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One month in Asia already…

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It’s unbelievable that I’m now more than one month in Asia already. On the other hand, I’ve seen so many places and met so many nice people that it could be also two or three months. So let me tell you about my last few weeks.

After the lantern festival in Shiang Mai, Ahmed and me took the night bus back to Bangkok. A normal bus ride that turned out to be a really funny story. We booked the VIP Bus with food and wifi. We left Shiang Mai at 8 pm and were supposed to arrive in Bangkok at 6 am. After that we booked a flight south to Krabi because we wanted to spend some days on the beach in Ko Lanta. But let’s get back to the bus ride. When we got on the bus, of course the wifi was broken. At first we joked around that the food would also be broken. When the bus stopped at 3 am and there was no food everybody was just shaking their head. The bus driver said that they just forgot to stop at the food place one and a half hours ago. When the bus stopped one and a half hours later at the food place we couldn’t believe it. We where only two more hours away from Bangkok and the bus driver decided to turn around and go all the way back to the food place. Everybody was so pissed, that nobody got out of the bus. Especially the ones with a flight or another bus shortly after were really angry. Luckily for us it was not that big of a deal. When we arrived in Bangkok at 8 am, two hours later than planned it was actually better for us because we could sleep two more hours. A couple from Canada that was sitting behind us missed their flight though. Ahmed and me just relaxed a bit, had breakfast and then we went to the airport to catch our flight to Krabi.

We spent one night there and then took the minivan to Ko Lanta. Ko Lanta is a beautiful island and although we already planned to stay there for five nights, we extended our stay to one week. The hostel and the people where so nice so we really had a good time there.

If you ever happen to be in Ko Lanta, check out the Hub of Joys Hostel. It’s only three minutes to the beach, great breakfast and amazingly friendly staff. Most of the days we rented a scooter and explored the beautiful beaches on the island. In the evenings we were just playing cards in the hostel. In the common room there where always people around.

After Ko Lanta we spent one night on the party island Ko PhiPhi. It’s a beautiful island but one night was enough for us.

Everything there is just for tourists and all the tourists are there to get drunk. Not really our kind of traveling. After Ko PhiPhi we spent two more nights in Krabi before it was time to say goodbye to Ahmed. The last evening, we went to the tiger cave temple. It’s a temple on top of a mountain and the view is amazing. It takes 1260 stairs to get to the top. We watched the sunset and then we climbed back down again.

The next day in the morning Ahmed flew to Bangkok from where he had his flight back home.

I want to thank you Ahmed for being part of this trip. I enjoyed traveling with you a lot. You are awesome.

After saying goodbye to Ahmed I continued my journey alone. I took the bus and then the ferry to Ko Tao, which is mostly known for diving and exactly the reason why I was going there. I did my Padi open water diving license.

In three days I learned the theory about diving, did a lot of skill trainings under water and mostly I saw amazing wildlife under water. The great thing is, that all the fish never learned that they have to be scared of us humans, so they are not afraid and some curious ones come really close. After two already great days, the highlight was on the third day. My diving instructor told me in the morning, that there might be a chance to see a whale shark that day. Guess what, we really saw a whale shark. I cannot believe how lucky I am during this whole trip.

My diving instructor is on Ko Tao for four years now and he told me that he saw a whale shark maybe six or seven times in those four years. I’m just incredibly lucky and thankfully another girl brought her gopro so she sent me some pictures and videos.

While being on Ko Tao, my friend John, who I met in Tallinn and then again in Poland and also in Vienna during my time back in Austria, texted me to tell me that it’s too cold in Europe to cycle so he decided to come to Asia as well. He booked a flight to Singapore and I told him about my plans of going to Borneo first and then celebrating Christmas in Singapore so we decided to go together to Borneo.

We met at the airport in Singapore a couple of hours after he arrived there and then we flew to Kota Kinabalu.

We stayed two nights there, went to the beach and played volleyball with the locals. It was great fun. After that we took the bus to Sepilok, where we visited an orangutan sanctuary and also a rescue center for sunbears, the smallest bears on earth. It was nice to see how they help the animals so they can be released to the wild again.

After that we did a river cruise on the Kinabatangan river. It took three days and two nights and we where in the jungle in the rain forest. We did river cruises, jungle tracks and night walks. We saw a lot of monkeys, a couple of crocodiles, a wild orangutan, a lot of birds and much more.

Now John and me, we’re back in Kota Kinabalu where we’re going to spend the next three days and then we’re going back to Singapore to spend Christmas over there. I’m already looking forward to that.

