Thursday, 22 May 2014

My Travel Adventure: Part 2: Bali & Gili Islands & Back To Thailand!

So it’s officially exactly a month since I posted my travel adventure: part 1 so I think its definitely time for part 2 before it gets too late!
Right so Bali! I was super excited to go to Bali as I had heard so many wonderful things and it just sounded incredible. We arrived quite late at night and checked into our hotel that we had booked the night before. This hotel did NOT look like the pictures at all and it was literally the most eerie/scary/rude hotel we had stayed in and let me tell you we stayed in some pretty basic places in Thailand.  So not a great start. Kuta, the most touristic place in bali where we were staying was horrible, STAY AWAY FROM KUTA. In the space of 3 days, Fleur got harassed by a group of scary Indonesian men, Fleurs phone got stolen/taken out of my bag, it rained every single day and we were not happy travellers and we were itching to get the next plane back to thailand. Of course though that was only Kuta and luckily we weren’t alone, our friends from home Joe and Kaleem also happened to be in Kuta when we were so it was lovely seeing them. We also moved hotels quickly to this lovely one that had a million english tv channels and there was a dominos round the corner so all the bad bits did also have their perks but I’m telling you know, if you ever go bali just get out of Kuta quicker than you can even say Kuta.
We were in the pool one day (yes it was raining and what) and we were basically crying because the weather was so shit and it was a bit of a shock coming from beautiful sunny Thailand and this man over heard us and told us we should go to Nusa Lembongan a southern Island just off Bali and he said it never rains there. So like the little gullible travellers we were we took the next boat to Nusa Lembongan and the man wasn’t lying! I fell asleep on the boat leaving rainy Bali and woke up in paradise, SUNNY paradise. Best decision we had made and boy oh boy was nusa Lembongan a lovely little island.
I’m pretty sure we were the only English speaking on the island and we literally didn’t even see anyone else. We stayed there for a week and had a really lovely relaxed stay. One day we were on our moped exploring the island and we came across a little suspension bridge to the next island so we thought we might as well go explore and see what we find and much to our surprise we found this incredible place that we had found a year earlier when researching Bali. Its called Le Pirate and is this collection of beautiful beach huts with a lovely pool all overlooking the seaweed farms. The place was owned by two really hot young Australian guys too, not so shabby. We walked in and were like oh my god this was the place we saw online and it really looked identical to the pictures. We could only afford one night (it was £20 a night lol) but our stay there was amazing, my ultimate favourite place we stayed at. It was the definition of paradise.

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After a week on Lembongan we decided we needed a little bit of a party and we caught the boat to the Gili Islands and holy guacamole the Gili islands are actual heaven on earth. Easily on one of my top 3 favorite places in the world (not that I’m particularly that well travelled but ya get ma gist). We arrived and the whole island was muddy, it was rainy and there were horse and cart in all directions, frankly it was scary but as soon as the sun came out I fell in love. It was like arriving at a festival, I could hear music everywhere, it was super muddy and there were little huts everywhere. Our first evening on Gili T it absolutely poured down. From the 3rd day we had a whole week of sun which was so nice considering it had been full on raining for a week. But like what idiots decided to go to bali during rainy season hmmm?!
Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays on Gili T were party night and waaaw was it fun. Our first night out in Gili T we were dancing on the tables with all the Indonesians, drinking this crazy shots with some sort of illegal amphetamine powder called joss- can’t say the Indonesians don't party, right?! We met these lovely Ozzie boys Ewan and Mitch who quickly became our partners in crime and we ended up spending a lot of time with them just hanging out on the beach and partying.
We went on a snorkelling trip through the 3 islands and snorkelled round a shipwreck which was super cool, we also went and saw a couple of turtles, wow it was so cool seeing a turtle up close!
Whats cool about Gili T is that you can cycle round the whole island in an hour so thats exactly what we did one day, half way we stopped and found this lovely couple selling coconuts so we had our little coconut on the beach. The Indonesians are really lovely and funny people. There was this one guy at the first place we stayed in the gilis who just sang all the time haha and put on really cheesy latino type of songs and just danced around at like 8 in the morning. Hey, why not! Love a bit of 8 am dancing.
The food market at the gilis was UNREAL, like anything and everything from fresh fish to a ring donut it was amazing, and all for under £2! Yum yum yum.
Something I discovered that really deserves a shout out is the Balinese avocado shakes. Oh my god. They basically blend up a whole avocado, a handful of ice and a teeny bit of syrup and bam! the best shake that has ever happened to you. They were my breakfast for weeks!

