2016

Sailing the Andaman Sea

Hi,

after three great nights on Koh Yao Noi we took the ferry to the main land and continued our journey south towards Phuket. For our last two nights we had decided so rent a cabin on a sailboat and spend some more time on the water. We found Aleen and her boat on Airbnb, so it was really easy to arrange things and answer all our question. 

We met Aleen at Chalong Pier in Phuket from where we took the dinghy to the sailboat. After a quick introduction to the boat we quickly weighed the anchor and started to sail onto the open sea. The further we drifted away from the coast the quieter it became and it felt absolutely relaxing and unwinding to get away from all the noise and the crowds of Phuket.

 

We sailed for about 4-5 hours before we anchored just a few meters away from a small uninhabited island. Aleen knew the area and the sea really well and showed us some rather spectacular snorkeling spots.

If you're not used to being on a boat the whole day it will be quite tiring and so we went to bed quiet early. However we got up really to watch the sunrise.

After a quick morning swim, coffee and breakfast on the boat we set sails again towards Racha Yai, another island that is quite popular for day tourists and also has some hotels. We took the dinghy ashore and went for a stroll through the island. 

After two days and nights our stay on Aleen's boat was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. If you're planning to go to the South of Thailand swing by her Airbnb site and get in touch! It's a unique experience you cannot miss.  

If you enjoyed this post please check out the other parts of our Thailand series:

  1. One Night in Bangkok
  2. Chiang Mai and the North of Thailand
  3. Island Hopping in Koh Yao Noi

And please follow us und Instagram and Twitter. See you soon! 

Island Hopping on Koh Yao Noi

Hi all,

after two nights in the North of Thailand it was finally time to travel towards the coast. We flew from Chiang Mai to Phuket, where we took a local taxi to the pier. We made it just in time for the sunset, and the ferry ride was nothing but stunning.

But first of all here's a map for everyone (including me) to show you where Koh Yao Noi is located:

 
 

It's a breathtaking scenery, unlike anything I had seen before. The landscape is vastly different from the North of Thailand: Dense palm-tree forests growing all the way to the white sand of the beach, the water is warm and crystal blue, the cliffs are steep and rough. Even though there is a lot of tourism, a lot of islands are still mostly unihabited. 

We started the island hopping tour early in the morning the following day. Except another couple and the captain we had the Longtail-boat pretty much for ourself. Since we started quite early we managed to skip the crowds at the most popular spots and our tour guide did a fantastic job showing us the most picturesque spots in the area. He even showed us a few islands that were solely inhabited by monkeys. 

And of course I didn't want to miss the opportunity to fly the drone in this stunning landscape. I don't think I've ever seen water that blue. 

The whole tour took about 6 hours. The rest of the day we spend at the at the hotel beach and pool.

Have you seen the other posts from our trip to Thailand? See what we did in Bangkok and follow us through the mountains of Chiang Mai. If you want to stay up to date with all of our travel updates follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See you soon.

Chiang Mai and the North of Thailand

Hi,

after three wild and warm days in Bangkok we flew to Chiang Mai, one of the largest cities in Northern Thailand. Even though Chiang Mai is located very up North and on high altitudes, temperatures are still well above European standards. 

 

Chiang Mai is well known all around the world for being a social hub for artists, writers and other creatives. The streets are filled with coffeeshops and little markets inviting you to wander and explore. 

Once a year the people of Chiang Mai celebrate Loi Krathong during which little baskets of flowers with candles are floated on the river. Additionally the whole city is decorated with lights and lanterns.

The next day we headed to the Doi Inthanon National Park approximately 40 miles west of Chiang Mai. It's the highest mountain range of Thailand, going from 800m all the way to 2500m in altitude. Featuring on of the largest waterfalls in the country it is quite a spectacular sight. 

Next day we continued our journey towards Phuket in the South of Thailand. If you want to see more photos and travel updates please follow us on Instagram. Also check out what we did in Bangkok. See you soon.

