During breakfast we discussed what we might do that day
. We talked about going off the resort to the Tiger Cave and then out to a nice waterfall and hot springs, but the most important thing that we knew we had to do was the Monkey Trail. The guy yesterday on the boat really intrigued me with his wild animal story. The lore of this trail is making me very desirous of investigating it for myself. But, that will be later today we decide. We found out that the resort has a kid’s program called Kid’s Safari and Major was very, very interested. All he wanted to do after breakfast was go to the program. I told Mickell all I wanted to do was go hang out at the beach again and read my book until it's time for the monkey trail. So, we altered our plans and just decided to have another relaxing day and then go eat in Ao Nang after crossing the monkey trail.
After we dropped Major at his Safari program, we dropped by the spa to choose our massage treatments that Mickell and I both decided to try. We decided to do this because Mickell discovered an offer where you decide up-front to spend 10,000 Bhat at the resort and they'll give you 15,000, but you lose it if you don't spend it all. We knew we'd spend 10,000 so we decided to splurge with the extra 5,000. I decided to sign up for one called the total back care for men and Mickell signed up for one that was called the Signature Salt Pot Muscle Melter which was a full body massage with a hot salt compress
. Mine was scheduled for later tonight at 8pm and Mickell’s was scheduled for tomorrow morning at 10AM. I chose mine because, in addition to a full back massage, they used some kind of hot scrub to exfoliate my back. I thought that it sounded somewhat relaxing and rejuvenating. After the treatment I had in Hoi An, I decided I’d take the next step and get a full back massage rather than just a shoulder and neck massage recognizing that I’d have to take my shirt off for this one.
So we staked out some beach chairs and just chilled and before we knew it was nearing 17:00 and it was time to brave the Monkey Trail! We had picked up Major from the club around 15:30 and he was swimming and playing with some new found friends so it was difficult to get him to redirected onto our Monkey Trail Adventure. He got interested when I told him that the little town on the other side of the trail had a McDonalds. After Major finally (and reluctantly) agreed to come and cross the monkey trail with us, we walked the short walk to the other side of the resort where the cliff meets the ocean to enter the famous Monkey Trail. As I mentioned earlier, there’s only two ways in and out of this secluded resort – the floating pier or the Monkey Trail. The signs clearly state that the Monkey Trail is NOT owned and operated by the resort, but rather a part of the National park that surrounds the resort on all sides
. The trail is treacherous. It’s the only path to Ao Nang. We started climbing the Monkey Trail by 17:15 and immediately (just like Monkey Beach) the Monkey trailed proved to be worthy of the name. Right after climbing the first set of steps on the path, we were greeted by a family of roughly 8 to 10 Long Tail Macaques. There were several babies and juveniles in the clan and they were not at all bothered by our presence. I rested my hand on a wooden rail and just stayed still to watch them interact. One of them came to me and pulled my hat off. They’re very curious and I don’t think they see many hats like mine. I pulled my hat back and the little guy decided to climb up and rest on my shoulder. At first I was OK with this, but my better sense kicked in and thoughts of disease transmission and an embarrassing trip to the Thai ER because of a monkey bite caused me to find a way to get the little guy off me. As I kept walking in hopes he’d jump off we came to the group’s lead male and he was not pleased that I was ostensibly carrying off one of his clan members. I quickly remembered what the guy in the boat told me about the wildlife on the monkey trail. He said, "if an animal starts to get aggressive, just look away and don’t make eye contact." He reasoned that by looking away you are showing that you’re not challenging the animal for its territory and not aggressive. So, that’s what I did. I looked away and he basically reached onto me and pulled the juvenile off me and I went about my business and so did he
! And that was only the first 5 minutes of the monkey trail.
To get from our side to the other side takes around 20 minutes of climbing and there are some beautiful vista views of the ocean as you make the trek. We hit the trail at just the right time because the monkeys were making their way to their night time trees where they will spend the night. So the trail was full and they were going the opposite way that we were. They used the handrails to make their trek and Major got his hand in a little monkey poop that one of the little ones must have left behind. Our little monkey was not at all happy about that. We finally made it to the other side and jumped down off the trail onto the Ao Nang beach. From there, it was probably another 10 minute walk to get to the little town. It was already 18:00 and I needed to get back to the room and take a shower, do some work, and then get to the spa in time for my back treatment. So, I decided to turn back and return to our resort while Mickell and Major went on to town to eat at McDonald’s and maybe buy a shirt or two.
My trip back across the trail was uneventful, but by the time I made it back to the room I was drenched from the high humidity. I showered, worked a little, and then made my way down to the spa for my treatment
. The treatment began with a foot washing by the masseuse and then she asked me to get undressed and change into some disposable underwear. I told her that I’d just wear my swimsuit. She said it was OK and I laid down on the table and the procedure began. She first put what felt like some course sand/salt on my back and rubbed it around. It seemed like she did that three or four times and then she put some hot towels on my back and let me sit for a while. She then washed my back and then put some more sand/salt mixture on my back except this time it was very hot. She’d then use some tool to scrape it off. I’m guess this was the exfoliation that they mentioned was included in this total back care treatment for men. I must say that this process was a bit painful and at several times I thought of ending the treatment. I felt like as she scraped with whatever tool she was using that she was pulling at the hairs on my back and it really hurt. But, finally that part ended and she rubbed some nice coconut oil on my skin, turned down the lights, and started the massage part. It was heavenly. She even got on top of the table and used all of her weight to get deep into the tissue. After 80 minutes, it was over. As I got up off the table, I was totally light headed. I literally had to sit back down before I could go put my shirt on and walk out. Before they let me leave, they showed me to an area on the terrace and gave me some tea and some warm cashew nuts. After that, it was over and I made my way back up to our villa (#1133) to start work for the day
Mickell and Major were already home when I returned. They got home around 21:15 they said. They mentioned that there wasn’t much to the little town and that I hadn’t missed anything. Major showed off his Happy Meal toy and Mickell showed off a couple of t-shirts that they scored on the excursion. Mickell didn’t eat at McDonalds so neither of us had eaten supper. So, we ordered some room service. I got the Tom Kha Gai yet again along with some Phad Thai. They brought ice so I could have my Pepsi Maxes (they didn’t have Coke Light) throughout the night to keep me awake. After we ate our meal, Mickell went to bed (Major had fallen asleep well before we even ordered room service) and I worked to roughly 4:30AM before retiring for the night. Tomorrow we leave for Bangkok and the porters will be at our room to collect the bags at 11:30.
Even after going to bed at 4AM, I got up for breakfast by 9:30 because Mickell and Major said it was the best breakfast since Xi'an. We had big plans for the day and the day started off with a bang. We were pretty much dressed and almost ready and Mickell went over to open the door and just look outside. He shut the door, but not all the way, and came back over to the bathroom to do something. I was sitting at my desk and I saw something move over by the door (I thought it was Major) and it was a little monkey in our room! It had come right in when it saw the opportunity. I yelled, "Hey, there's a monkey in here!" Mickell and Major both came out and the Monkey jumped up on the wet bar and grabbed a bag of peanuts from the minibar and took off out the door. He didn't choose the gummy bears or any of the front items. I think he knew what he wanted. Very proud of himself, he sat on our terrace and started eating the evidence. Those peanuts weren't cheap and I had specifically decided not to eat them last night because they were ridiculously priced (like 400 Bhat or something). So, once again, a morning encounter with the monkeys.