Why I will never go back to Patong Beach, Phuket

Why I will never go back to Patong Beach, Phuket

I love Thailand. From the people, to the food. It really is a beautiful place. But, there are a few reasons to why I will never go back to Patong Beach in Phuket.

We had a great time in Thailand (my partner and I that is). With so many beautiful places to visit, surrounded by great food and lovely people, it comes to no surprise why tourists flock to Thailand in the hundreds every year for their preferred holiday destination. Especially here in Australia, where Thailand is literally a hop, skip and jump away.

But, there are a few reasons to why I will never go to Patong Beach again.

Intoxicated with the hustle and bustle of any city, Patong has been converted into a mini Bangkok by the sea. Heavily polluted, the beaches which were once a deep blue have turned a murky green, as a result of the increased population to the once sleepy town of Patong.

I’m probably showing my age here, but many many years ago when I was 6, I went to Phuket for a holiday with my family and fell in love with the place, even as a child. Small in size, it was the perfect tropical holiday destination, with barely a car in sight, nothing but farmers and fisherman selling their goods on the street and a few luxury hotels dotted along the white sandy beaches and deep blue coloured waters of the sea.

So, it came to an absolute shock to visit Patong Beach in Phuket 28-years later.

Yes, yes, I can hear you all saying it. 28-years ago! Of course Patong has changed. I understand that nothing stays the same, like so many places around the world, population increases, the demand for more facilities needs to be met and slowly a place converts from a sleepy little village to a trashed up city of tourists and locals alike.

But unlike other Asian tropical destinations, like Bali. To me, Patong has become the sin city of the east. Filled with clubs of erotic dancers, grinding against poles, with some girls looking like they were as young as 12 years old.

I did not enjoy wandering the streets at night in Patong at all. In-fact I felt ashamed to be white. Especially when I saw the amount of white people hording themselves to the clubs promoting such horrible actions, as though they were condoning the use of such young girls to act the way they did.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy my holiday, or dislike the Thai people in anyway. On the days where we went on tours away from Patong and the evenings we chose to stay in the hotel and chill with room service, or dine on the rooftop restaurant, we had an incredibly relaxing and wonderful time.

But all in all, Patong itself is dirty, you can’t swim at the beach or sunbake without getting covered in a layer of pollution. And at night, you can’t even enjoy a balmy walk throughout the small city, without being haggled by a sleazy old man, trying to get you into a club to watch a girl pop a ping pong ball from her… you know what. These were the experiences which made our trip unpleasant.

If I had a chance to do it all again, I would not have stayed at Patong Beach, especially when there are so many other beautiful placed in Phuket to stay. Instead it would have been best to take a day trip to Patong to go shopping or check out some sites.

And this is why I will never go back to Patong Beach.

Egyptian Travel Secrets

Egyptian Travel Secrets

This week I thought I would share my travel secrets for a top Egyptian getaway.

Egypt as a travel destination, probably isn’t on most people’s radars at the moment. Particularly with all the problems occurring throughout the Middle East.

But, if you travel smart and keep to the guidelines of what you should and shouldn’t do, places you can go and shouldn’t go, it really is the most rewarding holiday destination and the people, they truly are amazing.

I spent an amazing 19 days in Egypt, and although I was travelling through the exotic landscape of ancient wonders a year before much of the middle eastern conflict got worse. I can honestly say, I felt save the entire time I was there.

Egyptians are amazing people and so thirsty for tourism to come back to their country.

They have been hard done by, by their hard neighbours and treated poorly by the rest of us. Which really isn’t fair. Especially when you still see them smiling and praising you, as you pass them on the street.

So, if you decide to take a visit to Egypt, here are my top 5 must do’s for your adventure.

Me and my trusty steed.

Use a travel agent:

Do book your holiday through a travel agent, and make sure you are connected with a specialised tour group for the whole time of your holiday. This way, your travel agent will be able to give you recommendations on whether or not it’s okay to go to Egypt at the time, and of course book you through a very trustworthy travel company, like Gecko Tours.

The stunning Nile River.

Sail down the Nile:

It’s funny, when I was first booking the my Egyptian holiday, I was trying to select packages that didn’t include overnight trips up the Nile. However, all the packages I wanted weren’t running at that time and only one was, which included a 4-night travel up the Nile, heading south and staying on a cruise-liner of sorts. Well, let me tell you, this was my favourite part of the whole holiday. Waking up to the stunning sunrise along the Nile, over ancient temples, whilst eating your breakfast is simply stunning and a memory which will never be forgotten.

I can’t seem to find a pic of the boat I was on, so here is a pic of a boat very similar, which sailed alongside us.

Don’t catch the train:

There are many packages on offer, where you may be required to catch a train from Cairo down to Luxor, in order to continue your adventure in the South and then eventually connect with your Nile Cruise. I would highly recommend you pay extra on your package and fly instead. The train journey is an utter nightmare. It’s 12-hours long and packed to the brim with people. And although you will be secured with a seat for your travel, so you can sleep all the way. There is no food provided and the toilets are disgusting, as no one is employed to clean them. Unfortunately, the small of the toilet will forever stay with me (sigh). There are sleeper trains for the trip back to Cairo from Luxor at the end of your journey, which too offer a bed, private cabin and bathroom and food. However, I got food poisoning from the food, which was a very unpleasant way to end my holiday. So, that’s fly down and fly back – got it.

