Terratopix https://terratopix.com Just Another WordPress Website Fri, 11 Oct 2019 17:45:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.7 How to Plan the Perfect Greek Island Hopping Itinerary https://terratopix.com/how-to-plan-the-perfect-greek-island-hopping-itinerary/ Tue, 04 Jun 2019 10:24:28 +0000 https://terratopix.com/?p=661

Greece has been one of the most popular holiday destinations for travelers across the world.  It’s a great choice – particularly for those who love to know about the life of an islander. This Southeast European country is amazing for island hopping. With its vibrant collection of islands, each known for its own attributes and appeal, Greece brings to you a variety of options to explore its characteristic islands. Also known as the cradle of western civilization, Greece has some of the best island hopping itineraries! You can either choose to sail aficionados or opt for one of the itineraries offered by island tour operators.

Located in the Ionian sea, on the western side of Greece, the verdant Ionian islands are well-known for various things.  Think about the breathtaking beaches, the lush vegetation, the temperate climate, crystal clear turquoise water, the cultural heritage, cheerfulness of the residents, the picturesque mountains and beautiful villages. The shorter passages, as well as the lighter winds, make it a perfect, relaxed destination that can be explored not just by the solo travelers but also by couples and families. Ionian islands is an ideal place for an adventurous as well as relaxed holiday. If you want your holiday to be adventure-packed, you can choose your itinerary accordingly.  If you’d rather relax, you can simply laze by the beach, doing nothing at all. It’s entirely up to you!

For all those who want to get the real taste of the Greek islands, you can book one of the Ionian Flotilla holidays that can take you around some of the best islands in Greece. You can sail with the beautiful sea creatures during the day time and stop on a new scenic island each night. It is a great option for even those travelers who want to have a relaxed holiday with a decent sail.

If you are wondering where all you can travel with these flotillas, they can take you to all the best bits of Ionian stretch. From hustle bustle of the busy towns on the Ithaca and Cephalonia islands to some of the remote islands such as Kalamos, the flotillas can help you get the flavor of real Greek islands with a friendly Greek welcome on each port.

Depending on how much time you have in hand and what you are interested in, you can choose from one of the itineraries given below.

The Happening Ithaca Island Hopping

One of the classic one-week itineraries available is the Flotilla Island tour to Meganisi, Cephalonia and Ithaca. Meganisi, also known as a private island of the Onassis family, is located at a short distance from the southeastern shores of famous Lefkada island. With a coast expansion of 46 kilometers, it is well-known for its natural beauty and spooky caves. Almost all the beaches of this miraculous island are surrounded by lush green forests and crystal clear water. The beaches get crowded only on rare occasions or during festivals. Therefore you can count on them to enjoy some peaceful and relaxing moments. On the other hand, the large Greek Island of Cephalonia, which was once home to Odysseus, attracts a well-heeled crowd with its Italian influenced eateries and boutique shops. Bonus: the surrounding forest of Cephalonia has been declared as an area packed with natural beauty.

Cephalonia is much talked about, much photographed and loved by tourists. Its dazzling beaches, emerald green lush mountains, and sparkling water are surely going to win your hearts. And the Ithaca island – popularly known all over the world as one of the mythical islands of Odysseus!

A perfect island for families and those who love laid-back holidays, Ithaca has several secluded coves to swim, hiking trails, etc. Some of the awesome beaches of Ithaca include Sarakiniko, Agios, where you can swim in the crystal clear water and bask in the sun. Vathy and Kioni are both scenic villages where you can spend some time talking to the locals.

The flotillas can be boarded in Lefkas marina; from Lefkas (also known as Lefkada). It’s an easy 3-4 hour sailing to the beautiful harborside of Sivota. You can choose to have an easy morning in Sivota, which is just 10-15 miles sail to Ithaca, which is associated with the history of Odyssey. From Ithaca to Cephalonia, it is a fun-filled journey.

The Magical Tour of islands of Kalamos

If you have more time, you can opt for the two-week itinerary that includes Ithaca island hopping as well as Kalamos route. This two-week island hopping island itinerary includes the best of southern Ionian – Kalamos, Ithaca, Meganisi, and Cephalonia. The Ithaca route is covered in the first week, and the second week is spent in the beautiful lands of Kalamos region. There are several stopovers that could be added depending on the weather conditions.

If you want to spend some time away from the mad rush of the bustling cities, you could include Kalamos in your to-do list.  Why? It’s one of the least inhabited islands in Greece. It is a very mountainous island, with two settlements by the sea – Episkopi, and Kalamos. You can tour around the beautiful islands in bareboat and flotillas, or try out some water sports or mountain biking while you’re there.

You can get some free sail days as part of the two-week tour or you can alternatively explore the islands on your own. As part of the packages, you also get to enjoy the beach parties around some of the most stunning bays.

There are different types of yachts available for flotilla and bareboat packages. This means you can decide depending on your budget and requirements.

The flotillas available from Lefkas offer a real taste of Greek sailing. Like various other islands of Greece, the best beaches can be found on the sloping east side and the west coast is a majorly sheer cliff. There are several resorts on the east coast side and that’s why it is a favorite stopover for the yacht flotillas.

From Lefkas, it’s generally an easy sail to the scenic bay of Spartochori, which is followed by 3-4 hours sailing to the tiny yet cute village of Episkopi that gives a natural insight into the rural life of Greek islander.

