A Travellerspoint blog

Phi Phi Paradise

Our boat to Phi Phi Island had free tea, coffee and cakes which was a treat! We made the most of them on our 2 hr journey. Then we had a hard walk along the beach with our backpacks for about 15 minutes but finally we made it to our hostel. A 4 bed dorm rihht on the beach so you step outside and have a sea view. So beautiful. It was so quiet along the beach, it felt like there was barely anyone on the island. It was perfect to just play in the sea, read a book and relax.

backpackers on the beach koh phi phi

backpackers on the beach koh phi phi

Outside our hostel they were giving a fire show. Fire poi with synchronisation down to a tee. Afterwards they lit a skipping rope on fire and anyone could jump through it. Bella was brave enough to go for it and she did fine. I was not going near the skippimg rope but did have a go at the fire limbo. Not when it got too low though! The local boys could go as low as like 10 cm or something crazy! And one even carried a girl under. They must get a lot of practice! We then went to a bar down the beach from our hostel. It was packed! I couldn't believe where everyone had come from. It's obvious Phi Phi is a party island focused on the nightlife.

IMG_161247231849365

IMG_161247231849365

Another day of relaxing amd Bella got a tattoo from bamboo. It's how they do tattoos in most of SE Asia with a lomg bamboo stick. Pretty cool actually. Me, Lisa and Stu from our dorm room climbed up to Phi Phi Viewpoint where we got the best view. Trees were covering the sunset but it was still beautiful. Lis and I got eaten alive by bugs and mosquitos though! Nightmare.

That night England were playing again. A game that was prtty vital they would win. It was on at 2am this time so we went out for tea had a few drinks and then headed to the Irish Pub to watch it. They had huge tv screens and enhlish commentary. it was absolutely buzzing. We had our faces painted and eeyone was chanting for England. It was ace. As you can probably tell there were ALOT of English people on Phi Phi. England ended up losing but it was still an ace night. I hadn't expected it to have been so busy and fun! We finally made our way to our beds at about 5am. Exhausted!

IMG_161215332099610

IMG_161215332099610

We woke up with a jolt on Friday as we had booked a boat to hire and were running late as we had all slept through Lisas alarm. Whoops! We grabbed our swimmers amd ran to the port where we found Fin our sailor for the day. We were all feeling slightly fragile after the crazy night we had had. The waves didn't help either! It ended up being an amazing day though. First stop was to Monkey Island. We fed the monkeys some bananas. They didn't seem particularly friendly to be honest. One stole a whole bag of crisps from someone. Then we went to Maya Bay where The Beach was filmed. It's as picturesque as it is in the movie. Shame about all the tourists really. We went for a swim here and couldn't believe we were swimming in the same water Leonardo Di Caprio had swam in haha!

Screenshot_2014-06-21-04-38-19

Screenshot_2014-06-21-04-38-19

It was after Maya Bay where we all felt particularly ill and slept on the boat for 2 hours just bobbimg on the water in a bay surrounded by islands. We woke up and decided to swim to a nearby beach to wake us up. One of those beaches that look quite close by but it actually takes ages to get there! We collapsed on the beach for 15 minutes before deciding we had to head back to Fin. We had a couple more stops and a couple more swims. A lovely last day for Lisa before she heads back to Scotland tomorrow. We have had a full packed 2 weeks. I have loved having her here. It's just been ace having someone from back home who has filled me in on 1 and a half years of gossip. She knows me and I know her so it's easy to travel together and yeah its just been great! Safe travels Liser!!

IMG_20140621_221742

IMG_20140621_221742

Bella and I continued on our road. Next stop Bangkok. We slept in the airport there as we arrived late and the trains weren't running again until 6am. I don't mind sleeping in airports though. Think I've just got used to it! We actually slept in and headed for the trains at 9am after a cup of coffee. We had 2 chamges to make on the train but it's a very easy system to use. I've found them all very similair actually. Our hostel was more like a hotel which I'm not really a fan of. It was very nice and clean but hard to meet amd talk to travellers. We walked around Bangkok and quickly decided we would have rather stayed on the islands for a bit longer. It's a very big, busy and dirty city. We got a boat down the river to see the Grand Temple but we weren't allowed to go in as Bella was in shorts and I was in a vest top and that's disrespectful to Buddha. So we walked around the markets nearby and got some sticky rice and mango. A Thai delicacy. Very delicious! We headed to the night markets in the evening only to realise we were a bot shopped out from all the markets. I bought a new bag anyway. Just a small one.

