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

South East Asia: The Top Ten!

Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang, Laos

Hey everybody!

So, as many of you know by now I’ve just returned from a trip across South East Asia that included Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. While it was all pretty amazing, I certainly had my favourite places that I’d consider to be must sees if you ever get the opportunity to travel to any of these beautiful countries! Between the ten of them, I really couldn’t pick favourites, plus everything is completely depended on what people are interested in pursuing while they travel, and which country or areas they choose to visit.

So, without further ado, here’s my top ten! They’re put in order of when we visited them, with absolutely no ranking in terms of favouritism between them. I hope if you’re reading this, it gives you ideas for where to visit on your travels or even inspires you to plan a trip! If anyone else has been/is going to any of the following places, drop a comment! I’d love to hear all about it.

Thailand
Doi Inthanon, Chiang Mai
Doi Inthanon, Thailand

During our time in South East Asia, Nylah and I saw more temples than I could even keep track of. Doi Inthanon, however, was something special. It was by far one of the most peaceful and magical places I have ever laid eyes on. Between the beautiful architecture of these temples and the stunning mountain top view, if you’re ever in Thailand Doi Inthanon is a temple stop you definitely can’t miss. Read my original post here!

Elephant Sanctuary, Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai, Thailand

When people think of Thailand, I’m sure for many elephant riding comes to mind. However, while elephant riding tours certainly still exist all over Thailand, many people have started to realize how inhumane they are to the animals. If you want to see elephants during your stay in Thailand, instead, you should check out a sanctuary like Elephant Jungle Sanctuary! Not only were many of the elephants rescued from elephant riding camps, but you could see how happy and well-cared for these animals were — something you’d definitely miss out on if you choose to ride the animals instead. Read my original post here!

Viewpoint Hike, Koh Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Koh Phi Phi straight up has to be the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited in my life. If you ever get the opportunity to visit, the best way to take it all in is to hike up to the viewpoint! The hike is a little challenging, but incredibly rewarding as you get a view of the whole island from the top. If you do go, be sure to check out the second viewpoint, the scenery was absolutely insane. If you’re really looking for something special, be sure to hike up for sunset/sunrise for a truly spectacular view. Read my original post here!

BONUS: Get A Thai Massage

Okay, okay, I know I said top ten, but I figured I’d add this one in as a quick bonus. While I went to get a massage in Bangkok, you really could get one anywhere in Thailand, hence why I added it as a bonus — it really isn’t location-specific. Not only can you get an amazing massage for exceptional prices, if you’ve never experienced a Thai massage it’ll be unlike any you’ve had before. Be sure to ask at your hotel/hostel for recommendations for best places in the area!

Laos
Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang
Kuang Si Falls, Luang Prabang, Laos

Oh man was this place ever magical. Kuang Si Falls is made up of a series of waterfalls, that cascade down into a set of pools you can swim in. The water is literally bright baby blue, and you can sit in the falls as well. They’re even full of those little fish they have at those pedicure places, so you can get a quick and all-natural pedi while you’re at it! Overall, this was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, 10/10 would recommend. Read my original post here!

Phousi Mountain Hike, Luang Prabang
Phousi Mountain, Luang Prabang, Laos

Out of all the hikes we did, this one was certainly one of my favourites. For the relatively small level of difficulty, the views were spectacular. The viewpoint at the top gave you a lookout over all of Luang Prabang and the surrounding mountains. For an extra special view, be sure to go at sunrise or sundown. Read my original post here!

Vietnam
Ha Long Bay, Hanoi
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay straight up looks like a scene out of a movie — it seriously doesn’t even look real. The bay is filled with tiny mountain-like islands, in fact, there’s nearly 2000 in the area. There’s all sorts of things to do in the area, such as hikes, caves, and beaches, so if you go be sure to check out the local boat cruises — I’d recommend an overnight one at least. This place is absolutely magical, and its certainly worthwhile to spend an extra night there, see the sunset, and take in the almost-ethereal locale. Read my original post here!

Hang Múa Hike, Ninh Binh
Hang Múa, Ninh Binh, Vietnam

Out of all the hikes we completed across all of South East Asia, this one was certainly the hardest–but also the most spectacular. If you’re going to give it a try, be sure to go well prepared; it’s certainly not the easiest of hikes, especially it the Vietnam heat. But the view from the top was beyond amazing, words can’t even describe how beautiful and rewarding it was. Read my original post here!

Night Food Market, Ho Chi Minh City
Night Food Market, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam

South East Asia, across the board, had many of the absolute best meals I’ve had in my life — but this place was by far my favourite. Not only did it have a great atmosphere, but there was endless options to choose from. There was all kinds of food stands from a large array of Asian cuisines, without a doubt there was something there for anything you happened to be craving. If I lived in Ho Chi Minh City, I guarantee you could find me here every night. Read my original post here!

Cambodia
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Along with Doi Inthanon, Angkor Wat was my favourite temple we saw along our trip (and as I said, we saw a whole lot of temples). Not only was it crazy to see how Cambodian Temples differed from those in Thailand and Laos, but the sheer size and grandeur of Angkor Wat makes it a must-see. You could easily spend hours here and feel like there’s still more to see — and the views from the top are unreal. As the largest religious monument in the world, Angkor Wat is something you absolutely can’t miss if you’re travelling to Cambodia. Read my original post here!

