The time I got stranded on an Island during a solo trip to Thailand + first intro to my app

Krabi and Koh Phi Phi/Island Hopping(our boat broke down!)

Best part was the coconuts, so sweet and refreshing!

Thailand is definitely in the top five of my favorite Asian countries that I have visited and I have yet to visit the entire country…Chiang Mai is next on my list. I had actually intended on going to Phuket instead of Krabi but met a friend in Singapore who suggested not going to Phuket alone as a solo female traveler, especially if this was my first time traveling to Thailand. Although I do not think that I would have felt unsafe, many people have told me that Phuket is more crowded with tourists and as a consequence there is a lot of prostitution; I am glad I took her advice and went to Krabi because it was more low-key and relaxing. You can still island hop and go to the Phi Phi Islands from Krabi–without having to deal with the creepy old foreign men who are there for a “good time” with girls who are definitely over 18(sarcasm, they are clearly too young) but that is an issue that we will get to another day.

I landed at Krabi Airport with no idea what to expect and not to sound sheltered( I am pretty sheltered, get off my ass) but the only time I had been to a third world country before this was Vietnam and I had spoken the language fluently so it was smooth sailing. I did not speak the local language and I have heard horror stories about the tuktuk scams. We were in a dilemma here: how was I, someone who can barely boil an egg, get from point A to B. A in this case is the airport and B as you can guess, is the hotel. Keep in mind, we are trying to do this WITHOUT getting scammed or taking unnecessary risks. Sure, I could just wing it and get in a taxi where I would risk getting overcharged or whatever but the thought of being in a foreign country alone, as a female, not knowing where the driver would be taking me seemed like a, say it with me…u n n e c e s s a r y r i s k. I opted for the bus with lots of other people after exchanging my Singaporean dollars for Thai Baht(funny story later).

After about a two hour scenic bus ride, I was the last person to be dropped off at my hotel that was at the end of a narrow dirt road. I stayed at one of the Centara hotels in Krabi and I think if I had the option to go back and have a redo I would’ve picked the Krabi resort or maybe a cheaper hotel that would have been just as good. TIP: If you are there for a honeymoon or want a more romantic resort vibe I definitely recommend the Centara Grand(it is more secluded/private) but as I was backpacking by myself this was not necessary since I wanted to fully immerse myself in the culture.

My first order of business was to find food since I was starving and it was a 5 minute walk from my hotel to the beach where I purchased my first coconut for 50 baht(about $1.50). Okay guys, I am not exaggerating I promise, Thai coconuts are legit unparalleled. It was cold, sweet, and had a kick of natural carbonation. If the food was just as good as the coconut yo girl would be a happy camper. IT WAS. I took a stroll along the beach and stumbled across a beach front restaurant and ordered some Pad Thai. My first Pad Thai in Thailand, I was literally in tears at this point, jkjk but it was awesome. After that I continued snapping pics because how could you not? Everything was picture perfect. So this wouldn’t be me if something like this did not happen; I got to the hotel and realized that my phone charger and adaptor was not compatible with the outlets. I was on low battery with no idea where to even purchase an adaptor but at least there were people in the hotel who could speak english and help the dumb American find a store to buy her phone adaptor because she cannot function without her phone. There was a 7/11 across the street and I had trouble locating the adaptors so I tried asking the worker who luckily understood my gesturing. So moral of the story is be prepared.

I spent the rest of my day tanning on the beach, exploring the village and finding a boat tour to go island hopping the next day. I decided to book the tour with my hotel and opted for the speedboat(which costs around 2500 Baht(80ish USD)). They picked me up in the lobby at 6 AM sharp and luckily(I am very lucky and that is probably the only reason why I am still alive as you will soon see) I was jet-lagged so it was no biggie. They fed me a children’s breakfast that consisted of soy milk in those rectangular juice boxes, a veggie sandwich and a piece of fruit. Very cute. I felt taken care of. I also have a feeling that they thought I was 12… I’ll take it. I was one of the first people to get picked up and after that there were two other groups. One consisted of two sisters who were from Sweden–they were still in university–and the other a father and daughter from France. Not gonna lie I felt more comfortable because I was not the only foreigner and at least I looked a bit local(not really but effort counts, right?). We had two tour guides and two guys that drove the boat. One dude would not stop racing with the other boats…LO AND BEHOLD I wonder why the engine gave out? I’ll talk about that part later after I rave about how beautiful the islands were. Have y’all ever seen pictures of the Maldives? if not you should google it because it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen and on the top of my bucket list. Well, the beaches of Thailand were just as pristine and clear; we had a private island to ourselves since we got started so early and beat the other boats to it. On the first island, they fed us a second breakfast; I will call this the adult breakfast, there were hard boiled eggs and I forgot the rest as I was too excited about the eggs. Eggs on a beautiful private island. Life’s good. Then they drove us to about 6 other islands, Phi Phi and Monkey Island included. The famed Maya Island was closed due to tourist polluting and damaging it so we could only look at it from afar.

