Yi Peng and Loy Krathong Festival Chiang Mai #2

Welcome back to Yi Peng Festival 2017, today I would like to share with you the rest of my festival photos I took in Chiang Mai.
In my last post I talked a bit about the festivals themselves and the ceremony we joined in the city.
The ceremony was really beautiful and around ten we decided to go to the east gate bridge in order to see the rising of the lanterns. You definitely can’t miss the bridge since there are thousands of people walking down the streets of Chiang Mai to the east gate.

Although it was very very crowded, (we were barely able to make our way down to the river without getting lost) we even met a friend we made in Bali which was so cool since tens of thousands of people attend the festival every year.

However, we bought a lantern for 50Bath and „joined the spirit“- it was magical! I will never forget this feeling of almost unbearable happiness!
As there is also the Loy Krathong Festival at the same time, we later went to the river and let my little boat float away. Unfortunately it got stuck, nevertheless it was an amazing experience!

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Have a good week!

xx

Traveller’s Autobarn Australia, our experience

There are two big car rental companies in Australia where travellers under the age of 21 are allowed to rent cars: Juicy and Traveller’s Autobarn.
Since we wanted to rent a car and drive from Brisbane to Sydney, we asked our travel company ‚Peter Pan’s Travel‘ for help and decided to rent a Ford Falcon Station Wagon.
The car came with a tent, a stove (which didn’t work but we bought a new one and got the money back), cooking supplies and two chairs.
Well, our trip was cool but there are some reasons why I won’t go with Traveller’s Autobarn again.

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The staff from Traveller’s Autobarn in Brisbane was quite friendly and the pick-up was totally fine. We spent the first day driving from Brisbane to Beenleigh and made our way to Gold Coast and Lamington National Park the next days.
So, on our last day in Lamington we realised our car battery was dead.
Yes, we did pay attention not to use the lights of the car, the radio or whatsoever.
Problem was, that there was no phone signal, only for Telstra Sim Cards. At that time we had vodafone data sim cards, but fortunately I kept my old Telstra sim and consequently was able to call the road assistance. It took them two hours to get to the park (thirty kilometers uphill) and the guy jump started our car and told us that the battery only had half the power it was supposed to have. However, what he said was something like ‚give it a good ride and you should be fine the next two weeks‘. We were slightly annoyed since we were back on the road at five in the evening, although we had planned to drive to Byron Bay that day. Instead, we were forced to spend the night on a creepy highway campground/parking space.

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Our Falcon broke down a second time in Byron Bay and some Australian guys gave us a jump start. In order to be able to continue our road trip the next day and drive to Port Maquarie, we drove around for twenty minutes. Obviously our plan didn’t work out and we called Road Assistance again next morning. They jump started our car AGAIN and told us to go to the next garage in Byron Bay. Surprise surprise, they told us it wasn’t the battery but the alternator and we had to wait three hours until they had replaced it. Consequently, we lost another day.
The people from the garage also talked to Traveller’s Autobarn and fortunately they paid for the repair.

 

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You think everything was alright then? It wasn’t. The fourth time our car broke down was in Crowdy Bay National Park and we had to ask again for a jump start on our campground. This time we were so annoyed and contacted Traveller’s Autobarn.
A staff member told us that we would get a refund for the two days we had to rely on Road Assistance and said we would get a refund if we returned our car two days earlier.

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Green Mountains Camping Area was the best campground we had!

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At that time, we were totally exhausted and annoyed. The car had ruined our trip and we were scared our car might break down again. It had already forced us to sleep at gloomy motorway rest areas and we just wanted to get rid of this car and finally arrive in Sydney. Since the guy told us that we could return our car earlier, we decided to go for it quitted the trip.

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Again- surprise! We got into trouble with the Traveller’s Autobarn garage in Sydney since they didn’t want to give us the full refund of four days and told us that there was nothing wrong with the car. They said they had checked it and everything was alright. If we knew that they wouldn’t give us the refund, we would have stayed in Newcastle.
However, we returned the car earlier and had to pay another two nights in our hostel.
Too bad.

