All Posts by Freemadic

Mass Sky Lantern Release – Chiang Mai

Mass Sky Lantern Release – Chiang Mai

One of the most breathtaking moments during our entire seven month stay in Southeast Asia was experiencing the Mae Jo Sky Lantern Release. Once a year both tourists and locals head to the small town of Mae Jo about 30 minute scooter drive outside of Chiang Mai, to attend the graduation ceremony of an independent Buddhist group called the Duangtawan Santiparp Foundation.

Arriving early around 3pm, we quickly found a shady spot on the grass amongst the thousand of people that had already arrived. With delicious food on sale, we spent the afternoon chatting, eating, and learning about different Buddhist practices and traditions. As night falls the ceremony begins with the graduates and their families presenting themselves as other monks give them their blessings.

The night ends with an orchestrated mass sky lantern release that is absolutely beautiful and something that we will never forget. Carrying people’s wishes and hopes, the sky lit up with thousands of lanterns in a spectacular eyeful. This unforgettable moment is definitely something to add to your Thailand bucket list.

 

Commonly confused as being part of the annual Yi Peng Festival (also known as Loi Krathong Festival), this mass sky lantern release is an independent event not organised by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) or the Chiang Mai Municipal Authority.
Even though entrance is free, guests need to dress respectfully and may not bring their own lanterns, but instead purchase them from the stalls at the event for 100 Baht each.

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If you have any questions about visiting Chiang Mai or the Mae Jo Sky Lantern Release, please ask us on Twitter (@FreemadicLife) or on Facebook.

4 Awesome Beaches On Koh Samui

4 Awesome Beaches On Koh Samui

Koh Samui is known to have some of the most beautiful beaches in Thailand, but to be perfectly honest, we often opted for the sandless, refreshing waters of our apartment’s infinity pools at Ban Sua Samui. Our apartment was not a beachside resort like most accommodation options on the island, so the pool with its incredible view was one of our favourite spots. However, during our month long stay (while not scuba diving off Koh Tao or exploring Anthong National Park) we did spend some time on the beaches showing off our bikini bodies, taking morning walks, and enjoying the vibe that travellers from all around the world come to enjoy. Here are four of the beaches on Koh Samui that we recommend exploring when you next visit this tropical island.

Chaweng Beach

With most resorts lined up along the beachfront, Chaweng Beach is the most popular, busiest and longest beach on the island. Packed with plenty of activities including restaurants, parties, bars, jet skis for hire, massage stations, and paragliding, it is easy to spend the entire day soaking up the sun on this beach. Because of its popularity, it is also home to many scammers trying to make a quick buck off unsuspecting tourists.

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Why We Loved It: We avoided Chaweng during the day and at night, but enjoyed a few early morning walks and swims before the crowds came out.

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Lamai Beach

About a 10 minute drive from Chaweng Beach, you’ll find Lamai – the second largest beach on the island. Even though less busy, you’ll find that this beach also has plenty of restaurants, cocktail bars, water activities to choose from. It is also the perfect place to go for a swim on a hot day.

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Why We Loved It: Every Sunday we headed to Lamai where we could enjoy a swim followed by a stroll through the weekly market. The food, atmosphere, and shopping is something that everyone on the island should experience.

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Silver Beach

Arguably the most beautiful beach on the island, Silver Beach is located between the bigger beaches of Chaweng and Lamai, hidden behind a row of resorts. We unfortunately only discovered this beach towards the end of our stay, and wished we had more time to spend on its sandy shores. With no public access, you’ll need to walk through one of the resorts, and down a flight of stairs before getting to this beach.

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Why We Loved It: Unlike other beaches on Koh Samui this beach was picturesque and tranquil – without the jetskis, bars, and all the other attractions that the bigger beaches have to offer.

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Coral Cove Beach

In a small cove between Chaweng and Silver Beach is Coral Cove. With calm waters, kayaks for hire, and a single restaurant, this beach is perfect for a family day or a romantic dinner. It is also the beach where we spent most of our time because it was the closest to our apartment.

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Why We Love It: Being one of the smaller, hidden beaches, away from Chaweng and Lamai, this beach was never crowded and offers some great spots for swimming and kayaking.

