Spontaneous trip to Phuket and Koh Phi Phi

At the beginning of the trip we decided that we would book our first few nights of accommodation and then wing it from there, and whilst that sounded really daunting initially, this flexibility really paid off even in the first week! We realised we could spare a few more days in beautiful Thailand than we thought and although the southern islands weren’t in our original plan, we seized the opportunity! We felt our spontaneity peak as we decided to book flights to Phuket for the next day and see the beach before we soldier on to Cambodia as intended. And I’m so glad we did because just look at this view!
The flight down to Phuket was pretty decent:we flew with Nok Air, it didn’t take much more than an hour and we even got given a mini bottle of water. From the airport we got a minibus to Patong Beach where we were staying which took another hour- though it’s amazing how quickly time goes when you can nap! It was lunchtime when we arrived so we went to check into our hostel then explore. We stayed in Hip Hostel which had a great location as it was close to the beach as well as all the shops, restaurants and bars. It seemed to be a family run hostel and the reception/common area felt a bit like their front room with a sofa and Thai soaps on the tv!

For some reason the three of us were massively craving pizza, and I know that sounds bad given the amazing cuisine on offer in Thailand, but what can I say? After a week of chillies a little home comfort was needed so we set out in search of Italian, which was surprisingly easy to find. We demolished our pizzas and headed down to see the beach. When you think of Southern Thailand you picture clear blue waters and amazing landscapes, which is decidedly harder to see in a torrential downpour like the one we experienced. There seems to be no such thing as a gentle shower here as we all got soaked in a matter of seconds! It was actually quite nice being on the beach in the rain though, sheltering under trees whilst everything gets drenched for 10 minutes before the sun comes out like it never happened🌞

In Phuket there are lots of different beach towns you can stay in, and honestly I wouldn’t really go to Patong again I’d go somewhere quieter: it was too overwhelming. It had a resort vibe, packed with tourists and everything seemed more expensive than the rest of Thailand because of this. But the main reason why I wasn’t a fan was infamous main strip Bangla road. Safe to say it was not what I expected! One thing I did like we’re the other girls we met in our dorm who were lovely and we ended up going out for dinner with. Two Germans called Justine and Pia who found the British phrase ‘elephant in the room’ particularly hilarious 😂

For the next day we arranged through our hostel to get the boat to the island Koh Phi Phi and proceeded to have one of my favourite days (bar the elephant sanctuary) of the trip so far. This is what I expected of Southern Thailand hooray🎉 The boat to the island left from the pier just south of Phuket Town, around 45 mins from where we were staying. From there the boat took around and hour and a half and for us this was an event in itself as the sun was shining and the scenery so beautiful. This is a snap of Koh Phi Phi as we approached the harbour:

The island itself is incredibly idyllic, you can see why it’s got such a name for itself: turquoise water and golden beaches surround the island. As soon as we found our hostel (where we couldn’t check in as the receptionist had popped to the bank for the afternoon – island life ey?)  we grabbed the world’s smallest toastie from a nearby cafe (no crusts?!) and headed straight for the beach. The three of us admired the amazing view and had a much needed nap in the shade. It was so nice waking up to this:

We only had one night on Koh Phi Phi so we had to make the most of it. We finally checked in at the hostel and went out to explore. The main town part of the island is really compact and only takes around 15 minutes to walk from one beach through the town to the beach on the other side, and this is where all the restaurants  and bars are to be found. We walked along the beach and ate dinner in a cute restaurant at the end of the row. Behind us in the bar next door was an amazing fire show which kept us entertained for ages with twirling, throwing and tightrope walking. We even had a mojito cocktail bucket to share between us! 

The next day we hiked up to the viewpoint at the top of the hill – this was super steep and made us so sweaty and out of breath in the heat. Though I have to say it was worth it for the view of the whole island! So beautiful! 
We had a little more time to spare before our boat back to Phuket so we made a quick trip to the beach for a swim to cool off and dry out our clothes (we got soaked by another downpour as we walked back to the town.) I wish we had more time to spend on the island but it was fun what little time we did have. Until next time Koh Phi Phi!


Briefly back in Bangkok with new perceptions

After being amazed by this chaotic city, yet undecided if I like it at the same time, a pitstop back in the city after our visit to Chiang Mai did actually change my mind. We stayed in a completely different area of Bangkok and saw something else other than the sheer craziness of Khoasan Road, and of course the traffic! 

