I love (Banana-)Pai, Thailand

*Bad Joke Alert*

One of our favourite places in Thailand was definitely Pai. We only spent two nights in this wonderful small city but going there was definitely worth it! You can easily book a small bus to Pai, it takes approximately 4 hours to get there and you will experience the beauty of northern Thailand.

There is a big sign on the road that says „Welcome to Strawberry Pai!“, but since we had the best bananas in our lives in Pai, I named this post I love (Banana-)Pai 😄.
Every time we are now having a banana we are always like „Oh this one is not as good as the one we had in Pai!“

However, we spent a wonderful day in Pai, rented scooters and explored the area.
Some things you must not miss out are the Bamboo Bridges through the rice fields, the Pai Canyon and the Land Split. I cannot really say why I enjoyed my time in Pai that much, but I guess it was the atmosphere, the fresh air, the landscape and of course, our hostel. We stayed in the Suandoi Hostel and it was one of our favourite hostels we had during our travels. The people were so nice and they had beautiful bungalows and a restaurant with affordable Thai meals.
Additionally, it was the first time that we were actually freezing, since we only had 15 degrees at night.

You should not miss out the Land Split, in 2008 due to an earthquake and flooding, the land of a farmer cracked. He now serves tourists with his rosella juice, fruits and especially bananas, all grown on his own land and he consequently created a tourist attraction. Everything is for free, you just donate some money and that is how he finances his land and life.

Pai was simply a magical experience and I am quite sad that we only spent two nights there, I think I could live there for month and would still love it!

Pai-1

The Rice Fields and the Bamboo Bridges

Pai-2Pai-3Pai-4Pai-5Pai-6Pai-7Pai-8

The Land Split

Pai-9Pai-10Pai-11

The City

Pai-13Pai-14Pai-15Pai-16Pai-17Pai-18Pai-19Pai-12

Thanks for reading, have a wonderful week!

xx, Sophie

 

Pin it and don’t forget it!Pai,Pinterest

Five Reasons I would love to go back to Bali

If someone gave me a flight ticket and asked: „Wanna fly to Bali?“, I would scream „Yes of course!“ and directly take a cab to the airport. No doubt.
To be honest, I do not really know what I love most about this island.
Even though the island is almost surfeited with hotels and tourists, I still know five reasons why I would love to go back immediately.

Balangan-1

1. The people

One of the greatest advantages of our Surf Camp in Bali (besides learning to surf) was that we met so many locals in camp. Some of the surf guides were from Sumatra, others from Java and some were Balinese. During my travels in Thailand I found it quite hard to get in touch with locals, since I do not count talking to receptionists as local contact.
But in camp, we spent our days with the Indonesians, played the guitar together, went surfing and talked a lot. I learned so much about Indonesian culture and their beliefs.
The people from Indonesia are also very helpful and open.
One day our car broke down during rush hour and our surf guide just asked three people on the street for help and they immediately stopped working and pushed our car so that we were fortunately able to drive back to camp.

Balangan-2

Balangan-3

2. Catch good waves all year long

Bali is a surfer’s paradise, the whole island is about surfing. Surf shops everywhere, surfers everywhere.
For me, the conditions in Bali are perfect, there are beaches for every level.
No matter if you are a beginner, an intermediate or a pro, you will (almost) always find some nice waves.

Balangan-4

Balangan-6

3. Bali’s boutiques

Actually, I would advise you not to bring too many clothes, you will be overwhelmed by Bali’s small boutiques and the beautiful and unique clothes.
If you are interested in good quality and boutiques, make sure to go shopping in Seminyak and Canggu.
Many Indonesians are also selling clothes on markets or in small shops on the street. You will find some cute cotton beach dresses, sarongs and baggy elephant pants in their stores and everything is extremely cheap. Additionally, the more you buy, the cheaper it will be. Do not forget to negotiate, if they want to have 200.000 Rupiah, ask for 100.000 and try to make a good deal. Do not worry, they will still benefit from your purchase.

Balangan-7

Balangan-8

4. The weather

Some people may say the air is quite humid and it is too hot, but I think the climate is pretty perfect. You can wear shorts, skirts, beach dresses and all the gorgeous clothes Bali’s cute boutiques have to offer. Yes, it can get very hot but it is not as bad as in the big capitals in Southeast Asia where you will be running from one air conditioned store to another.

