Ok, where do I start.. This place is very special for the both of us. Pai is a small hippie town tucked away in the most northern part of Thailand. Once you get there, you don’t want to leave. 

But travelling to Pai is a small adventure on its own. Taking in account, Pai is not a Thai tropical island, but a mountain village so the scenery is completely different than anywhere else in Thailand. In this article I will talk about the means of transportation and the costs.

How to get to Pai

First of all, you need to travel to Chiang Mai, the largest city of Northern Thailand. I advise you to stay in Chiang Mai for a couple of days so you can get used to the climate difference depending on where you’ve started your trip. After all, you are in the mountains of Northern Thailand. Depending on where you’re staying, you can often book your trip to Pai via the hostel or hotel you’re staying in. If not, make sure you book an air-conditioned minibus because it’s a long drive. Another option would be by motorcycle or scooter. A lot of people do this because the scenery along the way is pretty amazing. The downside of this option is that there is only one gas station along the way and the road has quite a few bumps so it’s not the safest option. But traveling is all about risks right? 😉

getting to Pai

Scooter or Minivan?

I recommend you to hire your scooter here. This company is well known and you can leave rent your scooter in Chiang Mai and leave it in Pai if you like. When I traveled through Thailand, I was alone and without a licence so I didn’t want to take the risk. So I took the minibus. The trip takes about 3 hours and you have one stop to use the toilet and to buy a drink. (don’t expect a fancy toilet, and don’t look back is my advice) You will notice that the landscape will change the more you drive away from Chiang Mai and up the mountain.

DSC03771 copy

Tip » is to take a carsickness tablet because the road doesn’t have many straight paths!

Along the way I saw a lot of people selling warm colourful hats, which I love, but didn’t quite understand.. This became clear to me later (it get’s freezing at night!). When you finally arrive, it feels like you’ve entered a new world. The van will drop you off in the main street where you will see cute shops and bars on each side. The air is clean and the valley in the distance is amazing. Welcome hippy town!


Sipping on herbal tea in Pai

Cost to get to Pai, Thailand?

» By minivan: from 150 bath (one way)
» By Scooter: From 100 bath per day inclusive of insurance (yes, it’s that cheap!)



Do you want to know where to stay in Pai? Check it here!

The USA Roadtrip | This is all you need to know

It’s probably everyones dream; a USA Road trip West Coast! In 2015 I finally made the dream a reality. I rented an RV and hit the road in what would become a 1600-mile journey from LA to San Francisco via Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Death Valley & High Way 1.

A few years ago, my roomie exchanged Amsterdam for LA and last year two other dear friends moved to the US. Together with my close friends we decided to visit and it became one of the best trips ever. Here you will find the preparations for the ultimate USA roadtrip.


Many people travel from San Francisco via High Way One to Los Angeles, but we did it the other way around by RV. The reason why we’ve chosen an RV is that your home goes with you, you can cook, you have transportation, no need to rent a car, no packing and unpacking every day. And more importantly, it was so much fun to do it with my dear friends that I’ve known for over 10 years..

Road trips are one of the best ways to really get to know a country!

USA roadtrip VA

The USA roadtrip checklist:

1. Check which period is the best to travel around
2. Check which period in the cheapest/most convenient for you
3. Write down which states you don’t want to miss
4. Set your route » From San Fran to LA or the other way around
5. Check which stops you want to visit in between
6. Check how to get from A-B
7. See how you would like to travel
8. Determine Motel – Hotel – RV
9. See if you need extra transport
10.Download Hotel Tonight AppHand-selected hotels at great prices on your mobile device. Rent unique accommodations from local hosts for great prices


Our Route

Together with my two friends we flew from Amsterdam to Los Angeles. My lovely friend from Pittsburgh – that we didn’t see for a few months – traveled with us. We rented a car and stayed for two days where we did some great things together with my Dutch friend that lives in LA. After two lovely days, we picked up our RV – that we’ve booked online – and drove to Las Vegas. After 2 nights of gambling and partying we went via route66 & Death Valley to Salines & San Jose – High Way 1. From there we went up to San Francisco. We dropped off the RV in San Francisco and rented an apartment via Air BNB. After 4 unforgettable days we flew to Pittsburgh where we dropped off my friend and stayed for a few days. Ended our trip for 5 days in the best of the best; New York – where we visited my last Dutch friend.

