Tag Archives: beautiful

A week trip to Malta

At the end of the last year during Christmas we decided to enjoy a glimpse of sunshine and a much nicer weather then we currently have in Estonia and took a trip with a couple of our friends to Malta.

Malta is a small Southern European country (only 316km2) located in the Mediterranean sea. Roughly half a million people leave there based on main 2 islands Malta and Gozo. It’s really rich in history and beautiful architecture. The sea around the island is magical turquoise color and there’s unlimited majestic sights overlooking cliffs and rocky seashores.

In a matter of fact they have a lot of rocks there, almost everything is made out of stone based materials since there just isn’t any trees. Only occasionally you can glimpse one somewhere but mainly just small bushes and other low growing plants.

Since they don’t have much to stop the constant winds blowing from the seas it’s really windy there, at least in the winter time. If you can find a nice quiet place then you could sunbathe or even go for a swim (the average air and sea temperatures were around 18 degrees Celsius) but otherwise you definitely need a jacket or two to stop the wind blowing just right through you.

They have just exquisite choice of different pastries – various pies, cakes, cookies and everything in between. To be honest if you are a sweet lower as I am they are too good to spend a longer time there :). All in all the food was really delicious and pricewise roughly the same as in Estonia, maybe a little bit more expensive.

Almost 40% of all the houses/apartments in Malta are empty and it looks really weird. As I understood there are many reasons behind it related to different regulations and laws but the main thing is that a lot of the real estate is being bought form outside the EU in order to get an European citizenship. Either way it was really sad to see all these place completely deserted, covered with dust and doors and windows nailed shut. I really hope that they are able to fix this issue somehow in the near future.

The streets there are really narrow and since there are a lot of buses (the way how we got around. Buses basically go almost anywhere and it only costs 21€ for 7 days of unlimited travel) most of the time there are traffic jams. There just isn’t enough room for two vehicles to pass each other. So be advised if the destination is only 10km away it will still take a decent amount of time to get there, doesn’t matter if you’re traveling with a bus or a car.

At the end of the post I’ll also add a short video of our trip but here are the main places I would recommend to see when visiting Malta (in random order). 1 week is in my opinion sufficient time to have a look at all the main sightseeing places but of course if you’d like to dig deeper in the local culture and way of life you should plan for a longer visit.

  • Blue Grotto
  • Salt pans in Gozo
  • The ancient capital of Mdina
  • Valletta
  • National Aquarium
  • Dingli Cliffs
  • WWII Beach Post – Ta’ l-Imgharqa – just a really beautiful place to take a swim

And as said before do’t forget to go out and enjoy the tasty foods Malta has to offer 🙂

All the best!

Lauri

Singapore – a truly amazing experience!

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Although we are in Singapore for only 3 days there is so much to say about it. First and foremost we really like it here and you probably can’t compare it with any other city on the planet. It’s very clean, modern, high-tech, filled with greenery and there’s just so much to see! And you actually don’t have to go to any specific place since strolling on the streets and riverside of Singapore is already a great experience. During the 3 days we’ve been here we have walked for about 20 km and rode with a bike for roughly another 45 km. So we’ve had quite long and exhausting days starting from 11 AM and ending about 9-10 PM. At first we mostly opted for walking but since biking is really popular here and there are 3 main bike rental companies with thousands and thousands of bikes around the city we just couldn’t miss the opportunity. That and the fact that our legs were beginning to hurt :). Riding a bike is inexpensive but sometimes it takes some time to search for a proper bike with everything working and high enough saddle (since in case most of the bikes the highest setting is still very low). There are no such biking roads as in Copenhagen for example but in most of the places you can co-exist with all the pedestrians quite well. Only in some areas where the pathways are really narrow zig-zaging between all the people can be a real hustle. But all in all it’s ok and everyone is used with all the bicycles moving around :).

Singapore is beautiful both during the daytime and nighttime but I’d say that only when the sun sets the real beauty of the majestic skyline begins to show. Most of the buildings are being lighted and of course there are the great landmarks as Marina Bay Sands, Singapore flyer and ArtScience museum that make it one of the most extraordinary city views.

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Of course you have to take under consideration that Singapore’s prices can’t really be compared with other countries in SE Asia or in a matter of fact in anywhere in the world. Currently for the fourth year in a row Singapore is the most expensive city in the world and it has been in top 10 for a very long time. I will give a more detailed overview in my budget post later on. But be prepared to pay a bit more even if you don’t plan to visit many sightseeing places in the city. While saying that there is still a lot you can do in this city for free. For example one place that you really cannot miss (!) is Gardens by The Bay. It’s a huge park consisting of many different areas most popular of which is the Supertree Grove which is a masterpiece also during the day but when the evening comes all the trees light up and offer quite a sight. Furthermore every evening at 7:45 and 8:45 PM there’s a special 15 minutes music and light show that you must see at least once. If you don’t have much time at least visit this place 🙂

