Wednesday, 28 January 2015

11 TIPS FOR FUN (and safe) EXPERIENCES IN THAILAND

In less then a week that I have stayed in Thailand, I have seen, tasted and experienced many things that I have never experienced before. With a little planning and research (or in my case a good tour guide), you can have the most exciting travel experience that you dream of. I have traveled through South East Asia for two weeks with G Adventures.  (They are specialists for a small travel groups of 12 with different travel styles, as your budget allows). 

Here are my 11 TIPS FOR FUN (and safe) EXPERIENCES IN THAILAND that include sight seeings in Bangkok and local life, food experiences and beach adventures on the islands.



#1 Go see the Grand palace in Bangkok. Even if you are visiting Bangkok just as a stopover, this palace is enough to  awe you. Its Budha statues, murals, columns and hallways are spectacular. (Advice for the LADIES - please do not wear bare shoulders and short skirts or they wont' let you in and you will have to borrow palace clothes at the entrance. They can stop you even if your bra/ tee straps are visible on your shoulders. I wore pants, T-shirt and a scarf and it was OK.)



#2 See Bangkok from the river on Chao Phraya. This massive river is pulsing a life into the city. The boat rides to the Khlongs (canals) will show you Bangkok from a new perspective.
(Be prepared that the water current is quite strong and the water is not the cleanest unfortunately.)



#3 Take a Tuk Tuk to Khao San Road Sun Road while in Bangkok. Tuk Tuks are open aired car (carts?). They are cheaper then cabs and not as fast. You can always negotiate the price. Khao San road is a place famous for its bars, food stores, market stalls, clubs and massage places.
(Busy day and night, It's like this street never sleeps. It's here that I had my first bucket of Mai Tai.)




#4 Definitely do some island hopping. I took a day ferry from the mainland (3 hours) to Kho Phangan island and from there a boat to Koh Samui island. Travelling on water made this trip even more exciting. You get to see the surrounding islands along the way and you can pretend to be a sailor for a little while. My favorite holidays are the ones where I can chill on the beach. I have never stayed on a coconut island before and I loved it. 




#5 Stay on the island. Tropical coconut island with private white sandy beaches? Sign me in. I have always wondered what it would be like to live like Mr. Robinson for a day or two. The past time on this island for us was to eat, sleep, swim, snorkel, kayak, play volleyball, read, eat, relax and repeat. (Warning! You might never want to leave :-)


#6 Try some local food and drinks. Red panang curry with coconut milk, spicy noodles, grilled fresh sea food, fresh water melon juice. Need I say more? Prices are very wallet friendly and I never got sick (I worry about getting sick when travelling) which is a BIG plus.



#7 Explore the island on foot, by boat or on a scooter. Popular means of transportation for locals and tourists in Thailand or any Asian country for that matter are scooters. Staying on a small island gives you an advantage to see it all and it is less expensive than hiring a car.
(Advice: Driving a scooter can be fun but it can become life threatening in a split second. Before even thinking about riding a bike, please make sure your travel insurance covers this activity and please make sure that you know how to ride the bike and where to ride the bike (correct side of the road included).


#8 Give it a go at water sports. You might get bored of just laying on the beach. There are many water sports that you can try that will cost you less money here then at home. You really won't be able to think of an excuse why not to try snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving, jet ski or paddle boarding.  (Again, be travel smart and check before hand if your travel insurance covers these sports!)


#9 Enjoy the night life and see Ladyboys performance. There are lot's of places where you can enjoy great food, drinks and go dancing if you desire to. Lots of venues are on the beach as well and have their own dj's and perform shows and night entertainment.



#10 Ride an elephant. This is quite famous Thai activity. If you care about the animals, you can always do your research and pick a tour provider that is not neglecting these awesome animals.

#11 Get a massage. Because visiting Thailand without enjoying at least one would be really silly!


In case you are hooked, G Adventures has a sale on Thailand tours. You can save 15% with Promo code DSSEA115. 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

A little sneak peek into my room

When I moved to Australia 8 years ago I wasn't sure if I live in my old room ever again. Due to personal reasons I came back after six years. Wanting it or not, I ended up back in my old room. The decision to stay here came few months after my return when I was given a furry present.

Because my Chocolate darling needs me (it is quite mutual) and lots of space (that is kind of mutual as well), it didn't make sense to move out from the big house and garden and go live into some shared house. (Never again!) So I stayed and have tried to make most of it.


The old real wooden floors were refurbished as a first thing in the room, followed by painting of the walls. I kept my old book shelves as I really like them. (I also keep thinking they are like from Green Gables). I bought a new desk (Micke) and a bed (Malm) in IKEA. The yoga mat was in the room when I moved in. I needed a chair for the room. When I saw a blog post about repainting an old chair I picked a turquoise pigment for the paint. I must admit that I am obsessed with this pigment. Most of the decorative elements in my room come from this very same source.


