A freedom-oriented lifestyle blog

Category: Thailand (Page 1 of 2)

Last days on Koh Lanta

We had our last days on Koh Lanta and we took the opportunity to spend time at our closest beach, Long beach, and hang out with our nomad friend Jonas. We have known Jonas since the Corax conference on Malta in 2017 and we usually meet up when we are close to each other. Now Thailand was our latest close encounter.
We also enjoyed our last sunsets on the beach, soon we would go back to much colder weather and darker days so we wanted to enjoy the sun before leaving.


Vi hade våra sista dagar på Koh Lanta och vi tog chansen att spendera denna tid på vår närmaste strand, Long beach, och umgås med vår nomadvän Jonas. Vi har känt Jonas sedan Corax-konferensen på Malta 2017 och vi brukar ses när vi befinner oss nära varandra. Nu var Thailand vår senaste sammanstrålning.
Vi har också njutit av våra sista solnedgångar på stranden, snart skulle vi tillbaka till mycket kallare väder och mörkare dagar så vi ville njuta av solen innan vi åkte.

We found a lovely restaurant/hotel which had a Swedish owner and he let us use their swimming pool in exchange of that we ate at their restaurant, so we did. Papillon Bungalows had lovely food so we would go there anyway.
Othilia and her balls, it is her favorite thing to play with.
She even dared to wet her head in this pool and jump from the edge.
Dad started to be alright again after a developmental leap that Othilia went through.
More things we wanted to do before leaving Koh Lanta. Othilia got to try sitting in the front of the scooter (on a parking lot).
She also got to try our friend Jonas’s upgraded scooter.
Our friend Jonas is a nomad as well. Before we left the island Pontus and Jonas went out on a off-grid dirt bike tour. They had a couple of hours riding a dirt bike around the island and they had a lovely time.
The days were running out so we also spent a few sunsets on the beach.
I will miss this!
Our last evening on Koh Lanta!
Had our last dinner with Jonas for a while and we found a ping pong table that we used. It was 10 to 0 to Ulrika before she let Jonas know that she was left handed. Then he won!
Next evening our view was the mountains in Northern Afghanistan while we were flying back to Europe. It was time for a big change!

Koh Lanta – North and South

We had already traveled from the West to the East coast on Koh Lanta, but we also wanted to see the North and South part of the island. In the South we found Koh Lanta National park and in the North we found a lovely beach.


Vi hade redan åkt från väst- till östkusten på Koh Lanta, men vi ville också se den norra och södra delen av ön. I söder hittade vi Koh Lantas nationalpark och i norra delen hittade vi en härlig strand.

We drove all the way down to the South tip to see the lighthouse.
Othilia walking on the rocks. It was incredibly warm this day, so we didn’t want to be out in the sun to long.
We wanted to get up there!
We reached the lighthouse! Drank a lot of water though. Othilia is happy!
We had a lovely view over the National Park area from the lighthouse.
There was an option to hike around 2 kilometer in the djungle and see animals, but the heat and the fact that Ulrika at the time was the only person allowed to carry Othilia discouraged us to hike this time around.
We took our scooter and visited one of the Northernmost beaches on Koh Lanta, Laem Kho Kwang Beach.
We stayed in the shadow.
Othilia was skeptical towards sand when we first arrived to Koh Lanta, but over the course of days she slowly changed her mind about sand as you will see.
The water left beautiful marks in the sand. It was not all days we went to the beach, we didn’t want to expose ourselves to the sun so much.
It can be tricky with animal sanctuaries, but we found one for cats and dogs run by a Norwegian woman who works on getting her abandoned animals to be internationally adopted. We lived quite near this place so we visited the cat city one day. There is no entrance fee, but donations are most welcome.
We thought Othilia would love to visit the cats, but she was more interested in the balls (the cat’s toys) and the water fountain in the middle, so we didn’t stay so long.

Soon our days here on Koh Lanta would end for this time.

Old town Koh Lanta twice

We like to explore wherever we go so naturally we wanted to see the other side of Koh Lanta and visit Old town which is located there. We took the scooter and traveled over the mountain and came to a different part of Koh Lanta. Old town looks quite different from the towns located on the west side, and has much less tourists.


