Charlie don’t surf!
Vietnam was fun but exhausting. In Bali, I had three aims: learn to surf, take a few Muay Thai boxing classes and implement my idea for a website. I was at the beach every day for my first week in Bali and registered the domain uneventoast.com, which was launched on October 16th 2014. Unfortunately, this meant I wouldn’t have any time for Muay Thai Classes.
Everyone I asked about Bali said to stay in Kuta for one or two days then leave! I know why after I stayed for six! The main reason: learning to surf!
Public transport in Bali is next to non-existent so most of the time you have to take taxis from town to town, which can be expensive. Alternatively, you can ride a moped. So when I was asked to go on a three day motorbike trip around the island, I jumped at the opportunity. I’d advise anyone to explore the island as much as possible!
To enter most countries, your passport needs to be valid for a minimum of six months from the date of entry. So, at the end of my time in Bali I had a decision to make: go home or go to another country and renew my passport. And, of course, I chose the latter. Everything I’d read about renewing your passport from overseas suggested that it could take up to six weeks! I needed to go somewhere that had more than a 30day visa, a reliable postal system and somewhere that was familiar so I wouldn’t feel obliged to explore. Malaysia ticked all the boxes.
A week after arriving in Malaysia I posted my passport to the UK to be renewed and waited. But my time in Malaysia won’t be wasted! I had work to do. The next stages for the blog were finding a theme, modifying the layout, hiring a graphic designer for the logo and writing posts.
Sunshine Bedz in KL felt like home but was a bit too expensive to stay there for an extended period of time. Someone told be about a small colonial town called Malacca which was only a few hours away. After spending some time in Malacca, I went back up to Georgetown for a few days. I spent seven days hunched over my laptop.
I got a message from one of the guys at Sunshine Bedz saying a package arrived– my brand new passport! My old passport had my Malaysian visa but was not returned at the same time. After speaking to the British Foreign Office, I learned that the old passport would be returned separately. It arrived three days later.
Me no love you long time
New passport in hand, the world–or Southeast Asia rather–was my oyster. I was in Thailand about nine years ago, so it was less of a priority but it’s also one of the cheapest countries in Asia and no visa was required.
I arrived at the airport on time, but after checking the departure board, I did not see my flight listed anywhere. Checking my confirmation ticket, I realised I was a week early. After multiple swear words under my breath, I explained my error at the Air Asia customer service desk. I was on a flight later that afternoon, having to pay the difference in price of course.
There’s always a celebration in South East Asia, so when I got to Krabi there was, as you may expect, a celebration I have no idea what for. There was an abundance of food, music, lights and market stalls. Ao Nang is the beach area of Krabi and I spent one night here. In KL a friend told me about a co-working space, KoHub on the island of Koh Lanta which was in the process of being built.
Koh Lanta is a beautiful island and where I saw the most brilliant sunsets. The hostel I stayed in, the Peacock, was one of the best places I’ve ever stayed. The Peacock isn’t close to any of the paradise beaches that Koh Lanta is know for. It’s right next to the pier, so the boat horns are an early morning alarm clock.
The social area stretches out onto the water, with nets for hammocks which I’ve seen people sleeping in at night after a few Changs. A lot of people arrive from the party island of Phi Phi with what we dubbed The Phi Phi coma. Symptoms consist of endless sleep, only waking for water and the toilet and zombie-like walking. Unfortunately, time and sleep are the only cure for this disease.
KoHub was a week away from opening, so I wasn’t able to see the office in all it’s glory. But James was kind enough to show me around and give me a few pointers on the island.
My first visit to a hospital in South East Asia was on Koh Lanta. I went to visit someone who had been sleeping in the bunk next to me. We had both rented motorbikes from the same person at the same time. One morning, I was out getting some breakfast and the shop owner called me over, showed me a passport and asked if I knew this person. I said, “yes,” and she responded “HOSPITAL! MY BIKE BROKEN!” I’d only seen this guy yesterday cruising around on his bike and the following day I was visiting him in the hospital!
I drove for 30 minutes to the other side of the island, slipping in some gravel and almost crashing my own bike!. I gave his name at the reception desk, and they asked me to wait while they changed his bandages. A deep gash on his leg, fractured collar-bone, stitches on his eyebrow and a fractured forearm. Lucky isn’t the word!
On my first visit to Thailand nine years ago, we did the mandatory Maya Bay snorkelling trip. After reluctantly leaving Koh Lanta, I’d slice a piece of Koh Phi Phi and see what this island had to offer.
Staying in the middle of the party town, I didn’t get much sleep. But I ventured out to explore the island. I found empty beaches with crystal clear water and incredible scenery. Before quickly moving north because my visa was about to expire, I’d see a couple other beach towns, Railay and Tonsai. By this point, I think I had been spoilt by nice beaches in Asia, so I didn’t think they were very special.
What is your favourite island in Southeast Asia?
Where is your favourite beach?