A long weekend in Phuket

I have to say: I LOVED Phuket. We were lucky to visit this wonderful -but touristy- place during low season, and we enjoyed it so much!

Phuket is a great city to visit offshore islands with clear blue water, have seafood and relax. You also have fun and beautiful sightseeing activities too!

Where to stay

A highlight of Phuket is its accomodation: you can find very cheap rooms that are actually nice, clean and charming.

We wanted to stay in two different areas to get to know Phuket better during the five days of our trip. We chose to stay the first couple of days in Phuket Town and the rest of our stay in Karon Beach.

Our choices to spend our night were Besavana and OneLoft, both clean, nice and modern style hotels. We were lucky to have found a discount on both rooms for being Genius in Booking, which was awesome!

Picture from Onelofthotel.com . Modern, fresh and a very clean hotel with a nice design.

Both hotels had nice little swimmingpool, and a delicious BIG breakfast was included in OneLoft. We ate there more than a couple times – apart from the breakfasts- because ingredients seemed fresh and food quality was great. Needless to say, affordable for our weekend budget.

The Besavana Phuket’s swimmingpool. You can check more photos on their website!

What to do in Phuket?

Marc and I aren’t really the beachbum types so, even though the main reason to go to Phuket is usually to hang out around the beach…we love to keep on moving.

Of course, there are tons of activities which involve movmente to do on the beach, but we love exploring. Here are some of the nice and awesome things you can do in Phuket.

  1. Phuket Town

Charming european style streets and architecture. A stroll around this part of Phuket and you are able to see so many different styles in the buildings. This town has Sino-Portuguese influence since it was a trading province, making Phuket town a unique area in this island.

Admiring the cool small buildings full of colors.

Although the Town is a bit small, it is very beautiful so, Marc and I explored every bit of it. You will see some Chinese and Buddhist temples, impressive street art and cool little local shops.

Touring around this neighborhood might take 30 minutes at most, but if you really enjoy contemplating buildings and streets, you will not be disappointed.

One of the masterpieces you can spot walking around Phuket Town

Also, it has a very different charm when the sun is gone. Dusk was around 6 or 7 p.m. and this part of town was full of life and people moving around.

There are some trendy cafés, fine restaurants in the area – although a bit pricey- and street food as well. You can find the street market too.

Never without my coffee….

And of course…. I forgot about my diet this weekend and only had cheat meals. I mean, who could resist these cookies?

This place wasn’t on TripAdvisor (Yep, Marc is an active user and needs to check places up first…) and we found it totally by choice…OMG you need to go and give in to your whim.

2. Wat Chalong

The largest and the most popular temple in Phuket is Wat Chalong. This temple is the most visited in the island as well, since locals and many Thai tourist come to pray here as well.

If you are wondering how to get there, you can get a Blue Bus (Song Taew) from the central market in Phuket town. It costs around 30 baht and it takes around 30 minutes to get to you destination. It also travels to the beaches.

One of the pagodas in Wat Chalong

Wat Chalong is dedicated to two respected and venerable monks who had a strong role leading Thai people to fight against the Chinese rebelion in 1876. That is why it is an important symbol in the island.

If you are on a tight schdule, it would be benefitial to know that the temple is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. And, the best part, you can see this beauty for free!

The temple is open for donations and many people participate. The only thing you have to pay is the ride there.

Find a beautiful sight everywhere you go

You will enjoy every single bit of this temple. Having a look at the locals praying habits and customs are also a good way to get into the Thai culture.

Entering the pagodas will give you a chance to see some nice Buddhas and other typical decorations. If you have a chance to head to the highest one, you will love to discover a nice view from above, surrounded by nature.

View from above in Wat Chalong.

3. The Big Buddha

Very close from the Wat Chalong, you can find the Big Buddha on a hill. A big marble statue of about 45 meters tall, beautiful nature and panoramic view of the island for free. You can also contribute to the donations.

It is open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, so you can easily pass by when you are finished at Wat Chalong as Marc and I did.

Picture from Todo Tailandia, a great blog based on travels in Thailand.

You can walk up the hill, but depending on the time of the day it might get very hot under the burning sun. We chose to go by grab and we walked our way down when we were finished.

For Wat Chalong and Big Buddha, remember to wear the right clothing (shoulders and knees covered). In case you forgot, no worries, they will give you a sharong or a scarf.

The highlight of this attraction for me is definetly the views. Even though it can be impressive seeing the huge marble-covered Buddha, nature will always be the center of my attention.