Vi tycker om att utforska platser vi är på så naturligtvis ville vi se den andra sidan av Koh Lanta och besöka Old town som ligger där. Vi tog mopeden och körde över berget och kom till en annan del av Koh Lanta. Old town ser ganska annorlunda ut än byarna på västsidan och har mycket mindre turister.

On our way to the other side of the island! We went twice to old town so this will be pictures in random order from both times.
Ulrika managed to take a pciture of us three on the scooter. The traffic is so easy here and we take it slowly.
We are driving over a mountain that separates the eat and west coast of Koh Lanta. Here we saw the east side for the first time. So we had to stop and take a picture.
Old town is so cozy and looks a lot different from the other places on Koh Lanta.
The tuk tuks are so beautiful in Old town.
We found a huge lobster at the pier.
We walked all the way out on the pier and realised that we could have taken our scooter out. It was kind of a hot day so our minds weren’t with us at the time.
The view from the pier and a fisherman’s boat.
We had read that there was a playground near the pier in Old town so we wanted to go there with Othilia.
Othilia on her way up to the slide.
Now it is only the down part that can be a little scary and Othilia wants to hold a hand when going down.
Pontus found a playground for adults as well.
Lunch time and we tried two different restaurants next to the pier. The first one we tried was called Fresh and Othilia needed a snack before lunch.
The second time we tried a really cozy restaurant called Pinto. Othilia was fascinated by the tables that were converted sewing machines.
Back at our beach we needed to jump in the water after being out in the sun all day on a scooter. We are both wearing dresses we found in Old town.

I’m so blessed to walk beside you my wonderful daughter and experience the world with you!

Long beach and Worldschooling

Our closest beach is Long beach and this is where we hang out the most of our time here on Koh Lanta. Here, we often meet up with our friends and it was also on this beach that we also wanted to meet up with the Swedish Worldschooling community that is located here this winter.
There are a few Swedish families on Koh Lanta that has taken their children’s well-being and education into their own hands and we managed to meet up with them on Long beach so that the children could play and us adults could talk.


Vår närmaste strand är Long beach och det är här vi tillbringar den mesta av vår tid här på Koh Lanta. Här träffar vi oftast våra vänner och det var på denna strand som vi också ville träffa det svenska “Worldschooling“-gänget som bor här i vinter.
Det finns några svenska familjer på Koh Lanta som har tagit sina barns välbefinnande och utbildning i sina egna händer och vi lyckades träffa dem på Long Beach så att barnen kunde leka och oss vuxna kunde prata.

Long beach at sunset. This was a dream for Ulrika to one day have our own child sitting on white sand during a sunset and taking a photo. Her dream came finally true here on Long beach.
We didn’t bring our best camera so the result was a bit dark, but it didn’t matter to us. We were finally here with our daughter Othilia and captured the moment in our minds instead.
We finally got the time to meet with other Worldschoolers.
Othilia was well taken care of by the other older girls.
Our second meeting with the Worldschoolers at Long beach.
Othilia grew tired of the beach so she soon left the company.
and walked her own way to discover new areas.
and found drums that she was eager to try.
She is not prone to walking our daughter, but a few lamps can get her moving. This is our part of Long beach too.
Our favorite Thai dish is Khao Soi, a Northern Thai dish, and we had a lovely place just next to us that served the most delicious Khao Soi we have eaten so far. The name of the restaurant is Kwan’s cookery 2.
The brisket at the Irish Embassy is usually also a lovely dish we have eaten here.
Thai Cat has ok food, but the good thing about this place is that they have a lot of things for the children to do.
The Fat Turtle at the south part of Long beach is another place we like, both for food and for the view. Here we are eating with our Swedish friends their last night here on Koh Lanta.
Ending this blog post with two different sunsets from long beach.
Enjoy!

A secret beach and a water park – Koh Lanta

After our successful attempt with taking Othilia on a scooter, we now felt confident to explore more parts of Koh Lanta with a toddler. Together with our friends Caroline, David, Oliver and Elvira we explored different ways to cool ourselves in the heat. We followed them to a “secret beach” in the South and to an interesting visit to a water park on the second island, Koh Lanta Noi.


