So I just turned 24
That is an awfully lot of years older than I actually feel like. But that's alright, that's how life works I guess.
It's also my third birthday in a row that I've spent away from Sweden, but this one was a bit diffident on one point:
I got to spend it with at least one member from my family!!

My little sister Nora flew from Sweden to the capital of the Philippines to meet me, and together we spent two days in Manila and then caught a plane to the island of Palawan. Here we have been making our way up north on the island via Puerto Princessa, Port Barton and finally reached El Nido in time for my birthday!

My birthday itself started with us moving hostel, mainly because the one we stayed in was ridiculously overpriced, (but also because a mad Siberian dude, who saw trees talking to him and with a knife on his belt, was up all night banging on the doors and screaming in Russian which kept all of us awake (yeah it's a long story here) stayed there too and made us fear for our lives).

Anyway, we checked in at the new hostel, called Hakuna Matata, a small bamboo building in the heart of El Nido, and they gave me a birthday cake first thing after getting to know what day it was. This is just one of all the things that made this hostel more than amazing.

Birthday cake on the beach before our boat tour

And then we had a boat tour booked, we both were pretty stoked about this one to be honest.
The Philippine boats are amazing, being pretty narrow, they keep the balance with two wings (or whatever you call them, I don't know boats) on the sides, so our ride was very comfortable all throughout the tour.

And the scenery, wow!
All these limestone islands spread all around in pristine and crystal clear water and sheltered coves with small tunnels in the mountains made this picturesque landscape look like real life postcards.

We had in total five stops on our tour and manage to fit in everything from kayaking to snorkelling and swimming. The weather was perfect and we got back from the tour very happy and pleased with what we got out of the tour.
A cocktail in the sunset and a nice dinner on top of that made a perfect ending on this day (for Nora, I ended up being out until half past three drinking half a bottle of rum, pure backpacker style) and I can't really imagine a better way to have spent my 24:th birthday.

Dream team on a kayak tour!

Cant complain about the view here

A lot (read:a lot, a lot) of more things has happened since Nora joined me here, this one just covered my birthday. I'll try to put up another post that shows the two weeks we have had together here whenever I manage to get a reliable internet source and somehow get my pictures from my camera to my phone. Stay tuned!

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So I went to Krabi!
And yes, I know Krabi is famous to have one of the prettiest archipelagos in this world, but honestly, after spending four nights literally ON the beach on Koh Tarutao, I didn't really feel the need to go to a crowded beach at the moment.
Good things there's other things to do!
I jumped on a local bus that took me to Wat Tham Suea, also known as the Tiger Cave Temple.
The tiger cave itself is more like a meeting hall, but there is a big temple area around and it's filled with beautiful sculptures and pagodas.
The real reason I went here though was the steps, 1237 of them to be exact.
It was hard, and hot, close to 34 degrees Celsius, and humid, but the view a the top was worth everyone of those steep steps, even though I had to push myself to keep going about half way up.

When I reached the top I got greeted by the big golden Buddha, and his famous footprint in one of the rocks. The view is a 360 panoramic scene over Krabi and the ocean with its islands and over fields, jungle and limestone creations. So as I said, I got well rewarded for the effort.

Oh! And they have wifi up there, maybe worth the climb just for that for a poor backpacker as myself.
Jokes.
It's not.

Parts of the temple up on the top, including the big golden Buddha

At the very beginning of the steps, doesn't look that bad from here

There's also a very pretty newer temple in Krabi town itself, just next to where I stayed. I visited that one later on, and enjoyed my days walking along the river and checking out the night market (of course).

The view from different directions

But, but, what?

From the temple area at the base of the mountain

Wat Kaew Korawaram in Krabi town

Two nights there was enough for now, and I caught a bus across to the west coast again and took a night train back to Hua Hin to see my lovely grandparents again.
They took care of me for two extra nights and it felt like I got a proper goodbye and a good see-you-next-time-wherever-and-whenever-it-will-be.
Thank you again and enjoy your last two weeks in your Thai paradise, love you both to bits!

Got to looove these night trains!

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So I went to Koh Tarutao! The biggest island in the Tarutao National Marine park located in the south of Thailand.