One of the beautiful views from above

And I also recommend to walk down the hill. It doesn’t take much time off you and you will still see some green spots and nature views.

The road is not very safe though, try to stay off it and walk safety on the side. It will take about 20 minutes to get down.

Once you are down, if you don’t have means of transport, call a grab. It can be difficult to find a blue bus there.

A bit cloudy for us, but still stunning.

4. Karon Beach

Important! If you don’t want to end up at the dirty beaches that everyone talks about, simply don’t go to Patong Beach.

Karon beach is where our other hotel OneLoft was. It is a very touristy but nice area. Again, we were lucky it was low season and not many toursit were around, having the beach for ourselves and not encountering any party mess at the beach. However, it is the third longest beach in the island and usually less crowded than Kata or Patong beach.

Easy-life time, lay down, read a book with the sound of the waves, go for a swim, find a snorkelling place… so many options!

5. Visit one of the other islands nearby

On our journey, we decided to spend a day in another island accesible by speedboat. We wanted to visit Ko Tapu – or also known as James Bond Island- and the Phi Phi Islands, but didn’t have enough time for both trips.

We decided to hire a tour to PhiPhi Island, which cost around 1500 baht and included lunch and snorkelling.

Phi Phi island

We thought the islands and surroundings were lovely, but we dind’t enjoy the tour all that much. Timings were short and there was a lot of boat time. We toured around many islands before getting to the Phi Phi Islands and ended up staying there only for an hour and thrity minutes!

We had to go to the buffet to have some lunch and then ended up with 30 minutes to check out the Island and have a swim or water we wanted to do there.

Stressed trying to finish up our food -specially when Marc need a lot to fill up his belly- we finally finished and walked around the island. We knew we weren’t going to have time to take a swim and explore, so we chose exploring.

Phi Phi Island

The tour also took us to some small islands on it’s way to Phi Phi, but were very small for all the people that was attending this and other tours. Despite everything, we stayed here and hour.

We couldn’t even have a coffee or a coconut because prices were crazy expensive here!

I will say that views were stunning and got some great shots at this little island.

Best cafés in Chiang Mai for Digital Nomads

If you are a coffee lover like I am and really enjoy visiting cafés during your travels, you might find this post very helpful.

In Chiang Mai I was working at a school, but my boyfriend was (and still is) a digital nomad, so he needs nices cafés with cheap and good coffee, reliable wifi connection and plugs.

Cafés in Chiang Mai had the wifi part pretty much covered, and finding reliable Internet was never a issue. We lived in Santitham, so most of the cafés he visited were around this area, but we also loved visiting Old town and Nimman for good coffee and cool hispter places.

1. Aom Coffee House

Located in Santitham, this a cosy peaceful coffee shop with yummy vegan brownies and delicious coffee. My typical breakfast there was green tea with milk and peanut butter and blueberry jam…

Wifi is superfast and there are two or three tables with plugs downstairs and the same number of them upstairs. The only problem is that they are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. more or less, so if you are planning on working till late this could be an issue.

2. Ab’Petite Cafe

If you are in Santitham and you need a coffee shop to work from around this area but that stays open the entire evening, you can go to Ab’Petite. They are open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. but are closed on Tuesday.

Several plugs and good wifi, many drinking options and mouth-watering food. It is a bit more pricey than Aom, but lighting is better. Air-con is usually really high and you might get a bit chilly.

3. Café Mouthfeel

Between Santitham Road and Maya Shopping Center, this coffee shop is a quiet and peaceful place where you can work, read, have a snack and relax.

The building was from an old rice barn and the decor is all in nice wood. Whether you choose to sit inside, in the outside patio or the upstairs terrace, the calm environment will help you concentrate on your projects.

Also, what is the absolutely best part for me, they have a couple of cats that love to wander and be pet by the customers and even play. Playing with them is such a nice break from work!

Needless to say, they have plugs almost at each table in the inside, and wifi connection works just as good as in the rest.

Credit: Cafe Mouthfeel, taken from their Facebook page. Beautiful, huh?

4. Cube No. 7 Coffee and Eatery

Located around Nimman area, this place has a very nice setting as well: filled with plants. Although it can be a bit dark to work, it has plugs and Ineternet connection that work well.

I believe they have a great selection on their types of milk, vegan friendly, and they serve a delicious chocolate cube milk. But it is a bit pricey if you compare with other coffee shops.