Balangan-9

Balangan-10

5. Bali has a big variety of experiences to offer

You can go shopping in the Kuta area, go scuba diving on the east coast, go surfing at the beaches of the Bukit Peninsula, visit beautiful temples everywhere, do Yoga in Ubud, climb one of the volcanos and enjoy the sunrise, or explore the beautiful nature in the north of the island with its waterfalls and rice terraces.
There are so many things to do and places to see in Bali, it is impossible to see everything at once. People come to Bali ten years in a row and they still have not explored the whole island yet. Bali is an everlasting adventure and I would love to come back as soon as possible!

 

I hope you enjoyed my Bali posts, I know that I may be a little bit overexcited about this island, but I simply fell in love with it.
Fly to Bali and get an own idea of what it is like!
These pictures were taken at Balangan Beach by the way 🙂

Have a good week,

Sophie

Taman Negara Pulau Pinang

Hello everybody and welcome back to my blog!
Today, I will share with you my hiking experiences in Penang, Malaysia.
As you know from my last posts (click and click), I spent five days in Penang after I went to Langkawi.
I met a really nice girl from Holland and we decided to explore Penang’s National Park together, good decision.
Since you should be prepared for everything when you go hiking, we bought two huge bottles of water for each of us and also brought bananas and different kinds of street food to-go.
There is a very cheap bus in Penang, which will take you from the center of Georgetown to the National Park, the bus also stops at Batu Ferringhi. It took us about 10 minutes to get to the Park from the beach and the ticket is only about 1.40RM.
Having arrived at „Taman Negara Pulau Pinang“, you will have two hiking options: Turtle Beach and Monkey Beach. As other travelers told us that Monkey Beach is pretty busy, we decided to go to Turtle Beach and I do not regret it. It took us two and a half hours to get to the Beach and the hike was simply beautiful. You do not need to be super fit for it, but some good shoes are advisable! Be prepared to see a beautiful rainforest with lots of trees, palm trees and even waterfalls. Additionally, you won’t need a guide for this tour, since it is quite obvious where you have to go. I loved that we were able to walk on our own and were not part of a group of screaming tourists.

Around noon we had made it to Turtle Beach and seriously, there were just about five other people there. We walked down a long „bridge“ until we reached a small hut that was standing in the sea. We sat down for almost an hour, listened to the sea and relaxed.
In these moments I always try to appreciate the moment, to be aware of my surroundings and know how lucky I am to be there.

Unfortunately, it began to rain later and we went to a small beach house where we met locals and three travelers. It was amazing to see the rain in the middle of the see and realize that the clouds were about to move towards the mainland.
While the locals offered us hot tea, we sat around and talked to each other, we were stuck in a beach house on a lonely beach at the other side of a National Park.
Reminder: Be prepared for everything!

Normally you can take a boat from Turtle Beach to Monkey Beach, however the rain probably made it impossible for someone to pick us up.
Later we decided to walk to the Turtle Sanctuary, which I cannot recommend.
There are turtles in tanks without anything than water in it, very sad.
Since it was slowly getting darker, we decided to walk back, even though it was still raining. Actually, this was not the worst decision, since it was adventurous to walk through a rainforest while it was raining. We heard lots of animals and had to climb around in order to get over the floated paths.
You will have to be very cautious if you want to walk through a flooded jungle, as you might slip and hurt yourself.
After one and a half hour we finally arrived at the entrance with soaking wet trainers and clothes.

Looking back, it was an awesome adventure. I really hope that I will be able to do more hikes in tropical rainforests and experience more adventures like this one.

Would you like to go hiking in a jungle? Let me know in the comments!

xx, Sophie

Jungle-4Jungle-2Jungle-1Jungle-6Jungle-3Jungle-5Jungle-7Jungle-9Jungle-8Jungle-10DCIM100GOPROGOPR0216.JPGDCIM100GOPROGOPR0231.JPGJungle-11Jungle-12Jungle-13Jungle-15

