Bankgok & Chiang Mai
Bangkok is a huge place, lots of things to do at every corner. I didn’t particularly organise anything for Bangkok so I just explored. I stayed in a hotel near King Taksin Bridge, there isn’t much to offer near there however I went to the skyline station “Krung Thon Buri” which takes you to most places in the city for pretty cheap. Getting to the Grand Temple from here however, you get the EXPRESS FERRY which costs 25 baht! DO NOT GET ON A LONG TAIL BOAT As I did on my first day and was ripped off before I new what was going on, and watched passers by get on the much cheaper express ferry.
However after this lesson of Bangkok I made it too the Grand Temple, which we couldn’t go in as my girlfriend did not have her shoulders covered and they were not lending clothing then. The surrounding area is bustling with markets and tuk tuks, its a sensory overload. My girlfriend preferred Siam, a more up market and modern district of Bangkok, with huge malls and a beautiful park (Lumpini Park) which resembled central park in NYC, a greenery, peaceful break from the busy overcrowded streets.
we had a hike to a waterfall, then to another Elephant camp, then after a lovely dinner by a river and a bit of a swim, the group trecked back towards the camp to collect our bags and be dropped off back at the hotel.
Phi Phi Island, South Thailand
Arriving in Krabi Airport, you are greeted by a see of taxi drivers shouting at you if you make anything near eye contact with them. If you can pre- book a car then do it, otherwise like myself, you will have to bite the bullet and pay the expensive airport taxi charges. You head to the Klong Jilad Pier (Phi Phi island Pier) to get the ferry across which in Krabi, costs 450 baht one- way. It takes around 2.5 hours (its not the most comfortable, so I recommend you do what i did and sleep on the top deck behind the luggage). Once arriving in Phi Phi, you are taken to the hotel by a member of staff waiting at the pier, or you can pay for a room at the pier, whatever you decide.
Anyway… there are lots of activities to do in Phi Phi, however the beaches are too tempting to just chill on all day and dodge the tide and parking boats.
Something I wanted to do was a snorkelling tour, where you can see Coral, Sharks, Turtles and even Monkeys on the beach. I would recommend going to an Australian ran diving group as they will be fairly reasonable with pricing and you can understand them a lot better.
There are so many bars to choose from in Phi Phi, all of them dirt cheap, along the beach there are constant beach parties where drinks are literally sold by the bucket. I have never seen anything like the beach parties there!
Singapore is one of the most beautiful, clean and modern cities that I have ever seen. Even the airport is out of this world. Obviously the main things to see are in the city, (which is surprisingly awkward to get around upon first visit) we got a taxi into the centre area in the morning of each day, which I didn’t mind because we stayed out all day. On day 1 we headed to the marina, and saw the ‘gardens by the bay’, where you can see the ‘Marina bay sands hotel’ which is a huge modern building which looks like a spaceship. There are lots of ginormous malls with 100’s of shops, and lots to do if you are at a loose end.
‘Sentosa Island’ is about 10 minutes further away from the marina area, but it is well worth a day visit, with lots of quirky museums and giant food courts, and a Universal Studios, for about £30 per ticket if you book online (which I did using the Universal WIFI, just out the gate) it is well worth the cost of what you would pay for a day at the pleasure beach. It was throwing it down all day for us, but with it being 27 degrees it wasn’t too bad, so with a poncho, shorts and t- shirt we braved the day and all the rides.
We didn’t spend a huge amount of time in Singapore but it was an amazing place that I would recommend anyone to give it a visit, and I would love to go back and have a proper explore knowing a bit more about where everything is. Also Just like Dubai, I felt so safe and never felt intimidated or in any danger whatsoever, anywhere I went in the city.
Bali, Bali, Bali… 100% my favourite destination on our trip round South East Asia. It has everything and everything is cheap! I would recommend hiring a driver! We hired a guy called ‘Katutt’ through ‘Bali cabs’ who was great!, so great infact, we had 3 full days with him, he took us to Ubud and the Monkey forest with lots of cultural visits along the way, We went to a coffee plantation, and tried all different types of locally grown teas and coffees, including the ‘Luwak Coffee’ (If you don’t know what it is, then google it).
