Saturday, 20 December 2014

Awesome people I've met....

Had to mention some of awesome people I've met! 
Way too many people to list here, sorry! 
Loved meeting you all though!

Here are some photos of people who have made my trip amazing! Plenty more photos but can't fit them all on this blog. I've added the photos on my Dream Believe Achieve Facebook page though :)

Adam, love him he's so nice and keep updating me via Smartphones. Meant a lot when we had our wee chat and him telling me that he thought i was great especially when I did the Nevis Swing. I was so honoured because I wanted to show people that deaf & disabled people can do anything they want with the right support and encouragement in their lives. Wish you all the best on your dreams!

Jazzy & Aiden + Lauren & Lewis - Loved meeting them but especially Jazzy because we had few things in common and worked with people who has special needs. Soooo nice & had patience with communicating with me! Loved partying with you all, hope I didn't embarrass you all with my crap dancing skills on that 1st night in Queenstown - sure was drunk. So glad to have met you all! :)

JoJo & Kim - Drivers of Kiwi Experience & Stray
I wasn't involved in Stray bus but met Kim in Franz Josef and bumped into her again with her group in Queenstown. Had plenty of fun times with them! Great to party with :)  JoJo, you are forgiven for forgetting to give me my passport back heehee. But honestly, meeting great people on my travels make my life easier and that make me very motivated to carry on with my travelling. As JoJo was one of my Kiwi Experience driver for Auckland to Christchurch she helped making my trip a blast keeping me updated and helping me too. Being profoundly deaf didn't stop me from partying with hearing people. There are always ways to break the communication barrier down! Don't forget that!

Whenever I go travelling, I never meet people from Ireland or Northern Ireland until I arrived in New Zealand! Met awesome Irish lads Phil, James & John & a lovely Irish gal Suzanne! Enjoyed my time with you all and thank you all for communicating with me via Facebook/iPhones during our travels with Kiwi Experience & inviting me out for fun times. Also for videoing my Nevis Swing!

Loving seeing all of your latest travel statuses and photos online,
 keeping me motivated to save up for more travels in the future! 
Wish you all good luck and all the best on your travels :)

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Kiwi Experience

Kia Ora!

I knew I wanted to experience New Zealand but I had limited time and wanted to make the most of my trip there. So I looked up online for travel tips and came across few travel services such as Stray and Kiwi Experience. I looked up online reviews for both of them and checked their websites to see which ones would suit me better. I then contacted STA travel knowing which one I wanted to go with and after talking it over with my agent I knew which one I for sure wanted to go with but wasn't sure which route to take. After talking it over about what I wanted to experience and where I wanted to go it then was booked.

We agreed on Bay of Islands and Sheep Dog bus passes. There's few different bus passes, it depend on where you want to go and what you want to do :)

There's plenty of reasons why I chose Kiwi Experience: Guaranteed 1st night's accommodation at every overnight stop, meet new people at every destination, flexibility (Hop on Hop off), unique stops to see amazing views (And for photos!), and discounts on some activities! And many more!

Kiwi Experience buses:
From Auckland to Bay of Islands to Auckland, my driver was Jarred.
From Auckland to Christchurch, my driver was JoJo.

You can hop on and hop off any time you like and when you are ready to hop on again, just let Kiwi Experience know the dates they will save you a seat. I was pretty lucky!

I loved all places I stayed in but didn't fancy staying in Bay of Islands any more than a night so I went back to Auckland but didn't confirm my dates with Kiwi Experience because I was undecided. So I asked Jarrod if I could get a seat on a certain date for Auckland to South.

When I arrived in Auckland, I went exploring by foot then went to bed early because I had to get up early the next day and wait at the meeting point for Auckland to South bus. I was hoping there were a stand by seat for me.

That was when I met a different driver JoJo who confirmed there was a seat for me, yay!! I then decided to plan the rest of my trip and sorted out how many nights I wanted to stay in each place but I also had to be flexible in case I changed my mind. The bus timetable was tricky to sort out because I wanted to make the most of my trip and at the same time I wanted to be flexible.

On Kiwi Experience buses, we get sheet handouts, we all fill it in then pass it around to everybody. When we all finish filling it in, we hand it back to the driver who then book our accommodation and activities.

There's two main islands in New Zealand which is North & South Island. To get between each island you need to travel via a ferry. The ticket isn't included in the bus pass but you can let your driver know and they will help you book it with a great deal year around.

