Dream Island aka Koh Lipe

There are many different things about travelling that Shay and I have come to love; food, adventure, warm weather and culture all spring to mind. But one factor that really has struck us as enjoyable is the ability to make a decision and move on to a new place within a matter of hours. We did it when leaving Sihanoukville for Siem Reap, and we did it again from moving on from Krabi Town to Koh Lipe. But what made it even more exciting this time is that we didn't even know we were going to Koh Lipe. We knew we wanted to head to and island, but we weren't sure whether that would be Koh Jum or elsewhere, after some quick research we found Koh Lipe and booked our travel with our hostel. Easy peasy.

It was a slightly arduous journey, starting at 7am with a 4 hour bus journey then a 1 hour very loud and fast speed boat, but we made it. The journey was made better by making friends with the lovely Lucy from Brighton. We chatted pretty much the whole way and were also able to share the moment of arriving on the island - which was in all honesty one of the most bright-eyed and bushy tailed moments of my life, in a good way. None of us could beleive what we were seeing; crystal clear, turquoise water, a relatively empty beach and a splattering of chilled out beach bars lining the main beach, Pattaya beach. I hope I never forget that moment of such wonder and amazement.

Koh Lipe is a tiny island about 60km of the mainland of Thailand, and here is where you can ignore the Lonely Planet guide, it's on the up but still very much nice and chilled, there are bars and restaurants popping up all the time, development is a plenty on the island and there are ATMs - contrary to what the Lonely Planet says. Bear in mind however that Koh Lipe is fairly expensive - you can find plates of food for 70-90b but there aren't many places, and a small Chang will set you back anywhere from 80-100b. Much more than the mainland offers and after discussing with some bar staff, apparently Lipe is the most expensive island at the moment. But considering Lipe is actually closer to Malaysia, you can understand the costs that it takes to get food and drink there. Totally worth every penny though.

We stopped to take in our surroundings with a few cold beers before heading off to our accommodation that Shay and I had pre-booked. Although my advice, if you're heading this way would be not to pre-book, unless you're not on a budget, as there's plenty of accommodation on the island that you can find for cheaper than online. By the end of our stay on the island - 8 nights - we were in a 700b a night room on walking street.

We wanted to do some diving whilst in South Thailand, but in all honesty, we were shocked by the prices... 1800b minimum for one dive for one person if I can recall correctly and our backpacker budget just wouldn't have stretched that far, which I don't regret because I know we'll get another chance to do it, hopefully when we have more money, and also there's no way I'm not going back to Koh Lipe. And that's final.

We spent a very chilled 8 days on Koh Lipe, wandering around the island, although it only takes about 10-20 minutes to walk from Pattaya beach to Sunset beach and only about 5 minutes to walk from Pattaya beach to Sunrise beach. There's not so much to discover and explore on the island, as most of everything is concentrated to the Pattaya and Sunrise beaches and the main/only street that connects the two, aptly named walking street because it would be totally criminal to get a taxi anywhere on this island - nowhere is far enough.

Trying to stick within budget as much as possible, we ate at a lot of the same places - our favourite being Thai Lady Pancake Shop. They offer a fairly extensive thai menu as well as western food including some b a n g i n g baguette sandwiches (tuna and cheese oh yeah) and about a million smoothies and pancake options. Another favourite restaurant we ate at (twice) was the Bombay Indian restaurant located at the end and to the left of walking st. If you find yourself on Lipe you HAVE to go. By this point in our travels we were craving curry so bad and Bombay not only totally hit the spot, they totally smashed it. Being that much closer to India than the UK is, the spices and recipes are a lot closer to what I would assume you'd find in India. Maybe? I don't know, I guess we'll have to visit to find out, but our new favourite Indian dishes include Masala Poppadom - why this isn't served in the UK, I'll never know - and Jeera Rice - likewise.

Anyway enough about Indian food in Thailand, we ended up having the most magically wonderful time on this island and I will always look back at our *first* time there with such fond memories. And for now, it's off back to the mainland to see some familiar faces.

FYI, I apparently didn't actually take ANY photos of Pattaya beach - woops, naughty blogger. But the below photos show Sunrise beach and Sunset beach, which has darker sand, as well as lots of lovely photos of curry :)

Chit Chatting & Thoughts For 2016

Hey, hi, hello!

I'm taking a break from blogging our travels to have a bit of a chit chat. I'm currently sat in our hostel in Hanoi, we're waiting for our sleeper train to Sapa which leaves at 10pm sooo I've got lots of time to ramble on.

First of all I'd just like to say, if you're still reading and visiting this online space, thank you for sticking with me through what has been quite a drastic change in content. I realise it's probably not all completely interesting but I'm writing it all down with the intention of getting the travel blog pages printed for when we get back, to always remember this time in our lives. I also very much intend to start putting together travel tips posts, which Shay will also help to contribute to for the male/female balance of things. It's mad to think we've already been away for over two months but we have and we've both learnt so much in that time. Everyday is a learning curve, not just about being out of our comfort zones, trying new things and making our way from country to country half way across the world from home, rather unexpectedly we've also learnt more about ourselves and being more comfortable in our own skin.