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Fleur got a bit bored with the gilis after a week and demanded more ‘culture’ so we got the boat back to mainland Bali ready to see what Bali has for offer. We headed to Ubud, the rainiest part of Bali but nevertheless a very beautiful town. They filmed Eat, Pray Love in Ubud so it is all very yoga and healthy and om.
We ate really well in Ubud, some of the most amazing restaurants there but it was quite westernised and didn’t really feel like I was in an Indonesian country. One of the most amazing things we did in Bali and one that I would seriously recommend was a bikeride through the rice paddies. It was incredible. We started the tour by having breakfast overlooking an active volcano, then we went to a coffee tasting (we were BUZZING for this bikeride after that), met a luwack animal which is one of those Meercat type animals that finds the best coffee beans then poos them out so we all get amazing coffee and then we got on our bikes and we were off! The whole tour was downhill thank god and we passed loads of little villages and all the little children were waving at us and saying hello. TOO CUTE. It was one of the most amazing experiences and ill never forget cycling down those hills looking up at all the huge palm trees and just feeling so grateful to be there in that moment in time.

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In Ubud there is a forest with monkeys in it slap bang in the middle of the town. Its the weirdest thing, but so cool. The monkeys somehow more or less stay in the forest and there are no fences or anything they’re just free monkeys! We went to go see the monkeys and literally seconds of stepping inside a little baby monkey jumped on me grabbed my waterbottle, jumped off me and undid the cap and poured out my whole 1.5L bottle of water.. right in front of me. I felt like it was properly laughing at me! Monkeys are bloody scary things…They seemed to like Fleur a lot more than they liked me (thank god) and I have numerous photos of her on my phone with monkeys on her head, haha they loved her! The forest itself was beautiful and it was just so cool having hundreds of moneys around you just doing their own thing.
The market in Ubud was amazing too. So many beautiful fabrics and clothing not to mention the amazing silver jewellery. It wasn’t the cheapest though and they really know how to rip off tourists. I got them down to good prices, I’m quite good at bargaining , if they don’t give me the price I want then I will walk away and using they end up chasing me going ‘okay ! okay!’
I bought some beautiful Balinese material that I’m going to make into an cute little two piece soon and got some really lovely rings. 

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After Ubud we travelled down to Uluwatu, south of Bali which to be honest was a bit of a disappointment. There wasn’t really a town or much there really. There was a temple with monkeys but we had already seen monkeys and tonnes of temples in Thailand but we went anyway. We sort of ran out of things to do which was sad. The weather was so pooey we couldn’t even go to the beach! Our last day in Bali was hands down the best day. It was blue skies so we rented a ped and went to explore the beaches. We found a really cool beach where people were surfing and chilled there for the day, we got extremely burnt but hey ho! That's what you gotta do on your last day in Bali of course. When evening came we thought we would jump on the moped and go for a nice glass of wine down at this really cool bar we went to a couple nights before and go watch the sunset and just have a chilla. It did not turn out like that, no siree! We arrived to a very very packed bar and were a bit confused as to why it was so busy until we saw the djs starting up and realised we were at the biggest and best party in Bali. Wehey! The music was incredible, like really funky house music and we danced and we danced and we danced not to mention got quite drunk too…
The bar was all outside right by the sea on the rocks, and it was full of hot Australians. We were 100% in the place to be! After what could have possibly been one of the best nights of my life (it was seriously that good!) we bought come chilli corn on the cob from the corn man outside (BEST drunk snack ever), hopped on our scooter and headed home ready to catch our flight to Thailand the next morning. It didn’t go to plan. We were riding up a steep hill when all of a sudden the engine cut out and we soon realised we had run out of petrol in the middle of southern Bali. In the dark. With no one around other than barking dogs and some ducks. Can you imagine how scared we were!?!?! We had to leave our bike and walk to the nearest shop which was about 2 miles away. It was pitch black and there were no houses around, nothing. We finally got to the shop after literally thinking we were going to die and get eaten by tigers. Or worse, monkeys. We lucky found a taxi, hopped in, grabbed some petrol for our bike, went back to our bike and finally 2 hours later got to our hotel and we didn’t miss our flight to Thailand. PHEW.

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Thats right, you read correctly. We returned back to Thailand after Bali. Our flight back to London got cancelled and we didn’t feel like we were ready to go home yet. We could have gone to Cambodia or Vietnam but both of us really wanted to go back to our two favourite little islands and spend 2 weeks in total bliss knowing exactly what we were going to do/where we were going to stay etc.
So we caught a plane to Bangkok arrived in Bangkok really late, as we landed we both had huge grins on our faces. We were going back to our favourite place, it was really like going home but better. We spent 2 days in Bangkok exploring the temples as we didn’t do that first time round. We unfortunately were victims of a weird scam, we paid 20 baht each (40p) to be taken around all the temples for the day and all was well until we ‘had to’ go to the gem merchants and ‘had’ to go to the really expensive rude tailors. We basically were just targets to spend our money on gems etc that very obviously were not real. We still had a fun day out! I still really love Bangkok although many people don’t. I just love the buzz and how mental it is.
We then took a bus and a boat to Koh Phangan, we met this lovely Finnish girl, Erika on the bus over and instantly became best mates. We also met Tom who is what I can only describe as an asian austrailian party animal and the most loveliest fun person i’ve ever met. He came up to us at one of the stops on the coach journey and Fleur and I had taken valium so we were in no place to talk but never the less he somehow got me smiling through my tiredness, he was a non stop chatterbox. We liked him. We all stuck together, Tom, Erika, Fleur and Me.. The little dream team.