GOPR2535_1403144415832_high

GOPR2535_1403144415832_high

We decided we didn't want much longer in Bangkok so booked the over night train to Chiang Mai for the next day. I think that was one of the best experiences to be honest. I wasn't expecting much but it has been so comfy. In each section there are 2 sets of bunk beds each with a nice pillow and blanket. It was me, Bella and a Dutch guy in our section. It's quite small and very cosy so we got to know the Dutch guy pretty quickly haha. We got dinner and breakfast as we rattled along the train tracks. Going to the toilet was a struggle. They only have the squat toilets which is bloody impossible when you're moving around on a train! They weren't the nicest of things but other than that it was a great experience! I loved falling asleep on the train. Now I'm back in Chiang Mai. Think we may stay here for a week before I head to Vietnam to chill out on a beach before I head back to reality! Less than 3 weeks til my flight back to London!

IMG_161255973395996

IMG_161255973395996

Posted by amcara91 18:23 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Chilling In Chiang Mai

It is so nice to be back in Chiang Mai after busy Bangkok. The pace is a lot slower and more chilled out. Bellas Uncle used to live here so she's always been interested in it as well. I decided not to stay in the same place as last time as I'm pretty sure I got bed bugs from them. I have bites all over my legs in little lines of 3 or 4. They honestly look disgusting, even worse than mosquito bites! I hope they haven't jumped on my clothes. That would be a nightmare bringing them back home. An unwelcome souvenir. Our new hostel is really nice and spacious with a good outdoors bit for socialising. We've met a nice lad from USA who doesn't stop talking about the sunset on Phi Phi Island. I mean, it was nice but nothing crazy!

IMG_160442549873047

IMG_160442549873047

As Bella and I hadn't slept too great on the sleeper train we decided to have a nap and then head out and get some street food and a massage. We were pretty tired but decided to go and find somewhere to watch the final England game even though they couldn't get through to the next round of the World Cup anyways. We walked around for ages and ages until we saw some flashing colourul lights and heard music. It ho eatly seemed like this bar was in the middle of no where and was buzzing! We hadn't expected that at all. The football was on a tiny screen around the bar and we didn't want to seem anti social so bought ourselves a bucket of thailamd whiskey and coke. Turns out it's pretty grim. We sat at a table and immediately an English girl started talking to us. She was with a group tour from the UK like an organised group company. They were all super friendly amd before we knew what was happening we were having jaeger bombs and tequila with them. Honestly Bella and I had come out for a quiet night, looking awful, no make up, hair scraped back and basically wearing pajamas. I guesa the unexpected nighta are the best!

IMG_160409688514405

IMG_160409688514405

A few of the guys on the tour were from Scotland and I started speaking to them. 2 of them are just down the road from Alford and you will not guess what but I went to Uni at Heriott Watt with his brother! Unbelievable! The awkward thimg was I had deleted hos brother on Facebook 2 days before hand as I hadn't spoken to him in soo long! Crazy coincidence! Another guy was from Perth in Scotland. I know a guy from Perth who I did my winter season in Italy with. I thought what the heck let's see if he knows him and wham!! it's this guys flatmate!! I thought he was jokimg at first but he described him to a tee! Unbelievable! like can you actually believe that? In a random bar in a small town in Northern Thailand and I have to mutual friends. The world is small.

Right so the bar closed at 1am and everyone headed over to an underground nightclub called Spicys. We were all dancing away when suddenly the music stopped. It started again 15mins later and then stopped again shortly after. What was going on?? Finally a bartender told us the curfew was til 1am so the bar shouldn't have been allowed to be open and the police were outside. They turned the music off when the police came and as soon as they left they switched it back on! Haha! In the end they had to switch it off for good and send us all home. Probably for the best really!

