I’m Moved

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Sometimes the sunsets here are like paintings. Not the abstract stuff that makes you go WTF, but a soul stirring classic!

In fact, I was so moved, I’ve changed domains. Please change your bookmarks to thislabyrinthiroam.blog ❤ Show some love!

Marking Anniversaries

Bangkok Skyline
The view of downtown Bangkok from my office window

I don’t have a track record of remembering anniversaries and important dates. These days, you don’t need to, thanks to Facebook and Time Hop. All you need to do is put up a post about it and it’ll remind you every year ‘On This Day’.

Very Convenient.

However, I have been trying to be less rubbish at it. I read somewhere that we are potentially the only species on the planet who’s aware of the passage of time and that just blew my mind. We know time flies, we know life is fleeting, and if we didn’t know any better, we’d just be stuck in a routine where one day is just like the other. I understand now, more than ever, why people get into knots about remembering anniversaries.

Today I have been in Bangkok and at this job for a whole year. If I didn’t take the time to look out the window and take stock of where I was standing right then and what journey got me there, would I be giving life the credit that it deserves? Just thinking back to when I first got here and how life has changed in the span of only 365 days makes me speechless. Even when everyday seems the same, you’re never the same person you were when you first started.

Life is never dull and constant.

Sometimes, to appreciate the true complexity and beauty of life, and your own transformation to the beat of the seconds hand, you just need to take a step back and really look.

Life is an amazing journey!

A stormy evening sky in Bangkok
A stormy evening sky in Bangkok

Happy Anniversary Bangkok. You have been challenging and eye-opening, you have been a comfort and infuriating. In not being home, and in sometimes being the exact opposite of comforting, you’ve raised me to be stronger, better, more resilient. In kicking me out of my comfort zone every single day, you’ve made my life throb with excitement! Thank you for a wonderful year!

Koh Sichang

A lot of people warned us against going to this island as there was nothing to see or do. It is a quick day-trip for locals to spend the day at a beach without it hurting the bank and without it being a free show of the dreadful farang infestion (their words, not mine!). However, Koh Sichang blew our minds. 

Yes, it is a small fisherman’s village and in that lies all the magic. It is small, tight knit and laid back. And while there is development in terms of restaurants and roads, it still is a place stuck in a magical time bubble. It is beautiful. 

Only 100kms from Bangkok aka 2 hours by an air-conditioned bus from the Ekkamai bus station and a 40 minute ferry and you are far, far, FAR away from the madding crowd. Pure bliss. 

The ferry is at the Sri Racha pier, the name sounds familiar cause they are also a hot sauce we all love (there is a chilli factory in town that we didn’t, unfortuntaley, get to explore). You get off the bus at Robinson’s – you’ll know when half the passengers get off here. A short 50 baht tuk tuk ride away and you’re at a park that also acts as a pier. 

Depending on what time of day you come, you get to climb up or down to a boat. It’s quite adventurous navigating the tide. 

And then you reach Koh Sichang. While I can wax ad nauseum about how amazing it was, I’ll let the pictures do the talking. If I am guilty of not taking to Thailand the way most people do, I am slowly changing my ways. 

Koh Sichang (3)
First view of the island – an unused lighthouse (Unseen, billions of trade ships and barges)
Koh Sichang (2)
Shrimp boats aka the chariot that makes divine seafood grills a reality
Koh Sichang (4)
Unique ‘tuk tuks’ that are half way between a bike and an auto.
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A birds eye view of Koh Sichang
The Yellow Buddha, guardian of Koh Sichang
The Yellow Buddha, guardian of Koh Sichang
Koh Sichang (22)
The amazing views he gets to enjoy everyday
Koh Sichang (24)
My noble steed. Allowed us to explore the island from end to end twice over
A 1000 year old tree brought to the island from Bodghaya in India.
A 1000 year old tree brought to the island from Bodghaya in India.
View from the old chinese temple at the top of Koh Sichang
View from the old chinese temple at the top of Koh Sichang
You can see the end of the island from this point in Koh Sichang
You can see the end of the island from this point in Koh Sichang
A shrine to Queen Elizabeth?
A shrine to Queen Elizabeth?
And another to Septa Unella from Game of Thrones? #SHAME
And another to Septa Unella from Game of Thrones? #SHAME
Wishes hanging from the cave inside the old Chinese Temple
Wishes hanging from the cave inside the old Chinese Temple
Guardian of the wishes at the old Chinese Temple at Koh Sichang
Guardian of the wishes at the old Chinese Temple at Koh Sichang
LOW TIDE!
LOW TIDE!
Views of the 'only' beach in Koh Sichang.
Views of the ‘only’ beach in Koh Sichang.
Koh Sichang (29)
Some private beaches that require a bit of effort to find
Some paths begging to be explored
Some paths begging to be explored

Koh Sichang (19)

You are rewarded with spectacular views if you trek a bit
You are rewarded with spectacular views if you trek a bit through the volcanic terrain
Someone's been stacking rocks. A bit scary!
Someone’s been stacking rocks. A bit scary!
Another relic from India - Buddha's Footprint
Another relic from India – Buddha’s Footprint
Some private beaches that require a bit of effort to find
Another beach
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If you can capture a moment of zen in a picture, this would be it

Hua Hin, Thailand

I turn 30 at the end of this year. I have been waiting for this moment since I was 14 and have always had at the back of my head that I would do something spectacular. Teenage me had dreams about quitting my adult job and life, showing a big middle finger to society and disappearing somewhere more exotic than India. Teenage me didn’t really know much about adult responsibilities and this evil thing called money.

