Tying up Thailand

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

E x

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Hey from Railay Bay

Railay, Railei, Raylay, Rayliy – the beach with a million different spellings, and even more cases of severe sunburn. But not me, I’ve been living it up with massages under the trees, a massive sunhat and so much aloe vera from Santa. It’s my little slice of paradise. Whoever said you can’t have the cake and eat it too clearly hasn’t been here.*

But it hasn’t just been a process of relocating from the sand to the water and then back again. We’ve been quite adventurous to say how relaxed we all are. After spending too much time floating on top of it, we decided to check out what it was like under the water, so headed to the Phi Phi Islands to scuba dive. Being my first time I must admit I was a little nervous. But with a severe case of #FOMO and a promise that I would find Nemo, how could I say no. Not only did I get to live the plot of both Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, but also saw the shorts for the third part of the franchise, Finding Crush – the story of a turtle that falls out of the EAC and ends up in Phi Phi. Call me for info, Disney.

Surviving a gnarly storm on the ride home, we were greeted by the most incredible sunset I have ever laid eyes on that night. Such is the way in paradise.

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Next on the to-do list was venturing to a cave we had spotted on the side of one of the encroaching cliffs of the bay, in which we had decided there was a lagoon. “An easy walk” we reminded ourselves as we trekked through bushes and vines and up steep rocky tracks. At points I felt like we were trekking Everest, but I was quickly put straight. Dripping with sweat out of places I never knew sweat could come, and informed by climbers that we were definitely lost, we descended the cliff to the beckoning beach below. No lagoon but plenty of opportunities to practice our power poses, so all was not lost.

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Dolled up with a fresh $8 manicure that resembled a time when I used to paint my nails with whiteout in primary school, we headed to somewhere nice on the other side of Railay – a bamboo bar overlooking, and at some points overhanging the water. Intoxicated by reggae music, we ate, drank and reached a new level of relaxation as the afternoon disappeared beneath us.

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Keen to catch another sunset, we jumped on some kayaks and explored the cliffs from another angle. No cave was left undiscovered, no matter how small it may have looked from the outside…and unsurprisingly turned out to be on the inside. Pulling up on shore for a quickie to check out the Penis Caves, and watching some real-life David Attenborough shit as a water lizard caught and devoured a crab, it was fair to say we’d reached our peak enlightenment for one day.

A chef-cooked meal for us at home, plus some fresh juices from down the beach that we’d spiked with tequila. Does life get any better?

E x

 

*pre-quantum physics.**

**Don’t worry if you don’t understand – this is an in-joke.

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Kristmas in Krabi

Twas’ the night before Christmas and all through the resort,
the team was searching for a fun activity of sorts.
The Kris Kringle presents were bought and wrapped in all kinds,
each excited about the next day and the presents we’d find.

Sad to leave the Sarojin but keen for adventure,
to another part of Phuket our plans had us venture.
A car ride to the unknown and a longtail boat to follow,
the beauty of our destination was not hard to swallow.

Swims in the sunset and beds in the trees,
incredible cliffs overhanging and thieving monkeys.
A never-ending buffet and a daring fire show,
meeting new friends, and tequila as BYO.

A Christmas tree made from palm ferns and all sorts of flowers,
fans on full blast and nothing but cold showers.
Santa nailing the gifts even though we’re not home,
calling family far and wide over the phone.

Swimming in the sea as warm as a bath,
trying to find cool and undiscovered paths.
With plans to kayak, dive, and swing from a rope,
island hop, in-house chef and puzzles – not sure how I’ll cope.

A Christmas spent away can seem like no Christmas at all,
not sure about you, but whatever this is, I’m having a ball.
Got to go explore caves before we lose the light!
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

E x

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