One Night in Bangkok

Actually,

we really spend about four nights in Bangkok, but the lyrics from Murray Head "One Night in Bangkok" had been stuck in my head pretty much since I booked the flights from London Heathrow to Suvarnabhumi Airport.

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can’t be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me
— Murray Head

Surely just four nights can't do justice to such a vibrant and cultural hotspot like Bangkok, a melting pot of locals and travellers, backpackers and professionals, buddhists, muslims and christians, rich and poor. I love the vibe of big cities, tall buildings and hidden alleys that invite you to loose yourself, and Bangkok was no exception. 

We arrived in Bangkok in the late afternoon. Being quite hungry after the 12 hour flight we decided to visit Khao San Road for food and some drinks. In the last years Khao San Road suffered for being known as a cheap place for backpackers and mass tourism, Wikipedia describes it as "world famous backpacker ghetto". Despite its reputation we actually quite enjoyed our first night with some great Pad Thai and coconut juice straight out of a coconut.   

After a good nights sleep and some coffee we started our first day with a trip to the Maeklong Railway Market which is located about 40 miles Northwest from Bangkok. The market is completely build on and around the tracks of the train. It is quite a sight when the train, which operated once per hour, slowly runs through the narrow alleys of market stalls between farmers, locals and tourists. 

Next we headed to the Amphawa Floating Market which is just a few miles away and quite a unique market experience as most of the trades are happening on and off boats. I would recommend to do a boat tour through the market canals and explore the nearby areas. There are a lot of amazing temples hidden around the banks of the river.

We ended our day with a pretty amazing freshly prepared seafood dinner in the heart of the market. The market tour was definitely one of the highlight of our trip, even though they are a bit further away it's definitely worth the time. 

The following day we wanted to spend some more time in Bangkok and explore the city on our own. First on our list was the Grand Palace which is located in the heart of Bangkok and luckily within walking distance from our hotel (walking distance however quickly decreases with 35 degree temperatures and 80% humidity). The palace is the official residence of the royal family and probably one of the busiest attractions in town. An audio guide which can be rented at the entrance is highly recommended.

Temperatures and humidity started getting to us so we decided to take a Tuk-Tuk back to our hotel for a refreshing swim in the pool and some snacks, of course complimented by a fresh coconut. 

We both really enjoyed the rides with the Tuk-Tuk. Generally the traffic in Bangkok can be really bad (and I'm from London, I've seen bad traffic), as bad as nothing's gonna move for what feels like 10-15 minutes. Tuk-Tuks however can use shortcuts, move around cars and avoid being stuck for too long. And at the same time there a lot of fun as you're pretty much on the back of a motorcycle. It's not super comfortable and due to all the pollution I wouldn't use it for rides longer than a few miles.   

After a refreshing break we felt confident enough to visit Wat Pho, one of Bangkok's biggest buddhist temples. It's most famous for exhibiting the worlds larges statue of Buddha, also know as the Reclining Buddha. Additionally it contains the worlds largest collection of Buddha images. 

From the Wat Pho we took the ferry to one of the weekend and flower markets in the old town of Bangkok. The ferry was a refreshing and recharging alternative to the jammed roads and you also get to see the city from a totally different perspective. 

You will be surprised how relatively quiet the markets are. There's almost a relaxing and unwinding atmosphere, unlike in other parts of the world there's almost no hustling which makes up for a really laid-back shopping experience. And if you love coconuts as much as I do I highly recommend coconut ice-cream out of a fresh coconut. Unbeatable

One of the highlights of the day was definitely our sundowner at the Cloud47, a rooftop bar in the new town of Bangkok. With affordable prices, surprisingly few tourists and a very casual atmosphere (no dress-code needed) this place should be on everyones list when coming here. 

If you read carefully you might have noticed that so far we've had three out of four nights. The reason for that is that after our first three nights we left Bangkok towards Chiang Mai to continue our trip through Thailand. But at the end before our flight back to London we shall be back for truly only One Night in Bangkok.

