So how is Thailand? Volume 3

Hello everyone! This is the third and final post of the series how is Thailand. Hope you enjoy it :)!

  • There are a lot of pickups driving around on the streets with speakers attached to them. Usually they are (very loudly) advertising some radio station, Muay Thai fight or a shop.
  • Local Thai SangSom rum is pretty darn good :)!
  • Traffic in Phuket is much calmer compared to Bangkok for example but obeying traffic signals is still sometimes a mystery. At one place everyone stops with red light while at the other junction all scooters just drive without a hesitation.
  • It’s extremely difficult to find shoes for my size (45-46 in Europe) but flip-flops you can get in sizes 47-48 also!
  • Turning left is always allowed even with a red light (of course when it’s safe to do so)
  • At volume 2 I wrote about small lizards but there are actually over a meter long varanus lizards found at some places (Seen them a couple of times πŸ™‚ )
  • Although it’s not quite as cheap in Phuket as it is in Chiang Mai you can still get all the clothes, footwear and other similar things for quite an inexpensive bargains. For example short pants for men – 200baht (5€), flip-flops 200baht, a T-shirt 100baht, decent backpack 600baht and so on
  • One of the most delicious things I’ve ever tried here are sweet potatoes. They’re like small deep-fried round balls and just dangerously delicious!
  • In the dark while driving out of the city area there are lots of bats flying around everywhere
  • Since logging is basically prohibited in Thailand (due to the fact that a lot of Thailands forests were cut down in the 70’s and 80’s) most buildings are made of stone
  • There are about 35,000 temples in Thailand. Although at some point they really start to mix together they’re still extremely beautiful!
  • I know that I already wrote about Thai people loving to smile but the more time you spend here the more you understand that Thailand is truly a land of smiles
  • Thailand has about 1400 islands! One more beautiful than the other!
  • Thailand is the only SE Asia country that hasn’t been colonized by the Europeans
  • There’s an obsession with plastic bags here. When you go to the local shop and buy for example 10 items then you most likely get at least 5 plastic bags. It’s really unfortunate since a lot of these bags end up in the nature or in the sea. I wish they could accept some policy banning them or at least reducing their use.
  • Most of the scooters are made by Honda. And there are a lot of different ones moving around. Some are from 1970’s and some are making awful clattering sounds while they drive by.

 

Of course a lot of things could be said more. Feel free to let me know if you have some questions about Thailand πŸ™‚

Phuket aquarium and Ton Ao Yon waterfall

Ton Ao Yon

Although we had already been to the peninsula where Phuket aquarium is located in the beginning of our trip to Phuket, that time we didn’t visit the aquarium itself. Now we fixed that. And I’m glad we did since for a 180 baht entrance fee it has a lot to offer. A huge number of fish (one of the biggest I’ve ever seen included) and other sea creatures can be find inside numerous tanks. I also made a video about a lot of them so you can have a better look when I finish the next and most likely the last video of Phuket.

Aquarium had also a lot of written and video information about the sea life in Thailand and Andaman sea. Although as mentioned before a lot of damage has been done but at least in there it seemed that they are now starting to really work towards a better future – in order these hundreds of species of coral and fish would be there also in 100 years.

During our trip we also discovered a picturesque small waterfall called Ton Ao Yon (picture seen above). It’s located in rather remote area and there’s only one small road leading to it, hence we were the only ones there. What I really liked about it was that it’s located in the middle of dense jungle with a lot of trees and other plants covering the area. It was just like “the waterfall” when someone asks you to close your eyes and try to imagine a beautiful tropical waterfall. It also had many pools in it so we just couldn’t skip the opportunity to go for a little swim. At that point it just started raining which made the experience even more memorable. Once again I highly recommend a visit when you’re in Phuket.

Shortly after our visit to the waterfall the rain started coming down like I’ve only seen once here in Bangkok. We had raincoats so at least the upper body was relatively dry but otherwise it was soaking wet. The biggest difference compared to Estonia for example is that when it rains there and you get wet then most likely you will be cold also. But here, even if it’s a massive downpour, there’s still about 30 degrees so you don’t have to worry about that. Driving a scooter with this kind of weather was also quite interesting :). In lower places there were rivers and lakes where the road used to be and in some cases you even had to put your feet up since the water was so high. Of course you have to be extra careful since wet roads are much more slippery and the visibility is also quite bad. But we were cautious and drove slowly :).

Btw we have tried a lot of different exotic fruits here but none we’re really any good at least by our tastes. But now we found the passion fruit which is really good and healthy! Luckily we have a small fruit market about a minute drive from us where you can get a beautiful pineapple, several passion fruits, a bunch of bananas or something similar for only 20 baht. I wish there would be something like that back home also… πŸ™‚

 

Lauri

Usain Bolt – Faster Than Lightning

usain

Motivation is an interesting thing and definitely a huge subject on it’s own. I’ve always been fascinated about how for example 100m sprinters find their motivation for the next big event like Olympics. For instance, if you’re playing basketball you have 40 minutes each game (or 30+ minutes if you’re a good level player) and at least 3-4 games in the first round to prove your worth and make some corrections if needed. But in case of 100m you have 10 seconds and that’s it! One minor false move and you’re out! Of course there are also several rounds but the point remains the same. I can’t imagine how much pressure it puts on an athlete.

