Ditch Phuket!!! And Head North to Khao Lak instead

Ditch Phuket!!! And Head North to Khao Lak instead

Ditch Phuket!!! I hear what you’re thinking, Is this guy serious?

Perhaps I am being a little harsh, because Phuketis great, yes great!!! And if that is your preferred holiday destination, I’ll be the first to say there is nothing wrong with that. Especially if you love the busy atmosphere that comes with the popular tourist island of Thailand.

What if I could tell you that there is another option just as appetising for travellers, that is situated along the West Coast of Thailand that overlooks the Andaman Sea, and better yet, it’s only a short 60-minute drive from the Phuket International Airport.

Sounds Great!!! Well let me introduce you to Khao Lak.

The chances are you have probably heard of it, some of you have probably paid a visit, but if you haven’t stumbled across Khao Lak during your time in Thailand or if you are just plain unfamiliar with coastal town, I am going to give you a few reasons why you should head North to Khao Lak and ditch Phuket in the process.

Ditch Phuket

Jump for joy, it’s Khao Lak.

 

 

Less hustle and bustle

 

Less, crowds, less tourist, less worries. Walking around the town centre and the major markets of Khao Lak are a breeze, especially when there is less chance of colliding with people on the streets and watching your step at every turn. Another bonus is the amount of traffic on the streets, it is considerably less, which also means less motor bikes to doge.

In the quieter streets of Khao Lak you have the luxury to shop with freedom and without getting hassled constantly by a shop owner, at least until you are ready to buy because that’s when the bartering begins. The same can be said with laidback nature of Khao Lak’s bars and restaurants, wander in grab a seat and enjoy a relaxing Chang beer, while mingling with those around you, and at the end of night, either stroll back to your hotel or catch an affordable taxi that are readily available.

 

Khao Lak Markets

Get out and about in the markets of Khao Lak.

 

Pristine beaches

 

From the time you enter Khao Lak and take your first glimpse of the coast line over the Andaman Sea, you will be mesmerised at how beautiful the beaches look from afar. Very white and pristine. The first thought will be take camera out and take some amazing photos.  

Once at the beach itself, there is plenty of room to move about, with crowds simply not an issue and the seas quite calm in most areas. Best of all you will find the beaches are kept relatively clean, so take of your thongs and enjoy the soft sand underneath your feet and enjoy a stroll by ocean.

Khao lak beaches

Ditch Phuket for these beautiful Khao Lak beaches.

 

Delightful beachside resorts

 

When a town is situated on the beach, there are bound to be some fine beachside resorts and Khao Lak doesn’t disappoint with many fine resorts spread out through the town. You will find a number resorts either within walking distance of the town or some a little further out.

Some great resorts of note in Khao Lak is the Mai Khao Lak Resort, Laguna Resort, Beyond Resort and the delightful Anda Mani Resort. Be sure you that you will find plenty of accommodations in the area to suit most budgets.

Heading to Khao Lak? Check out hotel prices at TripAdvisor.

 

Mai Khao Lak

Mai Khao Lak Resort.

 

 

Khao Lak has everything you need for a perfect holiday

 

Whatever it is you desire for a luxury holiday, khao Lak will not let you down. Shopping, beaches, waterfalls, restaurants and bars and many attractions within close proximity to town. Khao Lak has all what Phuket has to offer, just with less crowds.

You want a day trip out to James Bond Island or Phi Phi islands, Khao Lak and their popular tours will deliver. You want a trip over to Phuket, it’s only a short drive away and you can be back in time to watch a gorgeous Thai sunset to end the perfect day.

If you didn’t know much about Khao Lak, well now you know a little more, but nothing can beat seeing this fabulous town for yourself and witnessing true luxury. It may persuade you to ditch Phuket for your next holiday and explore a different of Thailand.

 

Khao Lak Beach

Overlooking a beach in Khao Lak.

About Your fair Dinkum Traveller

Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...

Blackheath in New South Wales – What to See & Do

Blackheath in New South Wales – What to See & Do

Originally known as East Lithgow, Blackheath is a region located in the Blue Mountains of NSW, Australia and as one of the highest of towns in the Blue Mountains area above sea level, there is plenty of fresh air and amazing views.

The name ‘Blackheath’ was given by the then Governor Lachlan Macquarie due to the black wild appearance of the native shrubbery and landscape of the area. Here’s some interesting things you could do while hanging around at Blackheath.

Blackheath

Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

Admire the scenery

Pulpit Rock Lookout is just a 15 minute walk from where you park, but to get there you do have to drive through unsealed dirt roads. The hike itself is a medium difficulty one but has a great reward of its spectacular views. This lookout is one of the lesser known ones but provides a 360 panoramic view of the mountains if you walk all the way down the stairs where it points out.