From Kalamas, the sail to the next destination Ithaca is mind-boggling as you get to experience scenery along the way. Also, you can enjoy swimming in the sun or paddle boarding off your yacht. From here, you have an option to either free sail or enjoy the complimentary sports at the surf hotels.

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Comprehensive Thailand Transportation Guide https://terratopix.com/comprehensive-thailand-transportation-guide/ Tue, 04 Jun 2019 10:23:03 +0000 https://terratopix.com/?p=653

You booked your flights to Thailand and you’re starting the planning session? Here’s everything you need to know when it comes to transportation in Thailand. Backpacking Thailand sounds fun, but getting around the country isn’t always super easy! (Sometimes, I wish I could snap my fingers and teleport myself elsewhere.)

This guide will be perfect for you especially if this trip is your first one in Southeast Asia. I’ll explain the different types of transportation available in Thailand as well as how to get around the country. Depending on the time you have, you might have to prioritize shorter options, but if you do have enough time, take a look at the budget-friendly options too.

Before we start with all this blah, blah, I’d like to reassure you. Traveling around Thailand isn’t too dangerous. It’s easy to get “ripped off” as a tourist, but I’ll make sure to tell you all about the scams. That being said, traveling by bus, flight, train or van with reputable companies should be all good!

Understanding the Different Transport Options in Thailand

If it’s your first trip to Southeast Asia, you might not be aware of all the options yet when it comes to transportation. Ever heard of a tuk-tuk? Motorbike drivers? Or even songthaews?

As soon as you land in Thailand, you’ll be amazed by the options available to get around a city. These options are great and affordable if you’re looking for a ride to the city or for short distances.

What’s a tuk-tuk?

A tuk-tuk (also known as a rickshaw) is basically a three-wheel scooter and is used as a taxi in Southeast Asia. There’s no fixed price for a tuk-tuk, you basically have to negotiate your price with the driver.  Ideally, you’re going to negotiate before sitting in the tuk-tuk. You can normally fit 1 to 2 (or maybe 3) people in a tuk-tuk.

What’s a motorbike taxi?

If you only have a backpack, a great option to consider is the motorbike taxi driver. This option is perfect if you’re traveling solo. In Thailand, most of the motorbike taxi drivers were an orange jacket so they are easy to recognize. Similar to the tuk-tuk drivers, you should always agree on a price beforehand.

What’s a Songthaew?

A Songthaew is basically a small truck/pick-up adapted with seats in the back. These are normally super cheap and used by locals too. As you are sharing the ride with other people, it shouldn’t be too expensive. Obviously, you also need to agree on the price first.

What about “normal taxis”?

I’m not a big fan of taxis in Southeast Asia as this it’s easy to get scammed. Some taxi drivers could drive you in wrong directions, ask for extra money or bring you to shops instead of your hotels. To avoid these scams, I normally prefer to use Grab as it shows you a fixed price beforehand and reviews from previous customers. Grab is a popular app in Southeast Asia, but you will need the Internet to be able to use it.

Now that you can reach your destination in a city, let’s take a look at the option when it comes to getting around Thailand.

How to Get Around Thailand by Flight

The fastest option to get around Thailand is obviously by flight. Although, it’s not necessarily the cheapest. It is worth checking though because sometimes you can get a flight for $10 more than the bus and you could save plenty of your precious time in Thailand.

How to Get Around Thailand by Train

Another fast way to consider which is also budget-friendly is traveling around Thailand by train. It’s more comfortable than the bus and it gets you to your destination faster. Although, the bus would still be cheaper. I’d say it’s the best mid-range option when it comes to getting around Thailand.

You can check trains and book your tickets on 12GO. Note that trains aren’t running everywhere in Thailand.

How to get around Thailand by Bus (or Van)

The most budget-friendly option when it comes to getting around Thailand is by bus. You can normally take the overnight buses too if you’re covering a long distance (which could make you save money on accommodation too). It’s not the most comfortable option, but I used to travel on overnight buses a lot when I was a bit younger.

you are wondering how to travel to Thailand by bus and more importantly how to find the right companies and all, it’s pretty easy!

I normally use 12GO to find the right bus for my Thailand travels. The website is easy to use and it gives you plenty of options to pick from.  Buses in Thailand are pretty popular, so you could always just show up at the bus station and get a ticket there too.

I mentioned “vans” above. What did I mean? For shorter transfers, sometimes you’ll get a van instead of a bus. I had a van from Krabi to Koh 

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Tips for Visiting New York City for the First Time https://terratopix.com/tips-for-visiting-new-york-city-for-the-first-time/ Tue, 04 Jun 2019 10:14:53 +0000 https://terratopix.com/?p=645

The Big Apple, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, empire state of mind… Whatever nickname or pop culture reference you cast across New York City, it’s a popular bucket list destination for almost everyone! There’s something about the Statue of Liberty, fast-paced street culture and bright neon lights in Time Square that keeps people coming back over and over again. If you’re visiting New York City for the first time, I’ve put together some helpful tips regarding safety, areas to visit and other things to know when traveling to New York!

The Best Travel Tips for Visiting New York City

1. Get around the city by foot or the subway

If you love spending time stuck in traffic, take a cab or Uber around New York City. If you love spending time exploring or if you just value your time in general, stick to getting around by foot or the impressive subway system.

The gridlock pattern of New York City streets is what traffic nightmares are made of. Parking is a headache, too! If you’re going to New York City for the first time, save your sanity (and your time) and plan on packing comfortable walking shoes!

