May 2024

A Day to Remember


The day started off innocently enough…

The Most Beautiful Place on Earth (Seriously)

We awoke in the morning to a glorious breakfast served at our restaurant on the hill overlooking the beautiful Ko Phi Phi bay. Scott was toying around with the idea of chartering a private long tail boat to take us to Phi Phi Ley, a small island nearby which is renowned for its beauty and the home of the famous Maya Bay that served as the idyllic paradise in the movie “The Beach.” A 3-hour long-tail boat all to ourselves was a steal at $40 – cheap, yes, but keep in mind we are living on a very small budget here in Asia…and it seemed kind of expensive to us. Haha. We thought we’d find some people to share it with us, since the price didn’t change with more people. After approaching a few folks who declined, we decided to go to the beach for some R&R and go on the boat later. Little did I realize, Scott had a plan and actually didn’t want us to share the boat – so he cringed every time I made a friend on the beach and asked if they wanted to go. Fortunately for him, I didn’t find anyone. 🙂

Koh Phi Phi Ley

On the way to Koh Phi Phi Ley

Three p.m. rolled by, and Scott said it was time to go. I was feeling a bit tired that day and he seemed very concerned about this, and insisted I have a small nap on the beach before our boat ride. I didn’t think much of it. We found a driver to take us (and we even bargained the price down to $37), and off we went. Our driver, Saa, took us around the island and showed us all the nooks and crannies…and then we stopped for a snorkel in Maya Bay. It was wonderful. Beautiful fish and coral everywhere. Scott even found some sunglasses under the water – very timely…he’d needed a new pair for quite some time!

After we were done snorkelling, Saa asked us if we wanted to dock on Maya, but the national marine park charges a $6/person fee to land. We were like, uhm…I dunno…and he quickly says “don’t worry, free way behind. I take you there.” Of course! It’s Thailand. There is always a secret way, or a cheap way, or some sort of easy way out of things…

So Saa takes us to the “back door” to “the beach” – which is this rickety ladder that you have to get to by killing your feet on coral and rocks. We thought we wouldn’t be able to bring our camera either, since you had to swim a bit…but not to fear! Saa was prepared, and gave us a water proof bag! This guy was awesome. Definitely the best tour guide/boat guy we’ve ever had. So we climbed the back way to Maya, and spent time admiring the beach and the surroundings. The interior of the island was beautiful – a small flat tropical forest surrounded by tall limestone cliffs everywhere. We also really liked the Tsunami evacuation sign as if there’d be anywhere to go (Koh Phi Phi was hardest hit by the 2004 tsunami).

Maya Beach

Maya Beach

After Maya, we did some snorkelling near the back door entrance which was really nice. Then, Saa took us to a place that I completely forget the name – it is something like Phi-Phi-Son-Ley – but some Canadians we had met earlier told us about it and had dubbed it “heaven.” So, we’ll just call it heaven, because it really was. It was this stunning shallow glass section of water, completely surrounded by 360 degrees of limestone walls. The sun was also beginning to set, and it was just beautiful. Words or pictures can’t even express it. We swam around in heaven for awhile, and then it was time to go. Time to leave Phi-Phi Ley, truly one of the most beautiful (if not THE most beautiful) places on earth.

The Big Moment

As we were sailing back to Phi-Phi Don in the sunset, I was watching the sky and the water and thinking that life doesn’t get much better than this. All of a sudden, I heard Scott asking Saa to stop the boat and take a picture – I was like, what the heck…we already have tons! Then he said, “no, no, video.” This was a little fishy…what did he want a video for? Well, Mr. Montgomerie walks over to me, gets down on one knee (I really was not expecting this in the slightest)…and well, it’s pretty obvious what he was up to. I won’t get into the nitty gritty details on the blog, but it was amazing. Proposal on a long tail boat in the Adaman sea, after one of the most perfect days ever? Hmm…let me think about that one. 🙂 And for those of you wondering about a ring: he did have one. Now, when he pulled it out, I had the most disturbed look on my face…I purposely left all jewellery at home before embarking on this trip for fear of being mugged for it (since we are visiting some pretty sketchy places) and I was kind of worried he had carried around something expensive…and then I was scared that I was going to have to be responsible for this expensive thing for the next 3 months.

The big moment

The big moment

To my large relief, he pulled out the most hilarious little ring that is just so perfect – a cheap little gold plated thing purchased in Malaysia – that doesn’t even fit the right finger. 🙂 So now I have a Malaysian engagement ring, and a Thailand proposal. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get better than this. (And to those of you still wondering, yes, there will be proper rings eventually when we aren’t living like vagabonds in third world countries). But for now, it’s perfect. Absolutely perfect.

The Celebration – Wine and Muai Thai

We decided to celebrate that night by taking a long tail boat into the main town called Ton Sai for a nice seafood dinner and some wine by the beach. Wine is expensive and hard to come by here, so it’s a real treat…and we had a delicious meal of fresh king fish, rice in a pineapple and some veggies. Yum. All topped off with deep fried pineapple for dessert – the best thing ever… but I’m pretty sure you could deep fry poop and I’d still enjoy it.