I stayed in both North Island and South Island. Listed below are the places where I stayed :)

North Island:
Paihia - Bay of Islands, Auckland, Hot Water Beach, Waitomo, Rotorua, Taupo, River Valley, Wellington

South Island:
Kaiteriteri, Westport, Franz Josef, Wanaka, Queenstown, Lake Tekapo, Christchurch

A huge thanks to Kiwi Experience drivers and everyone I met 
because they made my trip amazing!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Back to Bangkok

4th Feb the day I left Koh Phangan and went back to Bangkok for few days. More long travelling again, how the earth do I have a lot of patience. But you will realize why if you ever travel in Thailand. Arrived at the ferry port and bumped into 2 friends. We all realized we were taking same flight so we travelled together to the airport and to Bangkok. Boat, car, ferry, coach, plane, taxi all in order – a lot of trips to get to Bangkok!! J

We stayed at same place where we spent our first few days in Bangkok few weeks ago. My foot were hurting so much so we went to a chemist to get painkillers then went to our rooms to get ready for going out again. I was so knackered but didn’t want to have an early night I wanted to go out and have fun knowing I was going home to Northern Ireland few days later. We all met up downstairs and went to a restaurant nearby for our dinner and few cocktails. I am not an alcoholic, promise! J Got in touch with someone else who invited us out for partying. So after our dinner, we went out to find some bar to meet friends and new travellers. Many laughs and had a great time as usual!

The next day, 5th Feb, I slept in for a bit and took more painkillers. Then in the afternoon, it was so hot, I went to get food and markets to get presents. Then back to my room to pack L It was so hard packing and got my clothes ready for the flight the next morning. Got my hoody and coat out of my rucksack knowing Northern Ireland was so cold.

6th Feb, up before 4am for my flight at 9am as the journey takes an hour to get to the airport but ended up at the airport way too early because the taxi driver was speeding! Cheers!

Will never forget my trip to Thailand, even though I was in a lot of pain and was so tired many times but it was amazing!! Many unique experiences, brilliant new friends and overcame some fears!

Of course I wasn't happy being in Northern Ireland again as it was so cold when I finally landed!

Koh Phangan

27th Jan
All day we were travelling to Koh Phangan from Koh Phi Phi. 3 boat trips, and a bus trip! Once again, I enjoyed the views along the way J Eventually we arrived at the resort in Koh Phangan in the evening. The resort was gorgeous! Stayed at Bottle Beach Resort. We hit our rooms and got ready for dinner. Chatted for a bit then I crashed in my room, as I was too tired from the travelling.
28th Jan
Spent the morning walking around the resort checking out the beach and views. It was paradise! I then chilled by the pool writing about Thailand. I was running out of clean clothes so I sent my washing to the staff – cheap! J I didn’t want to over pack as I knew I could wash my clothes or send them to someone. After a long day of travelling to Koh Phangan I decided it was wise to sunbath and chill for a bit knowing we had plans later on.
We went in long tail boat to somewhere where there was a Wind Up activity (Like the TV programme Wind Up) Of course I didn’t take up seeing it was in the lake! I watched some friends taking part and took photos. It was a good craic.

Then afterwards we went for dinner and a bar crawl then ended up on the beach for more partying! I got tipsy and mentioned to some girlies that I wanted more piercings so they encouraged me to get one that night. I ended up with a belly piercing – no regrets haha! I was worried about boat trip to our island because I didn’t want to fall in the sea seeing it was dark and all of us were drinking. I was so relived to learn that we would take a car journey back to the island but it meant the trip would be longer than a boat trip. We eventually got back to our rooms around 2am but the journey wasn’t simple! To me, I felt it was so rough and I sat in the back of the car (In the air!) Think it was about 11 of us squashed in the back of the car whilst the other about 4 were inside the car – lucky buggers! I had to hold the car so I couldn’t fall off – interesting experience! 
29th Jan the day we all did our own thing, relaxing and playing footy on the beach etc. I sunbathed – sound like I am a sun worshipper!! Most of the time I sunbath under the shade so I can stay safe but the sun is good for my skin in some way even though it carry a risk of getting skin cancer – so be careful! I always use sun cream of 15+ or 30+ depending where I am on my travels.

That night we all had a final dinner as everyone were leaving Koh Phangan the next day to go somewhere else or home. I decided to spend another week here so relax as I hurt my foot and found it impossible to walk! We chatted, ate and took photos. Said our goodbyes etc. Sad moment!

30th Jan More goodbyes to more friends then spent the rest of the day surfing the internet, sunbathing and reading a book. Then suddenly it rained on me in the late afternoon!! I was on the sun bed on the beach minding my own business, in my bikini!! Haha then suddenly everyone and I got up and ran to our rooms. I of course took my time to walk to my room. I got soaked but the rain only lasted for few minutes, thankfully!

I took my time getting a shower, sorting my hair out and got dressed for dinner in the evening. Staff there were so nice, making me smile and laugh giving me attention as they knew my friends had just left Koh Phangan.