So I recently came across Usain Bolt’s autobiography and decided to read it. I have never been a fan of him but I’ve always had a high respect of what he has accomplished and given to the sport. And reading that book gave a much better view of what was going on in his mind and also the minds of other world class sprinters (he described various other athletes and their thinking in the book also). As a person I really didn’t relate to him but he had his own ways how to stay at the top of the game. Like in any professional sports or in a matter of fact every area of life, the winning combination is always some born talent and extremely hard work, latter of which definitely matters the most.

I think that once in a while its good to read an autobiography or biography of some professional sports character because there’s always much to learn from these stories and mindset that’s needed to accomplish high level success. There’s a lot of parallels you can drawΒ  from sports with everyday life. Its not a very long book so I’d recommend it to anyone who has some interest in sports and wants to know what’s going on in the mind of one of the best athletes the world has ever seen.

Go Hard or Go Home!

 

9th video from Thailand

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been in Thailand for already more than 1,5 months and that soon we have to leave. Time really flies fast! By now we have really gotten used to all the people, traditions, sa-wa-de-krap’s (which means hello/goodbye when you’re a man) and khop-kun-krap’s (which is thank you if you’re man). But we’re thankful for each day we can spend here and as said in the previous posts we will definitely come back some day!

But once again, I will make a very brief post. I just wanted to share our latest video of our adventures. Click and see for yourself :)!

BR,

Lauri

Phi Phi, Maya bay and the speedboat adventure

phiphi7

I believe that most of the people have seen the famous movie “The Beach” with Leonardo Dicaprio starring in it. Well, a lot of time has past since then and the paradise is not quite as it used to be…

Today has been a long day. Since we are already in Phuket and Phi Phi is yet another of the must visits around here we decided to get on a tour to have a look for ourselves. After a long research online we decided to take a one day speedboat excursion. There are also ferries going to Phi Phi from Phuket and different accommodations available on the island but this time we chose not to use these options. Something for the future also :).

But there are a huge numbers of different speedboat cruises available, we chose this one because it had the most to offer compared to the price and at the end of the day we were quite satisfied. But boy was it tiring.Β  It was our first experience with the speedboat and of course we just had to go to the front of the ship at the beginning when the longest 1 hour ride was waiting us. Let just put it this way – you better have strong back muscles and an iron spine because some of the jumps just made you fly off the seat while a moment later you’d be coming down with a huge bang! Luckily my feet touched the ground so I could use my legs as shock absorbers. In addition I was sitting one one place where I constantly got soaked by the waves hitting the boat and splashing to my face. All that besides it was actually pretty fun but nevertheless the rest of the journey we traveled inside at the back of the boat where it was much calmer.

But now coming to the Maya bay – the location where the movie was filmed (partly at least). Since I’ve thoroughly looked it up before it came as no surprise that the whole bay was filled with different boats and tourists. But still, it was really crazy. Every moment one boat left and another one came. And there was tens and tens of these. But the location itself was of course magnificent. Beautiful white sand, crystal clear water and high cliffs surrounding you in almost every direction. If you could shut yourself off from all the crowds and just breath in the nature it felt really great. There’s an option to enjoy the bay in much more secluded way also. For 3500-4000 baht one company arranges special tours where after the tourist hours you can stay on the beach with only 20-25 people, swim with fluorescent plankton and spend the night right there on the boat. You can read more about it from here.

We also went snorkeling near the bay (which was pretty good actually but I suspect that they were feeding the fish in order the’d come there amongst the crowds πŸ™‚ ), visited several sightseeing places like the Viking cave, Monkey beach and so on. On Phi Phi Don (the largest, only inhabited island) we had our lunch and just looked around for some time. And lastly we visited Koh Khai Nok, which is a beautiful but still tourist filled small patch of paradise near Phuket. We woke up at 6.30 on the morning at got back at 6 in the evening so yet another day full of adventures!

By the way after an hour or two coming off the boat the world still went like:

 

Until the next post :)!

Lauri

Phuket Grand Tour and Beach Guide

Phuket is Thailand’s biggest island. It covers approximately 543 square kilometers, houses about 600,000 inhabitants plus a a horde of tourists and has definitely a lot to offer from picturesque beaches, beautiful mountains and green lush jungle. You can read more about it from here. And so yesterday we decided to go and make a full circle round the island. It took around 6 hours (with all the stops included), 120km’s (which doesn’t seem like much of a distance but believe me on our small scooter it’s quite a ride!) and 2 fuel stops. We started from where we live, at the southern part in Rawai, drove all the way to the airport through the west coast and then back again from the east coast. We missed the most northern tip of the island but maybe we will go there some other time in the future πŸ™‚

Phuket_Towns_map

Either way – the southern part and most of the west coast is lined with beautiful beaches with mountains and cliffs dividing them. Of course in most of the places they are supported with smaller and bigger towns, hotels, resorts and villages. I have already in the previous posts written about Yanui, Nai Harn and Ao Sane beaches. Also more touristy Kata and Karon have been mentioned along with crazy Patong area. But if to drive north from there there are still tens of bigger and smaller beaches to be discovered. And the more further you go from Patong the more relaxing and chill the scenery goes. The nearest ones to that direction are Kamala and Surin beaches, latter of which we really liked. There’s a beautiful area of palm trees near the sand where you can just lay back in the tree shadows and enjoy the view without being disturbed by much of a crowd. There are also few dining places and an opportunity to rent lazy tubes or kayaks.