  • Koh Phi Phi : Even though it was not too big of an island, there were so many things going on at once and it was more lively than Ao Nang. I would honestly want to stay overnight next time for 1 or 2 days since I there are lots of fun activities like Scuba Diving or shopping or even just getting a massage/laying on the beach. We had our lunch on Phi Phi, it was buffet style and there were plenty of options available. I wanted authentic Thai food though so I wandered off and bought a coconut(of course) and some exotic fruits. The mangoes and dragon fruit are to die for–LOL I know that isn’t considered authentic Thai food but it was legit only 1 USD for a dragon fruit and two mangoes WOT.
Loving the good vibes. And the Micky Ds.
  • Monkey Island: It’s exactly what it sounds like… an island with Monkeys. I should be way more excited than I actually am but the monkeys seemed miserable for some reason. Must be because they have to deal with hundred/thousands of annoying tourists everyday. Got to see some cute baby monkeys though AHHH.
  • LONG AWAITED BOAT STORY: While we were on Monkey Island it started raining and so they rushed everyone on the boats and jetted out of there since there was possible a storm coming and being in the water while a storm hit on a tiny boat was…say it with me…UNNECESSARILY RISKY. Since our boat had been through a beating that day(’cause the dude that drove it was racing the entire time), when it was actually time to go super fast, the engine gave out and we were stranded in the middle of the ocean. It wouldn’t have been as scary as it was if the guides themselves hadn’t also freaked out. No one knew what to do. It was storming and there was nothing but water as far as the eyes could see. Now this was not the clear blue water you saw before with the cast of Finding Nemo swimming in it, this was legit the deep dark ominous looking sea(think Jaws). Bring back the turquoise water! They called in for a rescue boat that took about an hour to come and we had to tie the boats together and carefully jump into the other boat. No one fell into the water thankfully. Just when I thought the ordeal was over, the rescue boat dropped us off on a random island and told us to wait for another boat. So we wait on this random island for three hours, with no update and it is almost near sunset. I figured the worst and was devising ways to get back to Krabi in my head while HALLELUJAH a boat was seen coming in from the distance. We were rescued but I did not come out of it unscathed. Three hours of no food/water and sunscreen equals major sunburn, dehydration and grumpy Pham. Would i do it again? Yes in a heartbeat.

When it was time to leave Thailand, I packed my bags but then realized at the last minute that I did not have enough Bahts to get to the airport and there was no literally time to run to an ATM so I did what I do best.. I haggled the price. It was 800 Baht to get to the airport but I only had 500 so I told the driver I would give him American dollars on top of this(okay, so it wasn’t actually negotiating the price since I probably paid the same amount in the end but at least I got to the airport on time). Don’t be like me, check the prices and get enough local currency to get you back home so you do not need to panic.

Side-note: I am actually creating something right now that will solve this problem for travelers and the days of worrying about logistics while traveling will soon be over. Keep an eye out πŸ™‚

Canada: British Columbia+Quebec

Vancouver, BC

Fun fact: Justin Trudeau used to be a teacher in Vancouver so for anyone who is still unsure whether or not they should visit, this little piece of information should be enough to convince you to come thru.

Location: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Mandatory Quote:

” I grew up in Vancouver” – Ryan Reynolds

If you are a fan of nature, good vibes and chill people, Vancouver is the place for you. I mean, it was home to both Justin Trudeau AND Ryan Reynolds, does it get any better than that? I took a solo day trip from Seattle–which was about a three hour drive–and crossed the border by car for the first time(it was an interesting experience and I will talk about it later on in this post). The drive was beautiful and it was nice to have the option of stopping and checking out certain spots along the way but if driving and renting a car is not in the cards for you, then you can fly straight there and Uber/take public transportation to downtown and walk to the little towns. Vancouver is a very walkable city. It all depends on where you are visiting from but I do suggest you rent a car for at least a day. I know what a hassle it can be, especially is you are under 25 because there is an extra charge so be mindful of that in terms of budgeting, but I think it will be worth it if you want to visit the more nature-y destinations.