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Anthong National Park Tour: Island Hopping, Snorkelling & Kayaking – Koh Samui, Thailand

Anthong National Park Tour: Island Hopping, Snorkelling & Kayaking – Koh Samui, Thailand

Taking a break from work, and wanting to explore some more of Thailand’s aquatic beauty, we headed to Anthong National Marine Park. Promised a day of snorkelling, island-hopping, beautiful views, a delicious lunch, and kayaking, we were excited to head to this incredible area off the shores of Surat Thani Province.

Located in The Gulf of Thailand, the 102 square metre area boasts 41 undeveloped islands, as well as Koh Paluay which has been inhabited by sea-gypsies. The protected park can easily be accessed via Koh Samui and Koh Phangan with various tour companies. Please be sure to enquire if your tour includes the entrance fee to the park.

From snorkelling around Koh Woa, heading to a viewpoint of surrounding islands and the Emerald Lake on Talay Nai, as well as having a traditional Thai lunch on Koh Paluay, this national park has so much to offer its visitors.

If you have any questions about visiting Koh Samui or visiting Anthong National Marine Park, please ask us on Twitter (@FreemadicLife) or on Facebook.

Starz Ladyboy Cabaret: Celebrating Diversity on Koh Samui

Starz Ladyboy Cabaret: Celebrating Diversity on Koh Samui

Besides relaxing at beachside resorts, scuba diving with tropical fish, visiting temples, and exploring the jungle, another item on our Thai bucket list was going to a ladyboy cabaret. Dressed in flamboyant outfits, lip-syncing to popular songs, and dancing the night away, these transgender women or an effeminate gay male are one of the highlights of most tourist trips. Putting on spectacular shows on a minimal budget with no professional training, these ladyboys are truly impressive.

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Having never been to a ladyboy show before, we decided to head to Starz Cabaret on Koh Samui. With free entry (you will have to buy a drink which costs about 200 Baht each), we settled into our seats and waited for the show to begin. Taken aback at first with these women’s sheer beauty, we soon relaxed and got into the show. The professionalism (and sometimes lack thereof) made an entertaining evening of loads of laughter, uncomfortable situations, and often questioning if she was once a he.

But being a ladyboy is more than just dress up and being a cabaret performer, it is someones choice. Known as Kathoey – which directly translates to ‘lady boy’ – by locals, these woman are fully accepted into Thai society, celebrated for who they are, and even perceived as a third gender – which is incredible considering how taboo the subject of transgenderism is in most parts of the world. From waitresses, and factory workers, to hotel receptionists and chefs in popular restaurants, it often amazed us at how Thai people did not discriminate, but rather celebrated the diversity of everyone in their country.

Join Us In The Front Row

 

Starz Carbert is located on Chaweng Beach Road on Koh Samui and runs two nightly shows that start at 20:30 and 22:00.

If you have any questions about visiting Koh Samui or going to Starz Caberet, please ask us on Twitter (@FreemadicLife) or on Facebook.

Off-Road Jungle Buggy Tour – Koh Samui

Off-Road Jungle Buggy Tour – Koh Samui

With friendly staff, amazing views and a whole lot of mud, this full day, off-road jungle buggy tour was one of the coolest things we did on Koh Samui. We opted for a buggy as it seats two people and is closer to the ground (and mud), while the rest of our group went for quad bikes (ATV).

Join Us In The Front Seat

 

Driving this bad boy takes a bit of skill, but after 15 minutes behind the wheel, we got the hang of it. If you are new to driving a buggy or quad bike let the guides know as they are very patient, understanding and will allow you to take your time. The tour is definitely not for the faint hearted with a bunch of terrifying uphills all on dirt roads.

We headed up hills, through water and stopped at the most amazing lookout spots and a temple before stopping for a delicious lunch. After another hour of racing around in the buggy, we did a short hike (boulder hopping so wear walking shoes) to the stunning waterfall where we could take a refreshing dip before heading back home.

For more information on this awesome adventure visit the X-Quad Samui’s Facebook page.

If you have any questions about visiting Koh Samui or joining for this off-road jungle tour, please ask us on Twitter (@FreemadicLife) or on Facebook.

Scuba Diving Koh Tao & Sail Rock, Thailand

Scuba Diving Koh Tao & Sail Rock, Thailand

With average sea temperatures around 28 degrees, an abundance of extraordinary sea life, and up to 30 metres visibility, diving the Gulf Thailand is a remarkable experience. Heading out with Discovery Dive Centre in Koh Samui, we did eight dives collectively (Lara did two, and Sean did six) around Koh Tao and Sail Rock. With one shore dive off Koh Tao, and six boat dives, we were spoilt during our month long stay on Koh Samui with incredible dive conditions.