Fun scary fact: did you know that accidents are the third cause of deaths in NYC? That being said, with such a busy city, transit accidents can happen. You probably don’t want to get seriously injured during your holidays, so let’s cross our fingers together!

2. Don’t just stay in Manhattan

New York City has so many incredible neighborhoods. Each with their own vibe and list of attractions to visit so there’s no reason to stick to one place. If looking for the best area to stay in New York, first-time visitors may decide on Manhattan due to its central location. While it’s a fine choice, I encourage you to go out and explore places like Brooklyn and the Bronx as well!

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge, eat some pizza and explore the streets yourself. Or maybe watch a Yankees baseball game in the Bronx — there’s more to New York than Manhattan!

3. Beware of petty crimes

Is New York dangerous? Overall, no. New York City is used to lots of tourists so the streets are quite safe for walking!  But just like London or Madrid, pickpocketing is quite common. Be mindful of the items on your person while walking through busy crowds in Time Square or tight spaces in the subway.  

Another petty crime in NYC can be unmarked taxi cabs trying to scam you, which can be quiet scary! The only flag down and take rides from clearly marked yellow NYC taxis.  Other than that, New York City is quite safe and well policed! Just use your best judgment and you’ll have no problems.

4. Give yourself plenty of time to truly explore and appreciate the city!

When visiting New York for the first time, you’ll come with a long list of “must visit” places. The Met, Brooklyn Bridge, that fancy cronut store…the list goes on. New York City is not a destination you can rush through. You need to slow down and savor the bustle of the city and the culture and sights that surround you. How many days in New York is ideal? I’d say at least four full days.

To see all the hotspots and eat at every restaurant recommended by friends and Yelp, four days should give you a good overview of the city. Of course, more is always better but time isn’t always on our side!

5. Don’t overspend on trendy restaurants!

New York City often gets a rep of being a costly city to visit. While it may not be the most budget-conscious city, it doesn’t have to break the bank, either!

Sure, there are Michelin star restaurants and the Kardashian’s favorite spots all around but honestly the smaller mom and pop joints are so much better. When eating in New York City, here are some great tips to eat amazing food at a lower cost:

  • Eat at the cheap pizza corner shops! Nothing taste as good as a $1 slice of New York City pizza. Plus the carbs are the perfect fuel for all your sightseeing! (Don’t forget to fold it down the middle and shove it in your mouth — just like the New Yorkers do).
  • Adjust your meal times to coincide with happy hours! Love sushi but don’t love the price tag? Hit up the trendy rooftop sushi restaurant for an early dinner to scarf it down for half the cost.
  • Ask the restaurant if they have any lunch specials. Lots of New York City restaurants offer a combo deal around lunchtime — no harm in asking!
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Best Travel Insurance for Long-Term Travel https://terratopix.com/best-travel-insurance-for-long-term-travel/ Tue, 04 Jun 2019 09:54:40 +0000 https://terratopix.com/?p=630

As you’re planning the trip of a lifetime, you’re already getting excited about the destinations you’re about to discover. You have spin the globe, you booked your flights and now comes the time when you have to spend money again – on travel insurance.

Depending on where you’re from, you might be aware of different travel insurance companies. Although, when it comes to long-term travel, long backpacking trips or digital nomad journeys, these classic companies might not fit your needs.  

There are two very popular companies to consider in my opinion – World Nomads and SafetyWing. In this post, I’ll be comparing both companies to help you make the right decision. At the end of this post, I’ll be answering any questions you may have regarding travel insurances and long trips.

I know – buying a digital nomad or backpacker travel insurance isn’t that fun. So, let’s try to keep it simple!

Pros and Cons of Buying a Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is one of those things that you don’t realize you need it until you really really need it. Like being in a hospital bed in a foreign country faced with a $12,000 bill, need it. As the saying goes, if you can afford to travel, you can afford to purchase travel insurance!

Pros of purchasing travel insurance:

  • When sh*t hits the fan, you’re covered. As much as you think you are, you’re not bulletproof and you’re not immune to Murphy’s Law. Unfortunately, things happen and I’d hate for you to have to return home only one month into your trip because of an emptied out bank account due to an unexpected hospital visit.

Cons of purchasing travel insurance:

  • It costs money. Do you know what else costs money? Contracting malaria or the bird flu while in Vietnam and racking up a hefty hospital bill that you can’t afford so they take your passport. Just buy travel insurance.

Now that you get the importance of travel insurance, which carrier provides the best long-term travel insurance out there? Introducing…the battle of long-term travel insurance providers.

SafetyWing | Long-Term Travel Medical Insurance

SafetyWing is hot off the press when it comes to long-term travel medical insurance. Although new, SafetyWing is backed by some of the biggest insurance companies around. Their slogan is “for nomads, by nomads” so one can only guess it’s excellent travel medical insurance for digital nomads. At the price point, it’s also the perfect cheap backpacker travel medical insurance, too!

SafetyWing has really come in to shake up the travel medical insurance game and here are some important points to note about this long trip travel insurance company:

SafetyWing Travel Medical Insurance Pros:

  • Price point. Coming in at $37 USD/month, SafetyWing is one of the cheapest long-term travel medical insurance options out there. If traveling in the US, it goes up to $67/month which is still cheaper than most high-level health insurances. Worth it.
  • Can be purchased while on the road. I get it. Pre-trip butterflies mean often forgetting things on your pre-travel checklist. If you fly into your destination and have a lightbulb moment that you forgot to purchase travel insurance, you’re in luck. You can purchase a plan at SafetyWing at any point of your travels. Pre-departure or 3 months in, it’s available to you.

