Travel Asia


To escape and sit quietly on the beach – that’s my idea of paradise.

Emilia Wickstead

When we visited Thailand I hated the more touristy areas, but Khao Lak… now that was paradise. It was probably low season and tourists still haven’t returned to Khao Lak completely after the 2004 tsunami. It was one of the worst hit towns in Thailand . We visited in 2013, 9 years after the tragedy. 250,000 people across 14 countries lost their their lives. It brought out the best in people in in what is one of the worst natural disasters on record.

You can also watch this movie based on a Spanish family’s experiences during the tragedy.

Khao Lak – beach paradise

Khao Lak was at the end of our holiday and we felt a little adventurous and hired a scooter on our second day. Yeah, we should never have done that..

However, we loved the beaches, restaurants and quiet shopping in Khao Lak! Plus the Khao Lak Bhandari Resort was so amazing!

This is why Khao Lak should be on your Thailand holiday itinerary

  • It’s only 80km from Phuket airport
  • Less tourists and cleaner beaches
  • No garish neon lights in sight (a-la-Patong)
  • Perfect for quiet family holidays with better snorkeling

What to do when you stay in Khao Lak

  • You can catch a (long) boat ride to the Similan Islands (if open to tourists)
  • Visit the Surin Islands
  • Krabi Elephant Sanctuary
  • Khao Lak Lam Ru National Park
  • Eat delicious food and enjoy the amazing beaches

So back when we decided to explore Thailand, we stayed in Patong for a few days. It is one of the busiest tourist areas in the whole of Thailand if you ask me, but if you want a lively atmosphere and parties and, and and… then Patong is the right place for you.

This motorcycle with all its fruits is actually a real little shop. You can buy pretty much anything from the back of a motorcycle in this country.

Tuk-Tuks you will see everywhere, but sometimes you get to see a Tuk-Tuk with disco lights! Yes, it is real, it isn’t a unicorn!

There is one thing you will notice about Thailand, there are lights everywhere. Bright neon lights. Bright street lights.

If you are tired of thai food, you can find something a little more western. Check out Ronald McDonald… when you are there 🙂

…and then you will always hear advertising. This particular vehicle blared out that you had to go to Bangla Stadium to see Muay Thai. The would drive around the busy tourist areas. In Patong this means they drive the same 4 streets over and over.

This guy actually sat there making these bracelets. It was really amazing to get my own bracelet with my name – within 5 minutes.

We tried cocktails at the hotel, bars – and even on the beach.

If you strike out on your own you can see a little more of the local life. We walked one day for about 6km up a hill just so I could take photos.

The one thing you can expect at beaches… lots of people that are ready to rent beach chairs, umbrellas, scooters and also to sell foods.

Here is the best tip for Thailand… try using public transport to get around. It is much cheaper than tuk-tuks and taxis. There will also not be any surprises at the end of your ride.

When you grab a taxi or tuk-tuk in Thailand, make sure they are metered or agree upfront how much your trip will cost. In Bangkok we took a taxi from the hotel to the same place 2 days in a row and we got ripped off on our very first ride.

If you decide to rent a scooter… please only rent these if you have a motorcycle/scooter license. If you are in an accident your travel insurance won’t cover the damages and you may also be out of luck when it comes to your medical cover.

That time we went to Bangkok…

View this post on Instagram

#MBK #Bangkok #Thailand

A post shared by Goddess Blog Travel – Susann ( on

View this post on Instagram

#McDonalds #Bangkok #Thailand

A post shared by Goddess Blog Travel – Susann ( on

View this post on Instagram

#SuvarnabhumiAirport #Thailand #Bangkok

A post shared by Goddess Blog Travel – Susann ( on

Happiness is not a destination, it is a way of life.

In life you can choose many different paths. You can choose to live a real life or pretend to be someone else (for the rest of your life). You can choose to sit in one spot or explore the world with a big smile and camera in hand.

There are things and places I will never forget from our many family holidays – when your parents were as adventurous with a map and tent as mine was, you would probably have gone mad.

We were campers that could set up and break down a camp in less than 30 minutes. We were the family in the old light blue VW kombi and then the light blue Landrover that would always drive slower than the rest.

We have seen Victoria Falls from both Zimbabwe and Zambia. We slept in the Hwange National Park while hyenas pawed our tents and a lion chased a buck through the camp.

We have walked on the Makgadigadi salt pans in Botswana and marvelled at the flamingos in their thousands.

