From Rice to BBQs – journey to the next adventure

To go from Thailand to Australia would be as easy as one simple flight if we were already in Bangkok, the problem is our journey started off in Koh Lanta, an island off the west coast of South Thailand.
Our journey started on a bus ferry, this meant that we got on a bus and the bus travelled across a car ferry for about two hours before we arrived at the mainland, Krabi.

Then after arriving at Krabi we had to change bus and travel across Thailand to the east coast, to Surat Thani. This took another two hours.

Then at Surat Thani we had an hour wait in a tiny Thai restaurant and travel agency before getting on a big bus with large reclining seats that would be our beds for the next ten hours on our trip from Surat Thani to Bangkok. Juliet and I were sneaky in that she ran on the bus and got us the best seats with loads of leg room, while I loaded the bags into the boot – I’m so glad we did this as some people had to sit next to randomers and not their friends as people had chosen to have a double seat to themselves only realising eventually that there was not enough space on the bus to have two seats to yourself!

After a severe lack of sleep on the sleeper bus, even though the seats we’re nice, they weren’t as big as they originally seemed and I just couldn’t seem to get comfy, we arrived in Bangkok. It was 5.45am and so we headed to Koh San Road to maybe find a restaurant or something to sit in. On arrival we remembered that we had paid for two nights in the Sawasdee inn from our first stay in Bangkok but had only ended up staying one night. We headed to the hostel and they had a room for us so we collapsed on the bed and slept for another two hours – such luxury! Our room also includes breakfast which obviously we won’t be using tomorrow as our flight is tonight but they allowed us to enjoy the big buffet today instead. So after expecting to be sitting in a smelly bar on Koh San Road full of drunkards from the night before who hadn’t yet gone to bed, we had a relaxing sleep in aircon, a big breakfast already paid for (by ourselves admittedly) with wifi, and a room to store our bags while we set out to explore Bangkok for a second time, hopefully it’ll be better than before!

Bangkok visit number 2 was a lot better than the first time we went, with Koh San road back to life full of happy market sellers and bundles of people. We immediately found the shorts that we had been looking for, the sunglasses on our shopping list and some more baggy trousers for Julie – a good start. This time we even ventured out of Koh San Road, heading to the main square to see the local’s market, selling food, clothes and even wedding dresses. There were people bulk buying food from small vendors and piling their tuck tucks high with produce, either to sell on themselves or to take as a supply for restaurants and street food makers. We booked a 150baht transfer to the airport (very different to the 500baht taxi fee we were made to pay on the way here) and then went and had our last massages in Thailand, something which has become a regular occurrence for us. Juliet finally had a Thai massage strong enough that it actually clicked her back (atlast!) and I had the best oil massage I’ve had all month. The lady used cocoa smelling oil (so obviously I was impressed by the chocolate scent wafting around) and even made me do some of the Thai massage stretches at the end! (She gave up shortly after realising how inflexible I am) So everything is going well, we’ve had a lovely day in Bangkok, made even better by the fact we have a room, meaning we didn’t have to lug our giant bags around and also we have a place to shower and freshen up before the flight!
We’ve just got our last bit of street food (spring rolls for me) and are happily playing cards waiting for our transfer.

We are both very excited to get on the plane (more because of the films than anything) and cannot wait to start our next adventure in Australia!
A great end to a fab month in Thailand.


TIME FOR LIME – Last day in Thailand! (Last proper day atleast)

Today our alarms were set early, so that after breakfast we could get up and head to the beach.
After being asked about 5 times by our crazy tuck tuck driver from the night before where we were going and if we wanted a taxi we decided to walk a bit up the road before we hailed a tuck tuck. About five minutes later and lady and her two small children pulled up in a tuck tuck along side us asking if we were okay or lost, soon we found ourselves hopping into her little vehicle (even though she definitely wasn’t a taxi) and going with her to take her children to school and to full up in petrol. Once we arrived at Long Beach we gave her 150baht (the amount a taxi would have cost us) and she was genuinely surprised by our offering money – it just shows how extremely lovely Thai women are, willing to drive us a good fifteen minutes up the road in her little tuck tuck just because she didn’t like us walking. (Thai women are completely different to Thai men!)
After renting some deck chairs on the beach and chilling all morning, swimming in the sea, taking photos, listening to music and admiring the beautiful jewellery that the beach sellers had to offer (I got a cute necklace with a little blue elephant on it) we headed to our favourite restaurant for lunch. 20140330-084628.jpg
After lunch, once we were back at the hotel (just a boring, normal tuck tuck driver this time) we relaxed by pool and we’re generally just being depressed and moody about having to leave the island tomorrow.

