First Overwater Bungalow! The Resort of my Dreams in Vietnam

After two fantastic nights at Pilgrimage Village, I was next off to their sister resort in nearby Phu Loc which lies between Hue and Hoi An.
I spent four incredible nights at Vedana Lagoon Resort and Spa which was - I kid you not, the resort of my dreams.

It is nestled on the shore of a peaceful and serene lagoon, which is one of the largest in Southeast Asia. They have the very first overwater villas in Vietnam, which I felt so lucky and grateful to be able to experience.
The best part was my husband flew all the way from Australia to meet me for a two week holiday so we got to enjoy it together!

First Impressions

The complimentary shuttle ride from Pilgrimage Village was very convenient and quick; only a 45 minute drive away. Hopping out of the van I was instantly greeted and had my luggage taken for me as I walked up the steps into the large and modernly designed reception area.

From the moment I arrived at Vedana Lagoon, I could not wipe the smile off my face.
This place was absolutely stunning! The secluded location set in front of serene waters surrounded by mountains and tropical palm trees was eye-poppingly beautiful.
It was such a balmy place and had wonderful relaxing vibes.

I was warmly welcomed, shown to a nearby seat and presented with a tasty refreshing drink and cool towel.

The check in process was seamless and I was informed of all of the onsite facilities, daily activities and free shuttle bus times to Hue and a nearby popular beach.
I was then transported via a buggy and taken to my room - which turned out to be an amazing surprise.

The Room

I was so incredibly lucky to be upgraded to an Overwater Bungalow - I have always dreamed of staying in a room like this! Not only that but there is only one that has a glass-bottomed floor, and guess who got it? Me! I was very spoilt indeed.
Opening the door to my room I was instantly blown away, it was incredibly luxurious. I was given a tour and then left to marvel and enjoy.

I was so surprised by how large it was. The villa was 130 square metres with a very spacious bedroom and separate bathroom area.

The super king sized bed was a central feature of the room, raised on a modern wood stage. To the front of it was the amazing glass floor to see right through to the water below!
A mesmerising feature that I couldn't take my eyes off of.

To the left side of the bed was a comfortable built-in couch with colourful cushions.

In the left corner of the room set atop a small fireplace was an LCD television with satellite channels and a DVD player.

In the right corner was a wooden desk with complimentary bottled water and a fruit platter that was changed daily.

Behind the bed, on the left and right are two large wardrobes. In the left was a small fridge and mini bar that was well-equipped including a selection of international wines and spirits. There was also complimentary tea and coffee, a little pot and glassware.
The right wardrobe held a safe, soft silky robes and flip flops.

Through the right-hand door was the enormous bathroom which had an amazing deep bath set right in front of the window looking out over the lagoon.

The long counter had his and hers sinks with large mirrors and many good quality toiletries, there were even proper toothbrush holders!

Also in the bathroom was another large desk area set in front of a large mirror.
My husband always sleeps in so I enjoyed being able to come in there in the mornings and sit at the desk on my laptop to work.

Through a connecting door was a gorgeous separate outdoor bathroom area with a rain shower and toilet around the corner. The shampoo, conditioner and soap were amazing quality, I really enjoyed using them.

Probably the best part of the villa was the amazing view whether you looked left, right or straight ahead. Through the sliding doors leading out to the large balcony, was the best place to enjoy it from the table and chairs or comfortable round day bed.

Other features of the room included excellent Wifi and air conditioning, 24-hour room service, daily housekeeping, laundry service available, unlimited free bottled water and a nightly turndown service.

As well as the captivating and tranquil view, I especially loved how spacious, artfully decorated and cosy the room was. The bed was extremely comfortable and it was very quiet being so far from anyone else, so the sleep quality was excellent.

There are a range of other types of rooms available as well including Waterfront Deluxe, Pool Honeymoon Villa and Family Lagoon View.

Beyond the Room

Vedana Lagoon is a resort that has it all; so you don't ever have to leave if you don't want to.
There is an incredible infinity pool overlooking the lagoon that is enormous and ultra relaxing.

There are plenty of loungers and day beds around the pool to relax on under shady umbrellas.
One thing I did miss was a happy hour or drink specials. That is definitely something my husband and I usually take advantage of.

The Vedana Wellness & Spa is absolute perfection. Located in an overwater bungalow itself, you simply cannot beat the views or tranquility!

They aim to bring you "an experience of spa life which we define as LUSH. (Luxurious. Unpretentious. Sustainable. Healthy)".
They offer many treatments to indulge in such as lovers romantic packages (for two people), massages, body treatments including scrubs and wraps, facials, wellness, nail and hair care.

You certainly couldn't beat a pamper session with those views and ambient surroundings! The Jacuzzi, sauna and herbal steam room is also available for guests to enjoy before or after treatments.

Also near the spa they offer daily complimentary wellness activities including Yoga and Taichi in the mornings.
Closer to the entrance and reception area are plenty of other great activities to keep you busy if you choose. There are tennis, volleyball and badminton courts for a bit of sporty fun.

There is a gym with a view for guests to use with a variety of exercise machines and equipment.

For the young or young at heart there is a games room with a pool table and foozball games. There is also a baby room, movie room, a library, conference room, cooking classroom - Vedana Lagoon really has it all.

There are even kayaks to use at your leisure to enjoy the beautiful lagoon.

One of my favourite things about the resort was getting around by bicycle!
Each room comes with your own set of two and I loved cycling around the lagoon to breakfast in the mornings and the pool in the afternoons. I hadn't cycled for years so it was really fun for me. If you don't like to cycle you can easily call up and get a buggy straight to your door to take you around.

As well as having a complimentary daily shuttle bus to Hue and a beach they can easily book and organise tours and airport transfers. We personally used this and pre-booked a pickup for Gareth from Danang Airport to Vedana Lagoon and it was an excellent and convenient service.

They have wedding and honeymoon packages and can cater for onsite meetings and events.

There is of course also the lovely onsite Lantern House, Piano Bar and Horizon Restaurant where we ate at every night, this is also where breakfast is served daily.

The Food

A daily buffet breakfast is included in the room and had a very impressive selection of local and international choices. You could have eggs made to order, Pho noodle soup, there was a large range of hot and cold dishes, fresh pastries and bread, fruit, yogurt, cereals and juices.

The coffee was superb and you could choose from Vietnamese or American. Everything was very fresh, good quality and tasty, I very much enjoyed my breakfast every day! 

The Horizon Restaurant's menu was a good mixture of European, Vietnamese and local specialties.
We enjoyed trying many dishes and eating different things every night. The waiters were always helpful in recommending dishes if we weren't sure. Our favourite was a seafood and mixed meat hotpot that we shared and really enjoyed.

One of the days for lunch we ordered room service which was excellent. We loved the convenience and being able to eat and enjoy the beautiful view from our balcony.

There is an overwater platform where the resort can set up romantic sunset dinners for a special occasion. They offer delicious set menus and can arrange candles and live music which would be an unforgettable memory.

The Candle Bar lit up at night

The Details

Resort: Vedana Lagoon Resort and Spa

Location: Zone 1, Phu Loc Town, Phu Loc District, 8454

Reviews: 4.5/5 stars on Trip Advisor from 655 reviews and a 2017 Traveler's Choice Winner.

Price: Starts at $120 USD for a Waterfront Deluxe Room, depending on the season.

Final Thoughts

I absolutely loved my stay here and wished I didn't ever have to leave! It was such a magical experience staying in an overwater bungalow with some of the best views I've ever laid my eyes on. It truly looked like a painting.

The staff are incredibly warm, generous and friendly. Any minor request was taken care of straight away, the service was impeccable. Cycling around the resort you were happily greeted by everyone, even the lovely gardeners.

As it is quite a secluded resort this is a wonderful retreat to refresh, rejuvenate and relax.
It is the perfect place for couples, families and groups of friends for a special occasion or luxurious getaway.

It is the most tranquil and peaceful place I have ever had the pleasure of staying at and I loved every minute of it. As someone who is attracted to water, Vedana Lagoon was a picture-perfect place that I can still hardly believe exists!

It was a real treat to stay there and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting central Vietnam, it is such a gem and one not to be missed!

Happy Travels,
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Disclaimer: One night was complimentary and the others discounted in exchange for an honest review. All opinions as always are my own.

A Taste of Rural Vietnam at Pilgrimage Village, Hue

I was so excited to return back to Vietnam, six months away was too long! This time I had the pleasure of exploring central Vietnam, beginning in Hue – the former seat of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors and the national capital from 1802–1945.

I stayed for two fantastic nights at Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa, which was an amazing retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. Only a 15-minute drive away from the town centre, it is located in the quiet countryside in a rustic village setting, surrounded by lush tropical gardens.

First Impressions

Upon arrival, I was warmly greeted and had my bags taken for me. I was welcomed into the spacious open reception area that had a grand wood design with a hand-carved roof and large wooden beams. I was shown to one of the many comfortable seats and presented with a refreshing welcome drink and cool towel.
The check in process was smooth and I was briefed on the onsite facilities, daily activities and free shuttle bus times before being shown to my room.
The grounds were very large and lush with greenery, it had a very secluded feel about it.

