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Month Ninety-Two was spent on the road between four different countries but mostly in one of my favorite countries in the world: Thailand!
I spent the first day of the month in Auckland running some last-minute errands then I flew to Sydney for a week of beach time and catching up with friends.
From Sydney, I reunited with Toby in Bangkok and it was great to see my husband again after 2.5 months. We spent six days in Bangkok reacquainting ourselves with this chaotic city that we have both come to love, as well as getting some dental work done, eating our Thai food favorites, and getting one of my ears micro-suctioned because it was blocked with wax.
And then it was time for some island-hopping – my favorite thing to do in Thailand. On this trip, we spent two weeks island-hopping between Koh Mook, Koh Ngai, Koh Kradan, and Koh Libong in Trang Province and we absolutely loved it!
After a night in Trang City, we returned to Bangkok for two nights. It was great to be back at our favorite Bangkok hotel – Ibis Styles in Phra Khanong – as well as eating at W Market and an authentic local pizza place, and getting my other ear cleaned out.
The last couple of nights we spent in a new country that we have been trying to visit for years: Nepal! We spent the time exploring Kathmandu, a city I instantly fell in love with and which reminded me a lot of Delhi but with a tenth the number of people.
Now onto the stats!
Countries Visited: New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Nepal
- New Zealand: Auckland
- Australia: Sydney
- Thailand: Bangkok, Koh Mook, Koh Ngai, Koh Kradan, Koh Libong, Trang City
- Nepal: Kathmandu
National and State Parks, Monuments, and UNESCO Sites: Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park in Sydney.
Islands Visited: Koh Mook, Koh Ngai, Koh Kradan, and Koh Libong in Thailand.
Days on the Road: 31 days.
Best Meals: Chicken and mushroom dumplings and spring onion pancake from Top Dumpling Cafe in Auckland; Buddha’s Delight Thai salad from Banana Blossom in Manly and Bondi in Sydney; Margherita pizza from Bella Brutta in Sydney; Macadamia crunch gelato from Messina in Sydney; Chicken plate with Greek salad, tzatziki, pita, and fries from Greek spot at W Market in Bangkok; all the banana pancakes with sweet milk on the Thai islands; Fried fish with garlic and pepper from Sugar’s on Koh Mook and Koh Kradan Beach Resort on Koh Kradan; Prawn Pad Thai from Kaimuk Thong Resort on Koh Ngai; Large fried prawns with crispy onions and tamarind sauce and the mango sticky rice from Star Coffee Bar and Restaurant on Koh Libong; Margherita pizza from Grano di Pa in Bangkok.
Worst Meals: Overcooked, tasteless, and soggy fish from a random restaurant on Koh Mook.
Best Craft Beer: Stay Salty Passionfruit Gose from Freshwater Brewing Company in Sydney.
- Coogee to Bondi Walk in Sydney, Australia 3.7 miles
- Manly Beach, Shelly Beach, and Fairlight Beach loop in Sydney, Australia 3.3 miles
Watching: You, Chef’s Table: Pizza, You People, Street Food USA, Street Food Asia.
Reading: I read so many great books this month! The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, Green Lights by Matthew McConaughey, Maybe in Another Life and Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins-Reid, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty, Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult.
New Posts: I wrote a detailed post about the best places to add to a South Island New Zealand itinerary after realizing I really don’t have a lot of New Zealand content on my site despite having traveled extensively around the country. It doesn’t cover absolutely everywhere but it does cover 22 of the best places you shouldn’t miss.
Spending Time on Sydney’s Eastern Beaches
The eastern suburbs beaches in Sydney are one of my favorite areas of the city and I was excited to spend two nights there on this visit.
I stayed at my favorite beach, Coogee, and hiked the world-famous Coogee to Bondi coastal walk from there – one of the best Sydney walks, swam at Bronte Beach, hiked south along the coastal trail towards Maroubra, and checked out the McIver Ladies Baths for the first time which I really enjoyed and will definitely return to.
Returning to Coogee always feels like a homecoming of sorts, as it was on my first visit to Coogee when I was 17 that I began my love affair with Sydney.
Catching Up With Sydney Friends
As well as beach-hopping and visiting my favorite Sydney haunts, I also love revisiting my former home city to catch up with friends who live there. On this visit, I enjoyed a beach day with a friend in Coogee, with another friend and her family in Mona Vale, and I stayed with one of my besties, Beck, in Mona Vale for five nights.
A Day Out in Manly
Manly is another Sydney favorite and my last home in Sydney before I left for good. Beck and I spent a day here checking out the shops, eating my favorite salad at Banana Blossom, walking between different beaches, and swimming at Shelly Beach. It was so nice to be back!