We had a fabulous last night this evening, at a restaurant called “Time for Lime”, a restaurant and cookery school set up by a Norwegian lady ten years ago in order to use the profits to set up and run an animal protection center on the island called the ‘Lanta Animal Welfare’ or ‘LAW’. This is what it says on their website:

Hard work since 2002 has brought TIME FOR LIME to where it is today – a successful beachfront concept on Koh Lanta with a unique approach and a different ‘way of thinking’ than other places. A few things make us stand out from the crowd:
Our true PASSION for food and a desire to create a well designed and laid-back atmosphere for people.
Our COMPASSION for animals in distress on the island.

On arrival we were immediately struck by the lime green layout of the restaurant and the chilled seating areas with lime green cushions ontop of bamboo and wicker chairs and tables.

We picked a beach cabin right on the water as our spot for dinner and ordered the restaurant’s world famous Mojitos:

It’s over 10 years since Time For Lime introduced the Cuban cocktail, the “Mojito” (with our own recipe of course) to Koh Lanta. They became very popular among guests and it took about 2 years before other places started trying to copy the recipe (with bad results!) They also misunderstood one small thing, they thought the cocktail was called the “mosquito”… Nowadays thankfully this has been corrected.

Our meal consisted of a 6 course taster menu with our special desert being a lime cheesecake. It was divine food, and even though it was spicy we all loved it! (Even Julie who doesn’t eat any spicy food) we were all raving about every course as we ate it and even called the owner over on numerous occasions to congratulate her on a great menu! Our favourite by far was number five, we all had the King Fish and with the combination of fish cooked to perfection and a home made chilly paste, the meal melted in our mouths.

After our meal we also got to see some of the animals that our money was going towards looking after, the most amazing by far was where the dogs stay. There are 10 dogs in ‘LAW’ and all 10 of them sleep in a Thai couples bedroom, with the Thai couple! Each dog has dug an indent or hole into their bedroom floor, creating their own bed and this is where they sleep.
The meal was brought to life by Moe, an English volunteer who has worked with LAW for many many years but this last year, after her retirement, has moved to Thailand to help with the animals full time. She was enthusiastic about the food, the animals, Thailand as a whole and our experience – making sure it was the best it could be! (This is a picture with Moe and Norman – a stray dog now named after Normandie)


After a depressing night of packing (it honestly took me about two hours to pack, with many stressful attempts, one strop where I tipped all the contents of the bag onto the floor, and one trampolining session jumping on my clothes trying to flatten them) we are finally all ready to go tomorrow. It will be sad saying bye to Koh Lanta and all the islands for that matter but when we have a ferry, an overnight bus and an 8 hour flight coming up, what’s there to be sad about… Wish me luck!

