The Koasa Trail – Hiking in Tyrol

The Koasa Trail – Hiking in Tyrol

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At the invitation of the Kitzbüheler Alpen St. Johann Tourism Association in Tyrol I went to Austria in June to hike the Koasa Trail there. I was able to combine it perfectly with another motorcycle trip as I wanted to go to Rovinj for the Summer Sensual Days for the second time.

Koasa Trail – A hiking trail in Tyrol

The Koasa Trail revolves around the Wilder Kaiser, a mountain massif that is part of the Kaisergebirge. This consists of the aforementioned Wilder Kaiser, the Zahmen Kaiser and the Niederkaiser. It is located in the eastern Alps and is a magnet for hikers, mountaineers and climbers. The official Koasa Trail has only been around for a few years. It connects different hiking trails to a long distance hike of several days with a distance of 80 kilometres, so that you can easily discover the highlights of the Wilder Kaiser. Every day, a special natural setting is waiting for you, which will make the region grow ever closer to your heart.

Wegweiser Koasa Trail

And one more info in advance with a little outing: When I first read about the Koasa Trail, my inner voice elegantly emphasized “Ko-Asa Trail”. It stayed a few days until I used Google for some information and found out that Koasa is Austrian for Cesar (German: Kaiser). All I can say is: Facepalm, Barbara!

 

Koasa Trail – How to get there

Salzburg (60 km), Innsbruck (90 km) and Munich (135 km) are not far from the Kitzbühel Alps and give you orientation points for your journey. This is a quick and easy way to get to Oberndorf, where the Koasa Trail begins:
  • By plane: I recommend to travel within Europe by bus, train or if necessary by your own car. For the sake of completeness I would also like to mention that the Kitzbüheler Alps are easily accessible from three airports: Innsbruck Airport (INN) is 100 km away, Salzburg Airport (SZG) 60 km and Munich Airport (MUC) 160 km.
  • By bus or train: Unfortunately there is no Flixbus to Sankt Johann in Tirol, but you can go to Innsbruck, Salzburg, Munich or Vienna and continue by train from there. St. Johann in Tirol has a stop for an express train and Oberndorf has a stop for regional trains. From Innsbruck you can expect about 80 minutes, from Salzburg about 30 minutes, from Munich about 2.5 hours and from Vienna about 5.5 hours.
  • By car or motorbike: If you have your own vehicle or hire a car, the best way to get from Munich or Innsbruck is to take the A12 Inntal motorway and then the B178 from Salzburg via the A1 or A10 to the B178.

 

Koasa Trail – The stages

As already mentioned, the five stages of the Koasa Trail cover about 80 kilometres, where you will be rewarded for your efforts with breathtaking views of the Wilder Kaiser. Every day a highlight waits for you:

Stage 1

The tour starts at the Info Point in Sankt Johann. From there you walk down the street to the right, cross the Kitzbüheler Ache and leave the city shortly afterwards. After some time the ascent to the ridge of the Niederkaiser begins very slowly. It’s a good hour uphill – past the hermitage with the small chapel Maria Blut, where a nun shouted a happy “Grüß Gott” to me, and the Gmail chapel – until you reach the ridge at 1226 meters altitude. There you will be rewarded with a fantastic view – on your right you can admire the Wilder Kaiser and on your left you can enjoy the view down into the valley to St Johann in Tirol. On the other side it goes down again. A refreshing spritzer of herbs, peppermint or dandelion awaits you at the Bacheralm. Homemade, of course. And at more than fair prices of 2.50 euros for half a litre. From there it is not far to the small village of Gasteig. In about 1.5 hours you walk from there once around the Reitberg and then again 1.5 hours along the Kaiserbach in an idyllic scenery up to the Griesner Alm.

Highlight of the day: The Niederkaiserkamm! The view in both directions is so beautiful that I didn’t even know where to look first…

Koasa Trail Wilder Kaiser

 

Stage 2

For the second stage you can choose between two variants. The first has a length of 10 kilometers and leads you to the Hunds- and Stripsenkopf. Then you run along the ridge over the peaks Tristecken, Feldberg and Wasserlahnerkopf and over the Gamsgraben back into the valley. However, I decided for the shorter variant 2 (during my stay there was still quite a lot of snow on the route of variant 1), where you run to the Fischbachalm and from there up to the mountain. When you reach the top, you pass the Vorderen and Hinteren Ranggen Alm, both of which unfortunately offer no hospitality. Then the descent back to the Griesner Alm begins. In the airy heights of the two alps you have a perfect view of the mighty steep walls of the Wilder Kaiser. When I was there, there was still so much snow that the mountains glittered and sparkled like diamonds in the sun.

Highlight of the day: The Kaiserbachtal! But for me, the sight of the mountains that were within my grasp on this stage was also a highlight that accompanied me all the way.

Kuh am Koasa Trail vorm Wilden Kaiser Etappe 2

Stage 3

The third stage was a bit shorter for me because I spontaneously changed my accommodation. As beautiful as the Griesner Alm is, I still can’t do without Internet for two days. If you choose this accommodation, you will be stuck in a radio hole for two full days and even during the hike of the second stage you will at best have E-Net. So I moved to a hotel in Gasteig, which shortened stage 3 by about 5 kilometres. From Gasteig I went over the small village Hinterberg to the Teufelsgasse – a beautiful gorge, which the devil himself is said to have created, so that the sinful get lost in it. It had only been opened shortly before my arrival, because it had not been accessible before because of the masses of snow. Shortly after the Teufelsgasse a fantastic view of the valley opens up. After only a few bends you reach the Prostalm: a welcome refreshment is waiting for you here, along with another perfect view of the Wilder Kaiser. I took a good hour’s break before I climbed the last few metres up to the Prostkögel – the highest point of this stage. From there it was only downhill to Erpfendorf. Unfortunately I missed the turn-off because the sign had fallen down and I took a detour of about one kilometre to the neighbouring village of Weng. I admit that the descent with the detour was a physical challenge and the temperatures were around 30 degrees. I was more than happy when I finally got to the hotel and ended the day in the whirlpool.

Highlight of the day: The Teufelsgasse! The path is varied and offers a completely new landscape.

Teufelsgasse Koasa Trail

 

Stage 4

For the fourth stage you need endurance and I advise you to start very early. I started at 9am and it turned out to be quite late. The first kilometres make the stage seem harmless, as it goes through Erpfendorf and the neighbouring village without a strong ascent and then through the cool Griesbachklamm. At the end of the gorge you suddenly turn right and climb steeply through the forest. At the top, it’s not far to the Angerlalm, which not only provides the necessary refreshment, but at least has put a big grin on my lips: Several goats and a pig run around freely here and delight kids and grown ups alike. After about 45 minutes, I strapped on my backpack again and continued the ascent. It took me about 15 minutes to get to a gate that I opened. As I turned around, I saw a hiker just a few meters behind me, and I kept the gate open for him. He thanked me and immediately began to ask questions: “Where are you going?”, “Where are you coming from?”, “Are you on holiday? He quickly realized that we had the same path for a good three kilometers before he had to turn left and I had to turn right. He knew his way around incredibly well and even though his walking pace was too fast for me, I was happy about the company and his information about the trail and the surroundings. Nevertheless, I was also glad when our paths separated again. Because I was really out of breath through the fast pace uphill. When I looked into my app I got quite a shock: There were still 10 kilometres to my destination! Exhausted by the previous 9 kilometers and the brooding 33 degrees, before which I could hardly protect myself on the mountain ridge andw hen it went cross-country through the meadows, I went my way. I certainly took three more breaks, because I became more and more tired. Around 5pm I finally came to a road. At some point I met a herd of cows grazing peacefully on the side. Then I turned around the next bend. A black cow stood in the middle of the road and stared straight into my eyes. Suddenly she scratched with her hooves – like a bull ready to attack. I couldn’t really imagine that the cow would really attack, but as you know, better safe than sorry. So I flee under the fence into the high field on the other side of the road. The cow kept looking at me as I slowly fought my way through the high grass one step at a time. I was happy to leave the herd behind me and finally came near St. Johann. Shortly after 6pm I reached the hotel completely exhausted. It was my longest and most difficult hike ever.