A highlight of this café is the Bitcoin ATM which will make your life so much easier! I wasn’t able to use it because if was out of service for a long time, but I have recently received a message saying it was working again.

Photo from HappyCow

5. Pai-Yan-Yai Coffee

Such a cosy café! Great variety of coffees, teas, snacks and food… you will be well served here. It was actually the first coffee shop where Marc and I started working on our personal projects, so I have a special connection to this place.

It is in the heart of Nimman but it is not so crowded like the other ones in the area, you will be comfortable and with a reliable connection to work and focus on your tasks.

My first coffee in Chiang Mai was here, in Pai Yan Yai… delishhh!

6. Wake Up Cafe

A 24 hour café so you can work whenever inspiration hit you. They have many option from where you can choose from, a nice environment and free Wifi that works quite well.

It is a chain, so you can find many Wake Up coffee shops around Chiang Mai. I usually went to one that is located North the moat. It has plenty of plugs but it is usually packed by other Digital Nomads or students.

7. My secret café in town

This is one of my favorites. Beautifil setting and a hipster environment, it is not much of a secret anymore.

It is located in the Old Town, Rachadamnoen Road to be more accurate, but it is a bit ‘hidden’. On Sundays the gate from the main road is closed, but doesn’t mean the cafe is closed as well, you can access from the street behind.

Although there aren’t as many plugs as the other cafés, you can still find a couple and Wifi connection works well most of the days.

The best part of this café is that it is also artisty: on Tuesday night you can enjoy live music and you can contemplate the art gallery on the second floor.

Marc enjoying his usually black coffee no milk, no sugar 😉

8. Fahtata Coffee

Fahtara Coffee is located in the heart of the old town with stunning decoration inviting you to enter. It is also a Spa and a shop, so the environment is supernice. Wooden furniture, aromatic smell, perfect display, indoor area and outdoor area… even the bathrooms are classy!

It is a bit more expensive than other coffee shops, but if you can splurge yourself and ask for a Chocospresso, order it. It-tastes-like-heaven. It’s their signature coffe with chocolate and cream, and it is totally worth it.

They don’t have tons of plugs, in fact I only recall two tables with them. But, if you are in Chiang Mai during low season, it is very likely that you are alone in most of the coffee shops out of the Nimman area.

Stay there for luch and you can enjoy a Thai fushion meal and one of the best brownies I have tasted in Chiang Mai.

9. Woo Café- Art Gallery

Another pretty and stylish coffee shop in Chiang Mai. This one is a bit far from the city center, it is located in the Riverside Area.

Tea and Coffee time!

You have plugs, great connection and what is best, entertainment. I don’t know you guys, but I can’t stay put more than an hour. I need to move. Move a lot. So this place is awesome for me.

There is an Art Gallery upstairs that is worthy to visit, a eccentric bathroom, and a cute shop with ceramics and handmade stuff.

Like Fahtara, this café is a bit pricey, but we are still talking about Southeast Asia prices, so nothing like an expensive European cafeteria.

Woo Café.Art Gallery

10. Art Roastery

And last, but not least, Art Roastery Café. I am a bit sad Marc and I discovered this Coffee shop/ Restaurant during our last month living in Chiang Mai. It is truly charming.

It looks like a green house and it is near a small pond with geese. It has two terrace places but you can spend time with a friendly bird in the inside. It is the owners pet and it flies freely around – although if your hair is long, it is not a great idea to go when it is nesting season, ha ha. You can only find plugs in the inside though.

The bird spotted Marc’s smoothie bowl with tons of fruit on it.

Food is nice – specially Khao Soi- and you can have healthy breakfast there too: smoothie bowls, healthy blends and delicious coffee.

It is a good option if you are around the area of hillside, it is on Huaykaew Road, and it is near the Students Market, so you can pass by when you are finished.

Yummmm

Chiang Mai is a city full of coffee shops where Digital Nomads have plenty of options to work from. It is not difficul at all to find great connection and a nice looking place, there are basically several of them per area.

The most crowded area is usually Nimman, but don’t limit yourself. Nimman is not the only neighborhood with the most beautiful places and it is usually less cheap.

Hope this was usefull and you can find your perfect Digital Nomad Office!

Things to do and adventures to live in Pai

One of the stunning places to which I have been during my stay in Chiang Mai is this hipster little city. Pai is a small town located in Mae Hong Son, Northern Thailand. It is relatively close from Chiang Mai and you can access by minivan, motocycle or car.

PAI map thailand

What to pack?

