Best countries to visit for when you’re on a budget

If you have the wanderlust virus , you know you feel need to travel as much as possible. However, your bank account doesn’t always agree. If you still want to enjoy the beauty of a long stretched beaches, feel the sun glowing on your skin and discover new cultures, we are happy to tell you that you can do this on a small budget. These are 8 countries you should visit if you don’t want to break the bank.

1. Cambodia, Asia

Daily budget: 15 euro or less

Cambodia is a very cheap destination, even by Southeast Asian standards. If you’re really on a budget and you keep your daily spending to a minimum, you can live on an amount of 10 to 15 euro’s per day. Firstly, accommodation can be found for as little as 4-5 euro’s per night (for a simple hut or hostel) and even the alcohol is cheap here. Secondly, if you eat the local food, you won’t spend more than 4 euros on a 2 course meal. Flights cost about 500 euro’s if you book ahead of time.

Angkor Wat. travel on a budget
One of the cheapest countries for travel

2. Thailand, Asia

Daily budget: 20 euro or less

If you’ve been to Thailand, you know you can live there as a King or a Queen. When I was there I had a massage almost every day and it only cost me about 5 to 10 euro’s. Thailand has one of the finest cuisines in the world but you can dine here for about 5-10 euro’s per person. (this includes your drinks!) It’s the ultimate backpacking country with a lot of cheap accommodation available. Thailand also has many options, you can make it as expensive as you want.

Koh Lipe. best countries to visit when you're on a budget
It’s never boring in Thailand

3. Georgia

Daily Budget: 27 euro

This destination is high on demand and made it on many top destination lists for 2019. Why? Adventure seekers have discovered the stunning nature of this country, plus it’s very affordable! Because Georgia isn’t rampaged by tourists, prices remain low, also for accommodations. If you decide to go backpacking for 14 days, you can do it with a budget of 400 euro per person. This is unheard of in western European countries. Time to out Georgia on your bucketlist? 

georgia
Stunning Georgia

4. Albania

Daily Budget: 28 euro

Never though of Albania? Well, time to change that! Albania is an underrated country with many mountains, canyons and the Ionian coastline. Albania isn’t full of tourists and therefore prices are very good! Be the first to discover hidden beaches and coves, or walk around in the Albanian Alpes. 

Albania, countries to visit when you are on a budget

5. Nicaragua

Daily Budget: 28 euro

We do not understand why we haven’t been here yet, because this place has it all. Untouched beaches, cute towns, rough nature, volcano’s and it’s extremely cheap to trek around. Above all, the country is relatively tourist free, which is also a big plus for many amongst us. Hotel rooms are an average of 15 euro per night. On average, a couple can live comfortably in Nicaragua for 1200 euro per month, not bad!

beer in Nicaragua
Have another beer in Nicaragua!

6. Greece, Europe

Daily budget: 30 euro or less

I’m speaking out of experience because as you might know because I have been to Greece many times. Firstly, food is one of the cheapest in Europe. For instance, you can feast on a large main course for only 6-9 euro’s. A beer will cost you about 2 euro’s. You will pay double the price in places like Mykonos and Santorini but if you visit the main land or Islands like : Folegandros, Lefkas or Naxos, you can definitely add Greece to your budget destination list.

Greece is great if you're on a budget
Lefkas (Lefkada) is great for budget travel

7. Philippines, Asia

Daily budget: 25 euro or less

It’s not the cheapest of the Asian countries we’ve mentioned but it certainly deserves a place in our top 8 and the reason it’s at number 7 is because of the long flight. The flight is by far the most expensive part of your trip but if you’re lucky you can get a cheap flight at around 600 euro’s per person. On the other hand, the Philippines are pretty untouched by mass tourism (unlike Thailand for example), as a result it can be more difficult to get around sometimes. That’s way you tend to spent more on boats, domestic flights etc. Read more about The Philippines.

Philippines Bohol
Relaxing in the Philippines

8. Bolivia, South America

Daily budget: 25 euro or less

Bolivia is a very popular destination for backpackers, simply because it’s very affordable to travel. There is something for every budget. Even the good hotels offer reasonable prices. (a 4 star hotel is available for as little as 80 USD) 

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Chill.. cuz your money isn’t going anywhere

In short, budget travel is possible, it just depends on the country you want to visit. And let’s be honest, the above options aren’t so bad right?

Love,

Wander-Lust

More tips?

5 Beautiful Destinations for Safe Female Solo Travel

As a woman, it’s important to feel save when you travel abroad. In some countries is better than others, but with my personal experience and lot’s of stories from fellow female travelers, we found that these 5 countries deserve to be mentioned when it comes to Safe Female Solo Travel.

Canada

A beautiful destination which, funny enough, is yet to be discovered by backpackers. Because of this fact, it’s not packed with tourists and even more reason to visit! The roads are well maintained so perfect for renting a van and cruise through the beautiful nature. There are many campings in the middle of nature and near cities that are very secured. Canada is perfect for women that love a little adventure; from kayaking with orca’s and watching humpback whales, to stunning hikes, it’s all possible and easily arranged. The only resident you should be wary off, is the grizzly bear! But if that’s all?

