KOH PHANGAN: Half Moon Party, A Hospital Trip, Haad Salad Beach

In Koh Phangan we stayed in the best hostel of our trip so far – called Baan Tai Backpackers which was close to the Half Moon Party that we were going to on the Saturday night (Valentines Day). The owners Karen and Tristan were so friendly and welcoming; they would drink with us all in the evenings and have great tips about the island. It was a big step up from our hostel experiences in Koh Tao. The beds were really comfy and we stayed in a 6 bed female room with an ensuite. On the first night it was just Elle and I in the room so we had a much needed relaxing sleep after our previous night of hell in Koh Tao Backpackers. 

The funny thing is though when the other room mates arrived one of the girls lent on the toilet on the first day and it fell over and broke! Unfortunately Koh Phangan was a slight fail for us… not because of the island itself, it was lovely but because of ourselves (mainly me haha).

Day One: Beach afternoon & The Fisherman’s Restaurant 

The first day we arrived we went to the local Baan Tai beach, chilling on hammocks reading our kindles in the sunshine which was really nice. Luckily we were also staying directly opposite the number one restaurant on tripadvisor for Koh Phangan called ‘The Fisherman’s Restaurant’. It’s so popular that it was fully booked up but we managed to get a table around 6pm before a later booking came in – and i’m glad we did as the food was delicious! I had barracuda fillet with rice & salad, it tasted amazing – a little pricier than we’d been paying but it was worth it & a great treat.





Day Two: Half Moon Party

The second day we went to the markets in Thongsala. But first of all we stopped for a late breakfast at The Sweet Cafe and had a full English! Strangely when walking down the road we bumped into a German girl and her mum that had been staying in our first hostel: Lub. D in Bangkok! Considering we were so far away it was crazy to bump into someone again. Then we shopped in the markets for some neon tops for the Half Moon Party that night – mine was fluorescent green with a dream catcher print on it. I got it for 100 baht which is around £2… Not bad considering I will probably never wear it again.

Preparing for the Half Moon Party was really fun with the hostel hosting pre drinks and providing neon paint so we could decorate ourselves. However unfortunately I started to feel quite ill even though I’d had barely any to drink… My stomach hurt and I felt sick – I think all the different types of food was catching up on me which was really annoying as the day before Elle and I were saying how we’d been fine so far; completely jinxed it! Still we went to the Half Moon I just didn’t drink and was in quite a lot of pain the whole time. I was pretty gutted for myself and especially Elle because we didn’t get to experience it in the way we’d had liked to.

The Half Moon is in the middle of the jungle, and even though I felt ill I could still appreciate how cool it was! We ended up staying until about 3am which is longer than I thought I’d be able to last at least. The weirdest thing happened as we left the Half Moon Party; a guy asked me to take a picture of a massive group of people but as I was about to the whole group started chanting ‘Bournemouth’!! Elle and I were both like whattttttt we’re from Bournemouth too! Here we were in Koh Phangan and had bumped into a group of guys from our hometown! Elle really recognised one of them but I didn’t and a couple of days later she realised he worked at the same place as her – small world!



Day Three: Hospital Trip & Haad Salad Beach

Now… After our first night at Jizo’s hostel in Koh Tao I noticed my hand was itchy and I had started to get red bumps over it… Throughout the days in Koh Tao it spread over both my hands and began down my arms. I was worrying that maybe I’d caught something from the bed sheets seeing as it wasn’t the most clean hostel like at all… So I thought I’ll see how it goes and if it didn’t go away then I’d go to a pharmacy. 

But by day 3 in Koh Phangan (by this point i’d had it for about 5 days) I woke up and when changing into my bikini saw that the rash was now on my stomach. It was a Sunday so we were unsure where to go but headed to First Western Hospital where we spent most of the day. I had to have a nurse do my blood pressure, weight etc then wait a bit longer before seeing a doctor. It was concluded I’d had an allergic reaction … I still have no idea what caused it but it’s probably just because I’m not used to this climate or being bitten by Mosquitos frequently. 

