Posts Tagged With: full moon

Part Two – Ten Things I Learned While Travelling in SE Asia

This is Part Two of my post about what I learned while travelling solo through SE Asia last summer ūüôā See Part One here

5) Trust Your Gut

This tip is CRUCIAL. ¬†If your instinct is telling you one thing (don’t go down that alley/with that weird guy/don’t take a bucket from a stranger), DONT DO IT!! ¬†Train your intuition to take you down the right path, but also remember that things are very different in SE Asia and what’s thought of as dangerous in North America is often not regarded the same way over there. ¬†I remember this gross scary alley in Bangkok that led on a shortcut to our hostel. ¬†The tour guides were the first to take us down there and we all thought “what the hell?!”. ¬†But then we saw families treating the alley as their back yard, working and watching TV as their many pets caused a ruckus. ¬†Sure, it smelled bad and there was junk everywhere, but that’s just the way it was in BKK – don’t have a backyard? grab an alleyway! ¬†By the end of my trip I was walking down this same alley at three am, laughing at my new friends as they cowered at the thought of plunging into the dark. ¬†If you are unsure – ask someone, because trusting your gut can go a long way – with the right guidance of course!!

Trust Your Gut

4) Let the Party Take You

Lets face it.  I partied HARD while I was overseas.  Harder than I ever have in my life, especially on the Beach Travellers wing of the trip, because I was surrounded by 27 of the most fun and fearless Canadians I have had the privilege of meeting!! Every night there was a new activity, theme party, or massive beach bash that you would simply HAVE to go to, no matter how much sun you got that day or what viewpoint hike you did.

The parties in Thailand and Cambodia absolutely blew my mind, especially the Full Moon Party, which I conquered twice!! For more info about the Full Moon, click here. ¬†I learned a lot about myself through these party experiences, if you can believe it! ¬†I learned I am a party rock star who knows how to manage my alcohol intake so I can stay up all night and often be the last woman standing! ¬†Of course I had some rather rough mornings and I didn’t escape a puke or two but overall, it was worth it to party so hard because A) when the heck am I going to have the opportunity to rock out so hard in my life?? and B) I might as well get all this partying out of my system while I’m young enough to experience it properly!!

Moral of the story? Party HARD, but Party safe, know your limit and don’t accept drinks/rides/pills/buckets from strangers.

Party Herrrrrd

3) Friends are Family on the Road

When you travel, you are constantly meeting new people who seem friendlier and more interested in you than the people back home in boring, uptight North America. ¬†This is because the BEST, friendliest and most worldly people know that travel is the ultimate learning experience, and go out of their way to meet new friends on the road. ¬†It was harder to meet new friends while I was in my big group at the beginning of my trip, but as the months went by I learned how to strike up random conversations on buses and hostels to find new interesting people from all over the world. ¬†Experiences can cement friendships too, like on Chelsea and I’s adventure on the Ko Tao night boat: we had to spoon with two lovely NZ girls on the way over cause there was no space, and they ended up being our fabulously fun travel companions for the next week!!

Bottom Line: Make it a point to meet new people while on the road, don’t just stick to your group of friends. ¬†Make new ones from all over the world!!

Real Friends Party Naked

2) Embrace Your Inner Hippie

Go where the wind blows you. Throw away your shoes and wear a long skirt.  Grow your hair long and  forget about plucking your eyebrows. Learn to spin fire, like I did, or learn to surf, scuba or befriend a monkey for an afternoon.  Just let that North American uptight Type-A self slip away.  He or she will be back once you step off that plane and back to reality, trust me.  But there is something invaluable about embracing another way of life, something slower that is focused on personal growth and freedom. I found this amazing blissed out beach bum inside of me who finally was just going with the flow instead of planning every minute of every day.  Finding this side of myself was a crucial step of discovering who I am, and now I listen to my hippie self when she needs a day at the beach or a day in the park practicing spinning.  The lesson here is finding balance between the two selves and making sure both are being served in your lifestyle at home! 