Australia
Perhaps is no surprise but Australia is really one of the best places to start as a solo traveler. Everything is well arranged for the backpacker. I speak from experience, because I did it for 4 months and had the best time! Public transport, travel cards, discounts for backpackers, it’s all available in Australia. Downsider: Australia can be quite expensive so my TIP is to eat as much vegetarian food in order to save some cash, and stay away from the booze. For more money saving tips, check our 6 tips to travel for free.

Thailand

South East Asia is pretty safe to travel around but Thailand is taking the lead. 4 years ago I traveled to Thailand on my own and I was a little worried that I would feel alone. The worry was for no reason, because I met some lovely people in no-time that I am still in contact with! TIP: The hygiene in Asia is not always of the highest standard so always bring some disinfectant wipes, diarrhoea pills and antihistamine for allergies. Thinking about traveling to Thailand? Check out our Thailand section for all the best tips!

Iceland
This country is topping the charts of the Global Peace Index for years. There is relatively little crime and the country is doing pretty well economically. Because of this, the infrastructure is well arranged. Start your trip in Reykjavik and visit the picture perfect Blue Lagoon or the Northern light. Bring your camera girls, instagram is going to love it where you are! Guest editor Jolien took a trip and has some inside tips on where to go!


Guest editor Jolien in Iceland

Portugal

Sun, sea, delicious food and friendly people. Portugal has it all! From vibrant cities to the cliffs of the Algarve, you can go anywhere. Life isn’t too expensive and there are a lot of amazing eco-lodges, campings and resorts where you can totally relax. Inside Tip: Visit Eco Resort Into The Wild Algarve, where you can sleep in a tipi or a luxurious treehouse! 


Sleep in a bohemian tipi in Portugal

But to sum it up, I think the most important weapon a woman has, is her intuition. Does it feel off? Don’t go with it but just enjoy your trip of a lifetime!

Love,

Elke

The Koh Lipe Island Guide

Walk on white sandy beaches with a fresh coconut in your hand. You will arrive at a picture-perfect tropical island where you want to stay forever! An unbelievable exotic destination that has everything you need to have the perfect holiday. This is Koh Lipe, Thailand.

Koh Lipe is a paradise island in the southern of Thailand’s Satun Province near the Thailand/Malaysia border. The three main beaches of Koh Lipe are Sunset Beach (west), Sunrise Beach (east), and Pattaya Beach (south), all beautiful. The island is famous for it’s white sandy beaches, turquoise blue waters, coconut trees, snorkeling and scuba diving and its relaxed atmosphere!

koh-lipe-map
Map of Koh Lipe: Source: http://www.thailand-guide.com/koh-lipe

How to get there

There are several options, but we arrived from Langkawi by boat which takes around 1.5 hours. Tip: bring something warm to wear, because sometimes the air-condition is turn up high which makes it freezing. Also, bring some travel sickness tablets, you may need it when the sea is rough. Book your boat ticket in advance, there is no need to print the ticket, as long as you have your QR code on your phone. You need to register before entering the boat and you should do this at the departure gate at least 1,5 hours before departure from Langkawi. Upon arrival, you need to pay 200 bath per person as an island fee, this is normal and you need to pay in cash. It’s a bit of a hassle to get there, but once you have arrived, it will be worth your time.


Where to Stay

Koh Lipe has become very popular over the years, so therefore we advise you to book your accommodation in advance to avoid disappointment, especially during the high season (nov – feb). Unfortunately, prices are quite expensive compared to other destinations in Thailand. A hut on the beach for €20,- a night? Forget it. During Christmas we paid at least 100 euro per night. But we don’t want to discourage you, Koh Lipe offers a variety in accommodations, with  not many big resorts, yet. Here are some of our recommendations:

  • Cast Away Beach Resort (sunrise beach, mid range)
  • Andaman Resort (sunrise beach, midrange)
  • Serendipity Resort (sunrise beach, high end)
  • Bundahya Beach Resort (pattaya beach, mid range)
  • The Box Resort (walking street, mid range)

Tip: Also check on Airbnb, a lot of guesthouses and hotels also sell their rooms on there.

Koh Lipe resort
Bundahya Beach Resort

Koh Lipe Island Thailand
Sea la Vie beach bar at Sunrise Beach

Things to do

Koh lipe is famous for snorkeling and diving! The incredibly clear water and excellent visibility makes snorkeling very famous on this island. There are many shops on the island that offer snorkeling trips and a full range of PADI and SSI courses.Koh Lipe is surrounded by over 30 islands and hundreds of reefs. You will find a lot of small colorful fish at Koh Lipe, but keep in mind that the coral isn’t what it used to be. Most of the coral is dead because of global warming and the suncreams people use. Ingredients like oxybenzone can harm the oceans. Tip: We use Dermalogica or Badger Sunscreens.

