Tag Archives: thailand

Before Turning 30.

11th July 2016

dock One of my favourite things to do on this blog is to recap the year on my birthday and see what I’ve been up to. I am 30 now after all and my memory is not what it used to be. I started doing this on my old little blog Doodlezilla when I was turning 27. I find that it is a great way to look back and appreciate the time that has past and kick my buttocks into doing more things.So here are all the adventures I managed to squeeze into my year of being 29*:

singapore6

Worried about being old? Dye your hair purple!

Worried about being old? Dye your hair purple!

  • My sister got a tattoo and turned 18 (WHAT?!?)
  • My mum joined twitter
  • Lee got a great job in Brisbane
  • Lee’s brother came to visit us in Oz

 

It’s been an amazing year. But there were sad moments. We lost my Great Aunty Pat this year. She was an incredible lady that raised my mum. I thought of her more as my grandmother than an aunt and it was really hard to be away from home. I wanted to just run home but money wouldn’t allow it. It broke my heart because I had carried her last letter to me all around Asia and I’d sent her a postcard from every location we’d been to .It made me happy to know she’d read them but also …it hurt so much. Life is full of ups and downs. I know these lists make it sound like it’s perfect but it’s far from it. Most of the year is boring days and a lot of bad ones too, but when I look back I only see those happy moments….even losing my Aunty, which hurt so much, makes me think about how beautiful a person she was and all the things I would be telling her now about my year.

Every time I think I’ve met the best the world has to offer, seen the best things, tasted the most delicious foods, I’m struck down once more by all of the awe inspiring things this little blue dot has to offer.   I don’t know how it’s possible, but life always finds a way to be more pretty and the people I know become more spectacular.

Thank you 29 for being filled with beautiful, lovely and delicious moments xxx

*I would like to point out that I wrote ‘my 29th year’ in this post. Lee pointed out that I had just lived my 30th year. What a Bumface he is. Boo!!! He’s lucky he’s cute.

 

Let’s Go To Asia – Travel Video

27th September 2015

So as the astute among you may have noticed, we are already finished with our trip. We are in lovely Australia. I still have a few posts about our trip to come, but I recently finished editing this little video together and couldn’t wait to share it.

So here is just a few of the best parts of our trip:

Happy People at the Happy Elephant Home

27th July 2015

banner When I was young I use to have VHS tapes that I would watch over and over again (ask your parents what a VHS is kiddies). One of these was Dumbo. I loved the beginning when all the baby animals were brought by the stalks and would land in their little homes. But, like most children the thing I loved the most about the film was the elephants. I loved Dumbo. His big ears and his little trunk. I am not the only kid that was traumatised when he’s separated from him mum, and has to hug her through the bars. Even hearing the ‘baby mine’ song makes my eyes fill up. Since then I’ve always been fascinated by these huge, gentle creatures, and passionate that they shouldn’t be locked up. I learnt a lot about them as a kid and loved how smart they seemed. It was a huge item on the bucket list to see one.

When we went to Thailand two years ago we both knew that seeing elephants something we wanted to do. But once we started researching how horrible most Elephant excursions were we were heart broken. We didn’t want to give money to anyone who would treat these incredible animals badly. After a hell of a lot of research we found the incredible Elephant Hills in Surat Thani national park and the experience blew us away. As is the way with most travellers bucket lists we crossed off ‘seeing an elephant’ and replaced it with ‘see elephants again’.

elephants6 When we added Thailand to our itinerary this time around it was the perfect opportunity to have another heffa related experience. Unfortunately with us traveling constantly for 4 months our budget didn’t allow us to fly the length of Thailand to go back to ‘elephant hills’ so we crossed our fingers and hoped we’d find a place in Chiang Mai that we could catch a glimpse of the gentle grey giants.

elephants7 Our requirements for our elephant experiences:

. We do not want to ride them – they are not made to bare weight and their backs aren’t able to carry humans let alone a huge chair.

. We do not want them to be chained – enough said.