Highlight of the day: The Griesbachklamm! Cool, beautiful and photogenic is this part of the Koasa Trail, which I liked best of all.

Griesbachklamm Koasa Trail

 

Stage 5

In consultation with my contact person from the Tirol Tourist Board I decided to take the last day slowly: Instead of the ascent I took the gondola to the Kitzbüheler Horn. The highlight of the day on stage 5 is a waterfall which you pass during the ascent. Unfortunately it was closed, so we would have had to bypass the area anyway. Therefore the gondola ride was an excellent alternative. From the gondola station to the Horn you can normally hike. However, this trail was still closed. The hard and long winter has really affected some stages of the Koasa Trail. Therefore this day trip consisted for me only of the descent to Oberndorf. Also the breaks at the two alps were nice: the Stanglalm and the Müllneralm.

Highlight of the day: Actually it should have been the waterfall as mentioned before, but as I couldn’t see it, my personal highlight was the gondola ride.

Gondel Koasa Trail

 

Koasa Trail – The hotels

Hotel Penzinghof

The hotel where my hiking tour in Tyrol began and ended combines alpine love and luxury. Wood determines the public spaces. Be sure to bring your swimsuit! You shouldn’t miss the infinity pool with a view of the Wilder Kaiser. And if you prefer it dry, there is even a relaxation room with comfortable beds from which you can enjoy the panoramic view.

Hotel Penzinghof Koasa Trail

 

Griesner Alm

The Griesner Alm is a place where time seems to have stood still. There is neither WIFI nor mobile Internet, but lots of good air and good food. The Alm is ideal if you want to switch off for a few days – in the truest sense of the word. You should also be aware that if you book the trail as a package this alp is intended for two nights.

Griesner Alm Koasa Trail

 

Hotel Kramerhof

Although the Hotel Kramerhof is furnished in a rustic style, it still offers modern facilities. For the little ones there is an adjoining horse farm. But I admit that even I was quite excited to open my eyes in the morning and see some horses grazing peacefully in front of the window. I’ve never seen such a sight before.

Kramerhof Koasa Trail

 

Vitalhotel Berghof

I really liked the Vitalhotel Berghof. The name says it all, so you feel like you’re on a farm in the mountains, but the little things that make your stay unforgettable are still there: for example the spa area and the whirlpool. But also the fact that you are greeted with a cheerful smile by the boss himself makes you feel at home.

Vitalhotel Berghof Koasa Trail

 

LTI Kaiserfels

The hotel in Sankt Johann is modern and especially in winter very well situated as it has a lift directly behind the house. It is also ideal for the Koasa Trail hike. However, it is a chain hotel and not a small family business.

LTI Kaiserfels Koasa Trail

 

Koasa Trail – Conclusion

For me, the Koasa Trail was a special experience. Not only did it bring me as a sea lover closer to the mountains. It also gave me a welcome physical effort. I already mentioned in my Venice article that my mother left us a little over a month ago. Through this experience with death, I felt for the first time a certain joy to have sore muscles. It showed me that I was alive. That my body works the way it should. I also had the feeling that my mother accompanied me on this path and discovered the beauty of Tyrol together with me.

Barbara Koasa Trail

I made another experience for the first time and I was deeply surprised: Since this was my first hike for more than two days, I did not know how quickly the muscles got used to the daily effort. But already on the third day my sore muscles became noticeably less instead of more. Even after the 19 kilometres of the fourth stage, it wasn’t my muscles that failed me, but rather my general energy, which was quickly used up in the high temperatures and demanded a quieter day.

I am grateful and glad that I was able to walk the Koasa Trail and hope that I will soon return to this beautiful region to discover more hiking trails and natural sites.

PS: I was invited by the Tourist Association Kitzbüheler Alpen St. Johann in Tirol. My opinion was not influenced by this cooperation.

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Things to do in Koh Samui – My Highlights in Koh Samui

Things to do in Koh Samui – My Highlights in Koh Samui

In January, I went to Koh Samui, where I spent a week with a friend who is also a digital nomad. The island is located in the Gulf of Thailand and is very popular with tourists. The things to do in Koh Samui make sure that you won’t get bored…

Koh Samui – Paradise for Travelers of Any Age

Koh Samui is an island off the east coast of Thailand, on the Kra Isthmus. The island belongs to the province of Surat Thani, although Koh Samui has had a municipal status since 2012 and is therefore self-governing. It is the second largest island in the country after Phuket.

The origin of the name Samui is unknown. The theory that I personally like best is that it comes from early Hainan traders. It is said to be similar to the Hainan word for “first island” or “door”. Since Samui was the first island of Thailand the traders passed by, this word became its name. Koh (or Ko) is the Thai word for “island”.

Until the end of the 20th century, Koh Samui was rather an isolated community. Until the early 1970s, there were hardly any paved roads, and the 15 km from one side of the island to the other had to be covered by foot – through the mountainous jungle.

Today, Koh Samui is heavily dependent on tourism. But also the export of coconuts and rubber are primary sources of income.

Koh Samui is popular with travelers of all ages. The infrastructure is very good, there are four hospitals on the island and the inhabitants are prepared for the tourists. This is reflected in the high number of hotels and restaurants. Last but not least, the island is popular because it simply has a lot to offer. Breathtaking waterfalls and beaches around the island are a tourist magnet.

 

Koh Samui – How to Get There

If you are not already in the country, the journey to Koh Samui usually takes you to Bangkok. From there, there are three possibilities to travel to Koh Samui:

  • By plane: Koh Samui is the only island in the Gulf of Thailand with its own airport. However, it belongs to Bangkok Airways. Due to the monopoly position, the flights are correspondingly expensive. If you are willing to pay around 100 euros for a domestic flight, this is an option. Alternatively, you can fly to Surat Thani and continue your journey by bus and ferry.
  • By Bus and Ferry: The cheapest option is the bus. For my first trip to Koh Samui in 2015, I decided to take a bus. All in all, I paid around 30 euros back then. This is probably the cheapest, but also by far the least comfortable way.
  • By Train and Ferry: I have been a big fan of trains in Thailand since I first took a night train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok in 2017. That’s why I decided to take the train in January and didn’t regret it. From Bangkok to Koh Samui you pay 1400 to 1500 Baht (about 40 Euro), but you can sleep in the sleeping compartment and arrive early in the morning in Surat Thani, from where you take the bus to the ferry station and then the ferry to Koh Samui. When booking, make sure you get a lower berth: you will have much more space!
    .