Temple island of Philae

Don’t rent a car:

As soon as you land into Cairo and hop into the courtesy bus, which takes you to your hotel you will understand why. The roads are an absolute nightmare, and with no order, what so ever. For those of you who think I’m exaggerating, check out the image below. Peak hour in Cairo. No order, cars everyone and no one obeys the lights or the lines on the road. In fact, half of the roads aren’t even marked, so goodness knows what lane you are driving in, or supposed to be driving in. A lot of the cabs are pretty dirty in Cairo, just like any other city really. So, if you’re staying outside of the city, let the hotel organise transport for you to get into the city, as they will often have buses taking tourists to great shopping locations, which is a nicer way to travel around Cairo anyways.

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See.. told you the traffic there is bad.

Stay on the west bank of Cairo:

Downtown Cairo, filled with its fancy restaurants and 5 star hotels may seem like a great idea at the time, however the west bank of the Nile is a far friendly place to stay. And, if you are happy to stay outside of the main city area of Cairo, there are some spectacular 5-star exotic oasis style hotels to die for. They are so luxurious and affordable, you won’t want to venture any further into the city anyways. Especially, when you look out the window and see the formidable pyramids of Giza. Which are located on the west side of the Nile.

Stay tuned for some more blogs on Egypt, where I’ll share with you some hidden wonders.

 

 

We took a wrong turn in Canada and came across the most amazing discovery

We took a wrong turn in Canada and came across the most amazing discovery

And when we did, we came across the most amazing thing ever.

It was a long time ago now, back in 2010, when my partner, myself, my mum and sister in law all decided to take a very long road trip in Canada. We started from Vancouver on the west coast and slowly worked our way over to the east coast, ending in Quebec. Okay, okay, we did take a shortcut along the way. We stopped the road trip in Calgary, hitched a ride on a nice airplane to Toronto and continued the rest of our journey by car.

It was whilst we were travelling through on the west coast, through the Canadian Rocky Mountains, we made an amazing discovery. Sick of the main roads and your typical tourists attractions and always on the hunt for a good hot chocolate or coffee, we decided to turn off the main road and found ourselves in the small town of Golden.

The town itself is very sweet, but not a lot to offer in the sightseeing department.So, we found a diner serving up really bad coffee, drank it anyway, and continued on our way through the district of Golden, enjoying the lush pine landscape of the Rocky Mountains along the way.

As we were winding our way back to the main road slowly, my partner spotted a sign. A strange sign. It was literally a giant sheet of wood, with a huge dog paw print painted on it and underneath were the words Wolf Centre, followed by an arrow directing you where to go. Intrigued, we made the turn and followed the hand made signs all the way to a weird looking place, that looked neither like a house nor an animal sanctuary.

Worried the signs were a trap for tourists. Yes, paranoia was starting to set in. We drove past a few times trying to get a better look at the place before making the decision to risk it all and drive into the driveway of the property. And boy, what a surprise. It really was a genuine Wolf Centre.

The sanctuary is called The Northern Lights Wolf Centre and they receive no government funding at all. They are a self made Sanctuary by the owners of the property; Shelly and Casey Black, who have made it their life’s mission to educate people on wolves, help protect them and even house them when they have been discovered injured or abandoned from their pack and left to die.

I have always been a fan of wolves, in-fact they are probably my favourite animal of all time. So of course, I fell in love with the center and the owners immediately. Even though we didn’t meet the owners, only the fabulous people who work there; you certainly pick up a sense of the type of people they are by wandering through the sanctuary.

The focus of the park is educate everyone on the importance of wolves in our ecosystem and how misunderstood and treated they are by humans. It was sad to hear how they are treated, but also beautiful to know that such wonderful place existed, where people are really trying to make a difference when it comes to animal protection in a country. Especially where hunting season is still a popular sport for many locals. So inspired by the park and what they do, I even decided to adopt a wolf. Wiley is his name and I donate money every year towards him to ensure he is well housed and protected by the wonderful people at the Wolf Centre.

This place truly is a gem to discover, hidden away in the Rocky Mountains of Canada. To learn more about what they do, or to donate to a wolf yourself, click here.

And just so you know, this email is not endorsed by the Wolf Centre in anyway. I simply just fell in love with this place and wanted to share that love with you.

 

Horse Riding through the New Zealand Alps

Horse Riding through the New Zealand Alps

There’s no better way to see the snowy alps of New Zealand than on horseback.

So, that’s exactly what I did. I booked myself in with a company called Dart Stables in Glenorchy, Queenstown.

Internationally recognised for its exceptional beauty and natural untouched qualities, Dart Stables have been offering visitors some of the most spectacular horse rides New Zealand has to offer for the last 20-years, and have also been showcased in the Oscar winning Lord of the Rings trilogy. It was honestly one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever done in New Zealand.

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The horses are quiet and easy going, meaning they don’t race home at the end of the tour, leaving you terrified and stressed out that you lost control of your horse.

My horse riding experience is hand me down knowledge passed on from my mother, who was an avid horse rider. So, my horse riding level is definitely beginner. Which is why I loved this horse trek so much.

All the horses are great for beginners, even if you are an experienced horse rider. This allows for a better experience on the ride, as you get to take in your surroundings, at a leisurely pace, without the stress of working the horse hard in order to get the full benefit of the ride.

Instead, you and your horse get to casually stroll through some of the most incredible scenery New Zealand has to offer.

I highly recommend anyone who is making a trip to Queenstown to book yourself a trek with Dart Stables. You won’t regret it and it really is a great way to see the countryside, surrounded by incredible alps which look painted against the sky.

But instead of me trying to describe what I experienced, here are my pictures instead. You’re welcome.

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Dart Stables is located just 45-minutes from Queenstown, at the head of Lake Wakatipu in Glenorchy. Which is one of New Zealand’s world heritage listed areas.

If you have a car, you can self-drive yourself there, it’s very easy to find. If you don’t have a car, they do provide a pick up and drop of to your accommodation if needed. Just make sure you book this when you book your horse trek.

Click here for more details.