If you decide not to rent a car for the entire trip, then your options may be limited in regards to visiting the places that are further out from town but there are plenty of things to see and eat in downtown. One of the spots I ended up visiting first was the Capilano Suspension Bridge then I drove up north to Stanley Park(consider biking this too if you’re into that) after making a quick stop at Whole Foods to pick up some lunch and enjoyed it by the Sea Wall in Stanley Park.

A trip to Vancouver would not be complete without visiting Chinatown, Yaletown and Gastown so that was my next to-do. It is a short drive from Stanley Park to the city center and everything from then on is quite close–approximately a 10 minute drive–in proximity.

  • Capilano Suspension Bridge: This was my favorite part of the entire trip, mostly because it got my heart beating fast–due to my fear of heights LOL( and for those who know me, y’all know I am somewhat of an adrenaline junkie). If you are afraid of heights, don’t say that I didn’t warn you. I arrived around 11 am and the park was packed. I would suggest going a bit earlier to avoid the crowds if you have the chance.
  • Stanley Park: Wow. That was what I uttered to myself as i drove through Stanley Park. Before you enter the park, you’ll cross a majestic bridge(Lion’s Gate Bridge) and as you are driving through, you will see many hiking trails and forget that you are in an urban city completely; that is how huge the park is. I found a spot to park my car while on the way to check out the Sea Wall and walked out to find the most beautiful view of a bridge and water. I strolled along the path and eventually made my way to the Wall(no, not that wall Trump) by accident after a short walk.
  • Chinatown, Yaletown, Gastown: I did not get to spend as much time as I would have liked in this area since this was only a day trip and I got to the actual town around 6 pm and the drive back to Seattle was three hours. The first thing I noticed was a lot of Asian people πŸ˜„…it’s okay for me to say this, because in case you haven’t noticed, I’m asian. I saw a bunch of cool restaurants and breweries I would have loved to try out if it were not for the lack of time.

What I wish I had done differently or what I would change if I were to visit again:

  1. Border crossing- This was quite an experience for me because I had a strange encounter with the border patrol agent after but looking back at it, I think it was just protocol to make you slightly nervous enough to answer the questions honesly and what I thought were invasive questions were just aimed to get a feel of the purpose of my visit. My advice is to answer as thoroughly and concisely as possible while being transparent regarding the intent of your visit. Keep your cool, guys. And bring your passport. Getting back into America took over an hour and people started turning off their engines because the line was not moving…thank goodness I packed lots of snacks for the wait. I dunno if saying this will get the border patrol guy in trouble but the story is too funny to keep hidden from the world. I ended up matching with the dude on tinder after I got back to Seattle and we hit it off, too bad he lives in Canada LOL.
The line to get into Canada was not as long as the line to get back into the United States.

2. I would have visited for more than a day and went to Grouse mountain or driven to Whistler to snowboard. I definitely missed out on sitting down to eat at the amazing looking restaurants and other local experiences since I only had a couple hours to cross things off of my list. To be honest, everything felt rushed; I wish I could’ve slowed down to enjoy everything a bit more. I think you would want to ideally spend 3 days, if not more, if you are trying to do the snow activities too and you happen to be there during snow season.

Montreal, Quebec

Fun Fact: Montreal is the second largest French speaking city in the world, after Paris.

Fall in Montreal on top of a viewpoint in Mont Royal

Another Quote:

“I grew up in a town called Cornwall, Ontario, which is about an hour outside of Montreal.” – Ryan Gosling
–> another hot Ryan who grew up in Canada, what a place!

Im kidding, here’s a real quote:

“Live, Love. Laugh.” -All the basic bitches of the world, including yours truly

Okay, enough with the quotes. Let’s get to the good stuff. As you can probably guess, I am not one to ever pass up an opportunity to travel and to hang out with friends so when a close friend(shoutout to Shon!) happened to be sent to Montreal for work, I took advantage of the opportunity and of how close New York was to Quebec and flew out for a weekend getaway. I was lucky enough to be visiting a new place and I get to spend time Shon, doesn’t get any better than that.

While I was at LaGuardia Airport, the person behind the lounge counter suggested checking out a spa called Bota Bota; he absolutely raved about it and said he would go back just to visit the spa. Shon and I tried to get reservations but we ended up not going due to us prioritizing other stuff over it(bagels) and time conflicts(she had to work like a normal adult). It costs about 50 USD for entry and you get to be on a boat(super cool) and chill in a jacuzzi. The massage packages are extra but seemed to be worth it so let me know if you end up trying it out yourself please!

