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After Koh Phi Phi, I was exhausted and desperate for a break and a chance to relax on a beach soaking up some sun. I’m not as young as I used to be and four big nights in a row, dragging my sorry self back to the hostel at 5am and then getting back up at 8am for a full day of fun was hard on my body. I loved it and didn’t want to miss a second of hanging out with amazing people, but I had already done longer on this party central island than most and was keen to get away. So when Tibby had to head off to his next destination, I took my chance to head to another new place – hoping for a more chilled out vibe. I certainly got it, Railey is about as chilled out as it gets and although it didn’t quite charm me like Koh Lanta, I loved it for many different reasons. I actually met a girl on the ferry over there and we ended up spending the next few days together, relaxing and chatting. When we arrived, clamouring out of a long tail boat at the shore and splashing through the waves with our bags, we headed to Railey Headlands where we were hoping to stay in bungalows at Railey Cabana but after a long walk they were fully booked, so we treated ourselves and stayed in the hotel next door for the night.

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The first night, we were tired but wanted to explore so we heard west for dinner where the nice beach was, but realised this was the family area so after food we walked to the east side – yes it is that small – where we found lots of monkeys chasing us along the way. But when we arrived, we knew this is where we wanted to stay, bars lined the shore, restaurants overlooking the sea, chilled out backpackers and reggae music galore. The next morning we moved there to a place high up above the shore where bungalows surrounded this restaurant, Rapala Rockwood was a great place to stay, although the steps killed my legs every day, and was full of fabulous backpackers who all wanted to make friends. Me and the girl I had met shared a bungalow the first night before she flew to Malaysia, then I stayed on alone in it for about five days. I met some fabulous Swedish girls, a small group from Austria and a few others who had been travelling across Peru and Nepal. So many interesting people and the locals were fantastic as well – the girls and I spent one evening teaching a Thai guy who worked where we were staying English – he actually did really well!

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I also had a magical evening where I stumbled across the Israeli guys who had been travelling Nepal and Peru and had brought a whole suitcase of instruments including a guitar, ukulele, flute, and a few others, plus a didgeridoo! We spent a night just playing the instruments, singing and having a laugh – one of those totally unexpected moments in life that you will remember forever. Especially my terrible attempts on the didgeridoo! I also spent most nights hanging out at the reggae bars below my accommodation, before heading to The Last Bar which has the most amazing fire show I have seen yet, set to dubstep, I have never seen them move so fast or so dangerously, and with so many mistakes, you know they are the most daring yet! Plus the Muay Thai boxing on some nights was brilliant – finally one that doesn’t look stylised and choreographed! I would definitely recommend if you happen to be staying there as most of the other bars close down early – a blessing if you’re in need of some early nights, undisturbed sleep and peace & quiet!

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There’s not a huge amount to report from Railey, as much of my time was spent laying on the beach, watching fire shows, swimming, sleeping and battling rubbish wifi. But it was a great in-between place to relax and rest after a hectic few days. Lots of people I met in Krabi after were just making day trips to Railey, which is also a great option as there isn’t much to do there apart from rock climbing and relaxing. You could easily experience it in a day, although I’m glad I stayed a few days. It was really nice to stay in such a rugged and wild landscape, totally different to how flat Koh Lanta was and so quiet compared to Koh Phi Phi. I loved seeing monkeys running around, huge cliffs towering over the beach and lush jungle between the east and west side. Such a contrast to other places I have visited and so striking as you’ll see from my photos.

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Have you been to Railey? What did you think? Where’s your favourite place to go when you need to chill out? 

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I’ve spent about a month on the road now, living out of a bag, getting strange women to wash my pants when I run out, showering in shared bathrooms, sharing bedrooms with up to 12 people at a time, falling madly in love with the amazing people I meet and parting ways the very next day. It’s an emotional rollercoaster and the most exciting thing I have ever done. The freedom and complete self-reliance is so refreshing after living in that sheltered little bubble back in my home town – I didn’t realise how small my world was until I broke out of it and saw how much more there was waiting just outside. I’ve been so busy and overwhelmed by it all that I haven’t even had a chance to feel homesick yet, I miss everyone from home but knowing they are just at the end of a Facebook message or email means they are never truly far away.