. We do not want them to do tricks – They have to be ‘broken’ when young to be trained and its impossible to achieve this without pain.

. If we can’t touch them but they are happy then we don’t mind – we’d rather see a happy dot in the distance than a sad animal up close.

I would honestly recommend that most people should stick to these rules when booking an elephant experience. Call the place, read reviews on trip advisor and ask around in your hostel or hotel. Just being the word ‘humane’ or ‘eco’ is on the leaflet doesn’t mean they are actually these things.

Our friend Kaleena , wrote a great piece about her time in an elephant home that you should all read. And as she points out, it’s incredible to be near these creatures but we are aware that it is only because of the past abuse they’ve experienced. If tomorrow there was no more elephant attractions but we could see them with binoculars in the wild, we would be happy. Anyway rant over…

 

elephants9 elephants14 We researched and researched, ignoring the many places in Chiang Mai. The only place that seemed reasonable was The Elephant Sanctuary. It was much more expensive than the others but we were happy to pay it. Unfortunately due to our awful planning (mine, not Lee’s. He is a jedi at planning) it was fully booked , but we were sent to another place they recommended , and it was also recommended by some friends of ours. We were pretty confident it would be humane and the elephants were actually being saved from horrible ‘eco-friendly’ excursions.

elephants12 Happy Elephant Home is where we went.

And we LOVED it.

We spent the entire day at the park. We prepped food and medicine for the animals (also dogs and cats), cleaned out their sheds, travelled to a local sugar cane farm and cut down the food for the elephants, watched them have a mud bath, got muddy ourselves, and watched them bathe in the river. It was a great day from start to finish. The elephants seemed happy and content. Playing with each other and enjoying their food and treats.

elephants16 elephants10 elephants8 elephants11 elephants5 elephants1 Being next to these creatures is very humbling. They tower above you and even though they aren’t aggressive in any way you are aware you are next to a wild animal and we were in awe of their intelligence. The only issue we had with the park was that they had a new baby who was tied to his mum with a rope. We asked about the rope and the onsite mahout who lives with the animals told us that the baby was a few months old (and he was adorable). Unlike most baby elephants who are taken from the mother straight away he was allowed to stay with his mum but since they only have 4 elephants it’s a lot smaller than the natural herd in the wild. The baby would normally be looked after by everyone. The elephants had acres and acres of space and the baby (when it wasn’t tied to mum) tried to see every inch of the grounds. This was upsetting the mum because she couldn’t keep up with him (due to her injuries after years of being abused) so they tied them together to keep the mum calm and to stop the baby getting into trouble or falling into the river when no one was looking. The relationship between the mum and baby was beautiful and it is a shame that they can’t both be free but it’s nice to see how happy they are in this new home. I hope that this place can keep growing and growing.

We felt extremely privileged to be near these incredible animals and as you can see from the photos, it was the happiest day of the holiday.

elephants15 elephants4 elephants3 elephants2 signature

5

Our Own Personal Hell: The Thailand border

8th July 2015

we were told this was for 'no kidnap' ?!?

we were told this was for ‘no kidnap’ ?!?

Our time in Cambodia had come to an end. We wanted to save money so instead of taking a flight into Thailand from Siem Reap we decided to take the bus. We heard it wasn’t the best trip but, hey how bad could it be? If this was a 80’s movie you would now cut from two bright eyed and bushy tailed travellers stood in Siem Reap to two angry, tired, hot and sweaty people in a 4 hour queue at the Thai boarder.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’ll start at the beginning.

Getting into Thailand by bus is a popular choice. We wanted to get to Bangkok, one of the closest cities to Siem Reap so it was the smart option. A bus would cost us from 7 – 14 dollars if we did it cheaply , where as a flight would cost almost 60 dollars. It was an easy decision.

We research and researched (and RESEARCHED) every company that does the trip and we established three things we needed to be aware of:

. Leave as early as possible. Arriving at the border after 11am will have you waiting in huge queues.