The outside of my room

The Room

Located opposite the spa, I was lucky enough to be upgraded to a Honeymoon Suite which was an incredible room with everything you could wish for.
It was perfectly spacious and open with a grand king four-poster bed as the central feature, which was very comfortable.

In front of the bed was a sofa couch and coffee table with flowers and a fresh fruit platter that was changed daily – a very thoughtful and welcome touch!

In the left corner was a wooden desk, chair and bright lamp which was a great working station. On the desk were room service and spa menus, tour information and complimentary bottled water.

In the right-hand corner opposite the bed was an LCD television with premium channels set above a small fireplace.

To the very right of the bed and where you walk in was a wardrobe with bathrobes, slippers and large umbrellas. In the shelving was an electronic safe, a small refrigerator with a mini bar that was decently stocked, glassware, cups and complimentary coffee and tea.

The marble-style bathroom was also very large and had an impressive bath with a window view of the beautiful green scenery.

The shower had excellent pressure and for once the shampoo and conditioner were great quality, I really enjoyed using them. There was even a jar of complimentary rock salt to use for the bath.

The bathroom was well-equipped with fresh towels and kitted out with all the toiletries you could possibly need.

Through the sliding doors, outside was a large balcony with two rocking chairs, a table and sunbed. The view overlooked a large lotus pond below and it was a very peaceful and tranquil setting.

Other features of the room include good Wifi and air conditioning, room service, daily housekeeping, laundry service available and a nightly turndown where they put down the mosquito net for you.

The entire room was tastefully decorated with wooden furnishings and art and it had a very rustic countryside feel to it. I particularly loved the large mirrors and the blackout curtains.
With the curtains drawn, in the mornings there was no light at all so that along with the super comfortable bed made for fantastic sleep quality.
It was a very quiet and relaxing room and I enjoyed it very much.

Pilgrimage Village has 139 rooms in total and there are many types to choose from to suit a variety of needs. The Premium Deluxe rooms are newer and have a more classic modern style and there is a range of villas and bungalows to choose from including Family Deluxe, Honeymoon Pool Hut and probably my favourite – the Traditional Vietnamese Pool House!

The beautifully designed house comes complete with its own living room, plunge pool, private garden and outdoor dining area. Staying there would be absolute honeymoon or anniversary goals!

Beyond the Room

The large property is spread over five hectares and naturally, they offer a wide range of facilities and services including two premium pools.
The first is a picturesque aqua pool located close to the reception area. There is an attached children's pool and loungers dotted around under thatched-roof umbrellas.

The main pool is possibly the largest I had ever seen before! Located at the far end of the resort near The Valley Restaurant, this slope pool has a swim-up pool bar with daily drink specials and many loungers to relax on.

Happy Hour runs from 4:30 - 6:30 pm with 2 for 1 signature cocktails and beer. You can also order poolside snacks from their menu to enjoy.

The temperature of the pool was a little too warm for me, but it was still very pleasant to lounge poolside on the comfortable sunbeds while reading my book.
The surrounding area was beautifully decorated and tranquil, with a trickling waterfall and bird sculpture fountains around the pool. It was extremely relaxing.

The onsite Vedana Spa is highly impressive and offers many treatments to indulge in, inspired by nature to help nurture the mind, body and spirit.
They proudly use no chemicals or artificial ingredients in their spa treatments, taking great care to source only 100% natural ingredients. Where possible, they derive all of their spa products from their own herb garden or locally from sustainable sources fresh from the markets in the morning.

Services include deep-tissue massages, hot stone massages, Swedish and Thai massages.
A variety of treatment therapies are provided, including aromatherapy and reflexology.
The spa is also equipped with a sauna, a steam room and Turkish bath/hammam.

All of their treatments are pure in style and substance, offering the unique flavours of Hue, Vietnam.
You can go all out and fully pamper yourself with a manicure and pedicure, facial, a body wrap and scrub, they even offer hair care services.

Near the spa, there are daily complimentary wellness activities including morning Taichi and Yoga.

Also in the area is the well-equipped Fitness Center. There is a variety of exercise machines and equipment including bicycles, treadmills and free weights.

The resort has a convenient daily free shuttle bus to and from the city several times a day and to its sister resort in Phu Loc, Vedana Lagoon.
Many local tours and airport transfers can easily be arranged and there are bicyles for hire.
They have wedding and honeymoon packages and can cater for meetings and social gatherings.

There are no less than three lovely places situated around the resort to enjoy chilling with a nice drink, including the Candle Bar, Peanut Bar and Slope Lounge.

There are two large restaurants on site, Junrei Restaurant, which is one of Central Vietnam's largest traditional houses, crafted with authentic imperial columns and Valley Restaurant of a more modern art design, set next to a lily lake; this is also where breakfast is served daily.

The Food

A daily buffet breakfast is included with your room and has seriously one of the most impressive selections I have ever seen.
You can have eggs made to order how you like and there is a banh mi and waffle stand.

There are western and local hot dishes to choose from including traditional Hue pho soup. There are fresh pancakes, crepes, pastries and bread, cereal, yoghurt, fresh fruit, salads and juices, cheese and deli items.

There is something for every taste here, even the fussiest person would not go hungry.
I thoroughly enjoyed my breakfast both mornings.
One thing that could perhaps be improved on is the coffee service. It was always very busy and both mornings I had to ask for a coffee after about twenty minutes as it wasn't self-service and nobody had come by.

An excellent start to my day!

I ate in for both of the nights and on the first, I ordered room service, which was quite prompt. I wasn't particularly hungry so I just ordered an entree that was a local Hue dish, Banh Khoai. It is a Vietnamese crepe made of rice flour and fried until crispy, with pork meat, quail egg and shrimp to eat together with fresh lettuce leaves, herbs and a dipping sauce. It was so delicious I wished there was a second one!

On my second and final night, I dined at the Junrei Restaurant which was a very elegant place. They (as well as Valley Restaurant) offer both Vietnamese and international cuisine and the setting is very beautiful, in a large building with hand-crafted wooden architecture.
It was quite full of people so it is a very popular option. It did take a while to order and for the food to come out however it was certainly worth the wait and I enjoyed a beer in the meantime. After asking for a recommendation I ordered Bun Thit Nuong.

This is a popular cold Vietnamese rice noodle dish, topped with tasty grilled pork, fresh herbs such as basil and mint, a fresh garden salad, bean sprouts and deep-fried spring rolls. You pour the fish sauce over the noodles, mix all together and enjoy!
It was a great big size and very delicious, the flavours were so fresh and wonderful.
It was a tad on the expensive side for Vietnam however, that with the cheapest Huda beer came to $16 AUD.
It was a very delicious meal though and the convenience of dining on site is worth it.

The Details

Hotel: Pilgrimage Village Boutique Resort & Spa

Location: 130 Minh Mang Road, Hue, Vietnam

Reviews: 4.5/5 stars on Trip Advisor from 1956 Reviews.

Price: Starts at $90 USD a night for a Deluxe Double Room, depending on the season.

Final Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here, it was a much-needed retreat. Being surrounded in a peaceful, lush green environment and experiencing a taste of rural Vietnam in a luxury-style setting was so blissful. The resort seamlessly embodied both traditional Vietnamese influences infused with classic modern style.

The location is great if you want to stay somewhere more secluded and quiet, away from the traffic noise and the hustle of everyday life. The airport is only 15 kilometres away and the city centre 4 kilometres away, or fifteen minutes drive and the free daily shuttle buses make going to and from there a breeze.

Even though there were clearly many people at the resort, judging by the pool and restaurants always being fulll, it really didn't seem like it as it's such an enormous place with plenty of space for all.

The generous staff are exceptionally friendly, the most I have ever encountered before. Everyone would all smile and say Xin Chào to each other as well as every time us guests walked past.
Miwa from Japan, in particular, was the loveliest woman I think I have ever met in my life. She made sure everything was perfect about my stay and offered any assistance for future travels which was so kind, she is such a beautiful soul.

My room was fantastic and very comfortable and the facilities around the resort are 5-star. With the two excellent pools, great spa, multiple restaurants and bars, Pilgrimage Village is the ideal place for a relaxing vacation and would be a top choice for every type of traveller, from solo travellers like me to couples looking for a romantic getaway, friends and big family groups.
I highly recommend this resort and would absolutely stay again next time I'm in Hue!

Happy Travels,

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Disclaimer: One night was complimentary and the second night discounted in exchange for an honest review. All opinions as always are my own.

10 Weeks in; Reflections of my SE Asia Travels so far

I had a bit of time to kill at the airport before my flight to Siem Reap, so it was the perfect opportunity to sit back and reflect on my travels so far.
It has now been almost ten weeks since I have been travelling around Southeast Asia, and looking back at the very beginning seems oh so long ago! Not in a negative way of course, I’ve just done and seen so much in the space of ten weeks.

