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Our Holiday Within a Holiday

Taking a two week break in Fiji for some sun, sand and sea!

sunny 22 °C

After 4 weeks of a campervan in New Zealand we were certainly ready to hit the pause button and relax at our next destination, Fiji. The journey from Auckland was dead easy, it took 3 hours to arrive in Nadi and the flight was good as we got a free meal and watched Zookeeper.

We had booked to stay at the Bamboo Hostel for a few nights in Nadi, and got a free pick up from the airport. Nadi itself is the main starting point in Fiji and is where everyone goes to sail onto the smaller and nicer islands to the North. We spent some time deciding on where to go, as there are about 300 islands that make up Fiji so we wanted somewhere chilled but quite remote to get away from it all. In the end we booked a week at a place called Nabua Lodge, in the Yasawa Islands, which is famous for being one of the most beautiful parts of Fiji.

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On the Friday we set sail from Port Denerau and made the 5 hour catamaran journey to Nacula Island, unfortunately the weather wasn't the best so it didn't look how we'd hoped it would, the clouds were grey and it was drizzling (who knew it even rained in Fiji! haha!) Never the less we checked in at Nabua Lodge and were welcomed with calls of "Bula!", which means hello, from the staff. We had paid for accommodation and all of our meals, so we had lunch and threw our bags down in our little private Bure hut and went out to explore. With the rain getting worse everybody ended up congregating in the common room, until at 4pm the staff called out for volleyball (a daily ritual there lol) and we played while getting soaked, great fun!

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That evening after a well-earned shower, we enjoyed a curry-themed meal and played silly drunken games with the rest of the group. This included the cereal box game which a Scottish couple came up with, where you had to pick up a cereal box with your teeth without using your hands. It sounds easy, but it wasn't, particularly for Phil and the other tall ones who struggled to get down with the box getting smaller and smaller. Kayleigh as you can imagine, did amazing well, getting all the way to the end when you had to pick up a tiny cocktail stick. Impressive!

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Breakfast was served at 8 o'clock every day, so we were up early to enjoy that. We were quite lucky with our timing on the island as the locals were all excited for the annual Yasawa Rugby tournament, where all of the islands compete to be the best. We took a short boat trip across to another island and the whole community was out in force supporting their team and having fun in the sun. Everybody was so friendly and welcoming, it was great to be there and enjoy the rugby (luckily the weather had improved alot too!)

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Later that day we got the boat back to our island and the whole place looked totally different, the water was a gorgeous turquoise-blue, the beach looked perfect and the sun was shining, we went straight for a dip in the sea and sunbathed, bliss. In the evening the staff cooked using a lovo (earth oven) and put on a lovely Fijian buffet with fish, chicken, pork and different traditional vegetables - it was really tasty. Afterwards everyone gathered round to watch England defeat France in the Rugby World Cup, unfortunately we played crap and got beat, so the less said about that the better.

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The weather turned once again the next day, and it was pouring it down literally the whole day through. Unfortunately on a remote Fiji island when it rains, there isn't much to do but play cards and relax inside, so that's what we did. Although we had booked to stay at the same place for 7 nights, most other people had booked using Combo Passes, which meant they stayed a few nights at one place then moved on to other places (which was more expensive). This was really good for us as we got to meet loads of people, from everywhere from the UK to Sweden to Germany to Canada to Australia to Denmark, an eclectic mix!

Each evening the staff would let all the new arrivals introduce themselves, and we ended up playing different singing and dancing games for free beers. Seriously, one night we had to sing 'God Save the Queen' with a few other English people lol!

On the Tuesday we booked a trip to the Blue Lagoon, the location for the Brooke Shields film from the 80s. The weather was perfect and we enjoyed snorkelling in the crystal-clear, shallow waters, where fishing is banned so there were plenty of colourful fish to get close to.

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In the afternoon we were back at Nabua Lodge on hammocks in the sun, exactly what we wanted from our trip to Fiji! We took a break only to take a short walk to the tea shop down the beach, where a local guy baked the tastiest banana and chocolate cake and served it with cups of tea, awesome!

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A couple of our other highlights at Nabua included walking up a nearby hill to check out the sunset, which was incredibly colourful, a truly unique sunset.

