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8 easy ways of saving money while traveling

Cash.

It seems to be the ultimatum between traveling or not.

‘I can’t afford it.’

Most people I know can afford to travel. The real truth is, it’s all about priorities.

For those who are going for it..

I decided to write up some of my tips on saving money while traveling.IMG_0033

1. Every penny counts

This was just something I knew I had to realise the second I started traveling. If I was at home and something cost an extra 20p, I would pay it. If I knew I was probably being slightly overcharged for a cab, I would still pay it. If someone needed to borrow afew $. I wouldn’t bother asking for it back.

This all has to change.

I dont mean turn into a stingy b*tch. Backpacking Asia really taught me the true meaning of value. I was paying $1 for my dinner. This doesn’t mean everywhere will be cheap and of course, make exceptions but keep track on how much things should cost.

Try to watch every penny you spend. It all adds up. The only reason I only managed to travel as long as I did was because I so careful with my money. I wasn’t spending my cash on things I didn’t need too.

I was walking to save myself on $2. I was always going for the cheapest accomadation and argued with taxi drivers over 20p.

I never had a daily budget or allowance, I just spent my money wisely, most of the time.

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2. Walk/ Hitch hike

I first tried hitchhiking in Malaysia, and it was worryingly easy. I would suggest doing it with someone and keeping your wits about you however so many people are happy to give you a lift, they are going that way anyway.

It’s as easy as standing there, putting your arm out and thumb up. On the first few times I was a little unsure but once I spoke to the drivers, it was the first time for them also. Some we had great conversation, others we just sat and they dropped me right off where I needed.

It’s a very easy way to save money.

Walking. Most of us have legs. Use them. Taxi fee’s can add up. If it’s possible, walk. You never know what you will see!

3. Things are free

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Unfortunately great experiences cost a lot of money however, you can find many free options that you can’t beat. Great company is priceless, beaches are free and you can never go wrong with a game of cards.

I love photography and sunsets and it doesn’t cost me a penny to find a lovely spot with my camera and watch the world.

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4. Couch surf/hammock/tent/Car

There are lots of other options other than hotels & hostels.

Lots of places offer tents and some camping zones. I meet loads of people camping out or even just hanging up a hammock for the night. All around Australia people live from their cars or camping equiptment.

Couch surfing is free and a great way to meet people but always watch out for dodgy accounts and make sure it’s safe & genuine.

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A dalmation, iced coffee and a hammock.

5. Dont go buying

Seriously. Don’t go looking for things you don’t need. Every country I went, every little town or island, they had some sort of beautiful markets or awesome traditional shops. I wanted things. I wanted to buy. Shop. Purchase. I couldn’t.

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I didn’t need any of those things. I occasionally needing to rebuy toiletries, and found a few beautiful wall hangings I had to pick up.

During the 6 months in Asia, I definatley picked up a few bits. A passport holder from Chiang Mai, a dress from Pai, some sandles from Hoi An were just a few things however all in all, I was never going out to shop.

I was limited for space in my rucksack and the more money I spent on stuff, the less I could travel and have all these experiances. Most importantly, I needed the money for food & accomadation.

6. Cheapest option

There are normally lots of different options other then the first one shown. The more you travel, the more travel hacks you will pick up.

You will know the cheaper airlines and sites. Make sure to compare flights, look at trains and over night bus’ instead of planes. Find deals on accomadation and share transport are just a few ways to keep things cheaper.

I still have a lot to learn, let me know yours and comment below.

7. Cut the booze

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A cold chang in Blue Lagoon // Koh Phi Phi

So a lot of you may hate me for this.

I cut out booze. Not completely, but I rarely drink.

Without going into it, I prefer Bob Marley to David Guetta.

The amount of money I found people spending on going out getting pissed, which there is nothing wrong with, never the less, if you are looking to cut down on the extra spending and start budgeting. You’ll skip the booze.

For two bottles of Chang beer in Thailand, I could afford a hostel room for the night. Doesnt take a genuis to work it out.

I am all for having fun and these are some of the best years of your life, crack open that beer on the beach however keep an eye on how much spending it may amount too.dsc_0235-2

Saigon at a rooftop bar // Ho Chi Minh

8. Cook with others

You’re staying in hostels? Homestays?  Sharing kitchen space? Cook together. We all have to eat, dining out in South East Asia is very cheap however if youre traveling for a long term or even just enjoy cooking your own food. A massive bag of pasta, sauce can cost 20p if there a few of you eating.

Everyone is always after saving some pennies so mention it to people and I am sure other people will also be keen. Cook in large portions if you’re on the road. If you’re driving through a country, store cheap food options if accesible to a kitchen.

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Bbq’s in Australia

These are just a few ways to save money!  Let me know yours below!

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Visiting the abandoned casino @ Bokor City // Kampot, Cambodia

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10 tricks & tips on moving to Melbourne

Thousands of us come to Australia.

Some to work, travel, find a new way of life or simply want to settle short term.

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Melbourne. Victoria.

Stylish, arty Melbourne is a city that’s both dynamic and cosmopolitan, and proud of its place as Australia’s cultural capital. Its stately Gold Rush–era architecture and a multicultural make-up reflect the city’s recent history, while edgy street art, top museums and sticky-carpeted band venues point to its present-day personality.

Melbourne is best experienced as a local would, with its character largely reliant upon its collection of inner-city neighbourhoods. Despite a long-standing north–south divide (flashy St Kilda versus hipster Fitzroy), there’s a coolness about its bars, cafes, restaurants, festivals and people that transcends the borders. The city centre has meanwhile reinvented itself with chic laneway eateries and rooftop bars opening in former industrial buildings.

Sport is also crucial to the fabric of the town, taking on something of a religious nature here. Melburnians are passionate about AFL football (‘footy’), cricket and horse racing, and also love their grand-slam tennis and Formula One car racing.

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I recently moved here after 6 months backpacking Asia. It’s cold, civilised and pretty cool. Chilled vibes, quirky cafes, endless entertainment, sport central and just an awesome place to be.

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Known for being the best city to live in; I came to give it a go.

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I wanted to share with you some of my tips & tricks for moving to Melbourne.

1. Use Public transport.

 

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Melbourne has a decent public transport system. Despite everyone obsessed with Uber, and espresso martinis, the tram system is pretty efficient.

As confusing as it can be at first, pretty off putting coming from Asia, it’s the leading transportation around the city. Almost a 24 hour system, reliable, it’s something to get used too and get to know.

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2. Get Gumtree.

Don’t have it? Get it? Don’t know what it is? Search it.
Or just click here.. Gumtree au
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Many jobs are posted daily with job vacancies, business’ hiring and lots of work advertised.
You can post your own ad if looking for work People will be able to contact you through Gumtree if interested.
Not only that but it’s a great place to look for accomadation or to buy something. Everyone seems to be using it so don’t miss out!

3.  Use social media & it’s benefits.

Almost everyone has social media, I have even seen random little Cambodian villages on facebook. Social media has many negatives however there is one massive benifit when it comes to traveling.

Get on those social media pages. Join the groups, read the blogs, search Instagram. There are some great Facebook groups here to help with lots of information on backpacking Australia, living in Australia and more. These pages are designed to help find information and help you engage with other people also moving and living in Melbourne.

Search #hashtagged places in the city and see what is going on. I always find lovely little coffee houses by having a ponder on Instagram. Click here to follow @_littletravelbird on Instagram and see what new places I have been finding.

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4. Saving?

Melbourne has something constantly going on. I am sure it is possible to save, I have too, however there is a lot going on. Melbourne is revolved around eating out, hidden hippy bars, vintage shops, the best places for coffee and so much more. Constant entertainment and great sport activities, theatres and shopping, arenas and stadiums, Melbourne is a very active city, make use of it!

 

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If you are coming to seriously save some dollar, maybe think of somewhere else to settle. With an income and some budgeting, anyone can save with the right priorities, however Melbourne is such a vibrant city with so much to do, enjoy it!

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Pizza night in the city

 

5. Find a house share

Everyone all over Melbourne is in a house share, whether you are a backpacker, student, professional or just a travel bum, a house share is normally pretty affordable, a great place to meet people and an easy way of living. Find the area you want to live in, with ads for accommodation constantly on Gumtree or on Facebook pages, you will have no problem finding a room!
I have a good friend living in St. Kilda, where I was crashing when I arrived. I now have an affordable cute little flat in St. Kilda with 5 others. It is easy, convenient and affordable. If you don’t have anyone to stay with, hostels are a good place to head to first to meet people and get to know the area once you’re here.