IMG_160418677802734

IMG_160418677802734

So it was a late start today. We weren't feeling too great but had some quad biking to do in the afternoon. It was ace fun. Only Bella and I and the guide. At first the quad biking was on the road but then we went up country tracks. Winding around hills and getting higher and higher. We went through narrow roads and had to balance on tree trunks and dodge gaping holes in the floor. It was a bit scary actually! We got an amazing view of the valley at the top though. Really beautiful! Our bums were super numb after 3 hours of quad biking! A quiet night at a blues bar where we met up with the gamg from the night before. Another diehard snowboarder who I have promised to go snowboarding with at the beginning of next year. We will see if that actually happens!

Posted by amcara91 18:12 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Tigers, Boxing and Boogy Boarding

It didnt take too long to get to Phuket but there was a close call at the airport as I had accidentally said that we were both called Alice on our ticket.. My bad. He said we would have to buy another ticket but wasn't sure if we would be able to as the flight was fully booked. I was like, "well it won't be as there would be a space next to me where she would have sat if you had let her on the plane." I understand it was my fault and I made the mistake but it is ao frustrating how people try and rip you off like that. It costs nothing to change a name on a computer so why make such a big deal. In the end he said it was ok and we could go. Thank goodness! Why he made the fuss in the first place I have no idea. We got sandwiches and tea on the flight so it ended up being a super company.

toast and tea at the airport!

toast and tea at the airport!

We arrived around midday and decided to go and see Tiger Kingdom. It was nothing compared to the elephants. The tigers were locked in cages and seemed pretty lethargic and game keepers whipped them with sticks if they did anything bad like move in the wrong way. We got to go in the cages and pose for photos with them but it wasn't really my cup of tea. I had heard mixed reviews with most people enjoying it but I felt bad for the tigers who don't have lives out of the cages. We saw 3 month baby tigers whih seemed pretty big! They were kind of playful. Then there were huge ones which just lay down and walked around not very often. They were pretty scary to sit next to. It was interesting but not something I would do again.
Tiger Kingdom

Tiger Kingdom

In the evening we decided to go and see aome Thai Boxing! This was awesome! It started with 2 boys who can't have been older than 10. I thought it was a martial art but they really do punch each other in the face and kick each other so hard! In the third round one boy had to forfeit and limped out the ring. I felt so bad for him. We watched 5 more rounds. One guy had blood dripping all down his face at one stage but he ended up winning. Another guy looked like he got concussed when his opponent kneed him in the face and had to forfeit. Honestly it's such a violent sport and not what I was expecting!

IMG_20140617_200230

IMG_20140617_200230

The next day was a beach day and we rented surf and boogy boards. The waves were far too crazy for our surf skills so we swapped it after 10 mins for another boogy board and spent 2 hours cruising on the waves on them. So much fun! We walked back to the hostel to meet with my friend Bella from Melbourne who has come to Thailand for a month to travel. Dinner, cocktails and another cheap massage before an early night as we leave for Phi Phi Island tomorrow at 7am! I'm excited for some chilled out island action. I hope its like Gili Island. Screenshot_2014-06-25-15-44-01

Screenshot_2014-06-25-15-44-01

Posted by amcara91 21:48 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Elephant Riding and Chiang Mai!

Chaing Mai was our first stop in Thailand. A lot mpr chilled out than Bali. Less tooting taxis and people asking for photographs. Our hostel was incredible and was showing all the World Cup games. Amazing! On our first day we headed around the markets and Losa bought some souvenirs. We spotted a massage place and couldn't believe how cheap it was so had to get a head, shoulder and bck massage. This was the first of many! We stayed up until 2am to watch the Spain vs Holland game. I was supporting Holland and Lis was for Spain. Holland trumped them 5, 1 which was ace. Glad we stayed up for it, poor Lisa wasn't so happy.