One thing I have really found from my experiences is that travelling had just further confirmed how little it takes to make me happy. Back at home, before I started saving for travelling, I used to spend my money pretty frivolously on nights out, clothes and all sorts. It never actually made me happier, it was just what I, and many others do to distract ourselves. Then I decided to go travelling and instead of spending, saving became my priority. I loved watching the pennies stack up, working several jobs to add to my stash. It showed me that cutting these nights out and all those dinner dates, clothes out of my life was not a big deal and actually it made me happier to have a goal to work towards.

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Since being out here, I’ve been living off around £15-20 a day, that includes a room, food and drink, massages, boat trips and anything else that comes my way. My best experiences so far? The ones that cost barely any money at all – watching the sun set over the islands, snorkelling with fish, eating street food with new friends, jungle trekking… I could go on. Coming to South East Asia has really helped show me the value of my money, mainly because everything is so cheap here. By converting every amount, it really makes you think about what you are spending and the bartering makes it okay to argue over every last penny.

It’s refreshing to be in a place where the goal is to spend the least amount, I always feel like the UK is all about having the newest, shiniest, most expensive brand name going. But what does it really matter? And what does it really add to your life? I remember that cycle so well, seeing something in a shop window, feeling that pull to buy it and then, when you finally have it at home, feeling guilty for your purchases. But here, I’m rendered back to basics and I love it. It’s such a freeing feeling to be out of the cycle and it makes me realise quite how ridiculous it was to be in it. It sounds cheesy and I know it’s all over those Instagram quotes, but out here you really do collect memories instead of things – I suppose when you carry everything you own on your back – memories are nice and light to carry in your mind.

But of course, there are some things I am missing from home:

  1. Toilets that flush without three buckets of water
  2. My electric toothbrush
  3. My phone working
  4. A time when I wasn’t covered in mosquito bites
  5. I genuinely cannot even think of a fifth one… That’s how much I love it here.

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What makes you truly happy? What couldn’t you live without if you were away backpacking for a year? Been away travelling – what home comforts did you miss the most?

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When we arrived back, we were starving after the rubbish food on the boat so we headed straight for food. We decided to try out some crocodile skewers, which, I hate to say it, but tasted so much like chicken we were actually suspicious of whether it really was crocodile! After that, we headed to what turned out to be both of our favourite restaurants and plumped for panang curry which was amazing! Really randomly, after dinner we were wandering the streets and happened to walk past a bar where a guy was standing in the doorway. This guy I have known for around eight years after meeting him at school and I had no idea he was travelling, let alone that he was in Thailand! Complete surprise to see him there – reminds you how small the world is! The rest of the night was a blur of buckets, stupid dancing, fire shows and fun before I tiptoed into my sleeping dorm.

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The next day, me and my new pal met for a day of sunbathing, and he reckoned he was going to get me on a hike. I was less sure about this considering the 30+ temperatures! He had decided to get a tattoo of the copyright symbol on his bum in Phuket which was a little delicate for swimming, so he had to spend his day on the beach in the heat. Finally he persuaded me to walk round the beach, across the rocks to see the smaller island better. This was not the greatest idea as it turned out, I was okay in flip flops but Tibby managed to cut his foot on a rock while trying to escape some scary monkeys who cornered us. I pegged it while they grabbed at his leg, and eventually they forced us into the water to walk back to the beach – very funny and scary. They hadn’t minded us at all on the way out there, but obviously didn’t like the look of us on the way back!

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I spent the next hour or two booking my ferry to Railey for the next day, and battling the rubbish wifi to let people back home know I was alive. After very little luck with the latter, it was time to head out and meet Tibby for more buckets, fire shows and fun. We managed to find an awesome bar where an English guy was singing acoustic covers of all our favourite songs, which was a welcome distraction from the cheesy dance music pumping out of every other bar. I also met some hilarious drunk Canadians who were all too quick to tell me, in detail, abut the happy endings they had been given in the massage parlours! Another late night, but a good one. The next morning, we parted ways, him to Ao Nang and me to Railey, each ready for a new adventure.

