I was traveling around Asia and had just been on Koh Lanta for 10 days and it rained everyday so I decided to cut my losses and move on.Continue reading
What To Do On A Delay
Flight delays of any length are extremely frustrating and following a recent 11 hour delay I was involved in. I decided to write this blog post, with the intention of preventing you from the frustration and stress involved. You’ll notice I don’t go into compensation or what your entitled to, the reason is I’m not a fan of the “claim culture” as ultimately you’re forcing the airline to charge more in the future or worse still, go out of business with the job losses that goes with it.
On any delay it’s a good idea to have the information for your ongoing journey with you, you can then call ahead to the train company, coach company, parking company or whoever is going to pick you up from the other end. What if you had to stay overnight? Have the airport hotel details to hand so you can book ahead of time. It’s worth booking a hotel that doesn’t charge cancellation fees too, then if your plans change you don’t incur extra costs.
Find out who the handling agent is, as the handling agent deals with all delays.
Locate the V.I.P lounge
Short Delays up to 3 hours
Flight delays are caused by numerous reason but the most common is a blocked toilet. 188 people all needing the loo at the same time and unable to go is a problem. You can also thank the person who thought it was a good idea to stuff a nappy down the toilet. The best way with this kind of delay is to just take it in your stride, it’s not a huge problem in the grand scheme of things. So go to the information desk and check with the handling agent when to report to the gate, also tell them where you’re going to be. I recommend you find the Vip lounge, this is because you’ll be away from stressed passengers all queuing in the cafe or worse still burger king. The staff in the lounge will have the time to update you and you’ll be able to relax, have some food and drinks all for the entrance price.
Longer Delays (where you stay at the airport)
The biggest complaint that customers have with delays is lack of information. Sometimes the airline states that the aircraft has gone technical. If you are not an aircraft engineer then that’s really all they can say because the jargon wouldn’t make any sense or any difference. Once again find the handling agent for your airline and let them know you’ll be in the Vip lounge. With long delays I would check into the lounge first before it’s full.
During a long delay you maybe entitled to vouchers as compensation, personally a few euros towards airport food is not worth the stress of the now huge queue in the cafeteria or the crappie food, I would take them and give them to a family who really needs them.
Longer Delays (where you leave the airport)
First let me point out you shouldn’t just leave the airport because if the situation changes you could miss your flight. I’m really referring to, when the airline decides you’ll be comfortable elsewhere. The handling agent will sometimes organise for all the passengers to go to a local hotel for food and refreshments. It is not compulsory for you to go but you’ll miss out on what is on offer if you don’t. This is usually for a daytime delay and the handling agent will normally give you an identification card, so when you return you don’t have to re-check in. It is unlikely you’ll take your hold luggage as this will only delay the flight further. (Another good reason to only travel with hand luggage). Also if you have purchased goods in the airport departure lounge you will have to have them sealed by airport security otherwise you will have a problem when you go through security again all the rules still apply, remember no liquids.
The handling agent want you to be comfortable but don’t expect them to pay for a room or even wi-fi. If you know how long you’ll be there and want a room ask the reception for a special rate. You should be able to use the hotel facilities, however I wouldn’t recommend jumping in the pool as you’ll struggle to dry off before you leave.
Longer Delays (Overnight)
Once again I wouldn’t advise just leaving the airport as the airline want to keep you together, this is because if the departure time changes you could miss the flight. It’s important that you appreciate that your holiday has ended and you cannot and shouldn’t demand a 5 star hotel or villa just because you have just left one. The handling agent will have to source rooms at short notice which means they won’t have a lot of choice especially at peak season. It is likely that you will not have your check in luggage with you, if this is the case then your accommodation will provide soaps and towels to freshen up.
How to obtain medication whilst on a long delay is a question I get asked a lot and prevention is better than trying to find a chemist in a foreign country in the middle of the night. Check out my travelling stress buster post, it is full of tips which will help in a delay situation too. Nappies and baby formula is another problem and again I would recommend you bring more than you think you’ll need.
Travelling when less mobile is difficult at the best of times and during a delay can add extra stress but it doesn’t have to. Preparation and communication are the key to a stress free delay.
Start by buying the correct holiday insurance a lot of policies are purchased on price alone. This will go a long way to recover any out-of-pocket expenses therefore allowing you to use taxis instead of coaches or even change flights so you don’t have to deal with the stress of a delay at all.
