Thailand Part 1 The South
When I started travelling 4 years ago Thailand was my first stop and my introduction to backpacking. I’ve found that when it comes to your first ever trip things will either go one of two ways. The first being that you will have researched until you’re blue in the face, you will know where you’re going, when you want to be there and even what you’ll be having for breakfast on your 42nd day OR the second where you have done little to no research and you’re frantically throwing your life into your backpack on the morning of your flight. Naturally the latter was my option of choice so I ended up fumbling my way through my first visit here, meaning that I actually missed some of the best bits which I didn’t even know existed. Knowing that I was going to be visiting Asia again I knew that I had to revisit Thailand and seek out all of the gems that I had been told about.
First stop on my trip was Krabi, I wasn’t really too fussed about visiting the South again as I pretty much covered it all last time, however I hadn’t been to Krabi before and a friend that I met in Sri Lanka was going to be there around the same time as me (and the flights were superrrrrr cheap!) so I decided to spend a few days here to see what it was about. During my time here I stayed at Balcony Party Hostel which is basically what it says on the tin, music blaring till 3am, drinking games, free shots and a truck load of drunk backpackers consuming their weight in beer, great for me for a few nights after having a tame last few days in Kuala Lumper. The nightlife here was OK, there were enough bars and restaurants around to keep me entertained, but I couldn’t walk more than 5 metres down the road without being asked if i wanted to see a ping-pong show followed by some strange popping noises.
The hostel is only one street back from the beach so from the balcony we had a view of the ocean and all the little islands dotted along the skyline, one night the sunset was so stunning the sky turned deep red, purple and orange and off in the distance you could see the beginning of an electric storm. I didn’t really do a lot of sight-seeing around Krabi, I spent most of my time lying on the beach (if that’s what you can really call it, it was so tiny I could hardly lay down without getting my towel wet from the waves) enjoying a beer at the hostel, or visiting the fruit shake lady outside the 7/11! Her shakes were so bloody good I had at least 3 every day if not more, I wish I could have brought her with me.
When I came here last time I only visited for a day and from what I can remember I really liked the look of it, Toby hadn’t ever been here before and a few of my friends I met in Malaysia were on the island so I decided to go for a few days. My first sight of Phi Phi this time was not how I remembered it from 4 years ago, it looked a lot more built up, with tourists flocking by the boat load and rubbish and oil was floating in the water. Maybe I remembered it wrong but I felt so disappointed when we were walking along the jetty getting hassled for a place to stay. We got to our hostel after about a 10 minute walk and this also was an absolute shambles, the reception was about 4 foot x 3 foot with people pushing in and out trying to get past each other with their backpacks, the woman on reception didn’t seem to sure what was going on and we ended up filling in our check in form sat on the street outside! The bunk beds were not bunk beds, rather poles strategically placed together with 3 bunks balancing precariously. We had already paid for the one night so we decided to stay but didn’t want to spend much time there apart from to sleep so we went out exploring which resulted in Toby getting a bamboo tattoo of some noodles on his ankle and finding a different place to stay the next day.
So the next day we quickly threw our stuff in our backpacks and made a swift exit from the hostel from hell and moved to our next accommodation which felt like a palace in comparison, it wasn’t actually anything special but it was 10 times better than the dungeon. I knew that if I came back to Phi Phi I wanted to make a trip to the viewpoint, I had previously seen pictures of it on Instagram and blog posts which made it look so beautiful I didn’t want to miss it a second time around. So myself and Toby started our walk out of the town and started the onward slog uphill in what felt like 50 degree heat (it was really only about 30 something but it was super humid) After about half an hour we made it to the entrance where we had to pay something like 20 baht each to get in and then climb up a stairway nestled between boulders (which we later noticed the boulders weren’t even natural, they had been made and placed there I guess to make it look pretty) the view itself was really lovely, you could see across the whole island and the sea on either side were two completely different shades of blue, one side was a deep blue whilst the other was a vibrant turquoise, the mountain opposite was covered in jungle and mossy green and you could see tiny boats off in the distance. However like with every touristic spot there is always a lot of tourists, so if you wanted to take a picture whilst up there you have to wait your turn while others get their Insta pics, we spent about half an hour up here before deciding to make our way back down and make our way to Long Beach.
We had been told that to get here it’s a really scenic walk through the jungle and along secluded beaches until you finally reach the quiet Long Beach, well whoever told us the latter part was bullshitting. Yes the walk to get there was nice, we did walk through bits of the jungle and we did walk along beaches but what people failed to mention is that they are all part of big resorts now which isn’t an issue but just not what we was expecting. As for Long Beach itself it was so crowded it felt like I was back home of the first day of summer when it just hits 18 degrees and everyone flocks to Brighton beach to get their first bout of sun burn for the year. I can imagine back before all the resorts and hotels had been put here that this was a really beautiful beach but there really was more people than sand here. The only thing I will say is that the water here was much nicer than the main beach where all the parties are, so it was nice to go for a dip.