  • Raincoat
  • Bathing suit
  • Hiking shoes
  • Mosquito repelent
  • Sunscreen
  • Dramamine
  • Towel
  • Sunglasses
  • A good book

How to get there

To get to this charming town from Chiang Mai, you can use the following means of transport:

  • Minivan. This is how Marc and I got there, by minivan. Despite the awful talk about the road to Pai, we didn’t have a tough ride up there from Chiang Mai. We booked our tickets on BusOnlineTicket and rode with Prempracha Transport. It took a bit more than 3 hours to arrive to the center of Pai – right at Pai Walking Street. Price was around 800 Baht round trip (which is about 20-22 €) and the ride was comfortable- ¡there was air-con! It can get uncomfortable when they pack up the minivans to it’s limits and when a driver decides to speed – believe or not, on our way back to Chiang Mai our driver made it in 2 hours sharp…
  • Motorbike. Another popular option is to rent a bike in Chiang Mai and drive the curves up to Pai. The ride over there is beautiful and you can stop on the way if you are tired. You can go to Mango Bike rents or find more shops in this link.
  • Bus. You can take the bus from the Arcade Bus Station, Chiang Mai, to Pai for only 90 Baht, but expect to travel at a low speed. It can take up 4 or 5 hours, depending on traffic. They come and go hourly up to 16:00 p.m.
  • Tours. You can also check out a tour and they will take care of the pick ups and drops off for you.
Minivans at the bus Station in Pai

What to do in Pai

  1. Rent a bike

If you came by minivan it is most likely that you will need a means of trasport to get you moving around the breathtaking landscapes around Pai. It is pretty easy to find a shop where you will be able to rent a motorbike for less than 5€ a day. Go to the walking street and find the best match for you. I do recommend some experience before hand because the roads sometimes can be slippery and muddy depending on the weather. I am happy Marc is one of the best drivers I know :).

The superreliable helmet I got when I rented the bike, lol.

2. Strolling around the Walking street

You can find the Night Market every evening along the Walking street in Pai. It is not a big street but you can find a great variety of foods and fruits surounded by a slow-life and relaxed vibe. From western to local food, you are well-served. Pai is usually critisized due to the fact of the westernalization of its food stalls – you can find tacos, pizza, veggie rolls-, but the truth is, you can find basically whatever food you are looking for, especially local delicacies – pad thai, khao soi, fried rice…

3. Climb the White Buddha

Wat Phra That Mae Yen, or commonly known as White Buddha, is a temple on the top of a hill that offers a paroramic view of Pai. Watching the sun set from the top of it’s steps. It is a short walk from the city but you will need to climb up some steps to get to the very top – nothing too difficult though. Your reward will be this stunning view.

It was a cloudy day but was still magical

4. Get into the slow life and stop at a café

There are plenty of hipster cafés with tons of healthy options on their menus. Choose the one that suits you best and get into the slow-pace lifestyle that Pai is all about. Grab a book while sipping your kombucha or organic coffee, nibbling on some home-made oat cookie and enjoy the moment. Try to not obsess on having a hectic schedule, disconnect and make the most of the moment.

Fat Cat café on the road to the White Buddha

5. Pai Canyon

After walking up some steps you will arrive to Pai Canyon. A narrow dirt path surounded by the canyon and the beautiful view of the mountains. Erosion has shaped this strange and charming trails where many hikers come to admire the sunset’s beauty. It is a popular attraction in Pai but it can also be a bit dangerous at times since the paths may be slippery, narrow and steep. You can come and venture yourself into the trials or just stay at the top and witness the breathtaking views.

If you are planning on staying to see the sunset, remember to bring mosquito spray and a flashlight!

Marc enjoying nature 🙂

6. Santichon Village and Yun Lai Viewpoint

This was actually really fun. I’ve read many posts saying that it is nice going to this Chinese village and it’s totally right!

Santichon village is not the typical Chinatown and it’s a very touristy place. To get there it is recommendable to rent a bike or take a grab there. The best part of this village isn’t the tourist attraction itself – although it is interesting to visit as well- but the mountain and nature views as well as the food and tea you can taste there.

Santichon Village

However, this wasn’t the best part of the village for me… I fell absolutely in love with Yun Lai viewpoint! A perfect view of mountains, fields, villages and green green nature. A 360º degree sight of Pai which makes you feel small.

People like to go there for the sunrise or sunset but we didn’t really know we were going to find this kind of beauty so we went in the middle of the day… Our bad!

