If you give a sea urchin a high five…

8 02 2016
This was by far my favorite thing we saw snorkeling (even including the rainbow fish). It is a bright-blue clam that will open and close if you push water towards it. They grow in the rock crevises at the bottom of the ocean.

This was by far my favorite thing we saw snorkeling (even including the rainbow fish). It is a bright-blue clam that will open and close if you push water towards it. They grow in the rock crevices at the bottom of the ocean.

During low tide, we were able to walk out onto the beach and look at the coral, clams, and sea cucumbers, and we did a fair amount of snorkeling in addition to our walks. The beauty that surrounded us was overwhelming.

There were lots of incredible plants and animals we could see up close because of the low tide.

There were lots of incredible plants and animals we could see up close because of the low tide.

I went with two friends out to a place called “Shark Island” on our last day in Koh Phi Phi. At low tide, you could often see small sharks.

It so happens that low tide also brings you closer to the other animals that don’t appreciate being stepped on. As we approached Shark Island, I got too close to the rock and stood up, lost my balance, and slapped a nearby sea urchin silly. Unfortunately for me, sea urchin spines are like needles, and I ended up spending the rest of the night trying to pull out 13+ brittle spines from my hand.

Sea urchins don't particularly like being hit or stepped on. I would advise against it, as it's a rather painful process.

Sea urchins don’t particularly like being hit or stepped on. I would advise against it, as it’s a rather painful process.

I was only able to pull two of the spikes from my hand.

I was only able to pull two of the spikes from my hand.

The sea urchin spikes are made of calcium and are supposed to dissolve after a while. (Two months later, the ones in my fingers are still there, but the ones in my palm dissolved)

The sea urchin spikes are made of calcium and are supposed to dissolve after a while. (Two months later, the ones in my fingers are still there, but the ones in my palm did dissolve)





Maya Bay

6 02 2016
Beautiful Maya Bay.

Beautiful Maya Bay.

There is a “famous” horror movie called The Beach that was filmed at the beautiful Maya Bay, only a 30-minute boat ride away from Koh Phi Phi. We spent the morning throwing a frisbee in the water and exploring the bay.

On our way to Maya Bay in a longboat. The water was rough and was spraying us, so Aaron put on his snorkeling gear.

On our way to Maya Bay in a longboat. The water was rough and was spraying us, so Aaron put on his snorkeling gear.

Maya Bay

I got to watch an incredible fire show that night also. Here are some long-frame shots from the night:

Long-frame night shots.

Long-frame night shots.

These fire-throwing guys were really talented.

These fire-throwing guys were really talented.





Koh Phi Phi

4 02 2016
There were three main viewpoints for the island. This was my favorite, and I ran to it one morning.

There were three main viewpoints for the island. This was my favorite.

We joined our friends in Koh Phi Phi (pronounced “C-oh Pee Pee”), an island off the coast of southern Thailand. It is known for it’s beauty and is an increasingly-popular tourist destination. The town was busy with bars and tourist traps, but the beaches were beautiful and quiet.

On our way into Koh Phi Phi on the ferry.

On our way into Koh Phi Phi on the ferry.

We did a lot of swimming, snorkeling, and playing with the kids.

We did a lot of swimming, snorkeling, and playing with the kids. On the right, Aaron is throwing Anna up into the air.

Almost every night we ate dinner on the beach with our friends and their families.

Almost every night we ate dinner on the beach with our friends and their families.





Tiger Temple

2 02 2016
The top of Tiger Temple.

Allison and I warded off monkeys, bore the raging sun, and faced the 1,237 stairs to see this incredible view. It was worth it.

Tiger Temple

The top of Tiger Temple.

1,237 steps to the top.

1,237 steps to the top.

The monkeys would jump on people and steal sunglasses, drinks, and other personal items. This one is definitely deciding if it is worth attacking me.





Krabi, Not Crabby.

31 01 2016
A temple near Tiger Cave.

A temple in the Tiger Cave grounds.

Our next destination was a small town off the coast of southern Thailand: Krabi (pronounced “K-rah-bee”). We were to wait there for some more friends and then head to another beautiful place called Koh Phi Phi (“C-oh Pee Pee” — yes, you can laugh because you said “pee pee”). We took full advantage of the incredible weather and went hiking, swimming, exploring, and climbing.

Tiger Temple

This cave got it's name from the people who used to listen to the roar of the tiger who inhabited the cave. Now, monks live and worship here.

This cave got it’s name from the people who used to listen to the roar of the tiger who inhabited the cave. Now, monks live and worship here.

The hostel owners gave us this room until he realized that it was only for one person

The hostel owners gave us this room until he realized that it was only for one person.

After my morning run, I bought this coconut for 20 Baht, or less than $1. Fruit and seafood was everywhere, and I absolutely love both.

After my morning run, I bought this coconut for 20 Baht, or less than $1. Fruit and seafood is everywhere in Thailand. 





20¥

29 01 2016
Xingping is known for these incredibly unique mountains.

Xingping is known for these incredibly unique mountains that surrounded us.

Past Guilin and Yangshuo is small town named “Xingping” (pronounced “shingping”), where we took two bamboo boats down the Li River. This two-hour ride felt like 20 minutes, and though we were frozen stiff by the end, we were thankful to notice that every single peak on our journey had pointed straight up toward its Creator.

Getting ready for our river cruise.

Getting ready for our river cruise.

The creation points to its Creator.

The creation points to its Creator.

It's really incredible to take a photo in the exact same spot as on the 20¥ bill.

It’s really incredible to take a photo in the exact same spot as on the 20¥ bill.





The Sun and Moon

27 01 2016
The Sun and Moon Pagodas are a huge tourist attraction in Guilin.

The Sun and Moon Pagodas are a huge tourist attraction in Guilin.

The Sun and Moon Twin Pagodas are situated on Shan Lake in Guilin (pronounced “Gway-leen”), which was our next stop. The Sun Pagoda is the world’s highest bronze pagoda, and the twins shine different colors at night.

Friends

Allison and I met up with four more of our friends to explore Guilin and Yangshuo (pronounced “Y-ahng-shwoh”), places that are considered to be some of the most uniquely beautiful in the world.








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