Now, you must be wondering, how does one top all THIS off? Well, if you decide you want to tie the knot while in Thailand, there’s only one thing to do: drink buckets (or boo-kits as our Irish friends would say it) and watch Muai Thai boxing at a reggae bar. Buckets are basically toy sand buckets that you’d make sand castles with, filled with about a pitcher of cocktail – they get you drunk in a hurry. After a few of these, a lot of guys feel like a fight, and that’s what you get to do at this bar – put on the gloves and pretend you know how to kick box. Watching the westerners was pretty bad – they were drunken buffoons making each other bleed. The fully trained Thais however, wow. It was like watching a dance. When each fighter came on, they did a lengthy procession that was quite beautiful that involved kissing all four corners of the ring and doing many bows. The fighting was also quite graceful, and full of astounding acrobatic martial arts moves you’d never find in UFC. (Scott’s edit: this was wayyy cooler than UFC. One guy knocked another guy out with a horizontal two-legged kick to the head, no idea how he did this). Neither fighter came out very scathed – it was truly an art form. At the end of the match, each Thai fighter walked around the entire bar shaking the patrons’ hands and thanking them for their support. It was a very cool experience.

I Love Thailand!

Buckets full o' booze watching Muai Thai

Buckets full o' booze watching Muai Thai

We spent our last day in Phi-Phi getting Thai massages on the beach. For $10/hour, you can have a really strong Thai woman do very intense yoga-like moves on you. Much of it involves digging elbows into your back, knees into your bum, and walking around (yes, walking vertically) on your hamstrings. Scott spent most of it wincing in pain, which kept causing me to laugh and setting the Thai ladies into a flurry of “are you okays” – but it’s amazing. All this while you listen to the waves crash and watch the blue of paradise unravel before you. I love Thai massage. You are sore as hell the next day, but man did it do something…loosens everything up and makes you more limber. Have I expressed how much I love Thailand yet? 🙂

We got on the ferry in the afternoon, after postponing it from our scheduled morning ferry. We’d had just a bit too many “bookits” the night before and needed a bit of rest. The ferry ride back to Phuket was sad and we bid a tearful adieu to Phi-Phi. Obviously, it will always have a very special and dear place in our hearts…thanks in full part to Scott. I’m pretty sure I’m the luckiest woman on earth.

15 comments to A Day to Remember

  • Marc Chiswell

    OMG… that sounds ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!

    I am so so so happy for you guys!!!

    Congats and I’m going to have a beer tonight to celebrate!

  • Stephanie

    Yay!!!!!! That is so romantic. I am in tears sitting at my desk… how embarassing…. I cannot wait to celebrate with the two of you when you get back. Congratulations!!!

  • Cheryl

    WOW WOW WOW WOW. Now THAT is style, Scott! Not that I am surprised. I’m sooooo happy for you guys!! You are both so fortunate to have each other.

    And it’s really special that you have that place and that memory. Although not nearly as exotic, ours was Berg Lake, and it was the start of a lifelong mutual passion for backpacking – and it gives us a meaningful reason to return to Berg every couple of years. You guys will have somewhere incredible to go for milestone anniversaries, and it will remind you of why you love each other and the life-altering experiences you have shared.

    -love Cheryl

    P.S. I’m STOKED for the wedding! Which gorgeous, hot, beach-laden country are we going to? 😉

  • Alysha

    Scott, Kenna that was the most romantic thing I have ever read! I totally teared up. I am so happy for the two of you and so excited for everything that is to come for you guys. I can’t wait until you come home. Everyone misses you so much. I love you both so much!

  • Gina

    As I’ve already said–Yay!

  • David

    Congrats!!! Tonya and I are so happy for you guys. What an amazing place to get engaged. Looking forward to seeing you when you get back!! What an unbelievable trip

  • Betty Ryan

    Now that was worth begging for!

  • David

    Who knew Scott was such a romantic????? Congrats again guys

  • Scott

    Thanks guys, it was pretty unreal, both of us can’t quite believe it. It kind of feels like we’re not in real life right now, so it doesn’t feel real. I’m sure it’ll sink in when we get back home. Thanks again!

  • Angela

    Congrats again! I’m so glad you guys posted this up. It’s honestly the most romantically planned proposal. Hurray!

    Can’t wait to hear more of your stories when you get home 🙂

    Take care!

  • Scott Neumann

    YA! Go team! Congrats again. Scott you are awesome!

  • Serena

    WOW WOW WOW!!! Well done Scott, u did good!!! (great actually!!) So delighted for you both!!!! xxxxx

  • Ryan

    Congratualtions!!!! I’m so happy for you both!! What a perfect, story telling proposal. Scott, your the man. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

  • Tim

    Not going to lie here — It took me like 4 years to convince Katie that this stuff only happens in movies, you ruined that ;). Congrats you two, very exciting story!

  • Dad

    I would like to offer a small piece of advice in the form of a quote by the Dalai Lama from his “Instructions for Life in the new Millennium”.
    I have also taken the liberty of changing a word or two from the Dalai Lama’s original verse I hope he is ok with this. “” Remember that the best marriage is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

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