Sunset in Lanta

Today we woke up very late, but since we haven’t really had a proper lie in yet, we felt like we deserved it!
After another day relaxing by the pool (with our new lower factor suncream that we bought yesterday – branching out!) we had lunch/dinner at around 4ish and headed off on a 40minute tuck tuck journey to the South of the island, to the sunset view point, to watch the sunset.
The tuck tuck journey was great as it allowed us to see the whole island, and the different areas of it, as we had to drive all the way through. We passed a lot of quaint towns, similar to the one that we’re in with not many people or shops, but also a few busy towns full of markets and bars. We also drove through the ‘expensive’ part of the island with some of the most incredible and beautiful hotels where the rooms are villas situated up the hills overlooking the beautiful white beaches below. After the hotel area we passed a huge field with a broken down shed and a solitary baby elephant, this was very cute and very sad at the same time. Then finally we saw a small sign saying sunset view point with an arrow pointing up the road, however our tuck tuck driver stopped and told us that this was the view point, so we walked across the road and down some steps until we arrived on the most beautiful beach you have ever seem with a small cafe on stilts overlooking the sea. We had a drink in the cafe (except this turned into a bit of a disaster because the waiter split two mango smoothies all over Normy’s bag, covering it!) then we swiftly moved on but only after taking photos of the cafés sign. This was because the cafe is called “same same but different” something that basically all the thai people say when explaining or describing things and the westerners love it!
While we were walking down the beach we stopped to watch as the purple sun set behind the clouds, turning the whole sky and all the clouds different shades of maroon and leaving the sky above the cliffs glowing, reflecting on the sea and turning that purple too! It was the most beautiful sight and we are all so happy to have witnessed it while on our newly found beautiful beach.
The way home turned into a bit of a disaster too as it was a 40 minute drive there however on the way home, the motorbike of the tuck tuck decided to turn very rubbish (that or our driver didn’t want to waste fuel – we can’t decide) but every time we got to an uphill hill (and there was a lot of them) our driver would stop and say “sorry sorry walk” so we’d get out and hike up the steep hills while the tuck tuck driver drove to the top and waited for us. This happened a few times before we refused to get out and low and behold, with a little bit of revving, the motorbike made up the next hill and finally at last we were back.
BUT THEN our hotel had a giant power cut and went into pitch blackness just as we arrived, so torches in hand we finally made it to our room and decided to have a movie night, seeing as the dark room was provided for us without choice.
‘Along Came Polly’ was a great choice and now that it has finished, we are all tucked up in bed after another interesting but very good day!

Doing nothing and actually doing a lot

Today was our do nothing day, and after waking up relatively early (9.30ish) for a do nothing day, we put our bikinis on, sun creamed up and headed to the pool to relax in the sun.

For lunch we sat in the hotel’s little chill out bar with cushions and mats on the floor and low tables over looking the sea and the crashing waves… Then we headed back to the pool.

It was such a hot day so we literally spent the whole day in the pool playing games that Juliet and I have invented for travelling such as ‘travellers trivial pursuit’ where we make up the questions for each other (it becomes an problem when none of us know the answer though) with categories such as Film, Celebrities, English, History and Science. Safe to say most of the questions were in the film category – predominantly based on Harry Potter.

That evening we decided to go back to our extremely cute restaurant from the night before, but this time to walk there via the road. We’d been walking for about twenty minutes seeing nothing but random quaint little houses, chickens, cockerels and cows when suddenly we saw life in the form of a very busy Thai food market, and it smelt delicious!





After trying a lot of the food (it was so cheap! 10baht for chicken and sticky rice) we said our thank yous to the market people in the best thai we could speak, and carried on on our journey.
About ten minutes later we came across a 7eleven (the local supermarket of Thailand) and we were so happy as it meant there is a place on the island for us to buy necessities (it also means the island isn’t completely un-inhabited!) and so obviously we stopped off here, stocked up on suncream, tiger balm and water, then carried on.

At last we arrived at our favourite restaurant where we watched the sunset while drinking cocktails, eating our popcorn and then our dinner.
The cocktails were delicious, vanilla ice cream and baileys was so perfect after a very very hot day and we spent about 3 hours here just chatting – doing nothing but having the best time.