Ensure you have extra medication
Do not wait for problems to arrive, speak to the agent or the airline staff to ensure your needs are met. Often after a delay any pre-booked seating arrangements are void as the airline may have to substitute a different aircraft or sub contract another airline to take you.
Now this next Tip is one that has to be done correctly. Use social media?
Most companies use social media to communicate with their customers, the person who is responsible will not be as busy or stressed as local staff and may have access to information and services you can’t get local. The BIG rule is don’t rant, be polite:-
“Hi I wonder if you could help, we are currently on a delay in Lanzarote and we’re due to fly back at 11:00, as this is unlikely can you *……………”
*tell them what you need.
You may require:-
Ensure I’m allocate the correct seat as I’m (disabled, 6ft 5″ etc)
Find me accommodation close to the airport
Change my flight
Sometimes just asking for help will result in some positive action.
Also when travelling with just hand luggage you are more flexible, ask the airline to put you on another flight. This is ideal if you have to get back because of work or an appointment, you could travel to East Midlands instead of Manchester. Just check your onward travel arrangements first as there’s no point if there’s no train or bus. Ask the airline if they will supply the ongoing transport too, as you never know. I wouldn’t recommend this for families or if your car is parked at the airport.Continue reading
I am sat in Cafe Amazon on Mahraja Alley in Krabi, Thailand and the first thing that comes to mind, is how unlikely this compares with the Amazon. It’s cool air conditioning is worth the price of the coffee as outside it is more like the actual Amazon. Outside the window I’m sat next to, it’s hot, humid and there are even a few nasty creatures flying around. No I’m not talking about the hundreds of motorcycle taxi riders, Tuk Tuk drivers or shop owners but mosquitos.
I purchased a latte and a sandwich for £1.80, yes that’s for both! Although the coffee is very small and I may have to buy another one before I finish writing this blog post. Speaking of writing, my last post was how I finance travel if you haven’t read it then pop over to it here. How Do You Finance Your Travels
Once you have your finances in order you jump on a plane and away you go. Stop! After watching hundreds of YouTube videos about people who travel the globe and earn money to travel the globe, I thought this is easy, off I go. Now I’m making a conjecture here, from what I have seen it’s not that easy at all! To put it mildly there is something these YouTube creators aren’t telling us. I doubt most vlogs on travel freedom are close to reality.
I’m not going to explain why I don’t believe they’re not reality just yet. What I am going to do is share with you what I should have done before I left and recommend you do the same. So I want to be location independent which doesn’t mean I won’t spend time in England. It means I am free to work anywhere in the world and to be able to go places I have never seen and want to see.
To be location independent you need a mobile skill and there are lots of them, I will list mine:-
Web Designer, WordPress Website specialist, Google Webmaster, Facebook Developer, Google Adsense, Trends, insights and App specialist. Social Media Specialist, Android Specialist, I.T Consultant.
P.A.D.I Assistant Instructor, Emergency First Responder.
Photographer, Videographer, Blogger, Travel Writer, Google Contributor, Open Street Maps Contributor.
Tour Guide, Travel Advisor, Sales Consultant, Wine Taster.
Plumber, Tiler, Mechanic, Automotive in-car entertainment fitter, Bicycle Mechanic.
Specialist and Consultant are terms I use because saying you’re competent in building computers, laptops. Anti-Virus, Anti-Spam, Anti-Malware and a hundred other pieces of software is long-winded.
If you require any of the above services then do get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m sure I have a few more but those are my main skills, however since setting off none of the above has earned me a penny. (I lie I have just earned £5 from Google)
I should have set up and built a business whilst I was still working full-time, which might have been difficult but I wouldn’t be sat in a cafe in Thailand wondering where my next paycheck will come from. I even tried Fiverr and that didn’t work, although I will give it another go soon. So start building your location independent business now, don’t wait like I did as I have to rely on savings which I can tell you go down quickly. One of the best businesses to set up will be based around your hobby because if you love what you do, it isn’t work.
Hobbies are great to turn into websites and blogs. You can share your knowledge and demonstrate you skills for others who are interested, if anyone wants to start a blog or website then join me throughout October as I will be running through the steps to set up a WordPress Website from scratch.