However, teenage me is the reason I have quit many jobs and showed the middle finger to the world and gone somewhere more exotic than India. Adult me realised that in between two foreign escapes, there has to be at least one corporate stint. Someone has to replenish the treasure chest after all. But 30 will soon be here and in a bid to do something different/grand, I decided I indulge my itchy feet hopefully in a way that doesn’t break the bank. And instead of doing one long backpacking trip (don’t worry, that plan hasn’t been called off just yet), I will travel every now and then to add up to a grand 30th year.

I am not running around like a headless chicken though. I have a plan. I want to see 30 new places before my 30th – even if it means an area of Bangkok I haven’t yet visited. I also intend to document it here so that I can look back on it and say ‘Wow, I actually did those things!’. See, in many ways, I am still teenage me.

First trip on the list was to a coastal town in Thailand called Hua Hin. I found out that my Japanese retiree of a neighbour moved from Japan to Hua Hin because it has a reputation of being a resort city – complete with healing sea air, warm beaches and rainbow coloured cocktails with parasols on them. So far, we’ve seen virgin islands, scandalous party towns and a metropolitan, sky-scraper filled locations. Hua Hin had a completely different vibe.

We had an extended weekend and most of what we know about the place, we learnt when we were there. We decided to stay at a garden resort some distance from the city and it was a choice we really enjoyed. Hua Hin has a very laid back atmosphere and all around us we could see big houses and older people. We found out that it was converted from being a quiet fishing village to a relaxing seaside resort thanks to the patronage of the Thai royal family who used Hua Hin as a getaway from Bangkok. The current king of Thailand lives there now and I can see why.

When your introduction runs to 500 words, you know it’s time to turn to pictures and let them do the talking! 🙂 Having quickly found out that taxis were a rip off, we decided to hire a bike and went exploring.

Hua Hin
Welcome to Hua Hin
Garden Resort
Our accommodation – a garden resort!
Pool at Garden Resort
The inviting pool at the Garden Resort (aka, sun bathing and deck chair reading station)
Hua Hin Beach
Hua Hin Beach. Word to the wise, it is a long beautiful walkable beach. We decided to walk all the way to Cicada Night Market. However, after dark, there are no lights. You have to rely on the moon and stars (we got lucky). Also, the beach is riddled with Jelly Fish blobs. We careful if you choose to do what we did.
Cicada Night Market
Cicada Night Market – There was a free jazz concert on the occasion of the King’s Birthday.
Performance at Floating Market Hua Hin
Performance at Floating Market Hua Hin
Hua Hin Floating Market (2)
Hua Hin Floating Market
Goats at Floating Market
I ain’t afraid of no goats (at the floating market!)
Fish and Geese at Hua Hin Floating Market
Some friendly (aka scary) Geese and koi at the Hua Hin Floating Market
Hua Hin Postboxes
Old fashioned letter boxes at Hua Hin Floating Markets. They are still functional.
Huay Mongol Temple
After a long and scary ride down the highway, we reached the impressive Huay Mongol Temple. Absolutely magnificent and a bit terrifying.
Gold Leaf Offerings at Huay Mongol Temple
We observed an interesting ritual. People purchased gold leaves. Made a wish and then pasted it on the statue.
Huay Mongol Temple Sign
Funny sign at the Huay Mongol Temple
Huay Mongkol Temple
At the exit of the Huay Mongkol Temple

Baan Sillapin Artists Village

On the way back, found an interesting Artists Village with working artists. It was such a peaceful place.

Hut at Baan Sillapin Artists Village
One of the huts at the Baan Sillapin Artists Village
Sculpture at Baan Sillapin Artists Village
My favourite sculpture at the Baan Sillapin Artists Village in Hua Hin
Hiking at Hua Hin
We also saw a little hill that we climbed without really knowing where we were going. There was an arrow pointed down this trail saying ‘View Point’. We had to explore.
Hua Hin Views (4)
Our first view at the view point.
Hua Hin Views (5)
When we reached the top, we saw we weren’t alone. Someone was already there enjoying the view. She made a light call when she saw us.
Hua Hin Views (3)
We had some return chatter from the woods on the left. Within 5 minutes, the hill was full of monkeys from different tribes. We were terrified and exhilarated at the same time. Since there was no obvious escape route, we made like trees, put our phones away and enjoyed the views. Woods on one side, city and sea on the other!
Hua Hin Views (1)
The city and sea views. You’ll be happy to hear we made it back alive. Only to find out that you can buy a bucket of food for the monkeys and feed them. We also found out that there were 7 more view points which included ledges on top of a cliff. We visited all of them.
Hua Hin Railway Station (2)
The old Hua Hin Railway Station is truly a must-visit . It is the same as it has been since it was first erected.
Hua Hin Railway Station (3)
The ticket booth at the Hua Hin Railway Station
Hua Hin Railway Station (5)
A model train at the Hua Hin Railway Station
Hua Hin Railway Station (1)
The waiting room at the Hua Hin Railway Station
Hua Hin Railway Station (4)
You can only travel two ways on this track
Khao Takiab Beach
Our last night on the Khao Takiab Beach at Hua Hin. That hill you see is called Monkey Hill by the locals.


And it’s only 2.5 hours away on a bus!