Venice in a Day – A Perfect Day in the Serenissima

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

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

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!

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

THAILAND

CHUMPHON

THAILAND

KOH SAMUI

THAILAND
KOH CHANG

Numsai Khaosuay Resort Ranong

Numsai Khaosuay Resort Ranong

Numsai Khaosuay Resort Ranong

WERBUNG

Nachdem ich auf der diesjährigen 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.

The Chiang Mai Guide for Digital Nomads

Chiang Mai Guide for Digital Nomads

Live Like a Local

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

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

THAILAND
DOI SUTHEP
THAILAND
PAI
THAILAND
KOH CHANG

Das Loft Mania Boutique Hotel Chumphon

Das Loft Mania Boutique Hotel Chumphon

Das Loft Mania Boutique Hotel Chumphon

WERBUNG

Auf der diesjährigen ITB – der internationalen Tourismusbörse in Berlin – bin ich mit der Tourism Autority Thailand ins Gespräch gekommen. Es dauerte nicht lange, da flatterte bereits eine Einladung zu einer kurzen Reise in den Süden Thailands ins Haus: nach Chumphon und Ranong sollte es gehen. Und da ich diese beiden Provinzen noch nicht kannte, sagte ich umso freudiger zu.

Das Loft Mania Boutique Hotel Chumphon – Das Hotel

Das Loft Mania Boutique Hotel hat drei verschiedene Zimmerkategorien: Die Suite mit 54 Quadratmetern und Doppel- sowie Einzelzimmer mit je 27 Quadratmetern. Über sechs Stockwerke verteilt, sind diese über das Treppenhaus oder zwei Aufzüge zu erreichen.

Jedes Zimmer ist ausgestattet mit

  • einer Klimaanlage
  • einem Safe
  • einem Fernseher
  • einem Föhn
  • kostenfreiem WLAN

Außerdem stehen jedem Gast folgende Services und Einrichtungen zur Verfügung:

  • ein Pool
  • Frühstück
  • ein Fitnessstudio
  • Wäscheservice
  • ein Spa
  • das Restaurant
  • ein Café

In der nahen Umgebung des Hotels kannst du dich auf zahlreiche Beauty Salons, Massagestudios und Restaurants freuen. Ich habe ganz wenige Falangs (Thai für “Westler”) gesehen und allgemein den EIndruck, dass man hier in der Gegend noch gut das traditionelle Leben verfolgen kann.

 

Das Loft Mania Boutique Hotel Chumphon – Die Zimmer

Ich hatte eines der Einzelzimmer und empfand die 27 Quadratmeter als sehr geräumig. Die Einrichtung und Wandfarbe sind leider ziemlich dunkel gehalten und tagsüber, auch wenn wir kaum da waren, habe ich gar nicht mitbekommen, wie schön das Wetter draußen war. Das war sehr schade!

Ansonsten habe ich nichts an dem Zimmer zu bemängeln. Es ist modern und hat mir mehr als gereicht.

Das Loft Mania Boutique Hotel Chumphon – Das Frühstückszimmer

Das Frühstückszimmer befindet sich im Erdgeschoss und du kannst entweder im klimatisierten Innenbereich oder im überdachten Außenbereich essen.

Du kannst zwischen internationalem Frühstück mit Eiern, Toast und Cornflakes oder aber Reis mit Gemüse & Co. ganz im Stile der Thais wählen. Natürlich darf frisches Obst nicht fehlen. Alles in allem ist es aber eher ein durchschnittliches Hotelfrühstück und kann leider nicht mit dem mithalten, was ich sonst so von Thailand gewohnt bin.

 

Das Loft Mania Boutique Hotel Chumphon – Pool- und Fitnessbereich

Der Pool ist direkt neben dem Frühstücksbereich. Allerdings liegt er ein bisschen höher, weshalb du vom Frühstücksraum keinen Poolblick hast. Morgens habe ich den Pool immer leer gesehen – bereit, um dort ein bisschen Entspannung zu finden. Allerdings war er in den Nachmittagsstunden immer voll. Vor allem Familien mit Kindern tummelten sich im Wasser und um das Schwimmbecken herum.

