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Curious what backpackers do in Thailand? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Top of my list of things to do pre-trip was cookery classes. I told Matt I'd do them alone if he wasn't keen but that I was doing them regardless. Luckily the taste for cooking he's developed recently (ha!) meant he was keen (hmm) to come along.

    After literally hours of research for Chiang Mai cookery schools I chose the Thai Farm Cookery School. Our guide/teacher Garnet met us at our guest house and this started the most hilarious day I've had in ages. Garnet was beyond funny from start to finish, from shouting 'hashtag cook like a boss' in the market to showing us 'sexxxxxxy' ways to chop vegetables and doing terrible English accent impressions I hardly stopped laughing. First stop for our group of 9 (hailing from Germany, India, USA and Iceland) was a local market where Garnet showed us/explained to us different curry pastes, rice types, sauces and coconut products. We could then wander around looking at the beautiful arrays of fruit and veg and the beautiful in their own way pigs heads.

    We jumped back in the mini bus and headed to the cookery school. It's on a 2.5 acre organic farm and lots of the ingredients are grown on site. Our classroom had just 2 walls so it wasn't too stuffy whilst we were cooking in front of the farm views. Wearing hats clearly given for comedy value we did a mini farm tour tasting and smelling herbs like garlic chives and Thai basil whilst learning how they're grown - I'm definitely chucking some garlic cloves into my garden to get garlic chives but reckon I wouldn't have the same luck with growing a kaffir lime tree. We then headed back in to make our chosen colour of curry paste. Matt chose (well I chose for him) green and I chose yellow. Lots of pestle-ing later we had 'Whoooooooo PERFECT! Sexy!' curry pastes.

    Next stop was making soups. Before each dish (we made 5 today) we sat around an outside table and went through the ingredients, being shown how to prep them and then trying to memory game it back at our stations (with some help). I learnt that I'm a 1 chilli girl when it comes to Thai food but even then the Tom Yum soup I made was good, if I do say so myself. (Open invitation for any loyal readers to request I attempt it at home for you when I'm back)

    After Tom Yum came Pad Thai. I've made several Pad Thais over the years at home but it seems I'm not exactly making it in the 'genuine way'. This was proper Thai fast food and with hardly any prep and a couple of minutes cooking we were done. The hardest part in the UK will probably be finding tamarind, Thai basil and fresh galangal in Tesco! I felt full after the soup so switching to playing the long game and only ate half of mine, plus a small helping of the papaya salad Garnet made for us.

    Next up was our Thai curries using the paste we made. Again super easy and apparently we let Thai curry cook for way too long in the UK. This accompanied Thai chicken and basil, another stir fry dish which involved trying to get flames in your pan. Matt was a pro at this but I'd miss my eyebrows so focused on garnishing instead.

    Last up was dessert. We made bananas in coconut milk, though a bit more pimped up with pandan, palm sugar, sesame seeds, dried mung beans and an orchid flower garnish. Somehow I found room to eat it and get back on the bus.

    I also found room to eat about an eighth of a hundred year old egg. Not really 100 years old but eggs preserved in saline for a month until they turn black and jelly like inside. They look horrific and don't taste that great either hence the eighth. It's no delicious pickled egg.

    We spent the evening with the family who run the hostel plus some of the other guests. The family put on a BBQ but I wasn't exactly in the mood for eating. Hello bloat. It was a really nice evening to end another superb day. I don't want to leave Chiang Mai but sadly we will tomorrow for Chiang Rai and closer to the Laos border.
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  • A little bit of luxury for the next few days! Today was so relaxing...we arrived early so after checkin we wondered around and had a late lunch. We were both very happy and very keen for some familiar western flavors. We basically had Thai food the past week on our live aboard and where we couldn't stomach the spiciness we alternated between muesli and coco pops (it took quite some explaining to get the Thai ladies to tone down on all the chillies).

    After lunch we took an epic nap, it kind of feels odd not rocking in the motion of the ocean. I managed a run (which was pretty tough- I want to cry a little over my fitness- but I am sure I can will get it back eventually). We enjoyed some snacks on our balcony and relaxed some more.

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  • A wonderful day, starting off with yoga and then loads of horizontal laziness. I have mastered doing almost nothing🤗. Played some cards, chilled on the beach, relaxed some more by the pool and just enjoyed the resort.


