Travel stories and info packages from different countries in Asia.

*This post contains affiliate links. 

Ko Lanta, Thailand – a paradise island located on Thailands Andaman coast. It is actually not just an island, but an island district that belongs to the Krabi province. This place is packed with natural beauty like white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, mangrove forests, limestone rocks, and some tropical rainforests. And not to forget what’s under the ocean surface, a lot of fish and colorful coral reefs! What more can you ask for?

Short history: The Island district was founded in 1901 and it consists of 4 different island groups: Mu Ko Lanta, Mu Ko Klang, Mu Ko Rok and Mu Ko Ngai. The name was officially changed to “Lanta” in 1917 and has since been called that. The main island for tourism is Ko Lanta Yai which always and still is the most populated island in the area.

The first people who settled down on Lanta was the ChaoLay (Sea Gypsies) who mostly spend their time on the sea. Then came the Thai-Muslim people and finally the Thai-Chinese. All these groups still live on the island and have developed their own cultural ways. There are over 500 years of recorded history of all the groups living in peace and harmony and that’s why Lanta today is a charming multi-ethnic community.

All the people here share a common warmth and welcoming vibe and that’s locally known as “the Ko Lanta charm”.

Next, we are going to tell you all the different activities and things you can enjoy while visiting this amazing island.

1. Rent a scooter and explore the island

This is probably the best way to see a lot of the island beauty in just a few days. There are scooter rentals in almost every corner (even some restaurants rent out their own scooters) so finding one should not be difficult. The price is usually around 200 baht (about 5,50€) per day but if you want it for an extended period you should always try to bargain a better price, as with everything in Thailand.

Make sure you get a proper agreement of the deal you make and check the condition of the scooter before you put your name on the paper. If there are some scratches or marks on the scooter, you better take pictures of them so when you return the scooter you can show that it is in the same condition as when you took it out. Remember to bring your passport or a deposit for the time of rental, this is just a guarantee for the owner that you are going to bring the scooter back. Drive safely, on the LEFT side, and wear a helmet!

rent a scooter
explore the island

2. Visit Koh Lanta Old Town

This small town is located on the east side of the island, while most of the “happening” is on the west coast, this is a relaxed traditional small town. The sea-gypsies were the first to settle in this town and later on, when the Thai-Chinese arrived it became a port of trade. This was the main town back in the days but after more and more people arrived in the north and west of the island and Saladan (main town nowadays) was born, the Old town got its name. Before it was just called Lanta town.

When you visit the place now it feels like going back in time, it’s mainly built of wooden houses. It is very relaxed with some shops and restaurants for tourists but there are no big crowds here. It is actually one of few remaining traditional Thai towns in the country. There are still some remaining Sea-gypsies on the south side of the island but it is highly suggested to leave these people alone and don’t take any photographs.

The best things to do in the town is just walking around and admire the magical old feeling, do some shopping and have some good food at a restaurant on top of the water build on wooden stilts and just enjoy!

3. Go on a snorkeling day trip

There are many different tours to choose from and every one of them has a little bit different schedule and program. The most popular is the 4 island trip and the day trip to Ko Rok. If none of them is interesting to you, you can always rent a longtail-boat for yourself and visit the islands and beaches you like. The second option is more expensive but with a lot more freedom to choose when or where to go (this might be a better idea because of the massive tourism on the organized tours).

With the organized and scheduled tours, you don’t have a choice but to go with the flow and do what the tour guide says, and there are many other people doing the same thing. Either way, you will see some really impressive limestone islands rising up from the sea and some very beautiful beaches. The snorkeling is also very impressive with a lot of fish and different corals. Highly recommended to do a trip, one way or the other!

koh lanta snorkeling trip
koh kradan

4. Party and enjoy the nightlife

Ko Lanta is not really famous for its parties, like the neighbors Phi Phi and Phuket, but there are still some pretty good party possibilities on a smaller scale. You can find a party every day if you like, but it is also very easy to not go out. In general, Lanta is a pretty silent place during the night with a few exceptions. The places are, to name a few:

Funky monkey – A karaoke bar that is open every day and there is always something happening, they also serve good food here.
Pangea beach bar – Party on Tuesdays and sunset party on Sunday, located right on the beach with no other bars around so it’s a quite good place for parties.
Ozone beach bar – Party/disco on Thursdays, some laser light and techno music for the more “fast people”.

There are several other bars on almost every beach but these are the main attractions that are located on Long Beach. Check out street signs or flyers that are handed out on the beach for more specific parties. The famous “Thai bucket” is included in every single party if you like to have some more alcohol at once. It’s cheaper to buy drinks this way but beware that you will get very drunk very fast when drinking these so be careful. Enjoy!

party ko lanta funky monkey

5. Eat delicious Thai food

Thai food is some of the best this planet earth has to offer, and it’s affordable too! Rice is the main ingredient in almost every dish, plain white rice as a side to many dishes or then there are several different types of fried rice too.

There are several different curries to try like Green curry or Panang curry.  Pad Thai is one of Thailands national dishes, fried rice noodles with egg and shrimp and is a must try if you visit Thailand. There is also a big variety of fresh seafood that the many restaurants cook in their own brilliant way, often barbequed with some delicious sauce added after.

Soup is another specialty of Thailand and there are two soups that rise above the other, Tom Yam (spicy and sour) and Tom Kha (smooth coconut milk soup) to which you can add the protein of your liking: chicken, beef, seafood or shrimp. As a dessert, you should definitely try Mango sticky rice or the traditional Banana pancake.

Whatever you eat, you will love it! Be brave and try some new things and you will find some amazing flavors!