Koh Lipe island guide 2019


Where to eat & drink

From Thai green curry, Phad Thai, Tom kha kai (spicy soup) to Som Tam (Papaya salad), it’s all so delicious, healthy and fresh! They always use fresh herbs and lots of greens. There’s something for everyone, it’s doesn’t matter if you are vegetarian or vegan, enough options. There’s s a great variety in food on the island: From tasty Thai street food to fresh fish you will find right at the beach.
Tip! Learn these words to save you from a chilli pepper disaster! Spicy = mai pet, A little bit spicy = pet noi, Very spicy = pet mak

Best Breakfast & Coffee

  • Elephant Koh Lipe
  • Bloom cafe (amazing coffee!)
  • Tropicana (healthy/vegan options)

Elephant cafe Koh Lipe
Great coffee at Elephant Café

Best cocktails

  • Maya Bar (walking street, great music and cocktails!)
  • Sea la Vie beach bar (Sunrise beach, the food is not so good, but at night the music and vibe is amazing)
  • Reggae bar (Pattaya beach)

Street food Koh Lipe
Street food at the Koh Lipe Walking Street

Best Western food

  • The Box (walking street)
  • La Luna Italian Restaurant

Best Thai Food

  • On The Rocks Restaurant at Serendipity Resort (perfect for a romantic dinner!)
  • Cast Away Restaurant (great for lunch!)
  • Elephant Beach Bar (Sunrise beach, great Pad Thai!)

Koh Lipe Beaches

Koh Lipe has three beaches and because the weather doesn’t change much throughout the year, it’s perfect to lay on the beach..but which one is the best?

  • Sunrise Beach
    This is the best beach, hands down. The water is crystal clear, the sand is white and you can find a lot of quiet spots. All parts of this beach are good, but we relaxed in the middle a lot, next to the Elephant Beach Bar. There is some shade from the trees so great if you have small children. If you walk to the left side of Sunrise beach, you will find yourself a zandbank in the water, great for taking those tropical photo’s! And if you walk towards the right end of the beach (towards Ten Moons Resort), you have a small beach cove, that not everybody knows about. Here you can chill in hammocks and drink fresh coconuts.


beach swing Koh Lipe
In front of 10 Moons Resort, Sunrise Beach

  • Sunset Beach
    This beach has the sunset (hence the name) but it’s smaller doesn’t have many beach bars to chill. Because of this, the beach is more quiet and popular with the older crowd. Worth taking a look at!
  • Pattaya Beach
    This is the beach where all the boats arrive and depart to/from, which makes it the busiest and less attractive beach. At night you can find some bars here with loud(er) music, but there are some restaurants at the end that are nice enough to eat.

Sunrise Beach, Koh Lipe
At the sand bank Sunrise Beach

Our advise is to stay on Koh Lipe for at least 4 to 6 days in order to enjoy the island to the fullest. Take in account that it rains more from April through September, but that doesn’t mean you should skip this magical island. Apparently the average temperature is always around 26 degrees, so no matter what time you visit Koh Lipe, the weather will typically be the same. Yes, it takes some time to get there, but once you step on the white sand, you will feel right at home.

Love,

Wander-Lust

Koh Adang Island » The Peaceful Getaway

Koh Adang is the bigger island located right across from the more popular Koh Lipe. We stayed there for 2 nights and here’s everything you need to know.

Koh Adang is located on the southern side of the Andaman sea, near Malaysia. The only way to get there is by longtail boat, which is an adventure to start with. Islands that are a little harder to reach, must be good right! It often means that tourism hasn’t taken over, and you can find some peace and quiet. This is the main reason why we decided to come to Koh Adang for a few days.

Koh Adang Island
Private beach on Koh Adang

The beach is so amazing with palmtrees and rocks that really makes you feel you are on a private tropical island

getting to Koh Adang Island
Getting to Koh Adang

Adang Island Resort
The only resort on the island is the Adang Island Resort and it’s so nice! It offers guest garden or beach villa’s with nice bathrooms made out of bricks and stone, which gives it a natural feel. All rooms have air-conditioning (trust me, you’ll need it) and patio where you can sit outside. There is one main pool that is overlooking the beach, which you only need to share with your guests. We arrived there on Christmas Eve and the resort was fully booked, but funny enough, it doesn’t feel busy or crowded at all. The beach is so amazing with palmtrees and rocks that really makes you feel you are on a private tropical island.

palmtrees on Koh Adang


Our Deluxe Garden Villa

At the resort you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner and varies from traditional Thai to western style dishes. (try the Spring Rolls, Pad Thai and Papaya Salad omg). Prices are very reasonable and what you would expect of Thailand. On Koh Lipe, prices tend to be more expensive. If you have a coconut addiction like I have, you’ll be pleased to hear that they serve fresh ones at the Adang Island Resort.

food at Adang Island Resort

Pool Adang Island Resort
Chilling by the pool

Things to do
Even though you are on a secluded island, there are a few things you can do besides hanging by the poolside. You can book some of the activities at the resort.

  • Kayaking
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkling (free gear available at the Adang Resort)
  • Walk to the viewing point (1 hour walk)
  • Walk to the waterfall (30 min walk)
  • Day trip to other small islands or Koh Lipe

Waterfall Koh Adang Island

Kayaking Adang Island Resort
Free kayaking is available at the resort


CocoNuts!