Watch us take the plunge and live our dreams scuba diving in The Gulf of Thailand:

 

If you have any questions about scuba diving the Gulf of Thailand, please ask us on Twitter (@FreemadicLife) or on Facebook.

Get Ready to Leave with Our Departure Checklist

Get Ready to Leave with Our Departure Checklist

We know what it’s like to prepare for an upcoming trip. As the departure date approaches more and more needs to be researched, planned, organised and completed. While going through this process we decided to create a comprehensive Departure Checklist as a resource to help both us and you to get ready for your next adventure.

Let us know if you find this helpful and if there is anything we have left out. Tweet us @FreemadicLife or leave us a comment on our Facebook Page.

We’ve Released The Freemadic Guide To Cape Town

We’ve Released The Freemadic Guide To Cape Town

After almost a year of researching, writing and editing, we’ve finally released The Freemadic Guide To Cape Town. This guide is the first in a series of destination guides aimed at location independent travellers – whether you are a volunteer, vagabond, digital nomad or retiree.

What is The Freemadic Guide To Cape Town?

A 96-page PDF guide written for location independent travellers by location independent travellers. We’ve combined our experience of living in Cape Town with additional online research to give you an honest representation of what to expect and what you need to know to best plan and enjoy your visit to The Mother City.

What Makes The Freemadic Guide To Cape Town Different From Other Guides?

Freemadic as a brand goes against sugarcoating anything we experience. If you’re looking for an honest guide that isn’t trying to sell you a city, but rather help you find a city that you’d love to work, play and live in, then this is the guide for you.

We answer all the most frequently asked questions and save you the time of doing your own research.

Table Mountain Cableway

Table Mountain Cableway

Table Mountain is without a doubt the most popular and iconic tourist attraction in Cape Town. Getting to the top of the mountain by cable car is an amazing experience and offers outstanding views of the city bowl and its surrounds. The rotating 765 metre long vertical cable car ride takes around four to five minutes and is worth every cent.

There are various ways to get to the cable station at the bottom of the mountain including the MyCity Bus, the CitySightseeing Bus, a metered taxi or your own private transport. Even though tickets are available at the cable station, our recommendation is to book your ticket online and make your way to the cable station as early as possible to avoid the crowds and to enjoy the top of the mountain while it is uncrowded.

Cost: Adult (Standard Price): R225 (Return) | R115 (One-Way)
Child (4-17): R110 (Return) | R58 (One-Way)
SA senior citizen (Fridays only at Ticket Office): R95 (Return) | R50 (One-Way)
Student (Fridays only at Ticket Office): R130 (Return) | R68 (One-Way)

Sunset Special Offer: Enjoy the sunset from the top of the mountain.
Adults pay R112.50, children (4-17) pay R55 and tickets only available from the Lower Cableway Station from 18:00 onwards.

Birthday Special Offer: You get a free return that can be used on your birthday.

Have you ever been to the top of Table Mountain or experienced some other impressive cableway?
Share your experience or video in the comments below.

Kol Kol Mountain Lodge

Kol Kol Mountain Lodge

Situated on a farm just an hour outside of Cape Town, Kolkol Mountain Lodge offers self-catering log cabins and luxury tents. Each cabin comes equipped with electricity, a wood heated pool and a braai area. The luxury tents are eco-friendly – powered by gas and solar energy. The perfect place for a romantic getaway.

Kolkol offers 2 types of accommodation: 4 wooden log cabins (3 that sleeps four and 1 that sleeps 8) and 2 luxury tents (sleeps 2). Each accommodation unit has a fully equipped kitchen and braai (barbaque) area – this includes wood, firelighters, matches, braaigrid and “potjiekos” pot.

 

Location: Botrivier, South Africa (1hr 11min from Cape Town)
Cost: R 680 – R 1100 ($ 69 – $ 111) for 2 guests per night
Where To Book: You can book this accommodation online at kolkol.co.za.

What to bring: All food, toiletries, warm clothes, swimwear, water, mountain bike, hiking gear, bird watching gear, board games

Have you at some special accommodation out in nature?
Share your experience or video in the comments below.

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