Phuket Travel Diaries | Phi Phi Islands, Patong Beach dance shows, Old Phuket Town…

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Phuket was a stark change to the organised chaos of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and Bangkok, as we were thrown into island life where there was no set schedule to anything and locals worked off their own sense of time.

The first thing I noticed was the heat. Although the temperature was almost the same as the past few cities (around 35˚C) it was an intense, unshaded heat which baked the earth rather than the muggy, humid heat we got in Bangkok/HCMC that felt like we were constantly taking a warm shower. As unpleasant as that sounds it gave us the perfect excuse to go swimming every chance we got.

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We stayed in Old Phuket Town, just a short bus trip away from all the major beaches. Old Phuket Town (pictured above) is quite different from other destinations in Phuket as it is seen as the historical part of the city and showcases colourful colonial architecture from European influence dating back centuries ago.

Walking down these historical main roads was surreal as it felt like we were caught in a time capsule far away from the frenzy of urban streets, riddled with dirt and smog, which we had gotten used to.

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On two of the days we took tours out to explore the Phi Phi islands by speedboat, which was the highlight of my whole Asia trip. My favourite was the Sunrise Tour where we began the day speeding into the sun peeking over the horizon. Stopping off at various beaches and lagoons such as Maya Bay (pictured above) we had breakfast on the beach and were able to snorkel in the warm, pristine blue waters. The day was broken up by a traditional Thai lunch (various curries, stir fried morning glory, spiced meats and battered fish) at a restaurant on one island.

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What was most fascinating was how little the islands had been built up. After the destruction of the boxing day Tsunami in 2004, it was only recently that people have started building on the islands again. This meant that all of the islands were covered in undisturbed, dense jungle.

A final destination of note was Patong Beach. Known for its party scene, it has a main strip of bars and clubs that come alive in the evening. On our first night out we went for dinner at an Italian place that did really authentic cheese covered pizza (not very Thai, but still delicious). After filling ourselves up we popped in and out of a couple of nightclubs which were brimming with good dance music and enthusiastic party-goers. Towards the end of the night we stumbled into a ping pong show which was more shocking than I expected. If you are familiar with ping pong shows you will know what I mean when I say it was definitely an experience I’ll never forget but never attend again.

All in all Phuket was wildly different to any of the other places we had been and we really enjoyed our time immersing ourselves in the island life.

xx

 

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Turquoise blue for the calm, clear Phuket sea

 

Bangkok Travel Diaries | Temples, Markets, Cat & Husky cafes…

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Bangkok, Thailand is a city that showcases exotic food, busy markets, intense smoggy traffic, beautiful temples and great shopping destinations all in one.

The main sacred area that tourists and locals crowd to see is the Grand Palace which is situated on the river. However, unfortunately when we went it was a special prayer day so only Thai people wearing black were allowed in. Instead, we went to Wat Arun which is the Temple of the Dawn (pictured above) and climbed amongst the intricate tile designs and depictions of Buddhist deities for an eye-catching view of the people dotting around below.

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Something we heard about before coming to Bangkok was their Husky cafe. Situated in a suburban area just a couple of minutes walk from a chaotic main city road was the True Love Siberian Husky cafe. Each viewing/petting of the huskies was at different time slots (I assume to give the huskies a break from constant attention), so we booked into an afternoon slot when we arrived. Whilst waiting, we ordered a slice of cake and a drink as part of the deal.

Seeing the huskies up close and being able to play with them was so much fun. It was evident that they were very well loved by their owners as often the huskies would bound away from strangers and excitedly play with their carers.

We also visited a cat cafe in the heart of Bangkok on another day, and although I’m not much of a cat person I had lots of fun petting and playing with the cats who walked around and over us whilst we ate our tea and cake.

Something we spent a lot of time doing in Bangkok was exploring their different markets, where locals would sell produce and clothes at very low prices. The Chatchuchak market is a must see as it is this massive district filled with market stalls that cover about 30 square kilometres. The best part of that day was being able to buy a big seafood lunch for AUD$2 and multiple serves of coconut ice cream.

A friend recomb3mended that I get the coconut ice cream and I was not disappointed. With the weather wavering around 35˚C all we felt like was ice cream to cool us down. It was served in half a young coconut shell and topped with coconut-based jellies which perfectly complimented the ice cream itself. I ended up having 3 servings that day because it was so refreshingly delicious.

I found Bangkok was a very interesting city and also very liveable. The train transport systems are very cheap, fast, efficient and easy to use and we had a lot of fun exploring different stations and districts that the trains snaked through.

Although it was a little more expensive that Ho Chi Minh City we still had a lot of fun and stayed on budget and I would recommend Bangkok to anyone who wants to immerse themselves in Thai culture.

Next up we are having a massive change in scenery, as we switch to island life in Phuket…

 

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Bulgarian rose to capture the organised chaos of Bangkok

 

 

Four Months of Freedom in Sydney

Uni is finally over and I have a break for four months.

I’m so excited to just relax and explore Sydney and finally do the Asia travel I’ve been anticipating for months.

Since I finished last Wednesday I have packed in seeing as many people as I can and doing as much exciting stuff as I can fit in around my shifts at work (9 to 5 four days a week this Christmas season).

Since then I have also been to a couple of restaurants with friends, my favourites being Courtyard at Coogee Beach, where I had an acai bowl and a matcha latte, and BahBQ a Brazilian restaurant in Crows Nest which offers the unique experience of a Brazilian Churrasco where you pay $59pp to have an all you can eat degustation.

My favourite meals are the fire roasted meats, garlic prawns, grilled halloumi, polenta chips, crumbed banana and roasted pineapple.

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I also had a shopping day with my best friend and we went to see the massive Christmas tree (3 stories high) at Queen Victoria Building and bought some Christmas presents for friends. I also bought myself two pairs of bikini bottoms from H&M for only $15, to increase my swimmer collection for when I go traveling to beachy places like the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Byron Bay in the coming months.

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Standing underneath the tree at QVB – hundreds of Swarovski crystals create a dazzling illusion as they hang from a mirror base

I’m so excited for the coming months, I’ve had a great first year at uni but I am very ready to relax with friends, travel and eat good food instead of being cramped in my room studying.

Tomorrow I’m off for breakfast at a Middle Eastern restaurant called Kepos Street Kitchen, and I’m tossing up between ‘Dad’s favourite brekky – falafel, hummus, labneh, soft boiled egg, tomato salad, schiacciata bread’ or the ‘Avocado toast, coriander seeds, crispy kale, poached eggs’.

Then, for dinner I’m meeting up with a childhood friend for one of our favourite chill nights at the Green Gourmet which is a vegan restaurant that does fake ‘meat’ and I always order the ‘Lo Han Tsai 十八羅漢齋煲 -Bean curd stick, baby sweet corn, carrot, tiger lily buds, wood ear, red date, bean vermicelli & fresh vegetables, stir fried with a delightful blend of Hoi Sin & soy sauce’.

xx