. Go with a company that uses a bus not a minivan since most people have horror stories of being left in service stations for hours until they bought expensive perfume or food and then also being packed so tightly into vans that they were sitting on their own luggage in the aisle.

. Don’t pay for the most expensive since its pretty much the same as the next cheapest.

 

So armed with these rules we approached about 6 companies and struck up a deal to leave at 8am, be picked up from our hotel and get a coach all the way through the border to Bangkok. We paid more than the average since we really wanted a coach. Lee’s long legs don’t allow for minivans and we wanted to avoid the evil scams mentioned above. We paid about 17 dollars which was quite an expensive option (they do go all the way up to 40 dollars but PLEASE don’t pay that).

We felt we’d prepared as best as we could. We were ready and waiting at our hotel at 7:30 , which is when they were due to arrive. So we waited, and waited……and waited some more. Any one that’s done any travel in Asia knows this isn’t surprising . We assumed that we were just on their route and everything would be okay. At 8:15 we got the hotel to call them. Apparently they were on there way….45mins later we still had no bus. FINALLY after it was very apparent that there was no 8am bus , a man on a tiny Tuk Tuk pulled up shouting our names. This was even more confusing since we were expecting a bus. He loaded our bags precariously on the tiny car and told us not to worry, he only had two more people to fetch. Unless they were sitting on the roof I don’t know where they were meant to go. Luckily they’d given up and gone with another company (smart people) .

3 When we arrived at the bus company building we were frustrated but happy to almost be on our way. another half hour later we were pulling our knotted traveler hair out. The bus pulled up at 9:45 and I will tell you that it was lovely. A huge bus for about 9 people, lots of room and even some drinks and snacks. This did make up for the morning issues and we arrived at the boarder in comfort. Yet again we were lulled into a false sense of security. Somewhere the boarder gods were laughing at our relief.

We were told to get off the bus at what looked like a market that sold nothing but bad dreams and our bags were thrown at us. Since we were told our bags would be staying on the bus our entire trip this was not a pleasant surprise. We worked out as a group , since English signs or telling us would spoil the surprise, that we needed to join the throng of people in front of us.

5 They should be a a Twilight show episode about the disappearance of queues in Cambodia boarders because we sure as hell didn’t see one. It was like a scene in a disaster movie .People screaming and pushing, ladies holding their babies above their heads. I was half expecting a alien race to appear and start shooting .

We made our way through the Cambodian border and then walked under the bridge that separated the two countries. I was hoping for a enlightening travel moment as I walked through one country to the next. I though that feeling the earth beneath my feet would transform me into an enlightened traveler with a soundtrack playing in the background…something by an indie band that wear flower head bands. Instead I was accosted by Cambodian men trying to steal/carry my bag for me, woman screaming at me to buy their bracelets and one woman in a shell-suit circa 1989 shouting ‘give me the money!’ like a bad Jerry Maguire..but this is why we like travel, the unexpected moments.

This was the smallest queue of the day

This was the smallest queue of the day

We rounded the corner and joined the huge queue to get into the Thai broder control building. It was annoying to line up outside but at least it wasn’t raining….it started raining. After 40 minutes Lee and I were called forward and we ran up the stairs triumphantly, trying not to get to the top and re-create the famous Rocky moment. We turned, walked through the door and realised , to our horror, that THIS is where the queue actually began.

A great lightning storm in the sky's of Siem Reap

A great lightning storm in the sky’s of Siem Reap

I’m not going to tell you every detail of our 4 and a half hour queue but I will tell you that i’ve never been so close to punching a stranger. That air con not working in a tiny space with about 400 people in it would be how I imagine hell now . And that if I ever meet the Chinese lady that was queuing behind us again I will punch her in the spleen. The entire time that we queued she  refused to believe she wasn’t pushing past us, like adults we should have just given up and let her past but we aren’t adults so we had to create a human shield with our bags and bodies. She even tried to push past Lee once and got a face full of sweaty arm pit. I’d say that was quite a punishment in itself.

