6 Reasons To Still Love Thailand

Thailand. Once a tropical and far away destination but nowadays, more than ever, a super touristic country where real adventure and authenticity seem to be disappearing and mass tourism seems to be taking over. Some travelers don’t even bother going to Thailand any more, but for me, even after three times, it is still one of my favorite Southeast Asian countries. Why? I’ll give you 6 reasons why to still love Thailand.

1. The People.
Thailand is known as the land of the smile and even though ginormous amounts of tourists have found their way to the land once known as Siam, the Thai people still remain friendly. Of course you have the general exceptions such as the merchants on Khao San Road who don’t even let you try something before buying it, but the (big!) majority of Thai people I met remain respectful, friendly, humble and do everything with a big smile.

Bangkok, love Thailand
Bangkok

2. The Food.
Okay, this one is a SUPER big cliché, but so true! I tried fresh Spring Rolls in Vietnam, ate Khmer Amok in Cambodia and love a portion of Indonesian Gado Gado, but, let’s be honest, nothing beats a Pad Thai. Thai food is so versatile, so full of flavor and even as a vegetarian you are treated to mouthwatering dishes day after day after day. And yes, food is definitely a reason for me to go to a country and that’s why I love Thailand ;)

3. The convenience.
Traveling around Thailand is easy. Did I say easy? It is super easy! Every hostel has a travel desk and in every town you’ll find heaps of travel agencies. Whether you take the bus, boat, minivan and TukTuk, everything is well planned out and you’ll always arrive on your destination. Flying is sometimes even cheaper than the train or bus (you can, for instance, fly from Bangkok to Krabi for 20 Euros) and vehicles like minivans are often of good quality. Believe me, if you’ve seen what I traveled with in countries like Cambodia you’ll never complain about a Thai minivan again…

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Traveling through Thailand by boat

4. The Islands.
There are so many islands in Thailand that you could easily stay for 2 months, and there is something for everyone. If you like to go partying you go to Koh Phi Phi or Koh Phangan, if you want to relax I’d recommend Koh Lanta (check our tips on Koh Lanta), if you want to get your PADI or want to go snorkeling then Koh Tao is the place to be and if you’re looking for something different then Koh Chang is where you should set sail to. And what all the islands have in common: they are beautiful.

Krabi, Love Thailand

5. The Temples.
What can I say? I love temples, and Thailand has many of them. Some people say that “after you’ve seen one temple you’ve seen them all” but I strongly disagree, especially in Thailand. In Bangkok you can’t miss the reclining Buddha and Wat Arun, whereas in Chiang Mai Doi Suthep is a definite must-go-to. But also walking into the smaller, less well-known temples that aren’t mentioned in travel guides like the lonely planet are worth wandering around.

6. The Sunsets
Yes, there are pretty sunsets everywhere, but the last few I saw during my most recent visit to Thailand were out of this world. Whether you’re in a busy metropole like Bangkok or chilling on an island, Mother Nature will treat you to some of her best sunsets ever. Order a cold Chang, get comfortable and watch the day turn into night.

Sunsets in Krabi Thailand,
Sunsets like no other

I could go on about the weather, the parties, the adventure, how the Thai people speak English and so on but I think I made my point about why I love Thailand: this country is still more than worth visiting. Enjoy! 

Love,

Evelien

*Evelien is one of our guest bloggers who currently travels and lives in Australia. Follow her on Instagram (@eefexplores) or check out her website!

7 reasons why you should visit Koh Lipe in Thailand

From Malaysia – national capital Kuala Lumpur, jungle & snorkeling in Borneo, Art & Culture in Penang – to white sandy beaches in Koh Lipe, Thailand. After 2,5 weeks of traveling in Malaysia it was time to relax. The best place to do that is to visit a tropical island with stunning beaches! From Langkawi we took a boat to Koh Lipe which took 1.5 hours. You will arrive at a Picture-Perfect Tropical Island where you want to stay forever! An unbelievable exotic destination that has everything you need to have the perfect holiday!

‘7 reasons why you should visit Koh Lipe’

Koh Lipe is a paradise island in the southern of Thailand’s Satun Province near the Thailand/Malaysia border. The three main beaches of Koh Lipe are Sunset Beach (west), Sunrise Beach (east), and Pattaya Beach (south), all beautiful. Koh Lipe is famous for it’s white sandy beaches, turquoise blue waters, coconut trees, snorkeling and scuba diving and it’s relaxed atmosphere!

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Map of Koh Lipe: Source: http://www.thailand-guide.com/koh-lipe

1. Less busy than many surrounded islands

Koh Lipe tropical island

Koh Lipe is a small island, it takes only a few hours to circle Lipe by kayak. Koh Lipe offers a variety in accommodations,  with  not many big resorts yet. Koh Lipe is still one of the few islands left which isn’t over-developed. However, they are building and developing here and it’s moves fast. Still the island is so beautiful and the atmosphere is super relaxed!