The Doctor told me they would give me an antihistamine injection followed by anti histamine tables to take back with me. No biggy I thought after having several injections in my arm for travel vaccinations. UM no… I went into the emergency room where all the beds were with Elle sat in the waiting area. Turns out I needed three massive injections… They were thick long tubes with liquid in, two antihistamine and one anti-inflammatory; the staff saw my face and attempted to lighten the mood. Instead of injecting into my muscle it had to go in the inner arm where you get a blood test done. So they put a needle into my skin and from that attached each tube. Luckily it wasn’t as bad as the needles looked as they just had to do it very slowly so I barely felt a thing and the male nurse was talking to me at the same time. Then I just had to lie there for a good 20 minutes to relax! I felt like I was in an episode of Holby City! The female staff also loved both Elle and I as we are really pale (Some Thai women consider this attractive and want to lighten their skin) – they kept calling us beautiful and when I was lying on the bed they all came up to me putting their arms against mine. It was quite funny but surreal… As that certainly wouldn’t happen in a hospital in the UK. One Nurse even has pictures on her smartphone with Elle and I!!


After this palava we headed to North of the Island to a quieter beach called 
Haad Salad (I found the name very entertaining!) It was more like a cove type beach with lots of resorts around it; overall it seemed like a quieter part of the island but it was nice. Our taxi journey to and from there was quite long and therefore fast and rickety! The driving here in Thailand is pretty crazy but I’m getting used to it.

As we came quite far to Haad Salad beach we decided to stay there for dinner also; we sat overlooking the beach as the sun set. This was our last evening in Koh Phangan and luckily I was feeling better by this point; the antihistamine injection had begun working instantly with my rash reducing by that evening. As we were leaving the next day we had a fairly quiet night before catching the ferry to Koh Samui. 



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KOH TAO: Aka Paradise Island

The Journey

We left Bangkok to head to Koh Tao which took 9 hours on a night bus and ferry. All seemed like it would be a relaxing trip where we could get some sleep. Oh no no…. A drunk Australian guy got on our bus at last minute and started chanting ‘Get on the bus’ and ‘Put some fuckin tunes on’! Which was rather annoying to be honest when the rest of us clearly just wanted to relax along the journey. After a while though he did shut up; probably just fell asleep in the end, and overall the journey wasn’t too bad even though neither Elle or myself got much sleep.

Day One: Jizo’s Hostel & Sairee Beach

We arrived to our hostel around 10am the next day called ‘Jizo’s’ – very interesting name I know but the reviews on hostelworld and trip advisor were generally very positive. Now I don’t know what planet these backpackers were on when they wrote these reviews as the minute Elle and I walked into our teeny tiny room we were not so impressed to say the least! The worst part was the toilet/shower combo with barely any space between the toilet and shower, it was simply disgusting and from that moment on we decided we would spend as little time in the hostel as possible – literally just to sleep!

The one benefit of the hostel was that we were literally a few minutes walk from Sairee beach so we headed there in the afternoon. It was beautiful; the waters were clear and refreshing – I spent a good amount of time in the sea just taking in the amazing surroundings.

In the evening we had our first (of many) meals on the beach… The only downside was the amount of Mosquitos that appear in the evenings but regardless it was lovely. The plan was to head back to the hostel to sleep after dinner but we stumbled across The Sunset Beach and Pool bar which was playing cool music and had fire performers so we sat down on the mats on the sand and enjoyed a nice Chang beer (which is very cheap!). Overall our first day in Koh Tao was relaxing; it was nice to be out of a boiling hot capital city and onto a beautiful island.

Day Two: Nang Yuan & A Spontaneous Night Out

On our second day in Koh Tao we decided to do a day trip and take a Taxi boat to neighbouring island Nang Yuan. Once there we were able to walk up to a viewpoint where we could take in the stunning view of Koh Tao in the distance. It was pretty hot walking up and we were definitely sweaty once reaching the top but the view was very much worth it! In the afternoon we rented some snorkelling equipment; my first experience of proper snorkelling! It took a good five minutes or so to get used to it but once I was I really loved it! The whole breathing underwater situation felt weird, but gradually I forgot about it and got to see the most amazing rainbow fish, leopard print fish, starfish, and loads and loads of sea cucumbers.

