It’s raining outside. I can hear it tapping on the velux’s, whilst I’m tucked up in my fresh new bedding. What a perfect evening to reflect on some of our time spent travelling Thailand, whilst also making me feel a little sad that I’m not back out there soaking up the sunshine, eating delicious fresh food and listening to the waves crash on the beach.. instead, I’m here, in Cumbria. Funnily enough, as I was out walking Erik on my lunch break from work, I thought to myself how lucky I was to love my life right now and where I live. It might piss it down the majority of the time but I’m not sure I could move away and leave this place behind for good.. ah, who am I kidding, I probably won’t be saying that come January!
Now.. moving on to our trip to Thailand back in March. As you may or may not know, I spent 1 month at my Grandmother’s home in the North East of Thailand (I’ll come back to that in a separate post) before spending another month in the South.. and here’s how it went!
After spending a few nights in Phuket, we made our way to Koh Phi Phi. We booked the ferry a few nights before and found a hotel on booking.com. There was very little to choose from as we were travelling during the high season so I’d recommend booking in advance if travelling as a family, especially with little ones. I just found we were left with the cheaper hotels, closest to the nightlife whereas I’d have preferred to have paid a little more and stayed further away, though it wasn’t an issue, booking in advance would just be my preference.
The ferry ride over to Phi Phi was great. The journey was plain sailing, views are incredible the closer you get and there’s a little shop selling food and drinks and there were plenty of places to choose from to perch your bum for the next couple of hours. We opted for the top deck to catch some rays but me and mum eventually moved downstairs in to the shade so Mali could sleep comfortably. In the lower decks there are air conditioned rooms where you can leave your luggage but I found these far too cold! You would definitely need to pack a hoody and some joggers if you plan on sitting in there… brrr!
The ferry takes you directly past Maya Bay, where The Beach was filmed. Take this opportunity to head to the top deck and take it all the views!
When we reached Koh Phi Phi we were welcomed by some guys from our hotel waiting for us to help transport our luggage. They got it all on to a trolley and guided us to our hotel but it was a little too early for check in so we went for a wander and grabbed a bite to eat. Once we were checked in, the three of us went for a stroll with Mali in the buggy. She drifted off so we parked the buggy up by the beach and took the opportunity to go for a swim whilst she napped in the sea breeze.
We stayed on one of the beach front resorts, called the Phi Phi Banyan. It was nice, though the pool was a little small and sun loungers scarce but otherwise it was a comfortable stay and they provided a cot for Mali, not that she slept in it though.
After a little nap, and when I say little I mean 30-45 minutes, we then went back to the hotel and let her have some fun in the pool. Mali at this stage was 9 months old and we’d never gotten much in to a routine with her naps by this point and she was a hard one to get to sleep with so much going on around her. We’d also co slept with her so she wasn’t used to sleeping independently in a cot, which did make it a little harder whilst we were away but there were reasons for this which I’ll go in to another time.
We spent a lovely couple of nights in Phi Phi. Though looking back I don’t think we got much sleep! My mum & dad looked after Mali one day so we could enjoy a day on a long tail boat snorkelling together. We were going to take her with us but actually it would have meant swimming one at a time so it was nice to spend some time just the two of us. We had a young lad take us to various beauty spots around the island and we just asked him when we wanted to leave or stay a little longer, it was perfect.
From Koh Phi Phi we headed to Koh Kradan. We booked last minute again via booking.com – swear I don’t work for them. We were between the Seven Seas resort and the Mali resort. For some reason we picked the Seven Seas, probably cause it was quite a bit cheaper but I didn’t rate it much. The rooms were quite dark and the outdoor bathroom was not all it was cracked up to be. Sitting on the loo in the sweltering heat whilst also getting attacked by mosquitos was not fun. Not to mention the bat that took up residency in our bathroom overnight leaving piles of shit all over the bathroom floor… On the plus side though, the bed was huge and comfy. The three of us had plenty of space to sleep and the food at the hotel was really good, which was a relief because there weren’t many places to eat elsewhere! Staff were lovely and friendly and there were plenty of sun loungers dotted along the beach front.
We woke early most days, of course, that’s what happens when you have a baby.. and just relaxed. Swimming, lounging about, drinking and eating. I really loved the few days we spent in Koh Kradan. It is pretty much untouched, so don’t expect to find a 7/11 here. I think we bought all the cans of Singha they had in the little shop. You’ll need everything you will ever want to need/have for a baby here, nappies, wipes, calpol (just incase) as there wasn’t anything like that to buy there.