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So my final thoughts on Phi Phi? It really depends on who you meet and what you want from the Thai islands. I didn’t come here to drink buckets and get smashed, but with the right person, you can have a good time. Without meeting Tibby, I definitely wouldn’t have enjoyed my time there as much – it was nice to meet someone who shared the same opinions of the island. It’s not the easiest to meet people there, and it does help being with a friend or in a group as most arrive with people to go out with. But don’t be put off, the boat trips are amazing from here, Maya Bay and Monkey Beach are fabulous and a welcome escape for the day, plus really great value for money. I would recommend going, because it seems wrong to miss out when you’re already in Thailand, but I wouldn’t suggest staying for more than a couple of days. I can’t understand people who go there for a longer holiday, unless they are staying on the other side of the island where it is more peaceful.

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Highlights?
1. The boat trip
2. The food in the restaurant covered in writing – don’t think it had a name
3. The very suggestive ladies outside the massage parlour by my hostel – they chased Tibby down the street offering a happy ending! Ha
4. Snorkelling
5. My partner in crime

 

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Are you enjoying my travel posts? What would you like to see more of? And if you have any recommendations for Thailand, please do share in a comment below! 

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Okay so to say my expectations for Koh Phi Phi were low was a serious understatement. I really couldn’t bare to leave Koh Lanta and to say goodbye to all my friends. Everything I had heard about Phi Phi put me straight off the island. I know, I know, all those who have been will say it is beautiful and picturesque, some even dare say it is the prettiest of the Thai islands. I couldn’t agree less. Those who have been to Koh Lanta will understand my shock horror at seeing how dirty, chock-full of tourists and how commercialised Phi Phi is in comparison, and from the moment I arrived on the island I was already counting down to the day I could leave.

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Just to give you a taste of what my expectations were based on, a friend who I had met in Koh Lanta had just arrived from the island and she had told me about when she was swimming in the sea, felt something on her foot and picked it up thinking it was a stick – it crumbled in her hand, it was a giant lump of shit. This was definitely one of the worst stories I had heard about the island, but the others certainly didn’t paint it in a good light. So you can understand why I was instantly put off, but for the Phi Phi lovers, give me the benefit of the doubt because despite this I still went to the island to form my own opinion.

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I was staying at Rock Backpacking, which was great value for money at 300 baht a night for a dorm with fans. The toilets and showers were so clean and the guys who ran it were so helpful – all wifi on the island was abysmal though due to the sheer number of people there using it. I would recommend the hostel, although I was a little disappointed after being told it was the party hostel and finding everyone already asleep when I returned each night abut 3/4am. Wusses. There were nice people staying there, but a lot of people on holiday who were just there to get drunk and not to meet people. I prefer more backpacker central places where people actually want to get to know each other.

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My first night there was spent watching the sunset from the viewpoint – so beautiful. I actually went back another night with a new friend and a guy proposed to his girlfriend while we were up there. So cute. I found the best little place for Pad Thai – seriously a godsend after finding nothing but kebab shops elsewhere! Went back loads for authentic Thai food, which was seriously lacking in other restaurants. Had a massage, manicure and pedicure, all for £10 – bargain! Then spent the rest of the night watching boxing, fire shows and exploring. My second day was spent trying to find a clean stretch of beach where the water wasn’t covered in a layer of scum – finally found somewhere and sunbathed all day. Bumped into a couple I met on the ferry to Koh Lanta – they barely recognised me as I’m so black now. We spent the rest of the night eating food, going to the boxing – my friend actually competed for a bucket and ended up knocking the other guy out cold! Then we headed to the beach and made some other friends while watching the fire shows.

