Thailand: Relaxing in Phatong Beach in Phuket

After enjoying our breakfast at our hotel room, we were ready and excited for a relaxing and fun day at Phatong Beach.

Phatong Beach

i love my tan…

Phatong Beach is popularly known by its long, wide, white sandy beaches. It’s busy, but it’s family-friendly. It’s close to all Phuket’s main attractions. The beach has a great atmosphere in the day and has a good fun-vibe as there’s always many things going on to keep the whole squad entertained.

Phatong Beach

Phatong Beach

Since our hotel was located near the beach (5 min by foot), we decided to walk. Unfortunately, we took the long route. We strolled for about 30 minutes from our hotel to the beach, but it was ok because it allowed us to explore the area.

Phatong Beach

Phatong Beach

Phatong Beach

As soon as we arrived at the beach, our son had immediately plunged himself into the water since it was about a year and 3 months that we hadn’t gone to the beach. Certainly, Pete had a time of his life at the beach – swimming in the sea and playing with the sand the whole day long!

Phatong Beach

Phatong Beach

We had a real fun day too – I got my hair braided and Alan got an temporary hyena tattoo.

Phatong Beach

Phatong Beach

We enjoyed lying on the beach all day under warm sweet sunshine and a gentle little breeze. It was like a massage from nature – so relaxing and so enjoyable. And woke up beaming with energy.

Phatong Beach

Then grabbed a book that’s perfect beach read while listening to the sound of the waves, savoring the smell of the ocean, and reveling in the mesmerizing beautiful view. In between, we guzzled down a glass of fresh fruit juice and sipped on Singha Beer.

Phatong Beach

Phatong Beach

And at lunch time, we devoured Thai food with pleasure.

Thai Chicken BBQ

Thai chicken noodle

Fresh coconut juice

Phatong Beach

The beach closed at 5PM, before the sun sunk further and further down the horizon. We packed our stuff and went back to the hotel.

Indeed, it was a great relaxing beach getaway! It gave us positive energy! We had a ball!

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Thailand: One Day Tour in Phi Phi Isands

While in Phuket, we visited Phi Phi Islands, which is composed of several different islands and one of the most famous group of islands in Asia. The speedboat ride from one island to the other offers stunning and breathtaking views of cliffs that rise like skyscrapers from the ocean. It has warm white sands and gorgeous turquoise blue waters that make you feel like you are in a dream.

Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Islands

We did a boat tour with Phet Phoom Travel, which the hotel booked for us. Even though we do not really like organized group tours because it’s far too commercial and structured, we thought it was the best way to go since we only had a day to explore the islands. We stopped at 6 different islands, and the tour lasted the whole day from 7:30AM to 5PM. A minivan picked us up at our hotel at 7.30AM and picked up several other guests at a couple different hotels before heading to the pier area (Ko Sirey), where we hopped on our speedboat. After the short orientation about the tour – safety and schedule, we boarded the speedboat and off we went. And after the tour, the same minivan dropped us at the hotel from the pier area.

Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Islands

Our first stop was in Maya Bay, where the movie ‘The Beach” starring Leonardo DiCarpio, was shot. I have learned that Maya Bay is a part of the natural reserve, so you can’t stay there for more than a day unless you pay the entrance fee. Once there, we got off the speedboat and explored the place for about 40 minutes. The place was so crowded – full of boats and tourists, and felt a bit like we were processed like items in a factory.

Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Islands

From Maya Bay we sailed away to the Monkey. Beach. We saw the monkeys on the rocks, some are hard to spot because they camouflaged in with the rocks. We took some pictures for a few minutes and moved on to PhiLeh Lagoon and Viking Cave. In those places, we didn’t get off the speedboat as the boat just stopped for about 10 minutes, just enough for taking some photos from the outside. It was the exact opposite of what I was expecting.

Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Islands

Before heading for lunch, we took a break in the middle of the sea for a quick swim and snorkeling. The water was really deep, so I put on the gear on when I went into the waters (just wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t drown). From what I saw, it was a magnificent world under the sea – so many different charming and colorful fish swimming around me and it felt like a different world under there. I couldn’t believe how clear the water was, and I wish I could have explored more.

Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Islands

After 50 minutes of fun snorkeling, we headed to the main island of Phi Phi Don, where we had our catered buffet lunch at the restaurant. We really enjoyed the food with pleasure – it was fresh and very tasty, and you could eat as much as you can. We were so hungry, and we ate a lot. After lunch, we relaxed on the white beach for a few minutes, and luckily it was not as crowded as Maya Bay.

Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Islands

Little did we know that this was not the end yet, we sailed up North towards Khai Nok Island and spent around 40 minutes there before heading back to the mainland. We relaxed on the white sand beach – sipped beers, had some ice cream, lied down on the sand, and read a book. Even though it was a little crowded, at least we found some space for us. At this point our son enjoyed swimming longer, and even took a video on his iPhone under the sea.

Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Islands

Overall, the island itself is naturally beautiful. It is one of the most picturesque beaches we’ve been to, but it’s still far from the best. Although the tour was ok, I prefer islands/beaches with fewer guests and where the vibe is more chill, I don’t think I would go back there again.

Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Islands

Phi Phi Islands

Little Lilly travel tips:

  • Some islands are crowded and spoilt by the influx of tourists.
  • The tour is relatively expensive.
  • The tour group was well organized, and well run with new boards and snorkeling equipment. The pick up and drop off services to and from your accommodation was free. The food was good and the lunch was well catered. They offered many options for all dietary requirements. And the crew were friendly and willing to assist wherever possible.
  • The tour guide gave a safety speech before the boat tour to the islands but we had a strong feeling the speech was mainly delivered in order to sell some equipment like rubber beach shoes, special snorkeling masks etc.
  • If you like organized group tours – like being picked up, fed, told where to go and for how long and then at the end of the day being dropped home again, then it is for you. But, if you do not like being herded from one location to another with large group of travelers then this tour is mostly likely not for you.

Thailand: A Lazy Day at Karon Beach in Phuket

Our first quarter in 2018 was quite crazy – long and busy days at work! So we decided to have a short trip to Phuket for a relaxing getaway at the island and beach.

Karon Beach

Karon Beach

We headed to Karon Beach and spent the whole day lazying there. It is the second most developed beach in Phuket and it is conveniently located 15 minutes away from our hotel in central Patong (the most industrialized area in town).

Karon Beach

Karon Beach

Karon Beach is just beautiful and lovely with soft fine sand for miles, clear water, big waves, and beautiful sunset. The beach is long and open and it is nice for walking. It is quite green, clean, it does not feel.as crowded as Patong Beach, and there’s not too many boats to destroy the atmosphere.

Karon Beach

Karon Beach

There are sea sports activities to choose from – surf boats, jet skis and para-gliding. And there is a corniche on it with stacks of small shops and restaurants. There are also restaurants and supermarkets over the road if you need some refreshments, and hotels too.

Para-gliding at Karon Beach

Reading on the beach

Karon Beach

best beef burger we’ve had for ages

Fortunately, the red flag was not raised on that day, so we’re able to enjoy swimming and playing with the waves – so fun! Besides, we passed the time sunbathing, sleeping, talking, eating, playing with the sand and reading.

Karon Beach

Karon Beach

Karon Beach

Certainly, nothing soothes the soul like a whole day beautifully spent relaxing at the beach while listening to the waves rolling on the shore!

Karon Beach

Karon Beach

Little Lilly travel tips:

  • I heard that in low season, which runs from April to October, the waves are quite big, and if you see red flags please don’t swim because you might drown.
  • March to May are the hottest months in Phuket. June to October is the monsoon season while the coolest season runs from November to February.
  • You can rent a pair of beach chairs with a parasol for 200 baht (about $7).

 

Thailand: Boat Trip along Chao Phraya River in Bangkok

Another activity I enjoyed in Bangkok was the boat trip along Chao Phraya River. I have learned that it is the main river that runs from North to South Bangkok. It is a major transportation artery in the city and it has a vast network of ferries and water taxis.

During our boat trip, I noticed that many locals and tourists alike prefer this way of getting around Bangkok as its streets are often choked with heavy traffic jams. I think it’s an easy way to go up and down the river to the city’s main attractions and to other areas that are more easily accessed from the river than the rail network.

bkk1

Our cruise along the Chao Phraya River was indeed lovely, peaceful and fun as we explored the city from a different perspective. On top of that, the views were stunning and we got nice breeze on a scorching day in Bangkok.

bkk16Even though Bangkok has become a contemporary city, I think a boat trip on the Chao Phraya River as well as the canals are still charming for whoever wishes to seek the tranquil atmosphere amidst the bustling city.

 

 

Thailand: Visiting 4 Awesome Temples in Bangkok

Bangkok has many temples and to me they are all eye openers. They are rich in culture and interesting history with amazing architecture and sculptures. Plus, they are all full of vibrant colors. All this opulence makes one feel so small.

This was taken at Wat Arun. 🙂

When we had a chance to spend a couple of days in the City of Smiles, we made sure to include visits to several temples in our itinerary. Despite the hordes of tourists, it was well worth it as each temple offers tremendous exhibits.

Here are the temples we managed to explore in Bangkok.

Wat Arun

Wat Arun river view.

The first temple we visited in Bangkok was Wat Arun.  It is also called the Temple of Dawn and has about 200 years of history. It is situated on the west bank of Chao Phraya River. It’s a beautiful temple with lots of interesting details. It’s also nice and offers a different charm when illuminated at dusk. This temple is a must-see.

We took a ferry that stops there. We wandered around the place and we climbed up to the top of the temple. At the top, we had great and breathtaking views of the river and the city. It was quite fun to climb up the stairs, but quite scary and hard getting down.

Wat Phra Kaew

temple9

Taken outside the room where the Emerald Buddha is.