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Reading ‚Gone Girl‘

To summarise, they gave us a car that didn’t work properly, they gave us false information and the staff in Sydney was rather arrogant than friendly.
Even though we spend a lot of time worrying and waiting, our road trip was still very cool but I know for sure, that I will NEVER EVER rent a car at Traveller’s Autobarn again.
I will probably publish another blogpost where I will be talking about traffic, roads, gas and the positive aspects of our road trip the next few weeks.

I hope some of you found this helpful. If some of you have ever rented a car at this company, please tell me about your experience :)!

xx, Sophie

Yee Peng Festival #1

It’s the second of November 2017, we are in Chiang Mai and excited for the annual Yee Peng (or Yi Peng) and Loy Krathong Festival. We met a Scottish and an American guy in our hostel (Gonkaew Hostel Chiang Mai, very nice place with free tea, coffee and toast the whole day, they even have free breakfast) and spent the day with them.

During Loy Krathong, people build small floating boats and release them on the river. I even made one myself in our hostel, they taught us how to build these little boats out of a trunk of a banana tree, banana leafs, flowers, joss sticks and candles. The women at our hostel told me that adding a hair to your boat is supposed to save you from bad luck.

Yee Peng is the famous lantern festival where thousands of people release floating lanterns into the night sky. It is magical! There are actually two different „kinds“ of Lantern Festivals, one is celebrated in the city and the other one is at Mae Jo University.
The second one is especially for tourists they told me and it costs about 80-100$. The festival we attended in the city, was completely free (besides the lanterns of course).

We went to a ceremony with lots of lanterns in the city and later went to the East Gate of the city, in order to get to the bridge across the river, where most people release their lanterns. It was magical to see all the lights rising into the sky and thousands of people celebrating.
In this post I am sharing with you the pictures I took at our first stop, in the second post, I will finally show you the other pictures I took at the bridge.
Hope you enjoy ♥️

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Chiang Mai by Night

If you plan to travel Thailand, make sure you won’t miss out Chiang Mai in the north of the country. We took a night train from Bangkok for about 10€ which brought us to the beautiful city. The night train was more comfortable than expected and to be honest, a very cool experience. We booked the train a day in advance in our hostel and it was so easy to take the train.

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We arrived in Chiang Mai at around eight in the morning and took a red cab to our hostel. Travelling in Thailand was quite easy to be honest, there are always tourist offices and people in the hostels who will love to help you with your planning. Additionally, it is very cheap! Just make sure to compare the prices and don’t forget to negotiate a bit!
Our hostel was the „Eco Resort“ which was really beautiful.
However, there were almost no other guests and it was quite a ghost town.
The people weren’t really nice, since they accused us of towel stealing which was really unkind. My friend forgot her towel in the bath room and didn’t bring it back to the room. Consequently, they found only one towel in the room and thought that my friend’s white hoodie was missing towel and asked her to show it to them. I was so annoyed. They finally found the towel in the laundry but didn’t even apologise for the circumstances.

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„Downtown Chiang Mai“ is surrounded by a „creek“ which forms a square.
Inside of this square, you can easily get from one temple to another by foot, if you plan to visit Doi Suthep you need to take a cab.
There are different night markets, almost every evening – every night, another spot.
We visited one of these markets and were really impressed. There was such a big variety of fresh cooked foods. Thai food, vegetarian food, desert, fruits and smoothies. We totally fell in love with the Thai version of Crêpes with Mango!
After we had dinner, we had a look at all the different stands and bought lots of souvenirs.
They had everything one could wish for: sarongs, customised leather bracelets, platesand bowls, clothes, art, bags and more – I bought a petite wallet for only 10 Bath (≈0,25€).

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After having filled our bags with gifts for family and friends we discovered some beautiful temples and attended a ceremony in memory of the former King Bhumibol Adulyadej who died in October 2016, it was beautiful!
Looking back, I totally fell in love with this magic, bubbly city!

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I hope you enjoyed reading this, have a good week!

xx, Sophie

Travel „Mistakes“ And Things I Will Avoid Next Time

There are certain „mistakes“ we made during our travels and things I will avoid next time I will be travelling. This is post is not supposed to be a guide or something, it is rather me reflecting and sharing my thoughts.