On the second day trip we headed to the north of Bali, to see the active volcano, Mount Batur, which was in the news around November, 2017. It was beautiful, we saw the rice terraces and a local village who took us in to show us where they live and sleep. Everyone we met in Bali was so friendly and treated us like they have known us for years rather than a stranger that you don’t notice. The way of life and the culture is amazing, the people we met, showed us what lovely people, the Balinese are.
I actually am planning to return to Bali to climb Mount Batur, and see the smokey crater. The final day we had with Katutt, we drove to the south of Bali, seeing the beaches, a few lovely Temples, and getting a boat to Turtle island. Sarah particularly enjoyed Turtle island, and we both met many sea Turtles who they hatch, help grow and release into the wild, as the Green Turtle is a Protected species. I also went Scuba Diving here for 500,000 Rupaih, which got me a one on one, hour and 20 min diving session! It was honestly the best experience of my life, and i’m not going to try and describe what it was like, id just 100% recommend for anyone to try it for themselves and just experience it!
There is tons to do in Dubai, another fun activity I did whilst there, was visit the mall of the Emirates and the Dubai mall, which aren’t like any malls you have ever seen before! also with the Dubai mall it is right next to the Burj Khalifa which is well worth the elevator up to the top observation deck! its a beautiful view of the whole city.
Atlantis on the Palm is another must do!, getting the monorail and even just having a look around leaves you speechless. You can buy a ticket to the waterpark for the day or what I did was book a nights stay there, which includes 2 days at the water park, lunch & dinner and breakfast & dinner at one of three hotel restaurants! In my opinion the experience of being a guest at one of the poshest hotels in the world plus what the night included, made it well worth it!
A lot of people give Dubai a bad name saying ‘how much of a strict Arabic country it is’ however Dubai is a western inspired city, and it is perfectly safe, and the people are very accepting and polite. I would recommend that everyone has a taste of Dubai at some point! it is a new city and is still growing with the world islands and a new tallest building.
I took a train Journey from Gilroy (Smaller town where my cousins house is) all the way to Santa Barbra, it was a lovely journey stopping briefly at different small towns. The train was huge, double decker and the seats basically recline into a bed! Santa Barbra itself was such a nice place, it has a huge board walk and a pier where you can climb down and see some marine life such as starfish and crabs. It is mostly known for the colleges and the huge parties they throw all year round! especially Halloween. I tried Surfing here with a small group i met on the beach, and my hostel was full of people from around the world. Obviously the drinking age in USA is 21 but there are ways around it and it is not hard to find someone or somewhere in Santa Barbra.
I visited San Fransisco and Nappa Valley on my travels in California, which were both unforgettable places, San Fran was just the coolest place ever, I can’t begin to describe it so i would give it 5* and 100% recommend you pay it a visit! Hell, everywhere in California should be on everyones bucket list! It is expensive so I would recommend Air B&B or Hostels for this trip, but I would try and make it happen! Another place I am planning to take a trip too again in the near future! Like anywhere though, you can make it your own and if you smart shop for food at grocery shops (‘food lion’ for me) then it wont be that expensive to keep yourself well fed!
Just want to add, Having an Auntie living there helped a lot, putting me up in her apartment and supplying me with plenty of Mexican beer
Baltimore & Washington DC
I visited Baltimore in June 2015, just a few months after the infamous riots that caused devastation to the city. Baltimore for me was lovely, its not the biggest tourist hotspot in the US but It is definitely underrated. Its beautiful harbour and the various museums and history, Baltimore is a hidden gem if you want to see the quieter, real America. I visited the aquarium which was pretty expensive but it was very good and is an infamous attraction of the Baltimore harbour. I would recommend a visit to this city and its not that expensive for hotels, it is also a great place for a nigh tout with some great bars around the harbour area.
DC, the home of the most powerful man in the world. It is on my top 10 places to visit for a reason, the monuments laying around this capital city and the history surrounding them is just immense. Be prepared however for miles of walking between the capitol building, the Lincoln statue and all the Smithsonian museums (wear comfortable shoes, as I made the mistake of wearing converse and getting blisters). The city is a great place to explore (if not a bit expensive), i would recommend a visit to George town, as it is a lovely old part of DC that has an English feel to it.
New York City & Philadelphia
Still working on it…
Still working on it…