Wrap-Up: April 2017

Railay Beach, Thailand - Asia Travel

Hello friends and welcome to my new monthly wrap-up series! In an effort to stay relevant and keep you informed on my current travels (since this blog is usually a month or two behind on where I actually am), I’ve decided to start writing personal wrap-up posts.

We’re already eight days into May, clearly I’m falling behind on keeping you guys up to date on my month-to-month travels. So, let’s dive right in!

After a difficult March, April was everything that I needed to feel rejuvenated and grounded again. There was a lot of social fun involved, but also plenty of relaxation that I enjoyed in Koh Lanta, working on music and freelance work. I also added a couple of new Thai destinations to my travels, and started planning out the rest of my year.

So, without further ado, let’s review what I got up to in April!

Watermelon smoothie in Koh Lanta, Thailand - Asia Travel
Watermelon smoothie in Koh Lanta, Thailand.

After checking into a dorm in Koh Lanta at the start of April, the rest of the month was history. I met a good group of travelers and immediately connected to one Canadian girl in particular, Pascale, who you may have seen in a couple of my recent videos.

She invited me up to the Full Moon Party and Songkran with her in Koh Phangan, and I ended up having a ridiculously good time. After a lot of parties, I spent quite a bit of time back on Koh Lanta to enjoy some “me time”. After a short stint on Koh Phi Phi, I made the long journey up north and I’m now residing in Chiang Mai.

Exploring Lod Cave in Pai, Thailand - Asia Travel
Exploring Lod Cave in Pai, northern Thailand.

PLACES & MEMORIES

Koh Lanta | I spent most of April on Koh Lanta. I started the month there, met a lot of new friends, did a lot of freelance work, and then left for a week to head up to Koh Phangan. I came back toward the end of the month for a couple of weeks, enjoyed my own bungalow on the beach, and tried to catch the sunset every night.

Koh Lanta, Thailand - Asia Travel
Friends in Koh Lanta, Thailand. Photo by Pascale KT

Ao Nang | I traveled up to Ao Nang with Pascale. Honestly, I was expecting to like it more than I did. I heard such good things about it from most other travelers, but I found it to be the worst kind of touristy. It was beautiful, but so are a lot of other parts of Thailand. The locals, especially, we found to be quite rude and pushy.

In Ao Nang, we met up with a couple of French friends who we had met in Koh Lanta the week before, visited the popular Railay beach, rode in long tail boats, and watched the most epic sunset that included a rainbow at the end.

Sunset in Ao Nang, Thailand - Asia Travel
Sunset in Ao Nang, Thailand.

Koh Phangan | I visited Koh Phangan a few years ago, but only for the Full Moon Party, so it was nice spending five nights on the island this time around to really soak everything in. I made some great memories throughout my time there.

We ran into quite a few people that we had met in Koh Lanta (everyone seemed to be going to the Full Moon Party), including our French friends again. The four of us spent most of the five days together, exploring the island and the many parties around the Full Moon.

The Full Moon Party was pretty much what I remembered it to be, a drunken mess of buckets, bros, and glo-paint, but it was still a fun night. I had a better time for Songkran, the Thai New Year which is basically a full-on water fight. In Koh Phangan it’s not as big as other parts of Thailand, so we only celebrated it one day, but it was one of my favorite days of the month.

Songkran in Koh Phangan, Thailand - Asia Travel
Me and Pascale in Koh Phangan for Songkran.

There were many late nights, adventures, and plenty of good stories that I came away with on Koh Phangan.

Koh Phi Phi | In between Koh Phangan and Koh Phi Phi I went back to Koh Lanta for a couple of weeks. I finally made it to Koh Phi Phi after four months of living in Thailand. I felt like I should see it while I was over on the Andaman Coast. I was kind of putting it off, because I knew it wouldn’t necessarily be my travel scene.

Koh Phi Phi is a huge party island, and although it’s beautiful, it’s also very touristy, expensive, and again, has a lot of drunk western bros. I only spent three nights on the island and that was more than enough.

Maya Bay in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand - Asia Travel
THE Beach in Koh Phi Phi Le.

It’s a pretty island that is easy to explore since everything is walkable – there’s no actual roads on Koh Phi Phi. I took a boat trip to see Koh Phi Phi Le and Maya Bay where the movie The Beach was filmed, I unfortunately didn’t see Leo though. Sad day.

I also watched the fire show at Slinky Bar every night, and found it to be the best fire show in Thailand by far.

Reads

I started off April with reading a book about behavioral psychology called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I studied psychology at university so anything having to do with the brain I’m usually a fan of. I loved diving into behavioral psychology studies again and learning more about habits, and how they can change so much in your life.

I also read the short TED-speech-adapted-essay by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie called We Should All Be Feminists. It was interesting reading about feminism from the perspective of a female Nigerian author, and it was incredibly powerful and right on point. If you want to watch her TED speech on the same subject, you can find it here.

Koh Lanta, Thailand - Asia Travel
One of my favorite pastimes – reading near the beach.

Next up, I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, the young adult novel that blew up in popularity a few years ago. It was as sad as I heard it would be, but I really enjoyed the premise and the two main characters’ perspectives on life when you have a terminal illness.

Lastly, I just started reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz, a book that has been recommended a lot for its memorable story and unique writing. I’m only into the first few chapters but I’m already hooked.

PLANS

I’m currently in Chiang Mai after spending a few days up in the little hippie town of Pai. I just reunited with Pascale yesterday, and we’ll be hanging out for the next few days before saying goodbye again. I have less than a week left on my Thai visa, so I’ll have to make my way to Laos soon.

Thailand has been great, but I’m ready for a new country and new memories. And I’ve never been to Laos so I’m excited to explore a brand new culture. Until then, I’ll be enjoying my last few days in Thailand with elephants, temples, and connecting with more travel friends who I met in Pai.

Pai, Thailand - Asia Travel
Pai, Thailand.

We’ll see what the rest of May has in store for me, the adventure continues!

How was your month? Did you travel anywhere new in April?

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Mimi McFadden
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Mimi McFadden

Travel Writer/Blogger at The Atlas Heart
Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
Mimi McFadden
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