Chatujak Market and Koh Lipe

So, I would have had more photos, but as Murphy’s Law would go, my touch screen broke on the trip, and my friend lost her phone. By sheer fate alone, we received an iPhone 5 from a kind soul, which we both had to share for the remainder of the trip. So, while I would have had an abundance of photos (and even gifs!) of everything, unfortunately I just couldn’t for this trip.

Chances are, if you are flying into Thailand, you will probably need to fly into Bangkok first before transferring to a smaller flight for the island of your choice. Of all the markets I have been to in Asia, my ultimate favorite one is the Chatujak Market in Bangkok. Only open on Saturdays, this market is gigantic. Think of like a dozen Wally Worlds wrapped into one. It’s so large that they even have their own app for it! The people watching and steps you acquire from wandering is reason enough to spend time there. You can literally spend a whole day there. One of my favorite things to do is to only bring a little with me to Thailand and buy some summery pieces at the shops there before heading off the the islands, as it is pretty cheap and (mostly) good quality. Something I particularly love is 1) the variety of stores (You can buy almost anything!) and 2) the quirkiness of what you can find there. Sure, they have your typical touristy souvenirs and whatnot, but I found a lot of their clothing and accessories to be super cute and unique.

Bonus points: As someone considered to have large feet in Asia (US 9), it is very easy to find a variety of shoes in that size. Feeling hungry? There are countless stalls and outdoor restaurants to grab a bite. Can’t go wrong with a classic pad thai.

Now onto…Koh Lipe!

So, like many islands in Thailand, you have to fly out of Bangkok to a much smaller airport and take a ferry. Koh Lipe is no exception. Expect to spend hours on end to get there. Getting there was not my favorite by any means. After your crammed flight, you will be crammed in a small ferry with a couple dozen others. You will fly into Satun, To be honest, I see it as a necessary evil because if you plan on visiting other islands, you will most likely take a ferry there as well. Just get it over with and know that the final destination is worth it.

Protip: Traveling will be much easier if you have a backpack, but then again, a carry on is probably better if you’re going to do shopping at Chatujak. The choice is yours.

This is my second island in Thailand, the first being Koh Chang in 2015. Compared to what I remember from back then, Koh Lipe is much cleaner, safer, and more coupley overall. At all times on the island did I feel safe, even walking back to my hostel at night with just a female friend. If you are traveling solo as a woman or with a friend or even partner, Koh Lipe is a great place to spend a few days.

We stayed at Bloom Hostel. it was actually a little more expensive than what I have paid for in else in Southeast Asia. However, it was 1) spotless and had a 2) perfect location to the beach and a variety of restaurants, shops, and bars. I had a great time here, but one thing I noticed was that there was no hot water. Technically, you can argue that you don’t really need it since it’s a tropical island; however, I am always cold. Also, to be fair, I’m not sure a lot of the surrounding hostels had hot water either.

Attached to the hostel, is a delicious cafe. Obviously, you can eat Thai food for much cheaper, but I was addicted to this smoothie bowl (left), and it being Thailand, buying these kinds of things were much cheaper. If you have not been to Thailand before, eat everything you can. Seriously. It’s so cheap. Binge! I wish I was able to have more food pictures, but here was a delicious curry I had.

When you are not binging on smoothie bowls for breakfast and at various Thai restaurants all day every day, I recommend you try one of the barbecues offered at a couple of the bars. In Koh Chang, I remember that they were free, but they weren’t too pricey in Koh Lipe. The best bbq for sure was at Maya. I felt like the portions were solid, and I liked that I got seconds. I really felt like I got my money’s worth.

We also had bbq at Sea La Vie, another outdoor bar. This one also had a fire show, which was a super cool thing to see while eating. The bbq was a little pricier and the portion sizes were not as large as Maya’s, but it was still a great night spent there.

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During the day, my favorite things to do (besides the beach of course), were to get massages, a facial, and go snorkeling. For massages, I really liked getting on at a parlor on the beach, as that was a perfect way to take a break during the hottest parts of the day. However, you can really go anywhere. Every place I saw was very nice and well cared for. For about $15, you can get a facial at many places as well, and I definitely recommend it. It was a good clean feeling after spending multiple days being sweaty and layering sunscreen on my face.

There’s an abundance of day/afternoon trips lining Walking Street.  We did an afternoon snorkeling tour, and it was the best choice I ever made. Seriously. I had actually never gone snorkeling before, but we really lucked out. If only I had a waterproof camera…the coral reef was amazing. It was a fairly cheap excursion, too. I think it was about $15? What an amazing way to spend Christmas! We also wanted to do a plankton tour, but they were unavailable when we went.

And of course, you can’t go to Thailand without experiencing an amazing sunset! You can see them anywhere on the island of course, but the best place is (obviously!) Sunset Beach. It’s rather easy to get there if you are staying on Walking Street.

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