As you can see, even my little check-in sized Samsonite is turquoise. I bought it for my Lufthansa miles. That was one advantage of flying round the world few times a year. :-)


It feels really nice to be surrounded with colors that are "mine" and to have a furniture that I can keep even if I move out. After my backpacking years, it is a very welcomed change.



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Friday, 9 January 2015

Holidays are over


As every year, I am trying not to feel sad that Christmas is officially over :-( . Yes only now. In Slovakia Christmas starts on 24th of December and finishes on 6th of Jan when the Three Kings came to Betlehem. 
I kept myself busy in December. I have shared my before Christmas happenings, I did 4 Christmas tutorial this year: on tree ornaments ( clay birds and Origami ornaments), tutorial on how to make a wreath and honey gingerbreads recipe

Let me share a sneak peak into what was this years Christmas like. I love to decorate the house for Christmas. I always select a color set to adhere to throughout the whole house from decorations to candles and table clothes. We've already had Golden and Green ChristmasWhite ChristmasRed Green and Golden Christmas.

We've woken up to the sunniest day of the year on Christmas morning. No sight of snow at all and at 12 degrees C it was more like a spring day. At least it wasn't raining.



I have bought the biggest tree they probably had at the shop. I've started decorating it in the evening the night before while watching the  Christmas fairy tales on the TV. Keeping the inner child alive!


There were lots of presents to pack. Me and my sister started the packing 2 weeks before Christmas. We only give small presents to the extended family but it's over 20 people so it is still lots. I do quite enjoy it and would gladly volunteer at Santa's workshop!


I like to put the presents under tree when I am finished with the overall decorating. It took me four trips up and down the stairs and large IKEA bags used for transportation. Chocolate darling was watching me.


The sky was so pretty on Christmas Eve. Traditionally , we have a tree and candle lit dinner at 5PM when the first star rises. As it is such a special night and everything in the room is so Christmas, I like to sit opposite to the tree so I can watch it while we eat.




The traditional Christmas dish in Slovakia is a cream sauerkraut cabbage soup followed by fried carp fish and potato mayo salad. Every county has a little bit different recipe they say.


Chocolate darling (who had dinner first) was watching us from behind the window. I don't know why he didnt like his festive ribbon. Tss. He tried to rip it off until I took it off to end his misery.



After the dinner we have the traditional thin waffles with honey or the curled ones. I love them. We only have these on Christmas and they are home made by a family baker. They are so nice!


We also open the presents and guess what i got? Santa got my letter this year. I got two new lenses!


Christmas Eve is a family celebration so we meet with the rest of the family at my Grandmother's house first and then go visit my aunts. We sing the carols at each house and then eat, drink and we open the presents together. We always stay longer in the last house and just share the evening together until it is time to go to church to attend the Midnight mass. It is the only time of a year when all of us go together.



On the 25th of December, we have a big family lunch at grandma's house. We have turkey and other dishes and cakes and cookies and you can eat until you can't move. 



So today was it, the last day with the Christmas tree. Poor thing was all dried up and it reminded me of the tale about the Christmas tree by Hans Christian Andersen. My Christmas tree was loved more than the one in the book, I promise. Sadly, everything has to end eventually.



I have taken all of the ornaments carefully off the tree. The baulbs, reindeers, jingle bells, koala bears, tiny wooden figures, butterflies and birds. Even the golden angel hair so I can reuse these next year. Everything was boxed up and is ready to be used next year again.



How many days is it until the next Christmas? :-)

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Sunday, 4 January 2015

MAKE TIME for everything

Starting a new year, I don't really want to make any sort of resolution list. Throughout the year I know what I want to achieve, learn, change, make or where I want to go.

My biggest sore point in last year was (and still is) TIME. They say you need to make time in order to be able to do whatever you want.

My current 9 to 6 job makes it impossible to have time for anything beyond work. Even if I work hard for 8 hours it doesn't mean I can go home at 6. The really sad part is that I do not get any reimbursement for the extra time, no extra pay or extra vacation day.

With a lifestyle like this, I have stopped making plans for that after work yoga, English lesson or evening photography. I find it hard to find an energy and motivation to be creative, I seldom paint or take photos as often and as much I would want to. IT SUCKS!

I'm sure that I am not the only who deals with this. Nevertheless, I am determined to change this as life is too short and precious. Corporations shouldn't eat our lives away and we shouldn't let them.

I will do my best to MAKE TIME for anything I want to do this year. I hope you can too.

I wish you smooth sailing without any storms. HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015!



52 Photos Project

Thursday, 1 January 2015

My year in pictures

Happy new year! 

I make a wish that the next year is at least as colorful, adventurous, joyful and beautiful as was the last one. I wish for many dreams to come true and for happiness and prosperity for everyone.