Evening two on Koh Tao consisted of dinner on the beach again, I decided to try the Thai red curry with prawns but asked for it less spicy – it was still so hot! Very tasty though with really good prawns but I couldn’t eat it all as my mouth was on fire! Later in the evening we were joined by two travellers; one from Kent and the other the US; as they sat on the table next to us. We all chatted with some Chang beers, exchanging stories of our travels/planned travels.

Conveniently we had eaten at a restaurant near to the Sunset Party bar again so headed there; it was a bit later on so the beach was already busy with people dancing. I think there was a few times where I had to remind myself where I was; dancing on a beach in the Gulf of Thailand surrounded by travellers from all around the world – such an amazing but surreal feeling. We ended up meeting a lot of people; later in the night we met three guys from San Diego who were really funny so spent a lot of time chatting with them. Considering we hadn’t planned to go out properly Elle and I finished the night around 3am with our first experience of the amazing pancakes here! They have portable stalls attached to scooters around the island. I had banana with Nutella and peanut butter – so so nice!

Day Three: Sairee beach Palm Tree Searching and Koh Tao Backpackers

We loved Koh Tao however hated our hostel so opted to switch to one just around the corner on our third day called Koh Tao backpackers. It was pretty easy to get to and still very close to the beach.

As it was our last full day we headed back to Sairee beach for a day of amazing views again and went on the search for a specific Palm tree that our friend Matt told us to find. He had taken a picture on this exact Palm tree over a year before! It didn’t actually take long to find and we took plenty of pictures sat on it; even re-enacting his original pose. We also stumbled across a beach swing so took some of the classic photos that everyone has!

Koh Tao was amazing; it’s just a shame that the hostels let us down, but overall it was bearable because we were happy to spend all of our time out and about in the island. Koh Tao Backpackers hostel turned out to be bad also – cleanliness wise it was okay, but it was actually our room mates that let the side down for this hostel. There were three guys from Denmark and they were by far the worst people we had met – they were just inappropriate to the point we didn’t want to be around them. When we finally headed to bed though we had the night from hell! First of all the room was smelly and messy from the boys and the beds were extremely squeaky so you couldn’t even move an inch without making a racket! That wasn’t the worst of it though; an English guy also staying in our room had a night terror in the middle of the night and literally shouted and screamed… and then a few hours later I woke up to him sleep walking. He jumped out of his bed and attempted to open the door a few times and then finally got back in… Being half asleep this whole experience was so confusing but quite funny in hindsight when we talk about it now. We were knackered though and got up the next day to catch our ferry over to the next Island… Koh Phangan.

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BANGKOK: The Beginning of Becoming True Backpackers

Dramatic Flight

Leaving Dubai with our luggage and heading to Thailand felt great; the journey between the two was just around 6 hours. However within that 6 hours we experienced an hour and a half of pretty intense turbulence; I’ve never experienced such a long amount before. Even the cabin crew had to sit for the majority of it; but all in all we arrived to Bangkok in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Arriving at our hostel at 3am led to a very awkward entering of our room with the other 6 girls in there already asleep! However once we’d sorted our stuff out and found our way to free lockers we settled down for our first night in a hostel… Now the backpacking experience was definitely becoming real! The hostel was called Lub. D which in Thai means sleep well, and we sure did. It was such a nice hostel to start our trip; with a downstairs bar, a great shower room and really helpful staff!

Day 1: General laziness and eating lots of food

Day 1 was a tad of a struggle due to going to sleep at 3am and waking again between 8-9am… We wondered around the streets of Silom where our hostel was based. This was my first ever experience of Thailand and I have to say it felt far from my lifestyle back home. The hanging wires from the wooden poles, the variety of smells from the stalls upon stalls of street food, and interesting smells most probably coming from the drains. However all of these thing are what make you realise how big a world we live in and how our lifestyles across cultures vary drastically, there is much more to life than that of in the western world.

After strolling around the local area we settled down for lunch at The Mango Tree; we actually stayed there for a good few hours whilst experiencing our first day of the intense heat…

During the evening we went for dinner with another girl from our dorm who was from Paris… It was nice to sit down with someone we’ve never met before and just chat! In some sense Elle and I have said this reminded us of uni – where you are constantly meeting new people and hearing their stories. Jen had flew in that day also so we all headed back to the hostel for a pretty early night.