The Govetts Leap Lookout is the most popular lookout in the area, boasting clear views of the waterfall on the opposite side. Evans Lookout and Perry’s Lookdown share similar views to Govetts Leap Lookout, but at different points across the mountains of the Grose Valley.

Blackheath

Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

Get involved at the local events

The Blackheath Rhododendron Festival… Rhododendron sounds a bit like a many-sided shape but it is actually a genus of woody plants that bloom from winter to early summer.

Azaleas are a species that are part of the Rhododendron genus. This festival is held annually on the first weekend of November and features attractions such as its garden and art exhibitions and more.

For monthly events, there is the Blackheath Growers Market where you can buy and indulge in regional food produced by local growers and try artisanal foods. The market is held on the second Sunday of every month from 8am-12pm.

Blackheath

Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

Indulge in some local food

If you’re a lover of eating apples, head on over to Logan Brae – a boutique apple orchard with history dating back to 1919 where it was first planted and the Shipley Plateau which is a few minutes away was an important area for apple growing. It’s the last remaining orchard in the area so make a visit for apples, apple juice and all sorts of delicious foods such as apple pies.

Blackheath is home to many great cafes such as Anonymous Cage, Vesta and Victory Cafe. There are plenty of dining options available in the area.

Blackheath

Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

Horseback Riding

To further enjoy the wide open spaces of Blackheath, why not head to Centennial Glen Stables and go on a horseback riding tour on a sunset ride with great views along a variety of trails. Trail rides go for 2-5 hours depending on what you sign up for.

Blackheath

Photo Credit: Pixabay

The Blue Mountains area is a must see for both local and international travellers! Be sure to cross off Blackheath on your bucket list!

Heading to the Blue Mountains? Search for Accommodation at TripAdvisor.

Blackheath New South Wales

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Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...

Postcards: A Journey to Thailand’s James Bond Island

Postcards: A Journey to Thailand’s James Bond Island

You may think the appeal of heading out to Thailand’s James Bond Island has a lot to do with the Bond 1974 movie, “The man with the Golden Gun,” and you’re probably right. Back then it was used to house Bond’s main antagonist, while Roger Moore used his bag of tricks to bring down the bad guy. Not to mention Britt Ekland, who looked quite sexy as Bond’s leading lady.

Fast forward into the 21st century and not a lot has changed about this stunning island, it still holds its unique appearance amongst other islands in Phang Nga Bay and beautiful women are still the catch of the eye with their modern-day swimwear.

The only obvious difference these days, is that James Bond Island is now bombarded with tourist out to get a glimpse of the showpiece and it is quite commercialised with boats and a row of markets to the rear of the beach. None the less it is still quite spectacular.

Heading to Phuket? Search for affordable accommodation on TripAdvisor.

 

James Bond Island

Just like the 1974 film, beautiful women are still making way to James Bond Island.

 

The real name is what?

James Bond Island is what it’s referred to these days to attract all the tourist who flock to Thailand, but it may hold some interest to you that the actual name is Ko Khao Phing Kan. The famous tall islet that receives most attention from travellers is known as Ko Tapu.

 

James Bond Island

I marvel at the James Bond Island, Or Ko Tapu which is the name of the Islet.

James Bond Island

The real name is Ko Khao Phing Kan.

 

  Getting to the Island

There is only one way to get to the island and naturally, that is by boat. Whether it is in style on a luxury speed boat or the less comfortable Longboats, you will find plenty of day tours around Phuket and major tourist towns in the Phang Nga Province that can give you the Bond Experience. Most cruises to the island depart from The Phuket Marina and is on average about a 90-minute trip. Alternative, if staying on mainland Thailand, there are other departure areas in Phang Nga Bay that will get you to the Island in quick time after a bus trip through the land. Ask the tour agencies on the streets of any town centre for more information on day tours to the island.

 

James Bond Island

Tourist boats make their way to shore.

James Bond Island

James Bond Island.

 

  What to do at James Bond Island

Time at James Bond Island is generally limited due to the hectic schedule of a day trip. Therefore, there is no time to waste once you step foot off the boat, here is a few things to do on the island.

  • Take lots of Photos: It is a photographer’s dream and there will be several photos and selfies taken from all sorts of angles and vantage points, especially those higher spots that contain the best views of the Ko Tapu Islet.
James Bond Island

Great photos shots can be found all over the island.