SafetyWing Travel Medical Insurance Cons:

  • It’s still new. Which means they’re still working out some kinks. Reports say that it takes them a little longer to file claims and get things organized. Growing pains of a new company that I’m sure they’ll work out soon.

What’s covered by SafetyWing travel & health insurance:

  • Hospital coverage for illness or injury
  • Urgent-care
  • Prescribed medicines
  • Physical therapy and chiropractic care
  • Emergency dental
  • Lost luggage (but not pricey electronics)
  • Travel interruption/delay
  • Natural disaster (a new place to stay)

World Nomads | Long-Term Travel Insurance

World Nomads is a household name when it comes to long stay travel insurance. They’ve been around for a while and they’re supported by countless bloggers and travel companies. While they’re not the cheapest long-term travel insurance option, they do have pretty comprehensive coverage.

Do World Nomads carry the best travel insurance for long-term travel? Check out their pros and cons to decide for yourself.

World Nomads travel insurance Pros:

  • Covers lost/stolen electronics. If you’re a digital nomad, your laptop is your lifeline. Without your laptop, you can kiss your digital nomad life goodbye.
  • Two different policy options.  World Nomads offers two different policies at different price points. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, there’s a policy that covers accidents from your high-risk activities. If you’re traveling for the Instagram photos, maybe you don’t need that intense of travelers insurance (no judgment here).

World Nomads travel insurance Cons:

  • It’s quite pricey.  The basic plan runs about $120 USD/month (but also depends on age and which region you’re traveling to).

What’s covered by World Nomads travel & health insurance:

  • Hospital coverage for illness or injury (must purchase “Explorer” option for sports injuries)
  • Day surgery and outpatient treatments
  • Prescribed medicines
  • Emergency dental
  • Lost, delayed or stolen baggage
  • Trip cancellation (due to medical or related death)
  • Travel interruption/delay
  • Natural disaster (a new place to stay)

Things to Consider When Buying Your Travel Insurance

If you’re feeling still undecided on which insurance could be the best option for you, here are the things you should keep in mind. Note: you should also read the full policies to be fully aware before making any rushed decisions.

  • Where are you going to travel? Some countries are more pricey when it comes to medical bills (the United States for example). Are you going to the other side of the world? Are you heading to Southeast Asia? Some countries have more risks in terms of bacterias, virus, etc. These are all things to keep in mind when choosing your travel insurance.
  • Do you currently have health insurance at home? Some providers are pretty flexible and some others aren’t. When getting your quote, give accurate information to see if you can access the insurance coverage with your current situation.
  • Are you going to travel short-term or long-term? If you’re moving to another country or if you go on one-week holiday will definitely influence the cost of your travel insurance.
  • Will you drive a scooter/motorbike? Will you dive? Or will you do anything “crazy”? You should make sure your insurance will cover you in any potential situations.
  • Will you travel with valuables? Are you planning on insuring them?
  • Do you have any ongoing medical conditions?
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Celebrating Songkran in Koh Phangan, Thailand (& Where Else Can You Go?) https://terratopix.com/celebrating-songkran-in-koh-phangan-thailand-where-else-can-you-go/ Tue, 04 Jun 2019 09:45:27 +0000 https://terratopix.com/?p=616

If you book your trip to Thailand in April, I got some good news for you. You’ll be in Thailand right on time to celebrate Songkran.

When I attended Holi in India in 2018, I decided to add Songkran to my festival bucket list. You can read all about the best festivals in Asia here.

I wasn’t planning on being in Thailand for Songkran, but life had other plans for me. When I decided to extend my stay in Thailand, I was very happy to realize I’d be in Thailand for Songkran. As I was based in Koh Phangan, I celebrated Songkran there.

Wondering if Koh Phangan is a great option to celebrate Songkran?

I think it is! It’s not the craziest party, of course, but it’s a great option if you want to experience it for one day. If you want to play with water pistols a bit longer, keep reading to see what it’s like to celebrate Songkran in other parts of Thailand.

Wait, what is Songkran?

Songkran is Thailand’s most famous festival. Also known as the water festival, it marks the beginning of the Thai New Year. The holidays normally lasts 3 days, but depending on where you are in Thailand, Songkran is celebrated one day or longer.

Next Songkran Festival Dates:

The next Songkran will be celebrated from April 13 to April 15, 2020.

How to Say “Happy New Year” in Thai?

To say Happy New Year in Thai, you can say “Sawadee Pee Mai”.

What It’s Like to Celebrate Songkran in Koh Phangan, Thailand

I had previously asked locals about Songkran in Koh Phangan. I knew Songkran could be super crazy in some parts of Thailand and I wanted to know if this would be the case in Koh Phangan too. They told me Songkran wasn’t that crazy and it would last one day.  

We woke up that morning with the idea to go work in a café (digital nomads here, hello!). We used our backpack waterproof cover to keep them safe and we started driving. It took a bit before we got “wet” but we did arrive at the café and we weren’t dry at all, ha!

That being said – going outside means it’s at your own risks!

We worked for a few hours and then we headed back home. Of course, we did buy water pistols along the way. We bought some big ones for TBH 280 each. You can fill up these pistols pretty much everywhere on the street – you’ll see water oses as well as big buckets of water.