To go there by bike be careful, the weather was quite unstable for us and rained often, so the very steep hill to get there was SO SO wet and slippery. Again, I am grateful that I have a good driver as my travels buddy!

Love this view at Yun Lai Viewpoint!

7. The longest Bamboo Bridge

Another of my favorite things to do in Pai. To be surrounded by nature is one of the things that I love the most about my voyages, and this was definetly one of my highlights of this trip.

This bridge is also called Boon Koh Ku So and it spreads 800 meters long around rice fields. It isn’t very well known or as popular as the Canyon, but if you visit it during rainy season, you will be astonished by how green it is- radioactive green I’m talking about!

I always joke with Marc telling him this grass looks like it has a filter on, lol!

8. Landsplit and Waterfalls

On your way to the Bamboo Bridge you can either stop by the Landsplit or Pam Bok Waterfall. We were a bit short of time and had seen many waterfalls already around Chiang Mai we decided to go to the Landsplit and directly to the bridge.

Landsplit is not very impressive in my opinion. It is a 5 minute hike around it and you can stop have a drink at a stall there in exchange for a donation. It is perfectly doable on your way to the bridge and you can check it out without any detour.

Landsplit in Pai

9. Have a nice bath in the Hot springs

It would be an awesome idea to bring swimsuits and towel to your trip to Pai so you can enjoy a bath in the hot springs during your holidays.

Remeber, Pai is about slow life, enjoyment, taking things easy and relaxing… What better way but enjoy a hot bath in the middle of nature?

There are a couple of places to go for a little splash in boiling water, we chose to go to Sai Ngam hot spring. Again, the road to go there is curvy and steep at times, but it is stunning to see all the nature around you! It cost around 200 Baht per person plus a fee for leaving the motorbike there – about 20 baht I believe.

Depending on the time you get there it can be more crowded. Early in the morning or late afternoon would be the best option, it is open until 8:00 p.m.

Credit to Go To Thailand and awesome travelling blog.

10. Go to a Yoga class

Yes, I know, it sounds so cliché but really. I am no Yoga expert… in fact my boyfriend has gone to more yoga classes than me, this was my first onsite yoga class and I loved it!

We went to Yoga Shala and the class was awesome and so fun, but it wasn’t the only reason why I loved it so much. It was an open air studio so you could feel the breeze and, since it was from 18:30 to 19:45, it was getting dark and you could hear all types of nature sounds… so peaceful. Teachers were superthoughtful and friendly, they made me feel so comfortable – I am a very awkward person when it comes to corporal activities haha. We met the lady that rented us our bike that day and it was so fun to practise yoga with her!

The drop in class was about 250 Baht, which is about 7 € and it is totally worth it! Exercise is always a good idea 🙂

If yoga is not something you are a fan of, you can practice Muay Thai too at Charn Chai Muay Thai! I would have love to but i couldn’t make it to the class in time.

11. Eat well and often!

Pai is know for great food of all types. We had been in Chiang Mai for 6 months before we went to Pai, so we were craving a bit of Western food and that is totally OK! People tend to condemn the food that this town offers because it has a great variety of food from different places, but I say, try whatever you are craving and enjoy!

There are restaurants and cafés that serve very good quality food and it can be a bit difficult to choose where to dine, but I totally recommend this Mexican food restaurant which is bit apart from the center of Pai. The name is Cafecito and I swear the food there is mouth-watering!

I ate my weight in smoothie bowls, had tacos and pizza, and also enjoy a great Pad Thai and spicy papaya salad. Just do what you feel like doing!

Delish açai smoothie bowl in Coffeestains and kombuchas to get our microbiota on point!

12. Choose a beautiful place to stay and relax

One of the best things about Thailand is what you pay for accommodation. If you are able to “splurge” yourself, you can fin a beautiful place to stay where you can chill and enjoy yourself without paying too much!

We paid about 25€ per night to stay in a beautiful hut near a small pond… so peacefull and yummy breakfast was included! We had coffee, orange juice, eggs, avocado, toast and fruit salad every morning!

Chillaxing… and posing for the photo, haha

There are soooo many other things to do here! If you like going for cocktails there are some bars with live music in the walking street, you can visit the memorial bridge and even visit the caves!

We had limited time so we couldn’t get to see everything here, but we look back to our trip fondly and really made the most of the time we had, always in a relax and vacational way, living the present moment.

Hope you enjoyed this post and got some ideas for your trip!

On our way to see the White Buddha