 

  • Relax in the Sun: Even with limited time, those who desire a sunbake will find opportunity to roll out the towel and enjoy a little shut eye in the Thai heat. Alternatively, for the responsible travellers, there is plenty of shade on the main island, for those who seek a little respite from the heat.
James Bond Island

Take respite in the shade from the Thai heat.

 

  • Shopping at the boutique markets: It won’t be cheap, but still the markets are neatly rowed along the rear of the beach and sell most of the same souvenirs that can be found on the mainland. It won’t hurt to have a browse, but save the buying for Phuket.
James Bond Island

The markets are alive and buzzing.

 

  • Have a swim in the Bay: Swimming is a popular option in the calm bay, especially for those who are keen to take the forty-metre swim to touch the famous islet. Otherwise, it is a cool change to have a splash in the water and take more photos of the stunning surrounds.
James Bond Island

Take a swim in the Bay.

 

It’s Bond – James Bond. You have seen it in the movie, now you can see the popular film setting. Book a trip when you are next in Thailand, enjoy the cruise, enjoy the other islands in the area and most of all, enjoy a great day out with family and friends in near perfect conditions.

James Bond Island

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Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...

Khao Lak Diaries – 2nd Edition – Getting active in Thailand

Khao Lak Diaries – 2nd Edition – Getting active in Thailand

 

The weather started to clear up and whatever holed me up in a bed during the first edition of Khao Lak Diaries was somewhat easing (even I was a little weak). That meant my body finally had some of the capabilities to get active and embrace the surrounds of Khao Lak and see how beautiful the area truly is.

Although taking in the surrounds of Khao Lak, with its vibrant town centre and beautiful beaches wasn’t the only thing that will captivate my memory bank from the time I leave the tourist area. Heading out to Phang Nga Bay and its gorgeous islands, along with its stunning mangroves was an experience to saviour.

Getting active in Thailand was the theme of the second and last edition of my adventures in Khao Lak, and that meant getting out and about more often, swimming a lot more in the Mai Khao Lak resort swimming pools and exploring the region with the limited time left in Thailand.  

 

family James Bond Island.

Great family memories at Bond, James Bond.

 

Highlights of Khao Lak Diaries – 2nd Edition – Getting active in Thailand

A Longboat into Phang Nga Bay

Phang Nga Bay is as beautiful as it gets. Even on an overcast day, it didn’t take away the phenomenon as we set sail on the old longboat with the wind flowing through, bringing much relief to everyone from the humid conditions. The scenery was simply breathtaking as we by passed each island scattered in the bay with its hidden beaches, it had me thinking, if only I had my own boat to do as I please.

It was an active day out and about in Phang Nga Bay and it started with a canoe in the mangroves and through the Limestone Caves, with guides doing most of the work with the paddles, although I chimed in a little. James Bond Island (featured below) and the floating markets of Panyee Island, which is owned by the Thai Muslims were the other highlights during the busy day in the bay.

Active in thailand

Canoeing the Mangroves in Phang Nga Bay.

Active in thailand

Entering the caves.

 

James Bond Island

A part of the scene to the 1974 James Bond movie “The Man with the Golden Gun” and don’t Thailand like to utilise it for their day tours. With Good reason too, a spectacular setting with its lonesome rock and hidden beach and its overpriced markets that is run by the locals.

Time on the James Bond Island was unfortunately limited for our crew, but there was enough time to take selfies with the famous Island in the background, take a dip in the bay amongst the crowded with people keen to take a picture and to quickly rest up in the shade and admire everything around us. It was simply stunning.

James Bond Island

Entering into James Bond IslandJames Bond Island

James Bond Island.

 

Khao Lak Night Markets

Another Southeast Asian country and another night market, but you can’t visit any part of Thailand without taking in the experience of the local towns major market’s where a bargain is sure to be found as you sharpen the bartering skills.

The Bang Niang Markets is the attraction of the Khao Lak town centre, with plenty of stalls of clothes, souvenirs, fruit and veg, bars and restaurants that will occupy your time for hours. Don’t forget to grab a cheap fresh fruit smoothie, they are great, refreshing and appreciated in the Thai heat.

Bang Nieng Khoa Lak

Khao Lak Night markets, Bang Niang.

Khao Lak Markets

Dinner time!!!

 

 

Sky Bar – Khao Lak’s only Rooftop Bar

The setting of Khao Lak’s only rooftop bar happens at the gorgeous Mai Khao Lak Beach resort. The Sky Bar, on my one and only visit was quiet and there are a few reasons surrounding this, as it is a fair stretch out of town and the drinks are overpriced as you would expect at a resort bar.

However, if you wander in to the neat bar and restaurant around 5;30 pm, you will witness the best sunset in Khao Lak and it won’t hurt you to grab a cocktail or two as you witness the stunning views of the resort and out towards the Andaman Sea.

