MOST Beautiful Thailand Beaches You CAN’T Miss| Rutele

Thailand, Thailand, Thailand…what a stunning country with even more stunning beaches.

Months before my trip I spent numerous hours carefully crafting what I wanted to see and do in Thailand. Little did I think of actually double checking the weather patterns and making sure that I will be able to actually go forth with that list. Once arriving to Phuket, which was my main hub, I quickly realized that my list of beaches to visit is going to be severely cut down due to it being off season. Now technically off season is August to October but this can start as early as May and can continue into November and December. These months are the “wettest/stormiest” out of the year therefore the tourism slows down (most people want to avoid this) and many boats stop their routes for those months completely. This was exactly what caused me to shorten my list. Some of the islands that I wanted to see were physically unreachable which was quite the bummer.

I was forced to reroute my plans and to rework my list. Here are the beaches that I eventually chose to visit and my thoughts and opinions on them.

*I honestly suggest seeing them all since mostly all of them are iconic, but I want to be honest and craft a fair expectation for you so that you won’t be as shocked as I was. Many bloggers edit the hell out of pictures and paint this idealistic image of what the place is supposed to look like while leaving out the behind the scenes footage if you may. I want to patch that missing gap.

NAIHARN BEACH

To my surprise this is basically the main beach in Phuket instead of Rawai Beach, which is technically just a port of some sorts. When driving by there wasn’t much sand, just a whole bunch of boats tied to the shore.

Naiharn beach is clean, quiet and dare I say perfect. Now I can’t guarantee that this is how the beach is on an every day basis, but it was so calm and empty when I went there. It is situated between some rock formations which makes it quite picturesque, which is always a bonus. Near by there are a couple of restaurants and bars from which you can buy some drinks.

This day was absolute perfection. It was the first day that my friends joined me and that alone made me happy but really there were so many other factors that joined in. It was the way the beer hit me. It was the way the sun warmed my skin. It was the way the waves were just big enough to crash against you and make you laugh like there was no tomorrow. The mix of all of these things felt so euphoric.

If you are in the area, do not miss this jewel.

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KOH PHI PHI & VIEWPOINT

Let’s be real. If you have heard of Thailand, you have heard of Koh Phi Phi and if you haven’t, get out from under that rock and go visit.

To get to this island from Rawai beach you have to drive to Rassada Pier which takes about an hour. From here you take a ferry to Tonsai Pier which takes approximately two hours. The way is quite scenic so if you’re not going to be sleeping I would suggest keeping your camera nearby.

The Koh Phi Phi island is actually fairly new and by that I mean the physical infrastructure was rebuilt basically from the ground up after the 2004 tsunami. The actual land and geography seems to be untouched and beautiful as ever.

As you can see Koh Phi Phi is everything it is hyped up to be. It looks like a dream and I understand why it’s a huge hit on postcards…

The island itself is not only gorgeous but also fun. It is actually quite well known for the lively night life and music scene. They main strip of the island is full of restaurants and bars which come alive after dark and the variety is pretty intense. You have beach parties, college like bars, clubs, and sports bars.

I spent some time at a college bar where my friend and I had buckets of liquor for literally a couple dollars a piece.

We played some pool, beer pong and moved on to something that was actually recommended to me. If you’re reading this, a huge thanks goes out to you.

Welcome to Raggae Bar…aka the Kick Boxing Bar. This experience was exciting. I am not a huge violence lover but this sparked my interest really quickly and I loved every second of it. If you visit Koh Phi Phi, you must also visit this bar. They even let tourists kick box each other for free buckets and that my friend is hilarious. Below is a little video of the action that went down the night I was there. It’s pretty intense (you have been warned).

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Another must see while on this island is the viewpoint. This is a fairly quick twenty minute hike up some steps and a little path. I am not going to lie it may kick your ass, but the view from there is stunning, breathtaking, heart stopping and absolutely worth it. I would suggest going early in the morning to avoid other people and the heat.

MAYA BAY

This beach is the place that I was extremely disappointed in. Talking to numerous people about going to Koh Phi Phi always involved talking about Maya Bay. Everyone always said you must go here, it’s stunning. While I will admit this is for sure a must see, I was not completely floored like I was by other places and I guess that is my fault by assuming that every place would make me feel that way. I had a blast taking the long tail here and my mood was extremely awesome until I was greeted by waves of trash by the shore. Let’s not kid here, there a lot of things that piss me off but trash is probably the number one on that list. If you’re a tourist and you’re reading this, please get your act together and stop leaving places so dirty. We need to love and respect the land we step on and the oceans we swim in. There are plenty of trash cans around so don’t be lazy.