Wat Phra Kaew is located inside the Grand Palace. It is also known as the Temple of Emerald Buddha as it enshrines one of Thailand’s 15th century most revered Buddha statues, which was carved out of single block of jade. The Emerald Buddha itself is fairly small, it sits up high but is clearly visible. Plus, the wall paintings in the prayer room are beautiful! I have learned from our guide that the king changes the robes of the Buddha three times a year to correspond to the changing seasons and to bestow fortune on the country.

While inside the temple, we were not allowed to take pictures of it and no shoes allowed.

Wat Pho

The beautiful Reclining Buddha.

We went to see Wat Pho right after we explored the Grand Palace as it is just situated behind it. Wat Pho is also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, and was built during the Ayutthaya Period. The golden statue is very beautiful, and it is really huge – 43 meters long and 15 meters high, and the impressive feet of the Buddha are about 5 meters long and 3 meters high. It is one of the most important temples and one of the most popular sight-seeing in Bangkok.

Our visit took us about 30 minutes, and it was totally worth it.

Wat Intharawihan

The Temple of Standing Buddha

From Wat Pho, we took a tuk-tuk to see Wat Intharawihan located at Wisut Kasat Road, also near the Chao Phraya River. It is also known as the Temple of the Standing Buddha. The giant golden Buddha statue stands 32 meters high and 10 meters wide. It’s holding alms bowl, which I have learned from our guide that monks still use today to accept food given by the locals. Many devotees visit the Buddha every day as it supposed to give devotees success. It’s quite a spectacular sight!

Little Lilly Travel Tip:

  • Wear decent clothes (no sleeveless, no short shorts).

Have you visited any temples in Bangkok? Which temple is your favorite?

Thailand: Wat Pho in Bangkok

The Wat Pho in Bangkok is located south of the Grand Palace. It’s known as The Temple of Reclining Buddha as it houses the gigantic statue of the Sleeping Buddha. It’s the oldest and the largest Buddhist temple complex in the city as it contains thousands of Buddha images that were taken from abandoned temples in Ayutthaya and Sukhothai by order of King Rama I. It’s also considered as one of the most attractive and most visited temples in Bangkok.

Beautiful Buddha.

It was a wonderful experience.

I have learned from our guide that Wat Pho was the first public university in Thailand that was specializing in religion, science and literature. Also, in 1955, a school for traditional medicine and massage was established there.

The grounds inside Wat Pho are nice to wander through.

Peaceful!

This enormous gold plated Reclining Buddha represents ill health and end of life. It’s highly ornate. It is 46 meters long and 15 meters high. The soles of the Buddha’s feet are 5 meters long and 3 meters high. That made me feel so little standing before this massive, massive figure. Conspicuously, the wall paintings are amazing too. Also, the statue is surrounded with Buddhist and Thai symbols.

Massive Buddha.

One of the highlights of Bangkok.

It truly is impressive to see this place as we took a couple of hours walking around the complex. The temple and its surrounding were absolutely incredible! It is a busy place, so there is no time to relax and reflect, but definitely worth a visit.

Stunning Wat and a must see!

Little Lilly travel tip:

  • Wear decent clothes as you visit the temple.
  • There are guides offering their services at the entrance and we’re glad we had hired one.
  • I think visiting the temple on the weekdays is better than on the weekends.
  • It offers traditional Thai massage, you may fancy trying it after the tour.
  • Beware of scams near the temple.

 

 

Thailand: Lazying at Jomtien Beach in Pattaya

It had been a full 3 days on the beautiful Jomtien Beach in the southern part of Pattaya. We’d spent hours lounging in the shade of a large tree by the ocean, eating, drinking, talking business, reading a book, getting sun, and strolling around the city.

doing nothing and everything.

Jomtien Beach is located in the southern part of the bay area in Pattaya. There are bungalows, beach-side hotels, high-rise condominiums, shops, restaurants and bars there. It also offers water-sport activities such as jet ski, parasailing, hire a small sail boat, etc.

Jomtien Beach.

100_0362

Getting some sunshine while enjoying the breeze the view. 🙂

During the weekends, Jomtien Beach becomes crowded as many tourists and locals flock there to escape the scorching heat in Bangkok. When we went there, I noticed that Jomtien Beach was by far quieter than Pattaya Beach. The beach is best for sunset walk and has good views for pictures; however, the water quality seems isn’t good and it’s not very clear when compared to other beaches that I have been to.

Beautiful sunset.

Apart from the fact that I grew up 5 meters away from the beach for about 21 years, I really love relaxing at the beach simply because I can read for pleasure while listening to the sound of the crashing waves that makes me fall asleep. I feel like the repetitive gentle bass beats truly dissipate stress and bring about a blissful state of calm. It certainly makes me more calm and relaxed and if I am relaxed I am happy. Overall, I would say that we had a wonderful and relaxing time at Jomtien Beach.

so quiet, I like. 🙂