Verdict: Koh Adang is well worth a visit if you are planning to visit Koh Lipe. 2 nights is perfect to get you started. For bookings at the Adang Island Resort, visit www.adangresorts.com. Once you’ve made your reservation, you will get a full explanation on how to get there. (there is a pick-up spot and free shuttle from Koh Lipe that runs until 8pm)

Curious about Koh Lipe? Check our Thailand section below!

 

 

Recipe » Thai Papaya Salad

Each month we invite another food blogger to tip us with one of their best recipe’s, inspired from a country or place they have been. This month we highlight a recipe from Culinessa. This Food Blogger has Asian roots and she sure knows how to create a colourful and spicy Papaya Salad (Som Tam), inspired by Thailand!

`papaya

Papaya gives this salad the sweetness to balance out the spice

Ingredients:
1 green papaya, sliced or grated
2 big carrots, sliced or grated
1 clove of garlic
9 long beans, cut in to 5 cm pieces
1 red chili / rawit for extra spice
3 tsp palm sugar
1 big tomato, in quarters
4 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp fish sauce
some roasted peanuts

Start by pounding the garlic together with the chili. Don’t pound the chili to hard. Add in the palm sugar.
Now add in long beans and tomato and bash them a little bit. Add in the tomato and don’t pound to hard. Season with lemon juice and fish sauce. Last but not least add in the papaya and carrot. Pound everything together and mix up well. Taste and add additional sugar, fish sauce, lemon juice if necessary. Top off with some roasted peanuts.

* You can always add in extra chilies for more spice.

Love,

Vanessa

*Vanessa is a food blogger from the Netherlands with roots from Indonesia, If you love some spice and you’re into Asian cooking, check Culinessa.com, where she shares

a lot of recipes made with love and passion. Find the Dutch version of the Thai Papaya Salad here.

 

Why you should visit Ko Lanta

It’s been almost 4 years but I’m still dreaming of this place. Ko Lanta
Ko Lanta is an island Southwest of Krabi, Thailand. 
Young backpacker tribes mainly choose islands like Phuket, Ko Phi Phi or the busy east-side islands like Ko Phangan or Ko Tao.

Koh-Lanta-map
Koh Lanta is the kind of island you will deliberately choose instead of just ending up there by mistake. From Ko Phi Phi it’s about a 2 hour boat trip and will cost about 400 bath. It’s also a gateway to tropical island Koh Lipe. You can book your ferry tickets hereWhen you arrive, there will be enough taxi’s and jeeps waiting in line to take you to your nearest accommodation.

Ko Lanta, Thailand

If you choose Koh Lanta, you know you chose a getaway 

When I arrived, I didn’t come prepared at all. No need to panic on Ko Lanta though. I met a man in Pai and he told me to get in touch with his Thai friend who apparently looked like a Thai version of Jack Sparrow. He didn’t lie. I arrived at long beach and a short Thai Jack Sparrow type man with dreads, walked over and offered to carry my backpack. He arranged some cheap, yet comfortable accommodation for me and I ordered the most delicious prawns at his bar/restaurant called The Pirate Bar. (no, I didn’t make this up)

Schermopname (23)
THE Thai Jack Sparrow look-alike

IMG_5977
Fresh out of the sea, yummie!

The vibe on Ko Lanta is super chill, layed back and it’s the island in Thailand I felt my happiest. I only had 3 days which was a shame. I could have stayed here for much longer. Lucky enough I made some new friends on the day that I arrived. A Dutch couple, an American guy (who traveled around Asia on a dirt bike) and 2 German backpackers. We ended up drinking beers and cocktails until the sun set and watched a fire show (by this time I had seen too many though) after that we made our way to a beach party which I loved!

Now, bare in mind, Ko Lanta is no party island. But if you’re there during the weekend, you will find a few organized parties on the beach and nearby bars. If you don’t rent a scooter like I did, you need to share your tuk-tuk with fellow travelers.

Schermopname (24)
Chillin’ at Long Beach

The island is only 30km long and about 18km wide but without a scooter or quad-bike, you will make it difficult for yourself to travel around.
Ko Lanta consists of several islands, the two largest of which are Ko Lanta Noi (“Small Lanta Island”) and Ko Lanta Yai  (“Big Lanta Island”). Ko Lanta Yai is where it all happens so you will find most tourist here. Saying that, it never feels overcrowded and even though it was almost Christmas, I felt like it was an island I could completely relax on.

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Panoramic view whilst road trippin in Ko Lanta. On the left are gumtrees.

When you start to explore Ko Lanta you have a few highlights you shouldn’t miss:
» Long Beach
I loved this beach. You have so many nice small restaurants and bars where you can chill and drink coconuts all day. Best for sunsets! 
This is also great for accommodation if you’re looking for peace and quiet.
» Ko Lanta Old town
Go back in time and visit old town where the old harbor use to be. Situated right next to the sea, this spooky town has charming features, shops and restaurants.

» Four Islands
If you have the time, visit the small four islands on a day tour. Go snorkeling, have a picnick and check out emerald cave.