Efter vårt lyckade försök med att ta Othilia på en moped, så kände vi oss redo att utforska fler delar av Koh Lanta med ett småbarn.
Tillsammans med våra vänner Caroline, David, Oliver och Elvira utforskade vi olika sätt att svalka oss i värmen. Vi följde med dem till en “hemlig” strand i södra delen av Koh Lanta och till ett intressant besök i en vattenpark på den andra ön, Koh Lanta Noi.

Arriving to Nui Bay or what we called it, the Secret beach. It was steep stairs down to the small restaurant which was situated next to the beach.
We ate lunch at the small restaurant, Relax Lanta, before we went out in the sun.
On our way with all the kids.
The second part down the hill was even steeper than the stairs.
Just beautiful!
We had three tired children after we had been playing in the water.
The monkeys came visiting and stole coconuts from the restaurants, but our children missed it, they were sleeping through the whole thing.
Another day we took the Scooter to Rattana Waterpark. We came in the morning and we were the only ones here. Felt like we had arrived to an abandoned Water park.
We even got to see the procedure to fill this giant water park attractions with air.
We had a fun day here almost alone in the water park. A few other families came a bit later during the day.
All children dared to go on the giant water slide. Even Othilia, but she was a bit skeptical after coming down. Here is Elvira going down the slide with her dad!
The entrance to the park wasn’t expensive. The open hours was a bit tricky. Google maps and their web page said one thing, but the staff at the entrance said another thing. The attraction looked a bit worn, but the water was clean.
We ended our day at the water park with Thai-Elvis and Othilia wasn’t impressed.

Othilia amazed by fire show – Koh Lanta

We are on Koh Lanta and have a much needed family time. We decided to check out from the online world during most of January, so we are now a bit behind in our diary.
The first ten days on Koh Lanta was about dealing with jet lag for Othilia, but after those days we managed to establish some routines here. We mostly hung out with our friends and got into the island vacation rhythm. There wasn’t so much to do here on Koh Lanta with a toddler so before we arranged our own means of transport we hung out on the beach both day and night.


Vi är på Koh Lanta och har välbehövlig familjetid. Vi beslutade att vara ifrån online-världen under större delen av januari, så vi är nu lite efter i vår dagbok.
De första tio dagarna på Koh Lanta handlade om att hantera jetlag för Othilia, men efter dessa dagar lyckades vi fastställa en del rutiner här. Vi umgicks mestadels med våra vänner och kom in i öns semesterrytm. Det var inte så mycket att göra här på Koh Lanta med ett litet barn och innan vi ordnade med vårt eget transportmedel så hängde vi på stranden både dag och natt.

Othilia has gotten over her fear of walking on sand!
Othilia with dad in the water.
Most of the tourists had not come at this point. We were surprised how empty the beach was, but that would come to change.
Othilia got to experience her first tuk tuk ride and she liked it.
We got to know a lovely Swedish family who is relatives to one of our nomadic friends. Othilia liked the children Oliver and Elvira, here she is on the swing with Oliver.
There are a number of different fire shows on the beaches here on Koh Lanta and Othilia was fascinated.
The show ended with fire flies and the kids were so impressed.
Music evening with our friends. The children liked the band and wanted to dance.
Ulrika got two children up on her arms during a few songs when Elvira also wanted to dance with her and Othilia.
We found our favorite restaurants quite fast. Here we were at the Fat turtle and Othilia had a blast.
We mainly stayed at the South end of Long beach, but we soon needed to find a way to explore other parts of the island. Here Othilia is in Saladan after our first Scooter ride with her.
We hired a Scooter to see if it was possible for us to use it as our transportation solution with Othilia to explore Koh Lanta. She loved it and now speed and stopping for breaks was in our hands.

A long flight later – Thailand

We were finally ready to leave Europe and the cold and darkness. We had tried flying with Othilia once, so now it was time for a longer flight and see how it would go for her. So where would we go?

Thailand! We have been here before, we have a whole category with previous visits to Thailand, and now we wanted to take Othilia here.


Vi var äntligen redo att lämna Europa och kyla och mörker. Vi hade försökt flyga med Othilia en gång, så nu var det dags för en längre flygning och se hur det skulle gå för henne på en sådan. Så vart skulle vi åka?