We dropped off our laptops at home, put our swimsuits on and went for it. We parked our scooter in Thong Sala (close to the pier) and we saw that the road was closed for cars. So many pedestrians were armed with their water pistols and ready to attack us.

There was also a party with a DJ and everyone was dancing around in the afternoon.  It basically lasted for a while, and eventually, we got tired and headed back home. It took a lot of energy, ha!

Let the photos speak for themselves!

Where Can You Celebrate Songkran in Thailand?

Songkran is celebrated everywhere in Thailand, but some parties are way bigger than others.  The most popular one is in Chiang Mai where the celebrations last for about a week and start even the day before. A lot of people travel to Chiang Mai to attend this event. 

Another great option to consider would be Bangkok – which is pretty massive too but doesn’t last as long as Chiang Mai.

You should also note that it can get dangerous too. Remember not to drink and drive, and be careful out there! Read more about the injuries and deaths during Songkran in 2019.

Songkran Tips for First-Timers

  • If playing with water sounds fun, you should also keep in mind that the pistols are filled again with water (sometimes dirty), and it’s pretty common to get ear or eye infections after the festival. That being said, if you wear contact lens – make sure to bring drops with you or eye contact liquid because, yes, your contact lens will get stuck in your eyelids regularly – there’s no pity at Songkran – people will aim for your pretty eyes.  I do wear contact lens and I got home with ugly red eyes. Thankfully, I always travel with antibiotic drops and the situation was resolved quickly. It’s also common to see people wearing Snorkel mask, Goggles and sunglasses during Songkran.
  • Apart from that, as I said above, if you go outside during Songkran, it’s at your own risks. That being said, expect to be soaking wet pretty quickly, so do not bring your non-waterproof phone or your money without a waterproof bag or a dry bag. I brought my waterproof GoPro with me and a dry bag, and everything seemed to be fine!
  • Be careful while driving, people will try to get you even when you drive. A lot of crashes can happen on Songkran, so if you don’t feel comfortable driving, you could always walk.
  • Don’t wear your prettiest clothes either. It’s common to see people applying flour on other people.  That’s not a huge problem, but it’s also common to see people adding colors to the water and you won’t want to ruin your cute outfit.
  • Make sure you have your travel insurance ready. As I mentioned above, a lot of people get injuries during Songkran or even some sort of infections. Better be safe than sorry! Check the options on World Nomads or SafetyWing. You can read more about travel insurance here.
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Best Diving in Thailand https://terratopix.com/best-diving-in-thailand/ Tue, 04 Jun 2019 09:42:00 +0000 https://terratopix.com/?p=608

You’ve decided to book your flights and now you’re wondering if you can do any diving in Thailand? Of course, you can! Thailand might be a big country, but there are also great benefits when it comes to diving.

Depending on the seasons, you could find yourself diving in the Andaman Sea or in the Gulf of Thailand.

Wondering where to find the best places to dive in Thailand? I’ve done some research. In this post, you’ll find out more about where to dive in Thailand, what are the best seasons when it comes to diving in Thailand and everything you should know before your trip (including what to pack).

Diving in Andaman Sea, Thailand

Thailand Diving Season – Andaman Sea

The best time to dive in the Andaman Sea would be from November to May. It could be possible to dive during the rainy season, but the visibility will be reduced. When it comes to diving, we all want great visibility, isn’t that right?

To make it easier for you, I have divided the dive sites by land locations. That way you can see the options around your destinations.

Best Diving Around Koh Lanta, Thailand

Diving from Koh Lanta isn’t necessarily the cheapest as some of the dive sites are located quite far from the island. Some sites are much closer to Koh Phi Phi or Phuket. Although, if you aren’t planning on heading there during your Thailand trip, you can still access these dive sites from Koh Lanta.

Best Dive Sites Around Koh Lanta, Thailand:

  • Koh Haa
  • Bida Nok & Bida Nai
  • King Cruiser Wreck
  • Hin Daeng & Muang
  • Koh Rok

What to expect from diving in Koh Lanta, Thailand:

If you’re lucky enough, you might be able to see manta rays and whale sharks from February to April. There’s a lot to see in these waters: batfish, octopus, barracuda schools, colorful fish, etc.

Best Diving Around Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

If Koh Phi Phi is pretty popular for the party animals out there, it’s also well known for its diving opportunities. Koh Phi Phi is also a great base for those who want to scuba dive around as it’s close to many important dive sites.

Best Dive Sites in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand:

  • Bida Nok & Bida Nai
  • Hin Daeng & Muang
  • Hin Dot (also known as Chimney Rock)
  • Malong Bay
  • Kled Gaeow Wreck

What to expect from diving in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand:

Diving in Koh Phi Phi promises a lot of beautiful colorful reefs. You might be able to spot leopard sharks, seahorses and triggerfish. Then if you’re lucky, you might even sea manta rays or whale sharks from February to April.

Best Diving Around Phuket, Thailand

Phuket has great diving options for shore diving as well as boat diving. It’s a popular destination if you’re thinking of going to the popular Similan and Surin Islands. You can also access some of the best dive sites around Koh Phi Phi from Phuket.

Best Dive Sites Around Phuket, Thailand:

  • Shark Point
  • Racha Noi South Tip
  • Koh Dok Mai
  • Anemone Reef
  • Bida Nok & Bida Nai
  • Dive sites around Similan Islands
  • Dive sites around Surin Islands

What to expect from diving in Phuket, Thailand:

Diving around Phuket is surely fascinating. Expect to see tuna, barracuda, butterflyfish, angelfish, turtles and trumpetfish.  You could also see whale sharks from February to May.