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We also had fun on 'BBQ night', when the staff put on a lovely feast and finished it off with a Kava ceremony. This is where everyone sits in a circle chatting, playing and listening to music while a drink is passed around for everyone to try. Kava itself is made from a root plant and is a mild anesthetic so it makes your lips tingle when you drink it, and it also helps you sleep lol! We thought it tasted like muddy water, but it was worth a try as its a Fijian tradition.

For the rest of the time we made the most of the weather and relaxed on the beach, topping up our tans. We returned to the main island at Nadi for a few days before heading onto Los Angeles on the Tuesday, or so we thought!

When we arrived at the airport our flight had been cancelled, doh! We got to the check-in desk and the airline gave us vouchers to cover transfers, accommodation and meals, we were one of the fortunate bunch to be put up at the 5-star Sofitel resort. We were greeted with welcome drinks, cold towels and a rustic Italian buffet (including all you can eat desert, whoop!) Our room was the bit of luxury we had missed (it had two double beds!), it was just a shame we only had 5 hours to sleep before getting up at 4am to go back to the airport.

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Unfortunately, after checking in and boarding the plane, guess what??? We were told we had to all disembark the plane, as we had been delayed another 7 hours, so everybody cramped back into the small terminal and waited. By the time we finally boarded the plane we were exhausted, but at least we were on our way to the US.

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10 hours later we touched down at LAX, and so our US adventure had begun by losing a day, never mind, we've still got plenty of time to make it up.

We'll update you when we can, wishing you all well from across the pond. :-)

Love Phil & Kayleigh

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Posted by JoyRyderRTW 20:06 Archived in USA Tagged auckland beach fiji new_zealand nadi volleyball catamaran joyryderrtw yasawas nacula_island nabua_lodge Comments (2)

Island hopping in the South of Thailand

Having the best time in Phuket, Krabi, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan

overcast 35 °C

We've had a lovely couple of weeks chilling out and relaxing on various beaches in Southern Thailand, so here's an update of where we've been since the end of May....

From the Vietnam capital we took a quick flight to Bangkok and then another onto Phuket on the South Western coast of Thailand. It only took a short 45 minute taxi ride from the airport to reach Patong Bay, one of the main populated areas of the Island. We were staying at Square One, a cheap but nice hotel at the end of the main strip. On arriving we did the usual, dump the bags and go out exploring!

Patong had a lovely long beach with all the main bars and restaurants stretched out along the sea front. It was much more touristy than recent places we had visited, but it was actually a nice change as it felt like being away on holiday for real. We were chuffed to go into an Irish bar called Molly Malone's and have Magners, as we haven't seen Cider anywhere since leaving the UK. Result! :-)

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We ended up staying in Phuket for 5 nights, with most of the days being spent on the beach as the weather was gorgeous and we just had to top up our tans (of course, we both got burnt on the first of those days!) One of the highlights of Phuket was when we went to the Jungceylon Shopping Centre for the day, a huge, modern and air-conditioned complex with shops of all kinds and more importantly, a cinema. As the Hangover 2 had just come out, we couldn't resist going to see it! The whole experience was totally different to at home, we had to stand for the Thai national anthem before the film, the cinema was completely spotless and they even sold BBQ flavoured popcorn! Oh, and the film was pretty damn good too!

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With so many bars and clubs in Patong, a proper night out was always on the cards. Phuket is famous for not having many (if any) boundaries when it comes to the whole lady-boy / cabaret scene, so when we headed out we were pretty taken back by what we saw, although Phil was A LOT more scared than Kayleigh! We're talking pole dancers in most of the bars, and the ones who had had more money spent on them stripping completely naked and showing off what they had, or no longer had should we say!

The best part of the night out in Patong was going to Seduction, an awesome nightclub with 3 different rooms with different music in each. Needless to say, we ended up getting nice and drunk and dancing the night away until about 4am!

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After nearly a week in Phuket we decided to go to Krabi next, which is on the coast of Thailand as opposed to being an island on its own. A quick 4 hour bus journey was all it took, but unfortunately we ended up being dropped off in the middle of nowhere and had to get a taxi then motos to our resort at Klong Muang beach.

We chose to stay at Koh Kwang Resort as it was literally the complete opposite of Phuket, much more remote and laid-back. We had a nice little bungalow to stay in, and got to spend some quality time on the most deserted beach we've come across so far. That being said, the whole beach was crawling with crabs who were scurrying around climbing into tiny holes in the sand, very funny to watch.