Returning To Bangkok and Reuniting With Toby
I was not looking forward to my nine-hour budget flight from Sydney to Bangkok but I managed to keep myself entertained and it wasn’t too bad. It felt so good to land back in Bangkok after more than three years away and to see my husband after 2.5 months!
I enjoyed our week in Bangkok (minus the dentist appointments). We visited a couple of rooftop bars – Mojjo and Tichuca, a speakeasy with the best entry I have ever seen #FindtheLockerRoom, walked around Lumpini Park and all over Sukhumvit, lazed by our hotel pool, shopped at Chatuchak Market and Terminal 21 Mall, and ate dinner at W Market open-air food court many times.
It was another great visit to one of my favorite cities.
Exploring a New Island Chain in Thailand
One of the reasons that Thailand is one of my favorite countries and why I return again and again is because of the Thai islands. Thai island life is just the best and every time I visit Thailand I visit new islands. In the past, it has been Koh Lipe and Koh Lanta, Koh Tao and Koh Phangan, and the Trat Islands of Koh Chang, Koh Mak, and Koh Kood.
This time it was the Trang Islands of Koh Mook, Koh Ngai, Koh Kradan, and Koh Libong that we had set our sights on.
We spent two awesome weeks island-hopping and I really enjoyed all four of the islands. Koh Mook and Koh Libong are the largest and have very friendly local communities, and Koh Ngai and Koh Kradan are more resorty but still lowkey, and have some of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand.
The Trang and Trat islands are my favorites and I still haven’t decided which island chain I like more because they are both so good. If you want to visit some more off-the-beaten-path islands that still have tourism infrastructure, you can’t go wrong with either of these island chains.
A Perfect Beach on Koh Kradan
While I loved all four islands, I have to say that Koh Kradan is home to the most beautiful beach in Thailand that I have seen – well, equal to Koh Kood. While many people choose to visit Koh Kradan on a day trip from Koh Mook, I am SO happy we spent two nights there, even though it was by far the most expensive island we stayed on.
We had a bungalow right on the beach and we got to enjoy the gorgeous beach once all the day trippers had left which was from around 3 pm.
We also hiked through the jungle to visit two more beaches on the island although they didn’t quite match up to the beauty of the main beach, chatted to some locals over cocktails, and just enjoyed the peace and quiet here.
Getting Off the Beaten Path on Koh Libong
Koh Libong ended up being one of the most off-the-beaten-path places I have ever been to in Thailand and we loved it! We spent five nights there and although there isn’t a ton of things to do on the island, we really enjoyed our time.
We walked out to a small offshore island at low tide, explored the island via scooter, ate some of the best seafood, and spent a lot of time on the beach outside our resort. But the best thing about our time on Koh Libong was finding our favorite local spots where we were always greeted so warmly.
Lots of Animal Sightings in Thailand
The Trang Islands are known for the dugongs that live there and we were lucky enough to spot one feeding on seagrass at low tide from the pier on Koh Mook – so cool! We also saw a flock of hornbills on Koh Ngai, and monkeys and monitor lizards on Koh Libong.
Arriving in Nepal: My First New Country in Three Years
It was so exciting to land in Nepal – third time lucky after not making it there when I had first planned to in 2016 and then missing out again in 2020 because of the pandemic. Nepal is the first new country I have visited since the start of the pandemic too so I feel so lucky to be here.
We have only spent two nights in Kathmandu so far but I already feel like I am in love with Nepal and I am so looking forward to spending the next month here.
Crazy High Humidity in Sydney
Man, the humidity was unusually high in Sydney when I was there and I really struggled as everywhere I stayed didn’t have fans or aircon. When I arrived in Bangkok it was actually a relief to be somewhere cooler, and that is saying something.
Issues With my Ears
Another month, more ear issues, unfortunately. One ear was blocked for over a week and then I ended up having pain in both ears due to wax buildup.
I found a clinic in Bangkok that could micro-suction out the wax and I had one ear done but the other one was too impacted and painful so I had to use wax softening drops every day for two weeks before I could go back in to have the other ear done.
I am so relieved my ears are cleaned out and hopefully it will be a long time before I have blockages again.
Overheating While Hiking on Koh Mook
The islands were hotter and more humid than Bangkok and I nearly overheated a couple of times, the worst being when we hiked up to a viewpoint on Koh Mook. I was really struggling on this hike and ended up with a nasty heat headache.