Batu Ferringhi, Penang – and what I’ve learned in two weeks of Solo Traveling

As you know from my Solo Traveling Post, I planned to go to Malaysia on my own. My first stop was Langkawi, two days later I went to Georgetown, Penang.
Although Georgetown is a really nice city with great food an amazing street art, I was not able to enjoy it as much as I wanted to.
Why? Because I did not give myself the time to settle in, to deal with my culture shock and to calm down.
I have always been very enthusiastic when I came to another country.
When I arrived in Langkawi I wanted to do everything at once and totally forgot to care for myself and to listen to my body.
Please do not get me wrong, I really enjoyed my time, but there were two days in Penang where I felt really lost, lonely and overwhelmed. Even though I have never suffered from homesickness before, I started to miss the people around me.
I met really nice people in Penang, but it just makes a big difference if you are traveling alone or with a friend.
These two days I was afraid to walk around alone.
Many people will talk to you in Malaysia, since they are really friendly. But it also happened to me that groups of men were asking me where I was staying and if I was traveling alone, which made me feel quite uncomfortable. I always answered that I am traveling with my boyfriend and smiled. Fortunately they just smiled back and said „Okay, good bye!“.

Do not get me wrong, I do not think that every stranger might be dangerous, but it is still very important to be cautious and do not take to many risks when you are alone.

The next thing that caused a little bit of trouble was transportation.
Personally I feel that it is so much easier to take busses, planes, taxis or an Uber with a friend. At the beginning it really scared me to do all these things on my own but you know what? I got out of my comfort zone and now I know that you can also just walk to a hostel and ask if they have a bed for you, I can take busses, planes, ferries and Ubers on my own because I got used to it.
You will learn to deal with new situations every day! The moment when you realize that you have spent a certain time completely on your own, that you met new people and went out with them and that nobody but you makes the decisions is simply amazing.
After a while you know how to negotiate and how to deal with weird taxi drivers. It is an adventure and you are doing this challenge completely on your own.
If you go on a trip on your own, you will not regret it! Embrace the moment, be aware what you are doing and what you have accomplished.

Additionally, traveling alone does not mean that you will be alone. I recently talked to a friend from the UK about this. People are not the same when they are traveling. They make friends within minutes and behave like they already know each other for years.
When I was in Penang at the beach, Anna from Langkawi texted me and gave me the number of a girl from Holland. We met in Penang and had a great time. She showed me that I do not have to me the highly organized girl from Germany, but that I should be more spontaneous and enjoy the moment. While I planned my whole trip, she just decides from day to day what she wants to do and where she wants to go, which is really cool.
Now I slightly regret that all my flights are already booked and that I will probably not be able to go to Vietnam or Myanmar this year, even though I would love to go there!
On my next trip to Asia, I will just book my long distance flights from Germany to Asia and back. This can save money and you can actually go wherever you want.

Anyway, after having explored Georgetown, I went to Batu Ferringhi, which is located at the beach. The beach in Penang is nice in general, but it also depends on the weather.
I can highly recommend watching the sunset there!
Hope you enjoy the pictures, my next post about Penang will be published very soon!

xx, Sophie

 

FullSizeRender 2FullSizeRenderIMG_9678IMG_9686IMG_9702IMG_9644IMG_9615IMG_9735IMG_9653IMG_9875

Georgetown, Penang

As you may know from my last blogpost, Langkawi was great. However, it would not stop raining and I decided to continue my journey and take the Ferry to Penang.
Penang is an island in the south of Langkawi and its capital, Georgetown is connected to the mainland through a bridge.

On my third day, I went to the local taxi stand at Langkawi. I met three girls from Japan and we shared a taxi. I would really advice you to take an Uber in South East Asia, since it is way cheaper!
Anyway, the Japanese girls and I took a taxi that brought us to the ferry. I sat in the last row of the little bus and had to find out
that there were several holes in the roof and the rain poured down the seats. Many streets were flooded and it was hard to get through the humongous puddles. After we finally arrived at the harbor I checked in immediately and went to my seat in the ferry. The ferry was old and had two decks, there was not enough place for all the luggage, so we placed it in front of us. The monsoon was not over when the ferry started, the waves were very high and many people got sea sick. A guy who was obviously part of the staff went around and gave plastic bags to the people who got sick. I just tried to sleep but I felt like a was on a carousel.
After almost four hours of horror I finally arrived at Penang and took a taxi to my hostel.

Penang_Georgetown-1

I stayed at the Ryokan Muntri Beauty Hostel in Georgetown, which was apparently really nice, although the walls were paper thin and the WiFi was not that good. The next morning I got to know my roommate, he is from Scotland and we did our laundry a couple of minutes from our hostel. I was really happy that I met him, since I felt a little bit lost in the hostel. While we were waiting for our laundry to be dry, we went to the “Purrfect Cat Café“ which is a place where you can have a coffee or smoothie and chill out with cute kittens and cats. You have to pay 13RM if you want to go upstairs where the cats are.

