• Lulu Gibbons

Thailand Tour: Day 8


The route to breakfast was somewhat of a maze, we had to take a total of 3 different lifts within the blocks that made up the hotel. This breakfast was one of the best yet and I took full advantage of this, loading up my plate and feeling myself up for what was to come today. The evening before at dinner some of us had signed up for a mini van to take us to the Tiger Cave Temple (the one I had been raving about the whole tour). This was to be a bit of a challenge as it is famous for its panoramic view at top, yet to get there required climbing 1237 steps. Not only was this a challenge in itself, but we had woken up to the most beautiful day that we had experienced so far; blue cloudless skies and a mere 29 degree heat. Just perfect for climbing a few steps hey?

We all then jumped into the minivan and set off to the temple. At the foot of the mountain/hill (not really sure what I should be calling it) were a few smaller temples, where us females received a sarong for us to wear to show respect. At this point I was already sweating – the sarong wasn't even on yet. Making our way over to the starting point of the steps, we were temporarily distracted by some remarkably confident monkeys flinging themselves around the sacred statues and munching their way through a stack of bananas. At this point I feel I should raise the disclaimer, that no, there are no Tigers at said Tiger Cave Temple, so don't get your hopes up following the monkeys.

And so the climbing began. I say climbing because after the first 2 flights of steps that were shallow and low, the steps turned instantly into concrete blocks of half a metre tall with little depth on which to step on to, so the climb was very real. Some bright spark was helpful enough to paint markers onto poles every 100 steps or so we could keep track of our progress. Knowing me I was determined to stay at the front and that I did, reaching the top with 2 chappies just ahead of me. With the helpful guide of the markers we decided that we would stop only every 400 steps, that way we could just power through to the top. Let it be said that within the first say 300 steps the realisation hit that this would be a toughie. By the time I had reached the top I looked as though I had come out of an hours spin class, after just 20 minutes of climbing. With a red face and sweat dripping off of me, it took me some time before the stunning views right in front of me really hit me. What lay before me were miles upon miles of lush green forest below a crisp Safire blue sky. The trees transitioning into blue in the distance seemed to go on forever.

After 15 minutes the whole team on about 13 of us had arrived so we went on into full photo mode. Many group shots were taken along with a fare few panoramas.

We then discovered that there was another level to the temple and made our way towards it. Not only did that mean climbing yet more steps (only about 10 …) but also to remove our shoes, now this was asking a lot of me. Even better panoramic views met us alongside the huge golden Buddah, which we wandered around before deciding that our fate was awaiting us in climbing back down the stairs. Nina and I got the ball rolling by heading down first and the others followed soon after.

To some extent the journey down was just as hard as the one up. My legs felt like jelly so there was a conscious effort to keep them under control when trying to place them on each coming step below. Finally at the bottom, passing a group of monks on the way up, we sat and waited for the rest of the team to join us. All of us now tired, hungry and hot, we were looking forward to sliding into the air conditioned mini van and speeding back to the hotel for a VERY much needed shower. Yet of course, this didn't happen.

We went around searching for our minivan, which on a good da tends to be a challenge as they all look the same. And surprise, surprise, ours wasn't there. The sweat was still being produced at full force and patience was wearing thin. We got in touch with Chamani who said she would call the driver to try to pinpoint his location. Meanwhile some of the team went to have a look around to see if they could find him themselves. Around 30 minutes later, following many calls to and from us, the driver and Chamani, he finally arrived and were were on our way. Upon arrival, we were all so hungry that we couldn't even contemplate a shower before getting our mits on some grub. Following the refuel, I went for a mango shake, which let me tell you was quite sublime.

We slowly made our way back to the hotel to change and go up to the pool. Not just any pool though, possibly the most incredible pool I've been in. It was an infinity pool that fell over the edge leaving way for the stunning view of Krabi beach and the distance island and stacks or rocks. This was a really beautiful spot and an ideal place to spend the rest of the afternoon.

The evening was to consist of a ‘family meeting’ then going for dinner and out afterwards as not only was it the last night in Krabi, but also of the whole tour. The meeting’s purpose was mainly for us to fill out forms regarding our feedback of the tour and for Charmani to say thank you and such for us being there. Near the commencement of signing the forms I was starting to feel some sort of pain in my stomach and knew I needed to go back to the room ASAP. There I sat in the bathroom for around half an hour, meaning that I had to miss the meeting time for the group going to dinner. As much as I obviously wanted to join on the last night, I quite frankly got anxiety from the thought of not being in close proximity to a bathroom. So the last night of the tour was spent sitting in bed, looking around on my phone and reading, the crazy life of a teenager on a Contiki tour hey!


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