Travelling South East Asia - Thailand
Over two years ago, I decided to start a blog on my website, so that I could have a space dedicated to sharing photographs from photo sessions that I felt deserved more than a couple of Instagram posts, however I quickly lost motivation for it after a few posts. Now that I have been travelling for over a month with another month and a half ahead, I have a lot more free time on my hands and have found that motivation again.
Travelling really is one of the most exhilarating feelings. You get to experience so many new things for the first time, step outside our first world bubble and see the world from a new perspective. But travelling isn't always smiles and adventures, there are a lot of small details that make it challenging and exhausting. There are times when you are so tired from 8 hour bus or train rides that you just want to collapse onto your bed, and if you're on a budget, it's not always a comfortable one. If you are like me and decide to take 3 cameras with you (I brought my Mamiya RZ67, Contax G1 and Canon sureshot Wp1), your back will be constantly sore. Sometimes you feel frustrated when you can't communicate with locals to find out info about buses or food. For me, eating plant based, I feel it is very important to be able to explain to waiters what foods I avoid. That being said, all these small details take nothing away from the privilege of being able to travel and visit these beautiful places. This is what makes it such an authentic experience. It pushes you out of your comfort zone and opens your eyes massively and you grow a huge appreciation for life, your home and for all the beautiful people you meet along the way.
I am currently in Puerto Princesa, Philippines, but I'll start from the beginning. I had already been to Thailand twice before with Antonio (my favourite human/boyfriend), but we loved it so much that we thought it would be nice to start our travels here, revisit some favourite spots and discover some new ones.
We stayed in Bangkok for 2 days after landing to recover from our jet lag and then jumped on a plane down to Krabi. We stayed one night and then continued on to Koh Lanta - we had fallen in love with this Island when we had first been there 3 years ago. We rented a bike by the port for 175 baht (4.5€) per day and headed to the south end of the Island as it was the quieter and more nature rich side. We stayed at a lovely guest house for 500 baht per night (around 13€) which was our max budget for accommodation. In previous years we had stuck to a lower budget but we managed to save a bit more this time. We explored the island by bike, ate at some delicious local restaurants, discovered some awesome veggie cafes and trekked through the jungle to find a cave and a waterfall. We also had our first swim in the sea, played with monkeys and chased them away from almost stealing our belongings, watched the sunset, got caught in a torrential downpour, visited an animal rescue centre and checked out some local markets. The only down side was there was quite a lot of construction going on, the usual occurrence in developing tourist destinations. Sad but inevitable.
Click on the photos to view in full.
We had considered going to a new island next but the weather all over the south of Thailand was predicting lots of rain and thunderstorms so we decided we'd rather be on the main land than on an isolated island. So our second week was spent exploring the Krabi province. We saw epic cliffs, beautiful beaches, hundreds of star fish when the tide was out, temples, climbed 1,270 steps to reach a breathtaking viewpoint and drank/ate countless amounts of fresh coconuts. Towards the end of our time in Thailand, we heard that there was a cyclone heading towards the southern provinces and my anxiety got the best of me. So to be safe we rebooked our flight to Bangkok one day early. In the end the cyclone didn't cause too much damage, and the media certainly blew the event out of proportion, no surprise there.
We had an awesome 2 days in Bangkok, the first one being spent eating and doing absolutely nothing which I felt we needed. And the second hunting down Lert's film lab to drop off some rolls, and to find Barefoods Bangkok - a vegan restaurant which specialises in nut cheeses! It was one of the most expensive meals we had at 880 bhat (24€) which in context wasn't expensive at all compared to European prices. The meal was worth every penny, the food was incredible and the owner was so lovely. What better place to spend your money than at a delicious, sustainable and cruelty free restaurant. We also visited the arts and cultural centre in Siam where we saw some amazing art work, met one of the artists (Chumpol Kamwanna) and learnt a bit more about Thailand.
I would like to mention Lert's Bangkok who developed the photos you are looking at. They are a film lab near Siam Centre and did a truly wonderful job. Their prices are ridiculously cheap (160 baht (4€) for 1 roll of C41 35mm film to develop and scan, 220 baht (6€) for BW or 120 C41. Compared to your average photo shop in Europe that charges 12€ - 16€ or more. On top of that, they offer a high quality and speedy service. I wasn't planning on developing at all whilst travelling but after discovering Lert's I couldn't resist. I'd save money, get to see my photos sooner (I'm quite impatient so this made me very happy) and slowly start dropping the weight of the 50+ rolls I was carrying on my back.
Overall we had a great time, but we were ready to see something new. I missed the fluttery sensation of seeing new landscapes and experiencing a new culture. Nothing beats that feeling. Our next stop, Vietnam.