Best Diving Around Koh Lipe, Thailand

Koh Lipe is located close to the Malaysian border in the very south of Thailand. The island is basically on the border of the Tarutao National Marine Park which is good news for divers! There are many exciting dive sites in the region as well as great night diving opportunities.

Best Dive Sites Around Koh Lipe, Thailand:

  • Tarutao National Marine Park
  • Stone Henge
  • 8 Mile Rock
  • Koh Taru
  • Far Islands

What to expect from diving in Koh Lipe, Thailand:

There’s a lot to see – dolphins, different types of wales, rays as well as sharks. Imagine tuna, mackerel and barracuda.

Diving in the Gulf of Thailand

Thailand Diving Season – Gulf of Thailand

Diving in the Gulf of Thailand is better at some other time of the year. Its peak would be from May to September. The visibility would be reduced during the rainy season.

Best Diving Around Koh Tao, Thailand

Note that you can also find great diving options from Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, although, most dive sites are closer to Koh Tao.

Koh Tao might be a tiny island, but it’s pretty rich in terms of diving sites. Offering over 25 different dive sites, there’s a lot to explore around the island. I personally had my Open Water Course in Koh Tao, you can read about it here.


Best Dive Sites in Koh Tao, Thailand:

  • Chumphon Pinnacle
  • HTMS Sattakut Wreck
  • South-West Pinnacle
  • White Rock
  • Shark Island
  • Sail Rock (Close to Koh Phangan)

What to expect from diving around Koh Tao, Thailand:

If you’re lucky enough, you could spot whale sharks in April and May. Expect to see triggerfish, reef fish as well as macro critters and morays. Koh Tao is also a great destination for night diving.

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How to Get to Railay Beach from Ao Nang or Krabi https://terratopix.com/how-to-get-to-railay-beach-from-ao-nang-or-krabi/ Tue, 04 Jun 2019 09:33:05 +0000 https://terratopix.com/?p=597

You’ve finally made it to Ao Nang (or Krabi) and now you’re wondering how to get to Railay Beach?

Understandable. You might want to check out Railay Beach, which is one of the most famous beaches in Thailand.

To get to Railay Beach, you’ll have to get there by boat.

Where Is Railay Beach?

Let’s start with the beginning.  Where is the famous Railay Beach?

As you can see on this map, there’s no road that leads to Railay Beach. You can reach Railay Beach via boat coming from Ao Nang Beach or Krabi Town.

How to Get to Railay Beach from Ao Nang

If you’re heading from Ao Nang to Railay Beach, it’s pretty simple. You can head to Ao Nang Beach and look for the little shop that sells boat tickets on the beach.  If you can’t find it, you can talk with the captains on the beach (they normally wear a blue t-shirt).

The tickets normally cost TBH 100 for one-way or 200 for a round-trip. Once they have enough people, the boat leaves for Railay Beach.

How to Get to Railay Beach from Krabi

The easiest way to get to Railay Beach from Krabi Town would be to get to Klong Jilad Pier to get a boat ticket.

From Krabi Town, the process will be similar too – but as it’s a bit further, you can expect to pay TBH 200 for one-way.

Where Should You Stay While You’re in the Area?

There are three main areas where people decide to stay when they fly to Krabi Airport. You can either stay in Krabi Town, Ao Nang or directly on Railay Beach.

I’d recommend Ao Nang as there’s not much going on in Krabi Town and Railay Beach is a bit more expensive as well as quite touristy. Railay Beach is ideal for a day-trip, but a few hours was more than enough for me.

Ao Nang was a great base even though it was quite touristy. The area is beautiful, you can find plenty of restaurants and cafés around and the beaches are nice.

Where to Stay in Ao Nang

♥ Our Pick: Golden Palm Resort – We picked that one as it was pretty affordable and it looked new. The location was not central, so we had to rent a scooter. That being said, it wasn’t super easy to get there from Krabi Town as the local transports weren’t going that way, but we managed. They also organized transport to get to Krabi Airport for us and there’s laundry available on site. The staff was super friendly.

Where to Stay in Railay Beach

Getting to Ao Nang or Krabi Town from Krabi Airport

From Krabi Airport, you’ll find plenty of transports available to reach Krabi Town, Ao Nang and Railay Beach. Grab App is quite expensive, so the cheapest way is to get a taxi or a shared van.

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What To Do in Railay Beach, Thailand https://terratopix.com/what-to-do-in-railay-beach-thailand/ Tue, 04 Jun 2019 09:17:23 +0000 https://terratopix.com/?p=588

Krabi is quite a popular destination for those visiting Thailand – especially the adventurers.  If you booked your flight to Krabi and you’re wondering what to do around Krabi – you might want to make sure you don’t stay in Krabi Town the whole time. There’s more to see in this area – I’m thinking of Railay Beach and/or Ao Nang.

So what is there to do in Railay Beach? There are many great adventures that can be done in Railay Beach area. In this post, you’ll find out what are the top things to do in Railay Beach as well as tips for visiting this popular spot.

If you’re planning a day trip to Railay Beach or if you’re thinking of staying there for a few days, here’s what to do in Railay Beach. This list excludes the beach bumming part as you might want to find alternatives to laying down on the beach for hours.

Exploring Railay Beach Area

Railay Beach area is divided into different sections. There are Railay West (which is the most popular spot around the area), East Railay and Ao Phra Nang Beach. There are a few viewpoints around the area as well as caves and a lagoon.  Although, depending on the tides, you might not be able to access all these points.