Day 2: The Grand Palace and Wat Pho

Elle had been to see The Grand Palace and Wat Pho previously but she was more than happy to go again so I could see it. The journey to the Palace was actually quite fun as we took the Sky train to a pier and from there took a tourist ferry up the river so we got to hear some interesting facts along the way.

First stop was The Grand Palace, which really is grand… It was so beautiful to see the amazing architecture with such bright and complicated patterns – definitely a work of art! Also at the Palace was the Emerald Buddha, very cool however you weren’t able to take pictures whilst in there. You had to sit with either your legs crossed or under your bum so that your feet were not the facing the Buddha. It kind of reminded me of my experience at the Sistine Chapel in Rome as you had to be quiet and respect the religious surroundings you were in. The whole room was extremely beautiful.

We spent about an hour and a half at The Grand Palace. You had to cover your legs and arms: the funny thing was that Elle and I thought we’d covered up enough – Elle wore a maxi dress and wrapped her scarf around her arms and I wore a maxi skirt with a top and scarf. BUT they told us just using a scarf wasn’t enough; I guess people could easily take it off so I understand from that point of view. SO we had to borrow clothes from the Palace; these blue shirts that looked ridiculous with our nicely put together outfits… They kind of reminded me of hospital scrubs, so we rocked that look for the time we were there!

Later we headed to Wat Pho; home to the massive and I mean massive golden reclining Buddha! I’ve never seen anything like it and I cannot imagine how or who made it because it was literally nearly the size of an aeroplane! Luckily we were able to take pictures of that. This concluded our cultural day out and we again took the ferry/ sky train combo back to our hostel.

In the evening we went to a really good German and Thai that restaurant called Gi’s in a place called Pat Phong which was in walking distance of our hostel. It was so funny as it was based in an area with loads of sex bars; so many Thai girls or ladyboys trying to get attention of western men walking by and even us! So many people tried to get us to go into the bars to watch interesting shows let’s put it that way, you could see girls dancing on the podiums in all of the bars. When at Gi’s we sat by the window; it was entertaining to watch the world go by and see all this taking place outside.

Onto the food though – Elle had German and I had Thai Green Curry, as trip advisor had stated the food was great, as well as the service; the German owner (named Gi) was very welcoming and accommodating and even gave us some advice for the islands.

Day 3: MBK & Final Day

We were leaving around 9pm to travel to Koh Tao by a night bus and ferry so checked out of our hostel first thing, stored our luggage there and then took the short sky train trip to a massive shopping centre called MBK.

This shopping centre was like nothing you would get in the UK, all the shops and stalls sold ‘brands’ and you can barter down the prices. My favourite part of them was the indoor markets. I love elephants so ended up buying elephant trousers and a top with elephants on as well; I obviously won’t be wearing them at the same time though!

Bangkok was an interesting place to be, a lot of people give mixed feedback about it. I’m glad I got to go but it was very hot being in a city with no pool or beaches so by the last day I was definitely looking forward to heading to the islands. We will be heading back to Bangkok a couple of days before we fly to Sydney. When we come back we are going to stay on the backpacker road called Ko San Road so we get to experience that part of Bangkok.

I began writing this as I was travelling on a night bus from Bangkok to Chumpon, from here we took a ferry over to Koh Tao. I’m very much looking forward to all the beautiful beaches that the islands in the Gulf of Thailand have to offer, this island hopping experience is going to be fun!

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Emirates Flight Cancelled, Luggage Missing, DUBAI

Here it was… Finally the day where Elle and I would begin our travels… ‘Start the Adventure’, yet this adventure was not going to begin without a few problems at the start…

Emirates Flight

After waiting for our gate to open we finally saw the words on screen we had wanted to see all afternoon, ‘go to gate’ I proclaimed! Of which the girl sat next to me finished my sentence with ‘5, go to gate 5’. Personally the thought of flying can make me quite anxious so knowing I was on the way to the gate gave me a sense of relief… All the hanging about at airports gives me the time to worry. However, at this point Elle and I were totally unaware that this relief would soon be replaced by numerous days of stress.

