8 Things to Do in Koh Larn

Friday, 11 September 2020

There are a number of stunning islands in Thailand. In fact, Thailand is quite infamous for its southern islands. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't incredible islands just south of Bangkok. If your trip to Thailand doesn't allow the time to go to the South Islands, do yourself a favour and book a trip to Koh Larn (sometimes called Ko Lan).

Less than 2 hours from Bangkok (depending on your mode of transport) Koh Larn is the closest island. Perfect for a shorter trip. As boats depart from Pattaya daily, it's easy to squeeze this island getaway into any holiday. But if the convenience isn't enough to convenience you to visit Koh Larne, here are my top reasons to add Koh Larn to your Thailand travel plans. 

Disconnect From the World

Koh Larn is definitely a different scene from Pattaya. One might think that because the island is just a short boat ride from the mainland that it would also be a party island, not the case. Whilst in the busy season there can be quite a few people on the island, its relatively quiet and a great place to unwind. 

The island shuts down relatively early. There normally isn't much open past 8 pm. So if you're wanting a disconnect, this is a great way to make it happen. Also, while there is internet and cell service on the island, power can be a bit unpredictable. When I was staying there, I got caught in a little storm and went without power for a bit. It wasn't a problem though. I was still able to get some incredible food and the forced disconnect from my phone did my soul some good. 

Relax in the Ocean

Ok so if you've been to Pattaya you know the beaches and the water might not be the most appealing in the world. Because of the location of the island, it's far enough away from the mainland to have some incredibly clear water and still inland enough that the ocean waves stay nice and calm. 

My recommendation: find a beach you enjoy, grab that inflatable neck pillow you brought on the plane, stick it around your neck, and float in the waters. The soft, gentle rocking of the ocean waves will be just the relaxation your soul is craving. Just make sure you have someone looking out for you. You don't want to fall asleep in the ocean. 

Swing in the Sunset

Everyone dreams of that picturesque holiday photo and Koh Larn does not disappoint. Now I cannot for the life of me remember where this beach is and I've tried finding the specific beach on the internet but even that has failed me. Don't quote me but I feel this swing is located at Ta Yai Beach. 

Regardless, you can ask the locals and they'll be able to point you in the right direction. If you want a magical photo, I highly recommend going around sunset. Not only will you get a wonderful sunset view but you'll get a photograph that will have people envious of your travels. 

Bike Around the Island

Koh Larn isn't the biggest island at only 2 square miles, it's pretty easy to see the entire island in a short period of time. The island itself is quite hilly. So if walking isn't your thing, try renting a pushbike or a motorbike. This will help you get from Point A to Point B while being able to take in as much of the scenery as possible. 

Visit the Monkey Beach

If you're anything like me, you love animals. And the chance to get a little closer to animals is like a dream come true. Nual Beach or the Monkey Beach is your opportunity to get up close with some wild monkeys. 

Nual Beach is famous for a group of monkeys that live on the hillside. Whilst you can feed them, you're probably better off just appreciating the monkeys for their cuteness. There have been 2 reports of the monkeys biting people but that was due to people just being dumb. Have some common sense, give the monkeys space, don't try to pat them or cuddle them, and you'll be alright. 

Hit Up Samae Beach for Water Sports

If you're wanting a little less relaxation and a little more adventure, Samae beach is the spot for you. This picturesque white sandy beach not only has plenty of space but also its the hub for water sports. Whether you want to try out parasailing, jet skiing, a banana boat ride or snorkelling, there are so many options for fun adventurous activities this beach. 

Relax on Tien Beach

If water sports aren't really your speed, Tien Beach may be the perfect spot for you. Whilst this beach can get a bit crowded, it is the perfect place to relax for the day. Hire out a beach chair and lounge in the sun. The water is calm enough to get in and go for a swim if you need to cool down a little. There are a few places to eat as well so you don't need to worry about travelling around the island to get food. 

Craving a little bit of adventure? There is a nice walk to the Tien Beach Viewpoint. It's an easy walk and gives you some gorgeous views of the beach. 

Eat Fresh at the Markets

There are some amazing places to eat in Koh Larn. I personally loved going down to Soul Sweet in the morning for a coffee and a treat but if you're sticking to the resorts to eat, you're missing out on some seriously good food. There are a number of local places to eat that are just incredible. If seafood is your thing, check out the market to get some incredible eats. 