6. Visit a viewpoint spot

There are several viewpoint spots and restaurants around the island, some are located inland and others on the coastline. If you are a sunrise lover you could visit some on the east coast and if you are more the sunset person, just choose one on the west side. The east side has more island and coastline views when the west offers a faded view of the Phi Phi islands and the wide open Andaman sea.

viewpoint restaurant

viewpoint ko lanta

7. Try some Thai massage

Thai massage is famous for being one of the best massages in the world. The quality is really good with the experienced older ladies and the price is more than okay, 300 baht (about 8€) for an hour and they will twist you in so many different positions that you will feel like reborn after. The best massage places are usually located close to the beach where you can hear the ocean breeze, so comforting!

thai massage

Photo 16-01-2019, 13.52.12

8. Visit Mu Koh Lanta National Park

This park is located on the southern tip of the island and extends out to the nearby islands where the 4 islands day trip also takes place. This is a place with unspoiled nature and a lot of wildlife. There are a lot of monkeys, lizards and other small animals native to Thailand. You have to pay a park entrance fee, 200 baht (5.50€) per person and an additional 20 baht (0,60€) if you bring a scooter.

There is a nature trail that is about 2km long that lingers through the jungle and has some breathtaking views. It is pretty exhausting and a lot of steps so remember to bring a lot of water with you. Then there are also two beaches, one that is very rocky and another sandy. In between these beaches are some big rocks with an old lighthouse on it with again some really nice views. You can spend a whole day here or just visit it quickly, up to you but worth it anyways.

9. Go to a Thai boxing event

This is another thing Thailand is famous for and it can get pretty brutal on a “fight night”. Many foreigners also go to Thailand just to train and fight the locals so there might be some interesting fights. They usually arrange it one or two days a week and tickets are sold in advance or at the “arena”. It’s usually around 800 baht (about 22,30€) for a normal ticket and even more for VIP tickets. If you are a fan of fighting then this will for sure be entertaining. There is a lot of advertising prior to events so you better check the surroundings or ask a travel agency to hook you up with tickets.

ko lanta thai boxing

10. Enjoy a fire show at the beach

After the sun has set and the beachgoers has left for the day it is time for the local “firemen” to step in. Almost every beach has some restaurant or party where there will be fire performances performing with different equipment. These guys are really talented at what they do! It’s a really nice extra when dining next to the dark beach and a perfect situation for some long shutter photography. After the show the “firemen” will go around the restaurants and ask for a tip from people who liked what the did, this is how they get paid.

koh lanta fireshow

11. Relax at the beach and enjoy the calm waters

There are about 20 different beaches on Ko Lanta so finding one that suits you and your needs should not be that hard. The most popular and most developed are Klong Dao Beach and Phra Ae Beach (Long Beach). Here you can find a lot of restaurants and beach bars, but also some pretty quiet places along them because of the size of the beaches.

Klong Nin is another fairly long beach that’s not overly developed yet. For more private and undeveloped beaches you should head more south and visit Nui Bay beach, Klong Chak beach or Bamboo beach. Remember to bring water and some sunscreen because it’s hard to find some shade on many of these beaches.

relax on the beach calm waters

koh lanta relax on the beach

12. Go scuba diving

Scuba diving is very popular at Ko Lanta and there are very many spots you can go diving on. There are scuba diving shops on nearly every beach and they all have PADI or SSI certification so they are safe for everyone. Best way to find the scuba shop you like is to just walk into one and ask around, where they are going to dive in the next few days and different requirement criteria they might have.

If you are a beginner, this is also a good place to start because of the price level in Thailand is one of the lowest in the world and the sea currents are pretty nonexistent in the area. Many dive shops also have a swimming pool for beginners where you train to know all your equipment before you enter the ocean.

scuba diving ko lanta

13. Take a tuk-tuk ride

This is the second best option to get around the island, after the motorbike. These motorbike modifications are a specialty to Asia and this part of Thailand. They are very convenient, you can find them almost anywhere and they are fairly cheap. Especially if you go out partying this is the best option for you to get around. Drunk driving (if you have rented a scooter) is just stupid and should not be done in any circumstance! The tuk-tuk rides are also a good way of supporting locals directly because they work for themselves.

tuk tuk experience

14. Try horse riding on the beach

On the more popular beaches, there are also some horse riding possibilities. The price is about 1000-1200 baht (about 30-35€) for 1-2 hours. This tho is a little bit controversial because of the hot climate when they do the riding during the daytime. If you still want to experience this thing it is best to do during sunrise or sunset to ease out the stress on the animals. It is also possible to take a jungle route instead of the beach if this seems more interesting.

horse riding on the beach

15. Mangrove kayaking

There is a lot of mangrove forest on the North side of the island and again there are many companies doing day trips there. You get to see the inside of the mangrove forest and how this ecosystem works. The tours are working with the ocean tide – the best time to go is when it is high tide and the ocean fills up the floor of the forest. The price is about 1000 baht (about 30€) for a half day trip. If you are not interested in kayaking there is also the possibility of taking a long tail boat tour thru the mangrove but these don’t go that deep into the forest because of the size of the boat.

mangrove kayaking ko lanta

16. Visit Khlong Chak Waterfall (if it rains)

This waterfall is also a part of the Mu Ko Lanta National Park but is a little bit apart from where the park entrance is. To get to this waterfall you need to hike about 25 minutes through the lush jungle. The path is not so good and you might find a bit difficult to find without a guide.

Luckily there are a lot of tours made to this waterfall but you should only go there if it has been raining. The tour has been disappointing for many who hike there in the dry season only to come up to an almost dried up waterfall. The waterfall itself is only about 7 meters high so it’s not that spectacular. On the way back there is also a possibility to hike to the Klong Chak cave which is a small cave with massive roots growing through the rocks.


Where to stay on Ko Lanta?

Are you going to backpack or maybe spend your honeymoon here, no problem, we got you covered! Here are some of the best places to stay on Ko Lanta in every price range!

Budget travel:

Dreamy Casa offers nice air-conditioned rooms right next to the main street on Long Beach for a reasonable price.

