What to do 2 Days in Koh Tao, Thailand

So we arrived into Koh Tao after a 25 hour journey by bus and ferry from Siem Reap and couldn't wait to see what this little island had to offer! We were here for only 2 days and so didn't have enough time to carry out a PADI diving course, most people come here for this as it's great quality and amazing value for money compared to other places, especially if your travels take you to other diving locations you can later use your license with. 

Here was our 2 day itinerary around Koh Tao: 

Day One - Love at First Sight

10:00 hrs - Arrive at Koh Tao Pier. We used the company Songserm to get us to the island, which was part of a joint ticket from the buses we used from Siem Reap. Bus from Siem Reap to Koh Tao including the ferry cost us $70.00 each, a more detailed post on this trip will follow shortly! There are three main ferry companies which can transfer you throughout the islands: Lomprayah, Seatran and Songserm. We got Songserm's 07:00 hrs departure from Chumphon. 

Head to your hotel, unpack and take in the beautiful scenery. After having relaxed in your room, unpacked, got changed and grabbed a towel start heading to the beach! 

12:30 hrs - Have lunch in Mae Haad Bay - We had lunch in Safari Pizza Place. This part of the town is for the pier and not nice for the beach, but is buzzing with diving stores, backpackers and good restaurants. Essentially, you can also walk 10 minutes to Sairee Beach which also has a street of bars mirroring the beach where you can get some food! 

14:30 hrs - Enjoy your relaxing time at Sairee Beach after having had an early start travelling to Koh Tao. You can hire some kayaks for 400 Baht (£8.00) for half a day and check out some of the smaller islands surrounding Koh Tao for the afternoon. The beach is relaxing, clean, has beautiful white sand and water is surprisingly shallow! 

18:00 hrs - On your way home hire a Quad Bike! The roads in Koh Tao are not so great and it is a place you definitely want to explore about. Also, taxi's can cost you a standard 100 Baht (£2.00) per person one way, so with this 700 Baht (£14.00) for 24 hour use is great! More on the quad for Day 2. 

19:00 hrs - After having gone back to the hotel, check out the Taco Shack on Mae Haad for an amazing taco or burrito filled dinner! You can choose from Pork, Beef or Chicken and either in a burrito or taco. I had the Chicken Burrito and I couldn't finish it! Dylan had the Chicken Taco and the rest of my burrito and is definitely a restaurant you should check out as the owner lets you paint on his walls! Yes! It has a very laid back feeling and you won't stop staring at the walls filled with travellers tales all lit up in UV light. A quirky and different type of dinner place. 

21:30 hrs - Head to Sairee Beach Bars, the row of bars is lit up and comes alive with music in the evenings, a great place to meet new people and even enjoy a fire show!  

Day 2 - Explore Koh Tao Island 

10:00 hrs - Explore Koh Tao by day with your Quad Bike! It is the most convenient mode of transport for these roads. You can hire a bike for 200 Baht (£4.00) per day, but this is a much more fun way of driving through the streets! 

After having a good breakfast to fill us up, we started exploring and ended up doing this route: 

Chalok Baan Kao (Where we were staying)

Tanote Bay 
This is a lovely beach area removed from the buzzing town of Koh Tao. 

Love Viewpoint 
Up some 200 metres from sea level Love Viewpoint was great to get a good view east of the island. If you want to take a picture its 20 Baht (£0.40) which you give to the lady. Its quite breathtaking!

Mae Haad Village (passed through)
Sairee Village (passed through)
Hin Wong Bay (passed through)

Mango Viewpoint 
Here we went up about 300 meters to Mango viewpoint to see northwest of the island. Incredible views!

Mango Bay 
We then wanted to see if we could chill by a beach and we thought Mango Bay would be the most secluded one from the busy town. So we parked our quad as close to Mango Bay as possible and starting walking down to it, only to realise the beach can only be accessed by boat! Gutted! After having walked down what seemed like 500 steps we had to walk all the way back up them, with no water, in the scorching heat! You have been warned! 

Ao Leuk II Beach 
After having accidentally exercised for the day, we decided to head to Ao Leuk II Beach for some relaxing time and lunch. It was the best beach I had visited in Koh Tao! If you can spare some time for this beach, do it! Its small, cosy cove invites you to just relax! We had lunch at Ao Leuk II Restaurant and could not complain one bit! The food was immense and the views never ending. A real treat to the day. We enjoyed our afternoon snorkelling the area! 