Penang_Georgetown-2

We decided to go for it and we had to read a rule book, wash our hands and take off our shoes first. The rule book contained rules like don’t disturb sleeping cats, don’t feed them and treat them with respect etc. Although the plan was a little bit too small, the cats were treated well, as far as I could see. They probably got some of the cats from the streets, since there are many sick cats on the streets in Malaysia who lost their tail or cats who are starving.
At first, I thought it was a joke but I was really surprised when there were actual cats in the café.

Penang_Georgetown-3

When we had our laundry done, we went down the street and I discovered the first temple, a Chinese temple apparently. You have to take your shoes off before visiting a temple by the way.

Penang_Georgetown-4

We also just wandered around the streets and had a look at all the different houses and buildings.

Penang_Georgetown-5Penang_Georgetown-6

If you are interested in architecture and art, you will love Georgetown! We discovered so many beautiful buildings when we were exploring Georgetown by foot, I really wish I had taken some photos with my reflex camera.

Penang_Georgetown-7Penang_Georgetown-8

In the following picture, you can see the St. Georges Church, Georgetown is named after King George III.

Penang_Georgetown-9Penang_Georgetown-10Penang_Georgetown-11

The next temple we saw was a Hindu temple. Unfortunately we were not able to go inside, since the people were queuing up inside the building and we assumed that it would take us a while to get in.

Penang_Georgetown-12

Next stop was a huge mosque, they even had a canon in the garden.

Penang_Georgetown-13

Penang_Georgetown-14Penang_Georgetown-15Penang_Georgetown-16

I can also highly recommend going to “Chew Jetty“ which is like China Town. There is a small wooden path with lots of little shops and food places at the sides. At the end of the path you will find yourself on a terrace, looking at the beautiful sea.
Unfortunately it was a little cloudy, even though, the view was amazing.

Penang_Georgetown-17Penang_Georgetown-18

After we had explored Georgetown a little bit, we were looking for a restaurant to have dinner.
On our way, we stumbled across a little fire show, maybe a lost backpacker who is saving money for his flight to go back home.

Penang_Georgetown-19

Make sure to walk down the streets of Georgetown by night, when all the lanterns are turned on and people are selling bracelets, necklaces and other stuff on the streets.

Penang_Georgetown-20Penang_Georgetown-21

Georgetown is also very famous for its street art. You will find many beautiful wall paintings at the walls of random buildings in the city. This one was my favorite:

Penang_Georgetown-22

If you have the chance to visit Georgetown, definitely go for a walk an explore the city!

Have a good week,
Sophie

 

Langkawi, Paradise On Earth

A week ago I started my solo trip to Malaysia. It took me 28 hours to get to the small island Langkawi which is located near the main coast of northwestern Malaysia.
Pulau Langkawi is the main island of an archipelago of around 100 small islands.

I arrived at the island in the evening and directly went to my hostel „Langkawi dormitorio“. I can highly recommend considering to stay there if you ever come to Langkawi, since the people are very nice, the rooms are clean, there is much space for your stuff and the location is great. There is even a rooftop bar on the house which you can visit and meet other travelers and locals.
That evening I already met really nice people, travelers from Perth Australia, South Africa and Ireland.

IMG_9094

The people I met have rented scooters and we went out for breakfast and had nice food at a small restaurant called „Smiling Buffalo“. This restaurant was great, they had different smoothies, Toast, Pancakes (the Mango Pancakes with coconut milk are amazing!) and fruit salads. I am very careful with fruit and only order fruit that you have to peel.
Always remember: Peel it, cook it or forget it!

IMG_9101
The view at the restaurant was stunning! 

After the girl and the boy from Perth left to Borneo in the morning, Anna (Ireland), Bianca (South Africa) and I went on our scooters and drove to a very very very nice beach at the top of the island, called „Tanjung Rhu Beach“. In the following two photos you can see our first stop, but we decided to drive a little further.