The beach is pretty rocky so be careful when walking around. If you have more than a few hours here I would suggest checking out the rocks. They have these cave like formations from the tide coming in and out that are really cool.

If you stay there for the whole day the long tail will take you back before the sun sets which was absolutely my favorite part because you get to see the sunset from the boat and that is quite a feast for the eyes.

RAILAY BEACH

This beach was the solution when one of my initial choices turned out to be unreachable and let’s just say I was not upset by it. I actually really enjoyed this place (besides the tail boat ride to there in which I, along with all of my stuff, were drenched by the rain and the waves). This is a very quiet and romantic destination. If you are a solo traveler…not sure if I would recommend it because not everyone can handle the loneliness. There just isn’t enough much to do besides the beach, eating and getting massages. Wait…that sounds pretty heavenly. If you like having some quiet and some peace, this is your perfect destination. The beach is serene, not rocky and totally swimmable. The sunsets here are grand as well which is always a nice bonus.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS

I really enjoyed my time in Thailand and especially my time on the beaches. Even though some places fell short of my expectations, I left feeling extremely loved on by the sunshine and the sea. Like I mentioned before, I do suggest seeing all of these places but keep in mind that you are a human and not a social media super star…you will be seeing this for yourself without a filter on and it may be different than you expected. If you keep that wall down you will enjoy every location a million times more.

Here is a video of the beaches incase you want to see them in action, sometimes pictures just don’t do a place justice.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

 

XOXO, Rutele.

 

Khao Sok National Park, Thailand | Rutele

If you love the great outdoors, this is an absolute must for you. When deciding where to go while in Thailand I was very drawn to it’s nature. I thrive in minimally developed areas where I can stay in a little hut but still be able to enjoy the wonders of this earth in a very pure way. This honestly served both so perfectly. There is a little town surrounding the national park, but the jungle, the lakes and the rivers are completely untouched by man. The whole community that lives near by was raised in this jungle so they feel very connected to it and very protective of it. Generations upon generations grew up here and learned from their elders everything there is to learn about the area.

BACKGROUND:

Khao Sok is Thailands 22nd national park which was established in the 1980’s. On an average year, this part of Thailand gets about 3,500 mm of rain, with the heaviest rains happening from May to November. December to April is technically “dry season” but rain can be expected then as well. This is one of the oldest rainforest in the world and has had unchanged equatorial position throughout the last 160 million years.

Khao Sok consists of:

  • 40% foothill rainforest
  • 27% rainforest plains
  • 15% limestone crag vegetation
  • 15% lowland scrub
  • 3% rainforest at 600-1000m

If you want more information on the park, visit here.

HOW I GOT HERE/ HOW TO GET HERE:

It was quite a treck getting to the actual place. From Chiang Mai I flew into Surat Thani, which is the closest airport to the actual park. From the airport I had two options, take a taxi for 1600 Baht or take the bus for about 400 Baht. I knew the bus would take longer than the taxi but it saved me a lot of money so I went with the bus route. The big bus took me into town where I had to get into a small minivan. Turns out this was the case because the heavy rain causes landslides and big busses could not get up the mountain. This all seemed fine until the driver kept stopping, waiting around for more people, dropping people off, waiting for more people and so on. The whole ride was supposed to be about an hour but it took about three. It would have been fine if I was notified on what the schedule looked like instead of sitting on the side of the road with no idea on what is actually happening. This was the only time where I had to actually follow a schedule so I was getting really annoyed by the fact that we kept stopping and waiting around.

Eventually, we made it to the park. There were a couple of stops along the way for the park and thankfully there was a girl on the bus that knew the route and helped us pick our drop off spots. Basically there are two stops, the dam and the bus stop. Check on a map to see which one your hotel is closer to and get off there. You will have to walk some but the distances aren’t crazy if you get off at the right stop. My honest recommendation is to get a taxi, which usually will gather a group of 4 for you, so you will be splitting the fare anyways. This will be faster, and the car will actually take you to your hotel.

After walking for about 10 minutes, in the rain…again…I finally arrived. I ended up booking a two night, three day stay at Royal Cliff Resort. This was a resort situated right by the cliffs, hence the name, and it consisted of little houses which were so cute and fairly nicely accommodated. I had my own queen bed and a bathroom. The bed was comfortable and the AC actually kept the room extremely cold. Coffee, tea, water and WIFI were all complimentary, YAY. The only negative for me was the fact that I am 100% positive that I shared the room with rats…when in Thailand I guess.