18:00 hrs - Make sure you head to Chalok Baan Kao beach for the sunset, we sat at JP Resort's Sea Bar, enjoying some cocktails and playing UNO (its the bars, so just ask the lovely man for them) and Dylan and I could have stayed there for hours! Alternatively, head to the High Bar near this beach, situated above sea level with amazing views of the bay! Please note the High Bar has a long steep hill, so best take a taxi up there. 

Other activities to enjoy in Koh Tao

This was pretty much our 2 day structure for Koh Tao and would do the same again if I go back there (we are thinking about it!). Alternatively to any of these, you can also: 

- Enjoy diving and/or take a course 
- Try out something different like shooting a gun! Koh Tao has its own Shooting Range. 
- You can also enjoy time on the Trapeze. Yep has one of those too.
- For some fun relaxing time, go down to the Leisure Park for some fun crazy mini golf and a nice cold beer. 
- For the more risk taking divers out there, there are some tours that take you to snorkel with black tip sharks! 

Random points to note: 

- Try out a Mango Shake from any bar or restaurant, so refreshing! 
- Taxi standard is 100 Baht per person 
- Gasoline is 50 Baht per bottle (they sell them in whiskey bottles on the side of the road)
- Hiring a bike for the day costs about 200 Baht.  

Safe Travels

If you enjoyed reading this, you will also love: 

Our Motorcycle Adventure in Hue, Vietnam

To help you organise a place to stay in Koh Tao, check this out: 

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What to Do with Seventeen (17) Hours in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Want to travel to Siem Reap but don't have a lot of time to see it all? Or rather, want a relaxed day with balanced sightseeing and culture driven activities?

We only had a couple of days in Siem Reap and even though Angor Wat is the city's main attraction, there are other ways of enjoying the buzzing town. 

Siem Reap in Seventeen Hours  

1. Angor Wat for the Sunrise 
It is worth getting up at 05:00 hrs for this. Hire a tuk tuk from your hotel's reception to drive you through the Angor complex. There is more than one temple you should be circling on your map to see whilst here and the standard route the tuk tuk's take you are a pretty good reflection of it. The tour takes you about 4 hours and you shouldn't be paying more than $18.00 for 2 people. 

The tuk tuk driver takes you directly to Angor Wat in the early hours of 05:30 / 06:00 hrs, where you will see a swarm of people walking towards the temple. Stand and wait till 06:30 hrs when the sun rises from behind the temples and enjoy a most spiritual moment in silence with the crowds. Unfortunately, we had a bit of trouble with the weather as there were some clouds in the way, but this didn't tarnish the moment we had with the other 400 people standing by the lake watching. Then enjoy wandering through the temple, admiring the amazing architecture without the crowds of people you will find later on in the day. 

The tuk tuk driver then takes you to the Bayon temple of king Jayavarman VII. Enjoy exploring the ruins of this temple to see all 54 gothic towers famously decorated with 216 huge faces of Avalokiteshvara. 

The tour continues to various other temples within the complex, but we decided to head straight to Ta Prohm, the "Tomb Raider" temple, where you can see how nature has engulfed the ruins and the iconic tree roots grounded within the stones. 

2. Lunch at Belmiro's Pizza and Subs Restaurant.
Located right in the centre of town, Belmiro's is a great little place for western cuisine. The host and waiters bring this place to life and you will be stuffed with any meal you decide to have from here! Truly worth a visit if you feel like having a slice of home away from home! Read about our visit to Belmiro's here.  

3. Wander through the city centre and enjoy a Fish Massage
After lunch at Belmiro's you will need some time to walk about and let the food go down. Enjoy wandering the curious streets of Siem Reap's quirky centre. There are many market stalls to visit and massage shops to relax in, but undergoing a Fish Massage seems to be a highlight here. 

4. Take a short tuk tuk ride to the Angor National Museum 
Visiting the museum will give you a great introduction into Angor's history, religious significance and cultural upbringing. Entry is $12.00 per person and is open until 18:00 hrs. 

5. Grab a drink at Pub Street
This was our favourite place to hang out and enjoy a nice cold beer! There are many pubs to choose from so enjoy picking one out. Through these streets you will also enjoy seeing the small push carts people have offering snakes, grasshoppers, spiders and scorpions to eat... I must say, I didn't like the look of any, let alone tasting them! 

6. Aspara Dinner Show at Temple Club 
For all those budget travellers out there, we really wanted to go see an Aspara dance and dinner show but couldn't afford some $40.00 pp price tag, so instead we found out Temple Club Restaurant and Bar offer free Aspara Shows in the evenings between 19:30 - 21:30 hrs as long as you ordered some food or drinks. We therefore, made this place our dinner location and if you do the same, please please order the Garlic Prawns for starter.... Out. Of. This. World. 