Inner Hippies Chillin

1) It’s the Journey, not the Destination

As I traveled from one place to another, I found myself filled with anxiety again and again. ¬†Will my train be on time? will we catch the ferry? ¬†What If I don’t like the food they serve?

Those worries became less and less loud as I learned to treasure every crazy bus ride, bumpy boat trip and determined local who tried to sell me their wares. These detours and roadblocks became the best stories, the most memorable moments that I look back on and laugh. ¬†Sure. my trip went well, I didn’t get mugged or kidnapped or hassled (too much), but there were definitely tough spots where I wished I had more control over the situation. ¬†Every moment of my trip was important, even the times when I waited at the train station for hours or missed the boat to Ko Lipe and had to spend the night in Pak Bara. ¬†If the journey is stressing you out, just stop, take a breath and marvel that you are halfway around the world, seeing sights that most people only dream of, and that you are lucky enough to have some cash in your pocket and clothes on your back, too. Wow!

Or just have a mini tantrum and work it out, I had to step away and do that more than once ūüėČ

Embrace the Journey

Well, that concludes my writing about my 2012 trip (only a few months late, lol!)

But you lucky people get to come with me on YET ANOTHER JOURNEY!! BIGGER, BETTER, LONGER!!

Last year was my fearless adventure, this year get ready for “Work Hard, Play Harder 2013 SE Asia/Oceania Trip!!!”

More tomorrow on that ūüôā

xo

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Welcome Home to Bottle Beach

Our arrival at Bottle Beach was full of mixed emotions Рwe were so happy to be going back to one of our favourite places in the world, but sad to be doing it without our group of friends that we had made during our Beach Travellers trip.  Our ferry ride over from Ko Tao had been uneventful Рthe extra ta-wenty Baht we had paid for air-con in our little ferry had been a sweet luxury item.

In Thong Sala (the main town on Koh Phangan) we loaded up on supplies to take with us to Bottle Beach, where everything is a bit more expensive due to the fact it’s on a very remote beach that you can only get to by boat. ¬†We were loaded up with all kinds of goodies when we caught our ride across the island to Chalok-lum, the town on the North side of the island, and boarded a little long tail boat which would finally take us home! ¬†The staff greeted us as if we were long lost friends – “welcome home!” they said as we checked in and got settled. ¬†We had been dreaming of Bottle Beach for so long – it seemed surreal to finally be back there again in paradise.

We spent the afternoon with our friends who worked at the resort, practicing fire spinning with Cheeky my favourite bartender, trading stories and making plans for the full moon and our next few days.  We met up with some German friends of ours who had taken our advice and decided to stay at the resort, and had a fun reunion night!  The next day we waited for some more friends to arrive, and got ready for what would be the highlight of our time on Bottle РFull Moon!

The morning of full moon we climbed to the viewpoint to check out the amazing view from the top of one of the surrounding hills.  Everywhere you looked from the top was unspoiled green beauty Рthere was very little in terms of developed resort land on that side of the island Рit was so beautiful, pristine and untouched Рtook my breath away.

I had a completely different experience of full moon this time around РChelsea and I got ready together and helped the other Beach Travellers group with their paint and party preparations.  I felt like a pro Рthe nervous excitement I had from the first time was gone РI felt like I knew what was in store for us, but still was excited to watch the night unfold again!

We boarded the speedboat and the anticipation was the same Рrounding the bend, hearing the pulsing music under the bright light of the full moon, and finally seeing the beach lit up and spread out before us as we landed and formed a human chain to get to our meeting spot.  This time I had so many energy drinks at the beginning of the night, all I did was dance for about Рoh Рfour hours until realizing I was starving and set out with a group of friends to find the amazing chicken place I had found last time.  We found it and ate yummy chicken schnitzels whole watching the mayhem unfold around us.  I managed to walk all the way down the beach this time to the very last bar, listening to all the different music on offer as we walked by snapping pictures of the drunk, passed out, and generally outrageous people surrounding us.  Eventually we figured out that the spot our group was hanging out at had the best music, so we made our way back to our rendezvous point and danced the night away, watching the sun come up together.