Aside from that, it is pure bliss and was voted best beach in the world last year. Let’s just hope it doesn’t get a whole load of hotels, restaurants a 7/11 and a strip built on it.
Who needs a swimming pool when the sea is this clean, warm and calm? But if you did fancy the pool, the Seven Seas have a lovely little pool.
On one of the days we rented a long tail boat for the day. We wanted to see the emerald cave in Koh Mook. It involved swimming through a dark cave for around 100 metres or so, in to a cove that felt like it was in the middle of a jungle. Apparently this was a place pirates used to hide their treasure! I opted for a life jacket and I was so glad I did, the water was choppy and I got a bit breathless at times! My mum kindly stayed with Mali on the boat whilst we went but there were families taking their children through on inflatable rings. I just didn’t feel safe or comfortable enough to do it, especially with how young Mali was.
We snorkelled, found lots of starfish, jumped from the boat and just enjoyed the day. On our way back we asked the guy who’s boat we were on if there was a chance to see turtles, so he took us to the shallow waters close to Koh Mook and within minutes there was dozens of huge turtles swimming by our boat. It was incredible and I couldn’t believe how many we saw. I also couldn’t believe how fast they could swim! What a day it was, one we will certainly remember forever.
From Koh Kradan we headed to Koh Lipe.
My Mum, Dad, brother Alex and girlfriend El stayed in a house on sunrise beach last year, which we rebooked again for our trip this time. It was an ideal location, at the quiet end of the beach, with 3 double bedrooms and a kitchen, as well as a huge terrace on the room which was a great spot for watching the sunrise from. It was great for Mali as all 4 of us were there to keep an eye on her and she was just starting to crawl so the tiled flooring was perfect for her. My only gripe with the location was that you had to walk along the beach to get to the town, which wouldn’t be a problem usually but because we now have a baby and a buggy, it was a pain having to drag the pushchair through the sand. And when it was already so hot and humid, it just meant we got even more hot and sweaty having to either lift the thing or drag it, on top of any shopping we had and then with Mali in our arms or on our shoulders.
On one of our final days in Koh Lipe, we rented another long tail boat and asked if we could be taken out for a day fishing. The two brothers took us out early and we fished, watched them trawl and then they took us to our own private beach, where they cooked our fish we had caught on a bbq. My mum had prepared some other bits and we sat on a picnic mat under the shade of the trees, listening to the sound of the waves and the silence. We were on our own private stretch of beach, in paradise, eating freshly caught fish. It doesn’t get much better than this.
I’ll end this post with a few things I’d like to share as tips for island hopping with a baby and as a reminder for myself in the future, should I ever be lucky enough to have another..
- Relax, what will be will be. At the beginning of our holiday I was so caught up on getting Mali to nap at certain times and really stressing myself out about it. It’s easier at home trying to get babies in to a routine with sleep within the right sleep environment etc. but I think it would have just been easier to have been a little less strict and gone more with the flow whilst we were away. Easier said than done though!
- Check your accommodation first before booking for things like, a cot, high chair, separate living space to bedroom and/or balcony so that once baby has gone to sleep you and your partner don’t have to tip toe around and can actually spend a few hours together. Things like location I.e. not too close to bars that play music all night long. Your baby might sleep through it but you might not and with lack of sleep from disruptive nights anyway you need to get all the sleep you can whilst you can! Also my preference would be a room/guesthouse that you can access with a pushchair without having to lift, carry or trudge through the beach too. You don’t want to spend the evening out for tea, baby asleep in the pram but then gets disturbed being thrown around in a pushchair!
- Always pack enough food, snacks, milk and then a bit more. Incase of delays or emergencies, always have something you can offer baby to help keep your stress levels low and them at ease. Thankfully we never really had any issues with delays but an emergency bag with some extra snacks in is always the solution.
- Not that I needed it for this section of our holiday but next time I would definitely invest in a Doona pram. The one that is a car seat and also converts straight in to a pram. We didn’t have a car seat with us and I did feel a little unsure travelling without one, especially in minibuses and the hire car we had at my Gran’s and in Phuket.
- Don’t be scared! It’s always going to be harder than travelling ever was before but you’ve got your baby with you experiencing all these new things with you. It’s an amazing feeling and you will feel so empowered that you did it. As long as they are fed, clean, warm and safe, that’s all you really need to worry about.