 

Koh Samui – Things to do

Koh Samui has a lot to offer. Waterfalls, hikes and beautiful beaches await nature lovers. If you want to get in touch with the Thai culture, you can visit temples and stroll through the markets. I recommend a good mix of both to get to know the island better!

 

Waterfalls

There is an incredible number of waterfalls in Koh Samui. The best known are the Namuang Waterfalls. There are two of them, which is why they are commonly referred to as “Waterfall 1” and “Waterfall 2”.

Waterfall 1 is easy to reach by scooter and not even five minutes from the parking lot.

Waterfall 2, on the other hand, is a bit tricky. First, you have to get from the parking lot to the entrance of the waterfall. Either you walk (it’s one kilometer) or you take one of the jeeps. The cars leave every 15 minutes and act as shuttles.

Jeep Tour Koh Samui

Waterfall 2 Koh Samui

From there, you will have to hike up the hill to get to the top of the waterfall. I’ve seen travelers with flip flops, but I strongly advise you to wear sturdy shoes. Also bring enough water (you will get a small bottle when you pay 200 Baht for park entrance and jeep costs), as the ascent is very exhausting in the Thai heat and you can easily dehydrate.

Once you reach the top you will have a fantastic view:

Waterfall 2 Koh Samui

If you want a little thrill, you should make a day trip to the Tartain Waterfall. The waterfall itself is rather unspectacular and the hike of about 20 minutes is not very exhausting. But the ride with the scooter is quite a challenge. The roads in the interior of the island are not in good condition and some parts are extremely steep.

In my opinion, it is still worth it, because there is not only a river and the waterfall but also a natural pool – a tiny wellness retreat – that gives the feeling of having landed on another planet in the middle of nowhere. The entrance fee is 200 Baht and you get a soft drink of your choice.

Tartain Wasserfall Koh Samui

On the way back, the road is much less frightening and I actually wondered why I sweated with fear on the way there.

You also pass the Tar Nim Waterfall & Magic Garden on your way to Tartain Waterfall. The entrance fee is 80 Baht and even if the waterfalls are small I liked the short stop.

Tar Nim Magic Garden Koh Samui

In the east of the island, there is also the Hin Lad Waterfall or the Wanorn Waterfall. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it there.

Beaches

If you like beaches, you’ll find at least one in Koh Samui that you will love. The main tourist beaches are Lamai and Chaweng in the east. Personally, I preferred the more lonely, narrow sandy beaches in the west. However, the beaches in the west are also dirtier, as the inhabitants only clean up the beaches where tourists go.

Strand Koh Samui

Also, the beaches in the north are worth seeing. Maenam and Bophut – where I had my accommodation during my first Koh Samui stay four years ago – are much less touristy than Chaweng and Lamai. Why not combine a walk along the beach with a visit to the night market? There is only one row of houses between the two. You can either walk between the houses or through a restaurant or massage studio – ideal to get pampered for an hour.

 

Buddhist Temples

Buddhist temples are an important part of Thai culture. No matter where you travel in this country, countless temples will await you. Here in Koh Samui, the Big Buddha at Wat Phra Yai Temple, which you can see on its small peninsula on arrival or departure by ferry to Koh Phangan, or Wat Plai Laem are especially popular. This complex, where the statues of the gods sit on platforms in an artificial lake, is located only 2 km from the Big Buddha, so that you can combine a visit to both temples very well with each other.

Wat Plai Laem Koh Samui

Wat Plai Laem Koh Samui

There are also temples in the south. In Wat Khunaram, for example, you can admire a mummified monk. The Laem Sor Pagoda is not far from there and is situated directly at the sea. Also nearby is Wat Rattanakosin.

 

Viewpoints

In Koh Samui, there are numerous viewpoints offering a wonderful view of the island and the sea. I wanted to have a look at some official viewpoints, but in the end, I never didi. I do not see it the point in paying an entrance fee for a simple viewpoint if I have at least an equally beautiful view completely free of charge from a waterfall or from the street in the hills.

If you want to visit the official viewpoints, take a look at the following:

  • Samui Viewpoint
  • Lamai Viewpoint
  • Jungle Club Viewpoint
  • Lat Ko Viewpoint
  • Wat Phra Yai Viewpoint

 

Hin Ta and Hin Yai

These two rocks, the Grandmother’s and Grandfather’s Rock, are called Hin Ta and Hin Yai in Thai and have the shape of a male and female intimate parts.

Legend has it that an elderly couple shipwrecked here and got petrified on the coast to be united forever. Although this is a tourist attraction, Hin Ta and Hin Yai are especially popular with locals. A visit is said to increase fertility and make the wish to have a child come true.

 

Walking Streets and Markets

Walking Streets and markets are as much a part of Thailand as temples and should not be missed during any stay in the Land of Smiles. In every city, there is a night market. The best thing to do is to ask at your accommodation when it will take place in the area. We stayed near Lamai Beach, where it’s especially big on Sundays. I went to the market at Bophut Beach twice. The biggest one is on Fridays.

What can you on such a market? Starting with Thai delicacies, with which you can fill your stomach for small money until you almost burst, clothing, decorative items, and souvenirs to electrical goods.

 

Koh Samui – Scoot Around the Island

If you feel safe on two motorized wheels, for me, there’s nothing better than exploring Koh Samui on a scooter. It gives you flexibility and you can easily drive to all the places I mentioned. In most accommodations, you can rent a scooter. For this, you should expect 150 to 250 Baht per day – depending on the model and the rental period. In addition, there is usually a special price for weekly or monthly rentals. I rented my scooter directly from a scooter rental company because there was no weekly price in the hotel.

If you are afraid to get lost: The orientation on Koh Samui is very easy. There is a main road around the island. From there, there are small roads leading either to the sea or inland. When you don’t know where you are, you just drive back to the main road.

You can either refuel at one of the few real petrol stations or stop when you see a cupboard with glass bottles containing a yellowish liquid – petrol – in front of a house.

I especially liked the quiet south of the island, where you can drive a while directly by the sea.

Rollertour Koh Samui

 

Koh Samui – Spots to See The Sunset or Sunrise

If you’ve been following me for a while (for example, on my Instagram account for Barbaralicious) you know how much I love sunrises and sunsets. For me, there’s nothing more beautiful than watching the sun spread its warming rays across the sea or follow the last seconds until it disappears behind the horizon. Therefore the following places were my personal highlights…

Beryl Bar

Located on the western tip of the northern coast, Beryl Bar awaits you with an exceptional view of the sunset. Because the coast is a little bent here, the sun does not set over the sea, but over the rocks of Koh Samui. Thus, it is best to be there at least one hour before the indicated sunset time in order to really see something. I didn’t know that and came just in time to photograph the last rays before they disappeared behind the rock, which was half an hour before the actual sunset time.

Beryl Bar Koh Samui

The food is super delicious and very cheap for Koh Samui and the portions are huge.

At low tide, you should consider coming even earlier. Then you can go through Beryl Bar and walk around the rocks. After about 400 meters you get to a temple in a cave where some monks live. However, I would like to ask you for moderation at this point! A temple is always a place of worship, a sanctuary. Dress accordingly and behave humbly, as is rightly required in every other temple.