  • I am officially running out of descriptive words!! This place is stunningly beautiful, the crystal clear water is sheltered by 100-metre high cliffs. The downside is, its packed with tourists! They reckon that at any given time there is probably about 30 plus speedboats visiting.

    It was still incredible to see. This is where the movie,the Beach, (with Leonardo de Caprio) was filmed.

    Me and Roedolf swam out quite deep to escape the crowds and have a couple of moments of pure beauty to ourselves.

    We spend about an hour here, then we were gathered like sheep again to get back on the boat. We did enjoy it but we don't like competing with the crowds. We love off the beaten track, probably out of selfishness.
    Our Similan and Siren islands visits were way more idyllic probably also because we were there when the crowds have departed.

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  • Awake since 5am for some bizarre reason!! I read tried to fall back to sleep, by 6.20 I gave up, made coffee as quietly as possible and sneaked outside to watch the sunrise on our balcony.

    I laced up to be at the gym @7am, when it opens, for a much dreaded long run - which I need to do if I want to comfortably run the two oceans. I nipped into the restaurant grabbed a small homemade organic health bar (a bit too much raisins for my liking) to at least have a bit of energy.

    I kept going by flipping around between bbc news, a travel channel, cooking channel and my ipod. I started very slow, aimed to get the first 3km done and then just hang in there. I didn't plan much, thought if I can do 1.15 minutes regardless of distance , it will be a good start, being 8 weeks away from easter weekend. Roedolf made his appearance, did some yoga and then felt inspired to run too, I kept going ...for another 30 minutes.

    17km boom !! 1.48minutes not fast but hey its precious time on my legs and I survived on the treadmill which I absolutely hate.

    No more excuses- just do it!!
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  • As only Isabel can, she sniffed out the almost hidden gem of a restaurant just a km away from our hotel, on the opposite side of the peninsular.

    Apparently people drive all the way from Phuket town to come dine here. I can see why!

    Its one of the most romantic settings I have seen in a restaurant plus the food and service was amazing. I dear say its the best food we've had since we arrived in Asia and the service was nothing like the rest of Asia. Our drinks actually arrived short after we ordered them and not mid way through our meal. The starter actually arrived first and we were given time to study the menu and not forced to pick a meal while the waiter waited for you.

    Its such a blessing to have a wife, partner and best friend to show me these hidden gems and to enjoy them with.

    I think the thing I am going to miss most about traveling is not the fact that I don't have to work but the fact that I won't be able to spend so much time with Isabel. One thing is for sure, unlike many men I don't dread retirement, because I am not afraid to spend all my time with this wonderful woman God has blessed me with!

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  • One of the best days ever today. Ever. As you'll see from Facebook we have a ton of videos and photos greater than the 6 I can post on here which will do the day much more justice than I can put into words.

    We were picked up by Pai our tour guide along with the 8 other people going to the Care for Elephants day. Elephant Nature Park are trying to save as many elephants as they can who are either in the circus, logging trees or being forced to beg on the streets. There were some who had stood on land mines now being rehabilitated. They're also trying to convince other elephant businesses to stop treating elephants cruelly and our day was spent with a business who used to offer elephant rides but have stopped to change and look after elephant's welfare instead. As an added bonus the intro video was done by Lou from Neighbour's which flew over everyone else's head on the bus (mostly Americans) but made me giggle.

    We had 4 elephants with us today - Pooki, Ma Gael, Kamoona and Lucky (the baby of the group at 4 years old). We started by feeding them watermelon, pumpkin and cucumbers. You held out the food in front of them and tucked it into their trunks. Elephants are very greedy so when you'd run out of food they'd still be trying to get into your bag for more though some are fussy and reject the cucumber for the sweet fruits instead. We were given a bag of bananas and more cucumbers and went for a walk for about an hour through the park with the elephants alongside, feeding them as we went. It's really strange walking along with a creature a hell of a lot bigger than you at your shoulder but the ones we were with were so gentle even though they'd been treated so cruelly in the past. Apart from Lucky who was donated by a guy given an elephant as a gift the older elephants were all rescued from logging.

    We left the elephants for a while and had a lovely veggie lunch in a rest stop dangling our legs above the river (plus Ovaltine. The Thais seem to love Ovaltine!) then went into the river with them and bathed them. i.e. threw buckets of water on them and dodged the poo they dropped in the river. The elephants know 1pm is bathing time and even if there's no humans with them will head to the river to wash the old mud off. Ma Gael was my buddy for the walk back - probably cause I looked like a giant watermelon. There were times I was scared of being accidentally crushed by a wrong footing but we made it.

