We made it to Mexico. Three days had passed (and we’d done Wednesday twice), we’d spent 35 hours in the air, had been to three continents and missed one flight – but we were here! And it is beautiful.
Once again we found ourselves in the all-too familiar predicament of being jobless and homeless. We decided we wanted to live on Isla Mujeres and with Tate arriving for a two week holiday the following day, we were in rather a tiz trying to work out where to turn.
We secured a temporary residence for a few days, then the three of us rented one of Isla Mujeres’ very popular golf buggies to bound around the island looking for ‘se renta’ signs. Continue reading →
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay near the centre of Siem Reap for less than three dollars a night, we found a hostel that’s a little bit different. With only a couple of very large rooms in a wooden hut with mattresses on the floor, staying at Mangolo felt more like a huge sleepover in a tree house than a budget hostel.
The reception, bar and social area are all outside (bring insect repellant) and are friendly and welcoming. The manager organised a great tuk tuk driver to take us to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat, even though we only asked the evening before. The bar was an easy place to meet other travellers too. There are comfy hammocks and mats on the floor, creating loads of space to hang out, and the WiFi is strong throughout.
Knowing that we’d soon be leaving Bangkok to travel through Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, our Thai meals were numbered! There was no way we could leave Thailand without learning how to cook some of our favourites. With Tate in tow, we booked a day’s course at Silom Thai Cooking School, costing just 1000 baht each. This even included a trip to the market to buy all our ingredients.
It’s difficult to select Bangkok’s number 1 forte; the food, the weather, the people, the architecture, the nightlife… But a strong contestant has got to be the shopping centres. Our firm favourite is Terminal 21 next to Asok BTS station.
Wheeled street carts serving Thai classics are an institution in Bangkok, but they are not always practical; stalls are usually perched on the edge of hot and stuffy roads with no seats and no comprehensive menu. ‘Thaifood Very Good and Very Cheap’ is street food presented as more of an alfresco restaurant; lines of benches sit either side of a small dead end street with waitresses and a full, open air kitchen.
Located by exit 3 of Phrom Phong BTS station, the restaurant does exactly what is says in the title. The Thai food is fresh and tasty, cooked fast, and is as inexpensive as any market food we have seen. It’s a fantastic introduction to Thai street food with pictures of dishes displayed on the walls and a huge variety to choose from, including a full vegetarian menu. Continue reading →
A friend back in Phi Phi had recommended a stay at Pak Up Hostel, raving about how good it was for just 270 baht a night (about £6). This meant that Pak Up was our first port of call when we reached Krabi. The building used to be a school and has now been cleverly converted – they’ve still kept up the educational theme though, by naming the bedrooms after school subjects, writing adverts and offers on blackboard signs, and by the numerous statues of children around the building.
Pak Up’s a homely, modern and fun place to stay in central Krabi town. The reception is an open social space, with pay-by-the-minute computers and information about the local areas. Adventure tours and trips to neighbouring islands can be organised, but we chose to explore Krabi itself by renting two of the hostel’s bicycles, for 120 baht each for the day. The staff here are always available and so friendly, even lighting the candles on our friend’s birthday cake and organising all the hostellers in reception to sing to him! Continue reading →
Our final morning in Koh Lanta has arrived and Krabi is the next stop. We’re pretty sad to wave the island farewell as it’s refreshingly authentic compared to places like Phuket and Phi Phi. There are still hoards of tourists and resorts, but there’s more of a hippy vibe here that you can’t help but get on board with.
Surprisingly out of character, we were two hours early for our ferry to the mainland so we had the chance to briefly explore what Saladan had to offer. Firstly, by walking only 200 metres down the street, we were able to shave 130 baht off our boat ticket prices. That alone has just bought our tasty brunch 5 minutes round the corner from the pier.
An absolute chill-out haven
We browsed a few cafes but settled on Sincere Guest House & Restaurant. An indication that it’s a great place were the piles of flip flops outside, always a helpful clue… Continue reading →
Between waving a snowy England goodbye, to stepping out into the wall of Bangkok heat, a not too blissful 21 hours had passed. Thankfully, we had pre-booked a hostel, could jump in a taxi, and head straight there. The only street we’d ever heard of was of course Khao San Road, so we’d opted for a hostel on the street parallel.
As we drew closer and closer to the centre on Bangkok on day one of our epic trip, we started to grow slightly nervous of what to expect… and even more so when we were told by our driver that we’d reached our street. There were market stalls everywhere, cars, scooters and nifty tuk tuks zooming about, and an array of distinct smells in the air – exciting yet daunting. And then… *cue angelic ray of light* beamed Nap Park Hostel. From the botanical pathway to the front door, to the enormous air-conditioned social area, it was cool, calm and, mostly crucially, clean.
The staff at reception were helpful and welcoming, whilst the dorm itself was spotless, modern and cleverly set out. We went for the basic 22 bed dorm and couldn’t believe how sleek it was; especially as it only cost 350 baht a night (about £7). Luxury dorms are available but the only differences we were aware of were dorm size and fewer beds per room.
Our dorm was divided up so that there two bunk beds per section. At night thick mosquito blinds were pulled down around the bed, creating your own private compartment, complete with a personal light, mirror and plug socket.
Security wise, we felt that we and our belongings were completely safe. Continue reading →