The time has come for me to pack my bags and leave for the adventure of a lifetime. It's so weird to say I don't know when I will be coming back, but so dramatic and exciting! It has been 3 and a half months since my boyfriend left for India and now we will finally be reunited! My friends Josie and Amy are coming along for the first 3 weeks of the trip, and exploring Thailand with a big group of us is going to be so much fun! I'm also really glad they are here so I don't have to travel alone, I'm not sure I'd trust myself to get on the right flight. The flight to Bangkok, via Dubai, with Emirates was actually so pleasant and the journey time didn't seem half as bad as I was expecting. I quite like flying but I had never travelled for such a long period of time.
We finally arrive in busy Bangkok City which is everything I imagined really. It was fast pace, full of locals going about their everyday and lots of backpackers. We stayed in Khao San Road at the Khao San Palace Hotel for one night where we were meeting Jack and his friends flying in from Vietnam. We chilled by the rooftop pool and tried to shake off our jet lag, however after nearly 24 hours of travel we still felt in a bit of a daze and not really on planet earth. In the spirit of travel we pulled ourselves together and hit the road to venture around Bangkok, which was pretty much lots of stalls to buy knock-off vests and trunks and the obligatory friendship bracelets, which obviously I got within the first 10 minutes. Now, travelling around with 4 boys I am fully aware that I am going to have to watch 'important' (in their opinion) football games and of course the first night was a WestHam night! Although on the plus side we got cocktails every time someone scored so thank you West Ham for being on top form to fuel my cocktail desires. I had Pad Thai for lunch by the pool, followed by Pad Thai for dinner from a street vendor which was by far the tastiest one I have had so far (2 week in and it still takes the crown)
Phi Phi was next on the list which required a taxi to the harbour, followed by by an 80 minute boat ride to the island. As soon as I stepped off that boat I felt like I was in paradise, this is what I had pictured Thailand to be like. It lived up to the expectations that people had given me. Two of my best friends loved this place so much they came back the following year and already I totally knew why. Walking through the town in mid-day heat with our backpacks was a sweaty journey to say the least, however it was wonderful taking in the new scenery. We spent 3 nights in Cozy Beach Pp which was nice, not amazing. A pretty basic room however the no air con was not ok with me, so we had to pay extra. We then moved up in the world to Charlie PP which seems to be the go to place in Phi Phi. We stayed here for the remainder of our time here. The pool area had a beautiful view of the beach over the infinity pool which you sometimes had to stop and really take it in to fully appreciate it. I made a promise to myself to always take time to sit and take in where I am, it's too easy to get carried away and keep busy and forget where you are. Phi Phi as an island seems so chilled I love it, it's tiny and there are no cars, so it was nice to walk everywhere.
Things to do in Phi Phi;
Kayak to Monkey Island which is really cute watching the monkeys go about their day, taking your bottles of water and chasing you :) we ran for our lives onto our 2-man-kayaks as if we were evacuating an explosion in a movie, my friend Jim got the best video on his GoPro that I will try to upload here.
Walk up to View Point
You can do this at any point of the day but probably not best in the midday sunshine. We walked up for sunset which was beautiful to look over the entire island. It only takes about an hour in total. It's definitely worth the trip to reach the top, plus it felt good to get a bit of exercise in! I haven't yet worked out or been to the but I plan to get cracking at our next stop.
Charlie Beach Pool Party on Fridays
It has live music and a bbq which had the nicest corn on the cob that I would definitely recommend, notice how I talk about food at a pool party? Priorities.
Caio Bella is a restaurant on the beach which has amazing pizza and overall really laid back beachy vibes, eating with your toes in the sand.
Prawn Pad Thai from the street, I can't remember the name of the shop but it's on the corner of the market and they cook it up in front of you and it was so tasty and fresh. The local food is super cheap so it's perfect to get healthy food on a travellers budget.
Pizza - Pad Thai / Pad Thai - Pizza; is basically what I am living off and I love it. They do slices on the street and I was pleasantly surprised how tasty they were! If we needed a quick bite to eat on the move, this was the place to go. The best slice was the stall outside Charlie PP Hotel reception.
Maya Bay is where The Beach was filmed, so obviously I had to the touch the sand that Leonardo Dicaprio graced. It was beautiful white sand with clear blue water... not quite as surreal as you'd hope the secret island that Leonardo found as it was full of tourists but still good to see! Note to self: watch The Beach again when I get home. We took a half day 'taxiboat' trip which you pick up from the beach and ventured around different areas where we could jump in the sea and snorkel.
Charlie's Restaurant which is part of the Charlie PP/Princess PP hotel, I'm not sure who Charlie is but he seems to own a lot on Phi Phi. I had a Tropical Island Breakfast Bowl which was yoghurt, granola and mango with an iced coffee. Iced coffee seems to be their thing in Thailand! Also, the eggs Benedict was pretty good.
There is also a beach bar restaurant that do amazing food like fried rice and vegetables in a pinapple or banana shakes.
