Amsterdam through my lens…📸
Amsterdam through my lens…📸
The largest island in Thailand rightly known as ‘The Pearl of the South’, is a rainforested, mountainous island and has some of Thailand’s most popular beaches… in other words a tropical paradise.
Despite visiting it at the so-called rainy season, we were lucky enough to go through two weeks of beautiful sunshine, and hot humid temperatures. Even though it is a risky choice, if you have the weather on your side, the perks of the low season are many, as tourism levels decrease.
Phuket offers such a rich variety of experiences – of course the white-sand beaches, culture, diving, fabulous food, spas, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, nightlife – that visitors are spoilt for choice.
Over the course of our two week vacation we tried to do as much as possible to uncover the beauties the Island has to offer.
Here are some of the highlights…
The first hotel we stayed at was located at the 11km long Mai Khao beach. This was probably the quietest beach on Phuket. The area largely consists of the luxury hotels situated there but also a small outdoor shopping mall. There are local restaurants and pubs too where you can try authentic local food and drinks.
The beach is surrounded by nature, we saw different kinds of species such as a water lizard that looked more like a baby alligator, and butterflies in the size of a pigeon.
We were told that if we see a water buffalo in the road not to run since it might then attack us! Hopefully that didn’t happen.
The best way to discover the hidden gems of the Providence is to go on island hopping boat trips, so we took the opportunity and I can say that we were pleased with the experience!
By this way you can enjoy the beautiful views of hundreds of small islands. It was a really hard pick since there are so many different trips. Our first destination was the famous James Bond Island.
It was chosen as one of the locations for the 1974 James Bond film, The Man with the Golden Gun. The landmark is among the most popular activity in the region. Located in the National Park you will need to pay a little fee for entering the park, but if you are on a tour it’s usually included in the price.
After that came the adventurous part of the trip, canoeing! We canoed in the absolute quiet and peaceful ambience at Kong Island, along the amazing landscape before entering the beautiful caves and lagoons.
It got really dark in the caves and we had to lie down at some points in order to pass under the caves, but at the end of the tunnel the views are breathtaking!
We also stayed for 2 nights at Phi Phi Islands, which was probably one of the best decisions we made about our vacation.
It was a constant feeling of serenity… but how couldn’t it? Living in a cute little cabin right next to the beach, being surrounded by palm tries and nature, surely embraced that feeling.
I must add that the beach of the resort was like a postcard picture!
Moving around the island is interesting and quite unusual for a person like me that uses a car everyday. After the tsunami in 2004 the roads were re-built, however they are used only for pedestrians. There are cars but only those permitted for emergency services, so the only way to go somewhere is either by bike or by water taxi.
I don’t usually describe myself as an early bird, but waking up early in the morning to watch the sunrise, was totally worth it!
The Monkey Beach was definitely one of my favourite island hopping destinations! Although the beach didn’t have as many monkeys as I thought there were gonna be, they were a bit aggressive and it was quite crowed, you don’t get to swim with them everyday!
I love spas, I mean who doesn’t? But an outdoor spa that has a jacuzzi with this view? I think it totally exceeded my expectations!
Thai massage is among the most famous massages in the world. We couldn’t resist not getting spoiled by the traditional oil aromatherapy and natural scrubs.
After returning back to the mainland, Phuket we decided to visit the Big Buddha. They call it Big Buddha, but as I said after my first glimpse at it: “It should be called Huge Buddha!”.
It is a 45m marble statue of Buddha, on a mountaintop in the middle of the jungle, and offers panoramic views of the city.
An interesting fact of the temple is that it’s still under construction, since it is being built by the people. You can buy a brick at the entrance to help the work progress. However, that fact that it is still unfinished, doesn’t undermine it’s beauty at all.
Last but not least, Phuket Town is the capital of the Island and the old town is lined up with colorful 19th-century shophouses and buildings. It’s a perfect place if you want to find out more about the history and culture of Phuket, shop, or dine.
The capital of France, Paris is definitely a must go destination. The city attracts people from all around the world and is a global centre for art, fashion, gastronomy and culture.
The city of light is well known for its cafe culture that serves as a centre of social and culinary life. Our mission was to eat and drink like a local, so we ended up visiting all the places a foodie would go…. and fell in a Parisian food affair.
We stayed at a hotel next door to Les Halles, so it was really easy to move around and most of the times we walked and enjoyed the vibrant city life.