6. Do your RSA/Permit/Visa research

Most places have restrictions on who can work where and for how long. For us British, it is ridiculosuly easy to come over to live & work down under. For other countries, the rules and regulations can be different so check the conditions of where you are from.
To work and live over here in Melbourne, you will need a working holiday visa. These are easy to get hold of and can use them up to 12 months from applying. It will cost around £230/ $500 AU. This gives you a year in the country which you can extend to two years if you do 88 days of agrictulture work.
You can’t bartend without an RSA. Hospitality is a big deal in Australia, especially in Melbourne. Bartenders need to attend a short RSA course. For those wanting hospitaity work, look at getting it booked and out the way. It’s easy and means you can get work straight away. Employees wont ask for it until you have been working with them for 3 weeks but it’s a good idea to get it done. Each state in Australia will require a different RSA.

7. Get an income.

It is easy to be busy enough with exploring the city. I could spend endless days down by the beach, wondering the streets of Fitzroy, drinking out on Chapel street or finding the best resturants in the CBD but Melbourne focuses on great entertainment, food and drink, live music and sport.
There is a lot going on and things to do and see. If you are looking on moving to Melbourne, get your self a job and have some sort of income!

8. Be prepared with the weather

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Melbourne is known for the random weather. Wake up to the sun beaming and clear blue skies and by the evening it can get pretty rainy and miserable.

The photo above was taken on a ridiculously wet and dull saturday day in the middle of winter, while I went to get the tram to work, this was my view of the sunset.

The weather is constantly changing so come prepared. I flew in from Asia on the 1st June where winter was starting. Despite being used to 45 degree heat, it can get very cold.

I am currently living in my hat and scarf, needing to keep the heating on. Depending on what time of year you come to Melbourne, always be prepared. Melbourne is south of Australia and can get some of the coldest weather!

Despite being in the middle of winter at the moment, it is still an improvement on English weather!

Morning beach run

Morning beach run

9. City life

Melbourne is a major city.

You won’t be in the country side, or close to the desert. Instead, are loads of suburbs filled with awesome streets filled with independant buisness and local cafes. Despite the CBD being a great place to explore, make sure to spend lots of time exploring the suburbs.

 

 

Places like hippy Fitzroy, flashy St. Kilda, Prahan, Brighton, South Melbourne and more are my favourite places to hang out.

 

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10. Make use of the coffee culture

Melbourne is known for the epic coffee scene. With some of the best coffee, baristas and places to drink them, embrace it all. Give the coffee shops a good chance and explore what Melbourne hospitality has to offer!

There you go. There are so many interesting and funky places in Melbourne. Despite suffering from one big culture shock coming from Asia, Melbourne has not let me down! These are just my opinions & tips, any feedback would be appreciated.

Happy traveling.

-Little travel bird

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The transition. Asia – Australia Part 1; Before I leave

Before I leave.

HOLY MOLY. Here I am, 6 months later on my last few days in Asia before Australia.

  What a whirlwind of emotions right now. Gutted to leave Asia. Excited to see Australia. Strange to be further away from home but closer to a more westernised and civilised lifestyle. It’s an odd subject I really don’t hear many people talking about but a journey a lot of us make.

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It’s a major adaptation. We’re used to moving countries, learning new currencies and blagging our way through backpacking crazy places but this is different.

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Trying street food in Penang, Malaysia pre thunderstorm.

Heading to Australia after traveling in Asia will be a huge shock. I don’t quite know what to expect however everyone’s telling me the same. They love it and I know I’m ready for the challenge. australia

The worries.

What if it’s so cold? What if it’s too expensive? What if I can’t get work?

These things will always run through your head but remember, Worry is a misuse of imagination.

I’m even further away from home, the furthest possible point for us English across the world.Planet-Earth-picture

The perks. I’ll be back in civilisation, I’ll have more access to home comforts. I’ll see friends I’ve not seen in ages and catch up with ones I’ve made in Asia. Even the little things we become accustomed too in Asia like everyone speaking English, fresh air, routine.

Do I want that yet? I don’t know. We will have to find out.

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Beach front bungalows for $30 US!

The adapting. For me, price is going to be the weirdest. I can get bags of laundry done for £2.50. A taxi across the city for £3. A big meal for £1. Spending AU $8  a night on clean and safe accommodation in beautiful locations. Australia is back to western prices. I have little money and need to make it stretch until I get a job.QUP88wFp

Weather. For those that know Australia, I fly into winter. For Melbourne, where I’m heading, it’s cold. Like coat and scarf kind of cold. I am coming from 35+ degree heat. I have one pair of jeans I bought in Hanoi and a little black hoodie. It’s safe to say, I am not prepared.

Lifestyle. Back to work. Back to paying rent and bills. Finding a new group of friends, and not just for a couple of nights. Hostels in Asia are so sociable and it’s so easy to meet people. I’m moving to a new city, in a new country and it is not Asia.

I luckily have a good friend to stay with and know people that can help me with accommodation while I get on my feet. For those going straight to hostels, they will still be sociable but a totally new environment.

Fundamentally.. So I promised I would do 6 months in Asia, and I did it! With some mental, occasionally physical and definitely financial challenges, I made it. And I’m still in one piece feeling as strong as ever. It’s normal to feel a roller coaster of emotions. Not just coming from Asia but all over the world including England. You know it’ll all work out.

Have a little bit of cash, your visa sorted and a positive mind and it’ll all work out.

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Want to find out what’s been going on since I landed in Australia. Read Part 2 here. (Coming soon).

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My 8 biggest travel tips..

There aren’t really any secrets. No myths or hidden meanings. Taking these things traveling simply entitled me to the best travel..

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1.Give yourself as much time as possible.

I had no end date,  little at home that I had to go back for, other then friends and family of course. I detached myself from most things meaning I had all the time in the world. Literally.

So many travellers do 2/3 months which is sweet but the opportunities you’ll miss out on is crazy.
The less time you have, the more you’ll feel you want to plan. Wanting to fit everything in leads to not letting go as much. My favourite thing is turning up somewhere and staying for however long I feel. I understand we have to make the most with the time we have but try to just go with the flow.

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2. – Don’t plan anything.

Maybe a train ticket or a busy hostel but most things you really don’t have to plan.
It’s great to have some idea of things, especially if your on my own however planning less leaves less room for an adventure of the unknown.

I turn up in cities with no idea where I’m sleeping, I don’t plan most activities and like to get myself ‘lost’. Things and people are popping up in all places, new adventures and random memories will happen if you just go with the flow. Trust me. It works.

3.Don’t expect anything.

I mean nothing. Easier said than done sometimes. I get it, if you’re paying 20 dollars for your own room, you will have expectations of value. It’s a difficult one to grasp, rather then have little expectations, have none.

Let things surprise you, let it blow your mind more then you thought it could.

I feel I grasped this and my satisfaction and experiences have hugely improved. I’m not feeling let down, I’m not wishing it was something else.

I know when something isn’t substantial, I’m not saying settle for something you shouldn’t but in regards to travel, it could be a beach, a hostel, a meal, a tour, an adventure, expect nothing.

4.Stay open minded.

It’s easier said then done.
Try not to close off options or even have too much of an opinion. Stay strong to your beliefs and keep your passions strong but don’t restrict yourself. Embrace the cultures, the traditions, the odd foods and different ways of living. Immerse in different experiences and talk to people from all different backgrounds and countries. It’s part of the fun.

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5.Speak to people.

Okay, Everyone speaks but really go out your way, speak to people from all around the world. Chat to the locals, get to know the staff in your accommodation and of course, all the other backpackers.DSC_3296Made friends with these two little ones in Kampot, Cambodia.

Backpackers are your biggest help while traveling, they offer advice, support and most importantly, tips on where to go and what to do. I never looked at lonely planet. That’s a secret I guess?

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You’ll find most backpackers are chatty, friendly and also want company. Sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know. Hostels are the best places to meet people so get out your comfort zone and just say hello.

6.Don’t ever say what if.

Well, maybe if you’re about to launch yourself of a building.. Not literally, but 90% of the things we do when we travel has some element of risk. Everything we do has risks but travel is here to take us out of our comfort zones.

If I said what if, I’d still be sat in my bedroom in England rather then be in the middle of South East Asia having the time of my life. I’m alive and free and loving every single second.

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– which leads me onto my next one.

7.Enjoy the bad times. You’re having the trip of a lifetime.
I’m doing more things in South East Asia over 6 months then people do in their entire lives, let alone the seasons abroad and other travels however everything doesn’t go perfect. Despite the happy travel photos and wonderful check ins, we do have down days and things arent all sunshine and daisies.

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£3.00 a night for a shared hut on the beach, with no fan but I was living in paradise.

It’s about memories and experiences we make building us passionate personalities.
Even the random long journeys or the stuffy accommodation.