Once you reach an area, you can normally walk to the next spot. You can find maps around and it’s easy to understand where you are. Although, some places such as the lagoon and viewpoints are accessible by hiking – which in this case would refer to climbing. (I haven’t tempted the climbing for a couple of reasons – I was wearing flipflops and I can get scared of heights easily.)

Railay West

Railay West is the main area – you can expect a long white sand beach.  You can find a bit of shade on the beach, but it can get quite crowded especially during the afternoon.

East Railay

East Railay is a bit quieter. Although, there’s no beach on that side. It’s great if you want to walk around.  You can expect to find cool bars as well as a lot of boats. The water was quite dirty on that side, which means it’s not very suitable for swimming.

Ao Phra Nang Beach

Ao Phra Nang Beach is accessible by walk. It’s a very pretty beach, but also quite small if I compare it to Railay West. It was quite crowded when we went, so we didn’t stay very long.

Rock Climbing in Railay Beach

Railay Beach area is well known for its rock climbing options. It could be a great opportunity for you to learn rock-climbing while in Railay Beach.

Kayaking

You can rent a kayak on Railay Beach to access Ao Phra Nang or to discover the area. It costs about TBH 200 for one hour.

Stand Up Paddle-Boarding

You can rent a SUP on Railay Beach. It costs about TBH 100 for one hour.

Diving / Snorkeling

There’s a dive centre in Railay Beach which means you can start your scuba diving or snorkeling trip from Railay Beach. You can read more about diving in Thailand here.

Trip to Tonsai Beach

Between Ao Nang and Railay Beach, there’s another beach called Tonsai Beach. You could head there for the day and mix up the views a little.

Tips for Visiting Railay Beach for a Day Trip (Or Longer)

Here are a few things to keep in mind when organizing your Railay Beach day trip. Of course, these tips also apply if you’re staying longer.

The Tides

As I mentioned above, you need to keep in mind that the tides can change and influence things such as the lagoon or the paths to reach Ao Phra Nang Beach. You can find information about the tides here.

How to Get to Railay Beach

You can reach Railay Beach by boat. You can read more about getting to Railay Beach from Ao Nang and Krabi here.

How Long Should You Stay in Railay Beach

You will have to decide if you’re staying in Railay Beach or if you’ll just go on a day trip instead.

I decided to base myself in Ao Nang instead of Railay Beach which means that we only went on a day trip to Railay Beach – which was more than enough for me considering the fact that it was a bit too touristy for my liking. If you’d like to experience a unique way to see Railay Beach – you could also check out this sunset tour including night snorkeling.

Although, if you’re planning on relaxing on a beach far from a city, this could be the right option for you.

I would also like to remind you that there are many cool islands to visit around Thailand such as Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Tao, etc. You could find even better beaches on these fabulous Thai islands.

It’s Not Super Budget Friendly

As your options are going to be limited, prices are quite high in Railay Beach. You’ll find mostly resorts and mid-range accommodation. Food isn’t the best – but again, your options are limited, so you can’t really complain, can you?

This is another reason why you shouldn’t stay too long in Railay Beach – you got to try Thai food while in Thailand – and by that, I mean really good non-touristy Thai restaurants.

Where to Stay in Railay Beach, Thailand

There aren’t many options when it comes to accommodation in Railay Beach. You’ll find mostly resorts and mid-range accommodation. There’s only one hostel around – which is listed below.

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Learn to Dive in Koh Tao, Thailand https://terratopix.com/learn-to-dive-in-koh-tao-thailand/ Mon, 03 Jun 2019 11:52:55 +0000 https://terratopix.com/?p=581

Like many other destinations in Southeast Asia, Thailand is one of the best places to scuba dive. Many travelers love to dive while in Southeast Asia as the prices to get your scuba diving certification and to join fun dives are super affordable.

Since my trip to the Philippines a few years ago, I was pretty curious about this underwater world. I had met a lot of divers during my travels and they got me excited about the potential things I could see while scuba diving. Although, I was still not 100% sure this could be right for me considering my fear of being underwater for too long. I put these thoughts in the back of my mind and thought that one day, I’ll definitely try when I’d be ready. As there’s no better time as the present, I was trying to organize my next travel plans when I got an opportunity to do my PADI in Koh Tao. It sounded like a great opportunity.

Let’s discuss what it’s like to do your PADI in Koh Tao and why you should pick Koh Tao for your scuba diving certification. Then, we’ll discuss a bit more about diving in general in Thailand and, of course, in Koh Tao.

To get your scuba diving certification, you’ll have to go through different steps.

  1. Theory & Quiz
  2. Exam
  3. Practice skills in the pool
  4. Practice skills in open water
  5. Certification

You can get certified in about 3 or 4 days, depending if you’re doing the theory online or at the diving centre. I did my open water course in 4 days and it was divided this way:

  • Day 1: Theory for a few hours
  • Day 2: Skills in the pool in AM, theory and exam in PM
  • Day 3: 2 dives in PM
  • Day 4: 2 dives in AM

The goal is basically to practice all the skills necessary to scuba dive safely up to 18 metres.

