Driving around Langkawi

4 days ago we rented a scooter to have a proper look of the island. There are 2 bigger areas on Langkawi – one is the main city Kuah and the other is the tourist area Pantai Cenang near where we are located. And the rest of the island is full of smaller towns, villages, beautiful mountains, beaches, rice fields, forests and jungle. In some way (of course besides the mountains and jungle ๐Ÿ™‚ ) it reminds my of an island called Saaremaa back home. Beautiful scenery, laid-back atmosphere and just an overall relaxing place to be. Since for some reason accommodation is not so cheap here compared to many other regions of SE Asia our hostel is maybe not the dream place to stay but in the big picture it doesn’t matter. Because when you get on your scooter and start driving around then you have to be really careful to watch the road since you find yourself constantly in awe of the surrounding nature.

By now we have basically made a full circle around the island and discovered some very picturesque places. For instance I highly recommend to visit Gunung Raya mountain which is the highest peak in Langkawi and easily accessible with a scooter or a car. On top of the hill there’s a a viewing tower (RM 10 entrance fee) from where you can see magical 360 views of the whole island (since the mountain is situated right in the middle of Langkawi).

Secondly one of the most beautiful beaches we’ve ever been are just a bit north from the mountain at Tanjung Rhu. The sand is white, water is blue (although still not as clear as in Phuket) and there are not much people around due to it’s remote location. Of course there are still some top-notch resorts located there and some local villages but still it’s really quiet. The beach actually consists of 2 parts but I’d recommend to visit both of them. We will definitely go back there in a few days!

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Thirdly a must see place also located in the northern part of the island is Temurun waterfall where a small stream comes down from a rather high cliff into a beautiful clear water pool continuing it’s way through the forest. It’s actually quite easy to miss since there are not many signs around but when you look at the google maps you’ll find it.

By the way scooter rental here is 20 ringgit a day (about 4โ‚ฌ) and one liter of gas is around 2,3 ringgit (about 0,48โ‚ฌ) so driving around is really inexpensive! You have to be careful about the police though. Sometimes they like to put up roadblocks and check the documentation and as in Thailand to 100% legally drive a scooter you need a A category licence since scooters here are much more powerful.

Tomorrow we plan to visit Langkawi Cable car and Skybridge which are probably the main attractions on the island. More about that in the next posts :)!

Our Phuket budget

We stayed at Phuket for 7 awesome weeks. As before I wrote down all our daily expenses to get a better overview ourselves and share it with you. Compared to Chiang Mai for example Phuket is definitely a bit more expensive but the difference isn’t big. It’s still a really affordable place to live. Once again these are our average costs per day for 2 people. Of course there were a lot of days where we didn’t have to pay for any entrance fees for example but to simplify things I averaged everything out. So here goes

  • Groceries (this includes different food items, detergent, shampoo and all other similar things – 205 baht
  • Transport (in case of Phuket it contains only scooter rental, gas and taxis to/from airport) – 200 baht. Our scooter rental for 5 weeks was 4500 baht
  • Eating out (also includes breakfast) – 360 baht
  • Entrance fees (our island hopping trip, massages, saunas and such) – 187 baht. By far the most expensive was our boat trip 1600 baht each. Without it you could save a lot but Phi Phi is still one of the must see places ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Shopping (clothes, new backpack, flip-flops and such) – 105 baht
  • Other (mobile internet, cash withdrawal fees, washing clothes, scooter driving fine ๐Ÿ™‚ ) – 76 baht

Our accommodation cost in Phuket was 17800 baht. So in total we spent around 57000 baht (about 1485โ‚ฌ). In conclusion our monthly cost was slightly under 1200โ‚ฌ!ย And for that kind of money you get a very decent living, scooter for the whole time and everything else you could wish for. Well, of course we got some great prices through our friend (he is more than welcome to help so let me know if you plan to travel there and are in need of a scooter for example). I believe that actually for about a 1000โ‚ฌ/month you could do pretty well in Phuket.

 

Sending sunshine :)!

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First days at Langkawi

Here are first comments/thoughs about Langkawi during our 3 days in here:

  • The island is really clean. There is basically no garbage lying around and trash cans are plentiful. Quite often you can see signs about keeping Langkawi clean and no littering. They’ve done a great job in this matter ๐Ÿ™‚
  • As I wrote in the previous post it seems that the island is partly still under construction. Every once in a while you can see a huge area with a abandoned construction site and walls built around it. In some cases construction work has been resumed but if to look at the pace work is being done then I guess they’ll finish by 2050. There are beautiful pictures on the fences and walls about what is supposed to be built but if you look behind them all you see is a big hole and some pieces of early foundation. As I read the financial crisis hit this area quite hard and a lot of the companies went bankrupt without no-one taking over the projects and continuing the work. I really hope that in the near future they sort it out somehow since otherwise it’s really beautiful here ๐Ÿ™‚
  • The life in here is really laid-back. No-one is in a hurry, there are not so many people walking around outside the main tourist street, quite often you can see workers sleeping in the tree shadows, beaches are quiet and rather empty and so on. It’s actually pretty nice :). You can definitely relax here and just lay back on the beach watching the sunset. And sunsets are quite magical here. It’s just the combination of beautiful beaches, islands in the distance and that calming serenity that creates the perfect atmosphere. (This picture represents only about 1/10 of it ๐Ÿ™‚ )