Heading to Khao Lak? Check out TripAdvisor for great hotel deals.

Mai Khao Lak

Khao Lak’s only rooftop bar, The Sky Bar.

Sky Bar Khao Lak

Great views from the Sky Bar.

Check out the previous edition of travel diaries, Khao Lak Diaries – First Edition – Wild Thailand.

 

Khao Lak

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About Your fair Dinkum Traveller

Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...

A Desire to turn a dream into Reality – Visiting Antarctica

A Desire to turn a dream into Reality – Visiting Antarctica

In my life of travel, I have been spoilt to visit many countries. I have gone deep into East Timor during peacekeeping times, taught English to the monks in Laos and stepped in to the demilitarised zone in Korea. They are only a few of the adventures I have had the privilege to go on thus far, yet still, I can’t be satisfied, because the bucket list is full of different adventures that include many destinations and visiting Antarctica is high priority.

Over time, I have marvelled at the footage of Antarctica while viewing a television documentary and I have envied other travel writers who have stepped foot onto the icy grounds and wish, if only that were me. Envy doesn’t help me get me there quicker though, only a desire through hard work and commitment can help make my own dreams turn into reality, and so I soldier on until I can finally tick off another bucket listed destination.  

Visiting Antarctica

A desire to cruise to Antarctica.

  I can only imagine the anticipation and the excitement levels of visiting Antarctica. Hopping aboard the mega cruise ship in Argentina and heading south to the planet’s most Southern Continent. Naturally, it would be bloody cold, but the idea of having such a unique adventure in an isolated environment would outweigh any severe chills. I like to assume that reaching Antarctica for the first time would be a case of, expect the unexpected. The excitement levels would still be in the air, that would never disappear, but now curiosity would filter through as you pass by the first ice glacier on your way to a whole new world. The biggest draw card of visiting Antarctica would have to be the wildlife. Those brave souls who were born to adapt to the cold climates and fight for their everyday survival in the harshest of climates. The Antarctic wildlife which would include, the Giant Killer Whales, the various species of seals that live in the south, and of course everyone’s favourites, the penguins. How amazing would it be to see those dazzling penguins in their natural habitat? Right now, I have Happy Feet on my mind. Penguins of AntarcticaPenguins of Antarctica. Picture from Pexels.   I have seen the range of activities on offer in Antarctica throughout various media outlets, what an adventure there is to be had in what I imagine to be the most spectacular scenery throughout the world.  Activities such as, kayaking through freezing waters with surrounding views, taking a hike in an unfamiliar climate, Having the guts to take on the terrifying polar plunge (no thanks), camping out on the ice, and of course, capturing stunning photography of a beautiful piece of land. Memories that will be kept forever. All this talk of Antarctica has me dreaming to someday visit to the isolated continent, when that is a possibility remains unclear. All I know is, that it’s  high on my bucket list and when I want something, I generally go out and make it happen. Are you dreaming of a visit to Antarctica? Or have you visited this amazing continent before? Please let me know either way on the comments below.

Antarctica bucket list

Visiting Antarctica is high on the bucket list. Picture by Pexels.  

 

Antarctica

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Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...

3 Hidden Gems to Visit in a Western Australian Summer

3 Hidden Gems to Visit in a Western Australian Summer

It’s impossible to go through a Western Australian summer and to find any dull bits happening in the state. Particularly in the Southern end, where you have got the busy Cottesloe Beach in Perth, the lively Fremantle precinct and the ever-increasing popular South West Region which includes the Margaret River town and the surrounding wineries.

Sometimes it’s not what you know that needs to be discovered when visiting Western Australia, but those hidden gems that are waiting to be explored and fully utilised in the sizzling heat. The kind of extreme weather that can’t be avoided, only embraced. And if embrace it you will, it will be a hectic adventure for you this summer time, as you take a scenic road trip to these hidden gems that are waiting just for you

Hidden Gems Western Australian Summer

Hamelin Bay, Guilderton and Denmark.

 

3 Hidden Gems to Visit in a Western Australian Summer

It would be easy to pile off a hundred different places to visit in this great state, all the way from Esperance to The Kimberly and anything in-between. Let’s narrow it down for now and while all these locations are far and wide from each other, they do sit in the southern end of the state, where the weather is clear skies and perfect for an enjoyable Western Australian summer.

Guilderton

Guilderton, Western Australia

Guilderton in Western Australia.