What do you need?

» Car Rental in LA & San Francisco
» Tom Tom for the RV
» Camper Rental – Tip! Take the one of 6 persons and listen carefully to the instructions.
» Campsite availability »
» (I phone) string for your play list
» USB cable for mobile phone > also acts as charger
» Apartment in LA, San Francisco, Pittsburgh & New York – Tip! Air BNB

The costs:

Budgeting goes hand-in-hand with planning, as the budget is probably the most important part of any road trip. Do plan to spend more than you budgeted. Hereby what I’ve spent: (keep in mind that we shared RV, Hotels etc with 4 persons)

» 1100 euro tickets
» 360 euro RV
» 300 euro Apartments
» 900 euro Food
» 300 euro Drinks
» 200 euro Car Rental
» 200 euro Other (festivals, places of interest)
Total cost: 3369 euro’s for 3 weeks

Can you do it for less? sure! You can always spent less, depending on how much you want to spend on food, drinks & shopping.



Read all our articles about the USA!

The World’s Best Road Trips

The wind in your hair, the adventures with your friends and the stunning views. Road Trips are all about that. Whether it’s with a few friends or alone, it’s an experience you’ll never going to forget. Some are more adventurous than others, but ey, that doesn’t stop a real traveler right? These are by far the world’s best road trips. Ever.

1. Icefields Parkway, Canada
This has to be one of the most impressive road trips in the world. This amazing route runs through 2 national parks. Also known as highway 93, it’s a 230 km long road which takes you from North to South (or the other way around) Highlights include waterfalls, glacier skywalk, peyto lake and bow lake and more stunning views. You will need a Canadian national park permit to travel on the Icefields Parkway. For more info check:

Best roadtrips
The Valley of the Ten Peaks in Banff National Park

2. Route 66, USA
Also known as the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, route 66 was one of the original highways within the U.S. Highway System and used in a lot of movies. Lucky Sarah. She actually experienced this roadtrip! She traveled all the way from Las Vegas down to San Francisco and part of her route was the famous route 66. She rented a large RV and crossed over the famous road with 3 of her best friends. Read her full story here.


Best road trips route 66
Pictures by Stick to the Brand for Wander-Lust

3. Great ocean road, Australia
It’s one of the highlights for all the backpackers that travel from Adelaide to Melbourne.

The absolute picture perfect part has to be the 12 apostles (pictured). Because of severe weather over the years, there are only 8 left.
There are many tours that can take you along the Great Ocean Road but if you get the chance, it’s much cooler to rent or buy a van with your friends and explore yourself. You will pass beautiful beaches, rainforest, rivers and cute coastal towns.
For more info check


4. Pacific Coast Highway, USA
Yes, the USA is a beautiful country so it made it to our list twice! I was lucky enough to experience a piece of this highway as I stayed in Los Angeles quite often. I never driven all the way to San Francisco but if you get the chance, you definitely should! The coastal line is breathtaking and the sun always shines! The only downside is the LA traffic you will need to get though (it starts around 3-4pm and last until about 10-11pm).
It’s easy to rent a car and drop it in SanFran. From LA it takes about 6-7 hours.

Best road trips LA
On the way you can stop for amazing stops like these (ignore the somewhat awkward pose..)

“On these road trips you never know what you’re going to see next”

5. Cabot Trail, Canada
It almost looks like the pacific coast highway, but then a lot greener! This beautiful route, runs passed the coast of Canada at Nova Scotia.