If you're really impatient and can't wait to see more head over to our Instagram to see more pictures from the rest of our journey through Thailand and the rest of the world.

Summer Vibes in Copenhagen

Hej everyone,

I have to admit, when we arrived at Copenhagen Central Station we we relatively unprepared. The occasion of our visit was my Dad's birthday and both of us had been quite busy just days before the trip. But the Danish capital welcomed us with open arms and even better weather. 

I'm not sure if it was due to the fantastic weather but the people in Copenhagen are incredibly friendly and welcoming, waving and smiling for pictures and always willing to help. And even though it's Denmark's most populated city with over a million habitants, it rarely feels busy or overcrowded. Sure, central hubs like the station and malls can become pretty packed but there are plenty of quiet spots around the waterfront that will invite you to stop by and unwind. 

 

We booked a guided cycling tour that would take us conveniently around the city and to the most scenic places. I would also recommend a boat tour which goes through the canals of Copenhagen and offers a slightly different view on the city.

One of the best things to end a hot summer day is by taking a jump into the harbour pond. Copenhagen has officially declared the water as clean enough for the public, so definitely join the locals as they go for a swim in the city.

Marrakech: A weekend of 1001 Nights

Hi everyone,

for this trip we wanted to try something a little bit different. Getting out of our comfort zone, trying something new, something that's a bit more off that beaten path. We also wanted to experience a different culture, a different religion and a different way of living. 

Not sure how we came up with Marrakech, most likely because convenience is always winning and since it's only about 3 hours flight time from London we quickly checked the Airbnb availability and booked the trip.

 

Day 1: Arriving in Africa

It's amazing how quickly you can escape the western world. You get your double shot Flat white at your favourite London Coffeeshop, board the plane and three hours and a cab drive later you find yourself somewhere that feels like infinitely far away from everything you're used to.

Getting around in Marrakech can be quite tricky which is why we decided to get a guide for the first day. The streets and markets can be quite a maze with barely any street signs, so getting a local to show you around is of great help. 

After the trip through the souqs we took some time off from the heat and spend some time at the hotel pool as well as the rooftop terrace. For the end of the day we had booked a camel ride at the local palm grove. Especially at the late afternoon North Africa gets some incredible smooth light which led to some great photos.

Day 2: Tour through the Atlas Mountains

Leaving the city behind on our second day, we headed north towards the Atlas Mountains. You can easily books day-trips online and in advance. A lot of the villages that surround Marrakesh are quite remote and still feel like time has stopped many centuries ago.

The tour was in a private 4x4 and our guide was really friendly and helpful, he never got tired of stopping the car for me to hectically get out of the car to take a picture. The trip also included lunch and tea at a traditional berber house, featuring a delicious meal combined with a stunning view over the Atlas mountains at almost 3000m altitude. 

Day 3: Lost and Found in Marrakech

On our last day we felt confident enough to explore the city on our own. We started the day early in the morning by visiting the Jardin Majorelle, a botanical garden which was owned and re-designed by Yves Saint Laurent in the early 80s. It's an incredibly vibrant and colourful place, I'd recommend going there in the morning as it's less crowded and the light is going to be a lot softer.

Next on our checklist was the Ali Ben Youssef Medersa, a former islamic school that used to be one of the biggest in the country. Today it has been converted into a museum, exhibiting beautiful architecture with walls and ceilings filled with marble ornaments and wooden carvings. Not far away from the school is the Musee de Marrakech, a converted palace that was once home to the rich and powerful. It offers a great insight into the life of the moroccan upper class of the 19th century.

At the end of the third day we were pretty exhausted, the heat was getting to us and we decided to ease out the last day at one of the balconies at the Djemaa el-Fna, also known as the Large Square. It's pretty much a big open space right in the heart of the old town, getting incredibly busy after the sun sets as little food stalls start popping up all over the place, offering traditional moroccan street food as well as drinks, herbs and spices. By securing a spot at one of the rooftop restaurants we managed to escape the trouble and were rewarded with a beautiful last sunset over the mosques and markets of Marrakech.

