5 Thai Islands You Need to Visit

Renowned for its beaches, Thailand boasts some of the best shorelines in South East Asia, but with the rapid influx of tourism its hard to know what islands are in and which are out. If you are looking for beach getaways that are less college party and more, everything else, then here are – in my opinion Thailand’s best islands/ beaches!

*Disclaimer: I have not been to every one of these beaches, although I have been to many. Overall these options are carefully crafted due to my own experiences along with discussions and gathered opinions with travelling friends who have frequented these paradises!

 

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Koh Lipe | © Getting Stamped

Koh Lipe:

Often known as the Maldives of South East Asia, Koh Lipe is in the deep south of Thailand. This super romantic island is relatively small and is rather difficult to get to, but the water is crystal clear, blue and sparkling. What more could you want right?! All you need to do now is book that five star resort and find someone to go with! Check out this great guide to Koh Lipe here!

Krabi - Railay Beach

 

Krabi/Koh Lanta:

Krabi along with Koh Lanta are the prefect Ying and Yang of beaches, and often times these are my number one suggestion if you are coming to Thailand and want a mix of majestic postcard worthy spots along with an authentic chilled out vibe. Krabi is on the coast, and is a tourist hot spot, with beaches surrounded by gorgeous towering limestone cliffs covered in lush greenery how could it not be? Pair this with long tail boats lining the coastline and its hard to get a more picturesque place. While Koh Lanta just down the shoreline is rather untouched and offers a much more scenic and relaxed atmosphere! Best of both worlds?

Koh Chang View Point

Koh Chang:

Down the eastern side of the Gulf of Thailand lies Koh Chang, flirting with the boarder of Cambodia this massive utopia is often forgotten about. Thailand’s largest island is also quite a trek to get to but it is so worth the travel. With loads of hippy shops and reggae vibes the nightlife here is unlike any other of the Thai islands. Think of it as Koh Phi Phi’s older, cooler brother, who is also in a band.

Koh Samet - Wai Beach

Koh Samet:

For Thailand being as wacky as it is they did get this right – Koh Samet, the island where ‘Thai’s go to vacation’ is located just three hours from Bangkok making it the closest and cheapest island to travel to if you are anywhere in central Thailand. Why people don’t know about this place is beyond me, but the beaches are gorgeous, the fire shows unparalleled and sunsets top notch!

Ang Thong National Marine Park

Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao:

Rounding out the top five are these three sister islands nestled relatively close to the shoreline midway down the western edge of the Gulf of Thailand. I know, it is kind of cheating including three different islands as one but this trifecta is the perfect getaway! All three of the islands offer different specialties, Koh Samui perfect balance of authentic and luxury, is home to upscale resorts think many, many $$$, but Koh Pangang and Koh Tao are much more backpacker friendly – Phangan notorious for it’s parties and Tao for it’s stunning views. All of these are close to Ang Thong National Marine Park, which is a must and definitely the main attraction.

 

Its hard to go wrong when visiting Thailand, all its beaches are stunning, and regardless where you go there will be something to satisfy every type of traveler – but in my humble opinion definitely go to one of these!!

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Teaching English In Thailand: The Basics

Teaching In Thailand

Teaching In Thailand

So you are entertaining the idea of going abroad to teach huh? Well I am confident it will be the best decision you will ever make – it was for me! Although moving your whole life 5,000 miles away can seem a daunting task, it is really much more simple then people think! Here are the basics to get you moved and working in Thailand!

Teaching In Thailand

Getting Started:

In order to teach English in Thailand you must be a native English speaker from the UK, Ireland, USA, Australia, Canada or South Africa and have a TESOL/TEFL or CELTA certificate. If you are not a native English speaker it is not impossible to get a job, although it does make it much more difficult.

In order to get a job you will need an undergraduate degree in any subject and a teaching certification. There are several different ways you can obtain the required teaching certificates, there are many different courses offered online in which these are awarded at completion or alternatively you could travel to Thailand and complete your TESOL certification in the country. Choosing to get certified at home usually costs less but getting certified in Thailand, although it is more expensive it comes with the benefit of in classroom learning as well as acclimating to the country.

Teaching In Thailand

Looking for jobs:

Once you have decided whether you want to get certified at home or in Thailand you then can start to research company options. Here you have a couple of options as well! You can either search for a job yourself or use a company which can help place you.

If you are searching by yourself consider looking at Ajarn.com or Daves ESL Cafe, these are both great sites at post job opportunities.

If you are arriving in Thailand certified and need help finding a job CIEE is an excellent program that matches up its participants with jobs around the country. If you want to get certified in Thailand XploreAsia offers an awesome month long course which gives you all the information and preparation you need for understanding a Thai classroom. Some other programs that are reputable include: Green Heart Travel, Gap360, and TEFL Heaven.