Here’s a quick rundown tally of what I have been up to so far:

Countries visited: 3 (Indonesia - 18 days, Thailand – 27 days, Vietnam – 22 days)
Places visited: 12
Islands visited: 2
Flights: 9
Ferries: 3
Buses: 1
Trains: 1
Tuk Tuks: 5
Motorbike taxis: 7
Scooters Rented: 1
Snorkeled: 1
Jet skied: 1
Day-Tours: 6
Street food tours: 3
Cooking Classes: 2
Temples visited: A million
Massages: 3
Manicures: 2
Pedicures: 1
Tattoos: 1
Hangovers: 3 (Not bad)
Books read: 1.25 (Not much time to read sadly!)
Komodo Dragons seen: 1
Pandas seen: 1
Elephants fed: 5
Monkeys perched on shoulder: 1
Squat toilets used: 2 (Shudders)
Clothing items bought: 6
Cheapest beer: 18 cents (Hoi An)
Most expensive cocktail: $25 AUD (Red Sky Bar, Bangkok)
Airbnbs: 4
Budget Hotels: 7
Luxury Hotels: 7
Accommodation checked out of early: 2
Hotel keys accidentally taken with me: 2 (Doh!)
Shit left behind: 1 (laptop cable – but got it back thankfully!)
Shit stolen: 0 (phew)
Accidents: 0

So, quite a bit has happened. I’ve been very fortunate so far with nothing really bad happening to me and I’m hoping it’s going to stay that way!

Sunset at Karon Beach, Phuket

Here’s a specific tally of best/worst things and moments:

Best hotels: The Breezes Bali, Twin Lotus Resort Koh Lanta, BYD Lofts Phuket, Maryo Resort Chiang Rai, Vedana Lagoon Phu Loc.

Vedana Lagoon, Phu Loc

Worst hotels: Le Manoir Premier Da Nang. Firstly, my shower flooded the entire bathroom into the room and there was no window so it was a dark depressing hole.
I changed the next day into a room with a view which was much better, however there were loads of stains all over the bedding (which wasn't changed once) and inside the fridge was a very old and sticky spill that had never been cleaned. People were smoking inside the hotel, not in the rooms but out in the corridors so it always smelled disgusting. The staff however were very friendly and helpful and it was in a good location to the beach, so I just made do. You get what you pay for!

Best Airbnb: Sathorn, Bangkok. Great apartment in a local area with amazing street food.

Worst Airbnb: Da Nang. Typical Vietnamese house in a local area above a coffee shop. The bed was rock-hard, the floors and bathroom were very dirty, there was gum on the bed, rats in the walls, no proper bathroom (there was a shower head - in the toilet cubicle...), it was super loud and on the Friday night before I left early there was a huge drug party downstairs. All part of the experience, but the next day I was outta there!

Best days: Bali week with my best friends, meeting great people and partying in Bangkok, my first day in Koh Lanta when I was in an epic beachview villa, Phi Phi Island booze cruise, Golden Triangle day trip in Chiang Rai, meeting up with Gareth in Vietnam and staying in a dream overwater bungalow room.

Visiting the Singha Beer Park on the Golden Triange day trip

Worst days: Getting badly lost in Jakarta on my first day, thinking I was going to miss my flight connection from Hanoi to Da Nang, being accidentally very hungover in Hoi An, sitting in a shit hotel the first night in Da Nang after Gareth left and missing him.

Top 3 fave places: Phi Phi Island, Koh Lanta, Hoi An.

Beautiful Phi Phi

Least fave places: Patong Beach Phuket, Jakarta.

Coolest bars: Mr Bean Bar in Hoi An, Guns N' Roses Pub in Da Nang.

Cool moments: Observing a monk praying ceremony at Wat Pho in Bangkok, watching an All Blacks game in a sports bar in Vietnam.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai

Funny moments: Being proposed to on the back of a motorbike while stuck in traffic, Jakarta. Gareth being asked to take a photo with an Asian woman at the Marble Mountains and made to put his arm around her and hold her hand. He was mortified but did it anyway cause he's so nice!

Random sights: Seeing an elephant driving past on the back of a trailer in Krabi, the dragon bridge in Da Nang is pretty random but cool! It lights up at night and on the weekend actually breaths fire.

Interesting experiences: Riding on a very questionable gondola around a huge theme park in Jakarta, entering my first mosque (and the largest in Southeast Asia), receiving a blessing and bracelet from a monk in a temple in the mountains in Chiang Mai, sharing a sleeper carriage with a Vietnamese family on a train from Da Nang to Hue.

Best things eaten: Green Curry, Pad Thai and Mango Sticky Rice in Thailand and Chili and lemongrass chicken, Banh Mi and Pho in Vietnam. I'm also just obsessed with fresh mangoes and coconut juice.

My ultimate favourite food - mango sticky rice!

Strangest things eaten: A silk worm in Thailand, liver on a street food tour in Da Nang and an ice block that I thought was strawberry. Turns out it was red bean and brown rice…. weird.

Best purchase: An awesome Yoda drawstring rucksack in Hoi An.

Favourite beer: Tiger draft and Singha.

Favourite sights: Seeing longtail boats in a picture perfect postcard setting in real life in Phi Phi, observing rescued elephants roaming free in nature as they should be in Chiang Rai, going to the incredible White temple in Chiang Rai, looking into Myanmar and Laos while standing in Thailand at the Golden Triangle, walking the beautiful alleyways of Hoi An at night with their colourful lit up lanterns.

White Temple, Chiang Rai
The beautiful streets of the Old Town in Hoi An

Least fave sights: I visited the Chiang Mai zoo while there because they have pandas which are my favourite animal and any chance I get to see them I do. You have to buy an extra ticket to see them and the enclosure was fairly decent but the rest of the zoo was shockingly appalling. The animals such as lions, were pacing back and forth, bored to tears in their tiny enclosures. The orangutan was slumped over and I have never seen a more depressed animal in my life. The worst was the elephant that has to stand there all day CHAINED hoping for tourists to come past and buy it bananas. It was rocking back and forth and its eyes were completely glazed over. I felt horrible to be supporting such a place by buying a ticket and after seeing the pandas I immediately left, feeling very sad.
Also seeing so much rubbish washed up on the beaches, Patong Beach was the worst.


It always makes me smile seeing people on their scooters carrying mountain-loads three times the size of them.

When I was last in Vietnam I was very nervous about the crazy traffic and crossing the roads without getting run over. This visit, it just wasn’t a problem for me at all. It’s like I grew a weird confidence being away for six months and I could all of a sudden walk into a busy road without hesitation.

I’m also very used to seeing the mounds of rubbish all over the streets, the crazy powerlines, dodging pot holes and men openly pissing on the side of the roads, whereas I suppose that might shock some people!

Although I love Indonesia and Thailand a lot of the people there are constantly trying to rip you off and get as much money out of you as they can. I found that a lot less in Vietnam.
I was still of course hassled by drivers but I didn't ever have to say 'will you run the meter' when I hopped into a taxi because - of course they would!

It's kind of hilarious the amount of times I've been called sir!

I have felt very safe in all three countries visited so far, with the exception of Jakarta. I never felt in any danger there, just very uncomfortable at times and also quite unwelcome.

Streets of Jakarta

What's next?

Well I am currently sitting in my $18 AUD a night hotel room in Siem Reap finishing this post off. I'm feeling very tired as my flight was delayed by 4 hours and I didn't arrive to my room until 1 am and didn't go to sleep until 3 am due to the devastating news of Chester Bennington. But it is now lunch time and I will venture out shortly to begin exploring this new city. I have a whole week here and then three days to play with where I think I will bus to Phnom Penh.

After that I am planning on flying to Laos, starting in Vientiane before busing up to both Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang. From there I will be flying via Bangkok into Myanmar which will be my 27th country. Beginning in Mandalay, I'll then bus to Bagan and then Nyaungshwe to visit Inle Lake.
Next I will fly back to Bangkok where I will be meeting up with my mum who is visiting Asia for the first time. I'll be spending the next three weeks with her in Thailand before finally departing for home on the 8th of September. (I'm so happy to be spending more time in Thailand!).

So I still have exactly 7 weeks left - and a lot still to pack in! That's why I've been so busy for the last week or so trying to catch up and finish as much work as I can before starting the next chapter which will be all go.
I think starting from now, here in Cambodia and the next two countries will present whole new experiences for me. I feel like I know Indonesia (Bali), Thailand and Vietnam pretty well now and I'm very comfortable in those countries. I'm so interested to see how I will feel about the next three, what the people are like, the food and the culture. I'm very excited.

Thanks so much for reading and following along on my journey. I still have so much to write about and I definitely plan to as soon as I get the chance.
Below are a few more highlights photos from the last couple of months starting at the beginning.