The day after was a bit of a write-off, on account of us staying up all night to do the full moon thing.  We luckily had a fantastic pool and some great friends to entertain us, so there was no shortage of laughs to keep us going into the evening.  During my second time around at Bottle, I felt like time had stopped РI had everything I needed with me and nothing to do but just simply enjoy and relax. During our last night I bar tended behind the bar with the staff, wearing my staff shirt of course!

Our last night was bittersweet, because we just had so much fun with each other but we knew it had to end, too soon.  We stayed up all night as our ferry was ridiculously early and we had to catch a 3:30(am!) ride to the other side of the island to catch it.  It was a long, bumpy, pitch dark ride on bad roads in the early morning, taking us away from our Thai family and friends and onwards onto separate journeys….my solo adventure was about to get real.

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Sairee Beach Baby!!

Our arrival on Ko Tao was so early – we had barely slept the night before, and had to have some major nap time on our first day there. ¬†The best part about our boat trip was that we had made some new friends and planned on meeting them for dinner at an Italian restaurant nearby. ¬†We slept the day away and had a girls’ dinner, talking about what we planned on doing for the next few nights on the island. ¬†We planned a to join the pub crawl, and take advantage of some nice weather to relax and explore the island, which turned out to be tiny!

The beach we stayed on was called Sairee Beach, and this was where most of the action was located.  Tons of young people were on the island, on account of the full moon being soon on the neighboring island of  Koh Phangan, and this made for awesome nightlife on our island as well.  The beach bars looked right out onto the ocean in most cases, and when the tide was in it seemed that the ocean might just come right into the bar, as well.

We had so many relaxed, beachy days on the island without much to do but enjoy the excellent food and great weather. ¬†We had sushi three times! ¬†At this point i’d been travelling for just over a month and was getting “riced out” on Thai food – it was refreshing to be able to get some of the Western foods we had been craving: pizza and pasta anyone??

One of the main attractions on Ko Tao is the diving culture – many people stay there to get certified as it’s one of the cheapest places in the world to do it. ¬†Did we do it?? Nope! ¬†Neither Chelsea or I were too keen on going diving, I had gone in Phi Phi + loved it but not enough to drop some serious cash on getting certified – yet.

Two of the biggest highlights of our time on the island were going to the ladyboy cabaret and getting our tattoos one very loud and crazy night! ¬†The ladyboy cabaret was situated in a bar (populated entirely, of course, by ladyboys) where there was a free show every night featuring the ladies lip synching and dancing to classic pop diva anthems and show tunes! ¬†It was soo funny and the ladies were ridiculously sexy, we got to chat with a few of them while taking pictures after – some of them had a wicked sense of humour ūüėõ

Getting my tattoo on the night of the pub crawl had to be one of the craziest things I did while travelling. ¬†I got it in the traditional Thai method using a long bamboo stick and a steady hand. ¬†My tattoo artist was female, and she did an excellent job on the script I got on my wrist. ¬†The word I decided on was “hai jai”, a verb that can mean “to breathe, to live” or “to be alive”. ¬†Chelsea got a spur-of the moment tattoo as well, it was pretty hilarious!

Our days on the little island were amongst the most relaxed and quiet that we had on our trip – after so much travelling and crisscrossing the country, it was nice to just land somewhere for five days and enjoy the beach culture of Thailand in all it’s laid-back glory. ¬†We were also eagerly anticipating the next part of our trip – going back to Bottle Beach and Koh Phangan¬†for another Full Moon, Baby!

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Full Moon Madness

July 3 2012. The night will forever go down in history as the night I successfully conquered  my first full moon.

It was pretty well-organized for us, I’d say it had to be with 3 groups of us ready to party all night long on the shores of Hat Rin beach. It was good that all of us looked like fluorescent yellow party animals, cause that made the group of us so easy to find on the beach when trying to find everyone. We got told : DONT GO ON THE SLIDE OF FIRE!! DONT DO THE FIRE JUMP¬†ROPE!! DONT DO DRUGS!!

