Backpacking – what to bring and what not to bring 

If your going ok your first backpacking adventure, like many you will be wondering what to bring. You don’t want to bring to much and be carrying a heavy bag around, but at the same time you need certain things to survive. 

Ladies, hair dryers and hair straighteners are a no no. Your hair will dry within 20 mins of being outside, embrace nature drying your hair it’s all part of traveling. If you straighten or dry your hair in the heat, you will be damaging your hair big time. The biggest bonus of not brining these is it’s a lot of weight taken off your back. Plus my hair grew loads and feels healthier. You will however need lots of hair bands, I was forever wearing one and keeping one on my wrist. I went with 30 and came back with 3.

Make up was the hardest decision for me, as I’m the time of girl you hug and end up will my make up on your shirt. Travelling I took, two lots of BB cream and lipgloss both with additional suncream in them. Truth is, after two weeks I was way to tanned for my BB cream and my skin felt so healthy anyway I didn’t want to wear it. When we went on night out hardly anyone wore make up, apart from young girls that where there for a Party weekend. 


Towels are a pain, not every hotel/hostel will provide you with towels. Plus you usually need your own towel for beaches or sitting beside the pool. We discovered microfibres towels, they roll up into a tiny sack. They try very quickly, if you poor water on them in the sun you can practically watch them dry. 


Two paid of shoes only! Flip flops and comfy walking shoes. I invested in sketchers which were super comfy, when we moved from each destination I put my flip flops in my bag and wore my comfy shoes. We also had walking boots ( light but grippy) which we kept in my boyfriend bag as his was much bigger. The walking boots where perfect for rainy days and going for hilly walks.

I originally packed one of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and body wash. We packed these items in a seperare see through bag, with all or cosmetics. Don’t forget sunceeam and mosquito spray. One bottle of sunceeam lasted us sixweeks. There are shops, most of the time you will find it fairly cheap to buy these items.

Only bring one book, because you can buy books out their, they have book exchange cafes and most hostels you will find someone you can exchange with. If you have a kindle then that is ideal.

The biggest question is how many clothes to bring. The awnser is now much. I brought with me 3 pairs of shorts, 3 strap tops, 3 dresses, 2 strap tops, and a mix of four bikinis that I could mix and match. It dosent seem a lots but once you have put your costemtics, your shoes and your clothes in your bag will be pretty full. Plus I’m thaialnd was found so many clothes and items we wanted to buy and put in our bags.

Don’t forget a water proof jacket, for when it rains. I always had mine attatched to the outside of my bag.

It dosent matter what you bring, at the end of the day you will have fun. Brining less stuff just means, you will moan less when you are moving about.

Reality of being home 

As upset as I was to come home early. I landed in Gatwick at lunch time, and I became excited to hug my parents, have a cup of tea and a bubble bath. I was very happy to see my parents, emotional hugs as support during this time.
I got home and put the kettle on. Home did not feel as homely as I expected. It seemed smaller and I felt like a foreign giants. My cup of tea was great in my favourite mug. The next morning, I got up and made a cup of tea and sat and watched the news. I missed being on the beach with a strawberry or mango fruit smoothie. Missed waking up, feeling excited for today’s adventure. 

We had lots to do, sort out our phones, see Tony’s friends and family, sort work out, get a diary, sort out storage in our bedroom.. so much to do. No more stress free morning, when are hardest decision was to relax on the beach before or after we explored the area. 

Every day we would swim in the sea or a swimming pool. Yesterday morning, I got changed straight into my work out gear and went for a run outside. It was nice to be outside excerising again, but still not the same. 

I’m currently having a bubble bath, face mask on and drinking a chai tea. I felt that some time to reflect would be good for my mind. All I can think about is missing traveling and looking at around the world tickets online. 

Last night, I went to church to light a candle for my auntie and for my family. It was a church I had been to a few times with my dad. This time when I went, I noticed the paintings on the wall, the wooden alter, the mosaics glass artwork. It was like traveling has opened my mind to be more observant and notice new things. It is such a beautiful world, when you open your mind. When I jogged to the park yesterday, I always thought it was a rubbish little park in Mile oak. When I jogged to the top of the hill, and turned around I could see the sea me stood there for a minute to take it all in.