This rugged island is more or less untouched, and is covered by a very dense and green jungle. Koh Tarutao also holds a history as an old prison, but got established as a national park 1974. There is no power during day, and only cold water showers. 
I went here to get away from all the resorts and busy travel life for a while, and ended up camping on the beach for four nights and spend my days swimming in crystal clear water or cykling and hiking around as far i could get on the few concrete roads and trails that exist.

I loved this place, and just gonna let the pictures speak for themself.

Miles and miles of white silica beaches just for myself

Jungle trekking to get to a waterfall

My home for four nights

About 8 kilometers in on a bike ride one day, my chain broke, actually broke, in four pieces! After sitting down waiting for someone to come and pick me up for a while I realised that, hello, I'm in the middle of the jungle, on an island, and no one will just come pass, so I managed to, God knows how, put it all together and keep cykling. It lasted all the rest 18 kilometers I did that day and it was worth the effort, I mean, look at the place!

Just the sunset outside my tent, it was alright I guess you can say

Two different kinds of monkeys of the island, first ones are Shell eating Macques, and they WILL chase you if you get to close, trust me on this one...
Second one is a Dusky Leaf Monkey. They stayed up in the trees. I liked them more


There will be other people on the island, but I did spend most of the time on my own, which was exactely what I needed just then, and the people going here is almost guaranteeded nature lovers all of them.
There are some simple basic bungalows to stay in, or you can bring your own tent or rent one of the national parks ones. Three restaruants by some rangers stations across the island and one basic store.
If your'e in for a quiet place, without the big resorts, but with gourgeouss beaches and butterflies, lizzards and birds in all shapes and sizes, this is your place!

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The picture is from my last night on Koh Tao, had a beer to this sunset before I went on the night ferry that took me to the mainland and for a bus to Trang.

The night ferry and my bus ticket. Since my Thai is pretty basic (non existing, who would have thought?), I just had to trust that it would take me where I wanted to go

Anyway, I made it to Trang, this medium-sized south western Thai city, surrounded by rubber trees and palm fields, and it got my heart from the start.
Probably the cleanest and tidiest city I've seen in Thailand so far, no crazy traffic and annoying tourist traps.
My first day ended on the night market and me just trying all this different delicacies from the area.
Honestly, the signature dish of Trang is a sweet, anise tasting crispy pork, and I do believe Trang is worth visiting just for that!

Next day turned out to be one of the most adventurous ones in my travel so far, starting with me looking a bit lost with my backpack and map in my hands.

It turned out to include a tree walk in the botanical garden, temples and good fortunes and going through a very, very tight cave in a small plastic boat and ending with gorgeous local food and a bit too much beer.

It will never stop amaze me how beautiful and genuine people there are in the world. Just included me and made me feel like home. I would like to say that I've got friends for life here, and I know that I'll be back again!


(I also went to the national park of Koh Tarutao for a few nights, but that deserves a post on its own)

Next stop: Krabi!

The people who made it a town I know I will go back to!

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This is literally how I've spent the whole morning.
Do I need to say that I loved the attention?❤️

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I did it! I am now a certified emergency first responder and a Padi rescue diver!
It was unbelievable hard, in pretty rough conditions, but that makes me feel even prouder of myself. I managed to get a guy, weighing 26 kg more than me, up a ladder to the boat from a very wavy ocean.
My legs are bruised and I'm pretty sore, but it was so worth it!

I needed two fun dives afterwards just to enjoy it again, unfortunately no whale sharks for me, but maybe another time!

Otherwise I've been enjoying the island and some amazing food 👌
Tomorrow will be my last day here, time to move again!

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I'm on Ko Tao! Thailands diving mekka!
Starting my Emergency First Response-course today. Tomorrow I'll start my Rescue Diver-course. So exited, and a little bit nervous!
But study is made easy in this settings🌴

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A week in Hua Hin, Thailand, together with my lovely grandparents. Have been so spoiled, and just enjoyed relaxing days at the beach, explored some temples, ate some amazing food and wine, quite a lot of wine.

Thank you for this week, and probably see you soon again 😘

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Singapore in four days,
What an amazing city!

Hadn't planed to travel here to start with, but my flight to Thailand had a stop here anyway, so I thought I might as well check it out, and I'm so glad I did!

The view from the rooftop bar on the 57:th floor was preeeetty amazing 😉

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This will be the first, of hopefully many, post on this blog. The idea is that family and friends can follow me now when I set of out in the big wide world again🌏

Love

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