Lanta Happy Hill is surrounded by greenery and lush gardens and the walk to the beach takes only 5 minutes.

Lanta Coral Beach Resort has bamboo bungalows or nice small cottages located next to the beach.

3-Star travel:

Lazy Days is a beach bungalow style resort right next to the beach. Location is perfect with everything you need for a vacation.

SER-EN-DIP-I-TY offers air-conditioned rooms in a quiet area just next to Long Beach.

Siam Lanta is a bestseller in Ko Lanta, the resort has a swimming pool and is surrounded by jungle.

4-Star travel:

The Houben – ADULTS ONLY offer some villa-style accommodation with stunning views.

Alanta Villa offers spacious villas built with natural materials and every villa has a private pool. The natural choice!

Lanta Casa Blanca has one of the best location ratings on the island and the resort has it’s own private beach area.

5 -Star travel:

Rawi Warin Resort and Spa located on the west side about half way the island. This is a quiet place with all the luxury you could possibly need!

Layana Resort & Spa – ADULTS ONLY is on Long Beach and is still surrounded by tropical greenery with a view over the sea, with world-class service of course.

Pimalai Resort & Spa which is rated no.1 on trip advisor as travelers choice. It is located more south than most resorts and has complete privacy and excellent service!


That’s it from us at BEMBALYFE! Hope you enjoyed the article and found it somewhat helpful. Have you ever been to Ko Lanta and done something we didn’t cover here, please let us know in the comment section below.

-Michael

 

*This post contains affiliate links. More info here.

Have you ever wondered about why there is a fortress on top of a 200-meter high rock in the middle of Sri Lanka? And what about the rock right next to it?

There is a lot of history and mythology around this whole area which is located in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. This place is famous for the UNESCO World Heritage site called Ancient city of Sigiriya or Lion rock. I will tell you some more about it in a bit.

There is also another rock there, called Pidurangala Vihara, that’s not so famous but still very interesting and mind-blowing. This is where we went! Both rocks are located just a few kilometers from each other so you can enjoy both sites on the same trip if you like.

In this post:

-The ancient city of Sigiriya, Lion Rock
-Pidurangala Vihara, Pidurangala Rock
-What to know before you go
-Personal experience
-How to get there
-Where to stay

The Lion Rock history

sigiriya lion rock

The Ancient city of Sigiriya, that’s the official name, is an ancient rock fortress with a lot of history. The rock itself is the result of ancient volcanic activity and it rises about 200 meters above the ground where it’s located. The rock has played a big part in the ancient civilization and is believed to have been inhabited almost five thousand years because of its shelters and caves.

The fortress, that today still stands there, is built around 477 CE to 495 CE. This was the reign of King Kashyapa, who moved the capital from Anuradhapura, which was the capital at the time, to this location because of some insecurities of his own wellbeing. He built his palace and fortress on top of this rock. The fortress was occupied for 18 years and after the King died the fortress was left to stand there alone.

Later the Buddhist monks started using it as a monastery until the 14th century. Not until 1831, the site was rediscovered and some archaeological work started. In 1982 UNESCO made it a world heritage site.  This is considered one of the best preserved ancient urban planning sites and also called the 8th wonder of the world.

Pidurangala Rock

pidurangala rock sigiriya buddha

This rock is a bit taller and larger than Sigiriya. This site has also been used for shelter for about the same time as the more famous Lion Rock. This site became more important when King Kashyapa (477-495 CE) moved the monks, living in the area, here to live in a newly built temple and monastery. There is a “Stupa” where King Kasyanapa were cremated.

Then there is a temple just at the entrance of the hike whit a “modern” house from where you can enter the old cave temple. The hike to the rock can be divided into two stages. The first one is easy with built steps and the second one is more like climbing a natural rock formation.

When you reach the first stage there is a massive Buddha statue lying in a small cave. This statue was once the biggest brick statue of Buddha in the world and is measured 12,5 meters. The second part, where you get on top of the rock, is also the best and most demanding part of the climb. It may take some time and effort to get yourself up there but it’s well worth it.

What to know before you go

hiking to the top

Book a tuk tuk the day before to pick you up in the morning as early as possible. If you rather go in the afternoon then just have the people at the place you stay get a tuk tuk for you.

Both rocks are temples so you need to wear appropriate clothes. This means you should have your knees and shoulders covered and no hats allowed. Some loose breathable clothes are suggestible. Wear good shoes, some people go there in flip-flops and it is possible but for more comfortable use sneakers or hiking shoes.

hiking to the top of pidurangala rock

The Lion rock is quite easy to climb, with stairs and plateaus all the way up, and that is why it’s also very crowded. The Pidurangala rock, on the other hand, is more demanding to reach the top. Even if you can make it to the first stage, which has stairs all the way, the views are spectacular. The hike up both rocks takes about the same time, around 20-45 minutes depending on how fast you are. The way back down is about twice as fast.

Bring water and some snacks, when you finally get up there you will want to stay there for a while and enjoy the views. If you go during the day you should bring a hat and some sunscreen because it gets really hot up there. The best time to climb is early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Our experience of Sigiriya

We came to Sigiriya from Kandy by bus and tuk tuk and the climate was very likeable, even when we visited during the rainy season in December. The thing with the fortress today is that it’s very expensive to go there for a foreigner, 5000rps! That’s a bit much and they have constantly kept increasing the price because there are more and more visitors all the time. Kind of stupid I think?

Pidurangala rock, Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

So we decided that we will climb the other rock next to it, Pidularangala rock and temple, which is about the same height and from there you get the amazing view of the fortress itself. And the best thing is that it’s not so crowded and the price is only 500rps. You need to wear proper covering clothes because of the temple site but that’s what it’s like on every religious site.

sigiriya rock

The hike up is best to do during the early hours to see the amazing sunrise from the top, or the other thing would be to go there in the late afternoon to see the sunset. The second option is more dangerous because if you enjoy the view too long it will be pretty dark to get down a semi-tricky path. For us, this was the better option because we were only staying one day. If you have more time (and/or money) you should definitely go visit both of the sites.