The next day was pretty chilled out. We had a nice lie in and then wandered aroind the old city. We saw temples and lots of markets. One street was 1.5km long and filled to the brim with different stalls; trousers, tye dye, bags, banana fritters, fresh fruit, mini elephants, scarfs. Honestly eveything! I love it all and wanted to buy so much. I stopped at 2 pairs of trousers, 1 mini elephant and 1 scarf. Lisa wenr pretty crazy with gifts for her family. I fwlt like we'd bought half the market by the time we grabbed a Tuk Tuk home. Tuk Tuks are quite hard to describe so here's a picture.. Haha! Mini motorbike with horse and carriage I guess.. Without the horse obviously.
Screenshot_2014-06-25-15-46-29

Screenshot_2014-06-25-15-46-29


My alarm was set for 4.45am for Englands first game against Italy. I ended up waking every hpur as I was so excited. At 20 to 4 I got up and said "Lisa, I'm going downstairs now, there's only 20 mins til kickoff!" she was like "err it's only half past 3 Al!" oh my God I was so annoyed and just decidedto go downstairs anyway. The sitting room was already pretty full with a good crowd of travellers, mainly English. One had drunk too much beer and was already passed out in the corner. They had decided to stay up all night for it which I thought was pretty crazy. It was an alright game but England lost much to all our disappointment. lis and I couldn't be disappointed for long though as we were getting picked up for elephant riding in half an hoir! Woohoo! Quick coffee and shower and we were ready!

We drove for about 45mins round windy roads. We were in the van with an American couple who were on there 'extended honeymoon' they were pretty annoying and rude. Saying things like "uhh a hostel. What's that like?" in a disgusted voice. They seemed to know everything about everything. Anyways it didn't bother us too much as we were so exxited about a day with elephants! We arrived and walked up a slight hill where we met a mother elephant with her 13 week old daughter! It was unbelievably cute and ran around or tried to run! It kept tripping up and slipping. Then it would run around its mums legs where there was a sand bag so it could stand on it and reach for some milk. Apparently babies are usually born around 80 kilos but thos one was only 50 so muh smaller than usual. The mother had been rescued from a circus and it took around 2 years to get her healthy again and on a good diet. That's why I liked this elephant farm. They were all about rescuing elephants, recovering them back to good health and breeding. Elephants are pregnant for 2 years before they gove birth. I couldn't believe that! Long time.

We spent the whole day feeding, washing and riding them. It was a bit scary at first as they are huuge but they are such slow and calm animals. Getting on an elephant is the hardest bit. You tapped the elephants leg and he bent it. You first stood on her foot, then her knee and then you had to swing yourself over. Then you just balanced yourself by placing your hands on its head and tucking your legs under its ears. It feels quite surreal talking about how I got on to an elephant. We learnt Thai commandments for the elephants like for them to open there mouth for food whoch was 'bon' and how to sit down as that is how an old man had to get on his elephant. Lisa had the only male elephant with huge tusks and was definitley the biggest. A bit scary for her but she ended up loving him! We brought them banans, bamboo and grass to chew on and showered them down with a hose. Mine stuck her trunk in the hose to drink the water. They are funny creatures!
Screenshot_2014-06-25-15-45-48

Screenshot_2014-06-25-15-45-48


We then walked for about an hour on there back. 2 little elephants came with us. They were 2 and 3 years and barged there way through the forest, crashing into trees and slidding down the hills on there knees. So so funny to watch. Literally like little kids running riot! It was scary on top but you got used to balancing. The elephants plodded along nice and slowly. We had rice, chicken and fruit for lunch and fed our elephants our left overs. They do not stop eating! Then we rode another half hour before getting to a river. This was amazing! We washed and brushed them until they were clean and then sadly parted ways. It was one of the best days of my travels and something I don't think I will be doing again.

We got home from our amazing day and headed to the markets with a gang from our hostel. It was street food for dinner, rice and chicken curry, and waffles for dessert. We had walked the whole market when we realised just how shattered we were. We had been up since half 3 that morning so it was definitley time for bed. A flight tomorrow to Phuket at 7am so another early start! Chiang Mai was brilliant though! Way better than I expected!