Phnom Kulen Falls, Siem Reap
Phnom Kulen Falls, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Like Kuang Si Falls, Phnom Kulen Falls are a great place to stop in for a swim–but also distinctly different from the falls in Laos. This waterfall had two swimming areas; one a smaller fall that was more like a shower, and a giant pool at the bottom of the second, massive waterfall. It was so beautiful and relaxing, and I’d highly recommend checking it out if you’re ever in the area. Read my original post here!

So there you have it! I really hope that some of y’all can find somewhere on this list that inspires you for your next trip. If any of you have been to any of these places and would like to share your thoughts, let me know! As well, I’d love to hear it if you have any suggestions of your own. It’ll probably be a little while before I’m going to be able to travel again, but for next time I’m thinking Japan, Singapore, or Europe!

But that’s all for now! Until next time.

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

Things To Do: Koh Phi Phi Edition!

Me, At The Beach In Koh Phi Phi

Hey everyone!

Welcome to the next instalment of my travel series: Koh Phi Phi, Thailand! Sadly, this is the last location we’ll visit before heading back to Bangkok, and therefore means that this will be one of the last of my South East Asia travel series. Going home is certainly bittersweet, I’ve honestly had some of the best experiences of my life on this trip and would love to stay and explore more, but am also excited to go home. Besides, going home just means I get to work on planning my next trip!

Anyways, Koh Phi Phi!

To preface, I’ve actually been to Phuket before, and spent a day on a boat trip around Koh Phi Phi and the surrounding islands. However, this time I got the opportunity to actually stay on the island of Koh Phi Phi itself, which was a dream. Phuket and the surrounding islands are hands down my favourite place on earth, and while this location certainly offers a lot less in terms of religious culture and exploring than the others, it still is my personal fave. Not only is Phi Phi the most beautiful place on earth, or very well may be one of the most relaxing. Stay tuned to hear all about my favourite things to do in the area (besides just lying on the beach)!

Do A Boat Cruise!
Phi Phi Island Boat Tours

One of the best ways to get some exploring done around the islands is to book a boat cruise! They’re offered everywhere you look in Koh Phi Phi, so take some time and do the research about which one is best for you, but you really can’t go wrong! On our personal half day boat trip, we did a mix of snorkelling, kayaking and beach exploring. We stopped in first at Bamboo Island to snorkel, kayak or head into shore and check out the beach. After that, we stopped in at another reef and were given time to snorkel some more. And finally — my personal favourite — for our final stop, we kayaked into some beaches that were inhabited by monkeys! We actually got to go on shore, feed them and take photos of them, which was incredible. They were so cute and so fascinating to see up close in their natural habitat, and not some kind of exhibit or zoo. 10/10, would highly recommend checking out if you take a boat cruise, but there’s all kinds of option to choose from! If you’re interested, there’s other islands and activity options, and you can read more about it in my next post!

Hike To The View Point!
Sunset View, Viewpoint #2, Koh Phi Phi

To be fair, Koh Phi Phi is full of beautiful views no matter where you look. However, hiking up to the top of the viewpoints was one of the most spectacular views I have ever seen. To be fair, you should be prepared for a fair amount of stairs and a good work out if you decide to check this one out, but it’s 100% worth it (especially viewpoint #2)! I’d definitely recommend planning to head up to catch the sunset, which was both just amazing to see as well as a little cooler than hiking up midday.

Check Out The Local Restaurants!
Eggs Benny at Acqua

Koh Phi Phi is a pretty small island that’s very much geared towards tourists, so everywhere you look there’s either shops, bars, restaurants, and tour guides. So many of the restaurants at Koh Phi Phi were fantastic, but we certainly had a few favourites: Acqua, Anna’s, Unni’s, and Charlie’s. As Phi Phi is a lot more tourist-friendly than almost any other place we’ve visited on this trip, most restaurants do not stick to a singular cuisine and offer a variety of options. Most places will have, at the very least, both Western and Thai options — as all the places I loved most did (especially as I did get a fairly serious case of food poisoning from the food stands at the docks and had to take it easy for the first half of our visit). They’re all still unique in their own way, however; Anna’s was predominantly Swiss/German and Thai, while Unni’s and Acqua were both more standard North American and Thai. Charlie’s, in comparison, focused mainly on Italian cuisine but had Thai options as well. Not only would I highly recommend any of these four restaurants if you ever get the chance to visit Koh Phi Phi, but I can almost guarantee that even though it is a small island, it’ll have something for everyone. Seriously.

Go to Phuket!
Sunset View, Phuket

Okay, so I feel like the usual trip is “Go to Phuket, visit the Islands” and not the other way around, but I feel like I’d personally suggest focusing your trip around the islands. However, Phuket is still amazing in a completely different way and shouldn’t be overlooked! While you’re in Phuket, the beaches are a must-see. They’re so different from other South East Asian beaches, and have evergreen trees lining their shores instead of palms. Not only is it a cool change from a regular beach experience, but these beaches are just spectacular in their own right. So whether your trip is based around the islands or Phuket, be sure to check out both during your stay!

And that’s Koh Phi Phi! Stay tuned to hear more in depth about my boat cruise experience! For anyone looking to travel to Thailand, I really personally believe Koh Phi Phi is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen and I already am hoping to get the chance to go back in the future. For such a tiny island, it really has it all — a HUGE party scene, plenty of adventures and wildlife, snorkeling and scuba, and all sorts of places to kick back and relax. It really is a must see and perfect for almost any Thailand trip, no matter what you’re looking for.

Much Love,

Meredith

Me, At The Beach In Koh Phi Phi