I am going to end here, mainly because the rain has stopped and I can get back out exploring Krabi, after all that’s why I am traveling.Continue reading
Here’s How I Did It.
Over the years and there has been a lot of them I have had some crazy ideas, about 35 years ago I thought ‘why not advertise cars and houses on the internet’ and ‘sell cars in the same way as estate agents sells property’. If I listed all my ideas I would be very depressed, why because I didn’t do anything about them at the time. During my 12 years in the travel and tourism industry I wondered why holiday reps didn’t club together to buy a villa and seen as they had accommodation supplied for them, they could rent the villa out to pay the mortgage and eventually they would have a property empire.
It took turning fifty to realise you have to just do it or as the new trendy saying goes just ‘jump’ I mean what is the worst that can happen. Deep down you know that even if you work really hard in your chosen career you’ll always get paid just enough not to leave but never enough to live your dreams. Worst still if you wake up every morning dreading going to work I have some advice for you, quit your job. I would love to say at this point “wear sunscreen” although that song has some valuable words in it.
So I’m going to correct approx 35 years of procrastination and break it down into what you can do right now to start living.
Now I want you to continue reading this post so I have put some links at the end, of valuable things to read and watch especially Tim Urban’s talk called inside the mind of a master procrastinator. I will also put a link to an excellent, thought-provoking website called “wait but why”. So here is my advice, make of it what you will but grab your dreams and run with them no matter what anyone says. You have far more to gain than you could possibly lose!
I know obvious really! But wait, well don’t wait get started. I understand you have a lot of responsibilities a family, a mortgage, a car, a loan, a job. I had some of those when I suddenly had the thought of what if I died soon. I know, odd thought or maybe not, after all I was 50 and I lost my father when he was 54. So I imagined I had 4 years, crazy or not this gave me a huge kick in the butt to live my life my way and now.
Let’s address the elephant in the room, so you have a family. All you do is, as a family decide on what your collective dream is and plan accordingly. Living your dream life is different from everyone else’s, mine happens to be travel and I’ll admit right here, it’s also to find a loving partner. You may have gathered by now I’m single but I didn’t used to be, becoming single was the worst time in my life but that story is for a different post.
I’ve already mentioned everybody’s dream is different so to continue I’m going to base the rest of this advice from my own experience.
I worked in the Automotive industry for 25 years, I had a mortgage, a car, massive amounts of credit card debt and other debt nearly £50,000, that’s right nearly fifty grand.
So first piece of advice is get rid of your debt whatever it takes, I admit I had some luck here but what happened started the ball rolling. Once the decision was made that my wife and I would divorce. I needed a place to live, I had a reasonable salary £25k working as a depot manager, I also didn’t want to waste money on renting, although I have learnt since that renting is not a waste when done correctly. So I arranged a mortgage and started house hunting, I found a small property close to the old family home, it was for sale at £39995 (I know but it was 16 years ago). This is the point when a little bit of Psychology came in, at the time I hadn’t a clue about this but have since found out that I actually created what is known as an ‘Anchor’ when I made the offer on the house.
I offered £30000 nearly ten grand less than the asking price, you maybe surprised at the reply. It was simply £31k and pay our solicitors fees and it’s a deal, I had no idea how I pulled it off but within the next 6 months I would find out. I was in within a month but didn’t have a penny spare to my name, so I slept on the lounge floor. A few friends offered me household items and my mum basically gave me all her kitchen utensils. It took a few months to save to buy a sofa bed and slowly I furnished my new place. Just a side note, when I bought it the decoration was green carpet and pink walls apart from the bedroom that was blue, bathroom olive which is the worst colour for a bathroom ever, apologies if you have an olive bathroom. I lived in that little house for 4 years before I decided I wanted to travel. I decided whilst sat in a 4 hour traffic jam on the M62 motorway, well your mind wanders when stuck on a motorway.
So I resigned from my job and put the house up for sale, here ladies and gentlemen is the luckiest move I’ve ever made. I sold my house within a week for £60k paid off the mortgage, paid off £30k worth of debt and slept on a couch at my mother’s until I started my new job. In the month it took to work my notice and move out of my house, I applied for a job working abroad my first venture into the travel industry.
I still had debt but I knuckled down and read everything Martin Lewis had to write, I changed credit cards to zero interest cards and threw every penny I had at them and by the time we celebrated 2006 I was debt free. Yes it took me 6 years and I had some luck but I had cleared £50k of debt.