 

The breathtaking view of the Moore River and Indian Ocean meeting on a clear day is a sight to behold, with a gorgeous sunset in the evening that is simply unforgettable. Guilderton is the perfect place to make a splash in Summer with sandy beaches and the soothing river the ideal attraction on any hot day.

Guilderton, Western Australia

Guilderton.

 

  • Where is it: Situated only an hour North of Perth off Wanneroo road, Guilderton is a convenient drive for those living in a Perth, with it being so close to the city and a hassle free drive.
  • The best bit: Take the trail up the stairways to the vantage and don’t forget your camera, it is the main vantage point in Guilderton and the best location to view the gorgeous sunset.
  • What to do: For the outdoor adventurist, there a plethora of activities on offer in Guilderton, with the likes of kayaking, beach walking, fishing, swimming, hiking and camping the popular choices. Nearby the hustle bustle of the river area, there is the Guilderton Country Club that has a restaurant, golf and tennis for those who need to escape the water and have a decent meal.
  • Where to stay: There are a host of holiday houses in Guilderton that can be found through various of searches through Airbnb and Stayz. The popular spot to stay is at the Guilderton Caravan Park where you can pitch a tent or rent a cabin with the river and ocean within an earshot.

Heading to Guilderton? Check Out TripAdvisor for reviews.

Hamelin Bay

Hamelin Bay, Western Australia

Hamelin Bay in the South West of Western Australia.

 

The stingrays will quickly grab your attention in this quiet little beach by the bay, that is quite simply a hidden gem. Popular for day trips, a quick pit stop or camping in the nearby park, Hamelin Bay is a secluded part of the South West that will get you excited at first glance.

Hamelin Bay, Western Australia

Stingrays

  • Where is it: Hamelin Bay is situated in the South West region and a good three-hour drive Perth. Smack bang in the middle of the popular tourist towns in Margaret River and Augusta, The Bay is a popular place to set up camp and explore the surrounding area.
  • Best Bit: When the stingrays come to shore, it’s the best time to hit water, as these unique creatures of the sea brush by your ankles. The Rays are usually out in Summer and there is a good chance they will be out and about to mingle with you.
  • What to do: Hamelin Bay is for those who seek a laidback experience with camping, hiking, swimming and fishing the major choices. It doesn’t mean you can’t get into the car and visit tourist town of Margaret River, a few wineries and the Leeuwin Lighthouse in the south, near Augusta, the South West is a region calling out to you.
  • Where to stay: Hamelin Bay Holiday Park is situated right near the bay and is the main choice of accommodation in the area. You can pitch a tent, book a chalet or stay in style in a beachside cottage, from there the rest is up to you.

Heading to Hamelin Bay? Check out TripAdvisor for reviews.

Denmark

Denmark, Western Australia

Denmark in Western Australia

Denmark is not a secret to those who live in Western Australia, although sometimes the locals wish it to be. Too bad, because this beauty is too good to ignore because this vibrant town is booming with outdoor attractions, wineries and breweries, a gorgeous coastline along the Southern Ocean and a lively town centre you will simply adore.

Denmark, Western Australia

A stunning view in Denmark.

 

  • Where is it: Quite a drive from Perth, five hours South to be exact, it is a windy and bendy road that will take you to the Southern end of Western Australia. The exhausting trip to Denmark will be worth it upon arrival because it is quite beautiful.
  • Best Bit: Take a small drive out to Lights Beach, off Lights road, and see a stunning part of the Southern Ocean, with boutique beaches, walking trails and large rocks to climb aboard for that special picture. Please tread carefully in this area and make sure the conditions are calm. When in doubt, just admire from above.
  • What to do: With a bustling town centre and number outdoor activities on hand, you have the best of both worlds in Denmark. You can shop for antiques in town or enjoy a coffee at a café. But the lure of the outdoors will be the winner with a range of activities on hand. Great for families is the Denmark Thrills, where you can test out your fear of heights amongst other family-fun adventures.
  • Where to stay: There are a range of options to stay in Denmark, with a pick of motels, retreats, cottages and holiday parks to suit any budget. The pick of the lot is The Big 4 Ocean Beach Holiday Park, a ten-minute drive from town and a short walk from the Inlet and Ocean.

Heading to Denmark? Check out TripAdvisor for reviews.

Some links in this article may contain affiliate links, therefore if you click on it and make a purchase, I could receive a little income. Don’t worry though, it will not come at further expense for the customer. Happy travels. 
Western Australian Summer

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About Your fair Dinkum Traveller

Anthony Jury

Anthony Jury

Your Aussie - Asia Adventure
G'day mate, it's your Fair Dinkum traveller who ventures into Asia and around Australia. Stay tuned for epic destinations, great tips and awesome travel stories.Read more...