Thailand! Vi har varit här tidigare, vi har en hel kategori med tidigare besök i Thailand, och nu ville vi ta med Othilia hit.

We were so excited, sizing down after increasing our belongings this last few years (thanks to our families for taking care of the rest this winter). This much is what a family of three thinks is necessary to bring to Asia.
Othilia just loved the play area at Arlanda and this was her favorite thing to play with. Unfortunately, a few other children also loved this airplane so lets just say that Othilia didn’t like to share this toy.
Ten hours later we landed at Krabi airport in Thailand. Othilia was the only child on the airplane that was running up and down the isles while Ulrika envied the other parents who where sleeping next to their child. Othilia fell asleep just before the cabin crew turned the lights on and started serving breakfast. Pontus got a few hours of sleep, but Ulrika was up almost 24 hours. It was worth it!
We landed at lunch time (Thai time), but for us it was early morning so our afternoon the first day was just to sleep. We went out just when the sun was about to set. It was lovely to see the sun again!
We meet up with our nomad friend Simon during our first night here and we got to know part of his family who were visiting him here on Koh Lanta.
This is what we came to Thailand for. To see Othilia’s eyes shine and the noise she makes when she is happy!
Othilia leveled up on her first days here. She finally understands why sun glasses is a good thing. She has also learned to count to three when we play hide and seek. The Swedish words for 1-3 are ett/en, två, tre and Othilia currently pronounces them as en, da, de. It is so cute!
Othilia walks much more in this kind of weather. Here inspecting the Thai shrines.
We live close to Long beach here on Koh Lanta so it is our beach to go for a swim. Othilia is a bit skeptical towards waves, so we have to carry Othilia past the part where the waves breaks.
In the water everything is fine as long as the water doesn’t touch Othilia’s face.
There is a children’s festival at the first weekend after schools starts so we decided to go there.
There are a few Swedish schools here on Koh Lanta and they had a tent on the festival with stuff for children to try, like innebandy (floor ball).
Also, Thailand’s SWAT team was here to show the kids all their guns.
Most of the things were free for kids, but they had a few food stalls where we found food and drink to buy.
Mum bought an ice cream for her, but it immediately turned in to being Othilia’s ice cream. It was Othilia’s first whole ice cream of her life and she liked it.
The children got free balloons, but the queue to get one of the free balloons was so long, so we bought Othilia a Nemo the fish helium balloon. This way we also prevented her from stealing other children’s baloons.
Then it was only Othilia and her balloon. Balloons, balls and now scooters are her favorite things.
This was our first few days here in Thailand. Our friend Simon took a rare photo of us three while the sun was about to set. Thailand is lovely!

Liveaboard – Diving in the Andaman Sea part II: Similan Islands

Part II of our liveaboard adventure begins when we entered the waters of the Similan National Park, a very famous dive area with a lot of dive sites and beautiful Islands. Part I was all about the Surin Islands and Richelieu rock, a more remote location where most boats that come there are dive boats. Now in the Similan islands we would encounter a lot more tourists and people snorkeling near the beaches. We were here in the beginning of March, so the high season for tourists were over so there weren’t to many people here. However, we can imagine crowded beaches here during the peak of the season.  


Del II av vårt liveaboard-äventyr börjar när vi kom in i Similan Nationalpark, ett välkänt dykområde med många dykplatser och med vackra öar. Del I handlade om Surinöarna och Richelieu rock, ett mer avlägset område där de flesta båtar som kom dit är dykbåtar. Nu på Similanöarna skulle vi möta många fler turister och människor som snorklar nära stränderna. Vi var här i början av mars, så högsäsongen för turister var över och då var det inte alltför många människor där, men vi kunde föreställa oss hur trångt det skulle kunna vara på stränderna här under toppen av högsäsongen.

Day 2 of diving we entered the Similan National Park, which consists of 11 islands. Similan means nine (in Yawi) and from the beginning the park consisted of nine islands making up an archipelago, but in 1998 two more islands were included in the National park, Koh Tachai and Koh Bon.