The area itself around the sites is very calm, a small village with some restaurants for westerns. We stayed at a homestay called Blue Water Villa* and we got to meet this very kind family who was willing to help with anything even if their English skill was not the best. A true Sri Lankan homestay! This is a place you want to visit at least once in your life, there is some magic in the air there…

blue water villa, sigiriya

blue water villa, sigiriya

How to get there

The closest city is called Dambulla and you can get there by bus, taxi or hired van. From there you need to take a tuk tuk or local bus to get to the Sigiriya village. Of course, you can also drive a scooter if you want to get the most freedom in your traveling. It is also possible to take a train from Colombo to Habarana, and from there you need to take a tuk tuk or bus to get closer. Habarana is about 16 kilometers from Sigiriya.

Where to stay

We stayed at a small homestay called Blue Water Villa which was right next to the village.

Sigiriya-blue-water-villa-lotta-morning

Sigiriya-blue-water-villa-bike

Other homestays to consider:

*Sigiriya Rock View Home Stay

*Relax Guest Sigiriya

For some more western and comfortable stays (and more expensive) consider these:

5-star:

*Water Garden Sigiriya

*Roo Mansala Boutique Villas

4-star:

*EKHO Sigiriya

*Sigiriya Village

*Hotel Sigiriya

3-star:

*Cloudz Sigiriya

*The Hotel Chanara

Hope this article was helpful and enjoy your stay in Sri Lanka!

-Michael

 

Hope you have a nice Sunday and greetings from Sumatra, we both are here again! Michael came here on Friday and I came yesterday from Kuala Lumpur, where I spent two days by myself.

It really wasn’t the plan, but I broke my laptop so I had to stay there until I got it to a repair shop. Sometimes there are situations that can’t be expected in life! I’ll tell you more about this Kuala Lumpur trip towards the end of this post. However, here’s a small weekly review of the past week!

So last week we were at Krabi, Ao Nang Beach, from Monday to Thursday. We stayed at Ao Nang Bamboo resort* which was a nice and peaceful place with bamboo bungalows and a pool area.

breakfast

ao nang beach thailand

Photo 27-01-2019, 6.32.48 PM

One day we visited the Tha Pom Klong Song Nam nature trail, which is in the middle of a mangrove forest. The route was 1.2 km and it was a really beautiful place! We were there in the afternoon and we saw how the mangrove roots were filled up with water from low tide to high tide.

krabi

natural trail in the middle of the mangrove trees

natural trail in the middle of the mangrove trees

Photo 29-01-2019, 4.29.04 PM

mangorove trees

The next day we woke up early in the morning and went to the Tiger Cave Temple which is one of Krabi’s most famous attractions. Climbing to the top was pretty tough, but well worth it.  1237 steps later my legs were shaking and they were sore for a few days after!

From the top, you can see the beautiful landscape of Krabi and the Buddha statue that stands at the top of the mountain. The entrance is free and you should dress according to the religion – the knees and shoulders should be covered. You can borrow clothes or sharongs there if you don’t have any yourself.

I recommend climbing there very early in the morning to avoid the heat and crowd. We started at 7 am and it was a really good time because there were no people besides us and a few others and the heat wasn’t too bad yet. Climbing there took us about 20 minutes.

ao nang bamboo resort

tiger cave temple krabi, thailand

krabi thailand

On Thursday morning we left for the Krabi airport and flew to Kuala Lumpur. All in all, Krabi was a very nice experience, but still a little bit too touristic for us. The Thai culture cannot be properly seen when the place is made really tourist friendly. Overall, our 2,5 week Thailand trip was still full of happening and new experiences.

So the original plan was to fly straight from Kuala Lumpur to Banda Aceh, Sumatra, but I managed to break my brand new laptop so I had to stay in Kuala Lumpur and find out how I could get my laptop repaired.

kuala lumpur

The two days were full of blood, sweat and tears, and I was so fucking frustrated because a good repair shop wasn’t so easy to find as I imagined. There is still a warranty on my laptop and getting it to the warranty repair was really difficult, which was super weird in a city that big.

I was ready to give up so many times! I wandered around the city and visited many different repair shops. Thank god I finally found a good place and they sent my laptop to Apple for a warranty repair. I almost cried after that because I was so happy!

I stayed at Hotel Check-In which was nearby NU Sentral. The hotel was 40 euros for 2 nights but totally not worth the money, at least not my super tiny single room. In KL you can stay at 4-star hotels for that price but this one wasn’t like that at all. My room was so small that I couldn’t even spread my yoga mat on the floor and there were cockroaches in the toilet.

Normally I’m not that demanding at all about where I sleep but this time I was too tired (I had insomnia and slept only 6 hours for 2 days) and frustrated from the laptop thing so everything seemed so shit, hah. But all good in the end and the frustration turned into joy.

big breakfast kuala lumpur

nu sentral kuala lumpur

After all, I finally arrived at Banda Aceh yesterday and it’s so nice and stressless to be here again. Feels almost like being home and it’s also so nice to finally be in one place for a little longer after been traveling around in many places.

I have to go back to KL in one or two weeks to get my repaired laptop but before that, we enjoy our stay here by working and surfing. Oh, and I bought a new book (Unlimited power by Tony Robbins) at KL airport so I’m gonna read A LOT also! I’m so hooked on this book!

Read our last week’s update: THE WEEKLY UPDATE 4/19: NATIONAL PARK, TOURIST HELL, ISLAND LIFE

Hope you had a nice week!
Laters, Lotta

 


Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.
– Steve Jobs

Huh, it has been quite a week! Although for outsiders, our life may look like a relaxed travel life but it’s not like that all the time. We are not just lying by the pool and enjoying some beer or cocktails. We are working and trying to develop our things all the time and it’s really stressful a lot of times.