Kongsiam Live Bar
This was my favourite place to go of an evening, so many people had recommended this bar but I didn't expect it to be so good. There is an unreal singer that I could only describe as the 'Thai James Bay' and he was so good at getting the crowd going, taking song requests and creating a fun atmosphere. The buckets of strawberry daquiri are pretty darn good too!
A little bit more of a walk out of the main area, but close to our first hotel. It has a cocktail happy hour and the Frozen mojitos were delicious. The interior (can you say interior when a bar is pretty much all outside?) anyway, the tables and chairs were all made up of different wooden boats which was pretty cool. You can sit in a boat that hangs off the end, over the sea.
The Menu is great, literally anything from around the world you fancy. Jack and I went for lunch and I got a delicious Sweet and Sour Vegetable dish with boiled rice and a glass of rose and Jack had Thai Green Curry and a Bloody Mary. We took our friends back the following evening and this time I got a margarita, nachos and a burrito..was in a real Mexican food mood. This place is amazing and thought out really well, I'm pretty sure the owner is English. Cocktail list at only 90 baht (which is quite cheap in comparison) and they were really delicious cocktails.
The Mango Kitchen
Mango on Mango on Mango dishes which all looked amazing but I went for the scrambled egg on toast which was so tasty along with a mango smoothie. Jack had peanut butter on toast with banana and sesame seeds which he said was delicious, and a coffee! The best coffee we've found so far actually, so we had to go back the morning we were leaving to help sort us out from the night before of many gin and tonic buckets.
The boat to Krabi is about 90 minutes and we plan to spend one night here before moving on to Koh Tao. We had a walk around the night markets and stopped to eat in a Seafood restaurant along the seafront. Krabi is way less touristy, not particularly much to do but the food here was so cheap because of this. If you take a stop in Krabi you should defo eat here.
6am wake up call for the Bus and Boat to Koh Tao, where we will be staying for a while. Our first day here was amazing, I love the vibe here. It's super laid back and so many bars and restaurants on the beach with bean bags and everyone is totally chilled, just taking in the scenery.
Take a taxi boat Koh Nang Yuan, it's a small but breathtaking island that you can take a walk to the view point. It is unbelievably sweaty so I highly advise going early-ish before the sun hits its peak. The view is amazing and the beach is idyllic. You only need a couple of hours on their or you can set yourself up there for the day. The beach is perfectly preserved and looked after with so much pride that they don't want any grain of sand to be lost, really cute!
Pre-hike breakfast at Samatha of Poached Eggs, Grilled Tomatoes on Toast with an iced Americano!
The Seashell Resort do the most unbelievable bbq at sunset which was all collectivist agreed was one of the best meals we've had so far. So fresh and healthy and such a good price. It worked out about £5 max for the lot!
The most unreal setting for dinner and the menu is to die for. An English run restaurant which is totally obvious but they have hit a niche here. Sitting in bean bags drinking the best cocktails, margarita for me always. Espresso Martini for desert was diviiiiine. We will defiantly be going back here for the girls last night which is coming around too soon!
We booked our 4 day diving course with Roctopus which were ranked the highest on trip advisor and located at Wind Beach Resort. I will write up my experience in the next blog post.
Bars on the Beach
The Sunset Buri: Happy hour 3pm-10pm, so pretty much all evening.
The Lotus: This seems to be the place to be of an evening for drinks, cocktails and buckets with loud music and fire dancers for the evening entertainment.
It's a cliche that those who 'go travelling' are gap year students taking another year to bum around before entering the working world, those who are running away from their problems be it a relationship breakup or a career choice crisis, those who are going to 'find themselves', those who are unhappy and are seeking fulfilment. I am quite proud to say that none of the above are my reasons, not that any of those are wrong.. just because I wouldn't have been able to embark on this trip if I hadn't already in fact 'found myself'.
I am sitting here in Koh Tao on a beanbag drinking coffee and watching the morning go by thinking how lucky I am to be here, to fully enjoy what I am doing and living in the moment. This is something I would not have been able to do 5 years ago. I always explain that the way I used to feel was a dark cloud above my head, following me around and clouding my judgment and lust for life. I found a new lease for life, self confidence and self worth. If it wasn't for this internal transformation I wouldn't be sitting here, on this beautiful beach in Thailand, drinking coffee with my boyfriend without a care in the world. I wasn't running away from anything, it was actually pretty hard to leave. I have built up my business which I am so proud of and loved every minute of it. I have an amazing group of friends that I literally think are the best friends any girl could ask for and a wonderful and supportive family. You couldn't ask for much more in life, so it's safe to say I was content. I did this for me, because I wanted to, just because! I felt that it was the right time for me. As I mentioned in my previous post, travelling was never on my 'to-do' list, however that's what's so great about life, some things are better left unplanned. It feels exciting to be so spontaneous.
I think here is where I will round up this blog post, I thought it was going to be tricky to keep up blogging whilst I'm away but I've loved writing everything down, being able to reflect on my trip and be able to offer advise and recommendations as I go. I hope you've found it interesting and/or helpful because I will be writing lots more of the upcoming adventure! Next country? Malaysia... to be continued