All very good advice, and although I had like three illegal (in Canada) energy drinks, I followed their advice and had a perfectly fun time with only a few buckets round three, five and seven am ūüėČ

We painted each other up and left our beach round midnight on a giant speedboat. It took about twenty minutes to get there, and you could hear it before you could see it, the pounding music travelling over the water, the reflection from the fire and lights.

THEN – all of a sudden you could see it, silhouettes of bodies bathed in neon light dancing on the beach, music from the clubs mixing together in a pulsing wave.

We jumped off the boat and formed a human chain – a necessary way to travel through the crowd to our rendezvous point – right by the slide of fire!!

We quickly filled the place in and hit the dance floor…err.sand…beach.¬† Lol. Different clubs lined the beach, if you didn’t like the music or the vibe on one part of the beach, all you had to do was walk 5 metres down and dance to the next clubs’ beats!! I took off into the night with my friend and roomie Lindsay, and we suddenly found ourselves on Magic Mountain, a bar perched high above the dancing masses, sharing a bucket and being taught a drinking game by two guys from Singapore!! Hi Linus ūüėÄ hope u r reading this, u guys were so much fun!

We wandered back into the night and the party that brought many debaucherous adventures, faux seven eleven toastie hunts, drunk knockoff ray ban shopping sprees, a few kisses and even some unexpected surprises…

I know. Vague at best but I do remember dancing my butt off, laughing with my friends until dawn, and meeting people from all over the world who loved to party and dance as much as I do! Best party of my life. Only to be rivalled by future planned trips to Carnaval and Mardi Gras!

The sun came up as we danced on the beach, fooled around, and laughed at the aftermath of the party around us. There were drunk couples making out, passed out half buried people with bucket hats, wild drunk hippies still dancing, and just before we left, an epic fight that left me glad we were staying far far away on the other side of the island.

I drank a beer while riding in the front of the speedboat back while Danica slept in my lap and I secretly congratulated myself on losing my full moon virginity.

After a greasy breakfast and blissful shower in my marble bathroom, I washed the body paint off, slept for 8 hours and woke up just in time for my massage appointment.

I. Love. This. Place!

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Paradise Found – Bottle Beach, Ko Pha-Ngan

The minibus brought us from Khao Sok to Suratthani in the morning after an epic 6am longboat ride through the huge lake.

This was a tough travel day for me, I was super sick the night I landed at Bottle Beach, and was feeling crappy on the bus, ferry, truck and boat we needed to take to get to our next destination on Koh Pha-Ngan. Didn’t help that I got iced on the ferry on the way over, either. Thanks guys. Lol.

After a short stop in Thong Sala to buy full moon party supplies (body paint and fluorescent clothing anyone? ) we boarded a truck to our second last stop. The beach is only accessible by boat, and that is one of the things I loved most about it! Totally secluded from the world – with the requisite wi-fi of course!

Arriving there by speedboat was surreal after living in squalor at the lake house. We had these amazing huts on the beach all to ourselves, with a bathroom to die for and a charming front porch. The resort had a pool and a pristine beach, great little restaurant and a bar that was always open. It was Heaven on earth for these weary travellers!

We wasted no time in getting a pool party started, the weather was awesome and everyone was in a great mood, exploring the hotel and eating the food – after tons of Thai food in the last few days, it was great to be able to order a burger ūüėÄ

A few not so nice things about our first day in Bottle Beach: first was my sickness, and second was that we discovered our room had…dun dun dunnnnnn….COCKROACHES!!! Eeeeew.

But now I can proudly say I am a cockroach killer, and I also got over my sickness that evening with the help of my dear friend Danica, ( yup, same name!) who is a damn good nurse – love her for that!!

The next few days brought just the right amount of sun, sand and friends as we relaxed, hiked to a beautiful viewpoint, had bonfires, watched fire spinning, lit wishing lanterns and released them into the sky, had massages and generally had the time of our lives.

The full moon was just around the corner, and it definitely deserves its own blog!!

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