Today I woke up in the morning before seven, did some yoga and the rest of the day I sat in a restaurant with my laptop and tried to figure out how the hell I could make some things work properly. My patience and electronics are not the best combination!

Regardless of that, the week has been rewarding. I have lots of pictures from the week so this post is more about pictures and less text.

koh jum office
Our office changes daily. Sometimes it is a beautiful place with a sea view and sometimes MC Donald’s!

We were at Koh Lanta National Park which is the most southern point of the island. It costs 200 baht (5,60 euros) per person for foreigners and another 20 baht (0,60 euros) if you’re bringing a motorbike.

koh lanta national park bembalyfe

koh lanta national park

koh lanta national park

We also visit Koh Lanta Old town! There were cute little shops.

koh lanta old town

koh lanta old toen
One other day we went on a (pretty horrible!) snorkeling trip with other tourists.
Horrible because we are not huge fans of tourist trips… The trip was “4 island trip” which included 2 snorkeling stops, a “cave swim” where we swam 80 meters with life jackets (Michael was like I don’t need it but the guide forced him to put it on haha! It was a funny situation) through the dark cave. With a hundred other tourist! Last stop was a lunch break on a peaceful beach, Koh Kradan which was very beautiful and peaceful.

koh kradan

koh kradan

After Koh Lanta we took a tourist boat and went to a Koh Jum where we spent one day. We didn’t know that there was no ATM on the island, and we had not much cash, so we were forced to leave after one night.

Koh Jum was so nice and a really calm island. We were pretty sad that we had to leave only after one night. We stayed at Coral Bay resort which was very nice with clean bungalows and friendly stuff. Michael turned 32 when we were there, what would be a better place to be on a birthday?

If you’re wondering where to stay at Koh Jum, we highly recommend this. You can book your stay here*

koh jum thailand
koh jum thailand

koh jum thailand

coconut
koh jum local boat
We didn’t want to go on a tourist boat anymore, so we took a local boat which was 4 times cheaper than a tourist boat and the trip was very nice. Locals are super friendly and things work easily with them without any confusion!

From Koh Jum we went to Krabi town for one night. We stayed at Sleep Easy which was clean and nice hostel owned by an Aussie dude. One night costs only 16 euros which is not bad in that area. We had a private room because we don’t want to stay in dorms with all our electronics.

In the evening we went to the night market. I love night markets! We ate grilled seafood and of course – banana pancakes! Huh, it was super sugary for me cause I don’t eat desserts very often. Okay, I think it’s super sugary for everyone!

sleep easy hostel krabi town

From Krabi Town, we took a local bus, or more like a pickup truck with seats in the back, to Ao Nang where we are currently. We stay at Ao Nang Bamboo resort and we stay here for 6 days. We have a cute little bungalow and this place is overall nice and quiet with a pool! This place is a couple of kilometers away from the beach, away from all the tourist hassle, so we rented a scooter so we can drive around easily.

-Lotta

*This post contains affiliate links. 

MOYO ISLAND – SUMBAWA, INDONESIA

Okay, so many people have never heard about Moyo Island, Never did I before I stumbled upon it by accident when searching the web. I instantly knew that this place is going to be a paradise, and it was!

-Explore the nature, bat cave
-Visit multiple waterfalls
-Snorkeling in crystal clear water
-Diving in some of the best conditions on planet earth
-Little to none tourism

READ POST: EXPLORING MOYO ISLAND – SCUBA DIVING AND WATERFALLS

scuba diving moyo island

We went to Moyo Island in May and there were no other Western people around. You can visit the Island any time a year but December to February might be a bit more rainy, On the other side, the waterfalls will be even more spectacular if this happens.

The place we stayed at was as amazing as it gets (book your stay: Maleo Moyo Hotel & Dive resort*). The couple who owns it is one of the best-hearted people I ever met! Evert, originally from the Netherlands, is the man at the resort – and also the scuba instructor! Click for more: DJI Moyo.

He is very professional and has a lot of experience. He and his wife who is local runs the place and they are willing to help you with anything you need.

moyo island bungalow

moyo island

There is also a 5-star resort, Amanwana*, where it’s luxury but that is for the wealthier people because it’s very expensive and did not suit us.

Where is it and how to get there?

The island is situated on the North side of Sumbawa, East of Lombok. The easiest way is to fly in with a seaplane but that will cost you a lot of money. More info here.

The second option, which is way cheaper, is to first get yourself to Bali and then fly via Lombok to Sumbawa Besar.

Book your flights here:

From there you need to take a taxi to a peer and from there with a boat. Luckily for you, Evert has this all figured out at a reasonable price, he picks you up from the airport and then you jump on his boat and will take you straight to Maleo Moyo.

moyo island scuba diving

What to do on Moyo?

Scuba diving and snorkeling is for sure the best reason to visit the island, Secondly comes nature and waterfalls it beholds.

There is also a bat cave which is very exciting. Here you can watch how we spent our time on the Island:

READ POST: MOYO ISLAND – MATA JITU WATERFALL

READ POST: BAT CAVE

READ POST HERE

READ POST HERE

READ POST HERE

Okay, so this was our journey there. Did you get excited yet? Comment below if you been to Moyo or planning to go!

We highly suggest that you visit this piece of paradise if you want some real adventure.

Oh, by the way, there is no ATM at the island so be prepared, get some cash with you and plan in advance. Also no alcohol, but you will probably not need it anyway. Enjoy!
moyo islandmata jitu moyo islandmoyo islandmoyo island sunset

-Michael

*This post contains affiliate links


Michael: So, this is my first blog text EVER. Nevertheless, life is about doing things you don’t know because that’s the way you learn and progress.  I’ll do my best! 

