Spend The Holidays With Me In West Palm Beach, USA!

Me, at Delray Beach

Hey everyone!

So, as many of you know, this holiday season I headed down to Florida with my family. Since I had all my holiday posts planned, written and queued up for the duration of my getaway, I saved all my travel posts for after the holiday season. So, without further ado, here are my Florida travel posts as promised! Today, I’ll be sharing with you guys the first portion of my trip, Christmas in West Palm Beach, USA. Stay tuned next Sunday for part two — Spend A Weekend With Me In Disney!

To start off my trip, I headed back to Toronto for a bit, where I rested up and did my gift swap with my family. While it was a little non-traditional, it saved us from having to waste luggage space bringing everything to Florida — which would have been a huge pain for my family, since they’d just be bringing it all back home anyway. Going home was great — it’s always nice to spend some part of Christmas at home — plus I got to see my cat Dmitry.

My baby!

Shortly thereafter, we got on a plane and headed off to West Palm Beach. Florida can be very hit of miss this time of year when it comes to the weather — so we prepared for everything. Thankfully we did, since the weather was pretty all over the place during our stay — but we didn’t have to let it ruin our vacation.

Our Accommodations

Florida, USA

Surprisingly, in all my travels, I’ve never stayed in an Air BNB before (that I can recall). However, this trip wasn’t just a regular family getaway — my whole extended family was meeting up for this vacation. We rented a home in town that fit all of us, which was interesting as a first time Air BNB stay.

It was a pretty decent place overall, but it definitely had some flaws. The place was a large, rather empty home put up for rent on Air BNB while it was on the market to be sold — so it wasn’t actually anyone’s current home. It was large enough for my whole family, but it felt empty still — it kind of lacked a lot of furniture, as well as a certain charm. Maybe that’s just my opinion since I had to share a tiny single-bunk bed room with my sister and they didn’t have anywhere near enough hand or shower towels — but overall, it wasn’t terrible. I’d rank it a solid 7/10, and I’d definitely consider trying out Air BNB again.

I may or may not have totally forgotten to take photos of our place…… so here’s a screen shot of my insta story! Apologies for the poor quality 😦

Things To Do

During our stay, we were located in the Delray area — which is a cute little beachside town. While we were mostly there to spend time with family and enjoy the holidays (rather than explore), there definitely was a few activities I’d recommend if you ever go to visit the area.

Hit The Beach
Delray Beach

Delray Beach is a small, beautiful and pretty secluded beach, especially for Florida. If you’re going to visit the area and are looking for a beach day, I’d totally recommend it. It’s a lot quieter than other nearby beaches I’ve been to — making it far more relaxing and more fun to explore or spend the day at. If you’re there for the day, I’d definitely recommend walking down the coast for a bit or just sitting and soaking up some rays (weather permitting, of course).

Explore the Town
Atlantic Avenue

Beachside towns are always the best to explore. If you’re in the area, the absolute best place to look around is Atlantic Avenue. The entire street is completely made up of cute restaurants, beach clothing stores and local art shops — there’s hardly a chain store on the entire strip, meaning you get a little break from the same-old same-old and really get to look around at something new. I’d totally recommend going for an afternoon just to wander — no need to worry about time, directions or anything, this area is best experienced plan-free.

Places To Eat

This entire area is full of every kind of restaurant, fast food or take out joint imaginable — so no matter what you want, you’ll be totally covered. It certainly was a little tricky being a group of 14 looking for places to eat — it did tend to limit our options, but we still had a couple really great meals.

Papa’s Raw Bar
Soft Shell Crab at Papa’s Raw Bar

While this is a fish and seafood restaurant, I can attest there really is something here for everyone you’re travelling with. The menu features multiple categories, including sushi, burgers, salads, tacos and hibachi, so everyone can find something on the menu to satisfy their cravings. Plus, I gotta say, the fried rice was pretty much to die for. Check out their website here!

Doc’s All American Burger Shack
Root beer Float at Doc’s

This cute little roadside take-out joint was pretty much the epitome of classic American take out food. They had burgers, fries, shakes and floats — and absolutely all of it was delicious. We stopped in for a quick snack but honestly, all of us were super impressed with what we ordered. Sometimes, simplicity and classics really are best.