Samui Sunset Garden

The Samui Sunset Garden is not quite as much of an insider tip as Beryl Bar. Here you should be there early to grab a seat or even a bean bag. The view is great, but the food… Well, let’s say the bar doesn’t need to score with the quality of the food. Apart from that, it’s tourist-expensive and the service, unfortunately, left a lot to be desired when I was there. Parts of the order were forgotten or misplaced. The best thing to do here is to plan on just enjoying a cocktail at sunset and go to another restaurant for dinner.

Sunset Garden Koh Samui

 

Four Seasons

Now it gets even more expensive…

After seeing great pictures of the Four Seasons in Koh Samui on Instagram, I thought I’d drop by and see if I could get in. The bar with pool and sea view is open to the public, even if you have to register at the reception and then get there with a buggy (the hotel area seems to be huge!). To be honest, that alone is worth it. To drive up and down the hills with the buggy with a pleasant wind and to see the wooden bungalows on your right and left, the staff on the roadside make way with folded hands and a cheerful “Sawasdee Kha”…

Arrived at the pool, you can relax nicely. Unfortunately, the pool is only available for hotel guests or for a fee, but if you are satisfied with the sight, you can spend a few relaxing hours here. My non-alcoholic juice cost 400 Baht. My friend had a cocktail for 650 baht. So the prices are quite high by Thai standards. But one afternoon you can treat yourself to it, I think.

Four Seasons Koh Samui

 

Lamai Beach

And now comes my tip for the early risers: Our hotel was right at Lamai Beach and it turned out to be perfect for sunrise photos. For me, getting up early was really worth it and I would do it again anytime.

 

Koh Samui – Hotel

I stayed with my friend at the Beluga Boutique Hotel*. This is located directly at Grandfather and Grandmother Rock on the east side of Koh Samui. Personally, I especially liked the delicious breakfast with sea view and the friendliness of the staff. I felt like home!

Beluga Boutique Hotel Koh Samui

Do you want to look at other accommodations? Then have a look at  Booking*Tripadvisor*Airbnb* or Hostelworld*!

 

Koh Samui – Where to go Next

If you’ve come from Bangkok, it’s a good idea to explore the south of the country. Possible destinations would be:

  • Chumphon: Chumphon is a province next to Surat Thani that is great for snorkeling, admiring nature in the mangrove forest or taking pictures of great photo spots. There is also a ferry between Chumphon and Koh Tao if you want to visit another island in the Gulf of Thailand before returning to the mainland.
  • Ranong: Ranong is a province bordering Chumphon. It is great for exploring secluded beaches and relaxing in hot springs and spas. From there you can easily travel on to Myanmar.
  • Phuket: Why not also explore the islands on the other side of Thailand in the Andaman Sea? The region around Phuket with Krabi and the islands Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi is a popular region for digital nomads.

Chumphon

 

Koh Samui – Final Thoughts

I think Koh Samui is very beautiful. For me personally, the island is a bit too big with too long distances, if you want to drive back and forth between the ends to watch for example sunrise or sunset. Maybe a hotel on the north shore of the island would have been strategically better so that one is in the middle and does not need that long to get to the sides. From our hotel, which was located on the east side and therefore ideal for sunrise, it takes a good hour by scooter to the next Sunset Spot. I would have liked it better to spend the time at the places instead of sitting on the scooter for several hours a day to get from A to B.

Nevertheless, I liked the island very much and I can only recommend it if you like waterfalls, temples and incredible sunsets!

PS: The links marked with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links.

The Chiang Mai Guide for Digital Nomads

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Du suchst nach einem coolen Spot für digitale Nomaden in Südostasien? Dann solltest du dir unbedingt die Hauptstadt der digitalen Nomaden Chiang Mai anschauen!

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Venice in a Day – A Perfect Day in the Serenissima

Venice in a Day – A Perfect Day in the Serenissima

My mother passed away on May 17th after a serious illness. On May 25th would have been her 62nd birthday, which she would have celebrated in Venice as it was her tradition. To honor her memory and to feel close to her once again, I went with my whole family to the Italian city of bridges over the weekend. Since we went there on Friday and back again on Sunday, we basically only had one day on site: May 25th.

Read here what we have seen and what you shouldn’t miss on a day in Venice:

Venice – From Serenissima to Mass Tourism

Until 1797, Venice was the capital of the Republic of Venice and until the 16th century even one of the largest trading powers in the world. Venice had the most merchant ships, but also warships, and was thus able to maintain its supremacy over the centuries. The city was incredibly rich, which is why we can still admire immeasurable cultural treasures in the lagoon city.

During this period Venice also received the title of La Serenissima Repubblica di San Marco (the most Serene Republic of Saint Mark). The title was initially given to the Doge – the ruler of Venice – and the nobles. After some time, however, it was extended to the entire republic.

Venice was incorporated into Italy in 1866 and has been the capital of the Italian province of Veneto ever since. It lies in the northeast of the country in the lagoon of Venice. Within this lagoon, there are 118 islands, of which only 11 are inhabited. The main island with the old town has 63,000 inhabitants, by far the highest number of all islands. Since 1987, both the city and the lagoon have been on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Today, Venice is more popular with tourists than ever before. Venice is on the bucket lists of travelers from all over the world and is also increasingly part of the itineraries of cruise ships. The new task is to master the balancing act between beauty and mass tourism.

 

Venice – How to Get There

  • By Plane: Venice has two airports. The city airport is called Marco Polo (the code is VCE) and is one of the busiest airports in Italy. The second one is about 40 kilometers away and is located near the city of Treviso (it has the code TSF).
  • By Train: Especially within Italy, traveling by train is cheap and fast. Venice’s train station is located at a vaporetto station, so you can get on a water bus directly if your accommodation is too far to walk to or if you want to start sightseeing immediately.
  • By Bus: Venice is easy to reach by bus and very well connected to other cities in Italy and all over Europe. I haven’t taken the bus to Venice yet, but I changed busses there already. I always use Flixbus.
  • By Car: This may seem strange at first, but since my parents came by car every single time, I want to add this possibility, too. If you drive over the Brenner Autobahn, you pay about 30 Euro motorway toll to Venice. From Mestre (one of two districts on Venice’s mainland) you drive over a bridge to the island of Tronchetto, where parking garages are waiting for the motorized visitors. These cost from 30 euros per day and you should reserve in advance. A pedestrian bridge will take you to the main island and you can either walk to your hotel or take a vaporetto – a water bus.

Venice – Sights

Since I only spent one day in Venice this time, my tips are focused on a day or weekend excursion with arrival on Friday and departure on Sunday.

The main island is the most touristic part of the city. There you will find famous sights like St. Mark’s Cathedral at St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace next to it, the Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs Ponte dei Sospiri. Be prepared that all these sights are crowded during the day.

 

St. Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Cathedral and St. Mark’s Tower

Since you will hardly go to Venice and then skip St. Mark’s Cathedral, you will have to live with the crowd. If you want to avoid it, I have a tip for you though: If you, like me, go to St Mark’s Square at sunrise, you will basically have it almost to yourself!