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The next day, I had booked on to a boat trip around several beaches and islands, with plenty of opportunities for snorkelling for just 600 baht (£12) Met a guy called Tibby on the boat, he was also travelling solo from his home in Belgium before starting a new job in Melbourne. Bonding over the terrible food, we snorkelled and marvelled at all the amazing fish beneath the boat – such beautiful colours! The next stop was Bamboo Island which was so perfect and untouched – the sand was pure white and the waters so clear with reef right next to the beach so perfect for more snorkelling. We got a bit carried away spotting fish and ended up being the last ones back to the boat. After a couple more stops, we ended up at Monkey Beach, where monkeys just run wild on the beach and grab food from your hands – so cheeky! I brought along some bananas and fed them, the babies were so cute! They were all so tame, usually monkeys can be a little scary.imageimage

After this, it was the highlight of the trip, we’d been waiting all day for Maya Beach (where The Beach was filmed) and it didn’t disappoint. As we pulled up in the long tail boat, it looked exactly like it does in the film, minus all those damn tourists! Such a beautiful place, you can see how it would inspire any director, set between these huge cliffs with pure white sand. I managed to find a nice empty stretch of beach to sit and chill out, then Tibby came and joined me and we took lots of photos before our time was up and we headed back to the boat. On the way back to Phi Phi, we stopped at sunset point to watch the bright orange sun burn it’s way down into the waves, dead silence on the boat, everyone was speechless at the beauty of it all.

I have so many pictures and so much to tell you guys about Phi Phi that I’ve split this into two posts for you… The next one will have the pics from Maya Bay and everything else I got up to! I will also try and share the video of the boxing on my Facebook page as it takes ages to do it on here, so give the page a like and check it out!

For those who have been to Koh Phi Phi, what did you think? I’d love to know if anyone shared my experiences or if actually you loved the the island just as it is…

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Those of you who have been following my journey will remember when I posted about the reactions of people as they realised I was planning on travelling across Asia, Australia and New Zealand by myself. Solo. Alone. Big decision right? And not one I took lightly, but by the time I made this decision, I had asked several friends who had all been unable to get out of commitments – jobs, relationships, houses…. The list goes on and still meant I was no closer to getting out and seeing the world. Then I realised, what am I more scared of – never getting the chance to achieve my dream of travelling or facing it independently? Once I weighed up my options, I knew that although it was a scary decision, it was the right one to go by myself.

So how has it actually been? Well, after travelling solo for just under a month already – boy that time has flown by! I can say it has been the easiest and the most natural thing in the world. I have loved every second of this journey and have met so many amazing people, seen some amazing places and have become more confident than ever in my ability to do this, to complete the next (hopefully) 11 months of my time away and smash it. So this post is to put your minds at ease and to make you realise quite how easy it is to travel by yourself, and how in so many ways it is actually far better than travelling with another person or a group. Trust me, once you get over the first bit, it’s really not scary at all.

Okay, so sitting in the airport alone was the first time the nerves kicked in and it really hit me what I was about to do. A glass of wine to steady the butterflies, and I made the mistake of checking my phone which was full of soppy, sweet and emotional messages from everyone I knew – welled up a bit didn’t I?! It was so touching to receive so many messages of support and really helped me get over my fears. This was the first time I had ever flown alone and it was just a week after yet another plane had disappeared, but I actually loved it. So what was I afraid of? I’m not even 100% sure now but it was things like being lonely, not having anyone to share my experiences with, not being able to cope with organising, feeling unsafe, having to admit defeat and come home. All pretty irrational fears as I knew none of these things would actually happen – I know enough girls who have done similar trips and been fine, so why would I be any different?

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I happened to see a quote on the day I left about it being good to do something if it scares you. I love that idea, all the biggest decisions in life are the scariest and yet the ones we take the biggest risks on tend to turn out the best. We just have to be brave enough to make the first move. I did make the first move and it has truly paid off better than I ever could have imagined. Not for a single moment have I been completely alone, I have had some of the best experiences with new friends that I know I will stay in contact with and meet up with later on, one even invited me to her wedding! I have had people to eat with, to dance with, to go out on boat trips with, to hang out with… The list goes on. I am actually starting to reach a point where I crave some time completely to myself. But it is wonderful and even more amazing, I have not once had to make the first move, the other travellers always beat me to it because everyone is so damn friendly here.