We arrived at 10pm so the first thing we did, is leave our bags and go for a quick glass of wine. The first place we visited was Le Bon Pecheur. What made us pick this particular cafe was the atmosphere it seemed to have.
The next morning was rainy so we decided to visit the Louvre Museum. An exciting fact about it is that entrance for people under 25 from the European Union can enter the museum for free with a valid passport or ID.
We spent around 5 hours there, and we still didn’t manage to see all of it. It is a really impressive museum, contemporary mixed with history. Technology enhances the whole experience, audio guides and apps give you the opportunity to listen to informative commentary for the art and all the information you need to get around.
After a long day we decided to treat ourselves with a meal from Ralph’s. The garden outside was perfectly arranged, I promised myself I would visit again – hopefully on a sunny day! The interior of the designer restaurant was elegant and the food and service was great. The menu offers a variety of foods and cocktails.
Even if you are not shopping it is worth the visit, the architecture of the building speaks for itself. You can also treat yourself with the famous Pierre Hermé macarons & chocolats.
On the following day we enjoyed breakfast at the lovely Hôtel Costes courtyard. The hotel has a Parisian character and the decoration is impressive. It’s also worth visiting for dinner as the restaurant is proud of its music.
Overlooking the Place Vendôme in the 1st arrondissement, The Ritz is definitely a place to visit even just for a cup of coffee. The hotel is designed with spectacular detail every interior design lover would admire.
L’Avenue on avenue Montaigne, is a 10 min walk from Champs–Élysées. It is a very trendy place, just a few steps from the grand Plaza Athenée hotel with its top designer boutiques, L’Avenue is the go-to dining spot for many celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Rihanna, Beyoncé and many more.
Kong Bar Restaurant is located in Les Halles neighbourhood. You can enjoy food and cocktails amazed by spectacular views of the city of light and the concept of the restaurant. It has it’s own character and unique vibe, and it’s open for all meals of the day.
Four Seasons Hotel George V had a wonderful flower displays in almost every corner. At the lobby of the hotel you cannot miss the -human size- flowers decorated in beautiful mirror vases that create colourful beautiful reflections.
If you ever visit the exotic island of Indonesia, Bali, Tegalalang rice terrace is one of the places you definitely need to go. Situated in Ubud, the cliff features a breathtaking view.
Tegalalang village is located on 600 m above sea levels, covered by good temperature where most of the villages are agricultural. Make sure you don’t forget to wear good footwear, as it’s a decent hike around the terraces and the exotic weather makes it humid and slippery.
The economy of Bali strongly consists by it’s tourists. It’s really easy to access Ubud however, it’s preferable to go there with a private hire car since as you drive across the landscape up towards the jungle you will be able to see the real Balinese culture and art. You will notice thousands of small local bungalows selling colourful paintings, clothing, glass/bamboo/wooden items, Hindu statues and many more. Don’t hesitate to make stops.
You will come across the so called ‘Canang sari’ is one of the daily offerings made by Balinese Hindus in order to thank the Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in praise and prayer. They are everywhere, you will see grown people and children making them in the streets, in houses, restaurants, markets, and on the ground or on in a larger offering.
Although, Bali is an island of Indonesia, the largest muslim country in the world, most of the population is Hindu. There are several temples along the road and I recommend, stoping at at least one!
Even if you don’t like monkeys, The Sacred Monkey Forest is a must go place! Baby monkeys, mama monkeys, papa monkeys running around the temple. What else do you need? I didn’t realise how aggressive these little creatures can be, until a woman in-front us got attacked by one, after she attempted taking a selfie with it.
Like all animals, they need to earn your trust before you attempt touching them or getting too close to them, or they’ll feel threatened and you don’t want that (duh!)
On our way back, our driver suggested we should stop by a coffee production. At first I wasn’t amazed by the idea, but it turned out to be one of the best experiences of the trip. As we were walking though the jungle, I suddenly saw wildcats, I did’t realise immediately what their purpose was but I really found it odd.
Then, the farmer approached us and started explaining the whole process. Luwak coffee -the most expensive coffee in the world- basically, is produced by giving the coffee beans to the wildcats (mixture of beans and different fruits) to eat, then they shit it (yes, you heard right) and it is then cleaned and processed by humans.
In the middle of the jungle, there was a tall terrace in between the palm trees. You could hear the birds chirping and feel that exotic breeze. The location was really breath taking!