Happy Travels,
Watersports fun in Bali
Tegallalang Rice Terraces in Ubud, Bali
Sporting our fresh friendship tattoos
The view from my Airbnb in Jakarta
In front of the MONAS statue in Jakarta
At my favourite temple in Bangkok, Wat Pho
The expensive but awesome birdcage cocktail I got in Bangkok
Hiring a scooter and exploring the island of Koh Lanta
Beautiful surrounding islands of Phi Phi
Dream come true at Maya Bay!
Colourful Karon, Phuket
Trying bugs at a local market in Phuket!
Cool dragon staircase in Chiang Mai
The Iron Bridge in Chiang Mai
I loved visiting temples by night in Chiang Mai
Feeding rescued elephants at a sanctuary in Chiang Rai
At the Baan Dam Black House Museum in Chiang Rai 
Interesting sights at The Golden Triangle
On the borders of three countries!
Action shot (it was the guide's idea) ;)
Exploring the ancient city of Hue
Tropical paradise in Phu Loc
Enjoying the incredible view from our overwater bungalow
The beautiful streets of Hoi An
Having a perfect beach day in Hoi An
Riverside in Hoi An
I loved the preserved buildings of the UNESCO World Heritage town Hoi An
Exploring the streets in Da Nang
A selfie in front of the famous pink cathedral in Da Nang
Beautiful Da Nang Beach

Feel free to follow my Instagram, Twitter and like my Facebook page to keep up to date with my travels!

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My Highlight of Phuket: A Cooking Class to Remember!

If you couldn't tell by my multiple pictures of food and specific food-related posts - I am a huge foodie and Thai cuisine is my ultimate favourite in the whole world.
I knew during my second visit to Thailand I wanted to do a local cooking class and learn how to make some of my all-time fave dishes.

Doing some research, when I came across Kata Thai Cooking by Sally in Phuket, I knew I had found the one! For starters, one of their slogans is 'Food Coma' hahaha.
Seriously though, this was my favourite day of my week in Phuket; we went to a local market, I was made to eat bugs (ew!), I tried so many local delicacies and then back in class I learnt how to whip up first-hand three dishes: Red Curry, Pad Kra Prow and Pad Thai.

It was a fantastic and informative class that I will never forget! Sally was an absolutely fantastic (and patient) teacher and her humour and good nature was the icing on top.
Read on to hear all about the superb cooking class in detail:

The Classroom

I arrived at Kata Thai Cooking Class at 3:30 PM on a Saturday for the dinner with market tour session. It was easy to find and well signposted at the front of the building.

Inside, the classroom was spacious, bright, well-decorated and clean. I already knew it was going be a great class by the vibrant atmosphere and how well set-up and organised the room was.

Everything was all laid out and prepared for the lesson ahead. I was the only one there so far and was warmly greeted and given a cold bottle of water (which was very welcome).

We waited for a while for two others who had booked to show up but they never did, so I basically got my own private cooking class!

Market Visit

Sally and I jumped into her car and we went to a local market about ten minutes drive away.
We started by walking through the fruit and vegetable sections where I got quizzed on my shocking knowledge of the names of them!
We also went through the different parts of meat, fish, many spices and common ingredients. As we went Sally picked up different fresh bits we needed for our class.

Next, we passed by the uh, local 'delicacies' section. We started at a table full of different bugs like crickets, silk worms and frogs. Sally said the silk worms were her favourite and I was peer-pressured into trying one! It wasn't as bad as I thought, just the idea of it of course. I also nibbled on a frog leg which was crunchy and salty (I had tried it once before).

I also got to try a bunch of other Thai snacks at the many market stalls. We tried fried chicken, salmon and egg-white mousse crackers and a very spicy and delicious rice dish.

I hadn't tried or even heard of half of the fruit I was shown so Sally picked some up for me to try. Back in the classroom, she chopped up for me: farang, custard apple and starfruit.

Time to Cook

As I was the only student I luckily got to choose the dishes I wished to make. I picked three of my favourites Red Curry, Pad Kra Prow (Thai Basil Chicken) and Pad Thai.
We started with preparing all of the ingredients for the red curry paste. I loved learning all about each fresh ingredient as at home half of them come in jars.

I was shown first how to chop, slice and dice each ingredient and then did it all myself (a lot more slowly!). I am a complete novice at cooking but Sally and her lovely assistants were very patient with me.

After everything was prepared it was time to turn the heat up. We started with the Red Curry and Pad Kra Prow.  Again, I was shown first exactly how to make it and then got to do it all myself (which is the best way for me to learn). 
I somehow managed to burn my Red Curry and accidentally put a tablespoon of soy sauce instead of a teaspoon into my Pad Kra Prow (doh!) but they both still ended up tasting good.

I got to sit down and enjoy the first two dishes with freshly made rice and it was quite a feast. I got to make my Red Curry super spicy, just the way I like it - it was sublime!
I only had a small portion of each as I still had the Pad Thai to come.

I was most excited to learn how to make this dish, as I love it so much. Watching Sally first was a joy, she is such a pro at cooking and makes it look very easy. When it came to my turn I'm afraid I failed miserably, I just couldn't do it fast enough.

Once the ingredients go in one at a time you have to scoop, turn and scoop so quickly to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the pan.

I got there eventually (with Sally's help!) and sat down to eat it, still pretty proud of myself. It might not have been as pretty as Sally's one but I made it myself and that's something!

Just to cap off already a fantastic class we finished with my all-time favourite Thai dish - Mango Sticky Rice! I got to see how the rice is steamed in a traditional basket and learnt the ingredients for it. It was the perfect way to end and of course, I had room to eat all of that one. 😋

The leftovers were packaged up for me to have for lunch the next day. I also got to keep my chef's bandana as a souvenir and all of the recipes in detail were emailed to me.
Feeling extremely full and satisfied I was even dropped off to my hotel by Sally herself.
She was so generous and warm and I absolutely loved my class with her.

The Details

Cooking Class: Kata Thai Cooking by Sally

Times: Two classes run six days a week from Monday - Saturday for lunch and dinner.
Lunch classes start at 11 AM and dinner classes at 3:30 PM as it includes a market tour beforehand (except for Wednesdays, which starts at 4 PM).
Classes run between 2.5 - 4 hours.

Recipes: The recipes include three popular main Thai dishes and are different every cooking session, so choose the day depending on what you would prefer to make.

Location: 5 Ket Kwan Road, Karon, Kata Beach, Phuket 83100

Reviews: 5/5 stars out of 702 reviews on Trip Advisor and is #1 for Food & Drink in Phuket.

Price: Lunch and Wednesday dinner class 1,900 THB ($56 USD), Dinner class with market tour 2,200 THB ($65 USD).

Final Thoughts

Kata Thai Cooking Class by Sally is a definite must-do if you are in Phuket and love Thai cuisine. The class is so informative, fun, easy-going and would suit a wide range of people, from solo-travellers like me, to friends, families and couples.
Sally has been running her school for six years and is an absolute expert in her field. She is an incredible chef and her classes are very well organised. From start to finish, there was a perfect balance of verbal teaching and hands on learning, as well as a multitude of great tips and important facts about Thai cuisine and cooking.

I learned so much that day and it was a class I will remember forever. The dishes made were all excellent quality and delicious, I can't wait to impress the socks off my family and friends when I get back home!
I would 100% recommend this class to anyone visiting, even if you have no cooking skills whatsoever (cough, me), you will still have a fantastic time.
If I am ever back in Phuket I would do this class again in a heartbeat.
Thank you so much to Sally and her team for having me, it was a real pleasure.

Happy Travels,
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A perfect stay at BYD Lofts, Phuket

My very first time in Phuket kicked off to a fantastic start staying at BYD Lofts Boutique Hotel & Serviced Apartments for three wonderful nights.
I could not have been more impressed by my elegant apartment suite, the friendly service and amazing food. If you are wanting to stay in the Patong Beach area then you honestly should not stay anywhere else (they are after all rated the number one hotel on Trip Advisor in Patong for a reason!).

First Impressions

The first thing I noticed was how gorgeous this hotel complex is. Spread over three buildings down a quiet road, the design is totally chic and hip.
I instantly loved the environment; BYD Lofts is located in a peaceful area which is perfect for relaxing, yet it's only a few minutes walking distance to the world-famous Patong Beach and Bangla Road.

I was instantly warmly greeted and had my bags taken for me before entering the sophisticated reception area. The check-in process was smooth and I was presented with a cool towel and refreshing welcome drink.

I was personally shown to my room which was in another of their buildings across the road. It was located on the fourth floor and my jaw dropped when I saw my deluxe apartment, it was so large and absolutely gorgeous. I was shown around and introduced to the services provided by the hotel and then left to enjoy my room.

The Room

The lounge area was beautifully furnished with all the creature comforts of home. There was a large leather sofa with cushions, a lounger, a soft fluffy rug underneath the coffee table and a 42-inch LCD TV complete with a Surround Sound System and iPod docking station.

I loved the special touches on the coffee table including fresh flowers, a fruit platter, a personalised bottle of wine and reading magazines.

