Today was without a doubt one of my favorite days of the trip. Mom needed a chill-out day, so Su and I decided to rent a scooter and take in Khanom native-style. The scooter, for a 24-hour rental, cost us a total of $9 USD plus another $30 for gas. We hopped on and made our way into Khanom proper. The “town” is about 1 mile long and lined with shops. They do have a KFC there and a few very nice jewelry stores, so it’s quite hip in its own way.
Su had the idea of getting pictures developed and creating some photo albums to give to her parents. We went to the camera shop, dumped our memory cards onto the store’s computer and picked several hundred pictures to have developed. We also got three pictures blown up and framed – one for Su’s parents, one for my Mom, and one for our house. The pictures were going to take most of the day, so we did some shopping in town for a while.
I have no idea why, but my stomach started to act up a bit. The only Western bathroom in town was at the KFC, and so I wouldn’t be perceived as a rude farang I suggested we go there so I could use the facilities and we have lunch there as well. (I know none of my friends are going to believe me when they read this, but it’s true that the only reason we went to KFC was because I had to use the bathroom.)
After lunch we dropped by the camera store again just to see what the progress was. They said everything wouldn’t be ready until at least 6PM, and in true Thai fashion they offered to deliver everything to our beach house when they closed the shop… free of charge! I knew we were going to have trouble carrying everything on the scooter to begin with; couple that with their willingness to go the extra mile to help out and we couldn’t refuse.
It was still early in the day and Su and I weren’t ready to go back to the beach house yet, so we decided to make a surprise visit to Su’s parents at their house. The look on their faces when we pulled up and honked the scooter’s horn was absolutely priceless, and I wish we had taken a picture of their expressions.
Taking our spontaneous arrival very much in stride, they asked if I was interested in checking out a nearby cave that is something of a local landmark and tourist attraction. I had never been in a cave before, so I definitely wanted to check it out. We hopped on our scooter, Mom and Dad hopped on theirs, and we drove about five minutes down the road. The entrance to the cave is located on the side of a mountain, so we took a very steep stairway carved in the mountain. The entrance is definitely not farang-friendly, I will tell you that much. I’m surprised I could fit into it, to be honest.
The cave itself was amazing. Very humid and slippery, and lots of nooks and crannies to navigate in order to see everything. The cave basically winds itself down inside the mountain linearly with only one entrance/exit, so once you get to the end you have to turn around and go back the way you came to get out. I was not expecting the humidity and wasn’t even thinking that in a cave you’re going to have less oxygen than outside (duh!) and so I got very winded and, quite frankly, just a little bit worried. I wasn’t about to pass out in a cave in Thailand and have Su and her parents try to drag me out of there, so I had to cut the sightseeting just a little bit short. We did make it all the way down and back, but spent just a little less time looking around on the way back up than I probably would have if I had paced myself better.
Once outside I took some time to enjoy the breeze, catch my breath, and take in the elevated view of the surrounding area. Thailand truly is breathtaking, in more ways today than I had originally thought! After a brief respite we bid farewell to Su’s parents, who had to do another post-wedding errand, and Su and I headed back to the beach house. Our pictures arrived around 9PM and we spent the rest of the night with Mom looking at the photos.