But a bit further north from there you can find the Bang Thao beach, also called a Dream Beach. And it really lives up to the name. I have never seen so long beach in my life (more than eight kilometers long; only Mai Khao beach which is located in the northern part of Phuket near Sarasin bridge is even longer). There were very few people strolling along the beach and beautiful sand as far as the eye can see. On the way there we drove through a high-end residential area filled with gorgeous huge villas and other beautiful houses. It seems that people living there go to this beach when they’re in a mood to dive somewhere else than they’re home swimming pool :). In addition there was a lot of luxurious hotels and resorts on the way.Β  If you like to stay in a more secluded relaxing area then this is a place to be and also one of the most-visits when you’re on Phuket:)!

Next is the Banana beach. Which makes this one special is that in order to get there you have to park your scooter or car at the side of the road and then walk/climb down from a rather steep hill. And when you get down there it’s just the beach. No touristy establishments, just you, the sand, the sea (and of course the other people who have decided to make the climb). So it’s once again rather secluded area where do have a swim and just relax.

And the last ones on our journey were Naithon and Naiyang which resemble Kamala and Surin beaches but even more quiet. So there’s plenty to choose from :)!

All in all the west coast is the area to visit. Most beautiful places and beaches as described are all on that side of the island. And it’s really fun drive also – constantly up&down, left&right. Be sure to have some resting stops for both yourself and the scooter (if you decide to go with one).

Driving back from the other side of the island there are a lot of tree plantations, fields, small towns and highways. Basically there are mostly local people living in that part of the island and not many tourists seen around. Also there isn’t actually an opportunity to drive on the coast so you don’t get a glimpse of the sea which is unfortunate. We tried to visit Bang Pae waterfall but as it turns out it’s a part of a national park and there’s a 200baht entrance fee per person. Since by that point we already had quite a long drive behind us so we decided not to visit and really if you want to see some magnificent waterfalls – go to Chiang Mai :)!

I hope you found some value from this post! Phuket awaits you :)!

All the Best!

Lauri

Central Festival and cute kittens

Yesterday we had a visit to the biggest shopping mall in Phuket – the Central Festival. There was several reasons why we did that. Firstly my laptop charger is acting a bit weird so I wanted to know if it’s possible to buy a new one from there and as it turns out for 1000 baht it is. But at the moment it’s still working so I have my fingers crossed! Secondly since I’m using my computer quite a lot when Anna is resting or going to sleep and my mouse is making a quite loud annoying “click” sound I wanted to buy a new silent one which also succeeded (as it turns out there are a lot of things that you really don’t think of before the trip :); in related to that we bought together quite a significant amount of sunscreen since supposedly it was expensive here and a lot is needed but as it turns out it’s not very expensive and you’re going to need it only when you’re hitting the beach near midday – so one bottle is enough πŸ™‚ ). Thirdly we wanted to go to the cinema and see the new Thor movie – Thor Ragnarok. Which was actually pretty good and funny so I’d definitely recommend! For some reason even though cinemas around here have a lot of halls they only play maximum 2 or 3 different movies. And finally we just wanted to see how this shopping mall looks. And the answer is basically the same as any other huge shopping mall here in Thailand – at least 4-5 floors and hundreds and hundreds of different stores.

For a couple of times after the sunset when it’s quiet and not much people are moving around near the sea we have went to Promthep view point to just relax, enjoy the view, see flickering lights of the surrounding boats and the houses and just listen to the waves. And by doing that we got ourselves some new friends :). There are 3 small extremely cute kittens always walking around at the viewpoint in the evenings. We got fond of them so much that we bought some cat food from the local store and now we always have something in our scooter for these small fellas :).

When you’re visiting the seaside at dark you can always see some flashlights moving around at the shore. We decided to investigate more closely and as it turns out a lot of people are catching crabs from their nighttime hiding places. Today there was a quite big group of friends walking around on Yanui beach with flashlights and plastic bags. If they find the hiding place (a hole in the ground) they usually put a wooden stick into it and then do some excavation work until the crab is revealed (plastic bags are for storing the crabs). Actually I feel pretty sorry for them but at least there are some who fight back. So at one moment you could see a guy chasing the crab and some seconds later the crab was in turn leading the chase.

_MG_3458jpeg

All the best!

Lauri