The northern section of the Cabot Trail passes through Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The western and eastern sections follow the rugged coastline, providing spectacular views of the ocean. The road trip will run for 300km. More info about this route:

Canada's best roadtrips

6. Causeway Coastal Route, Ireland
You might recognize the picture below, as it was used in the popular series Games of Thrones. The road is 120 miles / 190km long and takes you through the Northern parts of Ireland. You can drive all the way from Derry to Belfast. On the way you will pass all sorts of scenery. From castles to coastlines, forest and waterfalls. You will find the most beautiful parts of Ireland right here on this amazing route. More info:

world's best road trips, Ireland
Like a fairytale..

7. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Being the largest salt flat in the world, this place seems a bit creepy, yet beautiful. The whole area is 11,000-sq.-km long and accessible by car. Photographers love to shoot at this place because you get the most amazing mirror-like images. It used to be a lake but over millions of years it went dry and left a few meters of salt crust on top. If you decide to take this road, be aware that you are well prepared by taking enough water, cloths and camping equipment. For more about this about this trip, check our blogpost.

The Salt Flats of Bolivia

Salt Flats

8. Road Trip though Ethiopia
One of the most dangerous road trips and recently featured on Dutch television, this is a trip that will leave you with an experience richer.
Beautiful views of a landscape that not many people have seen or heard of. You will pass vilages, dirt and unpaved roads and narrow parts, so this is one for the brave ones! Expect animals on the road and light? No no one has heard of lights at night. Just drive through the day. The BBC made a documentary about this road once, calling it bone-shaking but amazingly beautiful.

Source: Facebook Victoria Koblenko

9. Hana Highway, Hawaï
For a feel of the tropics, you should drive though this Hawaiian route. The road is 109 km long and connects Kahului with Hana on the island of Maui.
Take a sickness tablet with you because the road has a lot of hairpins that go deep into the tropical jungle, though valleys and rocky formations along the coast. This certainly deserves a spot in the world’s best road trips!

World's best road trips, Hawai
Photo by @hawaiisblue

What is one of the best road trips you’ve ever made?



What you need to know before you go Caravanning

Caravanning? If you know the word, you’re probably getting ready for your first caravan holiday. An exciting time of freedom, fun and the thrill of a new experience awaits and it’s not just for the 50+ age group. It’s extremely popular in Europe and there are so many cool caravans available nowadays. But before you’re ready to enjoy this new adventure in your holiday life, there’s a couple of important issues you should think about. Factors such as what to bring, how to be safe on the road or where to park when all of a sudden you have to pull over. And what about insurance? To get you started we’ve put together a bunch of basic tips for a steady start of an unforgettable caravanning experience.

Make a checklist
Before you jump in the car and start your adventure, make sure that you’ve packed everything you and your caravan need. You’ll have to bring an array of items when holidaying with a caravan. Apart from a fully functional car, of course. But have you thought about a fire extinguisher, wheel chocks, a caravan jack, towing mirrors, extra coolant and oil and a spare fan belt? Some items are essentials, others are just based on the level of comfort you’re aiming for.

Why the rush? It’s your holiday!

Be safe and take it easy
Fully packed and stocked? Time to hit the open road. But not before you’re absolutely sure that your caravan and vehicle are safe. Again, making a checklist before you depart is an easy referral. Among necessary checks are that the towing aid is fitted correctly, drawers and other loose items are secured, and windows and doors are locked. Remove wheel chocks and the jockey wheel, raise the caravans steps, switch on the lights and you’re good to go! But take it easy on the roads. Towing something this big takes time getting used to. Don’t endanger yourself and your fellow motorists and drive safe. Besides, why the rush? It’s your holiday!

Are you going caravanning this summer?

Your freedom, well covered

No matter how careful you are, an accident can happen anytime and anywhere. Nobody likes to think about a vacation falling down the drain due to a car accident or a related caravan drama. To make sure you’ll get all the help you need in times of small or major discomfort, be sure to buy travel insurance. This way you and your family are sure to have medical and cancellation cover abroad. But what about your caravan? Well, there’re loads of options for your beloved mobile home as well! Protect your caravan of camper trailer with a caravan insurance and enjoy cover against accidental damage or damage due to theft, fire or storm. Your freedom, well covered. Happy holidays!