This will humble me. This will humble me. This will humble me. (The repetition of that helped me sleep at night LOL)

WHAT I DID:

As soon as I arrived, they checked me in, gave me some time to change and freshen up. The kitchen made me a nice breakfast and I was off for the day. My driver took me to see a waterfall, the gorge and then we went to feed some monkeys. Most of them were pretty aggressive which was expected, but there was a momma with a baby attached to her front and I was amazed by her gentleness. She took peanut after peanut while basically holding my hand. It melted my heart.

After that I went to kayak on the river and by kayak I mean I sit in a kayak while someone else rowed for me…the current was pretty intense and there is no way a non local could handle that. DCIM100GOPROGOPR0263.JPG

Keep in mind that this day all activities were done in the pouring rain. I enjoyed seeing all of the sites but at the end of the day I was wet, cold, miserable and ready to take a hot, steamy shower. Khao Sok get 3,500 mm of rain every year so if you do go, brace yourself for being wet, almost the whole time. Yes it can get annoying but everything is so lush and green in return. It’s a give and take.

The following day I had no idea what I had actually gotten myself into…apparently I signed up for a full day jungle trek which sounded super cool…until I found out it was a six hour expedition…it was three hours up and three hours down. Somehow I ended up getting a private tour guide so it was like a little date! He was extremely knowledgeable, super helpful and very giggly when I did Rutaesque things such as slip and fall.

On the way up we explored and discussed the different trees, animals, and insects. We stopped at a waterfall and after the three hour hike we took a little breather, had some lunch and relaxed for a bit.

The way down was much quicker and easier. I basically knew how to climb, where to step and where to go in general.

I am only able to provide pictures from this whole experience because honestly it was difficult to survive without trying to film. I love nature so much and I really wanted to embrace the experience and fully submerge myself within it. Even when I was paying completely attention I managed to slip and fall soooo you know it could have been worse. I did manage to get some really neat pictures of the actual jungle and how beautifully untouched it is.

Being in the midst of this surrounded by trees, vines, animals, insects and the sky was so surreal to me. How often do you really get to submerge yourself into nature? How often do you get to be one with pureness? How often do you get the chance to feel like you’re part of something greater than yourself? How often do you get to challenge yourself physically by going off the beaten path?

The trek really served a huge purpose in my life. I am not only proud of myself for accomplishing this, but I feel so much more connected to nature. I now know first hand how difficult it can be and how much it provides for all living creatures, including humans.

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That night I was spoiled with a Thai massage, which was really neat. It was my first one so I had no idea what to really expect. I cannot say that it is relaxing but it really does what it is supposed to. They really make sure to get your whole body, and use their whole body to achieve that. They even massage your inner thighs…I had no idea that area needed loving until this very moment. The whole ordeal also involves a lot of cracking and stretching. Overall it is a painful and pleasant experience. “It hurts so goooood” is what I would use to describe it.

MY THOUGHTS:

There are some things that I wish I did that were not included in my package but I throughly enjoyed myself here. The nature is mind blowing, the people are kind, and the memories I made will be cherished forever. I honestly do suggest booking a package like I did, it saves a lot of time planning and a lot of time searching out the best deals. You know what your day will consist of and you can plan around it. The jungle trek is a must, and the guide is also a must. There are certain points you cannot cross without one and having the knowledge the locals have is necessary. You also get to actually learn about the fauna, the animals, the insects and really the culture of the town. Instead of the kayaking the river I would suggest heading over to the lake/dam area which is what I did not get to do. All in all, this is one of my favorite places that I have been during my travels. Even though some things went horribly wrong, like falling and being eaten by leeches, I am beyond humbled that I got to participate in it all. This is absolutely something that a nature fan should be a part of.

 

XOXO, Rutele.

 

Singapore: Marina Bay Sands/Infinity Pool, Gardens by the Bay & Singapore Flyer | Rutele

I can whole heartedly say that Singapore stole my heart from the moment that I stepped out of the plane.

The airport was extravagant and spot less (it seriously looks like a top notch mall). Everyone was so sweet and professional, which was a nice breather from what Thailand’s tourism looks like. Most importantly, the streets were CLEAN and full of greenery. It gave me a similar feeling that Central Park did the first time I visited it. Something about feeling like you are in a forrest while actually being in the middle of a city is breathtaking.

Basically my friends and I decided to go to Singapore solely for the Infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands (doing it for the gram LOL). If you are unaware of what this is or looks like..check out the 360° view. It is absolutely incredible. The hotel itself is a very well known for the cruise ship structure on top of the three towers and it is a sight to see, even if you are not staying there. This hotel is absolutely incredible on every aspect and if you can afford it, I would highly recommend it. It is by far the nicest place that I have ever stayed at and trust me, my bank account would agree.

