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Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in Krabi

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Alternate Routes · Asia · thailand · Krabi · Juris Zīģelis

Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in Krabi

Author: Juris Zīģelis0 COMMENTS

Vietnam
Any first-time visitor to Vietnam will be shocked by its chaotic traffic system. Streets are filled with scooters, while automobiles certainly fail to be the fastest mode of transportation. Cars seem to be used only as taxis and are privately owned by country's bourgeoisie.

Foto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in Krabi

If life has brought you to Vietnam, do not miss this chance of immersing yourself into its vibrant street markets with a profusion of fresh fish and other seafood. And be sure to taste freshly squeezed fruit cocktails - divinely delicious, made of any fruit combination imaginable and available for a ridiculous price of just 0.50 LVL for half a liter!

Foto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in Krabi

Our journey started in Ho Chi Minh City and then, driving along two-lane so-called highway covered alternately with gravel and asphalt, continued through Mekong delta. Teeming marketplaces of towns and cities and verdant rice fields of rural areas were the main attractions along the way, offering us a glimpse of daily life of Vietnamese people. It is known that Mekong Delta produces the bulk of Vietnam's rice output, enough to feed the country itself and a substantial part of the world. Famous floating markets of the Mekong Delta nowadays are just a shadow of their former scope. There are some boats laden with products such as beet roots, watermelons and sugar canes, yet generally this traditional form of trading seems to have lost its importance.

Foto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in Krabi

One of the most colorful places along our route was Phú Quoc Island at the southernmost tip of Vietnam. It's a peaceful holiday destination with sunny beaches. Those who feel more adventurous can take a 3-day inland expedition on scooters. Harbors of its towns and villages are packed with colorful fishing boats and lively night markets offer superbly fresh seafood.

Foto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in Krabi

The southern part of the island is rather touristy and the Long Beach territory almost officially turned into a honeymooners' paradise, but the north of the island still remains quite intact. Phú Quoc gives a chance to take a trip into the jungle and observe wildlife, to see pepper plantations and to find out how anchovies are dried. You can rent a boat and paddle deeper into the sea to take a dive near the reefs or snorkel near the shore, watch starfish, crabs and swim in the company of fish. There is also a beautiful waterfall deeper inland definitely worth visiting. During the rainy season, from May to October, it can be observed in its full magnificence.

Foto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in Krabi

On the island you can stay over in a bungalow - a decent quality small house with hot water shower. A rent is 10 dollars per night for 2 persons and you will not have to look long for such a place.
But a place I would like to return to one day is southern Vietnam near Cambodian border, with mountains looming in the distance and a peculiar terrain. Local life flows calmly in the midst of rice fields and temples there.

Foto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in Krabi

Thailand
Arriving from Vietnam, Thailand instantly feels more westernized. Aside from temples, Bangkok's historic Chinatown, traditional water transport along the river and canals and shabby small houses with flowerbeds, vegetable gardens and clucking chicken, there are towering skyscrapers and booming business districts. Chaotic Chinatown buzzes with life in daytime, but at night it's the right place to savor some street food. It's just too delicious to resist and enthralls your senses with tastes and aromas!

Foto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in Krabi

We spend only a couple of days there, however, and then move out of the city to see Thailand's beautiful beaches with white sand, palm trees and blue water and to meet its harmonious, smiling and welcoming people.
Ko Pha Ngan is a small island crossing of which on a scooter takes just half an hour, yet it offers travelers an unforgettable experience.
Instead of staying in one of its southern side resorts we preferred a real rastaman type lodging near the water - a frugal bungalow built on piles and made of straw fiber with straw roofing. Locals are very open there and especially after sharing a couple of beers are ready to talk at length about local life, sights to see and things to do on the island.

Foto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in Krabi

You can get to the altitude of 600 m above sea level there, reaching the island's highest peak Khao Ra. The walk along narrow trails through forest, jungle and palm tree groves may take 2 to 3 hours (depending on one's fitness) and it promises encountering wild animals and hearing strange sounds.
The island offers diverse and exciting activities, such as getting a glimpse of its rich underwater word, hiking, elephant rides, savoring homemade ice-cream or just roaming around and seeking for things that would catch your interest.

Foto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in Krabi

Our main attraction was rock climbing sites on Krabi peninsula. It is regarded as one of the most beautiful rock climbing meccas of the world with a fantastic climate, a blue sky, warm and clear water and palm trees along Ton Sai beach. Krabi boasts a vibrant nightlife too with singing, dancing and bars staying open till early hours. The entire peninsula is occupied by rock climbers - no honeymooners smooching at sunset or anything like that. Krabi gathers climbers form all across the world. In the evenings they meet in bars, enjoy jam sessions and share their climbing experience. Bands of bar owners themselves usually open such sessions, but later on anyone who can play can get on stage, and every night a new band forms! Yet everyone gets up quite early in the morning. Already around 7 o'clock they are waking cooks of local eateries and right after breakfast off they go to rocks of their choice. Cliffs are starting from 6b climbing grade according to French system and might be quite challenging for beginners. To avoid sweltering daytime heat, climbing can take place only during early hours or in the evening till sunset. It's very humid, too. People are sweating a lot, even in the shade, and gear is more susceptible to corrosion. It's a great problem, especially for climbing bolts, and steps to solve it are taken by Thaitanium project. It is dedicated to replacing unsafe steel climbing bolts with titanium ones throughout Thailand and anyone can support this effort by purchasing the Titanium Project's documentary and a guide book at Basecamp Tonsai shop.

Foto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in Krabi

Krabi offers also a unique Deep Water Solo experience, which means climbing above the water in a natural manner, without any bolts or ropes. If you fall, only water serves as the safety mattress! Be sure to critically evaluate your skills, however, because even a fall from 7 meter height can be painful enough and cause serious injuries, but the routes reach up to the height of 30 meters.
There are kayak rentals at Tonsai and Railay beaches, and you can paddle around the rocky shoreline, or else - rent a snorkeling gear and get a closer look at coral reefs and underwater world swarming around them. Krabi attracts also base jumping enthusiasts.

Foto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in KrabiFoto: Complete Tranquility on Phu Quoc Island and Rock Climbing in Krabi

Another attraction is a local lagoon inside the mountain that fills with water during high tide. Getting there requires climbing along a steep and clayey path upwards and an even steeper and more clayey path downwards, and rock climbing skills may become very useful there. Yet the lagoon perhaps is not as impressive at all as getting there itself.

 

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