Posts Tagged With: Ko Lipe

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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Pak Bara and the Authentic Thai Experience

Our luxurious air-con minibus took us on the two and a half hour ride from Hat Yai to the Pak Bara pier…we got there and quickly realized the only ferry to Ko Lipe was gone for the day, and we were stranded in PB for the night…lucky us.

Our driver took us to the best (only) guesthouse in PB, where we paid a whopping 600 Baht to stay in an interesting (gross) hut. We settled in and tried to figure out what the heck to do with ourselves until 11 the next morning.¬† We went exploring and quickly learned that since Pak Bara is so far south in Thailand, Muslim is the majority religion and shoulders and knees are a bit of a novelty…we had some teenage fans. We started to walk around, found a Seven Eleven, waited for the power to come on (!) at 5, and bought some snacks. We would get to know that 711 very well by the end of our time there, as NOTHING WAS OPEN! Turns out our luck was not with us that day, it was Ramadan and we were stuck in a very muslim town in the middle of Thailand. Nobody spoke a lick of english, or even really seemed as if they had seen a tourist before, which was so strange as it was a port town with major connections to all of the islands in the area. I guess since it was low season they hadn’t really had much tourist action in a while.

I’m actually glad that our travel plans turned out the way they did that night,¬† as the three of us had such funny memories of being stuck in Pak Bara and will forever remember our brush with Southern Thai culture. Also: Camille gave an amazing bug report that night (like the evening news but strictly concerning the location and size of each bug in our room) and I lost one shoe to a dog or the hotel staff, who knows. We went out (to the sev, where else) then came back and one of the shoes I had placed outside had mysteriously disappeared!!

After our delicious (disgusting) meal and staring at each other for a while, we decided to bed it up and get ready for our adventure the next day!

Glad we rested up cause it turned out to be what will go down in history as three of the most fun and hilarious days of. My. Life.

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Railay Beach – Round One

We took a short ferry to our next stop, Railay Beach, which is not an island but is cut off from the mainland¬† by a mountain range, and only accessible by boat. We arrived at low tide so the longtails had to tow us¬† in to the pier, and honestly the beach didn’t look that great – I will later go on to retract this statement, because I hadn’t seen the two amaaazing beaches on the other side!

I was immediately charmed by the main little walking street, though. There were no cars or even bikes on the path (street) up to our hotel. There was a big sign welcoming the beach travellers “home”, and it really would feel that way by the end of our five nights here!

We explored Railay after we got settled, and it was so charming, since it was low season it was also not very touristy, there were just enough people around to make the place lively.¬† There were beautiful walking paths (with monkeys crashing through your path sometimes), climbing walls, two beautiful beaches, little roti stands, a main “walking street” that was kind of like the centre of town, and lots of hidden places that our guides would show us.

There was literally only one bar that got busy and played pretty good tunes and featured an amazing fire show every night at eleven!¬†¬† At this point I had seen fire spinning a few times on Bottle Beach and in Kanchanaburi, and played around with the stick on the beach a few times, but I had no idea that¬† first night when¬† I watched the show that by the time I left I¬† would light up and spin fire myself for the first time…and be changed by the experience forever!!

On Railay beach there is an awesome group of locals who spin fire, teach  rock climbing, dj at the clubs and meet people from all over the world who want to experience their home. It was such a great experience to have friendships with the people who make it such a fun and welcoming place.

Our first night everyone was super tired from partying in Phi Phi, so it was only me and Camille left to watch the fire show that night and experience The Last Bar, which literally feels like the last bar on earth. It sits at the end of the east beach, and is literally the last thing on the little strip. We would have both a Halloween in July party and a handcuff party (where you are handcuffed together for a whole evening, lol) in the bar, it was definitely the local watering hole.

We also had a cooking class one afternoon, a fire spinning lesson, a whole AWESOME day of rock climbing courtesy of Hot Rocks Climbing school, and many many beachy days in the sun.

I loved Railay so much the first time around, I decided I wanted to make it back a second time on my trip, which I did!

Railay round two was just as much fun as the first time around, but there was still Bangkok. Chiang Mai, Koh Lipe, to  go before I would make my way back there. Our group still had three final days in Bangkok together before we would all say goodbye and my solo journey would begin!

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