Phi Phi, Maya bay and the speedboat adventure

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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.  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 🙂 ), 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 🙂

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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.  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 🙂 ). 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.

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All the best!

Lauri

 

Discovering a whole new world!

For the past 2 days you could have found us mostly with our bottoms towards the sky :). Which means that we have been discovering all the secrets the sea has to offer. There’s a local second-hand shop right near our place so we went and bought 2 sets of snorkeling gear for 400 baht (10€). Usually near the beaches here you can find them with 800 baht a piece so we were extremely happy with our find! Especially since we will have a lot of coral and fish exploration options coming up at Langkawi and Bali also :).

I had been snorkeling only once in my life before. And there was not much to see, especially compared with Phuket. Of course sadly a lot of damage has been done to the sea life around here and all over the world. I can only imagine what I’d would have been 50 years back for example. But it’s still a very very magical world that quite often just slips our attention. Back home we have actually 13 fish in 2 separate aquariums (otherwise the bigger ones would just eat the smaller ones 🙂 ) so we really enjoy watching them.

So far we’ve only discovered this world at our local Ao Sane and Yanui beaches (which I wrote about a while back) but we will definitely go and explore in some other places on and around Phuket also.

But I’m keeping this post short since it’s quite difficult to describe this with words. It’s much better to have a look for yourself :)! Here’s the next video about the underwater world of Phuket and our adventures at Monkey Hill.

PS. If you’re planning a similar trip like ours or you just want to capture different pieces of you’re life in whatever imaginable circumstances then in my opinion GoPro or something similar is a must :)!

Jack Canfield – The Success Principles

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I like to read. And most of the times when I’m glued to my e-book reader I’m reading some kind of self-improvement book. I know that there are literally thousands of these kind of great books around there but I strongly believe that each one holds at least one or more good ideas, processes, guideances, thoughts that “click” to you. You don’t have to follow exactly what someone else does or writes but in my opinion it’s like putting together your own puzzle. You take one piece from here, another one from there and so you’re building the picture that suites YOU. And I like that process :). I also believe in constant learning and improvement – if you’re staying still then you’re actually moving backwards. Success and that happy satisfactory feeling in our lives is quite much defined with forward movement :).

I’m currently reading and soon finishing one quite thorough book on this topic called The Success Principles. I admit that I’ve been reading this quite a while since for starters it’s quite lengthy (nearly 600 pages) and secondly I’m often reading several books simultaneously. But if you find yourself with a bit of free time and the feeling to educate and improve yourself then I strongly recommend you to grab a copy! If you want to get better in touch with the content there are several summaries available online. Here’s a link to one of them.

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”

Monkey hill and Promthep Cape

Visiting monkey hill here in Phuket is quite an experience. At first you are just driving along a rather steep mountain road until one moment there’s just hundreds of monkeys on the road. And they seem really relaxed and just chilling around. It took some time to get used to these small fellas but after a while it’s totally normal to see them walking and climbing around everywhere. But they are also very clever :). For example you will find yourself looking at one of them doing some sort of show and just being really cute but at the same time another one is literally sneaking up on you to pickpocket :). And he wasn’t very far from getting my scooter keys. By the way – if you’re going there with a scooter then don’t leave your helmets unattended. You may find them in a totally different place from where you put them or in a bit different condition :). In a matter of fact don’t leave anything unattended and hold strong to your belongings. For several times we saw a monkey stealing a drink, a package of nuts or just a plastic bag with shoes :). You will see more of them when I’ll finish the next video 🙂

By now we have been around the island quite much and at least in my opinion the most beautiful places, beaches and views are in the southern part. For example today we went to Promthep cape.

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To get there you have to walk/climb on a narrow rocky and mountainous road for about 15 minutes but it’s actually really good. Since it’s not so easy to get there a lot of people don’t bother to take the journey. Which in turn means that it just might happen that you can be there (at least for a while) totally alone enjoying the waves, the view and a nice sea breeze against your face. This is one of those “Can’t miss” places.

We also went to Ao Sane beach which is slightly different with it’s small stones and pieces of coral which massage your feet with every step. It’s also a very good place for snorkeling (we will try that soon). All in all 3 of the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen in Phuket are located all here in the southern part with just a few minutes drive separating them. Each has their own virtues that make you come back again and again…

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One interesting adventure a few days ago was visiting the local Chalong sauna. It’s a very simple place with a 100 baht entrance fee. Basically it’s a very hot steam sauna where local Thais cook up some sort of special herbal mixture and boil it for steam. Afterwards you can dive into a cold water barrel (with ice cubes) or just shower yourself. You can also get a massage, some drinks and food. So in conclusion a great place to get a bit more into Thailand life and just relax. We will definitely go back 🙂

All the best,

Lauri

Kata, Karon, Patong and second video of Phuket

Yesterday we visited the 3 main tourist areas on the island. Kata and Karon are located rather close to us and Patong a bit further away. In general I could say that I’m very happy that we are staying in more quieter Rawai area :). Kata and Karon have beautiful long beaches, hundreds of shops, restaurants, massage salons and much more but they are still quite touristy. Nevertheless if you’re staying for a shorter period and you don’t want to travel around on the island very much then they’d be quite good places to stay since everything is located just around the corner. As much as we saw the prices were also relatively same as around here so all in all not a bad choice.

But Patong… it felt like we were back in Bangkok again with only difference that there was also a beach. Although we just drove around there with a scooter for a bit and took a small walk at the beach we got the idea of that place rather quickly. Dense traffic, a lot of people, more tourists than local people (the same seemed to apply to Kata and Karon also), tuk-tuks (although in Phuket they are like a small minivans rebuilt to be very bling, not tricycles like in Bangkok and Chiang Mai), “Hello my friend”‘s shouted across the street and so on. You could definitely say that this place was full of life and there’s much to do but if you’re looking to put your feet in the sand at a quiet seaside and relax this place is not for you. But you could definitely say that Phuket has a lot to offer to all kinds of taste :).

Driving a scooter for 10-15 min is totally fine and very quick and reasonable method of transportation. But if you plan to travel for a half an hour straight then it would be reasonable to make stops here and there. I don’t know if we aren’t used to it yet but after a long drive your bottom and back are quite sore :).

I’ve also finished the second video of our adventures in Phuket. Go and check it out 🙂

 

Sending sunshine – we have more than enough of it in here 🙂

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