Posted by amcara91 05:28 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Bali

Monkeys, Sunrises and Cracking Cocktails

I took the fast boat from Gili to Bali which took just over an hour and then had to get a 2 hour bus. A couple on the bus were also going to The Bliss Surfer Hotel so that was easy. I checked in and couldn't believe it. A huge room with a huuge bed and bunk beds, a super nice bathroom with power shower and towels, a flat screen tv and the swimming pool was literally at our balcony doors. It was soo nice! Such a treat!

I met Lisa at the airport amd we came back together and celebrated with a couple of cocktails and dinner at the hotel. Lis had been travellimg foe 24 hours so we just had a chilled night. The next day we had a wander down to Kuta beavh where we spotted some surf lessons and decided to give it a go! What a laugh! So much fun. We had a bit of theory before we braved the waves. I've had a couple lessons beforein Cornwall and managed to 'catch a couple of waves' which means I stood up, wobbled and fell back in. Lisa and i ha ve both agreed we had never swallowed so much sea water before but really did love it. It was a 3 hour lesson amd we were exhausted by the end so we chilled by the pool and had some smoothies. That night we decided to seewhat Bali nightlife had to offer. We walked to the centre and found an all you can eat BBQ with free drinks between 9 and 10pm so thought we would take advantage of that. Having stuffed ourselves with BBQ food we weren't really in the mood for dancing but went to the bar nezt door anyways and had a couple drinks. So many travellers about and locals as well, it was a really good atmosphere.

We booked an all day driver for the next day. He took us all around Bali. We went to a gold and silver jewellery place where thy were hand making jewelery. We bought matching necklaces that jingle like a cats collar. Haha they are pretty though and it's cool as we saw them being made. After that our driver took us to a coffee plant. Bali have a special Lewak coffee. Lewaks walk around the forest and eat the coffee beans and then poo it out. People collect the poo, dry it out and then pick the beans out. I'm not actually sure why but they clean it thoroughly, roast it and grind it. It was an interesting process and I've sent some home for the fam to have a try. I personally haven't tried it. They let us try all sorts of interesting tea and coffee but the lewak was quite expensive and we had to pay extra. Once we were finoshed there we had some lunh in the Rice Padi Fields in Ubud. Great lunch of the standard fried rice, chicken and veg. I really like it but am starting to feel very bloated from having carbs all the time. It's always either noodles or rice. Right after that it was to the Monkey Forest. Literally is what it says on the tin, a forest you walk around with monkeys in it. They are wild and a little bit scary bit we saw teeny tiny baby monkeys which were so ugly! Haha I was going to say cute but then remembered that they were actually not cute at all and super ugly. Bless them. Some people were feeding them bananas and holding them and things but I've heard a couple of horror stories from travellers where they were bitten for no reason and had to be rushed to the doctors to pay heaps of medical bills for rabies jabs and I did not want to risk that. Lisa was also a wee bit nervous bit it was nice to see them swinging about in there natural habitat.
IMG_20140610_234323

IMG_20140610_234323


]
Our driver waited outside for us before taking us to Tanah Lot Temple for the sunset. This was an interesting experience. The sunset was beautiful as it sunk into the sea while the waves were crashing ferociously onto the shore. Probably one of the best sunsets since all my travels. Once it had gone down we walked across a shallow sea bed to the temple where we made a blessing. Lisa asked for love and I asked for England to win the World Cup, fingers crossed. We got some rice sprinkled on our foreheads and flowers stuck behind our ears. When we were crossing back over we noticed a group of people staring at us and got quite self concioua. Next thing they walk up to us and ask for a photo. Quite suprised we said yeah sure not quite understanding why and they took it in turns to pose with us and take photos. We walked a little further and another group of people wanted photos. This time they wanted , e to take the photos of Lisa and them. I've never felt so rejected in all my life! Haha! No but we found out eveyone wanted a photo of Lisa because she is super pale and it symbolises purity, royalty, wealthiness and things like that. So I clicked and clicked away. Once it had started it didn't seem to stop. I think I took at least 10 photos of Lisa and Asians. An interesting experience for Lisa in particular. Pretty funny! After that it was time to head bavk to our hotel. To have a driver for the whole day it was so cheap and it had been great fun. We wouldn't have seen half the places he had taken us as we had no idea about them!
IMG_20140612_100540

