Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Two days on Phi Phi island

After spending my first five days in Thailand exploring two major cities, I was ready to experience the country's world-renowned island life.

When knocking together the itinerary for this far-too-short two-week trip, I tried to fit in a wide variety of destinations. Some were cities, some were known for their relaxed vibe and some, including the location for this blog post, were known for their parties.

My trip fell into an awkward space between the Half and Full Moon Parties, so I ruled out Koh Phangan, the most famous host for these parties. I will come back to Thailand for that experience some day.

Instead, I picked Koh Phi Phi in the Andaman Sea. This island is firmly on the well-beaten tourist path, and I was excited to capture a glimpse of its reportedly crazy nightlife.

Of course, that's not all I wanted to see. Koh Phi Phi holds many charms, and I got to see a fraction of these over my two days spent on the island.

Hiking to the Viewpoint

This was one of the activities I was determined to complete whilst on Koh Phi Phi. 

Perhaps 'hike' is the wrong verb, but the way up to the viewpoint does involve getting to the top of a steep flight of steps, followed by a clamber up some equally steep pathways. At a push, you can get up there in about 20 minutes, and it's absolutely worth it.

Hangover buster: The stairway to the viewpoints.

Phi Phi Viewpoint 1.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

In the past seven days...

A last reminder of this blog's beginnings as a deeply personal one, I keep posting 'In the past seven days' to cover events/adventures that can't be featured elsewhere on this blog.

I write this at the end of one of the sunniest days in London this year. I think I represent everyone in London when I say that I hope this means that summer is finally on its way!

Here's what happened in the past seven days:

1. On Saturday night, we celebrated the birthday of a travel blogger and just generally awesome person - Brendan of the Travel Pop. It was a fun night out at the Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch.

2. Wednesday evening was an insightful one. I headed over to London's Future of Tourism event at the Royal Geographical Society. The speakers were some of the biggest names in travel: Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures, Tony Wheeler, co-founder of Lonely Planet, and Lyn Hughes, editor-in-chief of Wanderlust magazine. 

3. It was the London marathon this Sunday. While I am nowhere near ready for running a full marathon, I settled for a run through my nearest green lung, Morden Hall Park.

Summer weather brings out the best in all of us; even Scully cat was excited to have found a patch of sunlight to sleep in.

Breakfast at Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market on a Saturday morning is a magical place. Imagine: A narrow alleyway lined with wooden food stalls; as you walk through it, you catch the smell of cooking bacon, roasted pork and freshly ground coffee beans. If you haven't eaten breakfast yet, it will take less than a minute before an overwhelming desire to do so will arise.

This was definitely the case for Jessi and I. As we are both travel bloggers (read Jessi's amazing Two Feet One World blog here) and expats, we decided to join forces for the day to explore one of London's many excellent food markets.

Maltby Street Market lies about halfway between the London Bridge and Bermondsey tube stations, on a section of Maltby Street called the Ropewalk. The market may look like a dwarf next to London's most famous version - Borough - yet Maltby's manageable size is what ultimately won us over that day.

Friday, 11 April 2014

LfCT: Two of my favourite summer spots

Dear Kasha,

I write this to you from Shanghai, China. It is not my first time living away from my home town. But every time I leave, I forget how much I miss Cape Town when I am away from it. I crave that moment when you fly back into the city and see the first glimpse of Table Mountain; the circle the plane takes over the coast. I'm sure you know what I mean. Last time I saw that, when I came back from Korea, I almost cried it was so beautiful. And I feel that in being an expat you realise just how much we take for granted back home. 

Shanghai is a sprawling metropolis of buildings and cars with the odd urban park here and there. Being able to say, yes, I live in the city, but wherever I am I get a view of a beautiful mountain and it's just a short trip to the beach, that's what I miss. I don't often go to the beach, but it's enough to know that it's there and I am near it.

Now that the sun has come out in Shanghai and summer is near, I am more than ever missing the lazy, never-ending summer days in Cape Town, as you must be too. There are many parts of Cape Town I am already beginning to miss as it gets warmer, but I decided to share with you the first two that come to mind.

Red Hill Dam

Over the past year, this magical spot situated in the mountains at the top of Simonstown became perhaps my favourite place in Cape Town. It's easy to miss the turnoff – I have even after going there several times. It's about a twenty-minute walk from the carpark up to the dam. In summer, enough time to build up a sweat sufficient to make the dam a blessing once you reach it. You kind of stumble upon it just when you start thinking that the walk wasn't as short as you thought. 

The walk to the dam.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

I'm in an eBook! - Solo Female Backpacker

A little while back, my good friend and fellow travel blogger, Mike of Bemused Backpacker, asked me whether I would contribute an article to his new eBook.

Matching my general approach to trying new things, I agreed immediately. I was even more enthusiastic once I had heard what the book was about.

The eBook is called Solo Female Backpacker: Guide to Safely Travelling the World.

Solo female travel wasn't something that I had set out to do. I like travelling with other people and experiencing a new place with someone I know. However, when I decided to leave my hometown of Cape Town, South Africa, I knew that I was doing so on my own.

That was emigration, but I also started booking holidays on my own. Since I didn't know anyone in London (at first), this was more of a practical decision than a strategic one. 

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