Taking an extended break, even for just a month or so is something I'd recommend for anyone to do. Being in Asia, where things don't run on time, and everything is just generally hectic and almost off-the-cuff I've learnt to be a lot more relaxed about things, everything always works out, so what's the point in getting stressed ya know? But then I do realise it's a completely different way of life here. Back at home, we're used to rules, regulations and strict timetables - the huffing, puffing and tutting on the train platform when the train gets delayed by one minute. I'm hoping my mind set will change when we get back to the UK.

Anyway, so obviously around this time of year thoughts lean towards the past year and the coming one, as well as goals and aspirations we have for ourselves. Without looking back at last year's 'New Year' post, I can't really remember what I promised for myself, but I can certainly say that I never thought I'd be sat in a hostel in Hanoi, Vietnam writing my resolutions for 2016. It's going to be a weird one, because I'll be spending the majority of the year in Australia if everything works out the way Shay and I think it will. I have a couple of personal, specific goals for this year, a particular achievement I wish to make by 31st December 2016 to do with fitness and development. But another goal is to learn Polish once and for all. Even just to be able to understand and speak a few words would feel like a real achievement so it's something I'm really going to focus on.

And turning my attention to this here little blog. The second half of 2015 was crazy to say the least, and I wasn't as pleased with the content I produced on This Particular compared to the first half of the year but that was mainly down to spare time and living space as we moved into a shared flat - take it from me, blogging is so much easier when you have your own space. But basically, I want to up my game. I have plans to move away from blogger FINALLY and go self-hosted, as well as categorising all the existing content, get back to focusing on food and really honing my photography skills. I've got big plans for This Particular, but I guess I just need to be in a more stable environment to carry it all out.

I think that's enough to be getting on with for now!

I hope you all had a glorious Christmas spending time with loved ones and you all enjoyed your New Years celebrations whatever you found yourself doing. Here's to a happier and healthier 2016.

If you fancy following along in more real time than on here, feel free to give us a look on instagram.

Coconuts For Breakfast & Swimming In Waterfalls

Could that title be anymore pretentious? Sorry... not sorry!

I have so many photos of Krabi Town, so I'm just going to keep writing until I think I've covered enough to prove the worth of this fab little place.

A couple of days later, we found ourselves heading towards the National Park, north of town about 30km out. With no real research being put into the national park, what was there or if it would even be worth it, we're so glad we made the trip. We left early in the morning, after stopping at our favourite place for breakfast. A restaurant on the edge of town opposite the river, we stumbled across it one morning and subsequently went back every day. Each dish is about 50b, most come with rice and you can add a fried egg on anything - amazing. If there's one thing I've learnt since being in Asia, it's that adding an egg is never a bad thing. I've included some photos from across a few days of our meals at this place. My favourite dish was crispy pork and kale with steamed rice - so freakin' good. Oh and with an egg on top. I've asked Shay for his favourite but he can't pick. We also cottoned on to ordering a fresh coconut here for 20b each - HUGE coconuts that were chilled. The best way to hydrate yourself first thing in the morning is with fresh coconut water, a gift from Mother Nature herself, I'm never going to be able to drink coconut water from the carton ever again.

Anyway, off we popped to the mainland national park in Krabi province. It's 100b entry fee, so it's cheaper than the islands and there's pretty much no one there. I guess it must just not be a very well-known or popular thing to do, but it's practically the jungle and you can trek through it on your own. There is also the most excellent waterfall to walk to, that you can actually swim in. I'm a bit of a scaredy cat and I'm not too fond of walking in water where I can't see what I'm stepping on (...I know) but Shay is a lot braver and got fully involved. We first climbed all the way to the top - there is a path of 'steps' requiring a bit of jumping and agility. Then we went a level down to a larger pool area where we basically just sat in Mother Nature's own jacuzzi.

We spent a good while just chilling out in the water before deciding we'd had enough (had enough of the glorious waterfall ha) and headed back to the front of the park for refreshment. It's so nice being there because all you can hear are the sounds from the jungle, which aren't actually that quiet but the long drone of noise is still nice to sit back and relax to.

We headed back for a shower after at our hostel - at this point we were staying at Your Hostel in town, 700b for a private room so not SUPER cheap but it was a nice modern place and the owners were so friendly and helpful. That night we went to the river market, which again I'll include in my food markets post because there really are that many. But I do have to say we finally indulged in a pancake for dessert! A banana and sweet milk (condensed carnation milk) pancake... just imagine sugary sweet molten banana in your mouth with crispy pancake, yep it was heaven.

The next day we decided to take a closer look around town, we found ourselves at the ferry port with basically no one around. It's funny because although Krabi Town itself is very chilled compared to most places we've been so far, it wasn't til we got here that we realised it had been so long since we'd sat in actual silence. By the ferry port there's a statue of, well we're not sure who, but there's also a huge war ship replica and a fighter plane so a war memorial of sorts. There was only one other family around while we sat on a bench looking out to the water just soaking in the silence, despite being surrounded by replicas of war it was actually extremely peaceful. Funny that.

We had to leave quickly as it started to rain, and by the time we got back to the hostel it started to chuck it down so we started planning our next move, as by this point we'd been in town for 7 nights! We arranged on a whim a transfer to Koh Lipe and the next morning around 7am we were in a mini van and on our way!