We got to Kandy by train in the late afternoon. We had booked a place to stay in advance just to make it easier for us to get a room and relax after a long trip. So first we took a tuk tuk and told the driver the name of the place. He said that it was about 15 min drive away, okay we thought it would have been in the city but it was actually quite nice to have a small trip thru the city to the next suburb called Lewella.

The place we stayed at in Lewella is called Nook Rest* and it was a really nice place with super friendly staff and amazing views from the balcony.

The only thing we realized the first evening was that we needed to take a tuk tuk back to town to get something decent to eat, so we did. That trip with the tuk tuk was hilarious! The driver was very interested in where we are from and what we are doing.

He told us some good advices for our next stop Sigiriya and also told us about the best things to do in Kandy. He suggested that the Temple of the Tooth Relic and the Botanical Gardens were the best things to see in Kandy. In my opinion, the tuk tuk drivers are some of the best tour guides in Sri Lanka, and they don’t charge much!

The funniest thing occurred when he asked me if I speak any Sinhalese, and I told him “bebadda and the man started laughing hysterically. The word basically means “alcoholic” or “one who is drunk all the time” and the driver thought it was the funniest thing he ever heard that a foreigner knew that word.

“Naturally there is a dress code to get in so we had to buy some pants for Lotta from a street vendor”

The next day we woke up pretty early and packed our stuff and once again, took a tuk tuk and headed to the city center to explore what it had to offer at daytime. We had breakfast and after that decided to go explore the famous Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Also called “Sri Dalada Maligawa”. 

Naturally, there is a dress code to get in so we had to buy some pants for Lotta from a street vendor and after that, we managed to get into the temple area where the tickets are sold. The price for foreigners is 1500rps (7,20€) and for locals it’s free. Even after we bought the ticket there was an additional security check to get inside the actual temple.

The inside of the temples are very beautiful and there are a lot of different rooms to explore. You can either take a tour guide that shows you all the different parts or you can just go on your own which we did. It takes about 2 hours to go around all the different places but it’s well worth the time.

The ones we think were the coolest: The Main Temple, Sri Lankan History Museum, The Elephant Museum, and The Old World Museum. If you like to read more about the place, go visit the official website here.

There is also The world Buddhist Museum that is right next to the sight and is also included in the price. This place was really interesting. A big building with two floors that tell the stories of how and where the Buddha has walked and the Buddhist teachings have spread. We highly recommend you visit this place also.

After we finished our tour in the temples we were exhausted because it was super hot during the day (we went from 11am-1pm). If you are smart and want a more comfortable tour you should visit the temples in the morning or afternoon, not like we did!

At this point, we needed some food so we started walking the streets of Kandy and we pretty quickly found a local restaurant that seemed pretty good. There are a lot of restaurants that have a kind of a bakery or snack bar downstairs and the actual restaurant is on the second floor. These are usually very cheap and good.

Then we headed to the bus station. The station in Kandy is pretty big and the easiest way to find the bus you need is to ask the locals or a bus driver, they will tell you where to go. We were going to Dambulla, a city next to the famous Sigiriya Rock, and when we found our bus that was already moving we basically jumped in on a moving bus. Things happens fast in Sri Lanka!

The bus took 1,5 hours and cost 120rps (0,60€) per person, super cheap! When we got to Dambulla our exit from the bus was even quicker than the entry and suddenly we were standing on the side of the road probably looking like easy target tourists.

That’s when an older local guy started talking to us and we told him we need to go to Sigiriya that we have a room booked at a place called Blue Water Villa*. He told us that we have two options, we could take the local bus (50rps, 0,25€) that takes about 30min and after that a tuk tuk to the homestay, or we could take a tuk tuk from him at 500rps (2,40€) and on the way we visit a spice garden for free. So we decided to take the tuk tuk because it was the easier way.

Soon it became clear that the old man was just the guy who sells these rides because there was soon a tuk tuk with a young driver that was our ride, that was okay. So we got to the spice garden and there was a tour guide waiting for us. We started walking around the garden, there was a lot of different spices and plants and the guide told us some info about almost all of them. We got to test some chocolate vanilla tea and also a small massage with some herbal oil. Free of charge but suggested to pay if you like it, so we paid some realized money.

After this, they took us to the shop where you can buy all kinds of oils and products that they make on the sight. All the products were super expensive but we ended up buying some pure sandalwood oil because of its quality. 2500rps (12€) for 100ml.

Then it was finally time for us to go to our guest-house and relax. The driver took us all the way to the house and was really nice to us. The guest house was pretty new and comfortable. It was close to sunset time when we arrived and we were pretty tired after a long day. They offered some local Kottu Roti food for us and we just sat and enjoyed the evening with the family talking about life.

It was a really good day overall!
– Michael

*This post contains affiliate links.

What a peaceful Saturday evening here in Pulau Weh. I’m sitting on a balcony and enjoy the sunset and ocean breeze (and try to kill the goddamn mosquitos!).

We arrived here yesterday just before dark. The night was quite windy so the noise of the sea was pretty loud but we still slept very well. We are staying in a bungalow in the middle of the soothing nature!

The wake up this morning wasn’t so nice because someone started praying through a speaker at 6 am. The sound was so fucking annoying and made us almost crazy. He kept on going for only 15 minutes but still 15 minutes too long if you ask me! 😀

Today after breakfast we drove around the island with a scooter. The nature here is INCREDIBLY beautiful! The original plan was to stay here only two nights but we found a super nice new place and decided to stay one extra night so we’re here until Monday.

We are super excited about tomorrow because the new place we found is located right next to amazing coral reefs that are supposed to be the best in the area. Sooo tomorrow is a snorkeling day for sure!

Michael enjoying the heat!
Palm trees
Pulau Weh
Amazing view
Mountain view in Pulau Weh
Happiness

Laters, Lotta

Happy new year for everyone! Hope your 2018 was great. Mine was amazing with lots of new experiences. But now it’s time to wipe the slate clean and make this year 2019 even better! I don’t actually like New Year’s resolutions but I still made a few for myself yesterday and wrote them up. I’m so excited to start this new year with new goals!