The next day was our last day on Phi Phi and we decided to spend most of our day just relaxing before our long ass bus the next day to Bangkok, whilst at the beach I saw my friends that I had met in Malaysia and we decided to all meet up later on for the beach party (hang over on the bus it is then!) Because the weather was really nice on this day we decided to go to The Only Bar which is situated at the end of the beach, it has a spacious terrace with small tables and cushions that we could sit on whilst taking in the view. This was the first evening here that it wasn’t raining and as the sun started to set the sky looked more and more like candy floss, I have never seen a sun set quite like it, as it started getting darker we could still see the oranges and pinks in front of us but above us the stars started to come out one by one. It is one of my favourite sun sets to date. After this we made our way back to get ready to meet the girls and for the beach party. Before even getting anywhere near the beach we could hear the music blaring, feel the ‘doof doof doof’ through our feet and smell the gasoline for the fire shows. The beach was packed with backpackers carrying the typical Thailand buckets and fire dancers lit up the length of the beach, there were tonnes of games happening along the beach including beer pong, limbo and a massive group skipping rope. It was a really good night and I took part in the group skipping a few times usually clumsily catching the rope and after a few glares from the other people skipping I gave up and returned to my beer and dancing (which I’m not much better at!) The next morning we had to be up and out to catch our boat back to the mainland so that we could catch our overnight bus up to Bangkok.
Big cities don’t usually hold much interest to me, they’re busy, noisy and I’ve quite often found the people aren’t as nice, but stopping in Bangkok was a must, after a 15 hour journey I wasn’t about to hop straight on to another bus out for another 12 hours. I decided to stay for a few days, not only to rest but to visit a few of the sights that I hadn’t seen last time (yet again). We checked into Cacha Bed Heritage a new hostel that is right in the heart of Bangkok near a lot of the sights and also the infamous Koh San Road. It’s a really lovely hostel everything is brand new, I could still smell the fresh paint, the dorm room was one of the best dorm rooms I’ve ever stayed in, the beds were pretty much double beds with curtains all around them so you still had your privacy. Downstairs is a small café and art gallery and upstairs is a kitchen and chill out area with a small rooftop to sit and relax on. The staff here were some of the friendliest people I have met and they were always happy to help us. Whilst in Bangkok I knew that there was one place in particular that I absolutely HAD to visit and made sure that it was the first place I went to.
The Unicorn Café is pretty fucking magical, it is every girls childhood dream come to life and as soon we walked in (yes I dragged poor Toby along for the ride too!) we was hit with an explosion of pastels, rainbows and of course all things unicorn. I was like a kid on Christmas morning I could not contain my excitement, I started running around in search of the unicorn onesies that they supply for you to wear so that you too can become a unicorn, even if it’s just for a few hours! I even managed to get Toby to wear one too! We went up and ordered unicorn waffles maybe a bit too enthusiastically (the man behind the counter gave me a few odd looks when I was squealing with excitement!) and then found our spot on a pastel pink couch which looked more like a throne and smothered myself in unicorn teddies. My inner child was ecstatic and so was I! The waffles came out and they were bright pink and blue smothered in whipped cream AND ice cream! The portion sizes here are hugeeeee, so even though the prices are a little higher than usual you do get what you pay for and there is enough to share between 2-3 people! We stayed here for about an hour and a half tucking in to our waffles, dressing up as unicorns and taking pictures.
I knew that whilst I was in Thailand I wanted to get another tattoo and came to the idea of having a fruit shake tattoo seeing as I had fell in love with them whilst here! So we found somewhere to sit and have a beer while we researched reputable tattooists in the area. What we both came up with was BKK Tattoo, they had good reviews that most importantly the reviews stated that the place was hygienic and clean, so we decided to go and have a look and check it out and see for ourselves. BKK is based at the top of Koh San Road so it’s really easy to find, we went in and the place was quite busy but we was greeted by a man on reception and I told him exactly what I wanted, which was just a basic outline of a drink with a smiley face on it placed on my ankle. We had to wait about 20 minutes whilst the artist got everything drawn and set up and then we was good to go! The tattoo didn’t take long at all and I love the end product of my little happy drink!
The next few days in Bangkok I did a little bit of sight-seeing, I did attempt to visit the King’s Palace but I forgot to bring my passport with me and under no circumstances will they let you in without (I forgot it even after being told to bring it!), I then visited the Golden Mountain which was beautiful with views over the city and we also visited a night market by the river. My favourite place to eat whilst here was a quaint little veggie/vegan café called Ephos, it specialised in local Thai food as well as Middle Eastern cuisine, which was a God send as I had been craving hummus for ages!!!
That was my time in the South of Thailand retracing (or stumbling over) my steps and also visiting some new places, the next part of my trip I visit the North of Thailand which some parts really captured my heart. This will all be in my next post 🙂