*We collaborated with HEMA for this article

This couple left everything behind to live in a Volkswagen Van

In October this year Hedwig (30) and Jeroen (33) left everything behind and started a new big adventure. After living in Amsterdam for 5,5 years they sold all their belongings, including their lovely house. Together with their two dogs, Tommie and Olaf, they decided to live in a Volkswagen Van while they explore the world.

Hedwig & Jeroen selling their belongings before the big adventure!

‘To live in a Volkswagen Van wasn’t a difficult choice’.

How did you come up with the idea of selling all your belongings and start living in a van? When did it start to feel like something you could really, really do? We wanted our lives to be less predictable. That’s what started it. We were feeling more and more restless and with that grew the need for adventure. On the other hand, we like to have a place of our own, something to call ‘home’. Living in a van combined these two things and for us it wasn’t a difficult choice. We actually made the decision on a Friday afternoon and right that Monday after we started calling real estate agents for selling our apartment.

Cruising through Europe in their Volkswagen van.

You sold everything you had within 3 months after making the decision. Was it easy to let go of your belongings?
We were lucky to have a place in Amsterdam we could sell within two weeks. The buyer took on some furniture, so until the last day we had a couch to sit on. When it comes to the rest of the furniture and expensive stuff such as our PlayStation, we used an online marketplace for that. Turns out: selling almost all you have is so much work and costs so much time! All the rest we either gave away or we sold it on a huge flea market. After that we only had a few boxes in one corner with the things we were going to take with us. It wasn’t very difficult for us to let go of our stuff. It turns out that we didn’t really need all that luxury anyway. At this point we almost have nothing left, but we’re still happy.

Home is where you drop your doormat.

Looking back, what were the biggest struggles and what have been the easiest so far?
The biggest struggle is that almost everything is a struggle, really. Each activity takes at least three times longer, from making tea to getting clothes out of the closet. Also the two of us live right on top of each other, that’s another thing we have to deal with. We have been together for 15 years and we realize how important it is to make time for yourself and do whatever makes you happy in order to harmoniously live together. Either way: living in such a small van is a true exercise in staying calm. The easiest has been the pure joy we get out of all the amazing places we have seen and the nice people we have met. Surely you make sacrifices, but this life you get in return is quite special. Being parked on top of a cliff and seeing the sun drop into the ocean right in front of you, after which the sky fills itself with the most amazing pink, orange and red colors, that just can’t get boring. Right?

How did your friends and family react when you told them about your exciting plans?
Everyone was really happy for us. They were as excited as they were surprised, because they hadn’t seen it coming, but hey: neither did we. We feel really lucky to be supported in the way everyone has done. Also it’s nice be not that far away. Traveling in Europe means that almost everyone has the chance to visit us!

hondjesraam live in a volkswagen van
Olaf and Tommie on the road

How did you prepare yourself to this new life?
We still don’t know if there is really a way of preparing yourself for this life. You just have to undergo it. For everyone it is completely different. We tried to prepare ourselves by just imagining what would be the core belongings we need. From practical to personal and sometimes not even useful. We gathered new stuff as well, like a plastic African mat that functions as our porch and an indispensable hunting knife that we use for almost everything. Another thing that has helped us is the online community of van-lifers. Many of them share details about this kind of life you eagerly want to know when you start working on such an adventure.

Where have you been and what are your experiences so far?
We have now driven about 3500 kilometers, which is above average since we covered a lot of distance in the first two weeks. We were chasing the bit of good weather that was left in Europe. This meant we headed for Portugal and spent not even a handful of days in both France and Spain. What we’ve experienced is incredible, although we also try to live a slow paced life. We don’t want expectations to guide us. There will always be more that you miss than what you will actually see, no matter how much you travel. The only expectations we’ve had when starting this journey is about the way we live, about being free and making our own choices. That box we can totally check.