We drove to Cape Town and almost ran out of fuel in some mountain range. We “freed” down the hills and we got there. Unfortunately we were also that family that went to every museum in the Western Cape.

To my parents’ dismay I was the kid that made the menu difficult with my refusal to eat red meats (I come from a long line of carnivores). I was also the kid that refused to take of my shoes to go into (yet another) mosque.

Then I left home and moved to Jozi…

In 2008 I made my first trip to Europe and I was hooked on those beautiful passport stamps. I couldn’t get enough of the food, the culture and the people. It was like a big playground – and I could play around in it for 6 weeks only. It was a whirlwind tour to 8 countries and a week on my own in Ireland.

Ireland stole my heart and I’ve only been back once – and still trying to get back with every possible lame excuse.

View this post on Instagram

#Ireland #burren #travel

A post shared by Goddess Blog Travel – Susann ( on

Then the whole marriage thing happened and we dragged our guests off to Mozambique for 5 days and an 18 day Europe, Ireland and Egypt honeymoon.

…and then the Kgalagadi called us

Nothing I’ve ever seen could’ve prepared us for the beauty of the Kgalagadi. The sun beating down on the savannahs, the lions casually strolling over the road or the fresh baked bread from the locals.

For some reason all our friends started going to Thailand and raving about it… and we decided to go see what the fuss was about.

All of Thailand’s beauty and splendour could not save it from landing on our list of places never to go back to. It is a tourist trap – and we want true experiences.

View this post on Instagram

#phiphi #stones #beach

A post shared by Goddess Blog Travel – Susann ( on

The highlight of all highlights…

No holiday could ever compare to the one in the Maldives. This little island paradise stole my heart. My soul still yearns for the white beaches and turquoise waters.

Where would I still like to go to?

  1. I really want to see the country as it is now, before it becomes too westernized
  2. The Scandinavian countries
  3. Eastern Europe
  4. All the Greek & Italian islands
  5. Bora Bora
  6. Seychelles
  7. Comores
  8. Anyplace that isn’t yet on my passport

I probably will never stop collecting passport stamps and memories, but for now all I can do is plan, plan and plan.

Never, ever again – that is my feeling about Thailand.

It is beautiful, I will give Thailand that. It was the most horrific holiday destination ever – and I still have nightmares about it almost 4 months later.

Asia was never on any of my places to see list. It was only because my sister raved about their trip that my husband decided that we should go. We booked our flights, booked a few nights’ accommodation and off we went to Bangkok, Phuket and Koh Phi Phi.

Bangkok was bigger than I ever imagined. It was like Joburg on steroids gone wrong. Traffic congestion was horrific – I have never seen so many cars/tuk-tuks/motorcycles in my life. The sights were beautiful – reclining Buddha, palace and everything else. I found it quite hard to cope with having to cover my shoulders and legs in the heat, but at least I have awesome photos.

Phuket was a whole different horse from Bangkok. More relaxed, but a tourist trap of note. I think Phuket really spoilt the whole trip for me. I felt battered the moment my feet hit the pavement – I was asked every 2m if I wanted a taxi/tuk-tuk/want to buy clothes/food/bags or have a suit made. The best place on Phuket for me was Big Buddha.

Koh Phi Phi I was really hesitant to book due to the tsunami a few years ago, but I was really glad I went. It really is an island to relax and get down to some serious water activities and parties. Be warned, it doesn’t look like much when you arrive, but then you get to the main beach and everything is just perfect. Coconut cocktails, music and food right on the beach. I would recommend Phi Phi as a must-see.

Not that I am saying that you shouldn’t go to Thailand. Maybe Thailand is your scene, it just wasn’t mine…at all.

Long story extra short. Thai Airways had an issue now we flying 2 days early and land back in RSA a day later – and we getting free days in Bangkok! Thank you Thai Airways 🙂

I am not complaining – at all. I never complain when I get something for free. I say thank you and secretly think it is awesomer now that it is free.

I now have to start researching Bangkok and downloading all guides onto my tablet (handy little thing that is).

I love to pack my bags and get a passport stamp somewhere. My husband, not so much.

When he said he always wanted to go to Asia somewhere and that we should go, I had to pick myself up from the floor. I took this opportunity and booked flights to Phuket before he could change his mind.

A few days later his fears of traveling to a place where they will cut his toes and fingers bubbled to the surface – thanks to the movie HOSTEL. Lucky I had the foresight to book 7 days at a 4 star hotel right on Patong Beach… the rest of the 13 day stay… we will wing it.