Come From

In the mountains outside Chiang Mai there are more shades of green than words can describe. The same is true of the blues of the sea.

My brother, Max, came to Thailand for two weeks so we visited parts of Thailand I hadn’t seen yet. Neither of us are really beach people, but it’s Thailand. Gotta see what all the hype is about.

We started in Phuket, Thailand’s biggest island. I spoiled Max for his first ever hostel stay. Lub d Phuket Patong was brand new when we were there and really, really nice. The next few hostels we stayed in were more true to the backpacker experience.

If you’re going to spend the day at the beach (and you should, the Andaman Sea is amazing), there is a key Thai phrase you should know: may-ow-ka (or krap if you’re a boy). It means “I don’t want it.” There seemed to be more people on the beach selling stuff than people to sell to.

The area of Phuket we stayed in is called Patong. Here is what the Lonely Planet guide had to say about Patong: “Sun-scorched Russians in bad knock-off t-shirts, an overwhelming disregard for managed development and a knack for turning mid-life crisis into a full-scale industry make Patong rampant with unintentional comedy. But for all the concrete, silicon and moral bending, there’s something honest about this place. Patong is a free-for-all. Anything from a Starbucks venti latte to, ahem, companions for the evening, is available for the right price. And while that’s true of dozens of other destinations, Patong doesn’t try to hide it.”

After witnessing all of that we were off to two smaller islands called Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta.

Got off the ferry in Koh Phi Phi. Guys, this is actually where screen savers are born. You know, the picture of the too blue water that matches the too blue sky, with a perfectly green mountain in the background. Found it.

Before heading up to the viewpoint on Koh Phi Phi I got a mango smoothie. When we got to the top, which was totally worth the schlep, there were some monkeys hanging out. One came right up to me, stood up on her hind legs, and grabbed the smoothie out of my hands. I guess I was done.

It’s low season in Thailand, aka green season. Rainy season makes everything green. Green season made Koh Lanta a little too quiet. But then I stepped onto the beach, at sunset, and there was no one else there. And in that moment everything was perfect.

There are so so so so many more Thai islands to see. So many more beautiful (aka perfect) beaches, and not just in Thailand, but all over Southeast Asia. So much pretty, not enough time or money!

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