Trying to think back on the last few days is actually a struggle. Not because I didn’t enjoy them, because I did a lot. Time just feels slower in paradise. It’s as if I’ve been here for months. Plus I feel like when you move slower, time moves slower. But please correct me on my relative time theory, because if there is one thing I know, it’s that I don’t know anything about that.
On popular advice, we headed out to Hong Island – an undiscovered paradise, only to find that unfortunately at least a few hundred other travelers had done the same. Call it a discovered undiscovered paradise, but paradise nonetheless. Snorkeling at the first stop, swimming and playing with rabies-free (*fingers crossed*) kittens at the second. A visit to a lagoon, and hours of floating in clear blue water to end it all. While we all agreed we’ve been spoiled at Railay Beach, if there is still clear blue water and shiny white sand, there is still a smile on my face.
Ever determined to find the lagoon we’d set out after on one of the first days, we decided to put more planning into it, and actually work out where it was – by the way, it’s called the Princess Lagoon. No amount of planning could have prepared us for what we found though. An almost vertical climb up a rocky cliff entangled with convenient tree roots and fraying ropes, and then down again on the other side. Pushing through any hesitations we reached a viewpoint over the entire beach, with no railing of course, and found yet another moment to sit back, smile and say to ourselves “only in Asia”. Dripping with sweat and covered in mud, once we got down to the lagoon no sharp rocks, sinking into mud, or slick floating on top of the water could stop me from having a swim. At this point I was sure I was invincible. Plus floating in his arms once again in such natural beauty is an opportunity I will never pass up.
Now we come to one of my favourite parts of this trip – and an example of one of the many perks of traveling with a luxury travel journalist. Before I set out on this adventure, I had wanted to organise a special dinner for the wonderful people that had invited me on their adventure. After finding the perfect place, I was devastated to hear back that it was only open to Resort guests due to popularity. Queue luxury travel journalist. Pulling a few strings, we managed to secure ourselves a booking for drinks, and after swindling through security and surviving a ride in a golf buggie, we arrived in my dreams – fairy lights and all. The Grotto is a bar nestled under the limestone cliffs of Phranang Beach, and is the epitome of natural beauty. Each table was set with stone plates, linen serviettes, a succulent each, and complimentary insect spray. After looking at the menu, realising one drink was more expensive than dinner for all six of us the previous night, we decided to keep it classy. Probably the first people ever to be so dorky as to ask for their photo to be taken from all angles of the cave, we indulged on the complimentary breads, admired the well-behaved monkeys, soaked up the live music, and exchanged new year goals. The next stop naturally was to abort before dinner and head to the local Thai joint for an awesome and cheap dinner. It was the perfect way to end an awesome holiday.
Words cannot capture how grateful I am to have been on this adventure, and that’s saying something coming from the girl with endless things to say. Each journey I go on teaches me new things about myself and those I love, and this has been no exception. People can make or break a trip away, just as they can at home. Holidays abroad are a reminder of the importance in surrounding yourself with people that support you, love you and challenge you. 2016 has been a big year of growing, and this trip was the perfect way to both kick-back from the year that has been, and get a kick-start for the new year ahead.
Love to you all, you know who you are.