By the way, the tower is the bell tower of St. Mark’s Cathedral and is therefore also called St. Mark’s Tower. With 98 meters, it’s the highest building in Venice. Its top originally served as a lighthouse so that the ships could find their way safely to the lagoon’s harbor. In 1902 the tower collapsed after several earthquakes, but this was due to the fact that metal struts had been removed on the inside in order to build an elevator. The reconstruction, which used the original pile foundations that were 1000 years old but very well preserved, took nine years. The new tower was inaugurated on St Mark’s Day, on April 25th of 1913. Today, it is possible to go up to the bell tower via an elevator. But also this is still on my bucket list…

 

The Doge’s Palace

As already mentioned at the beginning, the ruler of the Republic of Venice was called Doge. The word is derived from the Latin word dux (leader). The first Doge was elected in 726. The Doge’s Palace next to St. Mark’s Basilica was the seat of government from the 9th century onwards and is still today a sign of the wealth, size and power of the lagoon city. This can be seen not only from the outside in the outstanding Venetian architecture but also in the stucco, gilded carvings and magnificent paintings inside. It is one of the most important Gothic secular buildings.

I must confess though, I’ve never been inside of the palace. Maybe I’ll change that during my next visit to the Serenissima.

 

The Bridge of Sighs

Also the Ponte dei Sospiri – the Bridge of Sighs – has a completely different effect in the early morning hours. The water lies smooth instead of being stirred up by gondolas that always glide past. If you’re there at 6am, you can even let your thoughts wander for a moment to the prisoners who long ago walked over the Bridge of Sighs and had a last look at the lagoon before they went to prison for the rest of their lives.

During the day, there is always a traffic jam of gondolas here since they start their tours through the small winding canals just around the corner.

 

The Rialto Bridge

The Rialto Bridge is one of only four bridges that cross the Grand Canal that separates the six districts called Sestieri: San Marco, Cannaregio, and Castello are on one side and Dorsoduro, San Polo, and Santa Croce on the other.

It’s so peaceful to sit at the Rialto Bridge at 6 am and take as many photos as you wish without bothering or being bothered by others.

This is the view from the Rialto bridge in the late morning after the city and its visitors woke up:

 

Murano

We took a vaporetto around 12 o’clock and went to the island Murano.

The island is famous above all for the art of glassmaking. In the early Middle Ages, glassmakers were banished to Murano because the people of Venice were afraid of the fire. Since then, the precious glass has been produced here and has become world famous.

My mother loved the Murano glass and wanted a chandelier for our living room. I would like to fulfill this wish posthumously sometime.

 

Burano

Even if we didn’t have a lot of time left, we didn’t want to miss a visit to the island Burano. Around 3 pm we took a vaporetto which takes about 30 minutes to go from Murano to Burano. The colorful houses are simply too beautiful to miss. If you’re looking for a peaceful place away from the crowds – maybe this is the place to choose.

What is the art of glassmaking in Murano is the lace in Burano. Here you can see elder ladies making lace. This is the main theme in every shop. Whether decorative items or clothes… Here everything is made of white cloth.

My mother loved to dig her way through the shops here and it wasn’t until her last visit that she got hold of an embroidered painting of “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt, which hangs in our living room. It was a strange feeling when my father showed us exactly where she had bought it.

Around 6 o’clock we made our way back towards the main island. There we planned to do one of the highlights of the day:

 

A Gondola Ride in Venice

Yeah, it’s kitschy. But shouldn’t a little kitsch and cliché be on the agenda in a city like Venice? I do think so!

The prices for a gondola ride are as far as I know the same everywhere and not negotiable: At all gondola stations of the city, there are signs with prices saying that the small tour (called Giro Turistico) costs 80 Euro until 7 pm and afterward 100 Euro. The so-called Giro Completo costs 120 Euro or 150 Euro.

Gondelfahrt Venedig

With a little luck like us, you will catch a gondolier, who was singing a traditional song about love and longing. Simply beautiful!

 

Venice – Hotel

During the weekend we stayed in this hotel: Hotel Santa Lucia. The hotel is small, but nice and is only a few minutes walk from the train station or the multi-story car parks. But it is a long way to St. Mark’s Square. Still, in my opinion, the price-performance ratio was right. We paid 540 euros for two rooms with a total of five persons and two nights including breakfast.

You want to see other accommodation options for Venice? Check out these platforms: Booking*, Tripadvisor*, Airbnb* or Hostelworld*!

 

Venice – Where to go Next

Venice is ideal if you want to explore Italy further or if you want to travel further to the southeast of Europe. Here are a few examples of the cities that would work well:

  • Milan: Milan is the perfect destination, especially for shopping fans. But also culture enthusiasts will enjoy the Cathedral of Milan or the Scala.
  • Verona: The home of Romeo and Juliet is an ideal place for a weekend trip. Even if you are not an opera lover, the Arena di Verona is absolutely worth a visit. The atmosphere is unique and it is a very special experience.
  • Florence: In 2009, I spent half a year in Florence. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it back there to write an article about this beautiful city that is definitely in my top 3 Italian cities – with Palermo and Rome!
  • Ljubljana: The Slovenian capital is a pearl of peace. From here you can either explore Slovenia or travel further south. For example to Rovinj.
  • Rovinj: I fell in love with Rovinj when I was there for a week last year. The charming old town on its own peninsula is simply picturesque and the sunsets are a dream. From Venice, you can either take the FlixBus to Rovinj or a ferry. Alternatively, do it like me and go on a motorcycle road trip through Croatia.

And even if this is not just around the corner, as a half Sicilian I would like to mention my favorite island: Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and an absolute beauty.

 

Venice – Final Thoughts

For my family and me, this was a special and important journey where we experienced the places my mother loved so much and visited every year on her birthday. On the one hand, it was a farewell for us, but on the other hand, it also showed that we can feel close to her at any time by going to her favorite places.

But Venice is always worth a visit. I have been there three times now and even if it is crowded and in many corners anything but clean, I feel Venice is an absolute must-see in Italy and even in Europe. I continue to be impressed every time I stand in front of St Mark’s Basilica, walk through the many alleys across the bridges or take a vaporetto across the Canal Grande admiring the old walls from the water. The city is and remains unique and I hope to travel there many more times.

PS: All links with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links.

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Chumphon – Of Coffee Plantations, Lonesome Islands and Mangroves

Chumphon – Of Coffee Plantations, Lonesome Islands and Mangroves

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After the ITB – the International Tourism Exchange in Berlin – I got an invitation from the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thai Airways to two regions of Thailand that I had never heard of before: to Chumphon and Ranong. I have already written a post on Ranong. Therefore this article is about beautiful Chumphon. A small warning first of all: If you suffer from wanderlust, this post could lead you to book a flight to Bangkok with onward ticket to Chumphon.

Chumphon – A Province in the South of Thailand

Chumphon is a southern province of Thailand on the Gulf of Thailand. The neighbouring provinces are Prachuap Khiri Khan, Surat Thani and Ranong.

Chumphon, like Ranong, lies on the Isthmus of Kra, the narrow land bridge that connects the Malay Peninsula with the Thai mainland. To the west are the hills of the Phuket Mountains and its northern continuation, the Tenasserim Mountains. In the east, the coastal plain lies on the Gulf of Thailand. The main river is the Lang Suan River, which originates in the Phato District. With 222 kilometers of coastline and 44 islands, the Chumphon Archipelago, Chumphon has rushing waterfalls, secluded beaches, lush forests, impressive mangroves and numerous rivers.

