Bangkok I arrived in Bangkok in the afternoon. I started to feel hot, but I was not very sure it was because of the weather here, or just my agitation… Ancient spirits Ancient spirits were everywhere, wandering around my body, passing through my eyes, whispering by my ears, getting into my brain, diving in your blood... I could feel them, but no touching them. Then I came to know, I was in Bangkok... The cat army I was not interested at any 'lady boy shows', but I could easily find interesting shows even at street corners. Two dog warriors were having a fury duel, the most simple and direct way to win the female with their bravery. The cat army was ready for launch anytime, but they were quite friendly to the people. Seems Newton's law of action and reaction was all right. Bangkok the shining city The city was shining everywhere, day and night. Gold Buddha, with the most beautiful sapphire, ruby, emerald, and topaz embedded, and the finest wall paints, sitting there years after years, and blessing people with the fortune around the whole kingdom. When I was facing him, smiling, my world became all silent. So peacefully, I saw he's smiling... Khao San Road I was expecting something to happen, something I’d been searching for years. Khao San Road was the clue of the start, I found there were too many things to explore… well right here, my story began right here… Khao San Road: a world of its own Thanked to the guy in the airport, we could make our step to Khao San Road. In my plan, we were suppose to stay in the Youth Hostile at first night. 'Guesthouses are everywhere.' he said, and that's what I want. So while I was standing at the street corner with my big backpack, I just saw lots of guesthouses, bars, restaurants, cafes, shops, tourists, pitchmen wandering around. Everywhere, indeed. The story begins here If you are a backpacker, you can find anything you need here in Khao San Road, where anything could happen. Different people of different colors from different nations with different faiths are all gathered here. And never mind who you are. Vegetarian? Cynical? Psychologist? Or monomaniac? No care. For me, this was where my story began. Punks I have been worried about the party since I never travel together with most of them before. However, Khao San Road was the answer: being here, it's totally not important that whether you are in traveler's style, or punk's style, or else both. Eric, Winston, and I went to have our first experience of Thai massage secretly at night. Well, that's quite enjoyable. Searching for something different I was searching for something different, not for being a freshman here, but for a push, a clue, or a chance. I thought the very something should be related with someone. Not the wandering packman asking 'Not massage? No girl?' everywhere, either the funny waiter we met in Siam Restaurant. I met two Thai girls in Sawasdee Guesthouse, that was really impressive anyway. Sawasdee Ka I've loved Sawasdee Guesthouse since my first sight, and it was the first guesthouse we checked in Khao San Road. The hall was comfortable with wooden craftworks at right places, the open area was also a cafe, and their box-like rooms (as described in my handbook) were attractive. Then agency Ma'am was friendly so we booked our tickets to Phi Phi from her, the pub neighbored was hot. I really enjoyed selling the tickets at the pub entrance with Nui together that night. Navigator We left Bangkok, heading to the south. To tell the truth, I was not sure whether our way was right, either how far it was. But you never try, you never know. That’s getting closer as an adventure, but that’s the way I like… J W & T J W & T were the 3 other members I invited expect the 4 punks. James was a funny guy, and he had also been my travel partner; Winston was a sports-shaped guy who had a much stronger massager than me; they two were like elder brothers in the party, and they joined the party for a vacation I guess. Traphana joined us in Bangkok, she's coming since she just finished a company meeting in Bangkok, so it's a good deal for her to travel with us in the following day. The H 3 There's no special meaning for the letter 'H'. But if saying H3 refers to the 3 fellows living together in Huajin, I'd rather take it as recalling our happy punk life as the ever gang of H4. Eric and I were the two initiators, but I refused Linda at first because I thought she could be a trouble maker and a male party was better if possible. After doing a lot of homework, I've made out all the plan, the tickets, the whole damn trip. Aye! Captain! Sara was the most 'uneasy' fellow in my party because she was in even worse economy condition than me, had to afford additional cost to traveling between Beijing and Guangzhou, our jumping-off point. I knew she will finally go with me from the start when I was inviting her. So when we got on the boat, ocean breeze kissing our faces, to me she