Life isn’t perfect, backpacking isn’t about luxuries. We have to embrace and just enjoy every second. Live in the present. Even when things don’t go to plan or something may not work out, one day you’ll be thinking back to that time and wishing you were back.

Don’t take anything for granted.

8. Life isn’t too short. It’s what you do with it that makes it short.
I’ve just reached my 6 month point and it feels like yesterday I left my home in England and boarded that plane to Bangkok. Time flies when you’re having fun but that’s the thing, for every second you have, you won’t get it back. There are 6o seconds in a minute. 60 minutes in an hour. 24 hours a day. That’s 1440 minutes in 24 hours. Enough with the bullshit. Don’t waste your time away.

8. Say yes as much as possible.

Hold up. Don’t go buying meth from the dodgy Tuk Tuk man or purchasing bloody everything on Khao San. It’s easy to hold back due to finances or avoided situations but sometimes you should try saying yes even when you really don’t feel like it. You never know where it could lead you, who you’ll meet and new oppurtunities.

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A very emotional day volunteering at the KohPhangan Stray Animal Care.

Your travels are the best time of your life.

Enjoy it & embrace it! IMG_9997

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Dear British backpackers

I’ve heard a lot of British backpackers complaining about their country.

‘I never want to go back’

‘I’m staying away for as long as possible’

‘The UK is shit’

England definitely doesn’t have the places I’ve come to fall in love with all over the world.


England may not have the adventures Australia can offer, the streets of Paris or the laws (or lack) of Amsterdam, nor does it have crazy safari life in Africa or the beautiful ski towns over in Canada and it may not offer experiences us travellers crave but home will always be home.

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There’s a reason I’ve hardly been in England since I was 18.

I have a constant urge to explore, a passion to travel, a heart full of wunderlust and I know this is what I have to do.

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Despite a lot of cold, miserable weather and a genuinely pretty dull vibe, I’m extremely lucky to come from such an established, clean, rich and supportive country.

indexEngland is filled with beautiful places, stunning countryside, a magnificent busy capital city and a large variety of things to do and places to go.

Leeds Festival. Mumford & Sons

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Working at Leeds Beer Festival

Ok ok, I understand – not everyone is as fortunate as I to have such support or a family waiting for them. People may not even have anything or anyone to go home to. However I can only go off my own experiances.

England is bloody brilliant.

We are lucky. I couldn’t travel as easy as I am if I wasn’t from such a developed country. I’m entitled to visas, the British embassy and great healthcare if needed. We have a stable security and political system. Men and women both have equal rights, we are able to freely travel and we are largely able to choose our own futures.

Language

Worldwide, the majority of information is in English compared to other languages. For many people around the globe, English is learnt as a second language and it takes constant effort and learning to speak it on a daily basis. However it is something I picked up as a child nactually living in England.

In rural parts of the world like Cambodia, Loas and Puerto Rico, there is limited acess to education and learning English. Given that most well paying jobs are centered around tourism (work which inherintely involves a sound understanding of the English language),  not having acess to this type of education can limit many locals to poorly paid and physically taxing labour work.

 

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The reality of long term travel. Dear home, I miss you.

There are countless reasons to travel. There’s no right or wrong way but if you’re like me, you’re in for the long hall.

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No shortcuts, no hidden help or quick flights back home.c9e2a84ae0026bf72a3940f2256a43f3

In an ideal world, I could travel indefinitely. If only I could visit home whenever I wanted. Long plane journeys don’t bother me and my friends & family will always be more important than any destination.

What about when you’ve been gone for a while. Don’t know when you’ll be home? What if you’re desperate to get away but not sure when you’ll be back or even have a fear of going home?il_340x270.634250082_8szm

I want to chat a little more about the reality of long term travel.

I miss home.

Home may not have the tropical climate of Asia, it may not have perfect white sandy beaches and I may not be able to eat the delicious local foods I’ve found all over Asia. England definitely doesn’t have the places I’ve come to fall in love with all over the world.

Ko Tai. 13/01/16England may not have the adventures that Australia can offer, the streets of Paris or the laws (or lack of) of Amsterdam, nor does it have the traditions, cultures and experiances travellers crave all around the world but home will always be home.

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There’s a reason I’ve hardly been in England since I was 18.

I have a constant urge to explore, a passion to travel, a heart full of wunderlust and I know this is what I have to do.

Comfort. I miss you.IMG_8125Despite how priveliged I am in being abe to travel, I do miss my creature comforts. I miss my overly large and cosy bed, my wardrobe full of clothes and dressing table with my perfume and luxury make up. I miss clean running water and instant hot showers, having mobile data and signal everywhere to message my friends. I even miss going into Sainsburys knowing that everything is clean, fresh and hygeinic.

IMG_1420Days just laying infront of the TV with my favourite little doggy.

Life lessons
After six months in South East Asia, I’ve finally truly realised the importance of experiences and relationships rather then belongings and possessions. That unforgettable memories are priceless compared with unnecessary shit we feel we have to buy. Even though I often miss what is familiar, easy and comfortable, I do not need my material possessions from back home.

Thinking of all my beautiful friends and loving family. I may be the other side of the world but you're in my heart. Merry Christmas to friends, other backpackers, my perfect family and everyone wherever you are in the world. #christmas #thailand

No Christmas presents under my tree. No christmas dinner served and living in a basic jungle hut but i’m happy as I can be.

I miss my family. My lifelong best friend. My gorgeous Cockapoo doggy Darcy. All my bartending friends, my dancer friends. Childhood mates and all people I’ve known to love and care about.

Their birthdays, engagement parties and leaving do’s. When they need someone to cry too or have boy trouble and need advice, I’m not an easy phone call away. It is these relationships that I need and could not live without.IMG_0206

I’m here online, I have facebook, Skype, FaceTime etc. I’ve told everyone numerous times that I’m still here and contactable if they need me. But I’m not quite there.
Plus the time difference is a bitch sometimes!13231067_10153466435312751_932283755_n

I speak to my Dad almost everyday but we are no longer doing things together. We aren’t out walking the dog or going to a random movie splashing out on sweets & popcorn. Im not celebrating with friends on special occasions or popping round to visit my grandparents. I’m not going for wine and pizza with my mum (well I was in Vietnam as the fabulous Mrs Cole came to visit). But you get the jist..IMG_2298

My gorgeous younger cousins are growing up fast and my fantastic grandparents are luckily both alive, but when will I see them next? In another 6 months I’ll be gone a year, and who knows what’ll happen.

I’m thankful everyday for the wonderful friends and family I have and all the support I get from everyone but I can’t help but think..

Am I selfish? Am I ignorant? Jetting off all on my own, leaving everyone behind to have this fantastic life filled with adventures spending endless days doing whatever I want in beautiful destinations.

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No. I’m living my life but it sure does come with some reality checks.

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My friends and family may see the photos and hear my stories however they’re not there at the countless experiences I’ve craved them to be at. My friend Aiden would love the Reggae bars, my friend Lana would love all the beautiful resorts and pools. My beautiful city Ruby would love all the sunsets and tropical jungles and I my friend Alice would love to explore the gorgeous hidden cafes, the individual coffee shops and cute cocktail bars not to mention Saskia and our shared love for animals, finding new places and raving at festivals.11902454_10152986649632751_102517351787863013_n

I’m learning and growing everyday and I hope my nearest and dearest can see this.

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I’m not rushing to move back. I have an endless list of countries, cities, towns, villages, islands and places to visit.
I won’t put a price on coming home, even for 48 hours. I’ve told my family that.

For now, this is my life. I am doing more in 6 months than people do in their lives. I’m free, alive and learning everyday.

Traveling has its ups and downs and in the end, makes us a better person but we always need to remember that we are exactly that – people. Human beings. Missing home reminds us of that and makes the time we have away even more special in the long run.

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The truth about safety for South East Asia backpackers

South East Asia is becoming one of the worlds most popular backpacking destinations. It’s no longer an Asian mystery and thousands of backpackers are making their way over every week.

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Filled with magnificant countries offering some of the most epic traveling experiences.

12998711_10153392355252751_6065878301530118079_nRoute 1095 through North Thailand. 40 degrees. Sunset. Reaching 150km/ph. Magical Vibes.

Easy to travel with lots going on, relatively cheap, great weather, magical places and thousands of places to visit, it’s no suprise everyones escaping over here.

I’m repeatedly asked about my safety over here, as a female, as a solo traveler and in general.

Another stunning and huge water fall on Koh Samui today! Deserved a good swim after climbing and hiking up through the jungle! So worth it #kohsamui #travel #canon #thailand #waterfall

Thailand is the perfect place for new backpackers to start and the surrounding countries have endless reasons to visit.