Chumphon View Point

The province is best known for its coffee plantations, which produce 60 percent of Thai coffee.

Chumphon – How to Get There

Normally, the journey to Chumphon takes you to Bangkok first. Bangkok is a major hub in South East Asia. From there, there are three ways to travel to Chumphon:

  • By plane: Chumphon has its own airport. Thai AirAsia and Nok Air fly to the provincial capital’s airport CJN and connect Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) with the city of spas. From Souvarnabhumi, there are flights with Thai Smile.
  • By bus: Chumphon has a bus station from where you can reach Bangkok in ten hours. Tickets are available from 400 Baht (about 12 Euro).
    By train: If you went to the islands in the Gulf of Thailand before, you might have taken the night train to get there. Chumphon is one of the stops on the way south to Surat Thani. Personally, I’m a huge fan of night trains in Thailand and would always recommend choosing this option. It’s cheap yet comfortable.

 

Chumphon – The Coffee Region of Thailand

The Ban Panwal valley in the Tha Sae district is famous for its Robusta coffee plantations. More than 24 million tons of coffee are produced there every year. The Chumphon province contributes 60 percent of Thailand’s total coffee production. We visited a Robusta coffee plantation and were able to see for ourselves how the production takes place. It takes over a year from harvesting to several drying processes – with a dryer, in a greenhouse, and under the sun – to the packaging.

Chumphon Coffee Plantation

Dryer at a coffee plantation in Chumphon

At a coffee plantation in Chumphon

But what exactly is robusta coffee?

Robusta Coffee

Robusta coffee comes from the Coffea canephora plant, one of over 100 coffee plant species. After Arabica, it has become the second most popular variety in the world and it is the bean that is usually used to make the famous Italian espresso. The name says it all. The plant is much more robust than the Coffea arabica and can withstand high temperatures, for example. The reason for this is the deeper roots, which still find enough water in their depths to thrive happily even at an outside temperature of 30 degrees and the associated dry soil. Robusta plantations can also be found in the lowlands, while Arabica plantations are mostly planted in mountainous regions with temperatures between 15 and 24 degrees.

Coffea canephora tree at a coffee plantation in Chumphon

Robusta coffee tastes more earthy and stronger than its opponent and contains more caffeine (2.2 to 2.7 percent), but less sugar.

 

The Robusta Coffee Bean

The flowers are white and have a sweet jasmine scent. The fruit of the Robusta coffee plant turns deep red when ripe, which takes between six and eight months.

There are usually two coffee beans in each berry, and you can tell by the notch in the middle of the bean whether it is a Coffea arabica or Coffea canephora bean. In the former, it is curved and in the latter, it is straight.

Coffea canephora coffee beans

 

Chumphon – Islands, Beaches, And Snorkeling

Chumphon is a little paradise for you if you love lonely islands and white sandy beaches. Here you can snorkel or just relax in the sun in the sand.

 

Mu Koh Chumphon National Park

Mu Koh Chumphon is a national park consisting of about 40 very lush islands: Koh Ngam Yai, Koh Ngam Noi, La-Wa Island, and Lung-Ga-Jiw Island are the islands we have visited. The diverse landscape of each island makes the Marine Park unique, some have pristine white sandy beaches, others picturesque, though rough, rocks that rise dangerously and beautifully out of the water.

Mu Koh Chumphon National Park

Between the rocks, you can sometimes spot wooden huts that give shelter to the park rangers. If you look closely, you can see one of these huts in the next picture. Among other things, these rangers are there to take care of the nests of the birds that hide in the crevices. Our guide explained that the birds build a new nest as soon as they are finished with the old one. So they are rarely used for nesting. As soon as an old nest is finished and abandoned, the rangers come and collect it. Attention, now it gets a little disgusting: From these nests, soup is made! the Bird’s Nest Soup is a delicacy of this region!

Mu Koh Chumphon National Park

Here you can also snorkel. The rock islands are surrounded by coral reefs and offer a wonderful backdrop for the underwater world. Colorful fish cavort everywhere and come close to you. But be careful, because the water near the rock islands is often shallower than expected and you can easily be hurt.

Mu Koh Chumphon National Park

Thung Wua Lan – Chumphon’s Most Beautiful Beach

Thung Wua Lan is not only a beautiful sandy beach it is also incredibly long, so you can surely find a place here that you will enjoy. One section has bars and restaurants to enjoy the view with a delicious coconut or Pad Thai.

Thung Wua Lan - Chumphon's Most Beautiful Beach

As if it wasn’t enough to be at the most beautiful beach in the region, the weather (we were there at the beginning of the rainy season) and the sky rewarded us with a breathtaking rainbow.

Thung Wua Lan - Chumphon's Most Beautiful Beach

Before I went to dinner, I had a closer look at this photogenic palm tree. Don’t you think that such crooked palms have their own charm?

Thung Wua Lan - Chumphon's Most Beautiful Beach – Crooked Palm Tree

 

Chumphon – The Mangroves

I remember very well the trip to the mangrove forest, which is also part of the Mu Ko Chumphon National Park mentioned above. I was already in some mangrove forests, but I liked this one best by far.

Maybe we were just lucky with the tides here, while I was unlucky at the other parks. Because it was low tide here and we could marvel at the rooting of the trees.

Mu Koh Chumphon National Park – The Mangroves

In the places where there was no water at all, we could see little crabs scurrying quickly into their holes as they noticed our presence. In the water, on the other hand, there were little water monitors, most of them just curiously showing their heads. But not only flora and fauna were exciting to look at, but also the background noise. It cracked and clicked at an incredible volume. Unfortunately, I don’t know which animals make these noises, but it was somehow magical.

Mu Koh Chumphon National Park – The Mangroves

Mu Koh Chumphon National Park – The Mangroves

Mu Koh Chumphon National Park – The Mangroves

And I would like to add one comment: After we had returned from our tour through the mangroves, I bought something to drink at a small kiosk at the entrance. Normally, in Thailand, you automatically get a plastic straw with your drinks. Not so here. With hands and feet the lady who sold me the drink made me understand that she apologizes, but she wouldn’t give out any more plastic straws. She gets a thumbs up from me and this extra mention in my blog post. I am happy about every Thai (and tourist) who helps to make my beloved Thailand more environmentally friendly!

 

Chumphon – Accommodation

We stayed at the Loft Mania Boutique Hotel in Chumphon.

Loft Mania Boutique Hotel Chumphon

 

Chumphon – Onwards Travel

If you’ve come from Bangkok, you’ll be able to make a wonderful journey from Chumphon to Ranong or further the south of the country.

  • Ranong: Ranong is a province next to Chumphon that is great for exploring secluded beaches and relaxing in hot springs and spas. From there you can also easily travel on to Myanmar.
  • Koh Samui: Koh Samui is not quite around the corner, but is quite easy to reach from Ranong. If you’ve never been there before, it might be a good idea to combine these destinations.
  • Phuket: Also to Phuket it is still a good six-hour ride by car or bus from Ranong. Nevertheless, it is worth driving further south. The region around Phuket with Krabi and the islands Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi is a popular region with digital nomads.