said, 'Captain, thank you for inviting me.' Traveler’s spirit We were supposed to go to Phuket first, but the wrong bus took us directly to Krabi, but I thought that's just fine. Afraid of the unknown, running away from the unsure, concerning too much, that would at last become backward-looking. Something await you to try, and some place await you to explore; not knowing is half of the fun. The traveler's spirit was always the best navigator. Phi Phi Island We got to Phi Phi Island at last, and I got to know that we’d come to the right place… Beach adventurers Now it's low tide so there were slippery reefs all along the coast line. We didn't know how long but it seemed to be the only way to the Long Beach described as an ideal place for us to live in my handbook. All travelers stopped, tired with their big pack on the back, looking at me. 'Are we able to cross it?' the girls murmured. 'Yes we are, let's go!' I didn't know why, but I was always the one to say words like that. I was such a fucking hero. "Let's go". I felt like I'd waited all my life just to say something like that. You have to enjoy a moment like that. You just don't know, you see: it may never happen again. Model cat We have met quite a number of dogs in Bangkok, and now it's the cats' turn. You could possibly find a cat wandering by the beach, or sitting at the front door of your hut of the hotel, or spotting passerby beside the foot of the shopkeeper, or sleeping on the platform of a shrine, or looking down the whole island with us at the top of the mountain. Sara and I tried to make a name for each of the cats that we met. For the one, we called it 'the model cat'. The islander The islanders have build everything here: hotels or guesthouses by the beach, Thai restaurant, French restaurant, massage center, 7 eleven... Agencies were everywhere, most of them provide services to have a one' day islands tour. Sea sports were hot here, snorkeling, kayaking, game fishing, surfing, and we even saw a cliff jumping advertisement. The most attractive ones were the diving clubs, which were always painted in fresh colors with lots of strange equipments exhibited. Really a fantastic place I though. Pier to the paradise The coolest thing was to take a long tail boat and go between long beach and the pier in the morning. The water was clean and clear, cool breeze whisking your hair. The pier was quite small but quite busy. Lots of boat - long tail boats and a speed yachts, public and private ones, for tourists and for the cargo - dropped anchor in a row by the coast line. The pier is a sign, it means a start-up of a journey, or implies an end of it. Maybe you never know where you are leaving to from the pier, or maybe the island itself is the pier to the paradise. To the viewpoint Sara, James, Traphana, and I decided to see the sunrise in the morning, and the island map in my handbook indicated there was a viewpoint on the top of the mountain to the east. So the next day we got up early at 5, everything was dark and dim. Being the only 4 awake on the island, we had to search the way to the viewpoint by ourselves. We did ever miss our directions, we did get very tired in the jungle, we did suspect if it's really worthy to do it exchanging the sleeping time, and we did be afraid of being tracked by a monster in the dark, but finally we made it, we got to the viewpoint before the sunrise. Low tide You don't have to do many things or go many places during the journey. Your purpose is not 'well, I have done it' or 'I have been there', if you are doing something or at some place you like, just take your time and enjoy it. Sara had the same attitude with me, and we got on the same boat: lying our small kayak to have the sun shower on the waves, rowing the oars to cross the whole Loh Daiam Bay, we finally found the secret Monkey Beach. The sand here was softer than any other beaches we have been, and few people came to this place. We didn't want to go back until it was low tide. I never realized the water could get down so fast that we were grounded right in the middle of the urchins' army. Luckily the man rented me the kayak came to save us, 'What make you so late?' he whispered grouchily. 'Sorry, but your island is too beautiful.' I said. Cinq-a-sept Long Beach was one of the quietest beaches on the island, since most of the tourists were gathered around the town between the Loh Daiam Bay and Ton Sai Bay. Walking along the Long Beach in the evening, the sun fell behind the mountain to the west, cloud enlightened, the sea was reflected as burning waves. When the night fell, you never believed there were so~~ many shining stars embedded in the pure silver Milky Way. And you realized that in the eternity of space, you were actually sailing a boat in the river of infinity. At that moment, I wandered how stoned and fantastic it would be if now she was sitting by my side... 7 legendary Chinese Every dinner time, we would have quite an campaign. Thai food was very delicious I mean, but the quantity was too small for each of us. We didn't know if it was for the Thais who have a too small appetite, or we Chinese really have a big stomach. On the first day we tried to keep gentle at the table, when I already noticed Winston's eyes revolving, seemed that he's not surrendered yet. But just since the second day we all gave up to pretend no hunger. 