We are currently in Sumatra, Indonesia. The place is quite small, but we have enjoyed it well. We’ve been surfing, working, doing yoga and being really relaxed. We are here two more weeks and then we fly to Thailand through Kuala Lumpur. I’ve never been to Thailand, so I’m looking forward to it!

Yesterday was New Year’s Eve but we didn’t celebrate much. This place is under sharia law so there’s no big parties. We just relaxed and ate Finnish lollies which we have saved since we left Finland 1,5 months ago. Guess how many times I touched and craved the candy bag during it, haha! We have the worlds best candies in Finland for sure.

Here’s some pics from the past week taken with my phone!

Banda Aceh, Sumatra
Tofu tempe tumis - the best meal for sure!
I’ve been eating this same meal almost every day. It’s just too delicious! Tofu tempe tumis.

-Lotta

THE MOST EPIC TRAIN JOURNEY IN SRI LANKA

One of the worlds most beautiful train journeys is located in Sri Lanka. Because of its magical, beautiful scenery, the old local train route is popular with tourists. It’s one of the most popular activities, especially when traveling in the middle part of Sri Lanka.  We made two train trips, one from Ella to Nanu Oya on our way to Nuwara Eliya and the other from Nanu Oya to Kandy.

During the trips, the scenery and the weather changed a lot. There were breathtakingly beautiful mountain views, huge tea plantations, and amazing waterfalls. The train also passed through multiple tunnels which were pretty amazing.

The weather changed radically, at one minute the sun was shining and the other it was pouring down rain and sometimes it was so foggy that we could almost not see anything but mist above those beautiful landscapes.

Train journey in Sri Lanka
Beautiful train journey
Views from the train
Stay curious
People in the train

Ella – Nanu Oya – Kandy

When we traveled from Ella to Nanu Oya, the journey took us about 3 hours. We were sitting next to a Russian couple and the journey was pretty funny because of them and their hustle and bustle with their vodka bottle.

From Nanu Oya to Kandy, the train trip took us over four hours. The travel time varies and it depends on how many stops the train does. Some take longer and others go faster, straight to the end terminal.

The most epic train journey in Sri Lanka
Samosa time
Samosa o’clock!

On the train, there were a few central doors open all the way and most of the time tourists had Instagram-friendly photoshoots in the open doorway. As we had too, of course! There was also a bird riding along for some time and most people were terrified. Miz was the only one who was stoked about it!

Both train journeys were really nice with amazing scenery. The people, all the locals and other travelers were very friendly. There were also restaurants on the trains, but we didn’t use their services. We bought samosas from some local guys who jumped on the train just to sell those salty yummies.

Nanu Oya railway station
Local school boys

How to get the tickets?

Train tickets can be purchased from the ticket office at the train station. The ticket purchase is really easy and the price is extremely cheap – about 1-3 euros depending on which class of ticket you buy. There are three different classes. First-class tickets sell out faster than the general 2nd and 3rd class. As far as I know, the first class is only with better air conditioning and cleanliness.

For the first trip, the 2nd class was sold out so we bought 3rd class tickets with reserved seats. The second trip was in 2nd class and it was also with seats. The difference was almost none. There are also some train cars without reserved seats, they are a bit cheaper but if the train is really full, better run fast if you want a seat, otherwise, you have to stand or sit in the hallways!

Overall the train journey in Sri Lanka was a super nice experience. The pictures don’t do any justice!

-Lotta

READ ALSO
SRI LANKA – ELLA & NINE ARCH BRIDGE
SRI LANKA – NUWARA ELIYA “CITY ON THE PLAIN”

*This post contains affiliate links.

Sri Lanka – Nuwara Eliya “City on the plain”

//Scroll down for English!

Nuwara Eliya on Sri Lankan keskeisessä provinssissa sijaitseva vuoristokaupunki. Sen nimi tarkoittaa  “city on the plain” tai “city of the light” eli tasangon tai valon kaupunkia. Kaupunki sijaitsee 1868 metriä merenpinnan yläpuolella ja ilmasto on subtrooppinen vuoristoilmasto. Vuoden keskilämpötila on vain 16 astetta ja talviöisin lämpötila voi laskea jopa nollaan.

Ilmastoero oli kyllä huomattava eteläämpään verrattuna, ja iltaisin sekä etenkin öisin oli oikeasti todella viileä – piti nukkua paksun huovan alla ja kledjuja sai olla kyllä riittävästi päällä. Paikallisetkin olivat iltaisin vuorautuneet pipoihin ja paksuihin toppatakkeihin.

Mountain view, Nuwara Eliya
Nuwara Eliya village
Tea plantages, Nuwara Eliya

Miten ja millä Nuwara Eliyaan?

Me otettiin Ellasta juna Nanu Oyaan, joka on Nuwara Eliyan lähin rautatieasema. Junamatka kesti kolmisen tuntia ja maksoi alle pari euroa per naama. Junissa on eri luokkia ja hinta luonnollisesti määräytyy sen mukaan, mihin luokkaan lipun ostaa. Junamatkat ovat yleisesti aina todella edullisia maan sisällä matkustaessa, ja matka itsessään on todella siisti kokemus mielettömien maisemien vuoksi.

Nanu Oyasta Nuwara Eliyaan on matkaa noin 8 kilometriä. Meidän kämppä sijaitsi keskellä vuoristoja, jonne päästiin junalta-asemalta helposti autokyydillä. Meidän terassilta näkyi suoraan vuoristomaisema, jossa lehmät löntystelivät laitumellaan ja talot olivat kuin suoraan englantilaisesta pienestä maalaiskylästä. Turismia Nuwara Eliyassa ei juurikaan ole, mutta paikallista kulttuuria pääsee kyllä näkemään. 