We reached Koh Tachai, the most northern island and latest added to the Similan National park list of islands, around lunch on dive day 2. Some information about Koh Tachai: Original name Koh Bua after the unique Lotus flower that used to grow on the island. The 2004 tsunami wiped away all flowers so the island was renamed after one of the first fishermen who came to the island after the tsunami: Uncle Chai (TaChai).

Our dive number 8 on this trip was scheduled during the sunset so we didn’t bring our gopro for this dive.
More information about Koh Tachai: The island is located between the Surin Islands and the main Similan Archipelago, quite close to the Richelieu rock where we dived previously that day (dive day 2). Whale sharks and Manta rays can be seen here, but luck wasn’t on our side on this trip.

Next day, dive day 3, we had traveled to Koh Bon for dives number 9 and 10. Koh Bon has two main dive areas, the ridge/bay and the Pinnacle, which is deep and prone to currents. The first dive for us here was next to the ridge.

Our tenth dive on this trip was north of the ridge and it was here that we got to see our first Guitarfish, which we first thought was a shark, but it belongs to the family of rays.

Then it was time to travel down to the main Similan archipelago, the original nine islands which have given this part of the world its name. We did our last dive of the day here, before it was barbecue time with our dive companions and the dive crew.

We did only three dives this day, so our barbecue party could start early.

Erica, Vita and Shing while waiting for dinner. We had good times together on the boat.

The sunset on dive day 3. The morning after would be our last dive day with the Sea dragon’s liveaboard.

Dive day 4 and we would have our last two dives on the West side of the archipelago. We also had time to visit Koh Similan, the largest island out of the nine islands in the archipelago.

We headed up on the “mountain” on Koh Similan to get a better view over the island.

It is an easy and short hike up a human-made trail, so shoes are not needed. The white powder on our feet are sand from the beach.

The view over the bay, Ao Kuerk, on Koh Similan. We don’t have a lot of pictures with us together so we took the opportunity to be in the same picture together.

The water is crystal clear so to jump from the rocks was amazing.

We found a strange looking dead creature near the beach. More pictures from Koh Similan can be found in the slide show below. Then it was time for our two last dives on the trip.

 

We had all three dives in the archipelago on the West side, which is known for its huge boulders and swim-throughs. Diving on the East side is said to be different with gently sloping coral reefs and sandy patches.

Then it was time to get back to the mainland and for us that meant to get back to Khao Lak and waiting for our friends to arrive.

Liveaboard – Diving in the Andaman Sea part I

Finally, Ulrika has taken the time to go through all our movies and photos from our Liveaboard adventure in Thailand so this will be a throwback to the end of February when we went out with Sea dragon, a Khao Lak based dive center that  has its own boats traveling up and down the west coast of Thailand taking divers out for adventures in the Andaman Sea. We choose to do a 4 days/4 nights liveaboard going from the Surin Islands down to the Similan Islands with a total of 13 dives during the days (and nights) out on the sea. The crew and dive masters where awesome and the food served was really good, so we had a great time with the Sea dragons that we will remember forever.


Äntligen har Ulrika tagit sig tid att gå igenom alla våra filmer och bilder från vårt Liveaboard-äventyr i Thailand så detta blir en tillbakablick till slutet av februari när vi åkte ut med Sea Dragon, ett Khao Lak-baserat dykcenter som har sina egna båtar som färdas upp och ner vid Thailands västkust och tar dykare ut på äventyr i Andamansjön. Vi valde att göra en 4 dagars/4 nätters liveaboard som gick från Surinöarna ner till Similanöarna med totalt 13 dyk under dessa dagar (och nätter) ute på havet. Besättningen och dykinstruktörerna var fantastiska och maten som serverades ombord var riktigt bra. Vi hade en underbar upplevelse med Sea Dragons som vi kommer att minnas för alltid.

Our first stop was the Surin Islands where we would do our first four dives. We had traveled to these Islands during the night, so we could do our first dive early in the morning on day 1.

Mu Ko Surin National Park is an archipelago of five islands 60 km from the mainland and only a few kilometers from the Thai-Burmese oceanic border. The ethnic Moken minority, known as “chao lay” or “sea gypsies”, are the only humans living on the Surin islands.

We got a chance to walk on the main Surin Island and explore a small part of the national park. The park is closed during rainy season, 1 May-31 October, so during that time no dive boats go to this part of Thailand.