While this trip may not have been all about adventure and exploring, it is what makes the West Palm area perfect for a family vacation. Not only is it simple and easy, there’s absolutely guaranteed to be something for everyone. Whether it’s activities or food, this little town has it all — Florida is really one of those places that has everything you could ever need. If you really are feeling up to a little adventure, there’s countless types of day trips all in the nearby area as well. If you want, there’s Miami, the Everglades, Disney World, plus so many other beaches and, of course, a whole ocean to boat around.

Florida, USA

Stay tuned next week to hear all about my weekend trip to Disney World — I’ve been plenty of times, so I’d consider myself a bit of an expert for anyone looking to plan a trip there themselves. I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas, New Years and holidays — if you went on a winter getaway yourself, I’d love to hear all about it! Drop a comment below and let me know where you went and how it was!

Xo,

Meredith

Storytime: My Secret Beach Discovery In Phuket, Thailand!

Unnamed Beach with Wild Dogs, Phuket, Thailand

Okay, this is going to be a bit of a different post for me, but I really wanted to share. This moment meant a whole lot to me, and while it may seem super irrelevant to you, I hope it can touch your heart too.

This story takes a bit of exposition, so bear with me. While my trip to South East Asia was mostly a first for me, I’ve actually been to Thailand before back in 2013. My family and I travelled with our close family friends to Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket New Years.

As well, my parents are rather familiar with Thailand — my parents once travelled there together before I was born, as well, my dad went there on a trip similar to mine when he was about my age with his brother.

One of my dad’s most favourite memories in the world is when he was in Phuket during his trip; he and his brother stumbled across an empty beach and spent the day there. This beach was an untouched sanctuary — tourism wasn’t as big in Thailand at the time, so they spent the entire day there without seeing a single other person, just enjoying this beach to themselves.

When we arrived in Phuket in 2013 (actually, I believe it was just after New Years, so 2014 at this point) my dad was so excited to be able to see the beach of one of his fondest memories again. He spent all kinds of time researching it, trying to figure out where it was — our resort was on the beach, so he figured it couldn’t be far. However, when his search turned up fruitless, he came to the conclusion that the beach he remembered must have been the one our resort was located on, and he was heartbroken. This beach was now fully developed and completely packed with tourists — one of those beaches where the entirety of it is lined with resorts and it’s hard to find a spot to even sit down amidst all the chaos. It was, understandably, of of the saddest I’ve ever seen my dad in my life. The empty beach from his young adulthood had been completely renovated into a tourist hotspot and had lost all of its magical charm from what he once knew.

Fast forward to 2019.

Upon finishing up with our time in Koh Phi Phi, Nylah and I jumped on our ferry back to Phuket with about 7 hours until we had to be at the airport, and no plan. It was going to be a long day, so we didn’t want to do anything crazy — we were thinking we’d just sit at the beach until it was time to head over. The ferry company offered shuttles from the harbour to almost anywhere you’d like, so we told them our situation and they recommended a beach close enough to the airport we could easily get there when we were ready to leave.

As we’re pulling up, I’m struck by how familiar it looks — its basically identical to the beach I stayed at 5 years prior. The shuttle bus driver drops us off and we set up camp for the day along the edge of the beach (in the shade of the palm trees as I, unfortunately, got rather sunburnt on the ferry ride over). The beach is completely empty, save for a pack of friendly but wild dogs that inhabited the area. It was beautiful.

A few hours go by before it hits me — maybe THIS was the beach my dad had been looking for all those years ago. It looked so, so similar to the tourist beach, but there was absolutely no one else around. I quickly snapped a photo and sent it off to my family group chat — I figured even if it wasn’t the same beach, my dad would probably feel better seeing that there was still areas nearby that were untouched by development.

If you’ve stuck with me this long, this is where it gets pretty crazy. My dad instantly recognized the photo, and a few days later sent back a picture he dug up when I showed him the beach.

My Dad’s Photo Of The Beach, Phuket

Look familiar?

The Exact, Unedited, Photo I Sent My Family Of The Beach We Found

Not only did I manage to stumble upon the exact beach my dad had visited when he was my age, he set up camp in the exact same spot, and took the exact same photo as me, from the same angle. I’m sure it’s all just one crazy coincidence, but I can’t believe the odds. Not only does my dad’s beach still exist, but I ended up by chance spending the exact same day there years later on a similar trip of my own.