2.You can have the most relax and fun day

Fun at Koh Lipe

You wake up in your bamboo bungalow with hammocks right at the beach, you start the day with a healthy shake at one of the beach restaurants, you walk to the beach and spend the morning soaking up the sun and take a dive into the sea. In the morning your snorkel trip starts around the island where you will see a large variety of marine life. In the late afternoon you bury your feet in the cool sand, where you will hear reggae music in the background holding a delish Pina Colada in your hand, while listening to the sound of waves and watch the breathtaking sunset. You get back to your bungalow and take a cold shower and head out to one of the beach restaurants for some fresh seafood dinner.
What else do you need right?

3. Snorkel & Dive
Koh lipe is famous for snorkeling and diving! The incredibly clear water and excellent visibility makes snorkeling very famous on this island. There are many shops on the island that offer snorkeling trips and a full range of PADI and SSI courses.
You will find a lot of small colorful fish at Koh Lipe
, but around the island are some of Thailand’s best reefs.
‘Koh Lipe is surrounded by over 30 islands and hundreds of reefs. Tarutao National Park is one of Asia’s oldest marine parks thus the reefs and the islands surrounding Koh Lipe are in very good condition, nowhere else on the southeast Asian peninsula will you find so many excellent dive sites so easily reached
‘. source: Favourite Dive Sites

4. The warm weather

tropical island Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe weather doesn’t change much throughout the year! It rains and storms from April through September, but it doesn’t mean you should skip this magical island. Koh Lipe rains start fast and are gone before you know it! Apparently the average temperature is around 26 degrees, so no matter what time you visit Koh Lipe, the weather will typically be the same. I was there beginning of December and we had some thunder and storm in the evenings, but everyone is happy when it does since the rain cools down the temperatures. It can get very hot.

5. Thai food is the best

Thai Food

If you love food you should definitely go to Thailand. Trust me, it’s so much better than the Thai restaurants in your own country. From Thai green curry, Phat Thai, Tom kha kai (spicy soup) to Som Tam (Papaya salad), it’s all so delicious, healthy and fresh! They always use fresh herbs and lots of greens, which I really like. There’s something for everyone, it’s doesn’t matter if you are vegetarian or vegan, enough options. Nothing different to Koh Lipe. There’s s a great variety in food on the island: From tasty Thai street food to fresh fish you will find right at the beach.

Tip! Oder ‘mai pet’ which means not spicy, thai standards are different compared to ours. One chilipeper is enough!

Spicy = mai pet
A little bit spicy = pet noi
Very spicy = pet mak

6. Friendly locals

Boat Tour, snorkeling trip

Next to Malaysian locals are Thai one of the nicest people. They always smile, always very polite, incredibly friendly and always so helpful. This will make your holiday a lot more fun. The locals of Koh Lipe will make a huge effort to speak English and they are all very sweet and funny.

7. It’s Cheap!
It’s was my fourth time in Thailand this year. A lot changed compare to 5 years ago: it’s more crowded, you will find a lot more western food and the food and drinks in restaurants are more expensive then it used to be. Still very cheap by European standards, and especially compared to Amsterdam. As soon as you want something from the West – like pizza’s, burgers, wine, cheese –  you will pay a lot more. That’s why you should stick to the local food and drinks.

So, if you ever want to experience Heaven on Earth, I advise you to take a trip to Koh Lipe Thailand!

Love,

Sarah

Thailand » why you should visit Ko Lanta

It’s been almost 2 years ago but I’m still dreaming of this place. Ko Lanta
Ko Lanta is an island Southwest of Krabi, Thailand.

Young backpacker tribes mainly choose islands like Phuket, Ko Phi Phi or the east-side islands like Ko Phangan or Ko Tao.

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Koh Lanta is the kind of island you will deliberately choose instead of just ending up there by mistake. 
From Ko Phi Phi it’s about a 2 hour boat trip and will cost about 400 bath. You can book your ferry tickets here.
When you arrive, there will be enough taxi’s and jeeps waiting in line to take you to your nearest accommodation.
When I arrived, I didn’t come prepared at all. No need to panic on Ko Lanta though. I met a man in Pai and he told me to get in touch with his Thai friend who apparently looked like a Thai version of Jack Sparrow. 
He didn’t lie. I arrived at long beach and a short handsome Thai Jack Sparrow type with dreads, walked over and offered to carry my backpack.
He arranged cheap accommodation for me and I ordered the most delicious prawns at his bar/restaurant called The Pirate Bar. (no, I didn’t make this up)

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THE Thai Jack Sparrow look-alike

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Fresh out of the sea, yummie!