Eaten by Bugs on Koh Mook
I got absolutely eaten alive by some kind of bugs on Sivalai Beach on Koh Mook, I’m still not sure what they were but I was covered in bites. At first, I thought we might have bed bugs again but I realized that the bites showed up immediately after visiting Sivalai Beach, both times I visited. Thankfully they have healed now.
A Sudden and Thankfully Short Lived Sickness
On the long taxi ride between our hotel and Don Muang Airport in Bangkok I started feeling really nauseous and I was worried that food poisoning or something worse was setting in. I didn’t know how I was going to last the taxi trip without having to stop to throw up let alone a flight to Kathmandu.
Thankfully after about 30 minutes of feeling very sick, I started feeling better and was fine by the time we boarded the flight. What a relief!
Getting Charged by Fish
For some reason, fish seem to hate me – it’s actually quite comical. When I was snorkeling on Koh Kradan I had a fish charge me (maybe I was by its babies without knowing?) and on Koh Libong I had a teeny tiny fish chase me around the shallows of this beautiful secret beach where we were swimming. It was less than half the size of my pinky nail but was full on charging me and may or may not have scared me out of the water.
A lot of these costs are my half with Toby paying the other half. I also don’t include international flights in my recaps.
A bit more than I would have liked to spend this month but once you take off the $300 for doctor and dentist visits it comes in under $2000 so it’s not actually too bad.
I haven’t included international flights in this and I spent another $758 total to fly from Auckland to Sydney to Bangkok to Kathmandu.
My 26 nights of paid accommodation for the month consisted of two nights in a hostel private room in Sydney, eight nights at a hotel in Bangkok, four nights in a bungalow on Koh Mook, two nights in a bungalow on Koh Ngai, two nights in a bungalow on Koh Kradan, five nights in a bungalow on Koh Libong, one night at a hotel in Trang City, and two nights in a private room in a hostel in Kathmandu.
My five nights of unpaid accommodation for the month consisted of five nights staying with a friend in Sydney.
Food and Drink $768
I’m surprised my total for food and drink is higher this month than last as I was in New Zealand the whole of last month and I was mostly in Thailand this month. I’m going to blame my overindulgence in nightly cocktails on the islands and expensive rooftop bar cocktails in Bangkok. This should definitely be less next month as I will be in Nepal the whole month and food is pretty affordable here.
- Trains and buses in Sydney $28
- Grab taxis in Bangkok $32
- Bangkok metro $8.50
- Return flight from Bangkok to Trang $77.50
- Van and boat transfer from Trang Airport to Koh Mook $16
- Moto taxis on Thai islands $4.50
- Transfer boat from Koh Mook to Koh Ngai $10
- Transfer boat from Koh Ngai to Koh Kradan $11.50
- Private transfer boat from Koh Kradan to Koh Libong $32
- One-day scooter hire with gas on Koh Libong $7
- Boat and private car from Koh Libong to Trang City $20
- Taxi from Trang City to Trang Airport $2
- Taxi from airport to Thamel in Kathmandu $4
- Rickshaw from Durbar Square to Thamel in Kathmandu $3
- Entry to McIver Ladies Baths in Sydney $2
- Private boat tour from Koh Mook to Emerald Cave $11.50
- Entry to Durbar Square in Kathmandu $7.50
- Doctor checkup $41
- Dentist checkup, deep clean, x-rays, and two fillings $220
- Ear wax micro suctioning $46
- Thai full body massage $8
- U.S. Phone plan $35
- Spotify $10.50
- Toiletries $54
- Laundry $5
- Drybag $20
- Charity $20
- Small jewelry and passport bags $2
- Hippie beach bag $7.50
Website Costs $21
- Monthly payment for Keysearch $12
- Pixlr photo editing for one year $9
Van/RV Costs $14
- RV insurance for the month $14
What’s in Store for Next Month
The whole of month ninety-three will be spent in Nepal and I am very excited about it! We’ll be starting out with one more night in Kathmandu before heading to Chitwan National Park to hopefully see lots of wildlife (fingers crossed for tigers!), and then we’ll be catching a bus to Pokhara, the gateway to the Annapurna Region.
After spending a few days exploring the sights around Pokhara, we will be setting off on the Annapurna Circuit – a dream trip for me. We are planning to take our time and hike most of the circuit, with only a couple of short sections where we will catch buses or jeep taxis.
We have our route mapped out and it will be about 16 days total with a rest day in Manang to acclimatize. I really hope with diamox that we will be able to keep the ill effects of high altitude at bay. Wish us luck!
We’ll spend another couple of days in Pokhara after the trek to rest then it’s back to Kathmandu for some more sightseeing, via a couple of days in the mountain towns of Bandipur and Bhaktapur.
To read additional Monthly Recaps, you can find them here