Tag Archives: SE Asia

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

 

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 🙂
  • Shopping (clothes, new backpack, flip-flops and such) – 105 baht
  • Other (mobile internet, cash withdrawal fees, washing clothes, scooter driving fine 🙂 ) – 76 baht

Our accommodation cost in Phuket was 17800 baht. So in total we spent around 57000 baht (about 1485€). In conclusion our monthly cost was slightly under 1200€! 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 1000€/month you could do pretty well in Phuket.

 

Sending sunshine :)!

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Loi Krathong festival and first video of Phuket

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Yesterday beautiful Loi Krathong festival was held all over Thailand (and also some other countries). You can read more about it from here. We went to see and enjoy it at nearby Nai Harn lake. Unfortunately our experience was not as picturesque as seen above but it was still beautiful. Hundreds and thousands of people bought different krathongs (little baskets from banana tree trunk and banana leaves decorated with different flowers, ornaments, a candle and 3 incense sticks), lit them up and placed on the lake surface. Unfortunately it was a bit windy so most of the candles blew out quite fast (as did ours 🙂 ) but it was still pretty. Sadly (but with a good reason, potential hazard to the nature) flying lanterns were forbidden but there were still some (supposedly) official sellers from who you could buy one and send it towards the stars. I also went for a swim at the beach in the darkness with lanterns flying above my head, it was quite a sight :). Only maybe a bit negative part of whole this was that the main festival area where all the market stalls were located got properly crowded and the place was really touristy. I read that there are also other areas near Phuket city where locals gather to celebrate. Nevertheless it’s a must visit when you’re visiting Thailand in November :).

I’ve also finished the first video of Phuket where you can see views of Rawai and other southern parts of the island. Have a look for yourself :)!

 

Wonderful Chiang Mai

We’ve been in Chiang Mai for 1,5 days and we love it! It’s much more quieter and calmer compared to where we were. It’s located roughly 700km north of Bangkok and it’s surrounded by hills up to 2km. Our flight to here took about 1h10m but there’s also an option to travel by bus or a train (roughly 10-12 hours). Bangkok is a great place to visit for up to 5-6 days but we wouldn’t have wanted to stay longer.

Our Hostel here is great! It’s located in a quiet alley and the breakfast is just 25m of walking in a cozy cafe plus there are several dishes to choose from. As in Bangkok the hostel is located very near to the main city attractions. We have a huge bed 2×1,8m (or even wider), a TV, refrigerator, a fan + all the other conveniences. Only weird thing is that for some reason we have besides the bedroom and a toilet/shower a separate room with just a small sink. Don’t know why but we don’t complain – we got a 3 room accommodation :)! In addition there are 3 really cute hamsters in the lobby (in cages:) ) who we greet every time entering the hostel :).

Yesterday we just looked around in the neighborhood, visited the local Warorot market, had an exquisite cup of iced latte for 35 baht (most likely we will visit that place every day we’re here, we already did today:) ) and also a huge portion of Tom Kha Kai chicken coconut soup for 70 baht. It was delicious!

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Today in the morning we stumbled upon a small adventure. Our original idea was to have a small walk in the old town when we were approached by one of the tuk-tuk riders. He said we would take us on a trip around the old city for 1 hour. In the beginning it was 150 baht, then 100 and in the end 50. The usual stuff :). At the end we agreed with 50 but of course we knew that there was some sort of a catch. First he drove us around on different streets, made some stops for pictures and we also visited a very beautiful temple.

At some point though he took us to one of the Thai silk shops where there was also a small handicraft factory (as said in the beginning something like this was expected). For a moment we looked around but after that there was another stop in yet another handicrafts place. It turns out that for every time a tuk-tuk driver takes tourists or just passengers to the shop they will get a stamp. If they get together 10 stamps then they are provided with free fuel. At first it was a bit uncomfortable going through these totally overpaid shops (all in all we visited 5 different places) but since they weren’t too pushy in the shops and the driver still was a nice guy plus we got a 2 hour tuk-tuk ride around the town we were actually quite amused with all of it going on :). Wouldn’t do it again but for one time it was fun:)!