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I’ve been backpacking South East Asia the last 6 months and encounted with hundreds of backpackers from all the world. They all share their stories, experiences, memories and advice.

What do you do when it rains driving through the jungle. Smoke at a treehouse!

Like anything, travel comes with risks. It comes with more abnormal dangers and unfortunately there has been some terrible accidents.

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Some are quickly published across social media, explaining the awful stories with devastating effects.

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Its gives us a quick idea and traces of worry for those back at home and those on the road backpacking.

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I wanted to explain a little more, as a young solo backpacker on the safety of travel in South East Asia.

Asia is a pretty safe place. In fact, I feel safer in most places here then I do walking about in London.

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Going solo, people imagine walking along secluded beaches and roads completley on your own out of reach with the rest of the world.

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Walking 2 miles on a secluded beach with no wifi, signal or much sign of anything. A few beach huts, one cafe and a pier.

Ok, I have had a few wierd lonely walks looking for accomodation and long walks down beaches and jungles with no signal. However, there is somone almost always around. Even if the language barrier is difficult, there are others around if needed.

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The truth is, you’re not in any more danger then at home. The biggest difference is the help you well get and the comforts you want. There may be a language barrier and things may not be as accesible.

You can’t just come ask your mum to pick you up. You’re not 5 minutes from your mates house.

Evening boat to Ko Samui after a hectic day! Everyone inside so the deck to myself. Cloudy, overcast, warm and windy

Numerous people tell me that when they travel they grow up. Being able to look after yourself is key wherever you in the world, there will always be people to help but being in these different circumstances really does show you how important your health and safety really is.

Like anywhere in the world, accidents will happen, no country is immune from terrorist attacks and there are evil and dangerous people everywhere.

South East Asia is filled with magical places, crazy and friendly locals and of course different laws then we may be used to.

With the leading religion being Buddhist. It’s actually a pretty chilled out destination.

The countries have some terrible history and frightning stories in the past,

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but where we are today,  it couldn’t be more safer to travel.

Security has stepped up, the access for communication and information across the globe has improved massively over the last ten years, not to mention social media backpacking communities, forums, websites,  personal pages and blogs sharing experiences, tips and advice.

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It’s 2017, we are no longer in the stone ages. South East Asia may hold some of the poorest countries and villages, the most remote tropical destinations

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but all in all, they’re pretty up to date.

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Places like Thailand are becoming so connected with the rest of the world making anything accessible including great health care. It can offer great places for anyone homesick. Easy 24 hour internet, with hundreds of amazing western comforts.

After an insane day we call it a night. Feeling pretty tired and leaving Rasta bar we talk about craving a good hot chocolate! We drive past a place near my hostel I've seen in the day that is a coffee shop designed as a living room. It's 1am. Mocha ordered, TV on. Doors closed and we are having a movie, cake and coffee lock in. Just what I needed! #coffee #movienight #midnight #adventure #thailand

Normality
In South East Asia what they call normal, for westerners, is absolutely bonkers.

I’ve seen full buildings held up by bamboo. I’ve seen families of 5 riding with no helmets on motorbikes.

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Not to mention the countless young children driving motobikes, dozens of cows wondering the streets and unhygeinic street stalls.

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Traveling is supposed to take you out of your comfort zone, experience crazy things and visit magical places.

Canyon at sunset #pai #thailand #travel

If we really want to see the world, we have to take things to that extra level. If it wasn’t worth doing, then the countless of hundreds and thousands of backpackers all over the world wouldnt be packing their bags and leaving on long term trips all over the world.

Jungle #kohphangan #jungleparty #thailand #hostelworld

Jungle party #kohphangan

If the dangers have to increase to feel this alive and free. To experience the magical and incredible memories I now have. If it’s the only way to learn the lessons I have and am learning, then I will take any risk I have too and I know I am not the only one.

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When accidents happen out, we sometimes hear before the news, even before social media has shared it and the news have published the story.

As backpackers, travelers and globe trotters, we are a community. A community of young and old all over the world. There is no forms or racism, sexism, homophobia.

Anyone and everyone can and should travel.IMG_1107First night on Khao San.

When news articles and stories about accidents not only in Asia, but all over the world, we all mourn.

1455142470610Despite maybe never connecting with the people, we know the places they’ve been, the hostels they stayed in. We can relate to their journeys like my family can relate to other parents with children traveling all over the world.

We are a long way from home and things are not the same.

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I have friends and family worrying about me all the time, and in a way they have every right too. I’m on my own in some of the poorest and hectic countries, I’m on crazy journeys, meeting all sorts of people and taking risks everday.

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Mine are just a little different then to the ones at home!

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We don’t hear about the thousand and thousands of tourists making it home every year. The countless people leaving on one way flights and making it back to friends and family.

imagesSo the dangers?

Food.

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The hygeine standards in South East Asia can be pretty poor. The busy roads are filled with stalls selling fresh meat, open fresh fruit and tons of other things. Compared to the standards for us westerners, it’s very different.

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Local can food can be the best and cheapest place to eat. I have eaten all over South East Asia at endless street stalls, local business, random markets and top resturants. In the 5 months I’ve been over here, i’ve had one or two brief little bugs for 48 hours. Make sure you always keep yourself hydryted as it can get exstremly hot and humid here.

Ease your way into the traditional food and ice. Drink bottled water and maybe sometimes avoid the meat, never the less, South East Asia has some of the most amazing food!

Robbery.

South East Asia has some of the poorest parts of the world. Most people are harmless but it’s definatley been known that stuff can be easily taken if not careful.

I have been lucky so far with most my belongings but I have heard of many stories in regards things being stolen. Most places have lockers and safety box’s plus  everyones in the same boat. In parts of Cambodia it’s known for passing bikes to snatch and all over Thailand the tuk tuk’s will remind you to hold onto your stuff.

Always keep an eye on your stuff, try and keep things locked up where possible and don’t go out at night with your passport. No one needs ID out here. If things do get stolen report everything to the police, block your cards and let your insurance know whats happened.

Motorbikes.

Motorbikes/scooters/mopeds are by far the most used and convenient mode of transport all over South East Asia.

They are easy to rent, pretty cheap to buy and make life a lot easier. Most locals have been riding since young teenagers and most rodes are designed for bikes to get through.

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I’m a huge lover for motorbikes and try and rent one where possible but even then however try have an idea of the roads and always wear a helmet. Check out the bike first and for those driving for the first time, at least get some idea of how to drive the bike.

Booze & Drugs.

I’ve found most backpacking accidents have been when drinking. We all like to have fun and I’ve had my fair share of drunken nights out all over the world but just remember you’re not in the comfort of your own country.

The laws of drug use is slightly different all over never the less they are not tolerated. Okay, it’s easy to get all over South East  Asia at cheaper prices then back at home. Truthfully, there are hundreds of backpackers all over doing it. Just be careful who you buy it off and who is about. It’s worth being that extra cautious. Locals are known to work with the police when selling and you don’t always know who to trust.

Travel Insurance

This may get a little intense but it’s got to be said. We all need it. Our health and safety is the most valuable thing we have and it’s easily taken for granted.

Many of us never even need to go over the insurance details or ever need to take action.

If the worst case scenario was to ever happen, who is left with the problems?  Who is left with the finanical side of things, the emotional side. The planning as to what to do now and to how they will cope. Not you.

Life can be a really cruel place, but if you seek to travel and explore the rest of the world. Just remember who is left with the broken pieces if things went wrong. For the sake of £50. Purchase and priority proper travel insurance. For everyones sake.

Police.

They all have different roles in each country and can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. The truth is, they’re doing there job. Luckily, in some way, money is easily used instead of proper punishment. The cops can be payed off, or a hefty fine will do. For those budget backpackers, this isn’t convinent never the less it sure is a better option then going to prison.

Anywhere you visit in the world comes with risks and dangers. South East Asia is no different.

inspirational-travel-quoteso What if?

I’ve met people caught with drugs, bashed up from a road accident.  I’ve met backpackers beaten up from locals, others having stuff stolen. So what if?

Like mentioned, many officers and buisness’ can be payed off with a certain amount of cash. They can ask up to 20/30,000 baht (Around £400) for catching you with weed. If any road accidents happen, especially with a local, then can ask for around £2,000. Trust me, I have had friends pay this. I hear lots of stories from experiances and it’s not all a fun one.