It’s safe to say I’ve been bit by the travel bug. I’ve bought a scratch of map, to decide our next destination! 

Emotional goodbye to Thailand, my paradise

Due to sad family news, we have had to cut our trip early. We booked flight for 2 days after to return home. 
As we were in Koh Phanang, we had a lots of traveling to do as we needed to fly from Bangkok. We started journey, at 5pm. All of our bags packed, wearing our airport clothes. I’ve updated my airport trousers to super comfy elephant trousers and strap top. A taxi picked us up and took us to the pier. 
The ferry to Koh Samui to big Buddha pier, took only half an hour. I started to feel sad that this was our last boat journey. I found the boat journeys, super relaxing sitting on the top deck sitting with my legs over the edge. One of my favourite journeys, was seeing dolphins swimming from Ao nang to Koh Samui.
From Big Buddha, we got a mini bus to the Airport for 100 Baht per person. 
Koh Samui airport was busy, their seems be only one airline that flys from there. The queues took forever. Once checked in, we had a look around the airport, it was so laid back that it didn’t feel like an airport. 
We waited for an hour before Boarding our flight which was slightly delayed. The flight took a hour and half to Bangkok. The flight where around £100 each, but you where served a little food which was great. 
Once at Bangkok airport, we checked in. I got emotional being at Bangkok airport, as this is where our beautiful journey began over 6 and half weeks ago. We arrived curious of what to expect on our trip, and wondering how to get a taxi and how much to pay. I got emotional and actually cried a little realising our journey was over. Tony cuddled me and said it’s not over, it’s just beginning because now we know we want to see more of the world. 
It took a hour and flurry five minutes in Emirates check in queue and when we got to the desk they told us we might not have a ticket as they where over booked ( although we had already paid £1500 for our flight) after another half hour wait they managed to sort our flight out. After, immigration checks to leave the country we had to run to our gate as we were now very late despite arriving 3 and half hours before our flight. As we arrived at the gate, it was literally about to close and we were the last few people on the flight. 
The first half of our flight was to Dubai and took around 6 hours and 10 mins. As this was a 2am flight, I managed to sleep for a few hours.
Once arrived in Dubai airport we had a two hour wait. Tony, wanted a McDonald’s in Bangkok but due to the chaos we didn’t have them to get one. As soon as we got to Dubai he was searching for McDonald’s. 
Dubai airport was HUGE. We took a elevator to the top floor, then a five minute walk to the train. We got of the train at the next stop. Then another elevator and then a 5 min walk to our gate. Disappointed to discover, we did not have seats together but I luckily managed to swap with the girl next to me. 

Every time, I’ve been to Dubai I always get “randomly” checked. When you get randomly checked, you have to go into a private room. The first time I was patt searched everywhere, and I mean everywhere. The second time I was drug swabbed under arms, in between boobs, hands, feet and my shoes and phone where also swabbed and I had to wait for the results. Great, that they are so strict on security and questionable to why I look so dodgy haha. 
I am currently on the plan from Dubai to London, Gatwick. We still have around 4 and half hours to go. I’m currently watching ghost busters 2 with a cup of tea. I have to say, it’s the first proper brew I have had in six and half weeks. 
I am a little more excited to go home now, see my family, have a bubble bath, have a good cuppa and a nandos. I’m sad as my journey was cut short but I need to go home and be with my family.
I have so many more dreams of place I want to visit. I am satisfied that we covered everything south that we wanted to cover, my highlight where swimming in waterfalls, Kayaking on the sea, water parks, drunken nights on the beach and meeting new people.
My current journey is over but it is to be continued.

Koh Samui, Chawang beach 

We arrived in Koh Samui on February 13th. 

We have spent a total of 3 nights and four days here. 

The first day was spent traveling to the island, 3 hour coach journey and 2 hour ferry. Once we arrived on the island, we walked to the Big Buddha temple that’s close to the ferry port with our big rucksacks on. There was a few stairs to get to the top, but the golden Buddha and the views were certainly worth it. 


After, we got a taxi to our hotel. We have checked ourselves into a hotel called pleasure Harbour Bouqitue close to which is close the Chaweng beach. The hotel is decorated erotically, which is interesting for Valentine’s.

We have found our favourite bar and resteraunt called Backpackers. Amazing cheap food and I finally tried my first Thai green curry and it was amazing. I can’t wait to have another. We have gone here at least once a day, for a game of pool or connect four. 