31st Jan – 3rd Feb I spent these days chilling by the pool or on the beach, eating much yummy food and reading books. I am a nerd! ;) Should invest in a Kindle really, to save space in my rucksack.

Koh Phi Phi

25th Jan 
The day when we went to Koh Phi Phi! It was a long journey, a lot of travelling when in Thailand! Beautiful views though! We got on a ferry to Koh Phi Phi, man the heat when on the ferry was unbearable! We sat on the ground and the sun was blazing, I was dying of the heat due to my rare condition. I had to move around and sat somewhere where there were winds from the sea. That was a bliss, but there were a load of people on the ground, it was hard to walk about and not to fall over! Yes, Koh Phi Phi is popular! I can see why though. I love it there and would be happy to go back there again.

Eventually we arrived on the island; I was struggling with my rucksack, as I wanted to sit down and to cool down. There were a lot of steps up to our bungalows and the heat didn’t help. I had help from my friends, thank you to who helped me! J Once I arrived in my room with my roommate, I decided that the room was too hot for me and I upgraded to a room with air con. I eventually cooled down in my new upgraded room. Everyone went to the bar pool but I stayed in my room to rest so I had enough energy for the beach party later on.

When the evening came, we all went out for a meal and a bar crawl then ended up on the beach for partying! It was awesome watching fireworks going off, and fire shows, which was brilliant and funny for some reason. You just had to be there J It was a brilliant night!

26th Jan
We all did our own thing in the morning. I sunbathed and chilled by the bar pool and wrote about Thailand. Some others were nursing their hangovers, I am sure! As usual, I didn’t get a hangover, rarely thankfully!

In the afternoon, we all went on a boat tour and saw many islands & beaches. The sea was lovely and it wasn’t cold unlike the sea in my hometown! I even went in the sea, but had a life jacket on, as I dislike the sea. I soon wanted to get back in the boat, I wasn’t that confident being in the sea haha. We went to Maya Bay, where ‘The Beach’ was filmed J When we got back to the boat after looking around Maya Bay I fell in the sea and ended up shivering all the way back to Koh Phi Phi as I had my towel around me when I fell in the sea haha. The boat went fastish so I wasn’t surprised I ended up shivering J Saw the sunset going down then back to the island to get ready for the evening. The boat tour was beauty!

We all went back to our rooms, but saw a lot of beautiful kittens on the way back, to get showers. Then we all met up for dinner and had Mexican meal. Of course there were booze! Afterwards some of us went on a bar crawl but some of us and I were tired so we went back to our rooms. Started packing and had an early night – after 12am! J

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Khao Sok

23rd Jan
We arrived at somewhere for breakfast and to refresh up, it was about 7am but there were plenty of people around which has surprised me because it’s different from my home town. It was also warm at that time, a bliss!!
Then we had a long bus journey to Khao Sok National Park, then a trip via a long tail boat. We stopped by at some caves but I didn’t go far in the caves I ended up going in for a bit then came out with some friends whilst others carried on. Once we were finished, we started our journey again to the park and the views were absolutely beautiful. Saw gorgeous floating raft houses, I soon realized we were getting there and was going to stay in these raft houses. It was scary getting to getting to my room at one of the raft houses as it was on the lake and I don’t like being so close to water. It was a cool experience though. 
Later on that night, we went on a night safari and played card games. The electric didn’t come on till 6.30pm and stayed on till 11pm and there were limited sockets to charge our mobiles! But it was peaceful and perfect for a bit. We had to use torches and our mobiles to get to our rooms! To my surprise, I ended up sleeping for few hours straight so I was a happy bunny even though I could do with few more hours.
24th Jan
We went on a day safari via a long tail boat and saw some monkeys in the national park. Then we went back to the raft houses and spent the morning doing whatever we wanted. Some went swimming, some sunbathed and the rest of them went kayaking. I sunbathed, of course! J
Then we got our stuff and went to a hotel at lovely resort nearby. We left about 11am and didn’t get there till many hours later. But we had fun on the way to the hotel as we stopped by Monkey Temple – funny time!! Saw monkeys chasing other monkeys, chilling in the sun and having sex!! Took many photos and had some taken with them too. There were a cute puppy there too, too tiny!! J
When we arrived at the lovely resort, we unpacked our stuff. Some of us went to see elephants. Fed them bananas and stroked them. Amazing experience!
Then back to the hotel, we had some dinner and hit some bar nearby. But then some of us decided to go back to the resort and stopped by some shop for booze. The rest of them stayed behind at some bar. Then some of us played card games whilst drinking booze. I soon felt tired and when we were finished with card games, I went back to my room and crashed for the night.