Having visited Phuket, Thailand twice in a span of six months we can safely say that this island paradise is not just about beach lounging, turquoise waters, trips to Phi Phi islands, strolling past strip bars and shopping streets. Phuket is also home to some very interesting local cuisine—this mountainous island located in the Andaman Sea has its fair share of tourist traps as well as hidden spots for every kind of holidaymaker—so, forget about calories and think Pad Thai, delectable curries, stir fry everything, mango sticky rice and…drumroll….hand churned coconut ice-cream.
The island of Koh Pha ngan is best known for its Full & Half Moon parties that take place. Travelers from all over the world flock the island to participate in what they believe to be an unforgettable party experience. We attended the half moon party during our time on this tiny island and here’s what you should know before you go.
Chantelle and I met in 2012 whilst working in the United States and we instantly bonded over our love for food, our crammed basement living space and our insatiable desire to travel the world. One too many travels later, our time together had concluded and we were ready to move back to our respective home countries. Fast forward to six years later, we’re now cross-continental best friends that still brood over dreamy boys, fancy foods and countries we wish to explore. Then came the time to meet mid-way and the chosen country was (*drumroll*) Thailand—because where else can you get down and dirty when you gotta turn 30? Read on for our adventures
Grab Your Globe presents Thailand island hopping in 12 days: Series 1 – Phuket
Should we go to the Maldives? No, Greece obviously. Have you not watched and fallen in love with The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? The most exciting part about getting married is the bachelorette— at least that’s what I was basically living for, maybe even a wee bit more than the actual wedding. With my entourage all packed and ready to rumble, the girlies I’ve known since the time we were no taller than smurfs, were obviously my fellow travellers. We did and still do everything together and share a bond not even of sisters, instead we’re more like enhanced extensions of ourselves— so spending a few days away with them before bridezilla mode kicked in was just what I needed. What attracted us to Spain? Candy, naturally – the food, sweet and men kind. Spain is a visual treat, right from its distinctive architecture to the endless sandy beaches to the banging beach clubs.
Here’s a little hint (just a hint, we aim to keep this blog PG) in to all the stuff we managed to cram in to 10 days in Barcelona and Ibiza and why Spain is a perfect bachelorette location.
- Cheers to the weekend and every other day when on holiday:
So if you’re agenda is bachelorette, then fight the lag and get down to business. Barcelona is vibrant in all forms and within a few hours the city manages to consume you and all you can do is let go and enjoy (a lot of) Sangria and tapas at a street side café. One of the highlights of this trip was the pub crawl we signed up for at our hostel. Pub crawls are common all around Barcelona and we highly recommend this as it is a great way to meet people and exchange (more than just pg) notes. Also, they’re highly cost effective and guarantee a happy high at the end of the night. Not to mention a hangover and the chance to meet some seriously cool people.
- Take a guided tour across the city:
Important note: Do not do attempt the bar crawl before the city tour unless no hangovers are a superpower.
A guided city tour is a great idea one which can be easily arranged by your hotel/hostel. Our tour guide was a young enthusiastic Psych student who made us walk over 7km across the city, explaining the history behind the gorgeous buildings. Highlights include meandering through then narrow streets of the Gothic Quarters gazing at the neo-gothic architecture of the La Seu cathedral or the Santa Maria del Pi church while your guide enthusiastically communicates legends of the history behind these striking structures. Bring coffee.
- Oh my Gaudi:
What’s Barcelona without Gaudi? Anyone that appreciates beauty will agree that Antoni Gaudi, one of the most distinctive architects in the world has left behind masterpieces in Barcelona. The Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllo will leave you spellbound while Park Guell will take you to a mystical place leaving you captivated by the artist’s creativity and attention to detail. We recommend you find a quiet spot in the park, whip that book out and bask in the Spanish sun, with a little sangria, or churros. After all, you’ll need some rest before the next wild night out.
- Eat, shop, eat, drink, eat, drink:
Holidaying makes you hungry. It’s (probably) a proven fact. However, when you’re not gorging on tapas and Paella, you will find that Barcelona has some thrifty shopping that can make you buy a new suitcase just because you’ve over shopped and can’t fit anything anymore (true story). The popular stores include Zara, Bershka, H&M, Mango, Pull & Bear, Caramelo, Desigual, Massimo Dutti and numerous other brands we couldn’t pronounce and afford. What do you do once you’ve shopped a fair bit? Eat! Barcelona has cafes lined along the streets and they’re all amazing! A few worthy places we might have inhaled the food at are Cerveseria Catalana, Bananas and Marmalade. Once you’ve made it through the day, head to the tree-lined streets of El Borne district to nibble on tapas or sip on some champagne at any of the quaint bars. This fashionable yet authentic district is safe, affordable and welcomes you with smiling faces and countless matchbox sized bars enough for you to enjoy an entertaining night out with your friends. (including those who break into 80s Bollywood songs, at 12am in Barcelona – traumatising / entertaining other humans)
- We’re going to Ibiza:
We played good children in Barcelona (wink wink) and soon it was time to head to Ibiza. Ibiza is the perfect island to let loose and celebrate yourself. While partying may be a way of life here, we found a way to strike a perfect balance between letting loose and exploring the natural beauty of this wild-child island. A great way to do this is to pick a good accommodation, close to the party strip yet not too far from the rest of the island. Although we stayed on the busiest strip of the island (Playa d’en Bossa), our apartment was quiet, spacious and just what we needed (Ebano Select Apartments). Mornings in Ibiza are best spent walking over to “Passion” to grab a smoothie and gorging on some healthy breakfast treats before spending the day sun bathing and exploring. While many might call Playa d’en Bossa commercialised, noisy and filled with drunken party goers, we found it to be perfect in terms of the safety of women travellers as the streets were always swarming with people and cars. The beach despite being crowded emits a fantastic vibe with happy faces always ready to help out.
- We’re back to eating and partying:
Well you’ve made it to Ibiza, it would be a criminal waste if you didn’t party until dawn. It’s very simple— begin your day by nursing your hangover from the previous night, then head over to a Yacht party after which you attend a pre-gaming party at Sankey’s or wherever the hell they’re offering cheap booze. Once you’re fairly intoxicated but can still stand on your matchstick-like legs, head over to the main event of the night usually being held at Ushuaia, Space, Amnesia or Pacha and party like there’s no tomorrow. Party, pass out, wake, repeat.
- Call it magic:
We found our highlight of this holiday and it’s called Sunset Ashram at Cala Conta. This picturesque spot is quietly tucked away from the hustle of Ibiza and surrounded by endless ocean views and cliff drops. As the name suggest it’s a hipsters paradise so feel free to laze on a cushion whilst sipping on some Sangria all while taking in the breathtaking view this gem has to offer. Alternatively you can head down to the tiny beach area to roast in the sun which makes it a perfect spot for reading a book, plugging in those headphones or simply meditating. The staff is kind and food is beyond delicious with ample variety to suit every pallet. P.S – Don’t miss the sunsets they rank No. 2 on our modest list.
Location – Barcelona and Ibiza
Famous for/as: Shopping, sunsets, architecture, Sangria and Paella
Route: Flight from Mumbai to Barcelona and domestic flight from Barcelona to Ibiza
Best Season: July – August – September