Anyways, I’m not really sure what the point is of the story, but I was so completely shocked and heart warmed by this whole thing that I thought I would share. My dad is so excited that this beach still exists, untouched, and just as empty as when he visited it himself when he was my age. Pretty happy ending to the story, which was crazy enough even without the fact that my dad had been so torn up over thinking this beach had been completely developed into a resort strip. If your curious about exactly which beach it is, message me — I’d rather not share it publicly for my own personal reasons.

I hope you all enjoyed this story, and that you found it as heart-warming and amazing as I did. There’s nothing I’d love more than to have brightened all your busy Thursday’s with this story, since it meant so much to me.

Lots of Love,

Meredith

Spend A Day With Me On A Boat Cruise In Koh Phi Phi!

Nylah and I Taking On A Boat Cruise in Koh Phi Phi

Hey y’all!

So last entry I shared with you all my favourite things to go (and eat!) in Koh Phi Phi, but today I’m gonna go a little more in depth and share with you our day spent exploring the ocean and neighbouring islands! There’s like endless trips you can choose from out of Koh Phi Phi, since there’s soooooo many different islands surrounding it and all sorts of activities depending on what your interests are. Depending on what you choose for yourself, you can go snorkelling, scuba, hiking, kayaking, sightseeing, and more!

For our particular trip, we chose to take a half day afternoon tour to Bamboo Island and the local Monkey Beach, with activities that included snorkelling and kayaking. However, if you go on longer trips you’d likely have more options of places to go see, such as Phang Nga Bay (which has a certain likeness to Ha Long Bay in Vietnam) or possibly even non-beach access to Maya Bay (I’m really not too sure about this one, as I know the beach has been closed off until 2021 to recover from tourists. However, I got the chance to go back in 2014 and it was really spectacular, so if you get the chance to go I’d really recommend it — just be sure to be very respectful and don’t go anywhere you shouldn’t or do anything that may cause more damage to the natural habitat. Anyways, sorry for the rant. Let’s continue!)

Stop #1: Bamboo Island!
Bamboo Island

For our first stop, we travelled out to Bamboo Island and spent an hour just offshore. We were offered options to both snorkel and kayak; you could also kayak to shore and check out the beach or kayak to other nearby reefs, so long as you didn’t go too far. Not only were the reefs stunning, but the beach was lovely and getting the chance to just leisurely paddle around the waters was incredibly relaxing.

Stop #2: To The Reef!
Out At Sea, Docked For Reef Snorkelling

After that, we hopped back on the boat and headed off to another reef. Me and Nylah both opted to stay on the boat for this one and take some time to just chill, however the others were also given the chance to snorkel out to some rocks and reefs over the course of another hour.

Stop #3: To The Monkey Beach!
A Monkey!!!

The third stop of our trip was easily my favourite. We stopped just offshore of some very isolated beaches out on a point from Phi Phi, and kayaked ashore to see monkeys in their natural habitat. This was in no way a zoo or an attraction, so the number of monkeys (if any) that you got to see just depended on the days and your luck. So luckily for us, two monkeys came down to eat the watermelon we had to offer them — and they hung out for a bit afterwards as well! When we all went a bit further down the beach to explore, we saw another beach, which you could kayak to but not land on, just a short ways away with even more monkeys. We pulled up just in time to witness not only a whole bunch of monkeys in their natural habitat, but also baby monkeys with their moms as well!

After this, we headed back to the dock and finished up our journey. For those looking for lots of adventure, you can take whole day trips from Phi Phi as well. Our trip ended just around sunset, allowing us to get a lovely view just as we pulled into the bay and went to dock. For anyone looking to visit the Phi Phi Islands, I’d highly recommend taking a boat tour — there’s so much available to see and do and endless islands to chose from and visit.

Monkey Beach, Koh Phi Phi

And that’s all for Koh Phi Phi! Stay tuned to hear all about my (tragically) last stop on my South East Asia trip — Bangkok part 2! I’ll be sure to cover way more and go way more in depth the second time around as we actually have a plan and time to explore.

Love,

Meredith