Too much planning

Looking back, I realised we did TOO MUCH planning. I planned almost everything.
Just because I am usually an extremely organised person and I really enjoy it.
However, I noticed that I have not actually followed my plan and I missed most of the things I wanted to do. But this was totally fine. If you give yourself the choice of deciding spontaneously what you want to do every day, you will experience this special being-an-independent-traveler-feeling which is really thrilling.
If we had obsessively followed all of our plans, we would have missed so many great adventures, for example spending two days in Byron Bay with three cool Australian guys or we would not have quitted our job in Darwin and travelled the East Coast instead.
The best adventures we had where the spontaneous ones.

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Booking all flights in advance

We booked all our flights in advance. Frankfurt-London-Kuala Lumpur-Bali-Bangkok-Darwin and from Sydney back to Germany. I also booked a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi and back and I did not even attend the flight back to KL because I took a ferry to Penang and a bus back to Malaysia’s capital.
We realised that you do not even have to book international flights in advance when you are travelling South East Asia, since the tickets are very cheap.
I wish we’d had the time to visit another country in South East Asia, it would have been affordable and probably cheaper than booking six months in advance.
I also regretted booking a return flight from Australia since we had to pay a lot of money to change flights. Next time I go to South East Asia, I will resist the urge to book all of the flights in advance and maybe even choose the overland route.

Don’t be a lone wolf

This one is not really a mistake we made, but especially when you are travelling with another person, it is likely that it will always be only the two of you and the so-called bonding with other travellers does not happen as easily as when you are travelling solo.
This is not particularly bad but if you ARE travelling on your own, you might want to change this „habit“.
I met so many people when I travelled in Malaysia, because I had to. I did not want to spend the evening alone, so I just talked to other people and we spent the evening or even the following days together. Some people might not be very interested in meeting other travellers but I definitely am, so I always told myself „Don’t be a lone wolf and start bonding!“
Even though those bonds do not last very long, it is still an extremely cool experience because it only takes a day and you and your new travel buddy will behave like best friends.

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Don’t book too many nights in your accommodation

When we arrived in Darwin, Northern Territory Australia, we booked a private room in an AirBnB for four (!!!) weeks, since we planned to work for at least six weeks in Darwin. Well, the job search turned out to be more difficult than expected and we had to stay in Darwin without a job and in the end, tried to reverse the booking.
Fortunately, we got some of the money back but in the end we were not able to go to Cairns as early as we would have liked to.

Traveling is no competition

Something that really annoyed me was that some travellers, especially Germans, tend to make a competition out of travelling. To my mind it is not about how many countries you visited or how many things you did, it is about you.
How you feel whilst travelling, your personal development and also if you are satisfied with what you are doing, is what really matters.
It is your time and nobody makes the same experiences you make.
We talked to two German girls in Sydney and our conversation ended with them criticising us, telling us that we have not tried hard enough to find a job and of course their experience was soo much cooler than ours.
This. Is. Not. The. Idea. Of. Travelling.

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Don’t travel on a „too-tight“ budget

During our time in Australia, both of our credit cards got hacked. We had no access to my friend’s money and they drawed out over 300€ from my account.
What I want to say is that you should make sure that you have enough money for any unpredictable cases.
Additionally, as naive as I am, I expected travelling in South East Asia and especially Australia to be a bit cheaper- so be prepared 😀

I hope you found some of these tips helpful, please let me know if you have any other ideas on how to be well-prepared for travelling :)!

xx, Sophie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Francisco 1995

If you’re going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you’re going to San Francisco
You’re gonna meet some gentle people there

San Francisco, Scott McKenzie

I am not very good with words and writing at the moment, so I am sharing my Mum’s old San Francisco photographs with you today. I would love to go to San Francisco, wearing some flowers in my hair…

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Sendepause, Jubiläum und fünf Tage in Sydney