Das Fitnessstudio befindet sich hinter dem Frühstücksraum und ist dank der Fensterwand schön hell und lichtdurchflutet. Durch die Klimaanlage kannst du auch bei hohen Temperaturen deinem Workout nachgehen und kommst nicht aus der Routine…

Leider hatte ich keine Zeit die Geräte zu testen, aber als ich reingeschaut habe, war es sauber und machte einen recht modernen Eindruck.

 

 

Das Loft Mania Boutique Hotel Chumphon – Fazit

Das Loft Mania Boutique Hotel war ein guter Ausgangspunkt für Trips durch die Provinz Chumphon. Das Internet war recht gut – wenn auch kein Vergleich zur Geschwindigkeit in Bangkok oder Chiang Mai – und die Lage innerhalb der Stadt war wunderbar, um auch zu Fuß weit zu kommen. Die Zugstation, der Night Market von Chumphon sowie zahlreiche Geschäfte und Restaurants sind prima zu erreichen.

Alles in allem kann ich das Hotel empfehlen und würde es wieder wählen, wenn ich für einige Tage in Chumphon wäre.

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

The Chiang Mai Guide for Digital Nomads

Chiang Mai Guide for Digital Nomads

Live Like a Local

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

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

THAILAND
DOI SUTHEP
THAILAND
PAI
THAILAND
KOH CHANG

Beach, Sun, and Mountains – Two Days in Da Nang

Beach, Sun, and Mountains – Two Days in Da Nang

Beach, Sun, and Mountains – Two Days in Da Nang

I’ve heard many stories about the coastal city Da Nang… but never did I manage to pay a visit. I wanted to change that, so I took a flight from Hanoi to Da Nang during my last stay in Vietnam.

Arriving in Da Nang

National flights in Asia are relatively cheap, so you can go from Hanoi or Saigon to any airport for maximum 60 EUR. The most common carrieres are Jetstar Airlines and VietJetAir.

I traveled with both airlines already and didn’t have a good experience with VietJetAir.

Click if you want to read my short review:

My experience with VietJetAir

Sadly, I did not receive a confirmation mail after booking my flight and I could not do what I always do – take a screenshot. So I had no booking code and no proof for booking. Nevertheless, I did not expect this much trouble. At the airport it was possible to find my booking, but the would not certify that I had booked a return flight as well. So, when I arrived in Vietnam, I had to book an additional flight since I didn’t have proof for my departure. Therefore, I do not want to fly with VietJetAir again if not absolutely necessary.

If you don’t want to fly, you can take a bus as well. There are night busses where you can sleep comfortably. However, I have to warn you. Long bus trips may be dangerous in Vietnam. I don’t know if it’s because of the terrible roads or the ruthless drivers or even the tired bus drivers, but there are far too many accidents on long distance bus trips. I only did one of those trips and that took 7 hours from Saigon to Da Lat.

As a last alternative I want to mention driving by bike. Vietnam is famous for it’s many travelers that bought a bike and took across the country. Which is of course also dangerous, but nevertheless popular.

 

Accomodation in Da Nang

Normally, I do House Sitting* or I rent an Airbnb*, in order to live like the locals. In Da Nang, however, I booked a hotel for a change, since I was travelling with a non-nomad friend. We chose the Aria Hotel, in the second row to the beach and including sea view from the rooftop.

I was impressed by the kindness of the personnel. They tried to fulfill our every wish.

The room was a little small, even though we already booked a bigger type. Apart from that it was nice and also the bathroom was small but cute. Most interesting was a curtain in the bathroom, that allowed opening or shading a window directed towards the bedroom. A modern trend, apparently.

The location was ideal – second row from the sea and you can walk to the beach in only a few minutes. The beach is very inviting and offers pleasant walks. Directly at the beach you can find numerous restaurants and hotels with rooftops, if you want to enjoy the view.

 

What can you do in Da Nang?

I have to admit that I was drawn to a place outside of Da Nang. I wanted to see a bridge, that is carried by a gigantic pair of hands. I had seen them quite often on Instagram and I knew, this is the Must See in Da Nang. In the hotel, we made sure that we were going to the right place. Because the bridge is in the mountains and you cannot find the bridge on Google Maps. The staff told us, we were going to the right place and would need to pay 700.000 VND entry. We were irritated, as it is almost 30 EUR. We only wanted to see the bridge, nothing else, so we didn’t plan to pay any entry for anything else.