Sour start, sweet end – welcome to Koh Lanta

This morning we woke up early in order to check out, say some sad goodbyes to Phi Phi and get the 11.30am ferry to Koh Lanta.
The ferry didn’t take long at all, with us all sleeping through it and also the distance between the islands being relatively short.
Everything was going well, we arrived in Koh Lanta and were met by someone from the hotel who was going to take us there. With our bags piled high on the top of the truck, a whole group of us from the hotel squeezed in. A Thai man sat on the boot door for the journey, clearly not 100% sober, mumbling and talking to himself in Thai – I was by the door and so I was right next to him. Then he picked up a beer that had been rolling around the floor and opened it above me – of course the shaken up beer exploded going all over me! I pushed the beer in his hand away saying “woaah” hoping he’d realise what he was doing and maybe hold the beer outside the truck or out the window or anything but instead he put the foaming beer to his mouth, took a big gulp and starting angrily speaking in Thai directly at me. Then he switched to English telling me he’d never been so angry and that I’d brought all my horrible (sorry for swearing) shit from England and I was already dirty so how could I complain about having beer split on me. He kept saying how dirty I was and how he’d never been so angry – he was a scary looking Thai man anyways and when Thai men have a reputation of being aggressive, I did not feel comfortable for the rest of the journey, to say the least.
Obviously the journey from then on was very awkward and practically silent except for the Thai man still chanting under his breath. It got even worse when he stormed into the reception on arrival (not getting our bags from the roof like his job tells him to) and started yelling in Thai whilst lounging over the chairs at the check in desk where we were meant to go.
Finally once we had checked in and refused any help with our bags we had a very nice Thai man take us to our room – which made a lovely change. The room is massive with aircon, wifi and two double beds so everyone’s happy (no more three in a bed!)
At lunch there was definitely a soured atmosphere with none of us really knowing what to say about the taxi episode. It was windy, cloudy and the beach by the hotel didn’t look like the white sandy beaches we’d been promised when visiting Koh Lanta. So all in all it was not a good start.

After eating a surprisingly nice lunch, we were feeling a little but more settled, we got a map of the island and found out where we were in relation to the famous Long Beach and what other attractions there are on the Island. We found out that there’s a few things we’d love to do here – number one being find the white sandy beaches – and set off to explore.

Firstly, the hotel pool is actually really lovely with cobbled tiles, a pool seat that goes all the way round the edge and a big waterfall at the end. Then, when we stepped down onto the beach, just as the sun came out, we realised that even though it isn’t our promised white sand beach, it is actually a very pretty and peaceful beach.
After walking down our beach we came across a pathway that headed into the forrest, so we took the path and ended up in heaven… Yes we found our first WHITE SAND BEACH!
A log beautiful beach with absolutely nobody on it! We’d walked through the jungle for a good fifteen mins and so it seemed appropriate to have a celebration swim here, in our new private beach.

Then we carried on our travels, down the beach, back up into the forrest, this time for longer and on a more overgrown pathway than before!
Finally we came out at another white opening, another private beach! This time it wasn’t quite as private as before as there were two naked French people swimming with their baby and also lots of what looked like small camps or beach tents, built along the sand.
Next we came across what seemed like a hippy beach with different wooden huts, hammocks and loads of signs for magic mushroom shakes and happy shakes (I have no idea what they are!)

However we swiftly moved on, eager to get to Long Beach.

Our very helpful jungle path stopped at this point and after believing we could rock climb all the way to long beach and then getting stuck half way and realising we couldn’t go back or forward and we’d never get there, we hiked in our flip flops up through the jungle and came out at a hotel – thank god. We walked through the hotel and finally came out at long beach (ATLAST) and what a magnificent beach it was! It’s probably the longest beach I’ve ever seen and although it’s a huge tourist attraction and is very famous the beach seemed practically empty and we had a whole section of it for ourselves for sunbathing, swimming and even just sitting on fold up chairs watching the waves come in and out.


After a very needed relaxing and beautiful afternoon on an amazing beach, we found a super cute beach restaurant and bar. With happy hour, free popcorn as nibbles and a gorgeous view, we were sold, and we stayed here for the rest of the evening to watch the sunset.


Even though today started quite sour… LIFE IS SWEET

Boating, banana bar and Bacardi breezer

This morning we had the biggest lie in that I’ve had since being in Thailand! At around 11.30 we finally got out of bed and decided to skip breakfast, get ready and head straight to lunch.
We headed to Banana Sombrero bar as the night before we’d seen the Mexican menu and had decided we definitely needed to eat fajitas before we left phi phi! For desert we had the craziest ice cream ever, you pick your flavour of ice cream and two toppings and they pour the liquid ice cream into a frozen base and mash it up with the toppings (I had vanilla with m&ms and Oreos) and once it’s all mashed they roll it into pancake rolls and add your sauce of choice!