Through the sliding door was a spacious terrace with outdoor furniture. My balcony had a view overlooking the quiet street below and the main BYD Lofts building.

Next to the lounge, the European kitchen area was fully self-serviced with an oven, cooking appliances, chinaware, cutlery and even an espresso coffee machine. I was very impressed!

The full-sized fridge and freezer and counter next to it were conveniently stocked with a decent mini bar and complimentary bottled water.

Into the separate bedroom was a large and extremely comfortable bed with tasteful artwork set above. The linens were the highest quality 400-thread count Egyptian cotton, with down-feather duvet and pillows. Needless to say, I had the best three nights sleep there I've probably ever had!
A second widescreen TV was set on the wall opposite the bed and to the left was a double mirrored wardrobe.

Inside you could find an electronic safety box, iron and board, large umbrella, laundry bag, slippers and cosy bathrobes.

Also to the left was the beautiful marble ensuite bathroom. From the glass hand basin, fresh flowers, many mirrors, amazing toiletry amenities and large shower, this was one of the most elegant bathrooms I've ever been in. The towels were also incredibly soft, it was all incredibly luxurious.

Other features of the room included excellent high-speed Wifi, air conditioning, daily housekeeping and the ability to order services directly from and to your room (more details on those below).

Beyond the Room

On top of the main building was a rooftop swimming pool with great views of the surrounding mountains. The comfortable loungers were provided with sun umbrellas, a side-table and pool towels. It was a great place to relax, go for a dip and read a good book listening to the trickling waterfalls.

My own building I was staying in even had its own smaller swimming pool on the ground floor, just in-case you didn't feel like walking across the road!

One of my favourite things to do on a Thailand holiday is to get a relaxing traditional massage and at BYD Lofts you can order one via telephone and they come to you in the privacy of your own room. For only 500 THB ($15 US) it's an amazing price for such a convenience. You can also get a foot massage or oil massage if you choose.

Also via telephone or at their travel desk, the staff can easily organise popular shows and tours such as Phuket Fantasea, Phi Phi Island and James Bond day trips. All the information and prices can be found in your room.

On-site is Wine Connection, their own wine cellar. There you can purchase new and old international wines at wholesale prices with more than 1500 bottles to choose from.

They also offer airport pick up and taxi services, 24-hour room service, free private parking on-site, 24-hour security and CCTV, an art gallery and of course their multi cuisine restaurant and bar and bistro.

The Food

Daily breakfast is included in the room and has an impressive variety to cater for all kinds of tastes. You can order off a menu to be freshly made for you eggs how you like, pancakes and waffles. There is a large selection of hot local and western dishes which is changed daily for added variety.

There were also many cold options available such as fresh fruit, deli choices, cereals, bread and baked goods, iced water and juices. The coffee was made fresh for you from a machine and was superb.

I enjoyed mixing it up daily with a fresh omelette and hot options or a pancake which I filled with banana and Nutella! 😋

Breakfast is served in their main restaurant where they are open for lunch and dinner and have a large local and western menu with daily specials and a happy hour.

There is also a second bar and bistro located on the ground level of the building I was staying in so I enjoyed 2 for 1 cocktails and dinner there one evening.

The front of the building I stayed in with the bistro

Like the restaurant, the bistro was wonderfully decorated and had a very pleasant atmosphere. I very much enjoyed spending time there writing and working on my blog, sipping on a delicious cocktail and nibbling on the complimentary nuts.

On my final night, I had a delicious Thai red curry. It was served with rice and fresh bread with garlic butter. The curry was very nice, it just could have been a lot spicier for me (because I am a spice-freak). Overall, excellent food experiences and perfectly convenient. The bar staff too were always very attentive and keen for a chat.

The Details

Hotel: BYD Lofts Boutique Hotel & Serviced Apartments

Location: 62/8 Rat-U-Thit 200 Pee Road, Patong Beach, Kathu, Phuket 83150

Reviews: 5/5 stars out of 1910 reviews on Trip Advisor and is rated the #1 hotel out of 322 in Patong.

Price: Starts at $130 USD for a Deluxe Suite, depending on the season.

Final Thoughts

BYD Lofts was one of the most stylish and luxurious hotels I've stayed in. I would 100% stay again if I'm ever back in the Patong area and highly recommend it to others who are looking for a comfortable stay with excellent service and that little bit extra which always makes your stay all the more special.
They have a modern lifestyle message "Dare to be different" which is resonated throughout the hotel with their sleek chic design and artwork, giving wonderful splashes of colour.

The location is perfect, being only a few minutes walking distance from the beach, main shopping and nightlife areas.
There is a 7/11 convenience store only two minutes walk away and as a little tip, basically next door is an excellent local Thai food eatery if you want to eat out somewhere different. Called 'Mini Thai Restaurant' I noticed every time I walked past it was always packed with people so I decided to check it out one day and ended up going there very often for lunch (mango sticky rice!) or dinner (green curry and seafood fried rice in a pineapple!).

BYD Lofts is a perfect choice for those seeking a romantic getaway, families seeking some downtime and young-at-heart sophisticated travellers on a luxury getaway. As well as deluxe apartments they offer pool-access penthouses, two bedroom grand deluxe apartments and two bedroom penthouses.

My deluxe apartment was so tasteful and incredibly cosy, I was ecstatic with it. All of the personal touches, the friendliness of the staff, the relaxing environment, great services and delicious food made it an absolute pleasure to stay there. I cannot wait to return again!

If you would like to see a bit more I show a small apartment tour and around the hotel in the first part of my Phuket Travel Vlog for YouTube:

Happy Travels,
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Disclaimer: My stay was complimentary in exchange for an honest review. All opinions as always are my own.

Partying in Paradise: Bob’s Booze Cruise, Phi Phi Island

I absolutely loved Phi Phi Island - I'm pretty sure it's my new favourite place in the whole of Thailand! I only spent two days and one night there and it definitely wasn't enough, but I had such a fantastic time and that was all thanks to Captain Bob's Booze Cruise.

I wanted to see Maya Bay and a few of the beautiful surrounding islands while there, and when I was researching tours and came across this particular one – it had my name written all over it! Cruising to all of the island highlights and unlimited free beer? Yes please!
As a solo traveller, I love to meet new people and as I'm naturally pretty shy, a few beers sure do help.

This cruise was hands-down incredible and if you're heading to Thailand and Phi Phi Island yourself and love to have a good time – this tour is for you.
You get to have fun and socialise in the most breathtaking places, feed monkeys, stand up paddleboard, snorkel and swim in crystal clear waters, it's a whole day of unlimited fun and the guides make it even more so. I would do this tour again in a heartbeat if I went back!

The Tour

Captain Bob's Booze Cruise departs every day from Tonsai Pier at 1 pm and returns at 7 pm. The destinations of the day include:

Monkey Beach

Pileh Lagoon

Maya Bay (The Beach)

Loh Samah Bay

Wang Long Nook (during high season)

Once on board, everyone introduced themselves and where they were from as we cruised off. Our first stop of the day was Monkey Cave where those brave enough got to feed the wild monkeys. We were told that they once stopped feeding them because they were becoming too reliant on it, but then they started eating rubbish instead which is obviously terrible, so feeding them peanuts isn't a bad thing.

Our group at Monkey Cave
Back on board, we had our first drink of the day. Singha and Leo beer or vodka and rum drinks were offered all around and there was lively party music to help set the mood. Everyone was having a great time!

We passed by the Viking Cave on Koh Phi Phi Leh which was so cool to see up close.
It is a famous limestone cave with wall paintings and is a site for harvesting bird nests for a traditional Chinese soup.

We stopped for snorkelling at the entrance of Pileh Lagoon for a decent amount of time.
It was a beautiful area and a big size so that everyone could go off and snorkel with their own space. There were so many colourful fish around the coral - it was the best snorkelling I've ever done!

Next up we got to enjoy 'Diaper Drinking' in Pileh Lagoon which I had never heard of before – but it's absolutely genius! We stopped in a gorgeous cove area and we got to jump/backflip off the top of the boat if we wished.

In the water, we then put on our lifejackets through our legs. This makes you easily upright in the water so you can enjoy leisurely floating about (with a beverage in hand!).

We were also offered stand up paddleboards which a few people did. It was so enjoyable socialising in the epic scenery and I soaked it all in.
Even though I was on a booze cruise I didn't want to drink too much, as I wanted to remember this day! And what a day it was.

The incredible Maya Bay was next, which seeing in real life was a dream come true. To get there we had to climb over rocks and through caves, as it was low tide which was an experience! We were all provided with water shoes which we were all very grateful for.

It was truly so awesome seeing Maya Bay it in real life. I was pretty glad I happened to be there during the low season, as there weren't that many people and I've heard it can get very crowded during peak times.

We got to spend at least an hour there which was perfect. The whole day wasn't rushed at all, there was plenty of time to really enjoy each place. Everyone got a tonne of photos and there was even a classic jumping group shot at the end.