To explain to you the anger every person felt in that line let me tell you that when we could almost touch the customs desk and had just one more lady in front of us a man walked up in a fancy suit, got a wad of money out of his jacket and offered a line of poor travelers a load of cash to let him cut in line…the line screamed ‘NO!’ and called security to have him removed.

We got to the other side of customs, found our bus and danced a little dance of happiness. I can only imagine it’s how people feel when they find water in a desert…okay that may be a little dramatic but at that moment I think we would have kissed the Thai floor if it wasn’t covered in spit and gum.

To celebrate our victory (and while we waited another hour for all the other people on the bus to get through customs) we treated ourselves to a 7-11 binge , which if you know Thai 7-11’s you’ll know that this is a great country to do this in. It was the best toastie and Big Gulp we’ve ever had.

4 hours later we saw the lights of Bangkok appear outside with the skyline out in front of us. We were so excited to return to a city we’d loved so much the first time around, even if we it had been a bit of a disaster. With our eyes fixed on the lights far away the bus seemed to slow down, and it kept slowing until it stopped and the driver shouting in Thai what we can only imagine was ‘get the hell off my bus you filthy foreigners’ …but it was probably something much more polite.

We realised we’d been duped yet again once the bus pulled off and then paid another 15 dollars for a taxi to our hotel.

skyline1 Overall it wasn’t the best trip…in fact I now imagine hell to be that customs room but every time you get to the end you enter into the exact same customs room only a few degrees hotter and the people a tiny bit ruder (if that’s possible).

So would we advice getting the flight in Thailand from Cambodia? HELL YES! for the small mark up (when you add up all the extra hours, taxi’s, water to live in the hellish heat of those offices and our sanity). I’d take the one hour flight any day.

(sorry for the lack of photos but you weren’t allowed to use cameras inside the offices and I didn’t want to remove it from my bag in case I used it as a weapon to get to the front of the line). signature

 

 

Tokyo Arcade

2015 Travel Plans

19th February 2015

So I think I owe you all an apology. For the last few weeks i’ve become a little bit obsessed with my up coming plans to the point that I have kept mentioning it without giving any details.

So I thought that I’d share with you some of the things we’re hoping to achieve over the next year.

First, there are to-do lists…EVERYWHERE. My flat looks like a bombs dropped because there are about ten jobs going on at once but I’m hoping that it will all fall into place really soon and we will be ready to roll.

First I suppose it’s important to share with you what our plans actually are so here is our 2015 travel plans:

Tokyo Arcade Japan

Japan is somewhere magical to me. It’s a place mentioned in movies not a place that exists. When we went to Tokyo last year I was in my element and I fell in love with the place. Last night I was chatting to a friend who’s going to Tokyo soon and I couldn’t stop gushing about how much fun they were going to have. This time around we aren’t going to the bright lights of Tokyo, instead we are heading to Kyoto and Osaka. Kyoto has been high on my list for a long time and I feel guilty that one of the places i’m most looking forward to going over the next few months is our first stop but I just can’t wait to be surrounded by the history and beauty of this place….and the sushi!

 

El Nido Palawan Island, Phillippines Been here, truly magnificent and glorious!  http://www.lifebeyondthehorizon.com/philippinesparadise/The Philippines

Lee and I had never considered a trip to the Philippines but after seeing all of our friends fantastic pictures we quickly added it to the itinerary so we will be stopping in on Bohol, Boracay and El Nido. Here’s to sandy beaches and drinks with the locals.

 

Guilin, China. Globe Travel in Bristol, CT is standing by to make your vacation dreams come true!  Reach us at 860-584-0517 or by email at info@globetvl.com!

China

We went to China a few months ago but we can’t wait to go back. We wanted to see some impressive landscapes and the countryside of China is definitely the place to do this. We are heading to Guangzhou and Guilin …all the G’s. I’m not going to lie, I’m in it for the dumplings.