Once at our gate we joined a massive queue which seemed to be going…nowhere! Eventually, at least half an hour later a fellow passenger walked past and revealed our flight was in fact cancelled due to a technical fault. Firstly of course that’s fair enough I would not want to get on any plane with some sort of fault, however the Emirates staff at Heathrow were simply diabolical; lacking any sense of customer service… I mean come on just a simple announcement to tell us the flight was cancelled & that we were queueing in order to be transferred onto a later flight isn’t that hard to do? Apparently so for Emirates.

So our adventure began with sitting on the floor in a queue for nearly four hours; only bonus was that they were handing out free drinks and snacks very occasionally.

3/4 hours later: FINALLY we’re front of the queue… BUT just our luck the air stewardess tells us we are the first people they cannot fit on as there were no more seats on later Emirates flights. Brilliant, by this point it was becoming a complete joke.

In the end we were transferred onto a Qantas flight to Sydney but stopping at Dubai, which meant literally nearly running to the gate to get on it so last minute.

But at least we were finally up in the air ready to enjoy our time in Dubai, blissfully unaware of the further drama that would follow.

Missing Baggage

We arrived to Dubai 9am, originally we were due to land 3am and therefore had booked that night in the hotel… Money wasted!

As we stood by the baggage belt for a good while doubt started to creep up in our minds which was confirmed when a man came up to us and a group of people that had also originally been on the cancelled flight to tell us that there were no more bags for Dubai. WHAT!

There we were in temperatures of 28 degrees and above with just a pair of leggings, a tshirt and a hoody… Great. This also took up more of our time we should have had in Dubai by filling out paperwork to report the bags missing. The staff at Dubai airport gave us the impression that our bags would get to us later that day, but actually we were without our luggage for the majority of our time in Dubai.

Dubai is Beautiful

On a more positive note, Dubai is amazing, I loved every moment of being there (minus the no clothes situation)! It is so hard to describe but I loved the general feel of the city. The buildings are so impressive and the Dubai Mall is incredibly huge with hundreds upon hundreds of shops, but also has the tourist entrance to the Burj Khalifa and the worlds largest aquarium inside!

Day 1: Dubai Mall & Fountain Displays

Because we had no clothes we decided to head to the Dubai Mall on our first afternoon; you could spend a whole day and more in this place it is that big!

From 6pm every evening there is a fountain display outside the mall every half an hour in front of the Burj Khalifa, it was spectacular! As well as the fountains, the Burj Khalifa behind looked absolutely stunning lit up in the dark.

Evening 1

Following this we went to a Chinese restaurant at the mall which had a balcony overlooking the displays; loud music would play and each time the display was different – it almost looked like the water was dancing!

The staff at the restaurant seemed to really like us, they gave us two lots of prawn crackers for free before we’d even got our mains, and to top it all off they gave us a free dessert which was different… But good! It was ice cream in the middle surrounded by a type of fried waffle.

The funniest part for me personally was when we left the balcony and walked through the restaurant to go they were playing the song ‘Good Riddance, Time of your life’ by Green Day. The reason it was funny was because earlier on in the night one of the waiters asked me what song my wrist tattoo was so I told him… I actually think they played it on purpose !!

Day 2: Mall of the Emirates & Aquarium

On our first full day in Dubai we still had no luggage despite being told we would have received it by this point… Grr! So again we basically had to spend most of the day inside.

Mall of the Emirates is another big shopping mall so Elle and I headed there first thing in the morning. Inside is the biggest indoor ski slope; Ski Dubai. It was really cool to watch from the window as there were also people doing ringoing and zorbing, and a Frozen themed area for children! We decided to eat at the St Moritz Cafe by the windows of ski Dubai but the freezing cold temperatures from inside meant we had to move away.

In the afternoon to went to Dubai Mall Aquarium tunnel and Underwater Zoo where we met the biggest crocodile ever called King Croc. My favourite part though was seeing all the crazy looking fish and most of all I loved the piranhas! I just find them so entertaining with their teeth; I even filmed one looking angry at me, kind of strange that of all the things we saw, they were my favourite.