» The south beaches
Drive all the way down to the southern part of the island and explore some of the hidden and beautiful beaches. 

» Visit the National Park
Look out for monkeys trying to steal your food. Entrance fee is about 200 THB or free if you arrive late (closes at 6pm)

DSC00229
Finding a secret beach was no problem (Cape Tanod)

relax on Ko Lanta, Thailand
My own private island! (just ignore the man in the background)

Where should you stay?
Depending on what your needs are, you could stay anywhere really. For the more lively area’s you should stay along side Klong Dao Beach. Here you will find plenty of bars/restaurants and facilities nearby. Long Beach is where I stayed and I highly recommend it although spending more than a week there might be a bit boring at night. Another chilled area is alongside Klong Nin Beach where you will find reggae bars, coffee houses, simple accommodation and luxury resorts.

If you go to Thailand and you haven’t made up your mind yet where you want to go..? Make sure you don’t skip Ko Lanta!

More on Thailand? Check below!

Love,

Elke

Off the beaten track » Isan, Northeast Thailand

Off the beaten track, Isan, Northeast Thailand

If you ask anyone about Thailand, they will probably tell you about the long stretched beaches in Ko Samui, Koh Phi Phi or talk about the elephants in Chiang Mai. All lovely, but did you know that Thailand has a lot of hidden gems located in the North Eastern part? I flew over there to find out, and ended up having one of the most amazing press trips of the year. Let me introduce Northeast Thailand, better known as Isan.


North East Thailand

How to get there
From Bangkok you can fly to Khon Kaen,one of the four major cities of Isan, Thailand. From there you can travel to all the places I’m going to highlight. Rent a van or hire a chauffeur to drive you around. The roads are good and not too busy, so a great option to the the best parts of North East Thailand. Direct flights are also available and not expensive. Thai Smile airways is your best option.


Khon Kaen
The town itself isn’t really what we came here for, but it’s surroundings is what makes this place special. From here on, you will find the real Thailand. And with real, I mean getting the true local experience. In this part of the country you will not see many tourists or backpackers. In fact, I only saw one! Here are some must sees & do’s in the area;

» Mekin Organic Farm
This wonderful farm is run by a Thai family that is growing everything from fruits, coffee, Thai whiskey and rice on their farm. They’re not using any chemicals to spray their harvest, so you can imagine the amazing flavours of the food! I was invited to plant fresh rice in the mud. If you visit this farm, you can help too and experience the life of a Thai organic farmer. Lunch on the farm is included and so tasty!

Mekin Organic Farm, Khon Kaen

Mekin Organic Farm, Thailand
The amazing Mekin Organic Farm

Mekin Organic Farm, Khon Kaen

» Wat Chai Sri
A tiny Isan village where you can find an ancient temple with beautiful hand painted stories. It was most likely build before 1917 and remains an important temple for the Thai history. If you decide to visit this rather unique temple, make sure you walk around the village to meet some of the locals. This is a chance to experience the real Thai culture. You will be welcomed with open arms, even if they don’t speak a word of English, it’s worth trying to communicate with them. I received a cotton bracelet which was symbolic for good health and luck, and i’m still wearing it!

Meeting the local children
Meeting the local Isan kids at Wat Chai Sri (throwing up good luck signs)

» Sila Homestay
What a colourful place! Here you can learn how to weave cotton wool around a bamboo structure which makes up a “spiders web” which is used for celebrating events. Sila Homestay is a good stop to drink some traditional Thai juice and stretch your legs, while overlooking the river.

Sila Homestay, Thailand

Where to stay
Your best option is the Pullman Khon Kaen Raja Orchid Hotel in the city center. It’s large and one of the best hotels in the area. The rooms are huge and very comfortable. If you stay longer, you can enjoy the pool, fitness and spa. Book your stay here.


Roi Et
Roi et literally means “hundred and one” and is home to one of the tallest Buddha’s in Thailand. With an impressive 60 meters, it’s definitely worth visiting. Order a Skylab to get you around, It’s transportation similar to a TucTuc, but here the seats are turned towards each other. Roi Et worth visiting when the Bun Pha Wet festival is on, which happens once a year. 

Roi Et, talest Buddha

» Bun Pha Wet Festival
Amazing Thailand
planned our visit at the right time, because once a year there is a festival named Bun Pha Wet. The yearly parade is one of the highlights and I was so lucky enough to join in the fun! Being the only western group of people, everyone wanted to take pictures of us, (so that’s what celebrities feel like ey?) Participants dress up in the most beautiful creations and dance as they make their way past the watching crowd. It was such an honour to be a part of this tradition! At night you can enjoy a light and sound show and free Thai rice noodle booths all over town.



Bun Pha Wet Festival

Bun Pha Wet festival, Isan, Thailand
Photo by The Sand Gypsy

» Phra Maha Chedi Chai Monkol
It’s a name full, and it’s just as impressive as it sounds. I’m talking about the largest Chedi in Thailand. The Chedi is located about 80km away from town. Covered in gold, it stands 101 meters tall, 101 meters wide and was built on a plot measuring 101 Rai, which is about 40 acres. Yes 101 is a lucky number in Roi Et! You can take the elevator all the way up and walk down so you can see the impressive architecture. From the top you can see that the Chedi is located in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by trees and it feels magical. Entrance is only 20 bath.