After our ginormous lunch we went off on a Phi Phi Sunset Cruise boat tour. Our first destination on the cruise was monkey island, we took a speed boat to the island and once we were off we could see how crowded the beach was with not only monkeys but tourists and loads of litter that people had left when trying to feed the them! The worst of which was water bottles as people give (or try to feed) the monkeys water from their water bottles but obviously when they’re empty they leave them there. Anyways, Juliet and I were not impressed by the monkeys, in actual fact we were very scared of them after seeing them attack a girls leg by clinging onto it and refusing to let go, while hissing violently at her. That’s why my photos are a bit blurry as we spent most of the time running away from them, scared of their anger and also scared by the fact we haven’t had all of our rabies jabs!




Next en route was a cave that has forbidden entry to anyone who isn’t the national park conservatives or the tribes who live inside. Apparently there are tribes who live in the cave and make money out of selling the swallows nest from inside of the cave as swallows nests (yes the actual nest) are a delicacy for desert for the Thais.
The cave is also famous for it’s incredible cave drawings inside, but ofcourse we didn’t see these as we’re not allowed past the initial ladders and ropes.




Next on our trip was snorkeling and kayaking and ofcourse being the adventurous girls we are, we chose kayaking and after about half an hour to forty five mins of kayaking in the wrong direction and going round in circles, we finally made it to the glowing lagoon with crystal clear blue waters in the sun. Safe to say we did not want to kayak all the way back and so we attached our canoe to a visiting long tail boat and let him pull us back as far as we wanted to go!





After this we headed to Ma Ya beach, the destination and home to the setting of the Leonardo Dicaprio film,
The Beach. It is a gorgeous beach voted one of the most beautiful in the world.



After a fab afternoon cruising round Phi Phi, the boat crew made us some fried rice and we all sat on the boat and ate it while we watched the sun set behind the ocean. As a last memory for the boat trip we held hands and jumped right off the top of it – (this is surprisingly exhilarating!)




After a night out tonight we’re off to Koh Lanta in the morning! Apparently it’s very chilled and even more beautiful… Well we’ll see won’t we! Nevertheless I’m so excited to chill, sunbathe, relax and just be really calm before flying to Sydney at the end of the week.

Pizza, pictures and paradise in PHI PHI

On waking up this morning, we looked through pictures and talked about the pervious night. It’s fun when there’s three, the dynamics change and we definitely found things a lot funnier seeing three different sides to a story.
Yesterday afternoon we’d found a nice spot on the beach on some comfy green sun loungers and relaxed. Later on that evening we went into town to have an explore, buy a drink and lots of water and grab a bite to eat.
After coming back to the hotel we all got ready to go out (we have a hair dryer at last!! Thanks normy) and at nine because of our fab room with a view, we watched the famous fire show from our window. Unfortunately my shampoo had decided to explore again on the way here, but thankfully I learnt my lesson and it was inside a plastic bag this time and so my clothes are not stained herbal essences blue again. (Note to travellers, do not buy herbal essences, it has a habit of exploding…)
In town we met up with our Canadian friends and had a fun night drinking strawberry daiquiri buckets, dancing in the Irish bar, catching up in dojos and then ending up at he dance clubs on the beach. After a great night out we were all exhausted and starving and so we bought some street pizza (best pizza ever) and headed back to our one double bed to sleep, or try seeing as there is three of us.

This morning I woke up upside down in the bed, I think because it meant I had a lot more room in the bed and was so thankful for the water we’d bought the night before (great idea for future travelers/partygoers). After a yummy breakfast of fresh fruit, yoghurt and muesli, we found our same green loungers and have spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing. It was amazing waking up this morning as the tide was all the way back and so all the long boats were resting on shore, not floating! And then gradually as the day has gone on, they’ve each one by one come afloat again.




^^^ The two pictures of the beach are taken from the same spot!!

Off to browse the shops and markets in town now as we all feel we’ve had enough sun. As of my feelings on Koh Phi Phi – so far I like it!

