IN THE MOMENT
I don’t think I can tell you just how incredible our recent trip to Thailand was, thankfully they say a picture tells a thousand words, but even with this monster of a post, the images can’t portray just how much fun we had. This was a holiday put together to celebrate my 30th birthday and alongside my husband, Jenai and of course my sister, Natalya, five more of my nearest and dearest came with me all the way to Krabi for an adventure worthy of signing off my twenties.
Our trip to Thailand was nothing short of epic and for me, was the epitome of what a holiday should be. We had rented a private villa, organised a super loose but fun filled schedule of things to do and made sure we kept in plenty of time for lounging and lazing by the pool. Our trip also coincided with a collaboration Natalya and I had with Accessorize to feature their new Spirit collection ‘In The Moment’ and this inspired us to go about capturing our travels in a completely new and natural way. This Summer, for us, it’s all about taking a step back and really soaking in all there is to offer in the moment with our loved ones and each other. We’ll never get this precious time back, so living our best life’ as one of our best friends, JC would chant throughout the trip has become our new mantra.
We wanted our documentation of Krabi and our eight days there to be as chilled out and true to form as possible so we just went with the flow, shooting only when we felt like it and not making the whole trip about ‘pictures’ rather, enjoying the moment and soaking it in through our eyes rather than our screens. I’m still pretty impressed with how much we ended up capturing, and we’ve put it together to offer a little bit of a guide, in case Krabi ever becomes a destination you find yourself in.
We hope you love it!
One of the most popular choices between all of our friends to add on to our itinerary was to visit all of the beautiful islands in Krabi, including the Phi Phi islands. We spent two days island hopping, splitting the days up and setting off once at the beginning of our trip, and once at the end. There were seven of us in total, so splitting the cost of a private speed boat was very cheap and it meant we had complete privacy and hours of exploring, with the freedom of spending as much or as little time in each place as we wanted.
There is so much to see in Krabi, we ticked off about eight or ten islands and coves, each one offering something completely new and different. Some of them are national parks, so a small fee would be required to dock your boat and hop off, but sometimes, we wouldn’t even dock and instead just jump off the boat for a little bit of snorkelling. Thailand sits on the Indian Ocean, so the water here is just remarkable, think crystal clear, bright blue or emerald green with lots of sea life right beneath the surface. Snorkelling was so much fun.
From visiting the most incredible lagoons to docking at a tiny strip of beach called Monkey Island, completely inhabited by wild monkeys, we just couldn’t believe how remarkable it all was.
ISLANDS TO VISIT
Phi Phi Islands (these are made up of several islands including Maya Cove).
Jenai and I love a good hotel, but when you travel with a group, it’s always way more fun to rent a villa so you can all stay in the same place and enjoy the privacy that comes with it. We rented a gorgeous four bedroom villa which came with a wonderful concierge and she was truly the lifeline of our trip, from dropping me off to the pharmacy to get antihistamines to reduce the swelling of a major mosquito bite on my eye (yes my eye!), to organising a private chef to cook for us or call in masseuses, we felt so spoiled and completely at ease when trying to figure out how to go about planning our days.
On days when we weren’t hiking, island hopping or in search for waterfalls, we would spend our time by the pool, relaxing, getting massages (which were unbelievably cheap, around £8 for an hour of full body) or getting ready to head off for a Thai cooking class at a local cooking school. It was pure bliss.
TUP KAEK NATIONAL PARK
Also known as ‘Dragon’s Crest’, doing this hike was on my list the second we booked our flights. It’s about a three-hour journey to the top, and the park disclaims it’s ‘family friendly’ but to be honest, it’s not. You definitely need to have good endurance to make it to the top and be willing to brave off mosquito’s and other creatures, but regardless of that, it’s one the most beautiful views you will ever see and so satisfying when you make it to the top. I absolutely loved every second of this hike, and so did Natalya, we decided to wear sports bras from thew new Accessorize Spirit collection, which is all about fitness and wellness and cheered each other on the entire way. It was certainly not easy but like I said, so satisfying when you make it and worth ever step once you get to the top. We don’t usually stray too far away from non-sports brands for workout gear, but we just love the colourful prints and the beautiful backs that the pieces in the Spirit collection offer, and thankfully, the material really held up against all of the elements during our hike.
Going down was harder than coming up but we decided to all jump in a natural pool at the bottom of the hike (in our clothes) and that made everything so much better! I’d highly, highly recommend doing this trek, it’s such a great way to experience nature and one hell of a workout.
MEETING AN ELEPHANT
This experience was a really tricky one for us. We were all desperate to meet an elephant but really wanted to avoid participating in anything brutal such as elephant trekking. We know it’s a huge demand by tourists to ride elephants but it’s just something we couldn’t do, so we asked our lovely concierge if the park which housed some elephants would allow us to meet one of them, without having to ride them or do anything else unnatural, and they kindly agreed.
When we got to the park, it was a little bittersweet. We realised just how awful this industry is, witnessing a group of tourists take it in turns to sit on the back of this little seven-year-old elephant, was just heartbreaking. To be in the presence of an elephant was just remarkable, they’re such majestic and regal creatures and deserve nothing but respect. When the other tourists left and we were allowed to meet her, it was just so magical. She was so cute and you could tell was thoroughly enjoying her bath time! They allowed us to wash her, scrub her skin and feed her two baskets of bananas. I think we spent about half an hour just splashing her with water, watching her as she enjoyed herself splashing us back and she was left to do as she pleased in the pool with us, no commands were given and you could see that she was happy. As soon as she was washed and it was time to feed her, a command was given for her to bow and we were all sprung back to reality, we kindly asked them not to demand any special tricks from her and to just leave her be.
It was really difficult to blame the family who ran this business as they were just doing what the tourists demand in order to put food on their table, but since then, all we really want to do is highlight the experience we had to show others that you don’t have to meet an elephant in such an abnormal way, by watching them do tricks or trekking on their backs. If more of us demand a natural approach, perhaps by visiting sanctuaries or elephant orphanages and interacting with them in ways that aren’t abusing and instead help out by bathing them or feeding them, then perhaps they won’t need to put the elephants through such torture in order to make a living.
Krabi doesn’t have any elephant sanctuaries, but we’re hoping that because the place we visited still managed to earn some money through our being there, that they’ll understand they don’t need to cater for people who only want to go elephant trekking, and they can slowly push that service out and swap it for a more natural approach.
OTHER THINGS TO DO
Chase waterfalls! We went to Huai Tito Waterfall and it was just incredible. We spent hours just enjoying the view, swimming in the natural pool and testing out our climbing skills once again to see how far up we could go. It was just beautiful, and another great way to explore the nature of Krabi.
Take a cooking class. We went to Thai Charm Cooking School and it was so much fun. Our teacher was hilarious and we learned how to make soup, curry, Pad Thai and local desserts. None of us knew we were such great chefs, everything turned out delicious and you get to leave with a certificate (to show off at dinner parties) and a recipe book.
I couldn’t believe how much we managed to do and see in Krabi, everything was so different and no two days felt the same. It was the most fun I’ve ever had with the best group of friends a girl could ask for and living in the moment was one of the best ways to experience it. We both feel so inspired to continue exploring the world in a more balanced way like we did in Thailand. We spent so much more time in the present rather than on our phones and it made the biggest difference to our memories.