Live in a Volkswagen van
When you live in a Volkswagen Van, you enjoy candlelight dinners every night. 

How does a day in your life look like?
It starts with something awesome: not having to turn off an alarm clock. Funnily enough we almost always awake at about 8am and hardly ever sleep in. The way the morning passes varies: from staying in bed and reading when it rains to doing yoga outside to spending forever on making an extensive breakfast to just doing nothing. The afternoons we tend to be a bit more active. We like to discover a town and when we are in the middle of nature we might take a long walk. Sometimes there are chores to be done, such as doing laundry. And sometimes there is serious work to be done. I will work on an article or interview and Jeroen will be editing one of his drone videos of the van. There’s one thing for sure in our days: we almost always get to do stuff we like, each and every day again. Loving this lifestyle to the moon and back.

Did you meet some interesting people yet?
Many! From enthusiastic surfers that can get a huge campfire going in no time to interesting hippie people that live in vans as long as they remember. They have a total different view of this world. Meeting different people was also something we looked very much forward to.

What are your travel plans for the coming weeks or months?
We think we will stay in Portugal for the holidays. We might go to Lisbon for New Year’s Eve. After that we’d love to take the boat and go to Morocco. We hear nothing but good stories about this country. Also it will be nice to experience some warm winter weather. Springtime we might spend in Spain and France, but nothing is certain. We are however keen to go to England, Scotland and Ireland and also Scandinavia.

Waiting for the rain to stop.

Do you think you will ever come back to Amsterdam?
Of course! It’s one the nicest and most beautiful cities we know and many of our friends live there. On the other hand, we have no idea if we would ever want to live there again ourselves. This journey that we’re on right now asks our undivided attention and it exists just because we don’t think or worry about the future.

Waking up like this.

Curious about their new lives or ever thought about living in a van? Go follow them on Instagram via @liveslowdriveslower.

All pictures in this article are by Hedwig and Jeroen.



The Ultimate Australian Surf Roadtrip!

“There’s nothing that a good day of surf won’t cure” Willie Morris once said… And that’s why a surfer always lives in search of the perfect wave. 

I planned an Australian Surf Roadtrip (or surf roadie, how they call it here) along the East coast and discovered the sweetest spots! Wanna do the same!? These are my favourite spots to catch a wave, enjoy good food and experience those surfer vibes!

Hidden Australian Gems? Read about 12 lesser known spots in Australia.

Thinkin’ bout the waves

1. Crescent Head (NSW)

Surrounded by stunning nature…After a long ride (5 hrs) all the way from Byron we finally arrived in longboard heaven! My friend and I weren’t the smartest, as we flew from Sydney to Ballina to join the Byron Bay BLUESFEST(!), whereafter we started our camper van journey back to NSW to find some waves in Crescent Head. Normally I would suggest you to start driving up North from Sydney in order to pass Crescent Head first and then continue your way up to Noosa.

What else do you need besides your bikinis, a surfable board, wax, sunscreen?

Anyhow, most challenging here was probably our campsite in the middle of Hat Head National Park being totally back to basic without any lights at night and with barely any facilities, but hey?! Our plans for the rest of the day? Nothing really! As there’s not much more than the beach and two coffee spots Green Room Café & Two Tails Wagging that I totally fell in love with. We charged our energy levels (+ phones!) and read the oldest surf magazines ever! Life’s good….

Surfboards at Crescent Head

Mandy's van on her surftrip
A van is the best transport for an Australian surf roadtrip

2. Lennox Head (NSW)

At the Southern end of Seven Miles Beach…Upcoming but still quite unknown by tourists. This cute little coastal village offers just about everything you need to relax, unwind and perfect for an Australian surf roadtrip! From Byron to Lennox its only a 20 min drive through breathtaking scenery. It’s a perfect spot to park your van at night, save money on expensive campsites in Byron and enjoy peaceful environments with the Australian locals.