STORYTIME: Personally, I always have been quite nervous in the water. I was then quite anxious about getting my scuba diving certification. As Koh Tao is a great destination for beginners, it made me feel quite safe. Also, Juan, my instructor, was patient and very helpful.  This helped me be more confident when I was feeling nervous especially since I had to practice a few skills with my eyes closed as I wear soft contact lenses. I remember taking my first breath underwater (in the pool) – it felt incredible but so weird at the same time. It felt even weirder when we got in the open water and I had to equalize. It was such a cool and fun experience and I can’t wait to dive more. Getting my PADI opened a whole new world for me when it comes to finding new destinations and travel adventures.

Koh Tao Diving Academy Review

When it comes to picking a diving centre in Koh Tao, you want to make sure you’ll stay safe the whole time and you want to make sure you have a great instructor. Reading reviews is definitely helpful.  

As Koh Tao Diving Academy is quite a new scuba diving school, they didn’t have tons of reviews yet, but the ones they had were surely great and reassuring.  All the staff was passionate about scuba diving, very helpful and dynamic. If you’re looking for the best diving school in Koh Tao, look no further!

I really enjoyed my training, I felt safe the entire time and I would highly recommend them if you’re thinking of getting your diving certification in Koh Tao.  If you want to do other diving courses or enjoy a few fun dives, it could also be a great option for you, of course!

Koh Tao Diving Academy also offers accommodation at their affiliate resort and is located next to a sandwich shop, which is ideal for a quick lunch during your course! They offer their courses in different languages too, which is another great bonus.

Why Choose Koh Tao for Your Scuba Diving Certification in Thailand

Koh Tao is one of the top spots to learn to dive in Thailand. Imagine a tiny island where you can appreciate divine views, but also discover a whole new world underwater. The Gulf of Thailand is an easy spot to learn to dive and Koh Tao has pretty affordable prices when it comes to doing your scuba diving certification.

Koh Tao Dive Sites & Diving Season

Koh Tao has around 25 dive sites.  If you’re visiting the other islands around like Koh Phangan or Koh Samui, there’s a high chance they will bring you around Koh Tao for your dives. As the water is quite calm around Koh Tao, it makes it perfect for a good dive!

Here’s a list of the popular dive sites in Koh Tao:

  • Chumphon Pinnacle
  • Twins
  • White Rock
  • Green Rock
  • Shark Island
  • Southwest Pinnacle
  • Sail Rock

The best time to dive in Koh Tao when it comes to visibility is from May to August.  If you’re lucky, you could spot whale sharks which are normally around from February to May.  You can also read more about conditions and what you can see while diving in Thailand here.

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Surface Information: Lucy Kim Interviewed by Leeza Meksin https://terratopix.com/surface-information-lucy-kim-interviewed-by-leeza-meksin/ Tue, 22 Jan 2019 09:29:48 +0000 https://terratopix.com/?p=463

Reimagining the human body.

Lucy Kim1

Lucy Kim, Auto-Synthetic (Wooden Birds), 2018. Oil paint, urethane resin, fiberglass, epoxy, spray paint, powder-coated aluminum frame. 37 x 23.5 x 3 inches. Photo: Tony Luong. Courtesy of the artist. © Lucy Kim.

When Lucy Kim and I were roommates while attending grad school at Yale, she molded large sections of our apartment in aluminum foil. She prepared big sheets of aluminum by joining the narrow strips from standard kitchen rolls, and, while wearing gloves, she would create delicate rubbings over wainscotting, tile, appliances, shoes, and other objects around the apartment. The immediacy of this dogged rubbing process stuck with me as embodying Kim’s insistence on engaging physically and materially with her subject matter. Currently, her work is on view in two group shows that relate figuration and historical narrative: States of Freedom: The Figure in Flux at Tufts University Art Galleries, and Classic Beauty: 21st-Century Artists on Ancient [Greek] Form at Providence College Galleries. She has also been invited by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to be an artist-in-residence starting this fall where she will engage with scientists to learn about their research and relate it back to how the human body is imagined and visually represented.

—Leeza Meksin

Leeza MeksinIn your recent work, you’ve shifted from using body parts that felt anonymous to making casts of very specific people. Can you talk about this shift and how your new work relates to the historical genre of portraiture?

Lucy KimI use mold-making and casting in my work because I see it as a sculptural surrogate for photography: it has the authority of a record, but it’s literally more thing-like. In the past, I mainly used fragments of the human form, which is what makes them feel anonymous even though I often mentioned the model’s name in the title. About three years ago, I wanted to start cranking up the pressure of these casts as records. I began thinking about identification in the public realm: passports, driver’s licenses, mug shots, etc. It’s from this context that I accidentally veered into portraiture.

LMYou’ve now cast a geneticist, a plastic surgeon, and a personal trainer. Can you tell me more about these decisions?

LKI wanted to use the bodies of people who manipulate the human body for a living. At first, I was also going to include people whose occupations indirectly affected the human body, for example, those in the legal and psychiatric professions. But in the end I opted to stay literal because it quickly collapsed into almost everything mattering, which then became a “so what” situation. It became important that the manipulation was of actual bodily material. Specificity is usually more open and accessible than the general, in my experience.

LMCan you elaborate on how photography relates to your work?

LKFirst, I’m interested in its use as a documentary tool—as record, evidence, and proof. Second, I’m fascinated by the way it naturalizes the transition from subject to image. That transitional space is what I want my work to engage with, which is why I substitute photography with its more materially and physically aggressive counterpart: mold-making and casting. The distortions—flattening, stretching, cropping, enlarging—are much more awkward, comical, or even violent when performed literally onto a thing, especially since I tend to eliminate all structural integrity like bone structure and focus mostly on surface information.

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