Teaching In Thailand

What next?

After choosing which company you would like to go through the rest is relatively simple, look up vaccines you need to get, book a flight, and pack your bags! Congratulations you are on your way to Thailand!!

Teaching In Thailand

Fast Facts and Tips:

  • May and October are the best months to start teaching as they are the beginning of each term.
  • There are two different types of schools in Thailand: government and private. Each comes with pros and cons, for example private schools often pay more, where government schools will have more holidays.
  • You will most likely work 30-40 hour weeks, and the average pay is around 800 USD a month.
  • Many schools have MEP (Mini English Programs) or EP (English Program) portions of the school. These are often programs where the student’s parents pay more to have them enrolled. There are usually more than one subject taught in English.
  • Teaching out of an English Program means you will teach many different classes one hour of English every week.
  • Dress codes are very important, make sure that you have proper teaching clothes. For men slacks/nice trousers and a collared shirt are a must, and for Women closed toed shoes and business casual skirts or dresses are required. Make sure that the length of your hem is at or below your knees and your shoulders are to be covered always.

Wonderfruit: So Much More Than Just A Music Festival

Wonderfruit Festival

As the days last light recedes behind the distant mountains, final twinkles of its golden rays flirt with the towering stages. Fire spinners dressed in elaborate costumes become engulfed by the pulsating crowd. You can hear the beat of drums and the distant sound of gongs ringing. This is Wonderfruit. A festival which is so much more then simply a music festival. It is an inclusive space for dreamers, artists, activists and creatives – wonderers. Its many acres of dusty expanse provide the perfect backdrop for this otherworldly adventure. The art instillation’s, workshops, talks and farm to feast food make this festival so much more then your average music festival.


The Architecture and Art:

Ranging from earthy to ethereal all eight of the stages at Wonderfruit did not disappoint. Each stage distinctly different from the other they each encompassed unique styles and housed their own vibes.

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The solar stage, designed by Gregg Fleishman, a renowned architect whose pieces are regulars at festivals such as Nevada’s Burning Man, specialized in electronic beats that pulsated from dusk till much after dawn.

Wonderfruit_Festival

The Farm Stage took inspiration from SE Asian temples channeling an eco friendly vibe being entirely made from grasses whereas,  The Living Stage displayed colorful metal peacock feathers emanating a more conventional stage feel. The hidden Quarry Stage was surrounded with large bamboo made trees, creating the perfect juxtaposition for the laser show that accompanied the music.

Along with the stages there were numerous creatively made spaces for meditation, naps, eating and drinking.

Along with the architecture there were many different art instillations that were sprinkled around the fields. Fan favorites included Wonder Kar, a crowd funded creation highlighting community by Adam Pollina, Upcycled Bottles by Farm Group and Dance Of Colors by Joan ‘Hohana’ Vinas – a display of glow in the dark mandalas, each of which were hand crafted and represent different natural formations.

Upcycled Bottles by Farm Group

Wonder Kar
Wonderfruit Festival
Bonafide By Zieght
Dance Of Colors by Joan ‘Hohana’ Vinas

The Workshops:

Wonderfruit was full of things to do, there was never a moment where one could be unoccupied! From honey tasting and traditional fabric dying to flower crown creation or gong baths, there was be no problem keeping busy.

Dyeing cloth using Turmeric

The Wonderfruit App made it easy to see all of the workshops and talks that were happening on the fields. Descriptions and times were attached to each activity and the app made it possible to create a schedule for yourself. There were talks on the environment, empowerment, and holistic living.

Cloth Dyeing using local coffee and Turmeric
Live painting session
Learning how to screen print.

The Food:

Boasting a grand total of 50 food trucks along with their own onsite farm and banquet halls, there was no shortage of tasty bites. There were options for every food lover carnivore, herbivore or omnivore alike, all with an organic and sustainable focus. Sip on fresh squeezed juice paired with an Acai bowl and wander the grounds or sit down for a meal at one of the hip restaurants transplanted straight from Bangkok!

Veggie Sandwich
Organic Tea
Crepes in the making
Traditional Northern Thai breakfast – grilled pork, eggs, sticky rice and fried dough
Sum Tum Ingredients

Overall Wonderfuit was a spectacular feat – encompassing art, food, and culture. From its magnificent architectural displays to its progressive sustainable initiatives this is not a festival to be missed.

To read more about everything you need for Wonderfruit, check out my survival guide!

Scroll down for more photos from Wonderfruit!

