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This gem of a country always had my smile radiating from head to toe. We were there so often that I feel I truly got to experience this beautiful country far and wide; sneaking into different resorts with my friends, exploring new BEACHES, boating to little islands, eating SO MUCH THAI FOOD at many local restaurants, getting massages from the Thai ladies and shopping in all the endless local markets.

The water was too shallow for our massive ship to get close to shore, so the anchor would be dropped a short distance from the shoreline and small boats, called tenders, would be used to take the passengers to the port.

Tendering back to the ship later at night with sun-kissed skin and a cool dusk breeze in my salty beach hair, I would be in awe of the massive vessel I called my ‘floating home’ lighting up on the water before me.


Night-life in Thailand is quite something to experience; when the sun goes down, the ‘Walking Streets’ come alive and a vibe fills the air. It poured with rain the one night we went out, so we bought these 10 Baht, purple, waterproof ponchos, drenched and all, we rode on the back of a Tuk Tuk singing at the top of our voices. There are literally hundreds of bars and clubs, many of which are outside so the party carries on from one bar to the next. The street entertainers hand out pamphlets inviting you to the many Ladyboy shows happening at nearly every corner. The day markets turn to night markets, and are still filled with an overwhelming amount of clothing, yummy Thai foods, coconut waters, cocktails, fresh fruits, hand-made jewelry, you name it!

It’s inspiring to witness how the Thai make-do with even the simplest of things that make up their life. The temples and shrines that fill Thailand are endless.  I visited so many of these beautiful and humbling temples all over Thailand. The Sanctuary of Truth situated on the beach in Pattaya has elephants and goats freely roaming around –  the calming energy that surrounded me. My favourite temple has to be the Big Buddha, which is one of the most famous landmarks in Phuket, staring down at you 45 meters tall, from Nakkered Hill.

I was blessed enough that my family was able to join me, we took a little boat trip to Phi Phi Island! (What a thrilling experience to hop on one of their handmade local boats.) Arriving at this sacred island, we floated among the caves and snorkeled the tropical Krabi reef – the scenery was breath-taking.

Another time I took a boat trip (and a long one) with a local to Phang Nga Bay. This is where James Bond Island is. The area is hidden away and full of lagoons, caves, and mangroves. What an adventure that was!

The Tiger Kingdom, as well as the Elephant Sanctuary, are a magical must-see. Animal abuse is sadly common in Asia, so visiting these ethical sanctuaries protecting these majestic creatures truly warmed my heart, and what a humbling experience it was to interact with these animals.

These magical moments, made in this country, I will hold close.
Oh, what I would do to be back on a beach in Thailand right now; with my bucket-hat on my head, sipping a fresh coconut, soaking up the sunshine whilst waiting to get a beach massage. <3

Captured by my uncle, Sam van der Merwe

I could honestly go on for pages about all the wonderful things to do and attributes that make Thailand so unique but what I listed were the highlights of my many visits.

PS: The cashew nut factory was also one of my faves! Their variety of flavors are endless (the ‘honey-sesame’ is YUM) and you get to watch them cracking the nuts by hand from their raw form.

If you ever find yourself in the tropical, southwestern shoreline of the Andaman Sea, I hope you’ll remember one of my ‘MUST SEES’!

love&light always,

JO xox

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