The vibe on Ko Lanta is super chill, layed back and it’s the island in Thailand I felt my happiest. I only had 3 days which was a shame. I could have stayed here for much longer.
Lucky enough I made some new friends on the day that I arrived. A Dutch couple, an American guy (who traveled around Asia on a dirt bike) and 2 German backpackers.
We ended up drinking beers and cocktails until the sun set and watched a fire show (by this time I had seen too many though) after that we made our way to a beach party which I loved!
Now, bare in mind, Ko Lanta is no party island. But if you’re there during the weekend, you will find a few organized parties on the beach and nearby bars.
If you don’t rent a scooter like I did, you need to share your tuk-tuk with fellow travelers.

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Chillin’ at Long Beach

The island is only 30km long and about 18km wide but without a scooter or quad-bike, you will make it difficult for yourself to travel around.
Ko Lanta consists of several islands, the two largest of which are Ko Lanta Noi (“Small Lanta Island”) and Ko Lanta Yai  (“Big Lanta Island”). Ko Lanta Yai is where it all happens so you will find most tourist here. Saying that, it never feels overcrowded and even though it was almost Christmas, I felt like it was an island I could completely relax on.

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Panoramic view whilst road trippin in Ko Lanta. On the left are gumtrees.

When you start to explore Ko Lanta you have a few highlights you shouldn’t miss:
» Long Beach
I loved this beach. You have so many nice small restaurants and bars where you can chill and drink coconuts all day. Best for sunsets!

This is also great for accommodation if you’re looking for peace and quiet.
» Ko Lanta Old town
Go back in time and visit old town where the old harbor use to be. Situated right next to the sea, this spooky town has charming features, shops and restaurants.

» Four Islands
If you have the time, visit the small four islands on a day tour. Go snorkeling, have a picnick and check out emerald cave.

» The south beaches
Drive all the way down to the southern part of the island and explore some of the hidden and beautiful beaches. 

» Visit the National Park
Look out for monkeys trying to steal your food. Entrance fee is about 200 THB or free if you arrive late (closes at 6pm)

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Finding a secret beach was no problem (Cape Tanod)

relax on Ko Lanta, Thailand
My own private island! (just ignore the man in the background)

Where should you stay?
Depending on what your needs are, you could stay anywhere really.
For the more lively area’s you should stay along side Klong Dao Beach. Here you will find plenty of bars/restaurants and facilities nearby.
Long Beach is where I stayed and I highly recommend it although spending more than a week there might be a bit boring at night.
Another chilled area is alongside Klong Nin Beach where you will find reggae bars, coffee houses, simple accommodation and luxury resorts.

If you go to Thailand and you haven’t made up your mind yet where you want to go..? Make sure you won’t miss Ko Lanta!

More on Thailand? Check here.

Love,

Elke

Best countries to visit for when you’re on a budget

If you have the virus wanderlust, you know you feel need to travel as much as possible. Unfortunately your bank account doesn’t always agree.  Still want to enjoy the beauty of a long stretched beaches, feel the sun glowing on your skin and taste another culture? Thankfully some countries are cheaper than others.
These are our top 5 countries you should visit if you’re on a budget:

1. Cambodia, Asia
Daily budget: 15 euro or less

Cambodia is a very cheap travel destination, even by Southeast Asian standards. If you’re really on a budget and you keep your daily spending to a minimum, you can live on an amount of 10 to 15 euro’s per day.
Accommodation can be found for as little as 4-5 euro’s per night (for a simple hut or hostel) and even the alcohol is cheap here. If you eat the local food, you won’t spend more than 4 euros on a 2 course meal. Flights cost about 500 euro’s if you book ahead of time.

Angkor Wat takes you back in time
One of the cheapest countries for travel

2. Thailand, Asia
Daily budget: 20 euro or less

If you’ve been to Thailand, you know you can live there as a King or a Queen. When I was there I had a massage almost every day and it only cost me about 5 to 10 euro’s. Thailand has one of the finest cuisines in the world but you can dine here for about 5-10 euro’s per person. (this includes your drinks!)
It’s the ultimate backpacking country with a lot of cheap accommodation available. 

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Living the royal life in Thailand

3. Greece, Europe
Daily budget: 30 euro or less

I’m speaking out of experience because as you might know, I have been to Greece many times. The food is one of the cheapest in Europe and you can feast on a large main course for only 6-9 euro’s. A beer will cost you about 2 euro’s. You will pay double the price in places like Mykonos and Santorini but if you visit the main land or Islands like : Folegandros, Lefkas or Naxos, you can definitely add Greece to your budget travels.