I was interested in travel and my new job gave me the opportunity but only gave me a small salary, however I soon discovered that I could live for free, almost.
In 2006 I decided a car was an expensive luxury, so my next piece of advice is “get rid of your car” most, not all but most cars are stationary 96% of the time. The really bad news is that 96%, you are still paying for. Do the math, I worked it out and my car cost me £25 a day for just being parked somewhere! I use a bicycle, public transport but most of all my feet.
Start saving every penny you can.
To do what I am doing now you’ll ideally need at least 1 year’s salary saved up, so I worked the past 18 months 6 days a week and saved £8k that’s £444 saved every month and my salary was only £709. You have to be frugal but you are setting the stage to live your dream life. I was a tour guide in Lanzarote and I must admit, loved it! The hotel where I was based let me eat breakfast and dinner, massive saving but I put on a lot of weight. I visited a few local tapas bars with my customers and those tapas bars let me eat and drink for free even when I wasn’t with customers. I didn’t go out as most holiday reps do but still managed to enjoy myself on less than £300 a month. When the exchange rate hit 1.43 I went mad and spent £1000 on pro Lenses for my camera and still managed to save a year’s salary in 18 months.
Alastair Humphreys has an excellent short video on how to have a Grand Adventure by saving £20 a week, after a year you have a grand to have an adventure with. Good title for a book, as you can imagine Alastair has already thought of that. The book is well worth it as it gets you all excited and gives you some great ideas.
In business, to make more money you have to either sell more (you sell your time) or reduce costs. I suggest you list all your outgoings and reduce or eliminate as many as possible. Martin Lewis is a genius at this, check his site out, in fact by following Martin’s advice you can give yourself a 25% pay rise right now. Today is also an excellent day for asking your boss for a pay rise, now don’t barge in, plan it first. There are lots of good websites giving advice on asking for a rise.
Every bought something and 2 weeks later you realise you didn’t need it? We’ve been programmed since childhood to buy stuff, in fact sell the telly first. I haven’t watched TV in 8 years, I still watch movies on my tablet but I stopped listening to all that TV propaganda and it makes a huge difference to my life. As soon as you discover experiences over possessions your life will change overnight. I used Gumtree mainly to sell stuff, I also made a point of including why I was selling my stuff. So many people I met who bought my stuff were extremely positive and even told their friends to have a look and buy stuff. Today companies build in obsolescence to everything, my mum had a Kelvinator fridge for forty years. Does anything these days last 40 year’s, no but it’s just putting your money into corporate pockets, every time a new model is released. I know I mentioned stuff a lot but that’s all it is, it adds no value to your life.
This is not as easy as it sounds because most people will tell you that you’re mad and will be very negative. In fact the closer the relationship the worse it gets. I still say tell them because it helps you get motivated and gives you a huge push towards taking action. When I told people I was going abroad to work, I got everything from “you’re mad” to “I wish I could do that”. Well you can and it’s easier than you could possibly imagine.
I’m going to continue in my next blog, as you’re probably at work and the boss will be along in a bit. So back to that spreadsheet or whatever you do.
Here’s those links!
Time Urban – The Mind of a Master Procrastinator
Wait but Why – Put your life into perspective.
Martin Lewis – The Money Expert
Alastair Humphreys – Grand AdventuresContinue reading
Today is the first day of Autumn, here in Thailand it’s just another monsoon day, in fact it has rained everyday so far. So sit back, relax and enjoy your autumn equinox. I would recommend, Weather permitting to go into the British countryside and enjoy the official end of summer. Autumn is a good time to take stock and plan for the future, after all Christmas is just around the corner. I will be taking stock today too, mainly because it’s chucking it down plus I have a very busy itinerary ahead.
I am listening to the Jason Manford podcast, sat on my bed in La Chambre after drinking a bottle of Chang beer. I remember when I was in Lanzarote some people would complain that their room hadn’t been cleaned daily, here it’s weekly so as you can imagine my bin is full. Over the past week, I’ve had an ant colony wander through my room, this morning, a small lizard walked under the door and I have a beetle death match going on under a coffee cup next to the bathroom. A couple of nights ago I heard a weird noise and on investigation a rather large beetle had found its way into my room. I’m not a fan of killing visiting insects but I was tired so put an upturned plastic take away coffee cup over my visitor. I obviously forgot about it until another beetle turned up, so now there’s 2 beetles under the cup. Earlier today I had a look under the cup and they were both just stationary next to each other.