The first night, we decided to have a few beers. There was a bar at the end of the strip called tastys, where the seats outside where swings and the toilet was a golden thrown hidden behind a book case, defiantly recommend trying here. We ended up finding a small club, which was full of Thai people only and dancing until 3am drinking vodka buckets for 99 Baht. We had a fabulous night, and defiantly recommend this area for partying. The only strange thing, is there is vissably a lot of prositutes around and with that comes a lot of seedy men. 


February 14th, Valentines we spent the day adventuring and found a arcades and cinema. The Arcades was a lot of fun, from old school street fighter games, to the new 4d shooting games. At the cinema we watched the new 50 shades of grey. If you go to watch this, make sure you stay to the end of the credits, as you get a sneaky preview of the next film. We ended Valentine’s with a drink at our hotel, where I finally had my first glass of red wine since we have been away. 

Yesterday was beach day. Chawang beach is surfers paradise, where the waves are constantly high. It’s very difficult to swim here and if you doggy paddle like me the waves will take you. I did however, have so much fun holding hands with my boyfriend and jumping against the waves with my goggles on. We then had massages on the beach, a Thai massage for one hour. It felt like heaven, I enjoyed mainly when she massages my back and my hands. After, our massages we had some food at the street market by the shopping centre. Potato cheese balls and chicken on a stick yum yum yum! 
We had an early night, as we where tired from jumping with the waves for hour and hours and felt super relaxed after a massage. I literally had one beer with food and was ready for my bed. 

Today, we are checking out of our hotel and heading to a different part of the island, where we have booked another hotel. 

Hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day. 

Thailand Bathroom  problems for us travelers 

Hotels in Thailand love a wet room. Their versions of wet rooms is cramming bathrooms into a small space and your shower being over our toilet. You could literally wee and shower at the same time. Girls, this is great for shaving your legs though haha.
Public toilets / bar toilets most the time do not have proper roofs. This means there lots of bugs and lizards. The other day I went for a wee and there was literally a lizard opposite me watching.. weird. 

No toilet paper to be flushed down the toilet, whaaaaat. I find this hard to get used to. What if you need a number two, I’m not comfortable putting that in the bin, so strange. You do however get a little jet wash, beside toilets so you can clean yourself that way too.
Toilets are often smelly due to them running of tanks. Sometimes hotel bathrooms are even smelly!

Some places like nail salons do not have toilets, so you often see men peeing against trees out the back. 

There are also unisex toilets everywhere, this seems the normal. 

That’s all you need to know about toilets in Thailand. 

Koh Lanta

After phi phi, we got a a ferry to Koh Lanta. This ferry was smaller and defiantly a lot bumpier. Closing my eyes just made me feel more seasick. I spent the whole journey reading my book. 

Once we arrived in Koh Lanta we had booked a hotel at Hugs hotel and we got a taxi there. The taxis where actually a lady driver a moterbike with a crate on the side. Interestingly, our journey there was full of feeling unbalanced and her driving around pot holes so the moterbike didn’t tip over.
Our hotel was nice and simple and staff where lovely. We where a 10 min walk from the beautiful beach, which we went to almost every day.
We spent a total of 7 days in Koh Lanta. We got into a routine of going for breakfast, getting changed into beach stuff and going to the beach. At the beach we bought goggles, and for the first time in many many years i was convinced to hold my breath and put my head under the water. Which once I done it once, I had so much fun and took lots of underwater selfies with the go pro.


I’m the evening we would go out for dinner, we found lots of nice places for dinner including a resteraunt on the beach where we watched the sun go down and a pub called the Irish embassy that did good western food. 

We adventures out one night, first to a quite bar where we played Jenga, cards and pool. From there we went to the monkey bar, where there was live karaoke. The atmosphere was amazing, and even though I wasn’t completely drunk decided to sing a Jessie J song with my boyfriend. 

For two days, we adventures to Koh Lanta old town. This is a very cute small town. We walked along the old pier, and the vie was beautiful.


 We walked into the main town and went to all the shops. Unlike anywhere else they did rice engraving. So you bought a neck less and put a bit of rice inside and the rice you could have engraved a name on. We were also recommended by a friend to try a restaurant called family BBQ, it was a 15 min walk away from our hotel but was worth it. 