    We left out group of elephants behind (sob) and went to meet the other families of rescued creatures at the main park. There were girls with broken ankles which had healed broken and blind ones being led around by a sighted elephant BFF, so sad, plus babies born in the park and lots of dogs and cats they'd also saved (about 600!). There are about 70 elephants in total which they've bought from other industries. It was one of the best experiences of my entire life and if you're ever in Chiang Mai I'd recommend that you go.

    This evening we went over to Flight 52 as I was craving pizza. I love Thai food but I've had it 3 meals a day since Sunday so time for a change. It's a new restaurant and run by a great Danish guy who spent a lot of time chatting with us. Amazing pizza and out fair share of two for one Mai Tais.

    All in all a perfect day. Thai cooking school tomorrow which will have a tough job topping this.
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  • We started our Phi phi Island adventure with a stop a the monkey beach, to be honest its just a bunch of monkeys on the beach not that impressive, we rather posed for some pictures of the view from the beach.

    Then did some snorkeling before heading to the main beach at Phi Phi Don for a Thai buffet lunch. Honestly i am not sure what the rave is about Thai food being such a culinary experience, its all the same to me, its either fried or its some soupy noodle or vegetables dish. The minute you try to venture out from that its so spicy 🌶 no soft palate can enjoy it.

    The snorkeling was good considering the number of boats frequently visiting this site, however it was hilarious to watch the other 18 people from our boat attempt snorkeling, some for the first time. One guy actually put the snorkel in his mouth with the plastic part that goes between your lips and you teeth outside his mouth and the guide had to show him to properly put it in his mouth.


    Conclusion- any monkey activity that most tourists rave about, we don't find entertaining at all - we spectate and find something more exciting to do. -kids from Africa I guess -knowing what a pest they can be in parks.

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  • The bus is this rickety old thing the the locals squish onto. It's hilarious and fantastic. I'm so happy I decided to take the bus and not pay way more to get picked up by a bus company. I saw amazing views, got the local experience and it was practically free!
    People can just flag him down and he stops. Or they press a little button and he stops immediately.
    Sitting at the back of a packed open bus, I was reminded that everyone honk at each other here. Sometimes it's a rude honk, but sometimes it's a "hey, I'm here, don't kill me please. Thanks!"Read more

  • We walked down the road from our hotel (the way to the beach) in search of food. We found the amazing little place. The couple we so nice and made really yummy food and drinks! And so cheap! 200 Baht for food and 2 drinks. And they gave us some delicious soup for free too!!

You might also know this place by the following names:

Kingdom of Thailand, Thailand, Taeland, ታይላንድ, Tailandia, تايلند, Thailandia, Tailand, Тайланд, Tayilandi, থাইল্যান্ড, ཐའི་ལེན།, Tajland, Tailàndia, Thajsko, Gwlad Thai, ཐཱའི་ལེནཌ, Tailand nutome, Ταϊλάνδη, Tajlando, Tai, تایلند, Taylannda, Thaimaa, Teiland, Thaïlande, Tayilande, Tailân, An Téalainn, થાઇલેંડ, Tailan, תאילנד, थाईलैण्ड, Thailandska, Thaiföld, Թաիլանդ, Tailando, Taíland, タイ, ტაილანდი, Tailandi, Thailandi, ថៃ, ಥೈಲ್ಯಾಂಡ್, 태국, थाइलैंड, تایلەند, Pow Tay, Tayirandi, Tailandɛ, ປະເທດໄທ, Tailandas, Tayilanda, Taizeme, Thailandy, Тајланд, തായ്‌ലാന്‍ഡ്, थायलंड, Tajlandja, ထိုင်း, Thayilandi, थाइल्याण्ड, ଥାଇଲାଣ୍ଡ, Tailandya, Tajlandia, تايلنډ, Tailândia, Thaysuyu, Tailanda, थैलेण्ड्, Thaieana, Tailânde, තායිලන්තය, Tajska, Taylaand, Tajlanda, தாய்லாந்து, థాయ్ లాండ్, Таиланд, ไทย, Taýland, Taylandiya, Taileni, Tayland, تھائی لینڈ, Thái Lan, Tayän, Taylandya, Orílẹ́ède Tailandi, 泰国, i-Thailand