On our way back to the boat in Loh Samah Bay, we had the option to climb down a verticle rock cliff-face via ropes which everyone opted for. Yet another fun experience in Phi Phi! The Bay is so picturesque, with sparkling turquoise waters surrounded by limestone formations.

Lunch is included and it was delicious. It is cooked freshly by them before departure and you could either choose from a baguette sandwich or chicken/vegetarian rice.
Fresh fruit, water and soft drinks were also provided all throughout the day – as well as all the beer you could drink of course!

We enjoyed one last spot where we did another round of diaper drinking in a beautiful area. There were heaps of colourful fish floating around us.

Half of the group decided to stay on board and party it up. A lot of people were dancing and having a lot of fun – one of the guides MOMO even dressed up and was very entertaining!

The entire crew including MOMO, Chin and Tip were awesome and made sure you had a great time all while being very professional.
Boating back we got to watch the beautiful sunset before an evening downpour came (glad it was after the tour had ended).

Also throughout the whole trip, there was a photographer who nonstop captured the highlights of the day with plenty of photos of each person/couple/friends which is free to take home. You just bring a USB stick or memory card the next day and they will load it all on for you which is pretty dang awesome.

The Details

The tour: Captain Bob's Booze Cruise

Location: Ao Tonsai Pier, Phi Phi Island

Time: Daily, 1 PM – 7 PM

Price: Men – 3000 Baht ($88 USD), Women – 2500 Baht ($74 USD)

Reviews: 5/5 stars from 717 reviews on Trip Advisor

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Final Thoughts

Captain Bob's Booze Cruise was one of the highlights of my whole month in Thailand.
I had the best day hanging out with a bunch of cool people from all around the world and enjoying the stunning beauty of Phi Phi Island.

There was a range of people on board aged between 20-30 at a guess. There were solo travellers like me, friends, couples - one of which was even on their honeymoon! There was also a couple who couldn't swim and that was not a problem at all, they were helped throughout the day and made to feel comfortable in the water with their life jackets and guides nearby if needed.

This tour is perfect for anyone wanting to have a good time and party in absolute paradise. Everybody is there to have a blast and it's great vibes all round. I highly recommend it if you're going to Phi Phi Island (which you definitely should!).

It is well worth the price for the sights you see, the incredible service and the most fun you will ever have in places straight out of a postcard!

If you would like to see a bit more I include highlights from the whole trip in my Phi Phi Island travel vlog for TouTube:

Happy Travels,

Thailand Paradise: Twin Lotus Resort, Koh Lanta

It was an absolute pleasure to stay at the incredible Twin Lotus Resort Koh Lanta. From the moment I arrived, I couldn't wipe the smile off my face.
This place is the definition of paradise and throughout my whole stay I felt so placid and relaxed, I only wish that I could have stayed longer!

First Impressions

I arrived at the entrance gate and was transported via golf cart (first time for me!) to the stunning open reception area.

I was shown to a comfortable seat and presented with a delicious and refreshing welcome drink and a cool towel. Moments later a whole fruit platter arrived and a selection of scents for me to choose to have in my room, I was very impressed!

The check in process was smooth and I was off again in the golf cart, taken to my room.
The entire resort is ultra lush with tall palm trees and tropical foliage surrounding it.

The Room

My jaw literally fell to the floor when I walked into my room. As soon as the bellboy who brought my bags in had left I was jumping and laughing with joy at the incredible deluxe beachfront villa I was lucky enough to spend two nights in.

The large room was beautifully decorated, I loved the colour scheme and tasteful art and lamps which gave the room such a cosy and modern feel.

The central feature was the large king sized bed which was so comfortable and soft, I sunk into it and slept like a baby for those two nights.

Seeing the bright blue water and hearing the crashing waves of the beach from my room was something that made my heart leap with joy. I had my own private patio with loungers, a table and chairs to enjoy the amazing view.

The room was fitted with everything you could want for including air conditioning, good WiFi, a lounger couch, widescreen TV and DVD player, electronic safe and two wardrobes with bathrobes and slippers.

There was also a large desk facing the waterfront with complimentary tea and coffee, bottled water and a bright lamp. Next to the door was a small fridge with a decent mini bar.

The spacious bathroom had a rain shower and full toiletry amenities including pool towels and a hair dryer. There is also a laundry service and large umbrellas to use if needed.

I couldn't have been more happy, the deluxe beachfront villa was incredibly elegant and was basically the room of my dreams!

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Beyond the Room

Twin Lotus Resort offers many facilities and activities, making it a destination you don't even have to leave if you don't want to.
There are two swimming pools, however one was unavailable during the time I was staying. That didn't matter as the tranquil infinity pool facing the beach was all I needed! It was the perfect place to relax on the many loungers under a sun umbrella, listening to the crashing waves while reading a good book.

The on-site Bua Luang Spa offers full services from traditional massages to full luxury packages. There are nine treatment rooms for both singles and couples, as well as an outdoor large Jacuzzi and open-air Pagoda.
Photo credit:

The resort's Fitness Center offers a full range of equipment to stay active during your stay. In the air-conditioned room you can use a variety of machines, treadmills, bicycles and weights.

Photo credit:

Directly in front of the resort is a lovely sandy beach looking into the Andaman Sea.
Unlike many other Thai beaches (sadly), this stretch of beach is rubbish-free and feels very secluded and private.

It's perfect for a peaceful beach stroll and to watch the amazing sunset in the evenings.

Twin Lotus has daily Thai cooking classes and can assist in many nearby island tours and activities. You can conveniently hire a car, motorbike or scooter directly from the front desk which I did on my second day. To hire a scooter for a full day only cost 250 Baht (less than $10 AUD). I enjoyed exploring the quiet island's many beaches.

The Food

I met two German girls on my first day also staying at the resort who told me the restaurant was very good for dinner, so I gladly ate there for both nights.
The Bua Fah Restaurant is an open-air venue which faces the beach and pool. They offer both Thai and Western cuisine including fresh seafood.

On my first night I ordered a red curry grilled fish and it was very fresh and tasty.
On the second night I had a mixed Thai platter with spring rolls, fish cakes and satay skewers which I absolutely devoured. All were for a very reasonable price too.

Red curry fish
Also located there is a daily buffet breakfast which is included in the room.
There is a wide selection of Thai and international dishes including eggs made to order, pancakes and waffles, fresh pastries, fruit, cereals, juices, tea and coffee and a variety of hot and cold items.

The Beach Bar also has a daily Happy Hour which runs from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m, perfect for sipping on a cocktail around the pool.

The Details

Resort: Twin Lotus Resort Koh Lanta

Location: 199 Moo 1, Klong Dao Beach, Koh Lanta 81150

Reviews: Certificate of Excellence and 4.5/5 stars from 727 reviews on Trip Advisor.

Price: Starts from $80 AUD a night for a Superior Garden View Room.

Final Thoughts

I couldn't recommend Twin Lotus Resort more. I absolutely loved my time in Koh Lanta and it is up there in one of my top favourite places in Thailand. I would highly suggest staying for more than two nights though because I can guarantee you won't want to leave!
I adored my deluxe beachfront villa, I honestly felt like I was in a dream. The entire resort is so blissful, the tropical and secluded feeling emanated relaxation.
I felt so at peace and like I didn't want to rush anything; I just wanted to sit back, enjoy the moment and soak it all in.

I didn't realise until during my stay that Twin Lotus is a child-free resort (no wonder I was so relaxed!). I read that to keep the ambiance and peace the resort has included an Adults Only Policy where guests have to be 18 years old and over. 
This even more makes this resort a perfect choice if you are looking to escape for a romantic holiday or honeymoon destination where you can relax and be pampered on a kids-free holiday. It would also greatly suit groups of friends or solo-travellers like me who are looking for some peaceful down-time.

The staff were all so friendly and helpful, the restaurant and amenities were excellent and waking up in the morning to the incredible view out of my window; my stay was 100% perfection and I cannot wait for the day when I return again.

If you would like to see a bit more I show around my room and the resort in my Koh Lanta travel vlog for YouTube:

My Krabi travel diary including my time in Koh Lanta and Phi Phi Island will be coming soon!

Happy Travels,
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Disclaimer: One night was complimentary and the second discounted in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are as always my own.

A Must-Do in Bangkok: Street Food Tour

As a total self-confessed foodie, doing street food tours in local areas of places I travel to is one of my favourite things to do. It's especially a great idea for when you've just arrived in a new place, to be shown and get great insight to the local food as well as the lay of the land, as most food tours tend to be walking.

Thai food is one of my top favourite cuisines in the world and sadly I haven't been able to have much of it since my last trip four and a half years ago, as compared to what you get in Thailand, it's always just been so disappointing to me!
Excited to be back in Bangkok, I immediately did some research and found the highly rated Bangkok Food Tours. They offer a range of different tours, including a Historic Bangrak Food Tour, Offbeat Floating Markets Food Tour, Midnight Food Tour by Tuk Tuk, a Yaowarat Street Food Tour and many more.
I decided to go for the latter, as I had never been to the Chinatown area before and I had heard it was a most excellent place for street food.