IMG_20140612_100540


A 2 am start the next morning to climb a volcano. We got picked up at 2.30 and drove for about an hour and a half. We slept in the car as much as we could but our driver was quite crazy and said "usually take 2.5hour. I do it 1.5 hour." ok wow great haha! It was also very bumpy but we mad it safe and started our ascent at 4am. Our climbing guide also seemed to be ina rush. We were power walking for ahes and over taking eveyone. "it's a good job we're fit, Al" said Lisa as we huffed and puffed behind our guide. Haha I asked him if we were running late for the sunrise and he said "no no we just like walk fast." good grief! After an hour of storming up the volcano we asked if we could have a break and thankfully he let us. We sat for a while and all the groups over took us back. It may have been a race for the guide bit not for Lisa and I. We just wanted to enjoy it! We hadn't eaten breakfast and we had heavy backpacks with full waterbottles and jumpers for when we got to the top. Once the guide realised that we weren't up for running he calmed and slowed right down so we could enjoy the stars above and the twinkling lights of the small towns below. Afyer about 2 hours we made it to the top and sat down witha couple hot chocolates and enjoed the sunrise. lierally 12 hours ago we had been watching the sunset so that was pretty awesome. Stunning views.

Once the sun was completely up monkeys swung through the bushes and clambered around lookingfor food. Luckily the guides had brought tangerines whih theyfed them. It was like an alarm clock though. Honestly the sun had just come whole above the cloud and bang theu were there. Our guide told us that was going to happen and he was spot on. One troed to steal our bottle of water but couldnt work out how to open it so left it behind thank god. We wandered around the active volcano which had steam coming out of and was pretty warm. Nice as it was very breezy at the top. The path was quite rocky and not muh of a path really so we slipped and slid all the way to the bottom before getting our driver back to Kuta. We were back in our hotel room by 10am! Unbelievable! We had a nap by the swimming pool and then walked to Seminyak tocheck out the beach over there. It was muh nicer than Kuta Beach and we found a nice beach hut where we treated oursekves to cocktails and pizza. This really was a luxurious week with privae drivera, cocktails and a hotel! Only a holiday for Lis though so we had to make the most of it!
IMG_20140611_162315

IMG_20140611_162315


Our final day was a beach day down near Seminyak. We played in the waves and sun bathed. At about 3pm it all turned a bit weird, it was like 500 bus loads of Balinese and Asian people had arrived and started the whole photo thing again. At firt it was ok and we went a long with it but when we were sleeping we opened our eyes and there was lierally a guy standing over us taking photos and people woukd be walking past trying to slyly take a photo but it would be so obvious. It got even weirder when we were in the sea and a group of teenage boys wanted a photo with Lis except they took it to the next level and stared touching her legs which she was obviously not happy about then when I jumped I to a wave a boy jumped I to and pulled my bikini bottoms down. Luckily not all the way and immanahed to pull them back up before I came up from the wave but it was super weird. After that I said that was enough, shouted at them and stormed out the sea. Still not sure why they thought that was appropriate. After that we didn't let anyone take anymore photos of us. It didn't really stop them though. There were other Westeners and Australians there and it was the same for them too. One group of Balinese girls ran up to a coupke and grabbed there baby out there hands for photographs. The parents had to loke fight for he baby back when it started to cry. Super surreal and strange as Bali is a very popular plae for Australian tourists. You would of thought they were used to white people by now. Anyways that was the only negative part of our 5 days in Bali! The rest was absolutely awesome! Our last night we set the alarm for 4am and caught the first game of the World Cup in our huge double bed with the flat screen tv. Pretty awesome treat before heading over to slum it in Thailand!
IMG_20140612_230747

IMG_20140612_230747

IMG_20140612_230604

IMG_20140612_230604

Posted by amcara91 21:00 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

(Entries 6 - 10 of 83) « Page 1 [2] 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. »