7. Enjoy the Night Market 
Finally, before your 17 hour day is up, enjoy walking through the Night Market and try to snatch a bargain! Located right next to Pub Street and the bustling town centre its a great place to meander and watch Cambodian life go by.

If you have more time in Siem Reap and want to check out other activities, here is a list of ones I would have wanted to go to: 

- Quad Biking through the area - apparently very special!
- Visiting the Waterfall 
- Going to see the Floating Villages 
- A full on Aspara and Dinner Show 
- The Siem Reap Circus

Safe Travels 

For more information on planning your trip to Siem Reap: 

If you liked this, try reading:

What to do in Gibraltar if you only had 8 Hours 
Cooking Class in Hoi an, Vietnam

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Updated! - It's time we organised a Bucket List ... Our List.

So New Year's 2014 came along and Dylan and I decided to start working on the Bucket List. I am a huge fan of lists, all sort's of lists, lists that sometimes I never get to finish, then  we realised that one of the few lists we could organise that never needed an ending was a Bucket List. 
Organising a specific post for the list is great as we will always be able to update it! So here goes, the start of Our List: 

- Visit all 7 continents
- Be in two places at once 
- Take a 1 month tour of Italy. Starting in Venice ending in the Amalfi Coast. 
- Ride an Elephant inAsia   Completed 28/03/14 in Luang Prabang, Laos
- Swim with the Dolphins 
- Pet a Tiger  Completed 01/04/14 in Chiang Mai, Thailand 
- Meet a Penguin 
- See the Northern Lights 
- Stay in a Berber camp in the middle of the Sahara 
- Visit New Caledonia 
- Couchsurf at least once
- Help protect an endangered species 
- Volunteer 
- RV through Route 66, USA with mum and dad 
- Visit Machu Picchu
- Experience La Tomatina, Spain
- Visit the beautiful Santorini, Greece 
- See Angor Wat, Cambodia   Completed 06/04/14 
- Walk the Great Wall of China 
- Visit Scotland 
- Hold a Koala Bear 
- Survive in the Outback 
- Go on an African Safari
- Experience the Venice Carnival 
- Go to Rio for Carnavale 
- Take a cheese and wine tour 

- Have a family 
- Take my kids to Disneyland - to every Disneyland, all over the world 
- Live abroad for a year 
- Go to see a Cirque du Soleil Show 
- Eat at a Michelin Star restaurant 
- Make a difference in someone's life 
- Own a good set of coins from all over the world 
- Send a message in a bottle 
- Raise money for a charity 
- Go to Hideout Festival 
- Get to the airport and jump on the first plane out. 

- Go Kayaking 
- Go diving (may have to be snorkelling as we don't do so well underwater!)
- Take a surfing lesson 
- Learn to snowboard 
- Sit in a VIP box at a Football match 
- Learn to sail a boat 
- Beat Dylan for the longest held plank!
- Ride a hot air balloon
- Learn to juggle 
- Go to the Olympics 
- Go to the World Cup 

- Learn a new language (preferably Italian) 
- Learn how to understand sign language 
- Learn to to read morse code 
- Learn / go to a cooking class Completed 18/03/14 in Hoi An, Vietnam Check it out!
- Finish a cross stitch design  

Professional (Blogging & Writing):
- Get to 3,000 likes on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram
- Get published somewhere, anywhere!
- Get featured in a Travel Magazine 
- Host a conference or travel event
- Have my own website 
- Let the website be successful 
- Write an E-book 
- Find a job I am absolutely passionate about 

If you have any tips / recommendations on completing any of the above, please let us know! 

Happy travelling 
Shereen & Dylan 

PhotoBlog - Historic Ho Chi Minh City - Remunification Palace and the War Museum

A few images from the Remunification Palace and War Museum in Ho Chi Minh City

Dylan and I were so taken aback by the history Vietnam has brought to life in these two attractions. Located close to each other, a must see for any traveller to Ho Chi Minh City. 

It was the first set of attractions we visited after having landed coming from Europe and we instantly thought the palace looked communist. Inside was very plain and regimental and the bunkers were fit for any military operation. 

The War Museum left a mark on us as we drifted from room to room taking in all the information and most of all imagery that was being presented really portrayed life back then through the Vietnam war. 

Remunification Palace - Ho Chi Minh City 

War Museum - Ho Chi Minh City 

To organise your agenda in Vietnam have a look at: 

Your views on Vietnam!

Have you travelled to Vietnam? What were your highlights? Dislikes? Places you would recommend to others?

Safe Travels!
The Travelling Postcard

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