 

Chumphon – Final Thoughts

I didn’t have Chumphon on my bucket list until I was invited on this trip. I must have traveled through several times because I was already twice in the south of Thailand and had taken a bus or train.

I am incredibly grateful that I got this insight into the traditional life of the Thais.

View Point in Chumphon

For digital nomads, I would recommend Chumphon for a stay of several days without hesitations. But be prepared that the internet here is not nearly as fast as in Chiang Mai. But if you want to take a few days off to snorkel and unwind and don’t want to spend a lot of time at one of the tourist spots, Chumphon is the perfect place.

PS: I was invited by TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) and Thai Airways to travel to Chumphon and Ranong. I did not receive any financial compensation. My opinion was not influenced by this collaboration.

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Ranong – Wellness and Island Paradise in the South of Thailand

Ranong – Wellness and Island Paradise in the South of Thailand

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In May, I was invited by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thai Airways to visit a region of Thailand I had never visited before: Chumphon and Ranong. The latter borders Myanmar (formerly Burma) in the west and on the Andaman Sea. Maybe you’ve heard of Koh Phayam or Koh Chang (not the Koh Chang I wrote about two years ago!)? Both islands belong to the region Ranong. The provincial capital of the same name has its own small airport and bus station.

Ranong – A Province in the South of Thailand

Ranong is one of Thailand’s provinces, located in the very south of the country on the west coast along the Andaman Sea. Ranong’s neighboring provinces are Chumphon, Surat Thani, and Phang Nga. To the west, it borders Myanmar. The country on the right behind the island is Myanmar.

Ranong lies on the so-called Isthmus of Kra, a strip of land only 44 kilometers wide that connects Thailand with the Malay Peninsula in the west of the Phuket Mountains. The province, together with the province of Trat, is known for being one of Thailand’s wettest places, with a rainy season lasting about eight months.

The most sparsely populated province in Thailand consists of around eighty percent forest area and 67 percent mountains. In earlier years the main source of income besides fishing was tin mining, but since about 20 years most of the mines are nearly exhausted. On our trip, we could get an idea of how hard the everyday life of those who dug tin was. For this, you have to separate sand and stones from tin with a bowl and rotating movements.

Nowadays, the mining of white clay for the production of porcelain and the processing of cashew nuts is the main focus. We were also able to get to know these two crafts better. The nuts are roasted and then cracked. The shell contains toxic oils and must, therefore, be removed. All this is done here by hand, and tourism is also becoming increasingly important.

Former fishing boats are rebuilt and used for tours and hot springs are gradually designed for western tourists. In addition, more hotels are to be built in order to accommodate the hoped-for vacationers.

 

Ranong – How to Get There

Normally, the journey to Ranong takes you to Bangkok first. Bangkok is a major hub in South East Asia. From Bangkok there are three ways to travel to Ranong:

  • By plane: Ranong has its own airport. Thai AirAsia and Nok Air fly to the provincial capital’s airport UNN and connect Bangkok Don Mueang (DMK) with the city of spas.
  • By bus: Ranong has a bus station from where you can reach Bangkok in ten hours. Tickets are available from 400 Baht (about 12 Euro).
    By car: If you have a rental car, you can, of course, enjoy the picturesque scenery of Bangkok down to the south. Alternatively, you can fly with Thai Smile to Chumphon and drive from there. This is especially worthwhile if you want to combine the two regions during your visit. From there you can also take a minivan for 200 Baht.

 

Ranong – Sightseeing

Namtok Ngao National Park: This national park is ideal for hikers. The Ngao waterfall with its 300 meters is a real attraction and a total of 13 hot springs provide the appropriate recreational factor.

Koh Chang (Ranong): This is a jewel of the Andaman Sea! Peace and relaxation await you here. Scooters are not rented to westerners and there are only a few cars, so traffic is limited.

Koh Phayam: This is probably the most touristic place in Ranong province. But it’s also justified! Koh Phayam has dream beaches and a jungle that invites you to hike.

Der Nationalpark Laem Son: covers a total area of 31.5 hectares. It also includes islands in the Andaman Sea, namely Ko Khangkhao and Mu Ko Kam. The following beaches are particularly worth seeing: Hat Bang Ben, Hat Laem Son, Hat Praphat, Hat Hin Thung. In addition, these smaller and uninhabited islands are to be recommended: Koh Khang Khao, Koh Kham Tok, Koh Yipun, Koh Kam Yai, Koh Kam Nui.

 

Ranong – Disconnect With Wellness at the Spa

On our journey, we visited three hot springs. They are all for very different target groups and have their own charm. The first of the hot springs we visited opened just a few months ago. Now you may be a bit confused. I too actually thought that hot springs are always of natural origin. But they are! Just in the case of the hot springs of Ranong, the people had to dig about 150 meters into the ground to get to the hot water. The Hot Springs culture in Ranong goes back about 100 years.

Taryn Hot Springs: The Taryn Hot Springs offer several pools that are reminiscent of typical round whirlpools. You can also book a massage to complete your relaxation. The whole resort is geared towards tourists and I can call the standards Western without hesitation. There are decent, clean toilets, changing rooms that are in no way inferior to those in German swimming pools, and lockers so you don’t have to worry about your belongings while relaxing. As if that wasn’t enough, at Taryn Hot Springs sustainability is an important factor! Plastic straws? Nope… Here you drink from metal straws. Thumbs up from me for that!

Pornrung Hot Springs: These are the hot springs mentioned above, located in the Namtok Ngao National Park. These are the only hot springs I had time to swim in myself. And I can say: Rong, rong! (Thai for hot, hot!) The coolest pool had over 40 degrees Celsius and even for me as an avowed heat lover, I could only endure it with great concentration. If you like to switch between hot and cold, you can simply jump from the pools into the nearby river and cool down. In a small shop, you can buy forgotten swimwear or get snacks and soft drinks at the bar next door. The toilets and changing rooms are more in sync with Southeast Asian standards. But if you want to combine a visit to the hot springs with a trip to the national park, this is the ideal choice.

Raksa Warin Park: Raksa Warin is quite a magnet for locals. The reason is simple – there is no entrance fee. At least not at the main area. Small stone pools with up to 65 degrees hot water are waiting here. There is a suspension bridge leading over the river right next to the hot springs, on which Thais make happy smiling selfies. And between the suspension bridge and the freely accessible pools, there are more pools. Although they are also made of stone, they look more like the whirlpools at the Taryn Hot Springs. The entrance fee here is 40 Baht (about one Euro) and I learned that this part is privately managed and called Tinidee. Towels are included in the entrance fee. On the other side of the street, you can get an oil or Thai massage in the spa.

 

Ranong – Island Paradise

Apart from the already mentioned pearls of the Andaman Sea Koh Chang and Koh Phayam, there are numerous small islands waiting in Ranong. Our trip took us to Koh Khang Khao, Koh Kam Tok, and Koh Yipun, where we stopped for lunch.

There is a breathtaking viewpoint. But beware! The ascent is quite a challenge. There are ropes and the way seems to be well maintained though. But you still have to climb. I would recommend sturdy shoes, which you don’t necessarily have with you on a snorkel or boat trip. I had my sneakers with me, because I had blisters from my flip flops and was more than grateful. But it’s worth it, because at the end this fantastic view is waiting:

The other islands we have visited are also quite beautiful. But they are smaller which is why they seemed packed with eight tourist boats mooring. On Koh Kham Tok on the other side, you don’t really notice the presence of all those people and you can enjoy the view, sunbathe at the beach or have lunch.