It took us almost an hour with a rented scooter, including a fuel brake. The drive was wonderful, through small villages, past rivers and streams and through the woods. Only at the end, the road started to go uphill. Once we reached our destination, we realized what the staff meant. The bridge is part of a theme park.

As we already drove this far… we just payed and went in.

SunWorld

We were supposed to take a cable car ride to the mountain top. Easier said than done. There are three cable car lines and the one we were supposed to take was closed. So we followed signs to find the next one, but somehow took a wrong turn and ended up taking escalator after escalator.

At some point, we finally reached the end and entered a gondola. I took photos like a maniac, especially excited by the glass floor! We went higher and higher and after 15 minutes, we reached the clouds. Everything became white and the atmosphere became rather mystic. We broke through the clouds and continued upwards.

The whole cable car ride took around thirty minutes. Once we reached the top, my world turned up side down. Is this… supposed to be Paris?  Clad in winter decorations, we could see baroque churches and the Moulin Rouge. It felt like we’re in the wrong place. And also the only westerners around. 

We took a walk through the park, looking for attractions but had to admit, that there are none – except one. A summer toboggan run. So we went there and stood in line. And waited. And waited. And waited. And after an hour, we had moved 10m. We gave up.

Only one thing left to do – looking for the bridge with the hands. For this, we had to take another cable car. The first one, that we were supposed to take in the beginning and that was out of order, would have stopped half way up the mountain and let us see the bridge straight away.

As we descended through the clouds, we could see the part of the park, where the bridge is. Our search is over. Yes, it’s beautiful! But… do you have to pay 700.000 VND enty? I dare to say ‘no’.

We took a last ride with the cable car and as a farewell gift we had the most beautiful view of the day, as the sun descended and covered the sky in myriads of colors.

If you pay attention, you can spot waterfalls running between the hills.

Down at the entrance / exit we took a walk through the beautiful Chinese Gardens of the park.

As we left the park, the sun disappeared. In the dusk, we made our way back to the hotel.

 

Lady Buddha at the Linh Ung Pagoda

The next day, we decided to take a trip on a scooter bike along the coast. From the beach, you can already see the female buddha statue on the other side of the bay. And Google Maps said, it was easily reachable via bike. Actually, it is a whole peninsula, named Son Tra.

To get there it took us around 30 minutes and once we left the beachfront, we drove upwards. Jungle to the left, seaside to the right. Beautiful!

There are several stops on the way that invite you to take a break and just enjoy the beautiful view. We only had limited time till our plane to Saigon took off, so we could only take short stops. And we also wanted to visit the cathedral and the dragon bridge. 

 

The Cathedral

The cathedral in the heart of Da Nang was built in 1923 by the french priest Louis Vallet. Even though it is not as bright as her sister church in Saigon, it is still famous for its pink color (here you can see one of my pictures of the Cathedrale in Saigon on Instagram). You can see a rooster on top of the church, which also gave it the nickname “Con Ga Church” – Chicken Church.

 

The Dragon Bridge

The dragon bridge connects the city centre of Da Nang with the seafront. it is 666 meters long and has 6 lanes. Definitely worth a visit and if you stay over the weekend, you can watch it breath fire every saturday and sunday from 9pm.

 

Hoi An

There wasn’t enough time for a visit in Hoi An, but if you can fit it into your travel itinerary you should definitely go there and maybe even spend a few days! I only heard beautiful and romantic stories about Hoi An and even the drive should already be worth the trip.

Conclusion Da Nang

Since I only knew the major cities Saigon and Hanoi, Da Nang was a more than welcome change. The traffic is much less aggressive, there’s almost no honking, the ocean view is soothing and even vegetarians find a lot of good options there! Da Nang has a lot to offer and I will definitely come back and enjoy the city a little longer.

Have you ever been to Da Nang?

PS: All links marked with a Star (*) are Affiliate Links.

The Saigon Guide for Digital Nomads

Saigon 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 Saigon!

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

VIETNAM
MEKONG DELTA
VIETNAM
CU CHI TUNNEL
VIETNAM
ZWEI TAGE IN DA NANG