 

We ended up booking the “cheapest” room for about $400 a night and on arrival they bumped us up to a suite on the 31st floor. It turns out that if you are a first time visitor and if they have the availability, they like to enhance your experience and we got lucky!

What to Expect:

  • The room maximum is 3 people (getting an extra person in is hard but doable, anything more than that would be impossible).
  • You need a key card for elevators, sky deck, infinity pool.
  • Card needs to be scanned for entrance and exit (yes, the card keeps track).
  • Everything is expensive.

Can you sneak into the infinity pool?

As much as I would want to say yes..in 2017 that is basically IMPOSSIBLE. I read up on this before arriving to Singapore and every article made it seem like one way or another, you will be able to sneak in, but I think everyone who did that visited years ago. In order to keep the pool area less crowded they have taken major steps in securing that only guests can enter. Even with having 3 key cards, sneaking me in (the 4th person) was a hassle and we almost got caught. We logically assumed that if we got three people up to the pool and then one came down with two keys cards it would all go smoothly. This was before we realized that the key cards actually keep track of the in and out scanning. So when you go up with the 4th person, one of the cards will malfunction. Thankfully this card ended up in the hands of my friend, whose name the room was under, so they called the front desk and confirmed her name and that was that. They did tell her that if the card malfunctions again…they will have to replace it. Also if you have no key card when trying to leave (we tried two excuses: lost the key card and my roommate took it back to the room on accident) they will either have the lifeguards find it or the key card needs to be brought up to you. Even when it was pouring, they made every single person check out with the key cards. I am sure if you can’t come up with a card they will fine you for sneaking up there.

The only way that I would say you can “sneak in” is meeting someone down in the lobby who is willing to give you their spare card, which basically means finding a single male who is willing to help you. Otherwise even if you find a lie to use to sneak in, you will not be able to sneak out.

My Thoughts on the Infinity Pool:

This was literally a dream come true. I honestly spent countless hours googling the pool and imagining what it would feel like being there and it was even better than I thought it would be. I really enjoyed the fact that it was not extremely crowded when we went, which has a lot to do with it being off season. They have a no kids section too which is always a win win! The drinks are delicious (pina coladas all day long), expensive but worth it.

While we were in the pool it started pouring and it was extremely heavy rain which probably forced a lot of people to think that it will not let up, so they left the pool area completely. It took about 30 minutes but the rain did stop eventually and they ended up reopening it. The perk? The pool was now basically empty. My friend and I snagged some awesome lounge seats right on the edge of the water, got to swim around and enjoy the sunset without many people around. It honestly was so heavenly. The absolute best part?? The night time view is even better.

Being at this pool and getting to overlook the city was one of those moments in my life where I just felt the electricity running through my veins and I felt euphoric. Maybe it was the drinks, maybe it was the company or maybe it was the fact that nothing else mattered but that moment in time. It was a beautiful moment and one for the books for sure.

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What Else to do in Singapore?

I was only there for two days and one night so obviously my time was very limited and I had to be smart about what I wanted to do. The pool was the main goal and everything after that was just another perk. So I took into consideration what our driver said. The Gardens By The Bay was a must and so was the ferris wheel, which is exactly what I ended up doing that night. The ferris wheel is about a 30 minute slow ride, which allows you to observe the city from every angle. I did enjoy that but what really blew my mind was the gardens…I saw them from my room but during night time they are a whole different ballgame. The trees are enormous and lit up in blue. It’s hard to describe the atmosphere and one has to experience that themselves in order to understand. My heart skipped a few beats, let’s just say that. I think Singapore overall is a very romantic place and would be perfect with a significant other. One of the trees hosts a sky bar where you can once again enjoy a 360° view of the city. One floor down you can actually eat a nice dinner. We just went up to the top to have a few drinks and to soak up the views.

The next day we had to check out around noon, but our flight wasn’t till 4PM so we got to walk around the Gardens during day time. It felt completely different (which blew my mind) but enjoyable nonetheless. When it is light outside you can enjoy the detail within each tree and actually learn about them. There are 18 “supertrees” that are home to 162,900 plants and over 200 species. They host tropical flowering climbers, epiphytes and ferns. While during day time these trees provide shade, they also have photovoltaic cells which harvest solar energy that is used to light them up during night time. During the day you can also walk the “bar” for panoramic views which provided a whole new perspective of the city.

Overall, I am obsessed with Singapore and would for sure come back again and again to just relax and enjoy a city that really cares about the environment. I only got to see the most famous monuments but I would also really love to dive deep into the culture and see what life is like on a daily basis by traveling away from the actual city.

If you want to see some live shots of the places, here is a summation in a video! Hope you enjoy it.

XOXO, Rutele.