Later in the evening we went to see the Burj Al Arab which is a hotel with restaurants designed to look like a ships sail. In the evening it is lit up and looks so impressive, as does next door; the wave hotel aka Jumeriah Beach Resort (very posh).

Day 3: Luggage arrives! Marina beach, The Palm, & Dubai Marina

On our final full day in Dubai our luggage FINALLY arrived!! 6am came when the phone next to my bed began ringing; it was reception telling me my bag was at last in Dubai! However unfortunately Elle’s wasn’t going to arrive until between 12-1pm. It turns out Elle’s luggage went to Sydney…& mine; well they didn’t know where mine was so I reckon it never left London.

Once we got ready and finally felt properly clean for the first time in days we headed down to Marina beach and soaked up some rays. Then we went on a bit of an adventure with a taxi driver who drove us on to the Palm so we could see the amazing buildings on it. It wasn’t what I expected… For some reason I just pictured sand everywhere when in fact it is just like the rest of Dubai with main roads and high buildings. Nevertheless very impressive.

Final day: Burj Khalifa, Fly to Bangkok!

Friday came and our flight to Bangkok was later that afternoon, however there was still one attraction left to do that cannot be missed in Dubai; going up the Burj Khalifa – the worlds tallest building! The lift speeds up to the viewpoint so quickly it is insane how fast it goes for the height you reach! Once you step out onto the outside viewing area you are surrounded by beautiful views of Dubai including in the far distance ‘The World’ islands – Dubai’s most recent construction project. Being above all the skyscrapers really makes you realise how tall the Burj Khalifa is.

I would really recommend visiting Dubai, everything about it is just astounding to see, and I will definitely be visiting again in the future… Hopefully next time with some clothes!

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I’m going to Travel the World…

As of 2nd February 2015, this will become my travel blog – writing those words does not even make it feel real. Though we booked our flights a few weeks ago, I don’t think it will sink in until the moment arrives, but words do not explain how excited I am. I am also extremely eager to combine my love of travel with my love of writing and hope you will all follow me along this journey via my blog. Through pictures and words I will portray the incredible experiences I am so lucky to encounter.

Our Route

From the 2nd February – 14th May 2015 my friend and I will travel to and around Dubai, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

Some people may ask – Why travel? My answer to that question could be extremely long but I have a few important reasons why. Firstly, in modern day we have become so reliant on the internet and social media that we create our own social bubble that frankly restricts us from the rest of the the world, the next town down the road, or even the people actually around us. It is so easy to become wrapped up in our own lives that we forget the potential of further afield becoming narrow minded and therefore less open minded. I love seeing photographs on Instagram or Pinterest of a far of place – many leave you thinking ‘wow’, yet how do I know how that place really looks? What the ground feels like, the sounds, the smells, and what are the surroundings beyond the photograph? I simply don’t. This is one of my main reasons for travelling, I want to see the scenery that is beyond those photographs already captured by others, I want to be in that moment myself. If you have that wow moment, what is stopping you from going there yourself?

It is also easy for us to get comfortable where we live already because it is what we know and we are surrounded by people that know us well. I like the idea of taking myself out of comfort zones, meeting new people, and experiencing new worlds. Living out of a backpack for three and a half months will certainly put me way out of my comfort zone, it may be a struggle but I know the positives will outweigh any negatives. My emotions towards my adventure range from nervous, excited, apprehensive to thrilled, and I expect this rollercoaster of emotions will carry on throughout the journey. I am also so lucky to be sharing this experience with one of my best friends, and knowing we will have each other’s company throughout the adventure, makes the whole thing even more exciting.

Lastly, and probably the most important reason, is that – I want to travel for myself. I have just Graduated university, at 23 years of age finally my education and hard work is complete. Because of this I wanted a break; a post university gap year in some sense. Of course I am currently working full time in order to be able to travel but I know it has an end point and before I know it I will be on that first plane (we are getting a ridiculous amount of flights). It is something that I feel like I need to do, I want to experience cultures far beyond ours and I’m sure it will adjust my way of viewing life, and finally I am looking forward to seeing new places which will spark me to write creatively like I never have before.

Through the eyes of my blog, for three and a half months you will see my ever-changing life and world.