Read on to hear all about the Yaowarat Street Food Tour with each dish we tried, what I thought of them and why you should do this tour too if you're coming to Bangkok!

Our group and guide all met outside Bangkok Centre Hotel next to the Hua Lamphong MRT station, where we first introduced ourselves before walking to nearby Yaowarat (Chinatown).
Our first dish from the cart pictured above was called Yen Ta Fo, a beloved pink noodle dish with some interesting ingredients in there! We were told this particular cart ranked in the top five for this dish in the whole of Bangkok.

It was really delicious and so full of flavour. Thai food prides itself on being sweet, sour, spicy and salty all at the same time and this was no exception.
We also had an incredible view, sitting right in front of Wat Trimit which holds the famous Golden Buddha.

We continued into the heart of Chinatown, passing a big Paifang (Chinese arch) and went into a restaurant called The Canton House.

Here we tried two different dishes, first a big spicy crispy duck salad that we all shared. Every mouthful was so fresh and zingy!

The next dish was steamed dim sum which came with a spicy Thai 'killer' sauce (it wasn't that spicy for me!). They were absolutely delicious, I devoured them.

We walked further down the bustling street, all lit up and colourful at night towards a cart that was serving my all-time favourite Thai food. Can you guess what it is?

Mango sticky rice! I am so addicted to this delicious sweet dessert. We each got our own portion of it and it was so good some of the boys went back for seconds (I wish I could have fit more in but there were still many more dishes to try!).

We passed by a durian cart and as most of us had never tried it before, we asked if we could. Durian is known to be the 'King of fruit' in Thailand and it is one of the fruits that you either absolutely love or hate with a passion.

I was very interested to try this smelly fruit, that most hotels ban and have a hefty fine for bringing in. And... I did not like it! Which is surprising because I do like most things.
I found the texture just so odd, wrongly odd and the taste was not pleasant at all. But I was glad to have tried it finally!

Our next stop was at a busy local road-side restaurant sitting on little rickety stools at a popup table.

We had a super spicy stir-fry prawn dish with rice and a sauce and Morning Glory, a popular green vegetable dish stir-fried with oyster sauce.

The flavour combinations of everything were so delicious, I absolutely loved it. I was starting to get quite full by now though! It was so great sitting outside among the locals, really getting the feel of the  lively neighbourhood.

Our final stop was at a very popular street cart, famous for this particular best noodles found only in Chinatown, Bangkok.
We had a spicy noodle soup with crispy pork belly - which was heavenly! I'm not normally a fan of pork belly, but I enjoyed this so much I ate every last morsel. The flavours of the broth and crispiness of the pork were absolute food goals!
There was nowhere to sit, we just ate it standing up along with everyone else, the place was packed with people.

Finally, for dessert we squeezed in one more tasting, which actually I think was my favourite of the night! It was called Sala Bao, a steamed bun and it was lava custard! You bit into it and the warm custard oozed out, it was so yum! It was the absolute perfect way to finish an epic night of street food tasting.

This tour was one of the highlights of my time in Bangkok, I really enjoyed trying such a variety of dishes from popular local spots. The food was high quality, fresh and delicious, I have no doubt we were taken to try the very best the city has to offer. I honestly loved every single thing we tried except for the durian!
Our guide was so lovely and informative, we all learnt a lot about the history of each dish and where it came from.
Yaowarat is a famous area in Bangkok for street food and I've heard it's where the locals tend to go when they want to treat themselves.

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I highly recommend this tour and any of their others if you are coming to Bangkok yourself, it was a fantastic foodie experience and a cultural one as well. One of the couples on my tour said they had done Bangkok Food Tour's Midnight Food Tour by Tuk Tuk the last time they were in Bangkok and they absolutely loved it, so decided to do another of theirs this time.
I can tell you, I will absolutely be doing more of their tours when I am next in Bangkok again too!

The Details

Tour Company: Bangkok Food Tours

Specific tour I did: Yaowarat Street Food Tour

Reviews: 5/5 stars from 1548 reviews on Trip Advisor

Cost: 1350 THB (Thai Baht) for an adult

Times: Tues - Sun 6 pm - 9 pm

If you would like to see a bit more I highlight the tour in the second half of my Bangkok travel vlog for YouTube. Start at 3:07.

Happy Travels,

Disclaimer: This tour was discounted in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are as always my own.

Hangovers, Street Food & Sky Bars | Bangkok Travel Diary

Bangkok was my very first proper foreign city I travelled to four and a half years ago (I had only been to Australia before) and it absolutely blew my mind. That whole Thailand trip was such an amazing experience, it completely changed my life and is responsible for sparking my incessant wanderlust desire!
As you can imagine, I was incredibly excited to return back to Thailand, my first love.
I was interested to see if my mindset has changed, would I still love it as much now that I've been to over twenty countries? (Spoiler alert: I do!).
Here is what I got up to in a fun-filled week in the vibrant capital city, my first stop in my month-long travels through Thailand.

Day One. 2.06.17

My flight from Jakarta arrived in Bangkok in the late afternoon. The airport process went smooth enough and I hopped into a taxi to my Airbnb which was in the local area Sathorn. The taxi ride was 40 minutes long and it only cost 250 THB (Thai Baht) which is around $10 AUD.

I met with my host who gave me the keys and showed me around. I had my own self-contained apartment with air conditioning and wifi for only $30 a night. Before she left she kindly took me out for some street Pad Thai - exactly what I wanted to do when I first arrived! It was so incredible and only cost $1.50!

The pool at the apartment complex I was staying in

After dinner I was planning on having one refreshing beer (it was a Friday after all) before heading back to the apartment to chill/unpack/work but... I sat down in the bar that was right across from where I was staying for less than 20 seconds before the table next to me invited me to join them... 8 hours later!
They were such an incredible bunch of people from all around the world that are currently living in Bangkok, some of them for over 12 years. They were from Scotland, America, Turkey, France and Australia and we all got along so well that the hours just slipped away and suddenly it was 2 am!
I love meeting new like-minded people and it was such a great night.

Day Two. 3.06.17

Well, needless to say, I was a tad hungover today! At lunchtime, I ventured out for a walk along the main roads in search of food. I was out for about an hour and then spent the rest of the afternoon working on my Jakarta travel vlog. I popped out again later for dinner where I had a spicy green curry and Chang. That night there was an epic electrical storm that I enjoyed watching from my room (it's rainy season here).

View from the walkover bridge

Day Three. 4.06.17

Today's mission was to get a Thai sim card to have data on my phone and to go to the Chatuchak weekend market.
I took an MRT (underground train) and the BTS (sky train) to get to Siam, an area with many big shopping malls. I got a traveller's sim card with AIS (phone network) for a pretty good price and had a delicious Pad Thai for lunch.

I then made my way to Mo Chit via the BTS where I walked through the Chatuchak Park before exploring the largest market in Thailand. My first purchase was a fresh coconut from a funny yelling Thai man who was chopping the coconuts open with a pirate sword like knife!

I enjoyed walking around, although it was a super hot day. I had my first (of many) mango sticky rice - my ultimate favourite Thai food. I just bought two things, a Chang beer singlet (to add to my collection) and an 'Adidas' t-shirt that had a cool print. I got both tops for $10 AUD, pretty sweet shopping trip if you ask me. I had another green curry for dinner (I'm obsessed) and that was the jist of my day.

Day Four. 5.06.17

Today I had a full day temple and city tour with Oriental Escape. You can read all about it in my review post here: The BEST day in Bangkok: Incredible Temple & City Tour.
As you can probably tell by the title, I had such a fantastic day and absolutely loved the tour, it was the highlight of my whole week.
I visited four amazing temples, had a delicious local lunch, Thai coffee and sweets and had a driving city tour as well. It was such a hot day so I was very exhausted when I got back (but very happy). That evening I worked on and finished my Bali travel diary post.

Day Five. 6.06.17

Today was a pretty chill day. There was a nice looking massage place only two minutes walk from me so I popped in there before lunch. A traditional Thai full hour massage only cost $10 and it was absolutely brutal! It's basically an hour of wondering why you paid someone to torture you. Thai massage works deep into your muscles and pressure points and it hurts so much but you do feel really good afterwards. You just have to get through it!

I then treated myself to a delicious lunch from a Guesthouse restaurant down the road.
I ordered a spicy papaya salad and mango sticky rice. I was very full afterwards but it was so fresh and delightful! I just love Thai food (if you couldn't tell).

I didn't feel like going out so I spent the afternoon editing and uploading my first Bangkok vlog which you can view here if you like!

Day Six. 7.06.17

For the best part of the day, I cracked on with more work. I had a hotel review to complete and I also spent a couple of hours editing some work for my husband (I'm such a good wife).
I had a delicious local noodle lunch which only cost $1.50 including a bottle of Pepsi.
Later on, I took a taxi to the Red Sky Bar, which I had heard was one of the best sky bars in Bangkok. I was hoping to catch the sunset and see the amazing skyline all lit up at night.
I arrived and was so amazed by the views, it really is incredible up there.