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  • Although the beaches are beautiful and with white sands the water itself is actually not so clear as in Phuket. At least in this part of the island.
  • There are 3 very friendly dogs walking around in our Hostel area. They feel very much at home and sometimes join you while you’re sunbathing, just lying in the hammock or of course eating something good ๐Ÿ™‚20171204_173024
  • Watersports are hugely popular here. There’s a big variety of options to choose from starting with ski-jets up to parasailing. Although they’re still relatively expensive. Yesterday we watched as they were taking tourists to parasailing and every time one of the guys arranging this just jumps aboard to steer the parachute. But they were not attached in any way. Just holding on with their hands and afterwards sitting on a piece of rope. Well.. at least they seemed to enjoy it.
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  • Since Langkawi is a duty-free zone it means that alcohol, cigarettes and other similar things are really cheap here. For example a beer costs 2 ringgit which is about 0,4โ‚ฌ (I know that some of you reading this last line just bought a ticket to Langkawi ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and 1 liter bottle of Captain Morgan rum is about 35 ringgit (roughly 7โ‚ฌ). Nice ๐Ÿ™‚
  • They sell extremely delicious spongecakes here with different flavors. It costs only 3 ringgit (0,6โ‚ฌ) and is a really decent size. I really hope that we don’t consume too much of these cakes and beer here….. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Until the next post!

Lauri

Goodbye Thailand, Welcome Malaysia + the last video of Phuket

As I’m writing this post we’re already at Langkawi, Malaysia. But only after quite a journey once again since our flight to Langkawi was postponed (although it happened already quite while back and we were aware of it) and basically we had to spend a night in Kuala Lumpur airport. Wasn’t too bad but wouldn’t want to do it again.

First impressions of Langkawi are that it’s really rather quiet here. It’s basically the same size as Phuket but a a lot less people live here plus we are not staying in the main tourist area. The nature is beautiful and a lot of discovering awaits us. It seems that there’s some kind of construction boom going on in here and there are a lot of huge half-finished buildings everywhere. The only thing is that a lot of these places look like they have been half-finished already for 10 years. Seems strange but probably there’s a good reason behind it. But you will hear about Langkawi in the future posts, here are some final thoughts about Phuket.

First I’d like recommend our by far favorite eating place in Phuket where at least in our opinion best food in Thailand is served. It really actually doesn’t have a name but here are some photos to help locate it when you happen to be in that area. Besides the tasty food prices are also reasonable and service is spot-on! (although they don’t speak very much english there). Basically we went to eat there every day ๐Ÿ™‚

Secondly if you have time to visit only one place in Thailand we’d recommend Phuket because it just has so much to offer! One of the places we will definitely visit again :)! And finally I also made one more video of our adventures in Phuket, hope you’ll enjoy it :)!

All the best!

Lauri

What to see and do in Phuket

Although we still have a few days left here I’d like to share our list of places to see and activities you can’t miss during your the stay in Phuket. Once again most of them have already been mentioned in the previous posts but it’s always good to have an overview. Here goes (in no particular order)ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Go to the beach! Enjoy the sun, swim in the warm sea, do whatever you want to do but go to the beach :)! I would especially recommend Yanui, Nai Harn, Ao Sane and Bang Thao beaches but there is just a huge choice here!
  • Drive on the west coast of the island. It’s full of beautiful beaches, mountains, views and just all in all magical nature accompanied by a small town or a bigger city every now and then.
  • Rent a scooter. Honestly, if you plan a bit longer stay then scooter is necessary to get around the island. But of course be careful in the traffic!
  • Windmill viewpoint – one of the best views on Phuket. In addition cute kittens live there ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Promthep cape – after a 15 min hike you can enjoy the nature at it’s fullest. Truly a sight you won’t forget!
  • Chalong sauna – a truly vivid local experience + the sauna itself is just great! I don’t know what kind of herbal mixture they are cooking there but after each visit you will feel revitalized!
  • Phuket weekend night market – the best market on the island. You can find basically everything from there! Opened from 4pm every weekend.
  • Monkey hill – although monkeys living there are still wild animals they grow on you really fast and you get the urge to visit them again and again ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Phi-Phi islands and Maya bay – I know it’s a commercial touristy thing. But still, the islands are really beautiful and you can’t miss them while you’re here. But be advised, if you choose to go with a speedboat, sit in the back :)!
  • King Rama IX park – a really beautiful park in the middle of Phuket town. Although it’s currently undergoing some renovations it’s still a great place to have a walk, feed the fish or do some exercise!
  • Ton Ao Yon waterfall – a magical small waterfall in the middle of the jungle. Once again, you can’t miss this!
  • Phuket aquarium – a great place to visit with a very reasonable entrance fee. Definitely worth a visit!
  • The Big Buddha – one of the icons of Phuket. Although I’d say it’s still under construction the statue itself is beautiful and views from the hilltop just breathtaking!
  • Go snorkeling – Phuket and Andaman sea has one of the most beautiful underwater scenery!
  • Visit Central Festival shopping mall – it’s actually a pretty nice shopping mall with a lot to offer (including a cinema) plus quite often beautiful live music or dance shows are being performed near the main entrance.
  • Enjoy the sunset from one of the many beautiful viewpoints!
  • Go to the beach when it’s dark. Usually it happens here around 6-7 so it’s not late. But in the evenings most of the people have gone from the seaside and you can enjoy the beautiful sound of the waves and distant lights flickering on the water.
  • Just enjoy yourself! As I’ve said before Phuket has a lot to offer to everyone! From great beaches to vivid nightlife in Patong area, it’s up to you! Just inhale the beautiful nature, kind people and a tender scent of paradise…

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ )
  • 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 (5โ‚ฌ), 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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… ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Lauri

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