Here are some more pictures of the last weeks:

One of the best sunsets I’ve seen so far

Everybody loves ice-cream

Wearing the raincoat for style reasons
That’s the sign for whale shark
Playing volleyball with the locals

Jungle tracking

adventurephotography

New continent, new adventure

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It’s been some time since the last post and a lot of things happened in the meantime. I participated in an Erasmus+ project in Poland, then I spent three weeks back home in Austria and last week I started my new adventure here in Thailand, Asia.

But not so fast… Let’s start with the project „thanks but no tanks“ in Stegna, which is near Gdansk in Poland. The main topic was nonviolent communication. Luckily my best friend Liam was also participating so I was very happy to see him again.

The whole week was very interesting and a lot of fun. We met people from all over Europe and it was a perfect ending of my first journey through Northern Europe. I want to say thank you to all the amazing people I met on the project. It was awesome. Hope to see you again someday.

I ended up taking the bus home from Gdansk, since I already had the ticket and I didn’t even need to pay for it. What is more, I was really looking forward to coming back home.

My trip through Northern Europe was nothing else but awesome. So many amazing people, new experiences and just one of the best things I’ve ever done. I ended up hitchhiking with 165 different cars for a total distance of almost 13000 kilmeters.

Since this Blog is more about my travel stories I don’t want to go too much into the details of what I did during my three weeks back home. I just want to say that I had a great time there. It was my sisters prom, I met up with many of my friends and family and it kind of felt like holidays back home. Another thing that I really liked was, that two new friends that I met along my trip through Europe came to Vienna to visit me. Joyce from Hongkong, we met in Lithuania and John from the Netherlands, who I met in Tallinn.

I really enjoyed it and I also started to get more and more excited for my next adventure Asia. On the 14th of November we had our flight to Bangkok. Wait… Who is we? We that’s Ahmed and me. Ahmed is a very good friend of mine and he asked me in August if I would mind if he would join me on my trip to Asia. Of course that would be amazing I answered.

So here we are, ready for our journey to Thailand. I’m very happy to have him traveling with me because it’s my first time in Asia and I saw on my journey through Europe that I always enjoyed it more, when I was traveling together with someone else. We only know each other for a couple of months but he is so easygoing so I was sure from the beginning that this will be great. We’ll travel together at least for the first three weeks and then Ahmed might fly back home but that can also change.

Saying goodbye at home was hard again. Matthäus, Liam and Hoa brought us to the Airport.

By coincidence my grandmother was also on the airport that morning and we managed to meet up to say goodbye once again.

Then we flew to Düsseldorf first and from there, with a six hour delay to Bangkok. We arrived in Bangkok the next day at noon and really felt that my body was shocked by the temperature. It was more than 30 degrees. Ahmed booked a hotel for the first two nights in Bangkok. That was perfect so we had some time to explore the city, see some temples, try some streetfood and relax.

After that two days in that busy city, we took the night train north to Chiang Mai and from there the minibus to Pai. Pai is a small village in the jungle, surrounded by mountains. It’s very touristic but still beautiful and way less noisy than the big cities. After Bangkok that was perfect. There are beautiful waterfalls, view points and spots to watch the sunset. We rented a scooter so we were able to explore the whole area around the village. Riding the scooter was so much fun. But you really need to be careful because first they drive on the left side and second they drive like crazy here. Traffic lights are more like a recommendations and the zebra crossing are only decoration on the road.

We spent three nights there and now we’re back in Chiang Mai. The plan is to stay here for three nights to see the Yeepeng Festival and then continue to the south of Thailand to the islands.

On the first evening, there were already a lot of people but not so much going on, so we decided to take that chance to see a local muay thai boxing fight. It was interesting to see. On the second evening of the festival it was just wonderful. I felt like in a fairytale. We were there with some more people from our hostel and it was unbelievable. The night sky was full with lanterns. See yourself:

The start to this new adventure was perfect and I’m already looking forward to the next weeks.

Some more snapshots of the last weeks:

generalpeoplephotography

Nice people everywhere

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After Norway I continued to Sweden. I wanted to go straight to Stockholm because I knew that on the 15th of August I was going to meet Evelina, a good friend of my best friend Liam on Aland, which is the island between Stockholm and Finland. It took me two days to hitchhike from Oslo to Stockholm.

In Stockholm I stayed in a hostel for two nights because in the cities it is difficult to find a place for the tent. Evelina recommended me the Crafoord Place Hostel. So this is where I went. The next day I took part in a free walking tour, where a guide is giving a free tour for around two hours and in the end you can tip him if you want.

Free tour Stockholm

It was a very interesting tour, we learned about the history of Stockholm and the original story behind the stockholmsyndrom. The best thing was, that I met three other people that were also traveling alone. Jorge from Spain and Judith and Alina from Germany. We got along very well from the beginning so we decided to spend the rest of the day together.