I imagined them reacting just like a couple of people in bed who were fast asleep and someone switched the big light on. Except by the time they realised they could escape the cup went back down. So now I have 2 beetles asleep next to the bathroom door.
The weather in Koh Lanta, Thailand has been, well normal, as it’s monsoon season. I’ve managed to get a lot done optimising my website, playing with different plugins which crashed the site and then I spent a few hours fixing it. I have managed to update my Google Webmaster skills and now have a lot more tools to work with. I spent an hour looking through my Google analytics and most views come from the UK on Tuesday at 7pm. However no one seems to stick around for long, so feel free to drop me a comment on what content you’d like to see and please subscribe and share. The website it’s optimised for mobile devices and will now load faster. If you have any problems let me know so I can tweak it further. I also applied for Google Adsense, as I need to look at every opportunity for an income stream. I will be starting my first free pdf book for you to download this month and hopefully that will be available for Christmas,
Today I learnt that Google have launched a new trip app which looks awesome. GoPro launched the Karma Drone and as long as it includes the camera I’ll be buying one before I leave Asia. I have put a schedule together for my YouTube channel and now have different playlists for people to tune into. I have downloaded Periscope so will be doing some live streaming throughout the rest of the adventure. I have Instagram ready to go and will be posting more photos and video over there. Facebook now has a video channel and to cover all those bases I’m looking into a regular live Facebook spot. Twitter announced today that images and video will no longer count towards those 140 characters too.
I was stressed today because my Australian Visa was approved but after looking at my finances and researching accommodation and the cost of food. Australia is on hold, until at least I have some income coming in.
So that was a big intro. Oops! Sorry about that.
Today’s post is my crazy itinerary, I have seen on YouTube, creators which just offers a tease of the next destination. I have viewed hundreds of videos of people who quit their jobs to travel but most of those channels are of people a lot younger than me partying and bungee jumping. The Adventure at Fifty mission I’m on is a little different, although I do appreciate all the tips those other channels offer.
The Mystery Tour which is the 2nd stage of Adventure at Fifty is aimed at an audience which, want to travel or enjoy traveling on a budget. The audience will probably be in a position where their life / work balance is tipped too far over to work. I don’t want to produce a ‘how to video’ but want to record what I get up to and where I travel, then viewers can take what they want from the different videos, cafeteria style.
I have a small, safety net but need to start earning something soon and happy to put my hands to anything. I digress!
So I started in the UK on August 14th and cycled 1000 km to Amsterdam from there I boarded an Emirates flight to Bangkok via Dubai. The first 3 days were in Bangkok with 1 night sleeping in the airport, I jumped on a train and came to Koh Lanta and it’s basically just rained. My next move is a bold one I’m heading to Krabi for a few days before flying to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where I have booked a stay with Zobran Apel in Jalan Gurney in my very first Airbnb. I’m really looking forward to this as Kuala Lumpur has so much to offer and I’m hoping Jalan can give me some pointers on how to enjoy the city, on a budget.
I then have 2 weeks to roam Malaysia, I’m heading to Butterworth, Penang by train and I’ll explore the Penang State visiting George Town and the surrounding area. I have to get back to Kuala Lumpur airport by the 16th October to fly to Jakarta.
Jakarta isn’t a tourist destination but will be my 2nd Airbnb, although my Airbnb is only for 3 days I’m in Jakarta until the 24th October. I then fly back to Kuala Lumpur to stay in Chinatown for 8 days in my 3rd Airbnb.
November 2nd will be Kuala Lumpur to Khon Kaen in North Thailand via Bangkok and that’s where I have nearly the whole month to see as much of Northern Thailand as I can before catching a train back to Bangkok for my flight to Amsterdam on November 30th at 02:00. So I must remember to get there on the 29th Nov so I don’t miss the flight.
Join me on this amazing adventure!