3. Byron Bay (NSW)

Byron how did you put that spell on me!? I could absolutely write a book about you, but unfortunately I only have a couple more hours before I need to hand in this blogpost. It’s one of my favorite places on earth, I kept coming back and then always stayed longer than planned. Despite all of the shark warnings and my own fear, I never stopped surfing these clean and beautiful waters. From The Pass, which is so super crowded, to Wategos and The Wreck at is so much fun! I need to mention Black Dog Surfing here for sure as they have always been supporting me with surfboard hire deals and great kindness!

Whites beach byron
Whites beach byron

Besides surfing we went on adventures…My friend and Byron Bay local Jessie Ehrenburg (check out her beach tipi’s here showed me a secret route to get to amazing white sandy beaches such as “Whites Beach” hidden away from the crowds. For great foodies and coffee we couldn’t stop hanging out at the Bayleaf Café downtown or FOLK a little out of town. After amazing sunsets we mostly finished off our day with a Pacific Ale (Byron brewed beer) and a local band at either The Great Northern or Railway Friendly Bar. Good times guaranteed!

Bayleaf Byron Bay
Great coffee at Bayleaf

4. Coolangatta/Burleigh Heads (Gold Coast)

One of the Gold Coast’s favorite surf destinations must be Coolangatta. Other than the overrated Surfer’s Paradise, Coolangatta offers super chill vibes and great waves! The superbank (a 2km long sandbank) can be ridden all the way from Snapper Rocks towards Kirra Beach making it one of the longest waves in the world. Personally I loved surfing the Greenmount Point with its long stretched beach good for beginner surf (still some strong rips), but I also had great experiences at Kirra. A good hangout is the Quicksilver Boardriders store with a café, board hire and a barber shop right across the beach on Marine Parade. If you drive further down the coast you’ll end up in Burleigh Heads which is another coastal village with nice beaches, sweet surf, hiking trails and a lovely café called Burleigh Social with delicious juices and nutritious after surf foodies!

Gold coast surf roadtrip

5. Mooloolaba/Caloundra (Sunshine Coast)

How travel creates friends and friends create networks! (I wanna wipe away a little tear right now knowing that my friend is literally on the other side of the world and I miss her lots!) On the road, she introduced me to a lovely Australian couple that hosted us for a few nights down the Sunshine Coast. It wouldn’t have been Aussies if there weren’t any surfboards in the house, and gosh how new and fresh they were! Thus, man of the house took us into the waters of Caloundra at 6am and it was tough but absolutely thrilling! Best & beautiful beaches are: Currimundi, Dicky, Kings and Moffat.


6. Noosa (Sunshine Coast)

Blessed with a beautiful array of nature, clear blue water and pristine beaches….we arrived at our final destination: Noosa! Behind all the beauty, Noosa has a prestige sort of flair with upper class tourism in which I find myself almost uncomfortable when walking out of the surf without make up and frizzy hair, thus I wouldn’t call it a chill surf town but once you walk up to the National Park and find these amazing hidden beaches you know that it’s all worth it! I remember that I sat on my longboard at Tea Trees (a right hand point break) while the sun was setting over the water No words even describe that magical moment and it made me realize again how lucky I was for being there! Another gem that we found was Belmondos Organic Market with Clandestino Coffee Roasters, a crazy cool roastery that is a must on your Noosa To-Do list!

Coffee Roasters Noosa
Clandestino Coffee Roasters

As moments fade away and memories last for ever, great friendships were made and an unforgettable journey states in our hearts. As road trips are the foundation of a surf culture, this has been a voyage of discovery that I can only pass on to you! Unfortunately ours lasted as little as 2,5 weeks but if only it could take a bit longer… Till next time!

Inspired? Watch the short film: North to Noosa here.



*Mandy is one of our guest travel bloggers that has lived in Australia for 1,5 years, she is now back in Amsterdam planning her next adventure!