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Secondly I’d recommend to walk or ride a bike on the riverbanks of downtown Singapore from Clarke Quay to Marina Bay. There are many places to sit and enjoy the magnificent view. Thirdly if you’re into greenery then The Southern Ridges, Henderson Waves and Mount Faber Park are perfect places to take a small hike through the jungle in the middle of the city. Local Chinatown shouldn’t be missed and Buddha Tooth Relic temple is also one of the most beautiful temples we’ve seen here in SE Asia. We also visited the National Museum of Singapore (entrance fee 15 S$ per person) with it’s great and extremely interesting exhibitions. If you have some more time and resources 🙂 then these places are also very highly recommended:

  • Singapore flyer – 165m high ferris wheel with 360 degree views (33 S$)
  • Marina Sands observation deck – a great view from the top of 8 billion S$ building (23S$)
  • Flower Dome and Cloud forest at Gardens by The Bay (28S$)

In addition in Singapore there’s a whole separate entertainment island called Sentosa which is full of different theme parks and activities. For example Universal Studios Singapore, Adventure Cove waterpark, Madame Tussauds and much more. There are even 3 beaches with supposedly an appropriate water for swimming. Although there are constantly about one thousand (!) cargo ships near Singapore. After every 2 minutes a new ship arrives at Singapore making it the world’s second-busiest port.

In conclusion I can say that Singapore is a place that I’d recommend to see at least once in your life. Although the island is really small (720 square km) they have managed to build a great city with majestic landmarks, buzzling trade, clean environment, abundance of greenery, architectural masterpieces, safe streets and much more! I’m glad we decided to come here 🙂

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Swimming at Seven Wells waterfall + one of the best cinema experiences in my life

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By now I can honestly say that Langkawi has the most beautiful nature I’ve ever seen so far! I know that I said it also about Phuket but I think it now holds the second place along with California. I wont include Estonia since it’s still my home country and it’s impossible to compare it with anything :).

There are numerous magnificent waterfalls, mountains, jungles, forests, beaches, cliffs and other naturally beautiful places in Langkawi. And in most of them there are not much people around. Today we went to see Seven Wells waterfalls and had a swim of a lifetime! There are several clear water pools on top of the waterfall overlooking the nearby jungle and the mountains. The water was very refreshing yet still warm. You could just lay back and enjoy the sound of flowing water, beautiful views and sun on your face. Once again one of the must-visit places!

In order to get to the top you’ll have to walk about 660 steps up the stairs and it’s quite a climb! Luckily swimming awaits you at the top as said above :). I’m not 100% sure about the exact number of the steps since at about half way through for the first time in SE Asia I saw a snake right next to the trail. It was about 1-1,5m long and brightly orange-brown-yellow colored.  Luckily when noticing me he slowly moved into the jungle. I tried to Google afterwards but as it turns out there are more than 400 species of snakes in SE Asia and a lot of them look exactly as the one I saw.  I just hope we wont meet them very often, especially the highly venomous ones.

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Yesterday we visited the local cinema located in nearby city Kuah. As said in the title it was one of the best cinema/movie experiences ever! We chose the movie “Jumanji” which is one the best comedies I’ve ever seen, especially lately. From 10 I’d give it solid 8-9. Although the cinema itself was a bit old and had seen better days what made it special were all the people watching it! The theatre was totally packed and Malaysian people are extremely lively while in cinemas. The room was full of laughter and emotions during almost the whole movie and it really had a great effect on the whole experience. I’ve never seen anything like that before. Either way I’d highly recommend to go and see this movie, having a good time is guaranteed :)!

 

All the best!

Lauri

 

Beach day and a huge cloud of white smoke

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Today we decided to spend most of the day just chilling on the beautiful Tanjung Rhu beach. We just liked that place so much and decided to go back. It’s everything you’d want from a tropical beach – white sand, blue water, breathtaking scenery and relaxing atmosphere with not many people around.

But our journey started with quite a adventure. About 3km from our hostel while we were driving with our scooter I gazed at the mirror and suddenly saw a huge cloud of white smoke coming from the back of our bike accompanied by an oil spill and a sudden loss of power. Just great!, I thought! Luckily it didn’t happen on the other side of the island. So we pulled over and called an emergency number given to us from the hostel. After about half an hour of waiting they came to get us… with another scooter that was basically just as broken as ours :). Either way we somehow limped back to the hostel with  both 2 scooters creating a massive hole in the ozone layer (luckily it wasn’t that bad but still 🙂 ). There we were given a substitute machine with about half a million miles on it. But hey, at least the engine was working properly :).

These kind of things can happen, especially with rental machines and since it wasn’t our fault all repair works will be covered by the hostel. Big thanks to them for such a quick reaction to come to get us and providing us with a new scooter! But still, their machine park is in a need of an update :).

In the end we got to the beach and spent most of the day there as planned. I don’t know is it due to the fact that we’re nearer to the equator but middays here are really scorching! So definitely bring sun-screen and every once in a while stay in the shadows while visiting Langkawi.

