Tag: island

Koh Lanta


Koh Lanta – an island many backpackers miss out on their travels around Thailand. It’s an island more renowned for its quiet beaches and gorgeous beaches than a wild party scene.

Koh Lanta

I arrived there in low season – August. I caught a bus from Krabi for 300 baht, which includes the short ferry ride to Koh Lanta.

koh lanta long beach

The hostel I’d booked was almost empty. A far cry from the full dorm rooms of Krabi – backpackers who were going to or had just been to Koh Phi Phi. My hostel was a 10-minute walk from Long Beach so on my first full day, I headed straight there. The beach was wonderfully quiet. Disappointingly, I found there was quite a lot of litter on the beach. Mostly plastic water bottles. Perhaps they’d been brought to the beach by the rough seas?

koh lanta long beach

Lanta Animal Rescue

In the afternoon, I visited Lanta Animal Rescue, an organisation dedicated to helping the animals on Koh Lanta. There were kittens and puppies available to pet as soon as I arrived, including 3 very cute kittens called Ice, Gin and Tonic.

lanta animal rescue

Every couple of hours, a member of staff gives a guided tour to any tourists who are interested. I went on the tour and learned a  lot about why there are (or were) so many stray dogs in Koh Lanta (and by extension, other touristy areas). This is a great organisation and I absolutely loved spending the afternoon here. There’s also the option of dog walking, either before 11am or after 3pm, when the weather is slightly cooler.

lanta animal rescue

The following day, the weather was stormy almost all day. Not wanting to spend a week on an island where there’s very little to do when the weather is bad, I decided to go to Langkawi. This took all day and involved getting a bus to Trang, then a bus to Satun, then a boat from Satun to Langkawi. It was much easier than I expected, considering I could only book the bus from Koh Lanta to Trang, and I had to book the rest of the transport on arrival at each destination.

I liked Koh Lanta, but unfortunately didn’t experience everything the island has to offer because of the bad weather. Perhaps I was unlucky. Perhaps I wasn’t expecting it to rain quite so much.




Langkawi – Beautiful Beaches And Incredible Scenery


By the time I arrived in Langkawi, I was ready for some beach time. I love exploring cities and the countryside, but the heat in South East Asia makes beach life ideal.

Getting to Langkawi

I was travelling from Penang to Langkawi so the easiest option is to get a boat direct from the pier in Georgetown to Langkawi for 70RM, which takes around 2 1/2 hours. Some guys in my hostel said that the cheapest way is to get the ferry to Butterworth, then a bus from Butterworth to Kuala Perlis, and finally a boat from Kuala Perlis to Langkawi. I’m not sure how much this costs or how long it takes, but the guys in my hostel reckoned it would be less than 50RM.

The ferry terminates in Kuah so from there it’s a taxi ride over to Pantai Cenang which is 30RM. If you’re travelling solo it’s best to share with other travellers heading that way.

There’s also an international airport on the island with regular flights to Kuala Lumpur.

Activities in Langkawi

I had already booked Langkawi Dormitorio through HostelWorld, which was the cheapest option at the time but was still 50RM per night! Double the price of accommodation in KL and Penang.

In August 2016 I returned to Langkawi and stayed in Tubotel, an amazing hostel just outside Pantai Cenang. It takes around 20 minutes to walk into town and around 5-10 minutes to walk to the beach. Tubotel has the best sunset views on the island!

Fortunately, I had 4 lovely roommates and we got on really well from the start. We hired a car for 24 hours between 5 of us after our hostel owner recommended that we did. he said that a car would be safer than a scooter and that the weather in Langkawi can change very quickly. This turned out to be very useful advice, as a rainstorm hit less than an hour after we hired the car.

We drove to Tanjung Rhu beach which truly is a stunning beach. There were very few people on the beach which made it even more beautiful.