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During our stay in Krabi we met a lovely Irish couple, Rob and Jody, who were the only other people at our resort. They showed us the way to nearby Ao Nang on bikes, and we also went to Krabi Town to check out the local night markets with all 4 of us trying some interesting local foods (some of it good, some of it pretty bad – in particular, pancakes with sausage, cheese and some sort of fruit filling – yuk!)

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The drive to Krabi Town had the most amazing scenery, with massive rock formations and even Elephants relaxing under trees on the roadside. Check out the video to take a ride with us....

On the night of England playing Switzerland at Wembley, we all headed to the best local restaurant we had been to and stayed until about 4am watching the game. We got through a case full of large Chang beers, and were all nicely wasted by the end, even the owner, Lou, got involved and we had an amazing night.

Next up we decided to head for Koh Tao, a small island at just 21 km in the Gulf of Thailand. We left Krabi at 6:30am and then after a taxi, a bus ride and two ferries later we finally reached Koh Tao and headed for our Asia Divers resort. It was a lovely place with an incredible pool. We inquired about doing our Open Water course while we were there but were advised not to with Kayleigh not having a medical note (damn asthma). Another time though.

Altogether we spent 6 nights in Koh Tao, 3 at Asia Divers and another 3 in a bungalow closer to the beach that was a bit cheaper. How did we spend our time here?? On the beach of course! Koh Tao beach was lush, with a long stretch of sand and warm shallow, beautiful blue sea for you to cool down in from the blistering heat. The night life was pretty good to, although we spent most of our evenings relaxing with a few drinks, having BBQ's and watching pirate films showing on big screens. It's a tough life we know!

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On our 3rd night here we were lucky enough to run in to 'Ali the Pancake Man' who served us up the most amazing banana and chocolate pancakes. Soooo good. He's pretty famous to, check out this link on YouTube here. And this is him taking it slow.

We also decided to indulge a little while we were here and treat ourselves to a Thai massaaaaage. It was an experience to say the least, Kayleigh found it quite good but from Phil's facial expressions and winces throughout I doubt we will be rushing for another one any time soon. HA. The more Phil winced the more further she pushed him into some very awkward positions and giggled while doing so. Lol.

After the six nights we were ready to leave for Koh Phangan, already anticipating the upcoming Full Moon Party. We had booked 5 nights at the incredible Dew Shore Bungalows in Ban Thai, which upon arriving pictures really did not do the resort justice. Upgraded on arrival to a swish bungalow with a pool view we were loving it. In the lead up to the Full Moon we continued to take it easy sunbathing by the pool, going for a swim, enjoying tasty food – you know, all the good stuff.

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The day before the party we decided to rent a bike again and go for a ride up to Haad Rin to have a look around. The journey there was a bit of an effort, trying to make it up some very steep hills on a lil' scooter holding the two of us was something else. As expected it was a lot busier and more commercialised than Baan Thai but it definitely tantilized the taste buds for the next night.

And then, the night was upon us. Looking forward to the full night of partying ahead of us we left our resort around 9:30pm, flagged a taxi and we were on our way. Neon paint? Check. Vodka bucket? Check. Whiskey Bucket? Check. And we are on our way, we had a frikkin awesome night! The first few hours we were loving it dancing in Drop In bar and Cactus bar, watching the fire dancers, singing at the the top of our voices to anthems and then munching on pizza and chicken pittas, we had blinked and it was 4:00am. Where had that time gone? Usually at home it would be time to go home. But no, dust yourself off and keep on going!!!!

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We just had to upload a video of us at the party, so here is us loving it when Operation Blade came on in Drop In Bar. Be warned, we're extremely drunk by now!!

After more drinks and dancing the sun started to come up, we were loving every second. It wasn't until around 7:30am that we got back to our bungalow, buzzing from an outstanding night (and morning) out.

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Phew, that was quite a lot for us to cover! We are now taking it easy in Koh Phangan for another few days before deciding our route through Malaysia. We'll keep you posted on our whereabouts when we next get chance.

Speak soon,

Kayleigh & Phil

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Posted by JoyRyderRTW 22:55 Archived in Thailand Tagged beach thailand krabi phuket full_moon koh_tao patong koh_phangan full_moon_party seduction hangover_2 klong_muang koh_kwang krabi_town Comments (0)

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