The organising has been astonishingly easy – ferries, flights, buses and the rest are all on offer everywhere and all you need to do is decide where you want to go. So simple. Leaving you more time to chill at the beach instead. I don’t think I have every known a country to be so easy to travel round, but so many backpackers have trodden this route ahead of you it is easy to follow in their footsteps. As for feeling unsafe, that couldn’t be further from how I feel. Thailand is probably one of the safest countries to travel solo as a woman. Ignore the newspapers, trust me, I used to work for one and know how they sensationalise the smallest story. It really is safe here. Don’t ever get complacent and take risks because you feel so safe, and I certainly won’t be wandering down any dark alleys alone at night or leaving my passport out on the table in a bar. But don’t feel scared to stay in a bungalow on your own, or to do anything. The people here are (mostly) the kindest people I have ever met, who will go beyond the call of duty to help you find your way, and your fellow travellers are always on hand. Never really being alone means I’ve always had someone with me, and if not, there are so many people around all the time that you feel so much more comfortable.

My main point in all this? Don’t listen to your parents, all the worrywarts or any of those who react in shock when you say you’re going alone. Ignore anyone who goes on about how “brave” you are for doing it. It’s not brave once you get out here, it’s standard. And all those travellers who have said doing it alone is the best way to go are right, yes it’s a little more expensive at times, but it means you are completely independent and yet never lonely. You don’t have to have the intense one-on-one relationship between two travellers, you don’t have to have arguments in the group, and you never have to wait for everyone to be ready before you go to the beach, simple! Trust me, everyone I have met so far is insanely jealous I am doing it alone and they are travelling with a group, and after experiencing travelling with a group for a few days I am even more glad to be independent. I can see so plainly that I have the better end of the deal in so many ways. I’ve also realised that the majority of those who have approached me here wouldn’t have done so if I had been travelling with a partner. The only thing I’m not looking forward to is when I get poorly, which is bound to happen at some point, and I have no one to look after me. But even then, I will find a way to cope and to smash it.

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Thinking about travelling solo but scared to take the first step? Tell me about your fears and let me reassure you…

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After a day on the road, in the air and on the open sea, I finally arrived in Koh Lanta where I was to meet up with some friends for a few days of birthday celebrations. The ferry over gave spectacular views of the island and neighbouring ones, and I couldn’t wait to hit the shores. Koh Lanta is stunning – when you think of paradise, golden sands, clear blue waters, beautiful shells littering the beach and lots of little shacks with hammocks – that’s basically Koh Lanta. The beaches are beyond beautiful and absolutely deserted. Although this place is paradise – many travellers don’t make it this far and so the lucky ones who do find empty beaches and an amazing, chilled out atmosphere helped along by the fabulous bars along the beach. It’s a diverse crowd who make it here, so far I’ve seen quite a few families with young children, honeymooning couples and holidaymakers – but there are also a fair few backpackers.

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My first night on the island, I was hoping to stay at Bee Bee Bungalows but found they were full on arriving, but it turned out to be a blessing because I then found a lovely little hut on the beach instead. It was less than 10 metres from the beach and the sea, so I could hear the waves crashing on the beach at night – perfection. I love the bungalows, they give such a fabulous experience I can’t imagine you get in a hotel – although the cockroach in the toilet was a rather funny experience, thank god for a flush! I spent my first night eating and drinking at the Reggae Bar just down the beach – this is my favourite place on the island. The music is amazing, the people there are fantastic – I made a great new group of mates that night and partied together, I even moved closer to the girls so we could spend the week together. That night we went to an awesome party we found in the woods with the guys who run the Reggae Bar – it was amazing.

