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Ao Nang – West Coast Beaches

May 26, 2013

Being the now family-travel savy parents that we are, we ensured that we had an ample supply of car sickness bags easily accessible and boarded a mini-van to head from Khao Sok National Park to Ao Nang on the west coast of Thailand.

The mini-vans are large and modern – although they look a LOT bigger before they stuff 14 people and accompanying luggage in them.   Katharina tried to help minimize the car sickness by taking the three front seats by the driver with Brad in the back.  We were again hit by the dreaded “my stomach hurts” after a couple of hours but we were lucky enough to stop before there were any “international incidents”.

Ao Nang is a tourist town through and through – with all the accompanying stores, restaurants, bars, massage parlours, travel agencies and hotels that you would expect.  From our hotel to the beach (1 block) we pass six travel agencies all vying for your attention to try and sell some kind of tour, excursion or activity.  Along the main road in front of the beach you are regularly peppered with “Taxi…taxi?” or “Boat….boat…taxi boat?”  Amelie has picked up the cute habit of saying “Boat … boat…taxi boat?” in a low deep voice with a Thai accent periodically as she walks around.

While Ao Nang itself is not very picturesque….it does serve as an excellent base to catch a boat to some of the beautiful islands and beaches which surround the area.

Highlights

*  The beaches.  There are some of the most beautiful beaches in the world on the west coast of Thailand.  The water is warm and clear while the sandy beaches are made of fine white sand and, for the most part, relatively clean by Thai standards.  Swimming with goggles on – we almost always spotted fish of some kind underwater swimming near the shore.  The whole scene  is back dropped by beautiful jungle covered karsk formations jutting up out of the sea.  It is beautiful.

*  Ocean kayaking around some of the islands – it gave a great perspective on the beaches and allowed us to get up close to some of the nearby karsks. It did, however, generate a fair number of debates over who was in actual control of steering and who, in fact, was paddling the hardest.  We also had to be sure to keep a watchful eye out for the long tail boats that regularly ply the waters and brace for the impact of their wake as they motored by.

*  The roti stand that we visited every evening.  The lady would recognize the girls immediately when we stepped up to order and always gave us a present of some kind of fruit for free.  One evening we brought down some Canada flag tattoos and pencils for her seven year old boy who would spend hours hanging around her cart while she worked.  (another difference in the life of a Thai child that we were sure to point out to our girls).  The roti/pancake is basically a ball of dough that is stretched out until it is almost paper thing.  They slap it down on a frying pan that is covered in oil and margarine ….fry it up and put a cut up banana (or other fruit of you choice) on top.  The roti is then folded up, slathered in Nutella if you so choose (which of course we do).  Then to top it off, the entire bundle of goodness is then drizzled with a healthy dose of sweetened condensed milk at the end.  They are very good …. and we hope healthier than they sound.  They also may be the reason that Katharina’s parents tell Brad that his face is “looking fuller” every time we talk on skype or they see one of our pictures.

*  Our girls are often a source of much facination and interest for the Thai people.  Thais LOVE children and seeing two blond headed girls that look like twins (we get asked if they are twins at least six times a day, every day)  is sometimes too much to resist.  We often see people “sneaking” photos of them … and it is not at all rare to have Thais or Asian tourists come up and have the girls pose with them for a shot.  For the most part, the girls are good sports about it and it doesn’t seem to be going to their heads yet.  🙂  One day at the beach we decided to bury the girls in sand.  It was not long before we had a large group of Asian paparazzi completely surrounding them popping off photo after photo.  For Amelie the inability to move, and the rush of attention, quickly got to be too much and we had to do a quick search and rescue dig for her.

* Sometimes the economics of what we see here baffles us.  We are here in the slow season – so we always see lots of restaurants, bars and massage parlours that are filled with workers, but empty of patrons.  We strolled along one section of the road in front of the beach and there were AT LEAST 12 different massage parlours within one block (the massage parlours probably filled up 70% of the available retail space).  Most were empty….and all of them had people out front calling out “Massage…massage??”  It was a bit much, so much so that Amelie pleaded with us to walk back another way.  Mommy and Daddy also preferred to take the more scenic (and quieter) beach stroll back.

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2 Comments
  1. Bmd permalink

    Sounds fantastic, keep up the stories they are great!
    Brian MD

  2. Martin permalink

    Great stories Brad. Love to read them and to see that you guys are healthy and having a great time. Martin

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