Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Asian adventures: Part 1

Hello from Gili Trawangan, Indonesia! 

As most of you know by now (if you are following me or Carles on Facebook/Instagram) we packed up our bags, quit our jobs, Carles sold his car, and we bought a one way ticket to Thailand! We have officially been "living" (I say that because we are traveling first before we decide where we want to "live" here in Asia) here for 59 days now! What an AMAZING ride it has been so far.  Honestly, it has been absolutely incredible and we are so blessed to be having this experience together.  As this is both of our first times in Asia we decided to first spend a month in Thailand and then our plan was to head to 2 cities in Laos, 4 in Vietnam, and then 2 in Cambodia but a few weeks ago we discovered that God had a different plan in mind for our travels after Thailand!  We are so excited we can hardly think straight.. I will explain more details about this amazing opportunity we have been presented with later.  

I'm going to jump right in and start with our flight over here because the adventures definitely started there.  We had a 6 hour flight from Barcelona to Dubai which was as smooth as it could be and following that one another 6 hour flight straight into Bangkok.  Somehow as we were walking through the gate to our flight, the man at the desk told us it was our lucky day and we would be upgraded to business class! SCORE!  To say that flight was amazing is an understatement :). Comfy beds and our own iPads at each seat, a full man/woman bath bag including nice razors, lotions, toothbrushes, etc, free champagne, wine, basically any kind of top shelf liquor you preferred, a mattress pad to make your bed more comfortable, awesome full breakfast, and even a bar/lounge in the back of the plane.  What a flight!  We took advantage of everything and weren't even too bothered about the monsoon and tropical storm we were flying over.. :)

Landing in Bangkok at 12 in the afternoon their time with 14 hours of travel and very little sleep could have been a disaster but much to our surprise everything was perfect.  We got our month long visas stamped with absolutely no problem or wait, got our money changed to bahts, and found our bags in less than an hour.  We hopped into our first Thai Taxi and off to the Belaire Bangkok we went!  

After sleeping for a few hours (jet lag is real)  we showered and got ready and within 5 minutes of walking outside our hotel we were in our first tuk tuk flying down the main highway in Bangkok.  What. A. Ride.  Literally!  

As we both had read and heard from some friends who had recently visited Bangkok, it's not everyone's favorite place.  We had read that it is too crowded with so many people and taxis and not to mention the excruciating heat.  While all of these things proved to be very true, we both actually had a very nice time getting acclimated to the Thai culture, eating lots and lots of pad thai and curry dishes, drinking coconut water and thai coffee, basically SKIPPING down the roads trying to dodge the rabbit sized rats scurrying around the piles of trash in the road (why didn't I read about that in any of the 292619 blog posts I read prior to visiting Thailand???) trying to barter with our tuk tuk drivers, getting our first 6$ each hour long thai massages, seeing amazing temples and views of the city, trying our first Chang beers, and loving every minute of our first 5 days in this beautiful new country and continent for both of us.  I so enjoyed the craziness of Bangkok and can not wait to go back.

Our next stop after Bangkok was a town on the water 2 hours south (by car! If you take a train like we did it will be late and it will take 6 hours instead of the 4 hours it is supposed to ;) we are still getting used to the relaxed thai time) not as touristy and was a perfect spot for us to stop before heading south to the islands.  Our two days in Hua Hin were absolutely wonderful.. We ate some extremely tasty seafood, explored the beach, ate lots of mangos and mini bananas and loved the Hua Hin night market which is one of the most popular things to do while visiting the city.  Our last day there we spent the whole day in Hua Hin as we were taking the night train from there down to Surat Thini where we would catch another bus and then boat to our first island destination Ko Samui.  Let just say our train from Hua Hin was 2 hours late and then finally after it got there and we got all situated in our train beds, I have to admit I freaked out with all the noises and movements and knowing how OLD it had to be, but thanks to my calm boyfriend I settled down and fell asleep for a few hours before we were awoke and basically pushed off the train into a parking lot where we were greeted with a dozen thai people yelling and telling us to go here go here where they collected our (and the other 70-100 backpackers) tickets and we were squished into a van which took us to another place where we had to sit and wait and then board our charter bus for about an hour ride where it dropped us at the pier where we had to sit again and wait for another hour before FINALLY boarding our BOAT to take us to Ko Samui!!!! From the time we boarded our first train to Hua Hin to when we actually checked in to our bungalows was 14 hours!  The long journeys are all part of the whole experience, right?  

Ko Samui was beautiful and our adorable little pink bungalow on the beach was just what we wanted.  The bungalow was literally 15 steps from the water- what more could we need?  We explored the beach we were staying on; Lamai beach along with another one we read about that was so small and beautiful; Silver beach.  Luckily we were there on a Sunday night which is when our beach has their famous night market!  $1 plates of delicious noodles, vegetable rolls, fresh coconut water, and 50¢ fresh smoothies and we were happy campers.  

Our next stop was Koh Phangan which we when booked our trip we had no idea (honestly) we would be going to this island on the very same day as the infamous "Full Moon Party". Travelers we met from all over were flying and taking boats to this island all for the party and we unknowingly would be there the same day.  Perfect!  After taking a hour long bus/cab ride, passing TWO motorbike accidents on the extremely unsafe dirt "roads" they use on the island, we made it to our home for the next 4 days- My Way Bungalows.  We had one of those eye opening/ life changing/ incredible realizations while meeting some awesome people at these Bungalows that I will have to go into further detail in another blog post.  We spent the entire 4 days (minus the Full Moon Party) at our bungalow, breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the restaurant on our property and lounging at the beach about 10 steps from our room.  Pretty much paradise.  

(Our first group of friends on our trip, a group of 4 doctors.. One being a brain surgeon... Docs party too!)

Our last island stop in southern Thailand (or so we thought) was to the tiny Koh Tao.  It is the smallest of the three and probably my favorite of the three as well.  It is very famous for diving as it is super cheap to get your certification and has amazing dive sites- but even if you aren't a diver like myself or Carles- it is still a perfect, relaxing stop you can't miss in Thailand.  We extended our stay and spent 6 days instead of 3 exploring every nook and cranny of the beautiful island.  

After Koh Tao we were supposed to head back to Bangkok and then back to the north of Thailand to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai but because of the people we met in Koh Phangan we actually changed our plans and decided to head to Indonesia so this meant that we didn't want to go all the way north to come all the way south again SO we gave the north of Thailand a rain check and booked tickets to Krabi.  

Because we had about a week or so until our flights from southern Thailand (in Krabi) to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia... We rented a cheap but nice room about a block away from 'Aonang Beach' and took day trips exploring a handful more of Thailand's breathtaking beaches, playing with the mischievous monkies, riding elephants, and taking long naps during the rainy/ stormy afternoons (rainy season is also real).

I will stop there for today but stay tuned for more of our Asian adventures featuring Malaysia, Singapore, and the lovely Indonesia.  We did have a little scare with a recent plane crash in Indonesia and of course the bombing in Bangkok but we are thanking God that we have been safe and sound and encountered little to no 'problems' during all of this traveling.  

Hope everyone back home is doing well and enjoying their last few days of summer! Love you all!

Until next time :) 


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