Greece is great if you're on a budget
Lefkas (Lefkada) is great for budget travel

4. Philippines, Asia
Daily budget: 25 euro or less

It’s not the cheapest of the Asian countries we’ve mentioned but it certainly deserves a place in our top 5. The reason it’s at number 4 is because of the long flight. The flight is by far the most expensive part of your trip but if you’re lucky you can get a flight at around 600 euro’s per person. The Philippines is pretty untouched by mass tourism (like Thailand) which makes it more difficult to travel sometimes. That’s way you tend to spent more on boats, domestic flights etc. Wander-Lust will has visited the Philippines so for the best tips check here!

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Swimming with whale sharks only cost you about 25 euro’s

5. Bolivia, South America
Daily budget: 25 euro or less

Bolivia is a very popular destination for backpackers, simply because it’s very affordable to travel. There is something for every budget. Even the good hotels offer reasonable prices. (a 4 star hotel is available for as little as 80 USD) 

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Chill.. cuz your money isn’t going anywhere

Love,

Elke

5 reasons to love the world..

Watching the news lately, it might seem a bit grim these days.
But let’s not forget the beauty of this world.
So lift your anchors, sail away from the safe harbour, catch the wind in your sails and go on a journey. Pack your bags, wander, explore and enjoy this world as much as you can.

After all, travel is the only thing you buy, that makes you richer.

Here are 5 reasons to love this world..

1. Because there really is water as blue as this.
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Egremni beach, Greece

2. Because we can pose like this with a view like that.

The Grand Canyon, USA

 3. Because of something called; The Magic Hour
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Perdika, Greece

4. Realising that you’re pretty much the only person on the Island..
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Ko Lanta, Thailand (secret beach)

5. Because of winters like these..
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Sunset, The Netherlands

Tell us why you love this world!
Check our bucketlist for more beautiful pictures of the world!

Love,

Elke

Pai Part 2 » Accomodation

Ok, so you’ve arrived into Pai. (If you want to know how, check my previous blogpost about Pai)
After hours on a motorcycle or sitting in a van, it’s time to look for a bed to rest your head.
Pai is not very big but there is lot’s of accommodation that you can choose from.

Sure it’s hostel galore here but there are also some pretty amazing luxury resorts around.
Most resorts are a little further out of town but the the nice walk is worth it.

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The map of Pai city

When I was traveling to Pai, I travelled alone so I was happy that I received a recommendation from a friend as I wouldn’t know where to start searching!
I ended up staying at Jan’s Guesthouse.
It’s a fairly simple hostel but the bungalows are equipped with a bathroom,tv and I had my own porch.
It’s tucked away in a quiet side street so its perfect for relaxing but it’s also very close to the main district of Pai. (3 min walk)

You can sit in the nice garden where, if you are lucky, you can find the signal for free wifi. (whoopwhoop!)
It will cost you about 250 bath per night which is about 7 euro’s. (I know right?!)
Make sure that you are packing something warm, because Pai can get very cold at night. (I was freezing!)

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Panoramic view over the Pai river, where you can find many budget hostels

Walking around Pai, you come across many hostels and resorts.
All top recommended resorts include Montis Resort, Phu Pai Art Resort and Pai Hotspring Resort and Spa.
My favourite resort has to be the Oia Resort & Spa. I discovered this place when I was on a stroll towards the white Buddha. I simply walked in and ordered a glass of water and I just sat there for an hour staring at the beauty of this place..

Overlooking the mountains, the resort is fairly new and cost about 100 euro’s per night if you go for the room with the best view. It’s expensive if you’re a backpacker, but ey, you can always walk in and ask for a glass of water like I did ;-)

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The amazing Oia resort in Pai

For best value for money accommodation, check these out:

» Baan Pai Riverside Sleep in cute bamboo huts on the Pai river bank where you are bound to relax. 600-800 bath.
» Rim Pai Cottage Great for couples! Clean, comfy rooms and breakfast is included from Oct. until Feb. Available from 400 bath.
» Darling view point resort Gorgeous views overlooking the river & mountains with a restaurant, swimming pool, and hot showers. 400-500 bath.
» Spicypai Backpackers This place is well known for the great atmosfeer rather than the comfy beds but nothing beats making new friends! 150 bath for a dorm.

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The infamous Spicypai Backpackers Hostel in Pai

So wherever you might stay when getting to Pai, it’s bound to be fun, relaxing and special.
Let me know if you’re heading up there!

Love,

Elke

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Top 5 » Wander Spots around the world

I have traveled a lot and one thing I love to do is walking around and find that piece that you keep with you for ever.
From luxury goods in London to quirky finds in Panama, to large shopping in New York,  I can easily wander away for hours or a whole day.

Hereby a few of my wander spots…

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The road to Pai, Thailand

Ok, where do I start..
This place is very special for the both of us. Pai.

Pai is a small town tucked away in the most northern part of Thailand.
Sarah and I have both been here and we both felt the same; we didn’t want to leave.
But getting to Pai is a small adventure on it’s own.

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