Drone image by www.leanlivinggirl.com

Phra Maha Chedi Chai Monkol
The stunning Phra Maha Chedi Chai Monkol

Where to stay:
There are not many hotels to choose from, because Roi Et is not used to tourists, yet. I stayed at the Rice Hotel which is basic but good enough to rest your head. Tip: order a Thai massage from town for 400 bath and enjoy the comfort of having the massage in your room. (No happy ending included guys!)


Ubon Ratchathani 
Close to the border of Laos, you will find Ubon Ratchathani. It means Royal Lotus City and is often called Ubon for short. It’s probably the best hidden gem that Thailand has to offer, because here you will find extraordinary national parks, and there is even a canyon.

» Pha Taem National Park
If you’re into history, you are going to love this national park. You will find the “mushroom shaped rocks” that was were produced by years of erosion. But the park is also known for numerous prehistoric cave paintings that date back 3000 – 4000 years ago. I was really impressed by the well kept hand prints and drawings these people made so many years ago. The drawings feature people, animals and their use of Buk fishing. The whole area is rather special and when you walk besides the cliff, it’s pretty amazing to imagine how this area must have looked so many years ago. Entrance is 400 bath for adults and 200 bath for kids. There is a small café where you can get amazing ice-coffees and juices, and you’re probably going to need it!

Mushroom rocks
Is it a mushroom? (yes, that’s me in the middle)

» San Phan Bok
The Grand Canyon of Thailand and a place you cannot miss while visiting this part of the country! The area consist of thousands of holes (San Phan Bok translate to 3000 holes), some filled with rainwater. I couldn’t believe this was also in Thailand! Get your camera ready, because it’s one of the most photogenic area’s you will see. Walk around to find a Mickey Mouse shaped hole. Tip: Bring an umbrella to protect you from the sun, otherwise you will burn alive! Luckily there are many food stands at the arrival point where you can buy fresh coconuts, ice-cream and water.

San Phan Bok, Thailand
Heatwave! Bring an umbrella (photo by Piet Fischer)


Alien-lie San Phan Bok, a true sight. Photo taken by Larissa from BLDV

» Sirindhorn Wararam Phu Prao Temple
Right across the border of Laos, this beautiful temple changes completely when the sun sets and it gets dark. Come here around 5.30pm and wait for the magical moment. If you are a professional photographer, you may want to bring your tripod. Say hello to the pigs that walk around at the temple and love to be cuddled.

Illuminate temple, Thailand
When the sun goes down, the tree and the floor light up

Where to stay
With no question, stay at the Thohsang Khongjiam Resort. This hotel really feels like you’re on holiday. After a day full of exploring, this place is the perfect stopover for a few days. There are villa’s available if you are with a family, but the other rooms are also good. The hotel is located so close Laos, that you can almost touch it. There is a wonderful swimming pool and the massages here are amazing. (yes, I need a massage everyday). Book your stay here.

Yes, Isan is a different kind of Thailand. It’s about the local experience. It’s adventurous and it’s unique. There remains only one question; are you ready to go off the beaten track?

Love,

Elke

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wanderlust Bangkok City Guide

Bangkok, the urban jungle that you must experience once in your lifetime. If you are planning a holiday to Thailand, you’re likely to settle in Bangkok for the first few days. Here are 15 things to see and do in just a small amount of time.

Firstly, we advise you to stay in Bangkok during the beginning of your holiday. Give yourself a few days to beat the jetlag and explore. Once you have visited the beautiful Thai islands, it’s a bit of a shocker to come back to the busy city. This city guide will help you to get most out of your stay in the Thai capital.


Chaotic Bangkok

Where to Eat

There are plenty of places to feed your belly, but if you have just a few days, we can imagine, you do not want to take the risk of  picking a bad restaurant. We’ve selected 6 tasty, Instagramable places to eat!

Surprise, surprise, Bangkok is full of Instagrammable hotspots!

» Unicorn Cafe


It’s as crazy as it sounds, and still extremely popular. It’s located a little bit outside the city center so you need to be a devoted unicorn lover to get there. Because of it’s popularity, they have 2 locations in the same street. You can’t make a reservation so try to visit after lunchtime or in the morning. Feast your eyes on rainbow wallpaper and eat the multi layered unicorn cake (which tasted pretty good actually!) If you want, you can pay extra for a unicorn onesie and have your picture taken. I passed, but still managed to find my inner child! Facebook.com/Unicornbrand

Unicorn Cafe Bangkok
Unicorn Everything at the Unicorn Café

» Matchbox Pinkplanter


Matchbox is a franchise that mainly sells clothes and accessories, but they’ve recently opened up a café on the top floor of one of their shops in Siam. Everything is pink and tropical. Phrases like “You had me at Aloha” or “Love you very matcha”, are written on the walls, next to the large flamenco that you see when you walk in. So what can you order? Cotton candy ice-cream, cloudy bread buns, milkshakes and more. instagram.com/pinkplanter.cafe