We brought our masks so we could do some snorkeling, but there wasn’t much to see under the water here. It was more things to see looking out from the beach. We then went out on our second dive before lunch.

We went out with the M/V Andaman boat and it was our Liveaboard-home for a few days. So we could relax on the sun deck reading a book or lay down under the roof listening to a podcast between dives. We have put together a slide show with pictures of the boat if you want to see how a Liveaboard boat could look like.

 

We could also talk with the other Liveaboard people on the boat. Siim and Kajsa were our dive companions, sharing the same dive master, so we did all of our dives together. Siim and Kajsa are working in the Finnish/Estonian film industry and Siim had become a bit famous after his last movie ( Mother, 2016) so some Estonian people on vacation in Thailand had recognized him.

Emil was our Swedish dive master who took us out on the under water adventures! Thanks Emil for our days with the Sea Dragon Liveaboard, you made it an awesome time for us.

It was encouraging to see the number of dives the people on our boat had done. We were one of the least experienced with only 48 dives during this trip, some of the divers had done several thousands of dives up to this point.

Our fourth dive was a night dive around the Surin Islands, so we waited for the sun to set before we jumped into the water. We didn’t film during this dive, but it was a really nice dive.

On dive day 2, the M/V Andaman took us to Richelieu Rock, a famous dive site 18 km east of the Surin Islands. Richelieu Rock is known for its purple corals and the diverse marine life found there. You even have a chance of seeing whale sharks around this underwater rock mountain if you’re lucky (we weren’t that lucky).

The dive master, there were five of them taking care of different dive groups, held a dive briefing before each dive and told us what we could expect to see on different dive sites. We did our dives no 5 and 6 around this dive site. The coral is pink and purple, so Scorpion fishes here have amazing color pattern trying to disguise themselves among the corals.

Richelieu Rock became a dive site when diving pioneer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, with the help of local fishermen, discovered it. It is a horse-shoe shaped pinnacle that rises 50 meter from the sea bottom and touches the surface during low tide. After our two dives at Richelieu rock, we had lunch on the boat while it took us  south to the island Koh Tachai. More about that in part II.

A short pit stop in Phuket town

Our visit to Phuket town was short and it was just before we had to leave Thailand, because of visa rules. We had managed to book accommodation in the Old Town of Phuket town without us knowing  about it. We’re in the process to prepare for major changes for us and such information just passed us without notice when we booked our accommodation. However, it was lovely to suddenly find ourselves in a street market in  the old town of Phuket when we stepped out of our hostel in search of a place to eat.

Visa, which we are not a big fan of, was just one of the reasons that we said good bye to Thailand. Another reason was also that we’ve long been looking forward to returning to Bali. Bali is one of the few places in the world where we feel at home and, like our last time in Bali, we are here to meet interesting people, check out the Bitcoin-stage in Ubud and welcome part of our family to the island to show them one of our favorite places on the planet .


Det blev en kort visit i Phuket town innan vi var tvungen att lämna Thailand pga av visumregler och utan att vi visste om det så hade vi lyckats boka boende mitt i gamla stan i Phuket town. Vi håller ju på att förbereda oss för stora förändringar och sådan information hade lyckats gå förbi oss när vi bokade boendet i Phuket. Desto trevligare var det att plötsligt befinna sig på en marknad i gamla stan när vi klev utanför dörren i jakt på att hitta något ställe att äta på.
Visum, vilket vi inte är ett stort fan av, var dock bara en av anledningarna till att vi lämnade Thailand. En annan anledning var också för att vi länge sett framemot att återvända till Bali. Bali är en av få platser i världen där vi känner oss hemma och liksom vår senaste gång på Bali är vi här för att träffa intressanta människor, kolla in Bitcoin-scenen i Ubud och välkomna familjemedlemmar till ön för att visa dem ett av våra favoritställen på denna planet.

The walking street market in Phuket town

You’ll find both artists and…

…musicians here to entertain the crowd

However, we were outside looking for food and we found our dinner that night on a stick.

Pontus with our favorite beer in Thailand – Leo is a bit darker and has more flavour compared to Singha and Chang, which is two other Thai beer brands available here.

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