And one more thing. Maybe at first you may not like Langkawi as much as some other places but this island has a tendency to grow on you :). Just look at it…

 

 

Langkawi Cable Car and Sky Bridge

So today we visited the most popular tourist attraction here in Langkawi – the cable car, sky bridge, oriental village and other related attractions. And I can tell you right now that this place is really really worth a visit. Entrance fee is 55 ringit per person and for that you’ll get a ride with the cable car, entrances to Sky Dome (where a space roller-coaster movie is projected to the ceiling), SkyRex ( a fun 4D attraction where you’re visiting the Dinosaur island) and 3D museum (you can find really beautiful artworks and 3D effect expositions there). There is some queuing involved so it’s recommend to visit as early in the day as possible. And if you’re going alone or in a company of 2 you’re also lucky while using the cable car. Since gondolas are for 6 people they very often let up to 2 people ahead in the queues so all places would be taken.

For additional 5 ringgit (when you decide to walk a short nature trail) or 15 ringgit (special lift to the bridge) you can visit the Sky Bridge and enjoy magnificent views from there. If you have already taken the journey to the top of the mountain I’d really advice you to visit the bridge also. But be careful if you’re afraid of heights since the bridge (and of course the cable car track) is located quite high above the ground. But all the scenery there and all over Langkawi is really breathtaking, no wonder it’s called the Jewel of Kedah (Kedah is a county in Malaysia).

Here’s a an overview of our adventures in Langkawi so far. It’s unfortunate that you really can’t capture all that beauty with the camera. So you have to come and see for yourself :). Feel free to follow me on YouTube to see all the other videos from our SE Asia trip + everything yet to come :)!

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

Beautiful Chiang Mai nature

This time a very short post. I made a video of our visit to Doi Suthep mountain and temple + yesterday we went for a small hike near the Huay Keaw waterfall. I must say that the trail around the waterfall is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. And it’s very easy to get there. Just use a local B1 bus to the zoo (15 baht per person) and from there it’s about 5 min walk to the beginning of the hiking trail. I have to mention that technically the whole area was closed due to the potential flash floods but we decided to take the trip anyways. We were just a bit more careful. And all in all due to the higher volume of water the scenery was even more picturesque. Have a look for yourself 🙂

Doi Suthep – beautiful temples, magical views and picturesque nature

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Chiang Mai area really has a beautiful nature. Just outside the city Doi Suthep mountain, temple and natural park are waiting to be visited. Today we spent most of the day there. Straight in the morning we hired a songthaew (local red coloured pick-up truck where there are 2 benches in the back, used for everyday transport) which took us up the hill to the temple. The temple itself was also gorgeous but the main attraction is still the view to the city and neighbouring mountains and villages. After looking around for a while we went for a little hike to the main viewpoint, the nearby village and the waterfall. It seemed that everyone else was either riding a scooter, driving a car or sitting in the back of a songthaew. But as said before we like walking. It has had quite an effect, during the 10 days in Thailand I have already lost 5kg’s and I definitely have stronger leg muscles :). But the views from the mountainside were something special (there will be a lot of pictures coming to my Instagram/FB + also a video). And so was the nature, we had never been in such a jungle before. Greenery, bamboos, beautiful flowers and trees everywhere. And some sort of funny insects (we presume cicadas) who live in the treetops and make really really strong electric alien voices. You just have to hear it to understand! We also passed by Hmong village where you should supposedly see how the local culture of the tribes living in those mountains look likes. But it still was greatly a touristy place. Nevertheless the village was interesting to see and a short walk from the village a picturesque Doi Suthep waterfall and flower garden was located. Once again would definitely recommend a visit!

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On the way back from the mountain our driver stopped at a small temple middle way down to the mountain. Right next to temple was this beautiful waterfall and all in all this was one of the most beautiful temples and locations we have been so far. It seemed that the reason why we stopped was that one monk (who was also in our songthaew) wanted to go there for a moment. And how could you say no to that. Either way we were very happy that we had an opportunity to see this place :).

Besides these adventures we went to the cinema and one of the biggest shopping malls in the city yesterday. We took a long walk through the city to catch a glimpse of how the locals are living. So on the way we saw for example a woman walking her goat with a nice pink collar near downtown Chiang Mai. Why not! 🙂

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The movie which went to see was Blade Runner 2049. It was pretty good although rather dark. But the ticket was 100 baht each (about 2,55€) and the cinema was really fancy. More like being in a theatre, not watching a movie. And who doesn’t know yet – before every movie in Thailand anthem is played and you have to stand up to show respect.

Shopping mall was huge. Really can’t compare shopping malls in Estonia to the ones in here. Every one of them has at least 5-6 floors and numerous shops and dining areas. After the movies we went for the first non-local food so to say and had a pizza. It was good but compared to local dishes very expensive.

I can say already that if you plan to visit Thailand, definitely come and see Chiang Mai :).

Once again sending sunshine back home!