imageimageAfter just one night, I woke up early and walked miles to the next few beaches to see what else was along there – lots of yoga, massages and food. Then I spent the morning swimming in the sea spotting fish and sunbathing until my friends arrived so I could join them at their villa which was pretty lush and had its own pool and jacuzzi! The guys had been living in some pretty awful hostels for the last three weeks so they were really excited to have a bit of luxury for my friend’s birthday. The next few days were spent sunbathing on the beach, exploring the island, having pool parties and something very special for her birthday. We booked to go visit elephants and to feed them before going on a jungle trek to a bat cave and then on to a waterfall where we sat on rocks and pretended to be mermaids. It was an amazing way to celebrate and we were all so excited to see the elephants – they were so beautiful and gentle. It got me really excited for when I spend a week volunteering at the elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai in March.imageimage

After one more night together celebrating Stav’s birthday with a BBQ, beers and a fire show, and letting off some fire lanterns – we parted ways the next morning and I returned to the beach. I definitely missed sleeping on the beach – it was strange to have air con and to not hear the sea each night but I had so much fun with the guys. Now, after meeting up with my Austrian mates from the first night, I have moved into the bungalow next to them at the Reggae Bar and plan to stay a few more days before moving on to Koh Phi Phi for some shopping. We’re having a great time and spent a day on this beautiful tiny beach – the best one on the island is Noi Beach – where we swam and watched the sun set after lunch at a viewpoint restaurant high on the cliff. It was amazing to finally see a sunset, I kept missing them all week! That night, we meta group of French travellers, an American girl and two guys from Switzerland and Holland – it’s a diverse crowd who are attracted to the island. We had a great night laughing around a huge fire on the beach and dancing salsa in the waves.imageimage

The next few days were a blur of yoga, food, sunbathing and swimming. After hearing the water at Koh Phi Phi is full of sewage – one girl even ended up with a lump of poo in her hands, nice! I will get my fill of the ocean before I head over just in case I have to refrain from swimming there and will save myself for Krabi and Koh Tao where I hope to do diving. It’s going to be so hard to leave this place, I seriously love it here and could happily stay here forever. I’ve lost all track of time and don’t want to find it again. But I will force myself to move on in a few days, safe in the knowledge that I plan to return before I leave Thailand. Highlights from the week had be all the friends for life I made, the scooters and exploring, finding our own private beach and playing mermaids. If you go to Koh Lanta, stay av gone Blue Wave Beach Bar, dance to reggae, watch the sunset from the viewpoint over dinner, go trekking through the jungle to waterfalls and chill out.

Have you been to Koh Lanta? What was your favourite part? 

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After around 24 hours of flying, driving and waiting to travel, I was so pleased to finally arrive in Bangkok – desperate to get to my hotel for food and a shower. It was early evening when I arrived and I was keen to get out and check out the city for myself after hearing and reading so much about it. I spent a brief three nights in the city and as I write this I am waiting for my flight down to Trang where I will be ferrying and bussing my way to Koh Lanta to meet some friends. That’s not a long time spent in Bangkok – don’t worry I shall return at a later date for more fun – but it was long enough for the place to leave a lasting impression on me. I can tell it is definitely one of those places you will either love or hate – and I certainly hadn’t expected to love it as much as I did. But what were my first impressions of Bangkok?

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  1. It really is one of the friendliest cities I have ever been to – the people are amazing, generous, kind and endlessly helpful. After a 14 hour flight you really need a bit of help to make the rest of your journey as simple as possible and I couldn’t have had a better taxi driver who took me to the door of my hotel, but who also made the effort to chat and offer recommendations on the drive there. It was great to get advice from someone who knows the city on what sights to see, how is best to get around and that kind of thing. It also gave a great start to my time then, I instantly felt welcome and the following days brought more of the same.

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  1. A slight disappointment was the skyline as we approached from the airport. I wasn’t the only one to be surprised that there wasn’t really much of a view from the taxi window, a few other travellers mentioned it as well. I think we kind of expected the views you get on the drive into New York or Dubai – huge, masterful buildings that impress and excite you – I was rather underwhelmed by the view but the city made up for it later on.