For our last night we headed to a hotel closer to the pier, it was slightly over budget but included breakfast. It was really nice as it has a swimming pool by the beach. Me and Tony played Volly ball until it was dark, went and showered and filled out hungry bellies with chicken satay. They also served flavoured soda water, blue Hawaiian was my favourite. The staff spoke very good English and were always joking around. 

The next day after breakfast, we took a ferry back to Ao Nang in Krabi. 


We plan to stay here for a few night before head to Koh Samui. It’s strange because we spent around 5 days here last time, I almost have a homely feeling when we got here.
Realising we need to stick to a budget now we decided to try hostels for around 800 baht a night. Being the great negotiator that I am, I managed to negotiate a hotel room down to this price for two night ( usually 1200 Baht) not bad. 
Dominique Lennon xo 

All part of traveling 

5 days ago, we got on a ferry that took us from Krabi to Koh Phi Phi. This beautiful small island is a natational park. There are no cars in the area, the only people that have motorbikes are the police. 


I have the feeling that less then a year ago this island was not so commercialised but I get the general  feeling that’s the case with a lot of Thailand. It seems there are not that many jobs a Thai person can have, and the only way for there economy to grow is the tourist industry. 

The water in phi phi is the clearest I have seen so far, if you walk into the sea and stand still, lots of see through looking fishes swim past you. There’s also a few miniature rock pools where you may see other sea life.

We also followed signs to island view point. It was about a half hour – fourty five minute treck up hill. At the top was beautiful view of the whole island and we went at the perfect time when the sun was setting. It was so pretty and peaceful. 

Unfortunately on day two of our stay at phi phi, we went out for dinner and it didn’t taste right. We had planned to go out for a few beers but I was feeling ill and needed to go home. After this I was sick for over 3 days, and my partner a few hours after me also became ill. On the second day of being ill, we stayed in bed all day and woke up covered in bites. When we went to the pharmacy she confirmed we had been bitten by bed bugs! We left the hotel immediately, who were shocked and gave us our money back for the remaining nights we had booked.


We are now in a cleaner hotel, and slowly starting to feel human again. Last night we even adventured out in the evening to watch a fire show and eat pizza on the beach. 

We have two days left on phi phi and I’m hoping to be well enough to experience it properly as it’s beautiful. 

First week in Thailand 

We set off on our adventure last Monday. Tony’s alarm went off at 5am. We were already awake and hardly slept that night. Mixed feeling of excitement, nervous and overthinking. 

We flew from Gatwick to Dubai and then Dubai to Bangkok in Thailand. My best friends mum works at a resteraunt in Gatwick and she gave us a free breakfast and Buck’s Fizz to start our journey. The flight with emirates was good, I only slept for half an hour but I watched lots of Disney films. 


We arrived at Bangkok 7am local time on Tuesday. We stayed at the D&D on Koasan road. If anyone has been to Thailand you will know this is the loadist road ever! It was so loud that my pillow was vibrating from the noise until 2am. Lucky for me I can sleep through anything and I slept all the way through. Tony on the other hand couldn’t sleep. 


Bangkok was an interesting place, full of sales men waiting for the load of tourist who have the airport clothes on. They annoyingly pretend to be your friend and then they trick you to buy stuff. This put us exploring Bangkok and so we spent most of our time by the pool and then adventured out at dinner time. 

We booked a flight from Bangkok to Krabi. Tony accidentally spelt is name as Tong. Luckily, they gave us a temporary boarding pass. The flight was a very small plane and was s bumpy flight. 

Once in Krabi we got a taxi to Ao Nang. We found a cheep hostel for the first night. Ao Nang is a lovely area with lots of resteraunts, bar and beaches. On day two in Ao Nang, we went on our first hike up many many many stairs. It was called the monkey trail but unfortunately due to the rain all the monkey where hiding.


We discovered our new favourite bar in Ao nang the reggae bar! It has love reggae music throughout the night and then live fire show at midnight. We have had two very drunken nights there, starting on the Chang beers and then braving for the sungsum buckets.


Yesterday we met our friend from Brighton, Stu is now in Krabi for a couple of days. We also partied with our hotel receptionist and her sister! 

The food is amazing here, pad Thai, red currys. Street food is great, lots of coconut ice cream! 