I arrived to Montreal on a Saturday evening and was planning on flying back to New York on Tuesday, so I spent around 4 days exploring the city, which I would say is a good amount of time. I would’ve been fine with 3 days and if you are short on time this might be an ideal number of days since Shon and I were able to check out everything we wanted to see within about 2 days with ample picture taking time.

My first impression of the city was that it was immensely culturally diverse and liberal thus creating a laid back and accepting vibe. Most of the locals could speak both French and English and the food there was to die for, not to mention you had endless options in terms of cuisines to choose from. I noticed there were a lot of Korean restaurants in Downtown where we were staying as well as Middle Eastern, Chinese, French and about any other cuisine you could possible name. Remember to try the bagels, they are chewier and sweeter than American bagels. If y’all have tried mochi dough and you like it, you’re going to love St. Viateurs’ bagels…remember to bring cash, don’t be like us! They do have an ATM machine but we couldn’t figure out how to use it. Luckily, I had $8 USD on me and asked if they accepted American money(lol I was desperate) and they do but they charge a conversion rate; despite everything, we did score 4 bagels and some cream cheese for just under 5 USD hehe.

Let’s do something different this time and start out with food:

Cool, now that you’re hungry for more, I will continue with the rest of the itinerary.

  • Old Montreal: Lots of french vibes. Cool pier with a wheel( have you noticed that most cities have their own version of a wheel? Seattle, London, even Paris now) and lots of cute shops/cafes/restaurants. We tried riding one of the Lime or Bird scooters but they were all taken so we opted to just walk, wasn’t as much fun although there a couple cobbled streets so walking may have been the better option. Biking along the water was also pretty common and we would’ve done that but there was a high demand for the bikes too at the time we were there LOL. You can envision Shon and I pouting as we struggled to find a cooler method of transportation.
  • Botanical Gardens: We wished we had come earlier and spent the at least half a day here, since we came so late the outdoor portion of the garden was closed but we got to see the night show(which was the such a cool experience). This is one of the largest botanical gardens in the world and the one of the most impressive ones I’ve ever been to, with Singapore giving it a run for the money. The best part was definitely the night show which we spent 4 hours waiting for because of poor planning on our part. I suggest going early to check out the garden then leaving to do the rest of your activities and coming back for the night show later on in the day instead of coming at 5 and waiting until 9 like we did. We were so HANGRY by the end of the night(not a lot of places to eat around there but Olympic Park and a Sky tower is within walking distance).
  • Notre Dame Basilica: The architecture was extremely beautiful and unlike any other cathedral I have ever seen. It seemed to be more modern and after learning that the building burned down and was rebuilt that makes a lot of sense. There is a fee to enter(8 Canadian dollars).
  • Parc Du Mont Royal: I was fortunate enough to see this in the fall but omg it is stunning. Must see. Enough said.

This post was getting a bit long so I will end it here, thanks for reading!

About

Hi! My name is Tiffany and welcome to my blog 😁 I am an adventurer who is currently based in NYC.

It’s been a long time coming since quitting my job and taking time to figure myself out. I am starting this in the hopes that it could be helpful to others who might be going through a similar situation or maybe just want some travel inspiration. Whatever your goal is, I hope that my journey inspires you to leave your comfort zone and–as cliche as it sounds–find yourself amidst all the hustle and bustle of today’s society.

Here is a cheesy quote to start things off :

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. – Neale Donald Walsch

As you can already gauge, the main focus for this site will be centered around travel and how certain places can alter one’s perception of the world. I also want to use this as a platform to share my appreciation for life and to dedicate to the people that make living worthwhile. You’ll see scattered throughout posts, the people who I have been blessed to meet throughout my journey and of course, my day ones; I love you all and am so grateful for everybody who is taking the time to read this!❀️

About me(and my former self):

I am a 24 year old from the Bay Area( I grew up in San Jose, CA and moved quite a distance–a full hour and a half drive– to Berkeley, CA for college then even further–a whopping 20 minute drive– to San Francisco for my corporate job) and am now residing in the Big Apple( where I had to ditch my car for the Subway).

My travel philosophy revolves around spontaneity and saying yes to every opportunity that arises to pack my bags and hop on an airplane.

Thanks for visiting.