I ordered a very fancy albeit expensive cocktail (although still cheaper than New Zealand) and basically took one sip before the rains came! Everyone had to be moved inside unfortunately. Expectations versus reality! Oh well.

I had dinner in the Grand Central Mall where the bar is located and then taxied back to Sathorn.
It was one of the new friends I had met the other night's birthday so she was having celebratory drinks at the same local bar. I said I was only going to have one beer as it took me more than two days to recover from the last hangover... another 8 hours later... honestly I couldn't believe it! I looked at my watch and it was 3:30 am this time.
I don't know what it was about this group but the time just disappears around them. I knew if I lived in Bangkok we would be such great friends.

Day Seven. 8.06.17

Well, I was hungover again for my final day woops (no regrets). I nursed it until my evening plan which was a Chinatown street food tour with Bangkok Food Tours. I spent the day doing some blog stuff and started packing and cleaning as I had an early flight the next morning.
The food tour was excellent, everything we tried was so delicious, except for the durian! What an odd taste and texture... I especially loved the final dessert type dumpling with oozy warm custard in the middle, my god that was heavenly.
I'll be writing up a Bangkok food post next with more information on the tour and my favourite/the best things to eat in Bangkok.

I got a tuk-tuk back to my apartment which was bumpy but fun. It was a nice way to finish up my time in Bangkok. I feel like I could have easily spent another week there, there is so much to do, it's incredibly cheap and such an exciting city. I'll be back sometime soon for sure.

The next day I took a taxi to the airport where I next flew to Krabi. Koh Lanta and Phi Phi Island posts coming very soon! Here is the second Bangkok travel vlog for YouTube:

I did want to do more in Bangkok, such as seeing Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) and going to Lumphini Park (I was staying only a twenty-minute walk away!). But I think I did a reasonable amount of activities and sightseeing whilst juggling work. 
It's hard to find a good balance and certainly, I am so behind in keeping up with everything (hence why this Bangkok post is two weeks late!). I'm doing my best and I'm going to try to push out as many blog posts and videos as possible over the next week before I next head to Vietnam!

Pin it! :)

Happy Travels,

The BEST day in Bangkok: Incredible Temple & City Tour

I spent a fun week in Bangkok recently (travel diary post coming next) and my absolute highlight was the day I did a full-day city and temple tour with the wonderful Oriental Escape.

I have never done a private tour before and it made the world of difference getting one on one information, being able to explore at your own pace and ask all the questions you like.
I truly felt like I got an authentic Bangkok travel experience, my guide was so knowledgeable and easy-going and it was an exceptional day, rich in culture, art and history.

Read on if you want to hear all about one of the best tours I have ever done and what made this tour so outstanding.

I was picked up bright and early (for me) from my accommodation at 8 am by my lovely guide Ms. Jen who also introduced me to the driver Mr. Wittaya. The modern Toyota Altis was comfortable, clean and air-conditioned and a cold bottle of water and snack were provided.

Golden Buddha

Our first stop of the day was Wat Trimit, a fairly new temple in Yaowarat (Chinatown), home to the famous Golden Buddha. It is the world's largest solid gold seated Buddha, at three metres high and weighing five and a half tonnes. There were many locals inside paying their respects.

The Golden Buddha was originally covered with plaster to conceal it from the invading Burmese and was only rediscovered accidentally about 40 years ago. In 2010, Wat Trimit's new building was officially opened to the public and the statue was moved there.

After learning all about the temple and exploring the beautiful area we hopped back into the cool car (it was already sweltering hot) and passed through Chinatown and the colourful flower market on the way to our next destination.

Wat Pho

I had previously visited Wat Pho 4.5 years ago, but I was so excited to return. It is my favourite temple in Bangkok and I'm pretty sure I was even more wowed by it the second time. The architecture is simply amazing and I must have taken a thousand photos of the beautiful pagodas (tiered towers) which are artfully decorated in colourful tiles and ceramics.

Founded in the 16th Century, Wat Pho is Bangkok's largest and oldest temple. It was also the first open university of Thailand, where courses in traditional medicine and the first school of massage were born.

Wat Pho is most famed for the Statue of the Reclining Buddha. Made of gold leaf, this grand lying down Buddha is the largest in Thailand; an enormous 46 metres long and 15 metres high.

We spent a good amount of time exploring the large grounds (which is 8 hectares) and I even got to go inside one temple while a monk praying ceremony was being held. It was a wonderful experience.

Grand Palace

The next stop was the mighty Grand Palace, which I had also visited on my previous trip, but not with a guide.
Built in 1782, the Grand Palace is undoubtedly the city's most famous landmark. It is known as the heart of Bangkok and is the official residence of the Kings of Siam.

The intricate detail and beautiful Thai architecture are incredibly dazzling. Within the palace complex are many impressive buildings and sacred sites including Wat Phra Kaew or Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which contains a small but very famous Emerald Buddha that dates back to the 14th century (we weren't allowed to take photos).

My guide took me through each significant place and I learned so much about the history, something I had missed on my first visit. She also knew all the best spots for picture taking and was a wonderful photographer for me!


It was now lunch time and as I had told Jen that I loved the local food, she took me to her own favourite spot for lunch. She said most people prefer to go to a restaurant where there is a large buffet with many options. I was thrilled to be taken to this local hole-in-the-wall place and she ordered two different dishes for me to try. Both were so fresh, full of flavour and absolutely delicious (don't worry, I didn't eat all of both of them!).

We then went next door to try traditional Thai coffee, I ordered an iced one as it was so hot and it was perfectly refreshing. She also popped out and surprised me with traditional Thai sweets which are interestingly only made from egg yolk and sugar. This was the icing on the cake and I absolutely loved them (much to her surprise, as she thinks they are far too sweet!).

Marble Temple

Our final temple of the day was Wat Benchamabopit, commonly known as Marble Temple, which is one of the most modern works of Thai religious architecture. It is classified as a first class Royal temple and is one of significant importance.

It is most famous for its main chapel built in white Carrara Italian marble which houses a replica of Thailand’s most beautiful Buddha image, Phra Phutthachinarat. The entrance is marked by four impressive marble pillars, and even the large courtyard is made of shiny white marble. It was a most tranquil and impressive temple.

It is also an active temple with resident monks, their private living quarters are across the canal separated from the temple area.

Hopping back in the car all throughout the day I was presented with refreshing towels and cold bottled water, which I was always grateful for. While driving, as well as pointing things out and chatting to me, Jen also talked and laughed with the driver. She had a wonderful friendly personality that really shone through.

Lastly, on the way back to my accommodation we did a driving city-sightseeing tour.
We passed through the well-known backpacker's area Khao San Road before heading to Ratchadumnoen Road (The Royal’s Way). En route I got to see more significant temples and architectural buildings, including the City Pillar Shrine, National Museum, Thai Boxing Stadium, Anantasamakhom Palace, Parliament House, Dusit Zoo and Chitlada Palace King’s Residence.
I arrived back at around 2 pm, very happy (albeit hot and sweaty) after such an amazing day.

The Details:

Tour Company: Oriental Escape

The specific tour I did: Bangkok Temples & City, Grand Palace & Emerald Buddha

Reviews: 5/5 stars from 271 reviews on Trip Advisor

Price: Depends on the number of people. For example for my tour if you are a couple it costs $96 USD each, or if you are a group of 3-4 it costs $79 USD each, which is a fantastic price for what you get. (The prices keep going down the more people you have).

Final Thoughts

I learned so much about the culture of Bangkok and its fascinating history all throughout the day. My tour with Oriental Escape truly enriched my time in Thailand's capital city and I 100% recommend this tour and company to others.

If you are visiting yourself and wish to see the best sites Bangkok has to offer on a flexible and personal tour with excellent customer service, then look no further. Their experienced and passionate team of guides have the best knowledge and inside information for each attraction.

They offer a large number of day and night tours to cater for many temples and city highlights you may wish to see. As well as Bangkok, they also have a number of tours all throughout Thailand and Indochina and even offer Airport transfer services.

You can easily choose which category of car you would prefer and there are choices for high-end service. All admission fees are included in your tour and there are no hidden extra costs or forced shopping and tourist traps that are sadly so commonly found on tours around Bangkok and Thailand.

It's an excellent option for families, friends and groups travelling together, couples and even solo travellers like me.

Like this post? Pin it!

If you wish to see a bit more of my day trip and the temples and city highlights I saw, it is featured in the second half of my Bangkok travel vlog for YouTube (start at 5:43):

Coming soon as well as my travel diary will be plenty of Bangkok and Thailand travel tips, top recommended things to do and of course best food to eat!

Happy Travels,

Disclaimer: My tour excluding entrance fees was complimentary in exhange for an honest review. All opinions are as always my own.

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