Have you ever travelled to Koh Larn before? What did you think of the island? If you've travelled to any of the Thai Islands, what was the most memorable part of your holiday? Share your favourite travel stories in the comments below!

And until next time...

Stay curious!

5 Reasons to Visit Cambodia

Friday, 4 September 2020
Sometimes it can be challenging to narrow down where your next adventure will take you. I've travelled around a lot of South East Asia, but I instantly fell in love with Cambodia. In Cambodia, you'll find beautiful scenery, exquisite ancient architecture, and incredible food. Whether you love to relax at the beach, explore hidden temples, or party your booty off, Cambodia has a little something for everyone. In case you weren't quite convinced, here are 5 spectacular reasons why you should visit Cambodia:

The History
Cambodia has a deep, rich history dating back to before the first century. With influences in the language from ancient Sanskirt, religious influences from Hinduism and Buddhism, and a distinct clothing style which distinguishes them from other neighbouring countries, Cambodia should be high on your list of countries to visit. 

Whilst often synonymous with the Angkor Temples, you would be amiss to skip taking in the historically rich sights of Preah Vihear, Phnom Kulen, Kep, or Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. But no trip to Cambodia would be complete without seeing the Angkor Temples. So if you do go, I highly recommend the 3-day pass, just so that you have enough time to truly take in all the beauty and history. 

The Temples
I think the first thing that pops into anyone's mind when they hear Cambodia is temples. But Cambodia is more than just Angkor Wats. Oddly, before I went to Cambodia, I was really only interested in seeing Ta Prohm. I wanted to live out any Lara Croft, Indiana Jones explorer daydream I ever had. But there is so much more to see. 

Yes, make sure you spend time at the Angkor Temples but also make sure you see some the exquisite temples that exist outside of the Angkor Circuits. Temples like Sambor Prei Kuk, which is one of the oldest temples in Cambodia, or the Beng Mealea Temple, which is situated right near a waterfall. There is heaps to explore so try not to limit yourself. 

Friendly People
There are some places that you travel to where you just feel at home. Cambodia was one of those places for me. I didn't feel pressured or guilted into doing anything or spending any money that I didn't want to. The people I met were beyond lovely and helped introduce me to more of their culture. 

Travelling through Cambodia was what I love about travelling, the collaborative sharing and respect between peoples. Not only did I feel welcome, but I felt like I was able to appreciate the true beauty of Cambodia. 

The Scenery
I'm a big nature lover and Cambodian scenery does not let you down. Whether you're drawn to the beach, forests, waterfalls, or fields, Cambodia has a little bit of something for everyone. If beaches are your thing, check out Ream Beach. If a good hike is your jam, check out the River of a Thousand Lingas Hike. Do you like chasing waterfalls? You may want to visit Tatia Waterfall or Phnom Kulen National Park. No matter where you choose, you won't be disappointed. 

It's Inexpensive
It's no surprise that I am a budget traveller. I like seeing as many countries as possible for the lowest price tag. I understand that this is not everyone's ideal travel. Many enjoy high-end resorts and luxury travel. Thankfully, Cambodia can be a relatively inexpensive country to travel to. 

For countries with a similar or stronger dollar to the USD, you'll be able to get a lot out of your buck. But for the countries whose dollar isn't as strong as the USD, DO NOT STRESS! There are so many incredible inexpensive options in Cambodia. You can find accommodation for as little as $1 USD/night and eating at local establishments can run you as cheap as $0.50USD. Cambodia is affordable!

Cambodia definitely won over my heart and is a place I will continue to travel to again and again. Have you ever travelled to Cambodia? What was your favourite part of the trip? Share your Cambodia travel tips in the comments below!

And until next time...
Stay curious!

How to Travel Australia on a Budget

Friday, 28 August 2020
Australia, the land that is both adorable whilst simultaneously trying to kill you. If you've been following along the Adventures in Aussieland journey, you'll know Australia is not the cheapest country to visit. Depending on your country of origin, an Aussie holiday can set you back quite a bit. However, this doesn't always have to be the case. There are plenty of ways to travel around Australia and not break the bank. We've done the work to help you plan the most affordable Aussie holiday so you can spend more time relaxing and enjoying this fabulous country.

Discounted Travel
Domestic travel throughout Australia can be quite pricey. In comparison to domestic US travel, it's cheap as. But if you're travelling on a budget, flights can quickly eat away at your overall budget. Luckily there are a couple of ways to travel the country for cheap. 

