Monday, November 3, 2014


I started this blog a year ago, but forgot about it.  Mary and I had an almost identical experience tonight that reminded me to go back and finish this blog.  Here you go.

We observed some interesting local wildlife on our way home from dinner the tonight.  Bats.  These were not your run of the mill mosquito munching bats (although we saw those too).  These were big bats.  It was as if someone strapped bat wings to a local stray dog and sent it sailing through the sky as a Halloween prank, except these were no prank.

A bit of research led us to believe our flying friends to be Ptoropus lylie, also known as Lyle's Flying Fox.  Apparently there is a colony of them that spends a portion of the year based in Lumpini Park, just down the road from our condo.  Thankfully these particular bats pose little threat to humans, preferring to feast on fruit from local trees.

We've actually seen a flying fox before, at the zoo in Singapore.  The version we saw in Singapore was the Malaysian Flying Fox which is actually slightly larger than their Thai relatives.

Here's a picture we took at  the Singapore Zoo a few years back of the Malaysian Flying Fox hanging out in a tree.

We've spotted these bats on almost the exact same dates two years in a row.  If you're on Rama IV road or near Lumpini Park in early November, keep you eyes to the sky in the evening.  You just might spot one of these fascinating creatures!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Babymoon on Koh Lanta

Lately, I've been quite jealous of all the fall photos people have been posting to Facebook, sending us in email updates, or even the showing up on my pinterest homepage. Looking at homemade apple crisps, trees in all shades of neon yellow and orange, groups of friends in matching Hawkeye hoodies tailgating before a game, and families coming together for a cousin wedding in a picture perfect New England setting a can add up to two homesick expats!

However, we really have nothing to be jealous of....

Last week we headed to Koh Lanta in southern Thailand and were blessed to have 5 days away from the city. It was just the two of us and at 7 months pregnant... a babymoon.

Flying into Krabi airport, then taking a shuttle van on two ferries we arrived to our hotel on Ba Kantieng beach just in time to catch our first sunset. This beach was stunning. Soft sand, clear water, quiet and a peaceful vibe.

One of the best things about Baan Kantiang was the balance of quietness, yet some options for dinner and nightlife. Our favorite spot was the Why Not Bar which offered chill floor seating, friendly staff, live music and a fire show right on the beach.It's was a popular spot for people to gather as the sun went down.

Our first full day on the island didn't go exactly has planned. Koh Lanta is located in one of the world's best areas for snorkeling and scuba diving. We planned on hiring a boat to snorkel around, but no one would take me being nearly 7 months pregnant. So, plan B: Hike 25 minutes to a local beach. Ao Nui Bay was the best beach we have ever been to hands down. As we hiked down from the main road, we made the day's first footprints along the shore. Greg enjoyed snorkeling around and I enjoyed the cool water, cloudy skies, my book, and just all of God's beautiful creations. Besides for the two long tailed boats that stopped by for 20 minutes with a handful of tourists and the monkeys roaming the jungles, this was our private beach for the day.

Our second day on the island we stayed on our beach walking to the southern end in the AM and making our way back to the northern end by dinner time. Each taking turns cooling off in the ocean, reading lots of our books, and just enjoying being away from work!

Interesting Fact: Like most of southern Thailand, Koh Lanta is mostly Muslim. A majority of the restaurants did not sell beer or alcohol directly, but were conveniently located next to a bar (presumably owned by a Buddhist Thai) that did. How easy!

Our third day we hired a car/driver to explore the island. Again, we would normally rent a motorbike, but having a car was making a safe choice. Don't worry moms- we are taking care of your grandchild! Our first stop was on the other side of the island in Old Town. This town was originally home to local Chinese traders and until tourism arrived in the last few decades, was the island's biggest city. When the ferry pier was put in on the on the north of the island, this trading town quite literally got stuck in time. The main street still with its original light poles and old wood buildings create quite a different feel than the western side's built up tourism focused towns. We stopped for lunch on a cliff just outside of Old Town and enjoyed the jungle and ocean views before heading back to south western tip of the island to explore the Koh Lanta National Park. 

Located at the very southern tip of the island Koh Lanta National Park is one of Thailand's smallest parks. We skipped the 2km jungle nature hike and enjoyed it's nice beach. Greg hiked up to the park's lighthouse to capture these amazing pictures. Can you spot me in the upper left hand photo?

The park is known to be infested with mischievous monkeys, so we tried to keep our distance. Greg walked by one exploring another visitor's things just in time to scare it away. Luckily we weren't carrying any food so we felt safe that they'd skip over us when eyeing up who would be an easy source of dinner!

We spent our last night watching the beautiful sunset from the Same Same Bar/Restaurant and just wished our holiday lasted one more day. On Sunday we squeezed in a morning swim before heading to the pier to catch our van back to the airport and back to Bangkok. This was our last trip just the two of us and it was a great one! We feel very blessed.