We have spent two days at the beach. It is usually very busy as it’s a touristy area. I’ve enjoyed eating corn on the cob on the beach. 


We have stayed in 4 different hotels so far. All of them have been different experiences some very good and some not so good.

We plan to stay in Ao Nang for a few more days and then we are getting a ferry to Phi Phi. 

What will I miss.. hmmm

Less then 24 hours until my flight to Thailand. Today, I am appreciating the small things I will miss for 3 months. 

My make up, I am taking minimal make up. This means no fake lashes, no fake tan and no powdered eyebrows. I am unsure how I will cope with this! I have BB cream, concealer and I may take a mascara for full moon party’s ect. 

My house coat ( or dressing gown as most people call it) I love nothing more then waking up and putting on my coat fluffy house coat. I love coming home from a stressful day at work, and getting into pjs and my fluffy house coat. Maybe I will be too warm in Thailand, to miss it.

Toast and tea! My friends who are travelling tell me breakfast is pad Thai, lunch is pad Thai, dinner pad Thai! I don’t think I’ll be eating toast. As for tea, apparently it’s rare to find and when you do find it, it dosent taste the same.

Today I am wearing my jeans, full face of make up, straightened hair Michael Korrs watch and it will be the last day wearing all of this for 3 months!! 

I am very excited, I actually feel a little sickly as I have mixed emotions of excitement and feeling nervous.

I have a family carvery today and my best friends are also coming and then spending time with Tony’s family after.

After that I will try and sleep but I feel that I may me slightly to excited ooops. 

Revised bucket list 

At the start of the year I made a bucket list and I have done a few things that I can tick off. For my birthday the girls planned a week of suprises, from stuff off my published bucket list. I have made a revised version of my bucket list below:

Bucket List
Meet an elephant in the wild: booked flights to Thailand and going to wash and look after them in chaing Mai 

Go to Disney land

Kayak through caves 

Go on a ghost walk / hunt 

Complete a half marathon 

Hug a panda bear 

Go on a ski holiday 

Ride hot air balloon 

Fly a kite: girls bought me a kite, hoping to do in next couple of days

Hold a monkey 

Stand under a waterfall 

Write letter to my future self

Be sent flowers at work 

Volunteer at a soup kitchen 

Bring food to the homeless 

Have a price of writting published 

Try acupuncture 

Have my palm read 

Go to a murder mystery night 

Go to a casino: visited casino in Brighron Marina, wasn’t what I expect. I think I expect what you see in the films in Las Vegas. In the first ten mins, I was £10 up but when I leave I had lost £30 in total. Maybe not for me haha.

Go to bingo: loves bingo, the girls took me. My friend Saskia won money on a game that she wasn’t even going to play. The read the numbers very fast, so you have to concentrate. Got my gala bingo card now, can’t wait to go again.
Go to a fashion show 

Have a make up lesson: had this done on my birthday, they took me to bare minerals where I had a make over, they did half of my face and I did the other side. Good make up, although I did add to it when I got home. Learnt mainly how to conture my eye lids and blend colours together.


Go wine tasting : girls took me to this for one of my birthday suprises. Loved this, we tried 6 different wines. My favourite was ridgeway, which is actually a Sussex wine. I now know how to slurp my wine to get the most of flavours. I also know how to swish around the wine in the glass, to see how much suger and alcohol is in it. 


Take a cookery class 

Fly in a helicopter 

Spin records like a dj

Be a member of a tv Audience 

Sleep in a castle 

Visit a Buddhist temple: will go in Thailand 

Visit the Pyramids 

Go to Octoberfest 

Go to Dublin 

Floating lanterns on a beach 

Sit on a jury 

Be taken to Paris 

Visit the Dead Sea 

Feed a exotic animal: will do in Thailand 

Try a watersport 

See wall of China 

Go to a full moon party 

Achieve somthing for make a wish chairty

Drive a sega way 

Go to Pompey 

Go glamping 

Go on for dinner or the River Thames 

Amsterdam: went in June with my boyfriend had a awesome time!! Loved the canels and little houses. Beautiful place.


Hawaii 

Visit a factory: does the Heineken experience in Amsterdam count?? 


Win somthing amazing 
I shall be doing a new revised list! 

To be continued ….