 

Hong Kong, China | 21 Most Colorful And Vibrant Places In The WorldHong Kong

I know listing Hong Kong as a separate country is debatable but I have a very good friend from Hong Kong who thinks of it as a different place and the British Visa application was different for Hong Kong compared to China so I think it’s fair to list them side by side. We are looking forward to climbing Victoria Peak and meeting up with my friend who happens to be visiting at the same time as us. Woohoo

Hoi An, Vietnam - Visit http://asiaexpatguides.com to make the most of your experience in Vietnam!

Vietnam

Vietnam is another place that’s been high on the list for a long time. We are starting in Hanoi  then going to Hue, Hoi an, Mui  Ne and Ho Chi Minh. We are looking forward to cooking classes, pho, and 12p beer… as well as all the culture/people/sights of course. We are going to the home of PHO!

Angkor Wat Cambodia / Watched the sunset here while drinking a horrid local wine and eating a crispy fried frog. A beautiful place & a wonderful adventure.

Cambodia

Next stop is a bus trip across the boarder into Phnom Penh. We don’t have long there before we are off to Sihanoukville. Before you all rush to tell us its not great we are only there for the night before we head to Koh Rong Samloem. A small island with about 5 hours of electricity a day. I’ll be celebrating my birthday here and I can’t wait. Sunsets and cocktails..woohoo. Lastly it wouldn’t be a trip to Cambodia without a sunrise trip to Angkor Wat in Seim Reap.

skyline2 Thailand

We are having a ‘do over’ in Bangkok since last time we had such a disaster (which you can read about here). People always think because of this we didn’t like Bangkok but I loved the place. I can’t wait to go back and see the place properly this time. Then it’s up north to the bloggers paradise that is Chiang Mai. Unfortunately , It’s rainy season when we go to this part of Asia . Our original plan didn’t have Thailand on it at all , instead we wanted to see Laos and Myanmar but the rain means we have to skip them this time, as well as the beaches of Thailand but I’m really excited to see Chang Mai after hearing so many great things. See you soon Pad Thai. You will be in our bellies.

Singapore's Supertrees at the "Gardens by the Bay". I see I'll have to go back to Singapore to see these by night.Singapore

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am for this country. Is it for the history? slightly. Is it for the culture? marginally. Is it because one of my best friends is moving there a week before we arrive? HELL YES! This is a selfish stop for Lee and I to see one of our favourite humans…and maybe go to Sesame Street in Universal Studios, which for a Muppet fanatic is the holy grail.

Rice terraces close to Ubud. Bali, Indonesia To book go to www.notjusttravel.com/anglia

Indonesia

When we came to Asia this was high on my list of places to see. We are spending a lot of time here and seeing Yogyakarta, Ubud, Nusa Lembongan, Gili Air and Kuta Lombok. We can’t wait. Yoga, monkeys and beaches. We also may be dragging one of Lee’s best friends to meet us for a weekend so I can’t help but jump around a little bit when I think about journeying to this magic country.

The dolphins coming to shore at Monkey Mia, Western AustraliaAustralia

Lastly, but definitely not least is our new home for the year, Australia. This isn’t a country I ever wanted to live in , that was until Lee sold me on it because he is in love with the place. I am now fully on board and can’t wait to experience every inch of the place. We are starting in Perth but who knows where the year will take us.

Extra stops in 2015

Obviously we don’t know what will happen with the rest of the year but there are definitely some places we’d love to pop into:

Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malaysia

When we are in Singapore we are very tempted to just run over the border and have some food there to say we did it. We are a little bit addicted to adding countries to our list but we will definitely be back to spend some proper time there soon.

Wow, just wow! Bridestowe Lavender Farm, Tasmania - by Tim Clark

Tasmania

I realise this is still Australia but I really want to pop over to this lavender filled paradise.

Fiji IslandsFiji, Tonga and Samoa

It would be rude to not visit these places while we are in Australia surely….let alone the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu…ect

New ZealandNew Zealand

Once again this country is so close to us when we are in Australia that we would love to go and see the place but maybe we will do it at the end of year in Oz.

Here’s to an exciting year ahead.

 

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