  2. The hotel I was staying in was fabulous – I started out with a couple of nights in a hotel as a treat and it sure was! I was surprised to find op how far my money went here – it was a cheap hotel by English standards – more budget than a Travelodge but far more luxurious with huge rooms, really nice bathrooms, a view over the canal, restaurant, pool, gym and spa! Definitely a good way to start the trip – would really recommend the Nouvo City Hotel (just a short walk from Khao San road and the staff were amazing – even helping me organise my transport down to Koh Lanta!)

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  1. The city itself? Bangkok is nuts. Simple as that. There is so much going on, so many sights, smells, tastes, sounds – it is a total attack of the senses that just leaves you gobsmacked. I loved it. It’s very busy, but has none of the hustle and bustle of London, it’s so much more laid back and all about fun. In the day, Bangkok is kind of non-existent, although I did have a great day out on the river and sightseeing, but it is at night that the city truly comes alive – as we travellers all kept saying to each other – anything can happen in Bangkok. You can totally see why The Hangover 2 was set here – it’s the only place as crazy as Vegas that could provide a backdrop for a story that ridiculous! The shopping is fab, the massages are so good and the food is incredible.

  2. There is no standard type of traveller. Khao San road is a spiritual home for all types of backpacker, holiday-maker and traveller, and they mingle amongst each other freely. I love that there is no standard here, everyone is so unique and so nobody stands out, we all have a place. You could be walking down the street next to a dreadlocked backpacker, a family with two young children, someone else who came here on holiday and ended up staying for five years and a ladyboy. But all are welcome and all are eager to talk to you, make friends and experience this crazy world together. Being a solo traveller has been brilliant so far – I’ve made loads of friends and have barely been alone for a minute!

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  1. You suddenly realise how overly safety conscious Brits are – in Thailand, health and safety is nothing but a fleeting thought and yet it’s easy to feel completely safe. The streets are so busy that you are never alone or feel very vulnerable – easy to lure you into a false sense of security (watch your bag) and I find it hilarious that the taxis all have seat belts but you’re not able to use them – don’t get me started on the scooters and tuk tuks!

  2. Back to The Hangover again – when they say “Bangkok has him now” I know exactly when they mean now – this city will suck you in to its core and it will spit you out again. I’ve seem some astonishing sights and after talking to a load of people, it seems that it is easy to have a little too much Bangkok – perhaps why some people can’t handle the city. In small doses this place is great, but watch out for the buckets and watch out for the weirdness.

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For those of you heading to Bangkok anytime soon – enjoy! And I hope you enjoyed this post – my first of many on the road – they will be slightly less frequent now, partly because I’m having so much fun and partly because it takes so much longer to format them on my iPad but I promise they will keep on coming! In the meantime, if you have any recommendations for Bangkok for when I return there, leave a comment – or any recommendations for Koh Phi Phi (my next destination) they would be very welcome! 

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Photo by Mikhail Koninin

Photo by Mikhail Koninin

Yesterday marked an official milestone ahead of my travels. My resignation was finally officially passed over to the big bosses (I handed it in a month early to help give them time to replace me before Christmas) – so that means there’s really no going back now. Not that there was even a chance of me cancelling. My leaving party is on the horizon, I’m planning in lots of visits to see people before I go and I’m making sure I fill my boots with all those yummy Christmas foods in case I’m not back by next Christmas. It’s all starting to become a bit real now and I can’t quite believe how little time I have left at work – by the time you read this I will have just four Mondays left on the job! Everyone in the office is really excited for me, they’re all counting down for me as well. It’s such an amazing feeling to know how hard I’ve worked and for how long, and to now finally see that light at the end of the tunnel – that tropical sunlight beaming down at me. I’ve got just one more round of jabs left and everything else is finally falling into place, my plans are made and I’ve even started organising my travel wardrobe. So I thought it was about time I gave you guys an update on my plans for travelling:

My trip kicks off on January 6 when I fly out to Bangkok. After a couple of days sightseeing, shopping and eating in the city, I will head to the beaches and islands off south Thailand. Of course I’ll be taking in the standard backpacker route via Ko Pha-Ngan, Ko Samui, Krabi and Ko Phi-Phi. I’m looking forward to a lot of time spent snorkelling, swimming and pretending to be a mermaid. I’m meeting some friends when I arrive, so I’m sure there will be a lot of partying and fun to be had – the perfect way to start the new year if you ask me, and I’m looking forward to starting my trip with a bang. I’ll be spending a month and a half covering this ground, then for a complete change of pace, and to get my visa renewed, I’ll be heading to Vietnam for two weeks where I plan to travel as much of the country as possible – a LOT of food will be consumed here and I’m looking forward to visiting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Halong Bay looks beautiful and I would love to go on one of the river tours.

Photo by Jessica Morales

Photo by Jessica Morales

When I head back to Thailand, I’m heading straight to Chiang Mai in the North, where the experience of a lifetime awaits me. I have booked to spend a week volunteering at an elephant sanctuary where I will be caring for, feeding and bathing elephants for the week. It is a dream come true to get to do this and I am beyond excited. I’ve not even set out yet and already I know this will be a highlight of the trip for me! My week there will be followed by another week or two in Chiang Mai, followed by a trip further north to Pai. I’m really looking forward to Pai – I know already from everything I have read and seen of the place that it is definitely somewhere I will be wanting to stay for a while. The next leg of my journey will be to visit Laos for a week or two spent relaxing, taking in the scenery, visiting temples and dolphin spotting. After Laos, I’ll be heading to central Thailand, particularly the national parks and Sukhothai Historical Park. And then I might give myself some more time in Bangkok before heading to Cambodia for a few weeks for another huge highlight of my trip. I’m planning on staying at a yoga, meditation and health retreat for 10 days where I will be trying out a vegan diet, will be visiting the Cambodian temples, spending a bit of time just looking after myself and treating myself to a few massages. I’m really looking forward to this part of the trip and I’m pleased that there will be opportunities for me to explore the country further. I’ll have to head back to Thailand to catch my flight to Oz for the next leg of my journey – at the moment I plan for this to be around May but that is open to change.

Australia is very unplanned at the moment, but I know I have a lot of friends to meet and catch up with – plus I have several people coming out to meet me for stages of my trip here so it’s going to be a busy few months! I’m planning to travel around as much of the country as possible, and I’m hoping my friends will be quite scattered so I can use them as a guide for my travels. I’m really looking forward to checking out the surfing – my goal is to learn to stand up on a surfboard without help. I’m also looking forward to spending some time in the cities, particularly Melbourne, and of course the beaches – Bondi looks amazing! And I do have a little dream in the back of my mind of doing a bit of a Golden Coast road trip, but I’ll definitely need some friends to keep me company. I haven’t decided yet if I will need to work while I am in Oz – I will assess my funds along the way and will see if I want to pick up some more cash. I had planned for three months there, but I already know I’ll be extending it to at least four months.

bondi

In New Zealand, I will again be visiting a few people, old family friends, but I’m also looking forward to having some time to myself to explore. I haven’t got a plan yet, but I’ve definitely got a few things I really want to do – like visiting the glow-worm caves, whale and dolphin spotting, I would love to see the Southern Lights, I fancy a lot of outdoor activities, so more surfing, walking and climbing would be good. While I’m in NZ, I’ve also decided that I simply have to get a flight and go to Fiji, no matter how much it costs me. It just looks like paradise and I think I need a little taste of heaven. I have an idea in my head that if I can find a job in Oz or NZ to raise some more cash – I would love to raise enough to stay the full year and to fly back to Australia for new year to watch the fireworks at Sydney Harbour before catching my flights back to the UK via Dubai on January 6. Whew. Quite a trip huh?

I’m still researching places and working out my exact route, so if you have any suggestions or advice, please do leave a comment!

Ab Lucy sign off

PS. I’d love if you would vote for me in the UK Blog Awards by clicking here and here.

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