IMG_9105

IMG_9108

Five minutes later we arrived at a little market where we saw a big a** lizard that was over a meter long. We also saw many monkeys on our way, they just stared at us and did not even move!
Well, we arrived at the market and I can highly recommend buying a coconut there, since they are delicious! We walked about two hundred meters at the beach and discovered this lonely beach:

IMG_9111

There were just some people who cleaned everything for a couple of minutes but when they left, we were alone and very happy! I cannot even describe how happy I was. The weather was really nice, which was a real surprise, since September is obviously not the best time to visit the east coast of Malaysia.

IMG_9119

So we just sat at the beach on our sarongs and enjoyed the loneliness, the sound of the waves and the sun.

AnnaSophie.jpg

Unfortunately, Anna had to return her scooter in the afternoon, since she had to leave the following day. So she went back to the other side of the island and Bianca and I went to the Sky Cab and the Sky Bridge of Langkawi.

IMG_9133

As you can probably see, the weather was not as good as in the morning in the afternoon, but fortunately it was not raining. At the west coast of Langkawi, you will find something like an adventure park where you can buy a ticket for the Sky Cab, I think it was 55RM. You will find yourself in a glass gondola, driving up to a high mountain over the huge forest.

IMG_9159

There is a nice platform where you can look over the whole island, the view is stunning.
By the way, I took these photos with my mobile and none of these are edited!

IMG_9187

I really wish I had some pictures taken with my reflex camera, but I don’t feel comfortable taking my Nikon with me to the beach. But I made some nice videos with my GoPro which I still have to edit, hopefully I can upload some videos soon!

IMG_9190

At the top of the mountain there was the famous Sky Bridge. It was very windy but again, the view was amazing. It felt like I was almost able to touch the clouds which was apparently the case, since the mountain is really high.

IMG_9198
I love the green color of the forest
IMG_9205
The ocean. View from the Sky Bridge
IMG_9233
The cable car

After we went to these famous attractions of Langkawi, we went to a nice spot near Smiling Buffalo where we could see the sunset. If it is less cloudy, the sunsets in Langkawi will be very nice and colorful. You will probably be able to see amazing sunsets when the weather is nice and when it is not rain season.
The hostel we stayed in is located next to „Underwater World Langkawi“. Not far from the hostel, there is a restaurant which is open 24/7 where we had dinner twice. They offer really nice dishes and you can have diner there for only 12RM, which is very cheap to my mind.

IMG_9383

The next day, there was a monsoon. Nevertheless, Bianca and I went on a Jet Ski tour for 350RM for each of us. The waves were high but it was not very dangerous. It was kind of a private tour, since it was only us and two Malaysian boys who guided us. We were able to see amazing islands, jumped on the waves, enjoyed the speed of the Jet Skies and even went to a big lake in the middle of an island. After four and a half hours we came back, that was probably the biggest adrenalin rush I ever had. I caught many moments on my GoPro, hopefully I will soon be able to edit the videos and publish them here.

Make sure you always try to negotiate with Taxi Drivers, Water Sports people and of course on the market. Never exaggerate it but you should know that you are always paying more than the locals, which is fine for me.
I am really happy that I got to know Anna and Bianca, they are so nice and I really enjoyed my two days on Langkawi with these lovely people.

I hope you liked my little Langkawi tour post, let me know in the comments if you would like to stay on this beautiful island for a couple of days!

xx, Sophie

 

PS: 25RM equals ca. 5 EUR/ 6 USD/ 4.4 GBP

Thailand 1989 – Koh Nan Yuan

Note to myself:

„Explore more, be adventurous, don’t be afraid to fail, do what you love, be open-minded, care, love yourself, do things you thought you couldn’t do.“

Only a few weeks left until I will be exploring new parts of the world.
Only a few weeks left until I will feed my soul with experiences and memories I will never forget.
Can’t wait anymore, I’m so excited and also afraid that something will go wrong.
Hopefully, I will enjoy solo travelling. Hopefully, everything’s gonna be alright.
My glas is half full, not half empty. I’m optimistic.

I would like to thank my Mum, she always loved travelling and inspired me very much.
In a few weeks, I will strike a similar path like she did many years ago.
The pictures I’m sharing with you today, show the incredibly beautiful island Koh Nan Yuan near Koh Tao in Thailand. I hope you like these vintage photographs, they are the last ones from her Thailand trips.

KohNanYuan-6KohNanYuan-1KohNanYuan-5KohNanYuan-2KohNanYuan-3KohNanYuan-4

Have a lovely week,
Sophie