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19 things you should know before traveling Australia

Australia was never on the top of my list for places to live and travel. Seeking magical adventures and trying to get out my comfort zone, I felt more inclined to Asia & countries that were contrasting to what I was used too. After an unbelievable and magical 6 month trip around South East Asia, I […]

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7 steps to starting your travels

Starting a trip can be pretty daunting. Not sure where to start, where to look first, what to book.

I get tons of questions from first time travelers or even just people unsure on where to start when booking the next big trip.

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I am going to make it short, sweet and simple.

Here are my 7 steps to getting that trip sorted.

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My first week in Bangkok

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Research & decide.

Where is it you want to go? What do you really want to see and do? Looking to work or just explore?

There are so many fabulous destinations and I know the feeling of wanting to go to them all, nevertheless, find out the places that fit your personal criteria and make a decision on where you will be going.

Maybe it’s exploring the wildlife in Africa, Interrailing around Europe or backpacking India. Driving around Vietnam, Camping in Australia or even skiing in Canada, the decision is yours.

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Find out if you need to apply for a visa or need to apply/pay for any entry requirments. Depending on where you are from and how long you want to stay in a country, there may be various costs. Take into consideration the time of year and weather seasons and conditions and current affairs around the world.

Book a flight

The first big step you should take is getting that first flight booked. This will really trigger the excitment and reality of you pursuing the trip.

Flights can be pretty pricey but once this is out the way, just focus on living costs/ spending money for the trip. I normally only book a flight and leave the rest for once I arrive.

Get saving

This is where you need to be strict. Start cutting down on unnecessary spending, think about the amount of money you are going to need. I never sacrificed too much to travel, I still wanted to live my life and do certain things however I barely drink, don’t buy myself new clothes and shoes and despite a rich life in the places I go and the people I meet, my outgoings are minimal. It’s all priorities, you just need to decide on yours.

If you know you are leaving to travel, you don’t need to be buying new shoes and clothes. Cut down the booze and put the money towards your trip.

I normally try and set a goal each month of how much I try and put away depending on my income. Work hard, play harder type thing..

Groups. Blogs. Pages.

If you are wanting to find out more about the places you are going too, If you’re traveling solo and want to chat to a few people, even if you want to read other peoples journeys, join the facebook groups and pages, read peoples blogs, just like you’re doing now! They are here to help.

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Vaccinations/Injections

Depending on the countries you’ll be visiting, you may need vaccinations. It can get pricey but check what you can get any on your local healthcare. For Asia I needed a Hep A booster, Rabies jab, Enchafilatus and Malaria tablets (Which I never even took). This did unfortunatley take a chunk out my travel funds including basic first aid bits.

Detatch yourself

If you really want that sense of freedom, you really want to get lost in the that real travel vibe, detach yourself from a lot of things. Slower the better but get rid of that phone contract, don’t have constant outgoings with the bank. Don’t attatch yourself to un-needed contracts, or even relationships. Be prepared to not have too many contracts or unnecesary bits. Certain friendships will fade and certain feelings may fizzle out, this is totally normal.

I ended my phone contract as soon as I could and stopped any direct debits for whatever I had.

Final preparations

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This is it. We are getting close now. Checked your healthcare, got any prescriptions, any visas needed beforehand? Got any copies of passports, important information? Got your camera sorted, currency changed? Any perticular equiptment you may need?

Think about the last people you need to catch up with, the last places you want to eat out and don’t hesitate to do everything you know you will miss.

Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

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. 1. Every penny […]

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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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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.

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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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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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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

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The truth about solo travel

Solo travel?

Impossible.

We live in a world with billions of people.

8/10 people are travelling completely alone. Exactly the same as me. One rucksack and a passion to explore. Some for less then a month, and some for as long as they can.

Travelling isn’t something you do. It’s a lifestyle.

When you’re at home preparing for the day you leave, sitting on that plane travelling to the other side of the world with no one but yourself. Reality sinks in, oh shit.

Am I really doing this?

There is a difference between feeling lonely and being alone.

Despite travelling ‘alone’ I’ve not once felt lonely the entire time. If anything, I feel like I’ve made so many brilliant friends and I’m constantly surrounded by outgoing and positive people.

I’ve travelled to different cities with guys I’ve met in my room that morning. I’ve gone trekking through the jungle with someone I met in a coffee shop. I went out with 17 people in Bangkok also solo in my hostel and it felt like we all knew each other for years. I am always with people and if im not, it’s out of choice.

Lady boy cabaret night with the family. #chiangmai #cabaret #hostelliving

There is something about the nature and social side of backpackers, either solo or in a group that is pretty magical. You just start a conversation and everyone is so friendly and open. I’ve met such incredible and interesting people who I get on with so well and the best thing is, i’ll end up seeing them again. Whether it’s some random street in a different city or even in the same dorm in my hostel in a different country. It’s so easy to bump into people in the most random
places.

Traveling isn’t for everyone, especially backpacking. Like I said before, it’s a lifestyle. A way of living. It takes you out of your comfort zone and devolves certain skills you can only gain from doing such trips. Living your life, with all your belongings out of one bag.

The mindset to travel is a different game altogether. You have to overcome the fear of being too shy to say hello. You have to get over the fact you’ll sometimes eat lunch or dinner by yourself. Learn that sleeping in a dorm with 15 other people that may not speak English isn’t too bad. Or where I’m currently writing this blog, on a tiny mini van heading from Pai to Chiang Mai, North Thailand, down a mental twisted and very bumpy 3.5 hour journey squashed in the back with a girl asleep on you isn’t all that bad. So I keep trying to tell myself.

A big one for me is that you learn not to judge. Travelling solo leaves you making new friends with everyone and anyone. It’s quite strange how such an natural feeling for any human being, quite a negative quality 99% of us have, somewhat disappears. Some of us more then others but we all automatically judge. What they wear, their style, the way they walk and talk. It’s natural, we all do it. We try not too and it might not be much of an assumption but part of using are eyes and brains together is ‘judging’ someone else.

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

For me and I can see many others, while travelling solo, let this go. We don’t have time to assume or create an idea of who might be in the bed above or who’s sitting next to you on your train through Vietnam, you’re more interested in their stories, their experiences. Where have they travelled and where to next. You meet them as them, for who they are without all the excess baggage home life can string along.

Some people love being solo and others hate it but one of the best things about travelling on your own is the fact you can do whatever the hell you want. No waiting around, no taking into consideration what everyone else wants to do. As selfish as it sounds, you only have to worry about yourself and when there’s so much to do in such incredible cities it can get pretty frustrating having to wait around and miss out certain things you want to do.

There are downsides to travelling solo however situations people expressed concern about, have not been an issue. Everyone is so friendly that anytime I’ve ever needed help or wanted some kind of advice or answers, someone’s always been there. Don’t get me wrong, I realize it won’t always be like this and I won’t always find helpful people. The disadvantages can sometimes suck, even just asking someone to take a photo or keep an eye on your stuff when you go to the toilet. You just want someone’s second opinion or need some advice from someone you know never the less they are such minor things.

45p to take me to Khao San from the river taxi

Most people travelling are here to have a good time, a fun time, a positive time and a real time.