Eastbourne and the Seven Sisters

Hi,

after weeks of dark and grey weather spring finally arrived in London. Just in time for our weekend trip to Eastbourne and the Seven Sisters, both located just a few miles south of London. The Seven Sisters are named after the seven highest peaks in the chalkstone cliffs and offer an impressive view over the Sussex coast.

After spending the morning walking along the scenic cliff we headed east towards the lovely seaside resort Eastbourne. The Victorian style seafront and the pier are perfect for a laid back coffee or lunch in the sun. All in all definitely worth a visit, especially since its only 1.5 hours on the train from London.

Road Trip through the Lake District

Hi everyone,

this Easter we decided to hit the road and head north towards the Lake District, one of the biggest National Parks in the UK. We took the train from London Euston towards Lancaster where we rented a car and continued our journey towards Windermere

 

This time of the year weather is key. On our arrival day we we're quite lucky and did several stops on our way to Windermere, enjoying the springlike sun.

On the second day we weren't quite as lucky. It was mostly grey and pouring rain was splashing agains the windscreen of our car. So we decided to focus our trip on destinations that can mostly be reached with the car. We took the road from Windermere towards Penrith via the Kirkstone Pass. Roads can become surprisingly steep, some passes climb up to 35%, definitely not recommended for bigger vehicles and weak breaks.

The third day started dry and the sky was looking promising so we started towards Ambleside. From there we we took the Wrynose Pass and Hardknott Pass towards Boot, which is also considered to be one of the most beautiful and stunning routes in the Lakeland.

On the last day we started early for boat tour on the Derwentwater Lake. Boats launch from Keswick every 30 minutes and offers a stunning view over lakes and mountains. A trip around the whole of the lake will take about 1 hour.

Back ashore, we had quite some time left before hour train would depart to London so we decided to take the way back via the valley of Buttermere

Conclusion after 4 days in the Lake District: We will definitely come back in Summer. Enjoy the rest of the photos.

Hitting the Slopes: Ski Trip to Austria

Servus,

when we got off the plane in Innsbruck, things weren't quite as white as we expected. Instead of a fluffy layer of snow it was mostly grey and foggy. Being located roughly 570m above sea-level this isn't really unusual but as we continued our journey via train towards the Zillertal the fog quickly grew into a tick layer of mist. But still, the weather forecast promised blue skies and sunshine, unfortunately preceded by two days of heavy snowing. So after two foggy days with almost zero sight the sun finally broke through the clouds and revealed the snow covered slopes surrounded by untouched powder.

 

The Zillertal is located in the heart of the Austrian Alps. The valley is based at around 600m above sea-level with the surrounding summits and connected skiing area rising from 1200m to almost 3000m. During winter season it is hugely popular among skiers from all over Europe. 

The Harz Mountains - A hike through the snow

Hi,

although pretty unknown to the outside world the Harz Mountains are one of the biggest mountain ranges in Northern Germany. It occupies well over 2000 square kilometers with the highest summit reaching more than 1100m. It is particularly popular amongst hikers and there are plenty of routes, guiding you though dark forests and lush valleys along sharp cliffs and hillsides to scenic peaks and picturesque villages.

 

A lot of German fairy tales originated in the Harz mountains. The Brothers Grimm took a lot of inspiration for theirs stories from various places in the area, and even Heinrich Heine and Goethe were frequent guests.

Tonight the mountain’s mad with magic
— Faust, Goethe

For us the journey started less magical at Heathrow Airport at 5am in the morning. We took the plane from London to Hannover from where it's only about an hour long drive to our accommodation in Werningerode. For the first 2 days of our stay the weather had gotten quite chilly and it was snowing a lot. The third day we got really lucky and were rewarded with sunshine and a dark blue sky what led to some fantastic photos.