My safety travel tips

  • Have a backup if you loose your bank card. Don’t leave no spare acess to money.
  • It’s worth being extra bit cautious.
  • Always have some kind of map or app on your phone so you know where you are. I am always using maps.me. Click here to get the app. However don’t always rely on technology. Carry a map with you if possible. Hostels and buisness’ are always providing free city maps.
  • Have money at home or family prepared to help you a flight somewhere or for any emergency.
  • Wear a helmet.
  • Always have some currency on you, including going through borders.
  • If you buy drugs, try and use your common sense on who’s dodgy or not. Make sure to check out the laws as all over South East Asia they have different policies from fines – death sentance.
  • Take any notes for any long term prescription drugs, make sure you get the right jabs and tablets and it may be worth knowing your blood type.
  • Try to avoid carrying around too much cash with you.
  • Have someone know what journeys your making when moving cities or countries. I always let people know when i’m flying or catching a long bus.
  • Take a photo of your accomdation or take their card when going out at night. After a few drinks it’s easy to forget the way back or even where your staying.
  • Have a spare copy of your passport. I always leave one back at home and try and keep a spare copy with my stuff.

Click here for all Emergency numbers all over the world!

 

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Behind my top 16 favourite Instagram snaps – Thailand

I recently spent two months backpacking solo through Thailand before carrying on around South East Asia.

Probably more of a personal post, the kind of thing I can look back on. I wanted to share a little behind what you see on my fave photos.

All taken anytime between 27th November 2015 – to 25th January 2016.

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A hammock on the tip of the mountain. Time to hang out after the climb up! #kotao #travel #gopro #freedomviewpoint

A hammock on the tip of the mountain. Time to hang out after the climb up! #kotao #travel #gopro #freedomviewpoint

Ko Tao. Freedom viewpoint. Over the last few days before this photo was taken, I had met an awesome group of lads and ended up spending loads of time together. It was my last final day and we decided to go on an adventure. A hot and humid day, we finally all got ready and headed for breakfast. Waffles, coffee, full english, smoothies, pancakes, tea and more, it felt like something out of friends. We all had our own mopeds and a full day to explore.

This photo was taken early evening after it had rained that morning. We climbed up a pretty dangerous rock climb to finally reach the top.  What an incredible view it was and was totally worth it, but I defiantley had to relax in the hammock before treking down. On the complete tip of the mountain with the most sensational view of Ko Tao. Taken with my GoPro.

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Cat Cafe. Bangkok. Thailand. Oh my god, I was only a few days in my trip and I heard about the cat cafes around Bangkok. I posted on the Thailand backpackers facebook page to see if anyone wanted to go.

I soon had a few responses and a guy from England came with my for the afternoon! There was all different shapes, sizes and breeds of Cat. We drank coffee, ate cake and sat playing with cats. The whole enviroment was pretty clean for Asia and a great place for the cats! The staff were all so lovely, the coffee was good and the experiance was defiantely something new! Click here to read more about my time at the Cat Cafe!

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Sunset, smoke, smoothie

Sunset, smoke, smoothie

Koh Phangan. South of Thailand. What an unforgettabe place. A drive and a little climb up this jungle reggae bar is so worth it. Everyone chilling out with the perfect view for the sunset on the ocean, selling smoothies, food, weed and playing the best tunes. This was taken watching the sunset with friends from Australia and America I had met in my hostel. Smoothie ordered, joint bought pre rolled and perfectly done before spending the whole evening chilling with this view. Eventually the stars all came out and covered the entire sky, it was such a magical experiance. Also taken on my GoPro!

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No presents under my tree but happiest I've been #feelingthankful ☀️✈️

No presents under my tree but happiest I’ve been #feelingthankful ☀️✈️

Phi Phi. South of Thailand.
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laughs* Oh dear. This photo was taken just before I got carried out by sea to open water and pretty much got stranded. I was in Phi Phi over Christmas. As a huge sunset fan and a secret mermaid I had to go watch the sunset from the middle of the ocean but one problem. No one seemed to want to join so being the silly adventurer I think I am, I decided to go alone. This wasnt my best idea. Paddling out on my own watching the world go by I realise I had drited out and it was getting dark. The current was stronger out in open water and didnt seem to be getting anywhere. I luckily managed to paddle to a tiny little beach next to a lagoon around the island where a couple thankfully had a water taxi coming to collect them shortly. I managed to catch a lift back ruining one of the couplies most romantic moments. Ooops. I managed to take this on my GoPro holding a floater.

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Got sent this that someone took of me without realising. That was one sunset

Got sent this that someone took of me without realising. That was one sunset

Phi Phi. Thailand.
This is definatley one of my favourites! I had no idea my friend Dave was taking this. There is nothing fake about this photo and yes this is me! I went on a boat trip that day with a few other backpackers. It involved one speed boat, two paddle boards, beers, weed, food, snorkeling, swimming, visiting lagoons and of course watching the sunset. The ocean was warm and still and the sky was magical. This moment was unforgetable. A few days after Christmas finishing living my life on the beaches on Thailand.

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Wish I was a mermaid. Floating in the sea watching the sun go down #perfect #Thailand #sunset

Wish I was a mermaid. Floating in the sea watching the sun go down #perfect #Thailand #sunset

Phi Phi. Thailand. Another shot from watching the sunset from the paddle board. I remember feeling so alive and real. It like a moment I could have only dreamt of. It was so calm and warm, the sky was so colourful reflecting on the water. Just an average evening in Thailand.

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Canyon at sunset #pai #thailand #gopro #travel

Canyon at sunset #pai #thailand #gopro #travel

Pai. North of Thailand. Pai was and still is my favourite place in Thailand. There is so much to do and see with the best vibes. Maybe missing the beach but situated up in the mountains, a small village with the most unbeliavable surroundings! We ventured on our motobikes to find Pai Canyon for sunset. The place was huge and the whole evening was golden. It was such a breaktaking view over the moutains. This was also taken on my GoPro Hero.

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Koh Phangan. What a day this was. I volunteered at the Phangan Animal Sanctuary with no idea what to expect. Not only was I blown away by the incredible staff working endlessy to help the stray animals on the island and the talented vets from around the world who also came to volunteer but the progress of the animals. This gorgeous little doggy was totally blind but nothing seemed to bother him. He wanted to be loved and cared and got on with his day slowly walking around waiting to be fed and washed. He is currently undergoing treatment for his fur to grow back and making massive improvements. Such a beautiful organization helping the stray animals on Koh Phangan!

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Climbed the waterfalls, smoked a J, drank a beer, slided down the waterfalls with the locals.

Climbed the waterfalls, smoked a J, drank a beer, slided down the waterfalls with the locals.

Pai. Thailand. Ah this is an interesting one. We drove to go and explore a waterfall we could swim in with two Hawaiin brothers I had met in Chiang Mai. The water was cold but fresh and not many people wanted to really swim. We walked further up and back and found a group of local guys smoking a joint with a few beers. We simply joined them. How funky do they look? They spoke little English but we still managed to have a laugh.

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Everything I could have asked for #chiangmai

Everything I could have asked for #chiangmai

Chiang Mai. North Thailand What an amazing day. One I will never forget. Up high in the jungle of North Thailand lay a local home with a family of elephants. They held two treks a day, one in the morning and one at night. There were no chains, bats, chains, abuse or toture in any many. The love and respect the staff gave not only us but the elephants. The care they gave the animals was amazing. We got to meet our elephant, including a baby of one of the mommas who came with. I went with a family of 3 hawaiin guys from my hostel. We had met the previous few days.

We got to meet, bathe, play and learn to walk ontop of the giant animal. The local male owners walked along with us to make sure everything was okay and help quide the elephants. There was no harm in any of this, inlcuding feeding them hundreds of bananas!

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Today I got blessed by a monk. ie, he splashed me in the face with water and gave me a friendship bracelet. Interesting!

Today I got blessed by a monk. ie, he splashed me in the face with water and gave me a friendship bracelet. Interesting!

Koh Samui. South Thailand. It was coming to end of the two months I had spent in Thailand and I was gutted. I had hired a moped for my time on Koh Samui which is highly recomended! I met a guy who fancied doing some exploring. We went to visit the big buddha temple where I go blessed by a monk. He gave me a bracelet and splashed me with water. I think he thought me and my friends where together as he tried blessing us together like some engagment buisness. Who knows, maybe I got engaged.

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I'm now a qualified open water diver I can now dive anywhere in the world up to 18 metres. Excited to now explore the fascinating world down under #diver #ocean #scubadive

I’m now a qualified open water diver I can now dive anywhere in the world up to 18 metres. Excited to now explore the fascinating world down under #diver #ocean #scubadive

Koh Tao. South Thailand. Ah I did it! I learnt to dive and it was totally awesome! Something difficult to explain to others who have never been down in the ocean like that but such a phenomal experiance. This was the day before I passed, currently in between two very early morning dives with my buddy and insructor. It was only about 10am here and I had been out into the middle of the ocean with a 51 minute dive going down to 18m. I was totally in love with the whole experiance despite the 5am starts! My buddy took this photo on my phone as we were not allowed to take photos while diving.