Riisiä, currya ja samosaa

Vuorilla ei juurikaan ole mitään ruokapaikkoja, joten safkaamaan oli mentävä tuk tukilla parin kilometrin päähän keskustaan. Safkattiin lokaalimestoissa lähinnä riisiä & curryä, mikä ei ollut lainkaan hinnalla pilattu ja kadunvarsilta sai napattua mukaan herkullisia suolaisia samosapiirakoita. Keskustan alue on vuoristoon verrattuna paljon vilkkaampi – kadut ovat täynnä pieniä vaatekauppoja paikan runsaan vaateteollisuuden vuoksi ja pieniä leipomoja löytyy ihan vieri vieren.

Chaya Hills, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Yövyttiin vuoristossa Chaya Hills* -nimisessä mestassa, joka oli siisti ja kaikinpuolin toimiva. Yö maksoi 13 euroa. // We stayed at Chaya Hills* which was overall nice and clean, for only 13 euros a night.

Historiaa Briteistä

Samuel Baker perusti Nuwara Eliyan vuonna 1846, aikana kun Sri Lanka tunnettiin vielä nimellä Ceylon. Nuwara Eliyaa kutsuttiin tuolloin “pikku-Englanniksi”, kun brittiläiset siirtolaiset tykästyivät paikkaan sen viileän ilmaston ja loistavien harrastusmahdollisuuksien vuoksi. Nuwara Eliyassa järjestetään nykyäänkin paljon hevos- ja autokilpailuja, mutta se on kuitenkin tänä päivänä enemmän lokaalien suosiossa.

Gregory Lake, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Gregory Lake on tunnettu järvi keskeisellä paikalla Nuwara Eliyassa. Järvi on rakennettu vuonna 1873. //Gregory Lake in the middle of Nuwara Eliya was built in 1873.

Teen luvattu kaupunki

Nuwara Eliyaa ympäröi valtava määrä teeplantaaseja, joille kaupungin korkea sijainti ja viileämpi ilmasto luo täydellisen kasvumahdollisuuden. Nuwara Eliyaa pidetäänkin Sri Lankan teetuotannon keskuksena sekä tunnetuimpana teealueena. Valtavia teeplantaaseja ei voi olla etenkään vuoristoissa huomaamatta, sillä niitä on valtava määrä kaikkialla. Nuwara Eliyassa on myös runsaasti teetehtaita, joissa voi käydä tutustumassa teen tuotantoon ja sen eri lajikkeisiin. 

Drone flyer
Tea plantages
Tea plantages
Greetings from Nuwara Eliya
Dronen lennättäminen on Sri Lankassa kiellettyä ilman erillistä lupaa. // Flying a drone without a permit is illegal in Sri Lanka.

Nuwara Eliya on ehdottomasti käymisen arvoinen, sillä se on melko poikkeava muihin Sri Lankan paikkoihin verrattuna – ilmasto, arkkitehtuuri ja valtavat teeplantaasivuoristot ovat aika spesiaaleja.  Monet reissaajat suhaavat Kandysta suoraan junalla Ellaan, tai toisinpäin, mutta meiltä kyllä vahva suositus pysähtyä matkan varrella myös Nuwara Eliyaan, edes yhdeksi päiväksi.


// English: The name Nuwara Eliya means “city on the plain” or “city of the light”. The city is located 1868 meters above sea level and has a rather different climate than Sri Lanka in general. The average temperature is only 16 degrees celsius and sometimes during the night, it might go below zero. Most of the locals wear jackets and beanies which is rather funny for a mostly tropical country.

The food in Nuwara Eliya was mostly traditional Sri Lankan rice and curry. There were also a lot of little bakeries where they sell sweet pastries and salty samosas.

The city itself reminds of an old English country village and is established in 1846 by the British. At the time it was called “little Britannia”. Nowadays the city is mostly known for its vast tea plantations and factories.

The locals still arrange horse and car contests there, which made the city famous in the beginning for the British as a holiday destination because of the cool climate that reminded them of home.

How to get there? We took the train from Ella to Nanu Oya which is the closest railway station to the city, 8 kilometers apart. The train took us about 3 hours and cost under 2 euros.  

Most travelers and tourist never go there because of its climate and remote location but we highly recommend it for anyone who wants to see a special side of Sri Lanka. Definitely worth the stop, even if it’s for just one day.

 

 

Ellan yksi suosituimmista ja tunnetuimmista nähtävyyksistä on Little Adam’s Peak. Se on 1141 metriä korkea vuori, jonka tuuliselta huipulta voi nähdä muun muassa Ellan suurimman vesiputouksen Ravana Fallsin, massiiviset teeplantaasit sekä muut upeat vuoristot, jotka ympäröivät kylää.

Kiipeäminen vuoren huipulle vei meiltä noin 20 minuuttia, eikä se ollut mitenkään haastava reitti. Paras aika kiivetä on aikaisin aamusta tai illalla auringonlaskun aikaan.

Little Adam’s Peak on nimetty “alkuperäisen” Adam’s Peakin mukaan, joka on noin 130 kilometrin päässä Ellasta, Nuwaya Elyan alueella. Vuoret ovat muodoltaan samanlaiset, mutta Ellassa sijaitseva on kooltaan pienempi. 


// One of Ella’s most popular and famous attraction is Little Adam’s Peak which is 1141 meters high. On the top you can see Ella’s largest waterfall Ravana Falls, massive tea plantations and other amazing mountains in the area.

It took us about 20 minutes to climb to the top and the path was quite easy. The best time to go there is either early in the morning at sunrise or in the late afternoon to see the sunset.

Little Adam’s Peak got its name from the “original” Adam’s Peak which is located in the Nuwara Elya area. They are similar in shape but Little Adam’s Peak is smaller. They are 130 km apart of each other.

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Vuoren huipulla oli kaksi buddha-patsasta // There was two buddha statues at the top

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