Wonderfruit Festival
Fashion Central – Wonder Salon
Wonderfruit Festival
Trash Cans throughout the field were dressed up as “Trash Monsters”
Wonderfruit Festival
Donation only tea bar

Wonderfruit Festival

Wonderfruit Festival
Coffee and honey tasting
Wonderfruit Festival
Regular Admission Tent Camping

Wonderfruit Festival

Wonderfruit Festival

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Wonderfruit Festival

Wonderfruit Festival

Wonderfruit Festival

Wonderfruit Festival

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A large thank you to Wonderfruit Festival for sponsoring my entry, as always opinions stated are my own. 

30 Photos That Will Make You Wish You Went To Wonderfruit Festival

Wonderfruit_Festival

Wonderfruit Festival is a four day celebration of arts, food, music and culture in Pattaya Thailand. Held on picturesque desert fields, Wonderfruit draws crowds from all over the world. Its large art installations starkly exposed on the flat landscape bring to mind images of Nevada’s Burning Man Festival while its hip artsy vibes pay homage to California’s Coachella.

Although elements of other festivals are present, Wonderfruit adds new elements of sustainability and authenticity by highlighting eco-friendly practices through talks and wellness workshops. Wonderfruit is nothing but unique and utterly wonderful. Here are 30 photos that will definitely make you wish you went! 

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Many thanks to Wonderfruit for sponsoring my entry to this festival. As always, any opinions stated are my own. 

5 Ways To Be Respectful While In Thailand

When you are traveling to a new place it is always important to understand the culture a little bit. Here I have put together five tips to help you understand what is culturally respectful in Thailand, hopefully this will help you feel more comfortable and avoid any awkward interactions!

1. Wai, Wai, Wai!

A Wai is the action of putting your hands together and bowing your head slightly. In Thailand this is the universal greeting and basic sign of respect. You Wai everyone and anyone, always at hello and often at goodbye as well.

The higher you place your hands the more respectful it is – placing your hands together at your forehead and bowing is the most respectful and is only used when at temple. Normally you can keep your hands just below your nose. This is an acceptable level.

*You don’t need wai children, just people of similar age and older!

 

Don’t be this guy!

2. Never point the bottoms of your feet towards people:

Thailand is a Buddhist nation, and in Buddhism the top of your head is the most sacred while the bottom of your feet are the dirtiest. Be sure you never point your feet towards anyone especially a Buddha statue or a monk. This is seen as incredibly disrespectful!

When you are sitting on the ground tuck your feet in or if you are sitting in a chair, keep them on the ground. If you want to cross your legs while sitting make sure to do an extra foot tuck so the bottom of your foot is not pointing at anyone. Never ever ever ever put your feet on top of a desk or railing or anything of that nature!!

 

3. Barter/haggle but don’t be unfair:

Bartering in Thailand is the norm! It is expected that you haggle a little bit when buying anything from a taxi fare to a bracelet at a market! If you know you are being ripped off just politely say no thank you and walk away.

If you are bartering over a small amount of Baht and things are starting to get heated just remember that these people selling you that tapestry make a fraction compared to most tourists so you are arguing over maybe a couple dollars. Just be fair and kind – don’t get carried away!

 

4. Dress respectfully at temples:

It is very important to dress respectfully at temples around Thailand, this is something that is taken very seriously. Men and Women must cover their shoulders and knees. Be sure to not wear anything sheer and modesty is definitely encouraged! Usually you will take your shoes off to enter temples so a good pair of slip-ons is a necessity.

 

5. Wear muted colors:

This past October Thailand’s beloved King passed away and since then the country has been in deep mourning. If you plan on visiting in the next couple years it will be very respectful if you wear muted dark colors as this is what the nation is wearing. If you do wear white or a brighter color, you can pin a black ribbon on your shirt as a sign of respect.

* Remember that Thailand has very strict lèse majesté laws forbidding any conversation or remarks about the monarchy. Refrain from any discussion while in Thailand.

 

 

Thailand is an absolutely beautiful country, if you are coming to visit please keep these in mind! Tourists can be looked down upon because they do not understand cultural guidelines, hopefully these help when navigating your crazy adventures in the land of smiles!

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A Quick Guide To Pai, Thailand

milesofsmiles.co

milesofsmiles.co

Tucked way up north in the mountains of Thailand is the hippy haven of Pai! This small incense filled oasis is full of magical waterfalls, mouthwatering meals and breathtaking scenery. Although it is full of tourists, Pai is a city not to be over looked to the traveler seeking authentic Thai vibes. Here is a quick guide to understanding the must know information about Pai, Thailand!

How to get there:

Located roughly three hours away from Thailand’s northern hub – Chiang Mai it is accessible by wheels or airplane (although flights are a bit pricey – around 60 USD for the 30 minutes of air time).