We stayed in a hostel called Yoo Yen Pen Sook (great name) in the north of the city, near Morchit bus station and a great weekend market. The area had so much more of a true local feel with swathes of antique and bric-a-brac shops and stalls lining the streets. 

Chatuchuk weekend market was really near the hostel but in fact we stumbled across it whilst just exploring the area, typical! It’s a maze of market stalls and shops selling clothes, shoes, jewellery, gifts, you name it, as well as fresh fruit and drink for refreshments. There was a great atmosphere as Thais and tourists browsed and bartered. At this point though we were super hungry as we’d been up early for our flight from Chiang Mai so we made a beeline towards the first place we saw! Spicy Thai red curry and rice for a bargain 50 baht (just over £1). It was delicious but my poor mouth was on fire and my lips were tingling there was so much chilli! Obviously my chilli tolerance leaves much to be desired. 

After spending some time perusing the wares of this huge indoor/outdoor market we headed back to the hostel to refresh, shower and plan our next couple of days. 

In an attempt to find somewhere to eat dinner, we walked beyond the market we’d been to earlier which was now closed and noticed lots of people walking in the opposite direction to us. We thought this was strange as it felt as if an event had finished. We kept going, eventually coming across a busy vintage(?) market with live music, lots of interesting stalls and places to eat. In the upper corner on a platform above the rest of the market was a restaurant full of locals so we decided to take the plunge too. It was so much fun as you grilled everything at the table yourselves and as were clearly weren’t locals the staff automatically gave us cutlery instead of chopsticks!

We had a big bucket of coke between us too and for dessert you could make your own pancakes and top it with as much chocolate sauce and sprinkles or smarties as you could. I felt like a ten year old having all the ice cream toppings at a Pizza Hut 🙈 the fact we had giant marshmallows with chocolate sauce and got it all over our faces only furthered this! We had such an enjoyable evening and all in all left with a changed impression of Bangkok! 

Elephants and more in Chiang Mai

I cannot recommend visiting this fabulous city in Northern Thailand enough. Everyone we came across in Bangkok were enthusiastic about Chiang Mai and it hasn’t disappointed at all! We flew up from Bangkok which was fairly cheap and only took an hour (saving ourselves a 9 hour bus ride).

One of the main reasons we chose to visit Chiang Mai was to see some elephants whilst being responsible tourists, a major bucket list activity for all of us – especially Rhianna! I would recommend the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary to anyone in a heartbeat as it was such an incredible day. The whole experience was so much fun and it was amazing to be around such majestic and elegant animals. Fun fact: elephants don’t have stomachs in their digestive systems so continually eat for around 20 hours a day! That’s a heck of a lot of food. For 2400 baht (around £55) we got picked up from the city centre and driven around an hour and a half south to the sanctuary. We were able to meet the elephants, feed them bananas, stroke them (the texture of their skin is tough but nothing like I expected)  walk with them, watch them play in the river, then after lunch wash them and cover them in mud too! Here are some pictures:

After such an incredible day we headed back to Chiang Mai in the same pick up/jeep which gave us a stunning view of the jungle as we winded back down the hillside towards the city. We stumbled across a street food market which I deemed the Thai ‘Dinerama’ (street food place in London). We ate huge spring rolls, bao buns and ice cream rolls ups -yum! There were market stalls, great live music, twinkly lights and a great atmosphere. There was also a cocktail bus so we just had to sample its wares!

 After dinner we walked round the corner to the night market and immediately heard more live music. Someone at the elephant sanctuary had recommended the Boy Blues bar here, nestled in the skies of the market. We followed the sound and there it was, a tiny bar filled with people lapping up the bluesy band. The music was great here and we stayed until just before closing to enjoy as much as we could.

Today we ventured out of the city again to the temple at Doi Suthep. This had beautiful views of the city as well as the temple being so beautiful too. There was so much gold and intricate detailing, and though there were many steps to climb to the top, it was definitely worth it.

All in all Chiang Mai gets a massive thumbs up from me 👍 Tomorrow we’re heading back to Bangkok to then catch a bus to Cambodia. 

Hurray we’ve arrived in Bangkok!

After seventeen-ish hours of travelling, two planes, little sleep and my first experience of taxi driving in south east Asia (this was a little traumatic but we made it safe and sound) we’ve arrived in Bangkok 🙌

We’re staying in the cutest place called Good Day hostel in the centre of the city. It’s small but feels so bright and homely – anything with bunting and kitch floral cushions gets my seal of approval! Plus it even has a coffee shop attached.

Now to get over the jet lag and figure out where to go first. I think the plan is to see what the night market has to offer.