Jorge, Alina, Judith and me

In the evening we went out and one guy from my hostel, Marco from Italy joined us as well. It was a fun evening. We tried Mead, which is some kind of alcohol made out of honey. It was a funny evening.

Especially Judith’s story was interesting. She was studying in Vaasa, Finland and after that, she decided to drive back home to Germany on her old bicycle. She really recommended me to. go to Vaasa when I’m coming to Finland. She is writing about her trip for a german newspaper and after a couple of days she sent this:

So funny to see your own face laughing out of a newspaper.

For the next day I had an overnight ferry to Aland. Aland belongs to Finland but people are speaking Swedish there. I expected a ferry and was surprised when I came to the harbor and a big cruise ship was waiting there. It had 11 decks with restaurants, spa and casinos on it. I had a small cabin with my own bathroom in it. I slept very well and we arrived at Aland early in the next morning. Evelina was already waiting for me to pick me up. I had four great days on Aland. Evelina showed me around the island, we explored new areas, did some hiking, watched an amazing sunset, played god for some ants, visited an old castle, tried some Aland specialities and much more.

Thank you Evelina, you’ve been a great host and I really enjoyed spending time with you. Also thank you to your flatmates Thoa and Oona for letting me stay at your place for three nights.

On Saturday in the afternoon my ferry to mainland Finland left. Since I had no other plans, I tried to hitchhike north to Vaasa after one night in the tent a little bit outside of Turku. On my way, a woman asked me if I was hungry and then she invited me to her place and made me some food. What a nice surprise. This was the first time, someone who picked me up, invited me to their place and it shouldn’t be the last time. After eating, we discussed what the best route for me would be and then I continued north.

Thank you so much!

I made it to Pori and then Yyteri where I was surprised to see a big sand beach. I found a great place for my tent and then I met two french girls who were also looking for a place to camp so they joined me.

After swimming in the sea the next morning I continued to Vaasa.

Judith, the girl from Germany that recommended me to go to Vaasa, asked a friend of hers if I could stay at her place for one night so I had a place for the night. It was great.

A big thank you to both Judith and Luca for being so spontaneous and friendly.

After Vaasa I didn’t continue north but more to. the middle of the country. The next stop was Tampere. I was quite lucky and found a guy from Gambia that took me nearly all the way to a gas station a little bit out of Tampere where he bought some food for me.

I have the feeling that I only meet the nicest of the nice people. And if you think it cannot get any better than this, then you’re wrong.

I waited about one hour and was already looking for a place for my tent because it was getting quite late and it was also cold. It was frustrating because many cars passed and no one seemed to recognize me. And then the following happened. A guy stopped and said that he would only go to the city center. I thought: „at least I’m not at this shitty bus stop anymore. Maybe I find someone in the city that takes me a bit outside of Tampere where I can put up my tent.“

So I got in the car and on my way to the city, I asked him, if he knows a good place to sleep in the tent. After some thinking he said: „You know what, actually you can stay at my place.“
I couldn’t believe my ears. „Yes I have three boys but they are at their mothers place so there is a whole room free.“

So this is how I met Harri. He is 39 years old and loves all different kind of sports. For the rest of the evening we had food together and then we played Fifa on the Playstation.

He had to work the next day so I thought I also need to leave very early in the morning but he said that I could sleep as long as I want and as he was only working until 1 pm, he asked if I wanted to stay longer and we could go to sauna together. All of the people I met so far here in Finland told me, that I can’t leave the country without having been to a sauna here. So that’s exactly what we did. We also played disc-golf together. In the end I stayed from Tuesday until Saturday in Tampere. We went to a Lenin museum, played Minigolf (I know I lost… just by one shot), football, went to a funpark where we tried the biggest roller-coaster… I felt like a child again.

Thank you so much Harri for everything. It was a pleasure to spend time with you.

One day before I left Tampere I found out that one good friend of my cousin is doing her semester abroad here in Tampere so I texted her if she was free and since she didn’t had any plans we met for one afternoon. Such a funny coincidence.

Miri and me

I have four days left in Finland. On Tuesday I booked a ferry to Estonia to Tallinn so I need to be in Helsinki at latest on Tuesday. Finland was amazing so far but I am also really looking forward to Estonia.

Thank you for reading and thank you to all the people who made this trip so amazing for me.

As always, here some more pictures of the things that happened during the last weeks:

Trying berries in the wild with Evelina

Pirvate island in the sunset

Lenin museum
Minigolf result
Italy or Finland? Magic sand beach in Yyteri