Guten Morgen Ihr Lieben,

ich bin heute Morgen um fünf Uhr aufgestanden, einfach so weil Morgenstund‘ hat ja Gold im Mund. Oder auch „Der frühe Vogel fängt den Wurm“… meine ich mal gehört zu haben. Das Projekt, um fünf Uhr morgens aufzustehen, gehört zu meinem „Changing my Life“ Projekt, welches ich gerade gestern gestartet habe.
Etwas ironisch oder? Ich glaube sein Leben verändern ist heutzutage ein Trend, genau so wie jeden Tag grüne Smoothies zu trinken, Instagram zu seinem Tagebuch zu machen und Reisen zum Inhalt seines Lebens.
No offense, ich finde mich ja selbst darin wieder. Wie auch immer, ich werde in Zukunft sicherlich über diese -um fünf Uhr morgens aufstehen- Tortur schreiben und darüber, wie sich jetzt alles in meinem Leben zum positiven wendet (okay das hört sich gerade sehr sehr deprimierend an, vielleicht eher „noch mehr zum positiven“…).

Spaß bei Seite. Ich bin nun seit fast zehn Wochen wieder Zuhause, das ist fast schon die Hälfte der Zeit die ich weg war – schon ziemlich traurig.
Seitdem habe ich mir einen Job gesucht, wieder angefangen zu Tanzen, meine Ballett Stange repariert und mir 120cm breite Spiegel ins Zimmer gehängt, acht Bücher gelesen und das Reisen sehr vermisst. Auf der anderen Seite habe ich bemerkt, wie sehr ich mein „Zuhause“ zu schätzen gelernt habe und wie wichtig es für mich geworden ist, einen place to be zu haben.

Arbeiten ist anstrengender Reisen und meiner Meinung nach auch anstrengender als Schule, was vielleicht auch einfach daran liegt, dass ich nicht für die Gastronomie gemacht bin. Sophie arbeitet jetzt nämlich im Bio Gewerbe und das nicht wenige Stunden die Woche.
Daher fehlte es mir die letzten Tage, oder auch Wochen, oft an Kraft und Motivation mich hinzusetzen und etwas zu schreiben.
Die Motivation und die Ideen kommen zwar wieder, aber wie einige vielleicht beim Lesen bemerkt haben, schreibe ich gerade auf Deutsch und nicht wie sonst, auf Englisch.
Immerhin möchte ich auch nicht meinen Blog gerade nachdem er ein Jahr alt geworden ist (jaa, am 28. März hatte Aperture & Wanderlust Geburtstag) schon wieder hängen lassen.
Außerdem erstaunt es mich immer wieder, dass es tatsächlich so viele liebe Menschen im Internet gibt, die mein Gedanken- und Reisewirrwarr doch tatsächlich lesen mögen. Für manche mag es natürlich nicht viel sein, aber ich bin sehr glücklich und dankbar für die positive Resonanz die mich im letzten Jahr erreicht hat.

Passend zum Thema beendete Reise, hier ein paar Fotos aus Sydney, unsem letzter Stopp in Australien. Sydney hat mir wirklich sehr gut gefallen, unser Hostel war super schön, günstig- und es gab sogar Frühstück.
Zwar gab es verschiedene Zimmer Kategorien und nachdem wir in zwei schönen Zimmern geschlafen haben, landeten wir in einem acht-Bett Zimmer.
In jenem wachte ich eines Morgens auf und musste eine platt gelegene Kakerlake auf meiner Matratze finden. Doch Gott sei Dank war ich nach fast fünf Monaten relativ abgehärtet was sowas angeht und bekam keinen Schreianfall oder ähnliches.
Außerdem war es ja nicht ich, die von einem Riesen im Schlaf zerquetscht wurde…trotzdem nicht sehr appetitlich.

Sydney an sich ist eine sehr schöne und aktive Stadt, wir konnten viele Ziele zu Fuß erreichen, oder auch mit Bus und Bahn. Infrastrukturell ist Sydney meiner Meinung nach auch sehr gut ausgerüstet und man kommt schnell von A nach B.
An sich reichen auch drei Tage in der Hafenstadt, denke ich, durchaus aus.
Immerhin gibt es auch nicht unendlich viel zu sehen.
Ein Muss für mich als Ballettliebhaberin war natürlich das Amateur Tanz Foto vor dem Opera House!

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Danke fürs Lesen und HAVE A GOOD WEEK ♥️!

Sophie