'One more rice please', at least I heard we called for 3 times. The westerners at the near tables were too surprised to say a word, but just watching these loud people. Linda started to sing in Michelle's way again, 'You know one time, on the island, there were 7 legendary Chinese, calling for Rice Rice all the time, and it's so funny!' Maya Paradise I was riding on the head of the shooting long boat, yelling selflessly, while the ocean waves shook the boat up and down. You got the feeling, and know that’s worth the journey… Swim 'We swim?' Eric and I have had a plan to swim indeed, from Phi Phi Don to Phi Phi Lay, which was in fact a Thai national park. So we practiced a lot in the swimming pool before starting off, while I collected some information for the Indian Ocean. But at last we felicitated that we didn't do that. It's too far and the waves were too strong. 'Let's save the next time.' 'Yeah, you got the spirit.' Long tail boat A long tail boat was much cheaper than the big yacht, but it's worse safety and much easier to got a mal de mer. We rented a long tail to the Phi Phi Lay from the agency, and for better service, I personally gave our boatman 100 Baht additional cash. This guy was fine, and we had a nice tour to the Snorkeling Bay, Maya Bay around Phi Phi Lay, and also an exciting snorkeling by the Monkey Beach for Sara's and my recommendation. The only thing I didn't understand was why this guy could possibly hold an urchin in his hand and smiling. Cautions in the blue Our first stop to the Phi Phi Lay was the Viking Cave, which used to be a hideout for pirates. The cliff inside where bird nests were now harvested for bird's nest soup. But what impressed me most was the 'savage' fish in nearby area. The fish was small but in typical tropical colors, but they would show crazy passion to anything could eat: rice, bread, and even me! I remembered clearly how I was bitten by one of them on my back whiling I was snorkeling near the Monkey Beach. They must think that I was a huge piece of food. Snorkeling My first time experiencing snorkeling was in the Snorkeling Bay. Surrounded by the circle of cliffs, this place was just like a perfect swimming pool for the beginners. I was not very conditioned to the mask and the air pipe at first, but soon that became a piece of cake. The water was shallow and perfect clear, the sunshine was floating with my body, masses of curious fish was just swimming around you no further than one meter! I was a big stranger in this world. Maya Think about a bay, hidden in a small island with a ring of high curving wall of rocks enclosed. Then image, the sand's all pure white, the water's crystal clear, tides upward, hitting the rock, echoing, tides downward, reflecting the glint of sunshine shower. Palm trees, coconuts, a whole tropical jungle lives behind the perfect beach. Welcome to Maya paradise. The beach Couldn't wait for reach the beach, I jumped into the sea, swimming straight to my dreamland. I have been thinking about the moment for totally 3 years, since I've watch a movie named the Beach. The story was about a young traveler, by accident he got a map from a mysterious man who cut his wrist in the guesthouse; with a French couple he left Bangkok and start his journey to the south; with great adventures they finally made their to the beach, a secret utopia world and a community of travelers lived here, enjoying a paradise life. Although the community was broken up at last and paradise seemed have other meanings, the story have deeply taken root in my heart. Swimming straight to my dreamland, I couldn't be more excited to find the place where the movie taken sights as 'the beach'. Right here. the beach has changed my life. Thoughts on the beach More or less, Maya Beach was polluted because of the big growing number of tourists. The sand was no longer perfect clean, the water was no longer perfect clear. Speed yachts and long tail boats made the engine loud, and the jungle was getting smaller. City people were weapons, but I was just another of them. Then I saw small one, trembling in its shell, spotting me anxiously. After 5 seconds it decided to run away. I remembered the hundreds of crabs on the Monkey Beach, and that monkey. I wandered if their appearance was a sign of refusing, I thought I was not belonging here, I was just a guest. Beach boys While the girls were going far away to make fun in the water, we four boys all chose to sit by the beach silently. On the beach there were