Postcards from Asia: Snapshots from the Philippines, Thailand, and Bali

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I’mmmm backkkkkk!

This has been the longest hiatus I’ve had from blogging since I started A Pop of Colour in 2011. I tried to do as many posts as I could before I left on vacation, but with the holidays, it was just too busy. Anyways, in case you missed me, I was gone for three weeks in southeast Asia, namely the Philippines, Thailand, and Bali.

Now that I’m back, I’ve had the chance to go through all my photos and share some of my favourites. I went on the trip with my three best friends, one of which has a house in Manila, so we stayed there while we were in the Philippines.

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Although the Philippines is known for their beautiful islands and beaches, we just spent time in busy Manila and visited Taygaytay one of those days, which is just outside capital (and offers a nice break from the chaos and a stunning view of the ocean). The Philippines definitely had the nicest people that we met and it was the one country where I felt the most fortunate to live in Canada.

We actually started and ended in Manila, but our second stop was Thailand. First we spent a few days in Bangkok, then went to Koh Phi Phi (where they filmed the movie The Beach), then Koh Samui and Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party.

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Out of the three countries, Thailand was my favourite, however, I found it to be the most aggressive as well.  It felt like everyone was trying to rip us off. From the taxis not running the metre, to the hotel front desk staff saying there were no breakfast places open aside from the buffet one at the hotel (it was 9 a.m.), I was so over people trying to get more money out of us.

We started in Bangkok and did some shopping at the Chatuchak market (I got some major goods there) and then we got scammed into a boat tour before finally heading to the Grand Palace.  I personally didn’t go in, but two of my friends did, after they closed we had the immense trouble to trying to find transportation back to our hotel. We ended up getting a tuktuk to take us to the subway station, which took forever.  We eventually got back and hit up the Vertigo Skybar (which was in The Hangover 2) before retiring for the night.

After Bangkok we fly to Phuket and then caught a ferry to Koh Phi Phi for a couple nights. Koh Phi Phi was my favourite place on the trip since it was so breathtakingly stunning. From the turquoise water to the islands to the sunsets, it was such a stunning island. Best of all, since there are no roads, it wasn’t as chaotic as everywhere else we went.

Our last stop in Thailand was in Koh Samui, which is located on the other side of the mainland, so we had to take a ferry, then a bus, then another ferry to get to the island.  Although I did like the hotel we stayed at, I would highly recommend staying at a resort on the beach. We were away from the action and although it was a five-minute cab ride, the taxis wouldn’t run the metre, meaning that every ride was overpriced and you couldn’t really walk since there were no sidewalks and motorbikes whizzing everywhere.

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Our last stop was Bali, Indonesia, where unfortunately is where I ended up getting sick. I could barely eat, and another one of my friends also got very sick, so although we had all these plans to do stuff, we ended up just chilling at our Air Bnb for most of the time. The great thing about Bali though is that the transportation is so cheap. We mostly took Ubers everywhere (they were like $2 rides), so we got some shopping in and checked out some cute restaurants (well, I didn’t eat much…).

The one thing I absolutely wanted to do though was surfing. My friend and I picked up a brochure at the airport for Pro Surf School which offered 25 per cent off, so we fully took advantage of that and spent one of the mornings surfing (I got up a few times). I will say that it was harder than I thought, but not the actual surfing part. Moreso battling the waves, trying not to trip over the leash, and battling the trash in the water (Kuta Beach was filled with trash along its shores and in the water). Other activities that we did included a day tour of Ubud (waterfall, coffee plantation, and the water temple), and on our last night we hit up Potato Head Beach Club to watch the sun go down.

After Bali we headed back to Manila and then left there midnight of January 23 for our long journey home (which included a 12-hour stopover in freezing Seoul, South Korea).

Although I had an amazing time, it really made me appreciate the fact that I live in Canada.  Small things like fresh air, tap water you can drink, and toilet paper in public washrooms were all things I missed greatly being overseas.

If you’re heading to Thailand, Bali or the Philippines and want some tips, leave me a comment below. I hope you enjoyed the photos!

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