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We then got on the boat to Koh Phangan.  As we arrived we hopped into a tuk tuk and thats where we met Julia our German friend, she was looking for a place to stay so we told her so were we and we were all going to go to where Toms friend Lucas was staying that was apparently really cheap. We got there and it was all booked up. So we then went to another place more central but it was really eery and empty so after about 4 hours of looking for accommodation we finally found Leela beach bungalows. We literally couldn’t be happier. The most basic and wonderful huts smack bang on the most idyllic beach.  If your ever in Koh Phangan go Leela beach, its the most lovely beach and a hop, jump and a skip away from all the action in Koh Phangan. 
We spent over a week in Koh Phangan, exploring the island on our peds, watching numerous sunsets from hilltop bars, partying till 1pm the next day. We had fun. Koh Phangan never disappoints and the last time was hands down the best. It makes such a difference when you have such a fabulous group of people to share the experiences with. We also met two English boys, Joe and Louis who quickly joined our little crew. 
Something we discovered this time round was the incredible food market by the port. They literally had everything, all the thai food you could want along with really random bits like they even had sushi! 20baht (40p) for 1 piece of sushi… We ate a lot of sushi…
We were in Koh Phangan at the time of the half moon party but instead of half mooning it we went to my all time favourite party place, Eden. We caught a 4x4 pick up taxi up the mountain in the pitch back, we were all piled in the back laughing our asses off as it was so bumpy and we genuinely thought someone was going to fly out any second! It was a very good night indeed. The promoted parties are okay but they play a lot of trance music, if your into trance then you would love it but most of us young’uns weren’t impressed so Eden and the other side of the island was for us. They play mainly techno and house and believe me, they know how to party. 24 hour parties are not for the faint hearted!

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The last and final stop before we were to go home was the lovely little diving island of Koh Tao. Koh Tao is a really lovely little island that you could just spend months and months on before getting bored. Its really relaxed but they still have parties on the beach and its still quite lively. We saw a lot of fireshows whilst travelling. They are everywhere. The one on Sairee beach at ‘next 2’ bar are amazing, really lovely guys and wow they can work that fire!
The sunsets on Koh Tao are next to none, really incredible sunsets. We didn’t really get up to much on our last few days in Thailand other than soaking up the last bit of sun before going back to rainy England! We went and explored the island one day with our moped and discovered some really lovely beaches. You just have to go exploring and you would be amazed with what you find. I did a photoshoot with my friend Erika in the jungle which was so much fun. I knew I couldn’t leave Thailand without doing a funky little photoshoot. You can see it here.
Our last night was spent, of course, at a lady boy cabaret show. I think lady boys are brilliant. Like brilliant. They are so sassy! Super dooper sasha fierce! The show was so funny and they even got my friend Joe to go backstage, dress as a woman and come out and dance. He loved it. After the show we went down to the beach and lit a paper lantern that we had all written little messages on. All of us were going home so it was a lovely send off to the most incredible unforgettable trip.

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So thats it! That was my incredible 3 and a half month adventure. After Koh Tao we just got the bus back to bangkok spent a day shopping in bangkok and then came home. Coming home was really really hard for me, after having all that freedom and constantly living the dream coming back to rainy England I felt so lost and scared. I thought I would have culture shock going to Thailand but I had more of a culture shock coming back. Took me at least a month to feel normal again. I honestly would really really recommend travelling to any of you lot if you haven’t already. It’s the most amazing thing, being free to do whatever you want when you want, getting to know another culture and exploring the unknown. I met loads of friends for life out there and now I have places to stay all over the world! Big shoutout to all the lovely people that made my travels incredible and of course big loving to my amazing partner in crime, Fleur for putting up with me for 3 and a half months. Over and out x

14 comments:

  1. Sounds like you had such an amazing time, Thailand looks so beautiful x

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  2. Sounds sooooooo amazing omgoshhh! I hope I can go on a trip like this sometime in my life haha. So much happened in the space of three months and it looks like you had so much fun and learnt so much! Thanks for sharing your trip x

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  3. ahh, reading these travel posts is my favourite thing. your trip honestly sounds amazing and makes me want to just go to asia and explore! definitely on my bucket list, plus I'm aussie so it's even closer. the photos are so beautiful, I could go on forever, but yeah your trip looked extraordinary
    x

    frockled.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your trip sounds amazing! I'm off to Thailand in July and just wondered if there's any places you stayed/went to or things you did that you'd recommend?!

    Thank you!!
    x

    http://emmasssstory.blogspot.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
  5. This was so helpful! I'm volunteering in Ubud for 4 weeks in July and can't wait! Le Pirate looks amazing, defiantly going to have to look into that!!
    Thanks x

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