Tahjung Rhu beach langkawi malaysia

tahjung rhu beach langkawi malaysia

The following day we drove to Panorama Langkawi to experience the steepest cable car in the world. Entry was 45RM and included the cable car plus a visit to the SkyDome. I’ll be honest, the SkyDome looked like a planetarium and I was disappointed when it wasn’t. Instead, it was a rollercoaster simulation on Mars. It actually made a couple of us feel a little motion sick.

We went to the SkyCab and stopped at the first lookout point. The views were impressive and there weren’t too many other tourists.

langkawi malaysia

We got back into the SkyCab and went to the highest lookout. Up here it’s possible to pay extra and go on the SkyBridge, the highest bridge in Langkawi.

langkawi malaysia

There’s also love locks for anyone who’s into that sort of thing

langkawi malaysia

Don’t be fooled by the clouds – it was scorching at the top.

What didn’t I do?

There are many other tours and activities in Langkawi including:

  • Underwater World – I was staying next door to this, it’s an aquarium.
  • Water sports on Cenang Beach – banana boat, jet skis
  • Waterfalls – the waterfalls were barely flowing when I was there due to lack to rainfall
Food in Langkawi

There’s a huge range of eating options in Langkawi to suit all budgets. It’s possible to get Malaysian food such as mee goreng and nasi goreng for around 6-7RM. There’s a lot of fast food options and cuisine from all over the world.

Final thoughts

I had a great time in Langkawi. It is very commercialised but wasn’t overrun with tourists. Some roads on the island weren’t surfaced properly, in particular, the one to Tanjung Rhu beach – something to bear in mind if you’re hiring a scooter.



Island Hopping In El Nido


I follow a few Philippine tourism accounts on Instagram, and I swear around half of their posts are of El Nido in Palawan. The pictures always show turquoise crystal clear waters and towering cliffs, so naturally I was excited to see this for myself. There are few flights which go directly to El Nido, so I flew to Puerto Princesa which took an hour from Manila. From Puerto Princesa to El Nido I took a van which cost 500PHP. Google Maps thinks it takes a little under four hours to get to El Nido. In actual fact, it takes around six hours.

Once in El Nido, there’s a lot of tour operators who basically all offer the same tour packages, A, B, C and D. From speaking to other backpackers, it seemed like A and C were the most popular. The hostel I was staying in (Our Melting Pot) also ran their own tours so I started with Tour A.

The meeting point was in the hostel at 9am, which gave me plenty of time to enjoy the free breakfast. Once on the boat, we were told there would be 5 stops. The first stop was Seven Commandos Beach, a white sand beach . The beach is quite large so although there were a lot of tourists, it didn’t feel busy.

seven commando beach el nido palawan philippines

Seven Commandos Beach

The boat spent around 40 minutes there, then headed for the next stop: Shimizu Island. The beach here was already full of boats by the time we arrived. Everyone got off the boat whilst the crew prepared lunch. There’s snorkelling to be done in this area but a lot of the coral is dead. We headed to the beach where lunch was served: salad, grilled chicken and fish.

The next stop after lunch was the Secret Lagoon. We headed over there and yet again, there were a lot of tourists. Only one person can go through the entrance to the Secret Lagoon at a time so there was a large queue at the entrance. Once inside, the lagoon does look great.

The fourth stop of the day was the Small Lagoon. This was my favourite stop because three of us hired a kayak and paddled around the lagoon. The water is beautifully clear. The water in this area is full of jellyfish which fortunately do not sting. Whilst in the kayak we got drinks, ice cream and a guy on a boat gave us a shot of rum to make us fully realise our dream of becoming pirates.

el nido palawan philippines small lagoon

Clear water in the Small Lagoon


The final stop of the day was at the Big Lagoon. Unfortunately it was low tide so there wasn’t another opportunity to kayak. This stop wasn’t as busy as the others, but I preferred the Small Lagoon.

Final Thoughts

I had a great time on Tour A and I felt that for 1300RM, the price was reasonable for such a touristy area. The downside was that each destination was crowded so sometimes it was difficult to fully appreciate the beauty of these places. It’s possible to hire private boats for a similar price (you’ll need a group of 10+ to make it cost effective) and they’ll take you wherever you want to go.



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