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6am dives. #ocean #kotao #morning #diving #gopro

6am dives. #ocean #kotao #morning #diving #gopro

Another shot from diving. It has just gone 6.30am and we were the first ones out in sea that morning. It was little chilly as the sun was coming up but the ocean was almost completletly flat. It smelt so fresh and looked so calm, crazy knowing what else is going on below the ocean!

I felt so calm and ready for a full day of diving!

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Beach. Sun. Sea. Sand. Jungle. Nature. What a beautiful sunset on such a fabulous & crazy island! #kohphangan

Beach. Sun. Sea. Sand. Jungle. Nature. What a beautiful sunset on such a fabulous & crazy island! #kohphangan

Koh  Phangan. South Thailand. *sighs* What a day. I had volunteered at the Phangan Animal Sanctuary. It was such a beautiful and crazy day leaving me feeling massively emotional. I was driving back to my hostel during the sunset and felt a little weak from my emotions and the fact I had not eaten all day. I was tired and hungry and had to stop and watch the sunset. I had no idea where I really was but it was stunning. A little local buisness by the side of the road with this beautiful sunset. I remember facetiming my Dad to chat. He always makes me feel a millions times better and is a huge part of my life whever I may be in the world. This was taken on a GoPro Hero 3+.

 

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Who needs adults #hotsprings #thailand #pai #water #swim #nature

Who needs adults #hotsprings #thailand #pai #water #swim #nature

Finally managing to find this place after driving way out of Pai for hours. We got completly confused by the map and where the hot springs we were looking for actually were. Exploring with a german guy who was in my hostel room, we finally found the place as we had given up and drove back. As we drove back past here my gut told me to check it out. It had been the place we wanted all along, only 10 minutes from the centre of Pai! I managed to haggle the price for half the normal and enjoyed the last hour and half they were open. Some where so hot and it was magical. It was around 5pm I made friends with some local thai children from the village. They didnt speak a word of enlglish but they still knew how to climb on me and pose for a selfie or two!

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#gopro #slipnfly #goproworld #thailand #goprogirl #slide #flying

#gopro #slipnfly #goproworld #thailand #goprogirl #slide #flying

Koh Phangan. South Thailand. I had to post this on here, purely for my own satisfaction. It was the last day of 2015 and I was in Koh Phangan, famous for the Full Moon parties.

I had heard of a place out in the jungle with two huge slides! Recently meeting three guys from Birmingham we all drove here around lunch time for a full day of slipping and slidding.

I got straight into it literally launching myself in the air. I managed to get an awesome video of me throwing myself around and this was actually a screen crab from the video! It was taken on  GoPro which was really tough as I was sliding down exstremly fast. It was a little rainy and cold that day but we had such a blast before getting ready for the Full Moon party on  Haad Rin beach!

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You really want to know how much?

Over and over I get asked the same questions and comments.

How much is it costing you? How do you afford it? I cant backpack as I dont have the money too. You must be spending loads.

Traveling costs money. Of course it does. Almost everything we do costs something.

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To travel and experience. We pay…

 but that’s not the point as much.

It’s turns more towards the value.

I spend nothing compared to what I would in England. Despite being an a huge budget, we live well.

How's your Monday morning? #breakfast #coffee #pastry

Im hanging out on beaches, drinking way too much coffee in boutique coffee shops. Not too mention climbing up in the jungle finding waterfalls, diving, sipping smoothies on beach bars, wondering hectic cities, sunbathing in fancy resorts, finding fun hostels, living on remote islands, eating out every day and of course tons of other things.

I’m learning new things, seeing the word, making memories and meeting so many fascinating people. Read more

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What I want you to know about Travel Photography

The more I travel, the more I build a passion for photography and the more I look at things differently.

“A camera is a save-button for the mind’s eye.%

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Backpacking isn’t always magic and adventures.

Travelling the world, not a care in sight, meeting fascinating people, visit wonderful places and living your dream.

Found a slice of heaven. Up in the jungle lays a fancy Moroccan styled chill out bar with one sensational view of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. Paradise.

What’s not to love?

Let me tell you, it’s full of adventures, magical moments, unforgettable experiences but it’s not all sunshine and daisies.

Backpacking – budgeting.

You have to keep things on a relatively low cost. Some people more than others but for the majority, cheap is cheerful. It’ll have to do.

This means big dorm rooms, slow ferries, long night buses, no aircon, basic accommodation and cheap meals.

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It’s difficult to complain while travelling as you realise how lucky you are. I feel unbelievably privileged for my home life. My health and support, my upbringing and love from friends and family. I want to elaborate I’m not complaining but we all know backpacking and long term travel comes with its negative moments.

Sh*t wifi. Dirty un-ironed clothes. Minimal belongings, dirty smelly bathrooms, stiff wooden hard beds, crazy temperatures and awful insects are just some of the things we don’t all shout about.

Bedtime.
Most of the time we don’t know who we are sleeping in a room with. We don’t know the country, city or town, the currency, the people. We just turn up with our bag, a smile, an open mind and time to explore. There’s no better feeling of finding a new destination and venturing out, making friends, discovering new places never the less there are tons of things we have to overcome.

Walking into a dorm of 15 other people, not knowing who they are, where they’re from, what language they speak and leaving your stuff. The bed you get given is your space. The one single bunk bed you will share is your new home for the night.

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Hostels can be the funnest or most relaxed places with the best environment to meet people, I’ve stayed in such awesome hostels all over Europe and Asia but if you’re one for personal space and privacy, you might struggle a little.

Traveling throws all sorts of challenges at us and it’s pretty fun embracing all the craziness but it’s not all luxury. We take the cheapest option and it’s not always the most comfy or cleanest.
We have one rucksack with minimal belongings, no wardrobes of clean ironed clothes, no big double bed, no quick 4G to message our friends.

Still smiling…image

We get tired.

Yes we hang out on beaches, drink beers watching the sunsets in the jungle. We explore fascinating temples and discover busy cities.
Why would we get tired?

We don’t know the city, we don’t know the language, not always sure of the currency. Sometimes we don’t know where we are sleeping that night and always stay aware of what’s going on.

Traveling as a young solo female I have to keep my wits.
I can let my guard down, don’t worry about that and I know how to be silly but always having an idea of where your stuff is, knowing where your hostel is, who’s around you not to mention some of the crazy temperatures is constant. Backpackers know how to have a good time and how to chill out however we always need to have an idea of where we are and who’s around.

Slightly cloudy but spent the day having fun on the beach with new friends, eating French toast and drinking beer! #travel #thailand #gopro #ocean #beach

We take so much in, constantly exploring and discovering. Keeping your wits of your valuables, your health, your safety, your company, your space.

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No we don’t sit in an office all day and trust me, rather the backpacking life any day but we always have to be thinking of all these things.

For friends back at home they see all the photos of the stunning golden sunsets, the hippy reggae bars I find where I get to chill and watch the world go by, not to mention seeing all my new friends and exciting new experiences. I always like to try and remain positive and always want to portray my life and journey the best it can be as it is however there are sides we don’t all like to boast about.

It’s not a constant stress, I feel relaxed 99% of the time despite the odd random situation so it’s no big deal.

Managed to grab a beer on a hammock looking over the rice fields. Breathtaking views of fields of gold and green! #gopro #travel #ricefields

We don’t have days that we just relax in our own space, shove on the TV and watch pointless programmes. We don’t have our pets to cuddle when we are feeling a little low or tired.image

I did find this guy on Koh Samui however …

We have to be adapting almost every minute of every hour, every single day. I want to be 100% all the time but traveling all the time is mentally and physically pretty tiring.
Carrying our rucksacks, keeping hydrated and aware.

We are around cities who barely speak English.

Tokyo / Japan

Where I am now I’m always having to keep things cheap, the weathers humid and sun is hot, wifi connection is poor and it’s not the safest of areas. I don’t feel unsafe or bothered but it’s learning to adapt on your own.

I don’t mind it and I kind of love the challenge but it’s not always easy peasy.
We have love hate relationships with wifi, depending on the connection, which in most developing countries is pretty useless, not too mention small islands. We try desperately to find somewhere with a strong connection just to speak to friends and family or book any accommodation.

When I feel a tad homesick it can take 20 minutes just to find somewhere to get some kind of connection to have a brief chat.
Despite the stresses there tends to be wifi in most places in south east Asia where I am now. Not that it always works but there’s always some kind of resort or Internet cafe with something slightly quicker.

Backpacking and traveling is fun, can be done cheap and there are thousands of us around the world doing it, it comes with challenges, struggles, down days, unpleasant experiences and crazy memories.

