Our last day in Railay was set aside for Deep Water Soloing (DWS). We took a longtail boat out with a group of about 10 other people and spent the day climbing up big rock formations (karsts) and jumping off them into the water. Travis was a bit more ambitious than Sarah and didn't hesitate to climb hard and jump from high spots. Sarah had a hard time commiting to the first jump, but then it all worked out.
Unfortunately, Sarah was also wrong about there not being any jelly fish. There were some huge pink ones floating around the DWS area and it made us very nervous.
After a couple hours of climbing, jumping, and swimming, we had some lunch and did some snorkeling - beautiful, colorful fish everywhere! Then some more DWS and headed home when the waves got too big.
We had a great time climbing and jumping, but we both decided we prefer to climb with ropes. Although it seems like you would be more free climbing on rock without a harness or rope and jumping into the water when you needed too, it was actually more stressful for us. You don't have the option of taking a break and sitting back in your harness to rest. You also have to constantly watch how far and where you're climbing, so you have a safe place to jump/fall into the water.
The next day we took a longtail boat, a van/taxi, and two flights - arriving in Chiang Mai around 5pm. We found our most recent traveling expedition through Thailand to be just as easy when we arrived, so nice! We've settled into a nice guesthouse in the old city area of Chiang Mai and plan to stay here for the week.
After a day of exploring the city and visiting the night market, we spent today in spot - around a stove. We enrolled in a day-long Thai cooking class and had a great time. We started by going to the local market to learn about the different ingredients and buy what we needed, then took them back to the cooking area to make some delicious food. We each signed up to make different dishes, so Travis and I know 12 Thai dishes between the two of us - not bad for one day. So everyone get ready for some authentic pad thai and spring rolls when we get back!
That's the update for now, we're doing a walking tour of the city and its beautiful wats (buddhitst temples) tomorrow, then Sarah is going back to the Thai cooking place to take a course on carving fruits and vegetables, while Travis goes to the local climbing shop to boulder around their wall for a bit. We head down to Lampang to spend three days at an elephant conservation center next week, so we are packing it all in while we can.
love and hugs to everyone!