There are vans and buses that depart every hour. If you are motorcycle savvy, you can opt to ride the curved roads yourself. The ride is quite scenic but full of twists and turns, many buses and vans cut corners so you have to be very careful!

From Chiang Mai’s Arcade Bus Station you can catch a van at their office across from the Van Station. The first van departs around 6:30AM and one departs every hour after that but seats fill quickly, make sure to hustle over there to get a spot!

In Pai there is one bus station. It runs vans down to Chiang Mai, again seats fill up so buy your return ticket the moment you arrive. Although, if you are unable to buy a seat at the station, don’t worry! There are tons of different tourist agencies that can sort out a van for you, they will just take a bit longer – the bus station buses pride themselves on their timely schedules. A ticket, regardless of where you buy it, will cost you around 150 Baht, (4.20 USD).

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Where to stay:

There are many different places to stay in Pai and the prices range to accommodate all different types of travelers. There are hostels, hotels, and resorts all around the city. The further away from ‘The Walking Street’ you get the more rural and scenic the views are. Keep in mind that this also means you will need transportation in and out of town!

There are motorbike/scooter rentals that range from 100 – 300 Baht a day. This is a good budget option for getting around town as well as to explore the surrounding areas.

There are a couple of larger hostel compounds that are a little bit outside of town. These have many amenities and the need to go into town is less great. This would be a great option if you want to maximize chill out time!

If you want to be inside the city, you want to be looking for proximity to The Walking Street. This is where the best places will be. The closer you are the more likely you will be hearing music from the bars that line this street and the surrounding ones. As long as you bring ear plugs, it shouldn’t be a problem!

Some great options for accommodations are:

Spicy Pai – Many friends of mine from around Thailand have stayed in this hostel and absolutely loved it! Beds go for around 10 USD.

Day Off Guesthouse – I stayed at this guesthouse while there and had a wonderful experience. It was clean and the vibes were chill. Great location although very close to the bars at night! Rooms go for around 11 USD a night.

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What to do:

In Pai there are countless natural beauties to be explored! Mountain drives and waterfall adventures will fill your days and the lively Walking Street is abuzz at night. If you don’t care to do much, Pai is also just the place to do that! Take a nap and laze about in a cool coffee shop. The food is top notch, full of vegetarian specialties but if you are craving some spicy Thai cuisine that is available as well!

You can hire a Tuk Tuk or rent a bike for the day in order to see the sights around Pai for yourself. If you would rather take part in a tour you can arrange one in the city!

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Waterfalls:

Pai is full of waterfalls, most of them are close to the city! Here are a couple of good ones to explore:

Pam Bok Waterfall: Pictured above, is a short drive out of the city. There is a small parking lot and it is a small walk to the actual falls.

Mo Paeng Waterfall: This waterfall is known for it’s large slippery exterior making it perfect for sliding down!

Mae Yen Waterfall: About seven kilometers from town, and a couple hours hike, but it is renowned as the most beautiful!

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Hot Springs:

There are a couple of different hot springs in Pai. One is close to the city, Tha Pai Hot Springs, not to be confused with the Tha Pai Camping Grounds which are man made springs and cost around 300 Baht a person to get into!! The original Tha Pai Springs are deeper in the National Park!

Sai Ngam Hot Springs are 30 mins outside of town, all natural and cost 20 Baht for the National Park entrance fee and 20 Baht per person! The water was warm and clean, locals and foreigners alike paddled about the shallow water.

 

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Pai Canyon:

A gorgeous place for sunset (although super crowded) is the Pai Canyon. This steep ravine filled landscape looks otherworldly. Be careful exploring the canyon though, there are no rails or safety precautions and it is slippery!

 

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milesofsmiles.co

The Land Split:

Although it has a dramatic name The Land Split is far from breathtaking. The earth just moved a little creating a small crevasse. I wouldn’t recommend this solely for its archeological grandness BUT what totally made it amazing is that there is a little fruit stand at the entrance.

If you donate a small amount of money the owners will give you fresh Roselle juice and passion fruits or bananas to snack on! The workers there were delightful and so sweet – making this a must visit regardless of if you appreciate tectonic movement.

 

milesofsmiles.co

milesofsmiles.co

Shop on The Walking Street:

This street makes up the majority of the town and is lined with delicious eateries, cool coffee shops and hip bars! There are a myriad of shops and the majority are not your typical tourist fare (yay!!).

Everything from artisan soaps to handcrafted goods line the streets and in the evenings there are tons of different food stalls that set up that will curve any craving you may have! It is very easy to get lost perusing this chaotic wonderland.

 

Pai is a magical little haven full of hippies and chill vibes. Whether you stay in town or among the rice patties you are guaranteed to have a good time!

Hope this guide is helpful when planning your next trip to Pai 🙂

xx

Kelsey

 

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