Today James and I woke up late, ventured into the centre for coffee & pasty and headed to the floating markets. 40 minutes out of Siem Reap we drove past remote villages, streets of poverty and run down communities. Instead, we decided to not pay $20 each for the markets, go back into the villages and took the families fruit, sweets, water and balloons. We played with the children, met the families & cared for the puppies. Cambodia is such a fascinating, beautiful but remote and poor country. The fact people can live happy like this, shows how much we don't need possessions. Family, friends, hope, love and strength was what I witnessed today. No profit organisations, no tourist attraction. Just a basic community.

Last night I left Siem Reap for the 11 hour night bus down to Sihanoukville, Cambodia. I got on the squashed bus, rucksack chucked in the boot and was greeted to a lovely Indian man on my bed. I payed 3 dollars extra to be able to lay down rather than slightly recline with space and a plug socket.

This is your bed and patted the space next to him.
So why an earth are you on it? I thought.

It’s mine too, look b6 & b7.

I could have easily flown in less than an hour with space, convenience, saving time and a shit nights sleep however that’s not how us backpackers work unfortunately. Cheap long ass night bus will have to do.

I awkwardly giggled and sat down slightly unsure where to put myself. We both sat and chatted and he was a lovely young fella who was working in Berlin, Germany from India.

Luckily I managed to somehow grab one spare bed just above the floor below two French girls so that was me.

Being 5’1 it was small enough to maybe fit another child, let alone two grown adults. I barely could sit up and my feet touched the end. I had a random blanket, a broken light above my head and slept right next to the driver and his assistant playing the radio all night, bear in mind this is an Asian station so no clue to what is being said or sung.
Sleeping wrapped in a hoodie, thick walking socks, attempting to block out the music, ignoring the wobbly roads, clutching my teddy and sleeping next to my camera and rucksack I got there in the end.
It all pays off when I arrive, repeatedly saying no the the shouting tuk tuk men, I made a friend, grabbed an iced caramel latte, found a cheap hostel and we headed down the beach where I’m writing this. It’s all part of the experience I keep telling myself. We can’t complain.

These things shouldn’t put you off but remember, it’s not all as exciting and luxury. Backpackers have struggles and challenges, seeing the world isn’t always easy, but it sure is an experience.

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14 things you may want to know before visiting Thailand

Thailand is somewhere for everyone.

Whether it’s for diving on Koh Tao,

Learning to dive in tropical paradise. #Thailand #dive #morning #ocean #kotao

visiting the white sandy beaches on Phi Phi.

Boxing Day
It could be for sipping cocktails at crazy sky bars

Drinks over the entire capital #bangkok #skybar #cocktails

and checking out the temples in Bangkok


even searching the sex scene in Pattaya.

Whether you want to relax on Koh Lanta

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chase hot springs in Pai

Who needs adults #hotsprings #thailand #pai #water #swim #nature

or climb to reggae bars up in the jungle

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Maybe you want to trek through the jungle in Chiang Mai,

Rented a moped and drove up to the waterfalls up in the mountains #chiangmai #backpacker
there is something for everyone here.

Whether you’re a couple, in a group or traveling solo. Thailand is such an awesome country filed with traditions, culture, mad weather and of course, jungles, beaches, tropical paradise and mountains.

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There are a few things you should know before hand.

1. There is always a back up.

You can get away without booking anything. I’ve booked flights the same morning, turned up at hostels, missed ferries and been let on the next. There always seems to be another option and the best thing is, it can all be done last minute. Thailand can suck you in, If you love somewhere and want to stay, stay. If you have a return ticket out of somewhere it’ll cause you to feel rushed and put a limit on some things you do. Just enjoy everything and go with it.

Extending your visa is easy and there are many travel agents dotted around to help with the information you need to know. Don’t worry, everything seems to have a way of working out over here and there is so much to do.

2. Stick to flip flops.

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Unless your hiking up a mountain or trekking through jungles, you’ll end up taking your shoes off almost everywhere.

Most shops, local business and cafes will request you to be shoeless. It can be a nightmare undoing your shoes and putting them on every 10 minutes. I’ve stayed in hostels where you leave your shoes outside the front door and the temples, of course. Ive sat in coffee shops, tattoo parlours and restaurants where everyone is bare foot. You never know so keep it simple and wear some decent, light and convinient flip flops.

There’s always people walking around bare foot. I lost my flip flops on the beach on Christmas Day and stayed bare foot for the next few days. Bangkok isn’t as fussy about this rule but it’s too humid to wear any other shoes.

P.S You can buy flip flops and shoes all over Thailand for a good price!

3. The police might not be the same back here then back at home.

On the islands they all work closely with business’. This can be good and bad depending on the situation for us tourists. They can easily be payed off to let things go and they can also work closely with locals trying to catch people out for drug use etc. I’ve found the police in Thailand quite helpful and friendly compared to other countries. Most of them speak English but even down south, the police don’t always have the same role as mainland. Be respectful and they will help. Even if you have to tip them a little extra cash.

4. Your passport is your life.

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You should never really have to give this to anyone. Lots of hostels like to have a copy which is fine. Some chains and known hostels may want to hold your passport during your stay but always see if they will accept something else. You should never give them to bike shops. They know how valuable and important our passports are and will try and charge you for damage and maybe extras to get your passport back. There can be other forms of ID they’ll accept so if you can avoid giving your passport over, do so. It’s not so much a deposit but more of a scam. Be wary who actually needs your passport.

5. Haggle haggle haggle.

It becomes second nature in Thailand. Make sure you’re wary of when something is a set price. There may might be a sign or you just need to ask for it cheaper but when it comes too public transport, stalls, small business you can always lower the price. Even if it’s 30p or less then a dollar. It all adds up. Places like travel agents can’t change the price of a boat or ferry. You can’t always haggle rooms and bars will stick to a price. Markets, taxis, tuk tuks, small clothes shops and souvenir shops will lower the price. Chiang Mai are crazy for your business however Pai don’t budge the price as much. Ask other travelers and get the feeling of where it’s possible. Don’t always settle for the first offer.

6. We have left the stone ages.

It’s 2016, the world is slowly but starting to be taken over by technology. Thailand is nowhere near up to date with places like America, England and China but there are cash machines everywhere! They take all types of card and almost every hotel, hostel and trip can be booked with a card. I try not to carry too much cash but having a travel card and credit card helps so you don’t have to pay the transaction fee every time! Use your common sense on where may be harder to access cash but things can be so cheap, you don’t need to carry around a big wod of notes.

7. Respect the King.

They value the King of Thailand and you are not to speak about him badly. Yeah I’ve asked a few questions out of curiosity and it’s been fine but I’ve got the know the local I’m talking too and show them it’s a genuine interest I want to be able to understand. You’ll see photos and shrines to him everywhere but always stay polite when mentioning him. He’s looked at almost like a god for doing so much Thailand. He’s dedicated his life to the country and his hugely respected for it.

imagePS. His favourite drink is Strawberry Fanta. You’ll see open bottles everywhere with straws in. Keep an eye out!

8. Buddha.

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It is against the Buddhism religion to have tattoos, souvenirs and jewellery of Buddha. They find it disrespectful. Some places will still sell souvenirs and it’s such a beautiful symbol but if they do tattoo, it’ll only be above the waistline. The jewellery will always be a necklace, you can’t wear lower on the body and Buddha heads are never to be placed on the floor. I recommend covering up any tattoos of Buddha when entering the country and also when visiting holy places.

9. Sawadee Ka.

The greetings. Thailand is a very respectable country and everywhere you go, most Thai people will greet you with a warm welcome. For a man. Sawadee kup. For a female, sawadee Kah. It’s respectful to say hello, thank you. image Read more

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5 reasons to travel solo

Traveling isn’t for everyone. Backpacking on your own can be pretty daunting.

There will be times you feel a little lonely or just want someone you know to watch your stuff, give their opinion and look out for you, however these minor little issues are overpowered with the opportunities, skills, lessons and adventures solo travel can give you.

Got sent this that someone took of me without realising. That was one sunset

1. Do what you want. Go where you want. Eat what you want. Sleep where you want. You have no one else you have to worry about.

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2. Most people are solo. I’ve met plenty of travellers in couples, small groups and in tours however 90% of people I come across are doing it all on there own. Lead your own adventure and it’s so much easier to meet people!

Decided to give Thai food a night off and treating ourselves to a pizza and wine night. Beautiful restaurant with fabulous people.

3. Change your mind? Want to travel with people. There is always someone willing to let you join them for some of the trip.

Taxi taxi taxi

Thanks to these awesome guys for coming on the trek with me. All staying in the same dorm in the city, we just decided one morning to all go together. A farther and two sons from Hawaii and 5 elephants including a one year old baby running along with us. Glad I shared the experience with such humble and down to earth guys.