Europeans, wandering in pairs, and Thais - the boatmen I guess - resting in the shadow of rocks, and a noisy group of Japanese. A Latin girl in orange bikini appeared with her boyfriend in front of us. Her legs were brown and slim, they sat by the water when the girl tried to make different sexual poses for her boyfriend's camera. I didn't know why after that her boyfriend left her alone, but we all watched her. We all saw the way she played between the waves and the beach, getting off her bikini. When her eyes glanced to us we looked away, and when she turned to the bay we looked back. Maya jump We found a perfect mini beach away from the keep-coming tourists, and soon this place has become our private happy garden. James and Winston were snorkeling in the waves. Traphana lay her back on the beach. Linda carried a conversation with another tourist in English for totally 5 minutes and finally found he's a Chinese. Eric and I swam a long way to another beach on the opposite side of Maya Bay. The most funny one was Sara, who declared that she found a crocodile in the water, very gravely. But soon we found that was just a bundle of rope. Minutes later she asked us to help bury her body into the sand, what she actually received a raving sand attack. We'll never forget Maya, never forget the beach. One~ Two~ Three~ Jump! Underwater World I jumped, diving into the blue, and finally find my different world. You have to JUMP to know the feeling of being different, and you have to DIVE to see what’s below the surface… Diving practice Putting up my diving suit, fastening my belt with six plumbic blocks, and getting into the heavy BCD with 200 bar Oxygen in the yellow tank, now I was finally a genuine diver. The diving instructors were very earnest so that after one hour diving theory course, we had to practice the 'Three Tips' again in the crystal blue water around Phi Phi Lay. 'Never hold your breath in the water.' I whispered to myself continuously. Frankly speaking I was a little nervous before my first diving, but soon I thought that's piece of cake for me. And I could 100% put my mind onto the fantastic underwater world. Barakuda diving club The diving clubs were everywhere on the island, but we chose the Barakuda. They had plenty of diving equipments, they had various diving routes, they had 3 pretty boats, and 3 very nice diving instructors. Steve was the leader, this strong man had more than 24 years diving experience, so he's in charge of three of us: Eric, Sara and me. Thish was a beautiful young girl (same age as me), mixed blood of English and French, but she's already a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), and she's responsible for the troublesome Linda. I couldn't remember the third man's name, but I bet Traphana knew it. What can be more lucky than working while enjoying. Crystal palace You can never image what the underwater world is like if you'd never been there. You dive, you have come another world of trance planet. you are flying, the time turns slower, everything is surrounded by the color of blue. You are a big fish, thousands of small ones are swimming around you; you are a stranger, urchins on the seabed are looking at you curiously. Yellow coral, blue starfish, silver sea rocks, and shining air bubbles, you forget everything in the real world until the oxygen is used up. And you know, you are not dreaming. Gate to the next life Steve looked back, lifted his hand and circled his fingers to me, 'saying' OK? And I gave back the same body language. I checked my oxygen supply, only 50 bar left, which was the level that a DSD should go up to the surface, but I decided to stay by my own a little longer here. Steve swam further, Sara followed, Eric went to cross a channel, my camera's out of film. I became even more relax to backstroke, bubbles floated upwards. At that moment, I saw a light, glimmering, rippling, and summoning. Among the light, I felt everything, and I felt nothing. My mind's out of control. Maybe I'd come to the gate of samsara, every single creature would have a new born right behind the gate. Who am I anyway? What if I die here? Death was the end? Or a new beginning? Maybe I was already dead. The red pigs The red pigs were all happy-go-lucky at first, sleeping on the beach without any sunshine proof cream, or rowing kayak all the afternoon. But soon they regretted their overconfidence since they all met big troubles right after coming back from Maya Bay. They couldn't carry anything on the back, but soon even a touch could make them cry loud. The worst thing was sleeping on the bed had totally become an affliction. When things get over laden, you have to pay for it. That's the rule. Game Over Game over A journey, or an adventure is just my big game, and now the game is over. No matter how different or difficult it is, it will just become memory. But a traveler will never stop, and the same dream will never end...