Prachuap Khiri Khan turned out to be one of the highlights of Thailand so far! After cleaning myself up a bit (refer to the last picture in the ‘Sweat Hogs’ post), we ventured out to the night markets. First stop was the market near our hotel, set up in a big parking lot. We ordered fruit shakes here, which are served in bags rather than cups. That’s the standard for most of the food stands in Thailand. This serving method means you can’t ever set your drink down and must either finish it quickly or carry it around like a purse on your wrist. The lady that made our fruit shakes approved of Jamie’s selection - watermelon - by saying ‘delicious’! She did not have anything good to say about my cantaloupe shake and only shook her head and said ‘no’. Here I am stealing a sip of the delicious watermelon shake:
Next we walked down near the water and through the town’s gigantic fair. It was being held in honor of the princess of Thailand’s birthday. There were rides for kids, carnival games with giant stuffed animal prizes, millions of food stands, and a lot of loud music. I sneakily took this picture of a cute little girl ordering crab-sticks at a vendor:
The next morning we got up early to beat the sun and walked around to see some of the temples. This one was immaculately maintained with beautiful gardens surrounding it. All the signs were in Thai and Prachuap Khiri Khan wasn’t mentioned in our guidebook so I don’t know much more than that.
Here’s another temple, in a different style. I need to learn the names of these styles and what they mean. We foolishly bought a ‘Southeast Asia’ guidebook rather than a Thailand specific book, so we usually don’t have enough information and feel like we don’t know what we’re seeing most of the time:
As we rode into the city yesterday we noticed a huge hill next to the sea, with a temple on the top. We were excited to climb to the top for the view! Here I am, halfway up the stairs. Even though it was extremely early in the morning I managed to completely soak my shirt with sweat again!
By far the strangest and most interesting thing about the climb to the top of the hill were the monkeys. There were literally hundreds upon hundreds of wild monkeys that lived on the hill. They owned the staircase and occupied most of the steps with activities like picking lice off each other, playing with rocks, play fighting with each other, nursing their babies, picking leaves off bushes and eating them, etc, etc. We literally had to squeeze past groups of monkeys sitting on the steps - they were not at all afraid of us and usually didn’t really get out of our way. It was actually a little bit creepy to be amongst hundreds of animals that aren’t at all afraid of you. Here is a mother, some babies, and some young monkeys huddled together either nursing or eating lice off each other:
Me warily picking my way through monkeys up the steps:
This was a small stray dog hanging out on the stairs. The poor thing had a horrific case of mange and had lots of raw bare skin showing through his fur. This little monkey came right up to him and started picking through his fur looking for bugs. The dog just stood patiently there and let the monkey groom him. Hilarious!
The views at the top of the hill were stunning!
On the way back down the stairs we had to pick our way through the monkeys again. There was a huge male monkey on one of the steps, playing with a shiny piece of metal. He was banging it on the ground and on the stairway railings. I must have looked too interested in his precious piece of metal because he glared at me and bared his teeth, then ran off the stairs to the hillside. He then started screeching and growling in a horrifically scary way… it was very low and guttural, and all the of monkeys on the hillside joined him. It was like he had sent up an alarm and all the other monkeys joined in on the growling to make sure everyone knew about the dangerous shiny metal coveting humans on the stairs. Jamie and I were both incredibly freaked out as we realized we were way on top of a deserted hill and surrounded by angry monkeys. To make it worse it was not just 10 or 15 monkeys growling - it was literally at least 100. Jamie said “Don’t act afraid! Just keep walking down the stairs!” So we did, the growling gradually died away, and we escaped with our lives!