In the evening we went for our first massage in Thailand. Although there are many places in Chiang Mai top-rated by tripadvisor and similar sites today we just walked around and went for a place what seemed cozy and offered a good price. And it was worth it! For 340baht in total (8,7€) we both got an hour long massage for feet, back, neck, head and shoulders and it was extremely good! In a matter of fact I actually loved it and we will definitely go back! At some point it was actually a bit painful but you just feel so much better afterwards! I don’t understand why massages cost so much back home!

Anyways there are still so many things to do here in Chiang Mai and I already cant wait for another day to start! Tomorrow we plan to visit the local zoo and we need to get an early start.

I’m also making a video or two of Chiang Mai so you could get a better overview of our adventures.

Until next time :)!

Bangkok is truly city of life

There’s just so much going on in here. Doesn’t matter where you are or what time it is there are people around talking to each other, selling their goods, just having good time or trying to get your attention with magical words of “tuk-tuk” :). You can see an overview of our first days in Bangkok from the video above.

But yesterday in the first half of the day we visited 2 different temples called Wat Pho and Wat Arun. It’s just unbelievable how much work and handicraft has gone into creating such pieces of art. Every detail is handmade with great precision. Currently a lot of temples are being renovated, I presume it has something to do with the oncoming funeral of the King. Because of that the biggest temple in Bangkok, The Grand Palace, is also closed but luckily there’s a lot of other beautiful places to see. During the temple visits we also crossed Chao Phraya river which was an adventure by itself although it lasted for only few minutes. But let’s just say that the traffic on the river here is the same as on the roads.

We also caught our first rain. So far it has sometimes been raining during the night but yesterday for about an half an hour around 11 it was just pouring down. Rains around here are something different then back home but during hot days the’re actually quite refreshing.

Besides that we have now got our first tries of local foods from places where basically the only way of communication is body language. But is has been fun:) And foods have been great. Tom Kha soup that Anna tried at dinner was eye wateringly spicy but otherwise it has been ok:).

In the evening we visited Lumpini park which was actually very nice but it seemed that there was a marathon going on although it was just an usual Wednesday. I guess it’s normal when there are so many people living it the city and not much places where to run. After that we went to one of the many sky bars here in Bangkok. The cocktails were rather good (and of course expensive – 800 baht/20 € for 2 drinks) but what we and I especially enjoyed was the view. It’s just something special to have such a great look at Bangkok night skyline.

The last stop was infamous Soi Cowboy red light district. Yes there were a lot of beautiful women (probably) and also a lot of not so beautiful ones. And in some cases you could definitely tell that it’s not a woman that you’re looking at. But all in all it was just one street where all that happened. On the surrounding streets there were just a huge number of massage salons where (I think) you could probably get whatever kind of massage you like. I know that there are also 2 other regions in Bangkok with similar things going on but it seems that generally these areas have been reducing compared to years back since legally it’s still not allowed. Although it definitely brings in a lot of money. But the main thing is that now we’ve seen it. All the services provided will be for next time.. or next life. Who knows 🙂

Lastly one sad thing is that during evening or near nighttime there are a lot of people sleeping on the streets with just their bags and other belongings next to them. Unfortunate that there are so many of them but at least it doesn’t get cold at night. Generally there’s a very big gap between so to say rich Bangkok and poor Bangkok. I hope that they manage to close that gap somehow in the future without damaging the cultural richness that Bangkok has to offer.

Sending a lot of sunshine back home:)!

The Golden Mountain, Sampeng market and endless shopping malls

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Our day began quite early at 7:30 when there was only modest 28 degrees outside :). After a quick breakfast we visited the Golden Mountain from where you could see beautiful scenery of Bangkok skyline and enjoy the hilltop temple. It was a nice mixture of nature and architecture since the temple itself was built on a rather high mountain surrounded by greenery and flowing water. Definitely would recommend to visit!