Ranong – Accommodation

We stayed at a place called Numsai Khaosuay Resort Ranong.

Ranong is in the process of making more hotels available, as a lot is currently being invested in tourism.

 

Ranong – Your Onward Journey

If you’ve come from Bangkok, you’ll come from Ranong to the south of the country. Possible destinations would be:

  • Chumphon: Chumphon is an adjacent province that is great for snorkeling, admiring nature in the mangrove forest, or taking pictures at great photo spots. From there you can easily get to Koh Tao for example.
  • Koh Samui: Koh Samui is not quite around the corner, but is quite easy to reach from Ranong. If you’ve never been there before, it might be a good idea to combine these destinations.
  • Phuket: Also to Phuket it is still a good six-hour ride by car or bus from Ranong. Nevertheless, it is worth driving further south. The region around Phuket with Krabi and the islands Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi is a popular region with digital nomads.

 

Ranong – Final Thoughts

I had never heard of Ranong before getting invited on this trip. Looking back, I am very glad that I was able to experience this still traditional part of Thailand and to get a little insight into the local culture. Whether it was the mining of tin or the production of porcelain, visiting the islands or getting to know the culture of the hot springs: I experienced a completely different Thailand than I know it from the north. For this I am grateful and I am very happy that I got this opportunity.

For digital nomads I would recommend Ranong for a stay of several days without hesitation. But be prepared that the internet is not nearly as fast as in Chiang Mai. If you are looking for a few days with wellness and nature though, during which you leave the computer turned off, Ranong is a little heaven on earth.

PS: I was invited by TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) and Thai Airways to travel to Chumphon and Ranong. I did not receive any financial compensation. My opinion was not influenced by this collaboration.

The Chiang Mai Guide for Digital Nomads

Chiang Mai Guide for Digital Nomads

Live Like a Local

Are you searching for a cool spot for digital nomads in South East Asia? You should check out the world's digital nomad capital Chiang Mai!

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Numsai Khaosuay Resort Ranong

Numsai Khaosuay Resort Ranong

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Nachdem ich auf der diesjährigens ITB – der Internationalen Tourismusbörse in Berlin – mit dem Tourism Board von Thailand ins Gespräch gekommen bin, kam prompt eine Einladung nach Chumphon und Ranong. Dieser bin ich gerne gefolgt, sodass ich Ende April und Anfang Mai eine wundervolle Woche in dieser noch nicht so bekannten Region Thailands hatte. In diesem Artikel möchte ich dir das Hotel vorstellen, in dem unsere Reisegruppe in Ranong übernachtet hat.

Das Numsai Khaosuay Resort Ranong – Das Hotel

Das Namsai Khaosuay Resort verfügt über moderne, klimatisierte Zimmer mit Balkon und kostenlosem WLAN. Du kannst dich am Pool entspannen oder eine Massage an der Rezeption buchen, die rund um die Uhr geöffnet hat.

Das Resort ist nur 500 m vom Busbahnhof Ranong entfernt, sodass du die kurze Strecke auch zu Fuß zurücklegen kannst. Wenn du lieber fliegen möchtest, anstatt den Bus zum Beispiel aus Bangkok zu nehmen, liegt der Flughafen Ranong ebenfalls ganz nah: er ist nur eine 15-minütige Fahrt entfernt.

Das Resort ist mit Konferenz- und Wäscheservice ausgestattet. Kostenlose private Parkplätze stehen zur Verfügung.

Das Lela Restaurant serviert thailändische und europäische Küche. Getränke und leichte Snacks bekommst du in der Ka Yu Bar und frischen Kaffee im Mountain Café.

Das Numsai Khaosuay Resort Ranong – Die Zimmer

Die Zimmer im Namsai Khaosuay sind mit einem Flachbildfernseher, einer Minibar und einem Kleiderschrank ausgestattet. Mein Zimmer hat mir zwar von der Ausstattung und Größe sehr gut gefallen, aber ich habe dennoch zwei Kritikpunkte:

  • Mir persönlich waren die Zimmer viel zu dunkel. Es gibt keine Lampe an der Decke und fünf Lampen, die über die Wände im Zimmer verteilt sind, haben nicht mal annähernd für genug  Helligkeit gesorgt. Natürlich ist das Geschmackssache. Aber ich mag Licht. Auch die Sonne schien leider so gar nicht rein, was ich mehr als schade fand.
  • Leider herrschte in den Zimmer eine hohe Feuchtigkeit, die man auch durch die Klimaanlage nicht herausbekommen hat. Mal abgesehen davon, dass ich diese nicht rund um die Uhr laufen lassen möchte, lag auch damit ein moderiges Gefühl in der Luft und nach drei Nächten dort waren meine Kleider muffig und klamm. Sowas habe ich in dieser Form bisher nur in Bali in der Regenzeit erlebt.

Der kleine Balkon war zwar einladend und ich war sehr dankbar, tagsüber die Tür aufmachen zu können, um Licht und frische Luft hereinzulassen, aber leider lag mein Balkon direkt gegenüber der Wand des Haupthauses mit der Lobby. Einen schönen Ausblick gab es also nicht.

Das Numsai Khaosuay Resort Ranong– Das Frühstückszimmer

Das Früstückszimmer befindet sich im ersten Stock über der Lobby. Besonders gut hat mir gefallen, dass es an zwei Seiten offen war und somit hell und freundlich erschien. Auch die zwei Essbereiche fand ich super: Du kannst entweder an diesen tiefen Tischen essen und auf Sitzkissen sitzen oder in westlichem Stil an einem normalen Tisch mit Stühlen. Wenn du es lieber klimatisiert magst, gibt es einen kleinen Raum mit Tür.

Das Frühstücksbuffet ist leider ein wenig enttäuschend: Es nur eine kleine Auswahl an thailändischen Gerichten aus Reis und Gemüse oder aber Toastbrot mit Marmelade, Cornflakes und ein wenig Obst.

Das Numsai Khaosuay Resort Ranong – Der Pool

Der Poolbereich liegt im Erdgeschoss direkt neben der Lobby. Ich fand ihn wirklich sehr schön. Tagsüber habe ich häufig Familien mit Kindern dort gesehen, aber abends konnten wir uns meistens noch entspannt auf die Liegen legen und den Tag rekapitulieren.

 

Das Numsai Khaosuay Resort Ranong – Fazit

Mir persönlich hat es im Numsai Khaosuay gut gefallen. Auch wenn die Zimmer zu denkel und etwas muffig waren, fand ich den außenbereich einfach wunderschön und einladend. Wenn du also nach Ranong kommst, um mal abzuschalten, die Gegend zu erkunden oder es dir mit ein bisschen Wellness gut gehen zu lassen, ist dieses Hotel dennoch eine gute Wahl.

PS: Ich wurde von der TAT (Tourism Authority Thailand) auf die Reise nach Ranong eingeladen. Eine finanzielle Vergütung habe ich nicht erhalten. Meine Meinung wurde von dieser Kooperation nicht beeinflusst.

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