To claim a day as the SCARIEST is a pretty big deal. Generally, my scaredy cat moments happen, and then I settle a bit, but this day was different. Event after event kept bringing more fear, more terror, and more scare. It got to the point that I wasn’t sure if I was going to survive. Sounds a little dramatic, I know, but that’s EXACTLY how this day went. This was the scariest travel day of my life!!
If you’ve read the About Brittany Page, you know that I’m scared of a lot of things. Boats, waves, monkeys, the dark, rocks, snakes, and climbing are all at the top of the list. So if I told you this day combined all of those things, and they happened within the span of a few hours, I hope you’ll understand just how totally scary this afternoon was for me.
My day started off like any other day on the Thai Island, Koh Phi Phi. Monkeys trying to fight their way into our room and boats in the bay. After a series of monkey issues in Malaysia (that’s a whole other story), I was on high alert with the monkeys. As for boats, long boats to be exact, I just can’t seem to put them on my love list.
For the afternoon, we were on our way to see the world famous, Maya Bay. More commonly known as “The Beach”, thanks to Leonardo DiCaprio’s popular flick. I was semi-prepared. I knew I’d have to take a long boat to reach this “secluded” beach, so I’d been amping myself up for the ride.
Clearly, I didn’t amp myself up enough. This turned out to be the roughest, scariest, and most fear-inducing boat ride I’ve ever experienced. We were on what seemed like a dinky wooden boat, with a guide that spoke zero English and us, zero Thai, no life jackets and a channel of water that grew progressively wavier as we left the shore.
Without exaggeration, the swells in the water were at least 5 feet high and completely blocked my view of land. PANIC was setting in fast! I spent a majority of the ride clenching the boat bench so hard that later in the day I could barely move my arms. My travel mates, my husband, Thruxton, and sister, Kp, seemed to actually be enjoying the ride, which only made me panic more, as I was clearly the only sane one on the boat.
Luckily, land was in sight and our first stop finally arrived, Monkey Beach. I’m not really sure why I thought a beach, literally called Monkey Beach, would be anything other than monkeys on a beach, but I quickly realized I was wrong. Monkey Beach, was exactly that, a beach filled with ferocious monkeys…EVERYWHERE…
As you know, monkeys scare me, A LOT! But just imagine, I’m so thankful to be off the water, I bolt for shore, to take on some monkeys. Oh these monkeys are not unfamiliar with tourists, I’m pretty sure they just wait around all day for us to arrive. After just a couple minutes on the beach, I was even more terrified than I was on the water and was ready to hightail it off this beach. Monkeys were coming from every direction and were ready for tourists.
Monkeys started jumping in boats, stole things, jumped on people, and one guy got seriously clawed. My heart was racing faster than ever. Out of sheer fear and panic, I started shouting at Thrux and Kp because what else do you do in this situation, the monkeys were taking over. GET ON THE BOAT NOW!!! I REPEAT GET ON THE BOAT NOW!!! The fact that I wanted to get back on the boat and back into the waves, should tell you something. The monkeys were worse than the waves.
Journey to Maya Bay
So back to clenching the boat bench and reflecting on how I NEVER want to experience a monkey again. Onward and upward, you think my fear should start to tapper off and let me settle a bit. WRONG. Due to the rough waters, our boat wasn’t able to pull in behind Maya Bay and let us off into the water close to shore. We had to go in the back way.
Let me tell you what this back way included. More waves, walking over rocks in a dark water cave, a very large snake, and climbing. Ugh. And this was only one way. If I wanted to get to Maya Bay, I’d have to endure all these things on the way there AND way back.After sitting on the edge of the boat for far too long, trying to recover from the waves and monkeys, I contemplated whether I really wanted to see Maya Bay after all. Thruxton convinced me, we did take this long wavy boat ride, so I better smarten up and get moving. We ended up being the only ones off our boat to make the journey. Remember, we had little communication with our guide and he gave us a simple point of a finger and we were on our own. I’m almost positive if I wasn’t already hopped up on adrenaline from earlier, I probably wouldn’t have made it.
We hop into the water and immediately feel the bottom is covered in rocks. Great, walking on rocks scares the jeepers out of me. Wet rocks are so slippery and dangerous. Very, very slowly and carefully, as Thruxton waits at the cave entrance for me for ages, I finally make it to the cave. OMG. Why is this cave really dark, full of water and waves!? I man up and start to plow full steam ahead…for about three steps and start panicking and crying. The tears will definitely help the situation. *Insert eye roll* Poor Thruxton then has to double back in the dark cave to come rescue me. This time, Thruxton brings up the rear and slowly forces me out the other side of the cave.We are out of the cave! We made it!! I stop dead in my tracks. WTF!? Why is there now a rope hanging down from what appears to be a wall of rock?? Was reaching the other side of the cave not the worst part?
Wow! Now we have to CLIMB A ROCK WALL! More panic. Panic at a whole new level. A boat, waves, monkeys, the dark, a water cave and now a rock wall to climb. At this point I’ve never had so many scary moments so close together and I’ve never been so on edge in all of my travels. After many failed attempts of going up and down the first segment of the rock wall, I finally made it up and over, completely covered in cuts and scrapes. Keep in mind all of this adventure is happening solely in my bikini.
FINALLY, we make it to Maya Bay! Given how long it took us to get there (all my fault) we hardly have any time. The beach was okay, but I think after all the hype and effort it took to get there, I was a little let down. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice spot, but it’s very over run by the herds of people eager to visit. It was a great spot to chill out and get a hold of myself, because for heaven sakes, at this point I don’t even know who I am anymore.
Back to the long boat…
Our quick visit to Maya Bay is over and we have to head back to the boat, which means we have to repeat this treacherous ordeal all over again. Can’t be that bad, we’ve already done it once. WRONG AGAIN! That rock wall we climbed up, we have to climb down this time. This involved me getting stuck part way on the wall clinging onto the rope and my feet being brutally stabbed by rocks, all while not being able to move and of course, more tears. Prince charming to the rescue again. I very ungracefully managed to get back to the cave with much needed assistance and was more than ready to find our boat.
Surprise in the cave
Once again, a few steps into the cave, I freeze. Only this time, something seems off. Thruxton isn’t turning back to help me and he’s frantically telling me to hurry up and MOVE!! Something is wrong. I just don’t know what yet. He is continuously telling me to “move, GO, MOVVVE!!”, so finally I do. OMGGGGG!!! Now a HUGE BLACK SNAKE falls from the roof of the cave and lands right beside me!! I’m in a dark water cave with a snake!! Officially in serious overdrive, I book it through the cave, over the rocks and back to the boat with my heart beating faster than it ever has. Get me back to land please!!
Take me back to land!
First, back into the choppy channel for another terrifying boat ride. At this point I don’t know up from down and have resumed the position of clenching the boat bench. I sat very quietly the whole way back while Thruxton and Kp teased me about how awesome the waves were. Once again, there were a few tears shed. I can’t 100% tell you if the tears were from all the fear throughout the day or if I’ve ever been so happy to see land before. Likely a combination of both.
Back on land my heart continued to beat rapidly and my nerves were a wreck for the next few hours. Some time later in the evening I started to destress and was able to reflect on how much I’d challenged myself. It actually turned out to be a pretty amazing day after all, thanks to Thruxton’s super coping skills. I definitely will never visit Monkey Beach again, or even recommend it, but all I know, is that this journey to Maya Bay was the scariest travel day of my life, but I survived!! Let this be a lesson for all you other nervous people, sometimes pushing yourself (within reason) out of your comfort zone isn’t always so bad. Get out there and try something new today!!
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