Next we set our steps towards Sampeng market which is near the local Bangkok Chinatown. By the way what I wouldn’t recommend is walking outside for a longer period around midday when the sun is at it’s hottest. If you do, definitely bring a lot of water. Luckily a 1,5L bottle is only around 10 baht (0,25€). But the market itself is made up of one long alley (actually I don’t know how long exactly since we walked on it for 1,5h hours and it seemed liked several kilometers but we didn’t reach the end) and a lot of streets crossing it. Rather crowded but the prices were very reasonable and you could find almost anything. Best way to describe it is Aliexpress, but not online :).

On second half of the day we visited the Siam area which is known as the shopping hall center in Bangkok. There were many different shopping malls situated one after another, we only walked by most of them and spent a bit longer time in MBK center. But if you want, you could spend several days in there. Mall consisted of 7 floors with hundreds of smaller and bigger shops on every floor. The main reason we went there was that I needed to unlock my phone which I bought for the trip. Apparently it was locked for Asia region and some hacking needed to be done. As it turns out it’s quite common issue with phones bought outside of Asia but don’t worry – even only in that shopping mall there were about 100 booths where you could do that.

We ended the evening in a nearby cozy cafe and some delicious snacks from the horde of street-food trolleys located in every corner. Everything related to coconut is just indescribably tasty here! Today we had some sort of pancakes made from coconut and they just melted in the mouth!

A list of animals we saw today on streets – a huge rat who jumped on Anna’s foot so a loud scream echoed through Bangkok, superfast squirrels who ran on top of the thousands of electric lines in the city, a frog, some lizards and a bunch of (supposedly some stray and some not) cats and dogs. I’m really sorry for those guys in here because all they do is they are constantly out of breath and move slowly towards the nearest shadow.

In some other comments I also started keeping a budget of our costs to make some summaries of our expenses. I will share it at some point later on.

And finally soon there will also be a Youtube video of places we have and will visit in Bangkok.

Until next time :)!

 

A long journey and first impressions of Bangkok

First of all be warned that this post will have quite a lot of pictures in it :). So be patient scrolling through them :).

After about 20 hours of travelling time we reached Bangkok today. But before I get to that, here are some comments and pictures about our journey.

Since we had quite a lot of time in Helsinki airport before going to our Bangkok flight we went through most of the places and shops Vantaa airport offered. You could sum it up with quite many buzzing people in the middle section of the airport and calm Nordic quietness in the outer parts. And of course really high prices.

But what we liked most was a book changing room, basically a library, which was very cozy and filled with sounds of nature.

Secondly there was an interesting separate room filled with sleeping pods which this time we didn’t use but I think it would be quite an interesting experience 🙂

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Our flight was delayed but luckily only by 20 minutes. Getting on board was quite tricky since a huge number of people wanted to go also :). Based on last years Bangkok is still the most visited city in the world.

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Our plane was actually relatively comfortable and it looked brand new. Seats could be lowered by quite much and on-board infotainment system was spot on! But still, 8465km and 9 hours and 30 minutes can be quite exhausting 🙂

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But now – Bangkok. Well, for starters although we knew it beforehand it’s still extremely hot and humid in here. Within minutes you are literally soaked no matter what you do. Every once in a while you just have to step into some sort of store or public transport to be cooled down by air conditioning. And everywhere you go you will be greeted with lot’s of different sounds and smells. Some of them good, some not:). And it’s not even worth mentioning of how crazy the traffic is in here. Zebra crossings and traffic lights are more just a recommendation, not law. At first it seems very different to what we’re used to but even with one day you slowly start to blend in with all this craziness.

On our first day we just checked in to our Hostel (after 2 hours of different trains and walking), walked around in the neighborhood for a while and visited Khao San road where we ate dinner and just looked around.

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And of course at least in my opinion had one of the best ice creams ever! Coconut ice-cream straight from a coconut 🙂

Besides that we bought some snacks – crispy silkworms which actually don’t taste very bad 🙂

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Before ending this post here are some last comments

Firstly – there are Buddha statues literally everywhere.

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Secondly – I wonder what is the average life expectancy of an electrician in Bangkok. Because all the electric posts looked like this 🙂

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Time to end now :). Thanks for reading and new post about our adventures in Bangkok will follow soon!