From Jungle Paradise to Turtle Island

So it turns out that Thailand is a pretty big country (no shit, Sherlock). The downside of this is the very, very long journeys on buses that I’m pretty sure England would not allow, but the plus side is that you can get on a bus in one place and get off somewhere completely different. And it’s not like England where Newscastle and London are basically both rainy and cold, it’s literally like being in two completely different countries.

A long distance…

 

Never has this different been more obvious than over the last few weeks of my Thailand journey. Last week, I was ‘oop North’ in the very cold Umphang. Yep. Cold. In Thailand! According to Tun, we’d picked a particularly cold week, but 4 degrees in the morning. Like, what? I totally did not pack for a winter wonderland holiday; my case consists of bikinis, shorts, and not a lot else. And then there was the ice baths that were apparently showers. Not great. However, despite my first world bitching, living in the jungle was an incredible experience. I felt like Jane from Tarzan, amazed by all the different trees and animals and noises around me. It was when we drove up the mountain to our resort and I saw the millions of trees below that I thought, shit, this is, like, the actual jungle. 

Lots of trees…

Once you got used to the constant noise and the very large bugs everywhere, I found the jungle one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever been. Maybe it was the influence of mediation I learnt in week one, but i found chilling watching a waterfall one of the most relaxing things ever. And chilling is the right word, as the water was bloody freezing. However, I don’t think Hannah found the whole waterfall thing quite so relaxing, as she ended up spraining her back. Oops. There’s a kind of simplicity about jungle living that’s sort of nice; it’s all about following nature and not being obsessed with the wifi password. However, living in a glorified treehouse for a week certainly made me miss my non-simplistic life with those mad luxuries like, um, hot water and a flushing toilet. Maybe not a jungle Jane just yet…

  
    

 
And then there’s Koh Tao, where I am right now. I feel like the name says it all with Koh Tao; it means Turtle Island, however the turtles have now mostly left due to an influx of tourists. My bad… Koh Tao is a beautiful beach island, yet you’re more likely to see a couple of English lads on tour here than you are a Thai family. Temples and peace have been replaced by bars and pub crawls four nights a week, but despite all the madness, Koh Tao is no less peaceful than the jungle of Umphang. Maybe it’s the pure beaches with outdoor restaurants with cushions instead of chairs, or maybe it’s the fact that massages cost less than a drink in a swanky London bar. But I think mostly it’s all the beer consumption; at the sunset, with dinner, with lunch, after a dive, at 4pm.. Basically, beer is always allowed on Koh Tao. 

   
 
I think most of all, being round a bunch of people who have said ‘fuck it’ to convention to come and make a living diving in paradise is pretty relaxing. It makes you realise there’s a life beyond alarm clocks and caramel lattes and the working week. Maybe when I have a bad day in this mystical future career of mine, I’ll decide to come and be an aging hippie teaching diving on Turtle Island (minus the turtles). I can only dream…

Diving life…

 

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