Many of the airlines run specials. Jetstar and Tiger Air often run buy-one-get-one specials to help you score cheap flights. I Know the Pilot is a great site that emails you the best flight deals. If you're flexible with your travel plans, you can't go wrong with their deals. 

Another option is utilising various Facebook travel groups to hitch a ride to your next location. It's a great way to meet new people and save heaps of money. Most of the time, the driver is only asking you to help pitch in for petrol. 

If travelling with strangers isn't your jam, you could always look into hire return deals. A lot of travellers drive hire cars one way. Dealerships will allow renters to hire the car to return it to its original destination. It's often free or insanely cheap to hire a car this way. If you're looking into one-way legs of your journey, this will save you heaps!

Budget-friendly Accommodation
Cheap accommodation can be hard to find in Australia, but not impossible! There are a number of budget-friendly hotels in all the major cities around Australia. If you're on a super tight budget you may want to look into couch surfing or short term rentals on local rental groups. 

Cheap Eats
Dining out in Australia can easily destroy your budget. Alcohol is stupidly expensive here so even having 1 drink with your meals can add up fast. If your hotel doesn't have a kitchen and you don't want to eat at Macca's for brekkie, lunch, and dinner, there are a number of ways to help save when eating out. 

One is Groupons. This is a great site for finding discount meals. Another is an app called EatClub. EatClub shows discounted meals and drinks around your area. It changes every day so you won't be eating at the same places over and over! 

$1 Daily Coffee
Melbourne is the coffee capital of the (possibly) world. Before moving to Australia, I NEVER drank coffee. The US has a very skewed idea about what good coffee actually is. 
If you're in Melbourne, going for the dollar coffee at 7/11 is a bit of sin. However, if you're American, you're used to drinking coffee with a very similar taste. You may not want to skip on some of the delicious coffee Melbourne has to offer. 

Seeing Aussie Wildlife
Going to places like the zoo gets expensive incredibly fast. Even if you have a concessions card, you're still easily looking at spending $20+ dollars. Australia has some incredibly unique wildlife and unless you're visiting one of the sanctuaries, you're probably just going to be met with the same animals you could find at your local zoo. 

So instead of spending the money at the zoo, do one of the following. First, visit the sanctuaries. They're normally significantly cheaper and give you a more intimate experience with the animals. Many of the sanctuaries are open range which means plenty of opportunities to get close to a kangaroo or two. 

If you don't have the budget for the sanctuaries, that's ok! Your best bet, get out of the CDB around sunrise or sunset and chances are you'll find heaps of Aussie animals. If you're in Melbourne, travel down to St Kilda Pier during sunset. You'll get to see heaps of fairy penguins without the trip to Philip Island (or the price tag). Find basically any oval and you'll probably see some roos. There are definitely plenty of free ways to see all the Australian animals. 

Embrace Nature
Australia is known for its gorgeous landscape. No matter which state or territory you find yourself in, there will always be some beautiful natural wonder. The best part, it doesn't cost a cent to be able to enjoy the beautiful sceneries. 

Whilst some of these amazing locations are a bit of drive from the major cities, there are always low-cost accommodation recommendations. Options like camping and camper vans will help you stay on budget without having to sacrifice on experiences.  

Free Sights
No matter which city in Australia you choose to travel to there will always be freebies to take advantage of. If you haven't checked out our 9 Free Activities to do in Melbourne post, we've compiled a list of some of our free sights that everyone should see. 

Most major cities throughout Australia will have a list of free activities on their website. Most of these sites can be found at visit[insert city name].com. Be sure to take a look to see the unique sights the various Australian cities have to offer. 

What are your tips and tricks to travelling on a budget? Have you ever done an extended holiday in Australia? How did you save money and stay on budget? Share your stories in the comments below!

And until next time...
Stay Curious!

The Great Barrier Reef: A Bittersweet Holiday Trip

Saturday, 22 August 2020
For as long as I can remember, I dreamt about visiting Cairns and scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef. I remember seeing the most vibrant images of the reef growing up. As I've always felt quite at peace scuba diving in the depths of the ocean, why would I deprive myself of diving in one of the most famous dive locations in the world? I knew the reef wasn't going to be as bright, vibrant and full of life as the pictures I saw as a child, but I don't think I was adequately prepared for the section of the reef I explored.