A new side of Thailand

With only a week left of Thailand it’s crazy how fast this month has gone! Last night Julie and I travelled from the East to the West side of the Island, getting a night ferry from Koh Tao to Surat Thani (we were so sad to leave), a bus from Surat Thani to Krabi and then another ferry from Krabi to Koh Phi Phi. The night ferry was actually very cool with wooden bunks and a no shoe rule so it was clean and comfy – I even heard someone say “this is nicer than our hostel!” Even though the sleep wasn’t too good, on a rocking boat sitting in a sea storm, it was a cool experience.
On our second ferry we bumped into Normie! A friend from our junior school who we’d planned to meet on the pier as we thought we were on different ferries. It’s so nice to see a friendly face and she’s been to Koh Phi Phi before so had booked us into a cool, very clean aircon hotel/hostel and even requested the room with the view that will overlook the fire dancers as we’re getting ready to go out tonight! It’s also great to be on such a relaxing island by day and crazy island by night with someone who knows the ropes.
I’ll keep you updated with my thoughts on Koh Phi Phi after tonight but for now… So far so good!!






This morning once we’d packed, got breakfast and had a stretch seeing as we were both so stiff from the Muay Thai boxing, we headed into town to rent a quad bike.
When we’d learnt how to drive it, reverse it and park it, we headed off to find Mango Bay, a beautiful beach and Bay at the top of the island. After about half an hour driving on dirt tracks and bumpy roads we got to a sign for the Mango Bay viewpoint, and here we took a left turn, parked the quad bike and climbed up the rocks to see the magnificent view. Beneath the mango trees and Forrest you could see the small beach, some scuba boats and beneath all that… The ocean.

We got back on our quad bike and drove to the beach after this, thinking we knew the way we didn’t bother to look at the map and ended up at a completely different beach (after driving down so,me very steep rocky paths) without an actual beach and nothing around apart from a small broken down restaurant. As I’d been driving for quite some time and there was a flat rock perfect for sitting on, Juliet and I had our lunch stop here or packed sandwiches we’d bought that morning. Then we switched places and I became designated map reader while Julie drove… And we ended up and Mango Bay, FINALLY! Mango Bay is only accessible by foot so after parking our quad bike and walking down about a hundred steps we realised that we were at a quay about a five minute swim from the beach, but not actually on the beach.. (Why does this always happen to us!!) when we’d finally decided there was no way to the beach except via the water, we hailed a ‘water taxi’ a long boat with the words TAXI printed on it and sailed to the beach.
AT LAST we’re where we want to be and we can now relax a little before heading back later tonight and getting on the night ferry (not before we have a last meal of sushi though!)


The afternoon actually went swiftly down hill from there as Juliet started to feel very I’ll and so we went inside to the restaurant with aircon, but there was no aircon. Then it started to pour with rain and we had to get a taxi boat over to the other section of the bay where the quad bike was, but there was no taxi boat! So we started to rock climb then saw a boat pull in so ran to get it and after walking up about a million steps we got to the quad bike. I tried to drive back as fast as a could for Julie’s sake but slow enough that it wasn’t too rocky on the dirt track and that it was safe! We’re finally back at the hotel and after a dramatic adventurous day, someone moved our backpacks out of the rain so atleast they’re dry and we’re both fine!

Muay Thai Friiiiiday

When you come out of a gym looking like you’ve had a bucket of water chucked over your head there’s got to be a good reason… Mine and Juliet’s was a Muay Thai Boxing class. A lady Juliet knows from Spain does a lot of Muay Thai boxing and introduced us to her friends who are professionals and we went to their gym to join their morning training session! It was literally the biggest workout I’ve ever done, with kicking and punching and kneeing and elbowing aaaand with Thai men with pads screaming “hup” “hup” “hup” which we translated as ‘again’ ‘again’ ‘again’. It was never ending, even on our breaks we were actually just kicking punchbags instead of the men. And even though we were drenched in sweat, looking like drowned pigs, it was such a great morning and I’ve never said that about 8am exercise before! We even talked about taking up Muay Thai when we are back in England (this was discussed over a well deserved massive English breakfast, not sure whether the dream of becoming Muay Thai boxers will be short lived…) either way, it was a great morning’s work out and a once in a life time experience being trained by professionals and watching them train! It also left us truly exhausted for an afternoon of lying in the sun followed by some shopping and a savoury pancake.