Elephant trekking with three Hawaiian firefighters.

I’ve managed to meet people in the strangest of places and looked out for each other, even if it’s just a short boat ride down the Chao river in Bangkok. Even the longer bus and trains there seems to be people I’ve met in hostels and random backpackers and we stick together. Everyone looks after each other in some way!

Sky bar with an English, an ozzie and Dutch. #travel #backpacker #thailand

4. Be yourself. You’ve no one to correct you, prove yourself too, impress. Be real and honest with yourself and everyone around you.

Climbed the waterfalls, smoked a J, drank a beer, slided down the waterfalls with the locals.

5. You will develop certain skills that only traveling by yourself teaches you. Be aware, trust your gut, use your social skills and so many more. Want to know? Find out for yourself.

Had fun with the local children in the hot springs.

 

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Am I in love already?

Am I in love already?

Yes yes and one big fat yes.
Wait? With a guy? Pffft. Don’t be silly.

Despite meeting a couple of awesome guys where there has been a connection. Unfortunately, no love there.

beach-cute-love-photography-quote-Favim.com-309168

North of Thailand, 3 hours up from Chiang Mai, up in the mountains lies Pai.

Backpackers paradise. Stoners dream. Food lovers heaven. Nature freaks second home. Hippy central and perfection.

It was love at first sight.

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I don’t really plan my travels. I just go with the flow and see what happens. I have a route in mind, however, I go off recommendations, what’s going on, who’s going where and simply wherever the hell I feel like going. My choice is limitless and it feels awesome.

‘You have to go to Pai Leah.’          

‘You heard of Pai? It’s ideal ‘              

‘Still up in Pai, I can’t leave’

So, after 5 nights in Chiang Mai, I book the crazy bus drive up the twisted mountain roads, 762 curves, around 91 miles on route 1095 and it was one heck of a journey. Not that I felt I was in a great amount of danger, but it is one mad bus ride. Don’t think you’ll get away with it as every drive is as ridiculous as the next. I was prepared from hearing stories, however, I was taken away by the insane views. Driving up to the bright blue sky staring out the window to see unbelievable views of the countless green mountains. Getting closer and closer to the clouds it felt pretty surreal. Luckily I traveled with three Hawaiian dudes I had previously met who I sat with and we kept each other company.

 

So where/what/who? Pai.
North Thailand. South East Asia.

Pai-1.8

 

Pai (ปาย) is a small town near the Myanmar border, about 146 km northwest of Chiang Mai on the northern route to Mae Hong Son. It lies on the Pai River. The town has thesaban tambon status and covers parts of the tambon Wiang Tai of Pai district. With a population of 2,284. slowly becoming one of Thailand hippy, backpacker destination.

What makes one tiny town so good?

I couldn’t imagine I would find such a perfect place.
A vibrant, quirky, relaxed, unique and fabulous town, Pai is different.

I found a hostel, unpacked and called my friend Luke who I met in Bangkok who also arrived in Pai the same day. We ventured out to the night market and it was love at first sight.

The market was filled with cheap local food. Unlimited stalls of noodles, pad-tai, pancakes, fried rice, fresh fruit and more. What I also liked was they provided western food. I don’t mean greasy pizza and burgers. But real fresh local wraps, sushi, cakes, crepes, salads, homemade beef burgers, endless fruits and smoothies. For less than £2.00 I indulged in fresh sushi, a scrumptious strawberry smoothie and Luke and I fell in love with a bakery where I paid 50 baht (around 95p) for a huge piece of chocolate and banana cake. Oops.

 

Surrounded by the lush green mountains filled with waterfalls and jungles this small town was becoming more and more ideal. A stunning stream of water flows down near the bottom of the town with unbelievably beautiful bungalow guesthouses surrounding the fresh fields.

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Due to the high demand of buisnesses a lot of the owners are also English and Pai is only growing with tourism which may lead to it getting a lot busier. You go because of recomendations however not everyone knows much about this surreal Thai village and most people find out about this surreal little town until you get out and start traveling and it’s always mentioned somewhere.

It’s the right balance.
Being on a tight budget I was worried this place would rinse me. So much to do, to see, to try, to explore. I was wrong. Again, it’s about getting the balance.

Dollar.imageWell, Thai Baht really..

I stayed at two different hostels over 6 nights. Costing around 180 baht (£3.45) (less then 7 australian dollars) for a 14 bed mixed dorm. Both hostels had wifi, a pool, one hostel had a puppy pit with new born bulldogs. A bar serving cocktails and food, a treehouse with cushions, hammocks and mattress, yoga classes, circus classes, warm showers, and help from staff for all sorts.

I’m spending less then £10 a day on my hostel, smoothies, iced coffee, fruit, some type of street food for dinner and sometimes petrol for my moped. Depending on which city and what else I want to do I may be spending more on certain activities but there is so much to do for free. So many stunning drives, waterfalls, mountains to climb and temples and large buddhas to see. The hot springs cost me £3, my weed cost £10, my ped was £2 a day and any thing else I was extra careful with budgeting.
Huge bottles of cold water from the small supermarket 7/11 is 14 baht (8p) and if you need to buy toiletries, toilet paper etc it’s also very cheap. A large bottle of Chang beer is around 60 baht in most places which is just more then £1. Yoga classes and mediation groups can be found for 100 baht which is just less then £2. Talented tattoo parlours offering traditional bamboo and regular guns can be anywhere and will be cheaper then back at home.

Most places I’ve visited in Thailand have similar prices however for such a marvellous town where I could easily see myself staying, it’s nothing campered to home.

Feeling comfortable travelling solo, despite making so many new wonderful friends, there were people about. Wondering around in baggy vests, oversized travelling pants, dreadlogs, riding around Motorbikes and scooters. Everyone was getting on with there adventures. I felt as though I could fit right in.

Who needs adults #hotsprings #thailand #pai #water #swim #nature

Who needs adults #hotsprings #thailand #pai #water #swim #nature

The air was mild but the humidity from the daylight sun was slightly warming. Currently it’s mid December and it can get quite chilly at night. Especially if you’re coming from Cambodia and Loas and places like Bangkok. Fortunately they sell second hand jackets and hats which is actual quite funny to drive buy and see everyone buying warm coats to drive around in at night.

From there is history….

During my stay:

I wake up everyday with no idea what I’m doing. Do I want to drive up through the secret twisty roads and take in breathtaking views, do I want to go lie by the pool and soak up the sun or shall I wonder around the town and treat myself to a fabulous Thai massage for £3.
How about meet up with friends for lunch for less then a £1 and chill together watching the sunset.

Do I head to a reggae bar and roll a joint or 4.

Sunset bar with these fellas. Loving life in Pai way too much!

Wonder around cafes and care for puppies and meet the locals.

Xx

Sit sipping sweet coffee and treat myself to the huge variety or cakes and pastries at the local bakery or shall I just disappear someone quite and blog like I’ve chosen to do today.

One of my favourite things is to put my headphones in, roll a joint and lie in the hammock and meet friendly and interesting people from all over the world.

#travelgirl #goprothailand #goprolife #goprotravel #hammock #pai #thailand #world #asia

When you’re travelling you can do these types of things all the time.
Never the less, there’s something about Pai. The people, the atmosphere, the vibes and lifestyle is so mellow and positive. So convinent and easy it’s hard not to just settle here.

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Feeling so close to nature, yet managing to find hot showers, warm double bed bungalows, large cheap dorms. Having cheap but amazing foods or splashing out on fresh fish and cocktails it’s the perfect balance.

Meet fascinating people. Chill the heck out. Lay in the sun. Trek through the jungle. Swim in the waterfalls. Bathe in the hot springs, ride through the mountains. Indulge at night. Wonder down the stunning stream or just drink smoothies and lie in a hammock. Anything is possible and it’s bloody incredible.

Yes, due to tourists they have restaurants, bars, guest houses and souvenir shops. If you are looking for somewhere low on tourists this may not be the place for you however the people visiting are pretty low budgeting, backpacking, beer drinking, weed smoking peace lovers. I never felt like it was too busy and the places I hung out was just the right amount of people.

Climbed the waterfalls, smoked a J, drank a beer, slided down the waterfalls with the locals.

I have to continue my trip to my next destination and continue my journey but I will be returning. Whether it’s for a day or a month or a year. I shall be back.

Looking to travel to Pai?
My top places to go :

Sunset bar. •Night market • Mo pang waterfall •Earth tone • Hot springs national park • Edible jazz •

 

Been to Pai?
Comment below and let me know your recommendations on where to go.

Traveling to Bangkok? Make sure to check out my top tricks and tips for traveling Bangkok by clicking here!

 

Pai Canyon

Pai Canyon