» Nara


Like many restaurants in Bangkok, this place is located inside a shopping mall. It looks different from all the others though. Because of the fountain and wooden interior, Nara has a luxury feel to it but the prices are very affordable. I ordered a traditional Pad Thai with shrimps, that is suppose to be in the top 5 best Pad Thai’s in Bangkok. www.naracuisine.com

Matchbox Pinkplanter Bangkok
Instagrammable Matchbox Pinkplanter

Matchbox Pinkplanter, bangkok

» Eat Side Story


This Thai restaurant is situated next to the river Wat Arun. Here you can enjoy traditional Thai dishes whilst overlooking the river of Bangkok. From here you can also take a express boat tour and see why Bangkok was once called the “Venice of the East”. From there you can also visit the famous reclining Buddha. www.eatsightstorydeck.com

» Namsaah Bottling Trust


Perfect for couples or if you’re looking for a fancy night out! The pink building resembles a French boudoir, especially on the inside! It’s located in between the streets of Bangkok and serves high end Thai food with a twist. Tip: Try one of their colourful cocktails! www.namsaah.com

Namsaah Bottling Trust
Like a French boudoir in the middle of Bangkok!

Tip » There are a few dates a year that you can’t drink alcohol in Thailand. The Thai people celebrate Buddha day for example. On this public holiday the whole city doesn’t serve alcohol. Not in hotels or restaurants. Really in need of a beer? The mini bar in your hotel is your best friend. Do not drink in public or you can face a fine of 10.000 bath!

Where to Shop


There are several reasons why you should shop in Bangkok. For one, there are more shopping malls in this Asian city than you will ever see, and two, if you shop the right way, you will find yourself with the best bargains.

» MKB
 Center

This mall is the best for cheap gifts, clothes and electronics. The food court on the top floor has some of the best sushi rolls! If you are staying near the river, you can take a water taxi for just 10 bath and get the local experience. 

» Siam Discovery

Relatively new, this mall is not cheap but it’s very trendy. No surprise that you find the 20 -30 age group shopping here. From cool brands and fashion designers to funky coffee bars and gadgets, you will find it here.

Night Market Bangkok
Nightmarket in Bangkok

» Rot Fai Night Market, Srinakarin

You must check out this night market in Bangkok. Like every night market, it’s chaotic, colourful and vibrant. The Rot Fai market is huge and split into 3 different sections. It’s open from 5pm until midnight from Thurs – Sun. Grab a taxi to get here but always request the cabdriver to turn on his meter!

» Chang Chui Bangkok Plane Market

This market is hip & happening and totally different than all the others. With a plane as the centrepiece of the market, it’s already impressive. You can find art objects, food, crafts beers and one of a kind shirts and accessories. Enjoy Thai and mainstream music performances, while eating burgers or sipping on fruit smoothies. Be one of the cool kids and check out this amazing market! It’s fairy easy to get to by taxi if you stay in the old part of the city.

Chang Chui Bangkok Plane Market
The cool Chang Chui Plane Market (source: Hotels.com)

Where to Stay


If you just had a 12 hour flight, there is nothing better than a luxury hotel, to get you though the first days. Thankfully, Bangkok has quite a few and they don’t always have to cost much.

The breakfast buffet probably has the healthiest options I’ve seen in Bangkok to date

» SO Sofitel Bangkok (luxurious)

One of the best hotels in Bangkok in my opinion. Why? Well, the rooftop swimming pool for one! Oh, and the rooms are super big with the most amazing view over the skyline and green park. The restaurant has 2 restaurants, Red Oven & Park Society, and the breakfast buffet probably has the healthiest options I’ve seen in Bangkok to date. I also had a little peek in the spa and although I didn’t have the time to book a massage here, I can only imagine how good it would be. Rooms start at around 150 euro per night. Book it here!

SO Sofitel, Bangkok
SO Sofitel was like a dream

» Prince Du Port Hotel
 (medium)

The first ever time I stayed in Bangkok, I was given the tip to stay here. What a great place to start from! It’s not as luxurious as the SO Sofitel but this hotel also has a rooftop pool and is located near Koh San Road with only a 20 minute walk. The hotel is located next to the river, so you can take the traditional water transportation which takes you right into the city for just 10 bath! Rooms are available for as little as 25 euro per night. Book it here!

» Dream Hotel (Budget)

It has been rated as one of the best budget hotels in Bangkok by the UK Telegraph. The rooms are described as funky and futuristic, yet comfortable. It it located on Sukhumvit Road and you’ll find all sorts of travelers here. Business, couples and even backpackers. It is clean and has a rooftop pool, which is something you need in Bangkok! Rooms are available for as little at 40 euro per night.


One of the best rooftop pools in Bangkok, SO Sofitel

Where to get the Best Massages

With so many massage places, it’s hard to choose the best one but I’ve tried and tested a few and did some research. These ones stand out and cure that jetlag in no time!

