Tag Archives: beaches

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 🙂 ) 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 4€) and one liter of gas is around 2,3 ringgit (about 0,48€) 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 :)!

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)  🙂

  • 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 🙂
  • 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 🙂
  • 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…

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

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

First week in Phuket

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So we’ve been in Phuket for a week already. Time flies fast :). But we really really enjoy it and although we will be here for 4 more weeks approximately I can already say that we will definitely want to come back! Our usual day here looks like something like this. We will wake up around 9, have a light breakfast, then do about 20 minutes of stretching/pilates and after that about an hour at the pool swimming, reading a book or just relaxing. Then it’s either going for a lunch (we already have a a few of our favorite places, I will talk about them in one of the later posts) or getting on a scooter to discover some new part of this beautiful island. Driving a scooter has by now become a norm and a part of everyday life :). During our stay we have visited The Big Buddha (which is really big also in real life, height about 34m), Chalong temple, Phuket town and the night market, Rawai and many other great places.

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We haven’t yet went to Kata, Karon and Patong – the 3 main tourist areas but we will do that soon. No hurry :).

At about 3-4 in the afternoon we usually go to the beach since by then the sun is lower, it’s not so hot anymore and you can really enjoy the seaside. If you plan to go during the midday for example then without a shade you can last max only about an hour or you just have to be in the water constantly. Otherwise you’ll just get a sunstroke. Our favorite beaches here are Yanui and Nai Harn, both about 10 minutes drive from here. And in the evenings we will go and have a dinner (naturally), on some days go to enjoy a steam sauna (located nearby, a great place to end a day) and then back home either we will watch a movie, invest time in the world wide web or read a book. Nearing the nighttime I’ll usually spend a few hours behind my laptop working with pictures, videos, gaining knowledge in Youtube or dealing with on one of my different projects.

Quite often we are spending time with our friends who are currently also living here in Phuket. We have already had a card playing + rum and coke night :), traveled around the island together and tomorrow we plan to go kayaking for example.

And actually we’ve seen quite many Estonians around here, basically you meet some new people every day. It’s a small world 🙂

Here are some additional thoughts:

  • In Thailand there are small reddish ants everywhere where there’s food lying around. If you forget something edible to the balcony for example it wont take long before these little guys are there to have a lunch on your behalf 🙂
  • Sometimes when swimming in the sea you will feel a small burn on your skin. It will go away quickly and it’s nothing bad but still an interesting sensation. No-one knows exactly by whom these are caused but I’ve read that it’s either very small jellyfish or sea lice. Don’t worry, nothing harmful. Just don’t be surprised getting that feeling if you end up swimming around here 🙂

 

All the best and sunshine,

Lauri

First impressions of Phuket

Phuket is Thailands biggest island and there’s always a lot going on in here. We are staying in the quieter and calmer southern part of the island near Rawai. Phuket is divided into different kind of areas and towns. Everyone who wants to party and see a “circus” on the streets every night should could to Patong, the main tourist place here. Slightly calmer are nearby Kata and Karong. And then there are still relatively relaxed areas like Rawai. Plus of course the old town where there are mainly locals living – Phuket city.

First of all it’s great to be by the sea again! We definitely missed this! And it’s really really beautiful – so many gorgeous beaches, mountains, cliffs, nearby islands and much more. I’m gonna take a lot of photos here 🙂

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We have within 2 days only looked around in the southern part of the island and already we have gazed our eyes to so many beautiful places

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Thanks to my friends who are living here we got a great accommodation for a very reasonable price! The place is spot on with very good condition rooms, even wider bed (over 2meters! I don’t know why they have so large beds in here), private pool, parking and so on. Couldn’t want for anything else!

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Thanks to these same friends we also got ourselves a companion for the next 5 weeks.

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I would say that owning a scooter is rather necessary in Phuket since there is basically no public transport and taxis around here are really expensive. Since my scooter driving experience was close to zero it will take some time to get used to this but we will take it slowly and carefully :). And of course the second day driving around we got fined by the police :). Since legally you should have A-category license to drive a scooter (since in here they are much more powerful compared to Estonia for example) they sometimes fine you if you don’t have them. The fine was 500 baht but we hope that this won’t happen again soon or we will just go and make ourselves Thai scooter licenses :). And just to add a comment it usually doesn’t happen very often. My friends have been living here alltogether for 2 years and they had been fined only once or twice before. There are certain areas (mostly near Patong) where they usually do their checks. At least that I’ve been told :).

Today when the sun was setting we went for a swim in nearby Yanui beach and that is definitely the most beautiful beach we have ever swimmed on. The beach is slightly seen in the first picture in this post.  In there it really seemed like a paradise… 🙂