» Water Gate Spa

It took a while for me to find it but it was worth it. It’s a tiny door hidden between the street market and right across from the Platinum Mall. For only 300 bath, you can get a Thai or foot massage and if you pay 500 bath, you get 2 hours! facebook.com/watergatespa

» Grand Massage & Spa in MBK
Right in the busy shopping center MBK, you will find this wonderful massage and spa. A room to shower yourself after the massage (yes, it can get quite oily) grandmassageandspa.com

» SoSpa at SO Sofitel Bangkok
If you’re going to stay here anyways, you should definitely try one of the massages. There are several options and although it’s about the same price you pay overseas, you will feel like a million dollars afterwards. Check it out here.

SO Sofitel Spa Bangkok
A spa with a view.. SO Sofitel

There you have it, plenty of things to do when you’re in Bangkok. Let us know which of our tips you’ve have used by tagging us on Instagram! @wanderlust.nl

Love,

Elke

More Thailand?

6 Reasons To Still Love Thailand

Thailand. Once a tropical and far away destination but nowadays, more than ever, a super touristic country where real adventure and authenticity seem to be disappearing and mass tourism seems to be taking over. Some travelers don’t even bother going to Thailand any more, but for me, even after three times, it is still one of my favorite Southeast Asian countries. Why? I’ll give you 6 reasons why to still love Thailand.

1. The People.
Thailand is known as the land of the smile and even though ginormous amounts of tourists have found their way to the land once known as Siam, the Thai people still remain friendly. Of course you have the general exceptions such as the merchants on Khao San Road who don’t even let you try something before buying it, but the (big!) majority of Thai people I met remain respectful, friendly, humble and do everything with a big smile.

Bangkok, love Thailand
Bangkok

2. The Food.
Okay, this one is a SUPER big cliché, but so true! I tried fresh Spring Rolls in Vietnam, ate Khmer Amok in Cambodia and love a portion of Indonesian Gado Gado, but, let’s be honest, nothing beats a Pad Thai. Thai food is so versatile, so full of flavor and even as a vegetarian you are treated to mouthwatering dishes day after day after day. And yes, food is definitely a reason for me to go to a country and that’s why I love Thailand 😉

3. The convenience.
Traveling around Thailand is easy. Did I say easy? It is super easy! Every hostel has a travel desk and in every town you’ll find heaps of travel agencies. Whether you take the bus, boat, minivan and TukTuk, everything is well planned out and you’ll always arrive on your destination. Flying is sometimes even cheaper than the train or bus (you can, for instance, fly from Bangkok to Krabi for 20 Euros) and vehicles like minivans are often of good quality. Believe me, if you’ve seen what I traveled with in countries like Cambodia you’ll never complain about a Thai minivan again…

Love Thailand
Traveling through Thailand by boat

4. The Islands.
There are so many islands in Thailand that you could easily stay for 2 months, and there is something for everyone. If you like to go partying you go to Koh Phi Phi or Koh Phangan, if you want to relax I’d recommend Koh Lanta (check our tips on Koh Lanta), if you want to get your PADI or want to go snorkeling then Koh Tao is the place to be and if you’re looking for something different then Koh Chang is where you should set sail to. And what all the islands have in common: they are beautiful.

Krabi, Love Thailand

5. The Temples.
What can I say? I love temples, and Thailand has many of them. Some people say that “after you’ve seen one temple you’ve seen them all” but I strongly disagree, especially in Thailand. In Bangkok you can’t miss the reclining Buddha and Wat Arun, whereas in Chiang Mai Doi Suthep is a definite must-go-to. But also walking into the smaller, less well-known temples that aren’t mentioned in travel guides like the lonely planet are worth wandering around.

6. The Sunsets
Yes, there are pretty sunsets everywhere, but the last few I saw during my most recent visit to Thailand were out of this world. Whether you’re in a busy metropole like Bangkok or chilling on an island, Mother Nature will treat you to some of her best sunsets ever. Order a cold Chang, get comfortable and watch the day turn into night.

Sunsets in Krabi Thailand,
Sunsets like no other

I could go on about the weather, the parties, the adventure, how the Thai people speak English and so on but I think I made my point about why I love Thailand: this country is still more than worth visiting. Enjoy! 

Love,

Evelien

*Evelien is one of our guest bloggers who currently travels and lives in Australia. Follow her on Instagram (@eefexplores) or check out her website!

5 reasons to love the world..

Watching the news lately, it might seem a bit grim these days.
But let’s not forget the beauty of this world.
So lift your anchors, sail away from the safe harbour, catch the wind in your sails and go on a journey. Pack your bags, wander, explore and enjoy this world as much as you can.

After all, travel is the only thing you buy, that makes you richer.

Here are 5 reasons to love this world..

1. Because there really is water as blue as this.
IMG_3925
Egremni beach, Greece

2. Because we can pose like this with a view like that.

The Grand Canyon, USA

 3. Because of something called; The Magic Hour
IMG_3745
Perdika, Greece

4. Realising that you’re pretty much the only person on the Island..
DSC00239
Ko Lanta, Thailand (secret beach)

5. Because of winters like these..
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Sunset, The Netherlands

Tell us why you love this world!
Check our bucketlist for more beautiful pictures of the world!

Love,

Elke