Subscribe to this blog or Subscribe to my YouTube channel. Adventureatfifty
I’ll be putting out video, sometime live on Facebook and PeriscopeContinue reading
I booked into La Chambre for 2 weeks, this was apparently so I could get a good price but it isn’t I am paying 700 baht a night for a pleasant room with all the facilities I need but there are cheaper alternatives. Santorini restaurant is also a guest house with beds from 200 baht a night and further down the island you have a huge choice. I stayed at La Chambre because it was out of season and most guest houses were closed. During the first week a lot more places started to open and I could have had a cheaper alternative. I would recommend staying in La Chambre, as long as it is within your budget.
Saladan is the most Northerly town on Koh Lanta Yai, it has everything you’ll need and is next to the Klong (river). There is a high possibility that you’ll arrive at Koh Lanta by boat, there is a regular service from most islands and Krabi, if that is the case then you normally arrive at Saladans main pier. I say this because there are a number of jetties along the Klong and depending on where you came from you may be taken to another jetty. Assuming you arrive at Saladan Pier you will enter Koh Lanta at it’s most Northerly point. I saw a bold sign which tells everyone to pay 10 baht towards keeping Koh Lanta clean, I’m not sure how genuine this is, I arrived by minibus over the new bridge and there were no signs and no requests for 10 baht. Koh Lanta is a beautiful island but in the low season it seems to have tonnes of litter washed up along the coast, there are some amazing volunteers which spend a day every week cleaning up the area. Trash Heroes are a major player in keeping Koh Lanta a paradise, why not look them up on Facebook and join in a beach cleanup, it’s a great way to make some new friends and I bet they end up in a bar at the end of the day.
As you emerge from Saladan Pier you will be inundated with people wanting to help you with your ongoing travel arrangements, offering you a tuk tuk or pickup truck ride to a bungalow, guest house or beach hut. If you are staying in one of Koh Lantas wonderful resorts then you’ll no doubt find you ride here. On the left as you exit the pier there are 3 ATMs , be aware that in Thailand, banks charge you 200 baht transaction fee on top of any of your bank fees and restrict the amount you can take out, usually 10,000 baht max. This means that when you want cash you will have an extra charge which will show up on your statement as 200 baht added to your withdrawal, so 10,000 baht withdrawal will show as 10,200 baht. Also be aware that ATMs don’t always give you the choice of being charged in sterling or baht, if you do get the choice always select baht, that way you bank will give you the exchange rate and not the machine. I also recommend using an ATM connected to a bank, which there are a few on Saladans main Street. The logic behind this is the bank will keep it maintained and top it up on a regular basis, also if it eats your card you can go into the bank to get it back.
You will see “Tourist Information or Tourist Centres” everywhere although these places are very helpful their main aim is to sell attraction and transport tickets. They are all very similar so my theory is wait until you have found your accommodation, usually someone will be extremely helpful and guide you in the right direction, if they sell tickets and you want something then purchase from them as a thank you.
Anyone walking into Saladan? Then it’s easy and only a 5 – 10 minutes walk, turn right, there is an exchange bureau on the right and you have a straight walk into town. Along this street you’ll find rooms to rent, hostels, restaurants, ticket offices, moped hire, dive centres and my favourite, Catfish book store and restaurant. I recommend you call in for a cold drink and relax, get your bearings and plan your next move. Catfish has free Wi-Fi and a good menu, it isn’t the cheapest but we are talking pennies difference between Catfish and a place the locals eat. Also the view is amazing you can see the Klong, the new bridge and Koh Lanta Noi.
To get around Koh Lanta I recommend a moped, you can rent them everywhere the cost varies on the length of time you have it and how new the moped is. Compared to spending on tuk tuks they are a bargain, unless you’re drinking in that case get a tuk tuk. Always Wear your helmet, this isn’t just a safety announcement but the police fine foreigners for not wearing them, you’ll notice this doesn’t happen to locals as you’ll see 5 year olds riding them and sometime whole families on them, cameras ready!
As a Farrang (Foreigner) you are going to pay more for everything and you won’t notice you have been ripped off because it’s still cheaper than back at home. Tuk tuk drivers have a price list but they won’t be showing it to you any time soon, just remember to barter as the first price you get will be laughable. I will attempt to get hold of a price list and post it within this blog post.
The most popular activity on Koh Lanta has to be Scuba Diving and you have a lot of places to choose from. Take your time and shop around wisely, I recommend Hidden Depths Diving turn right at the pier and walk straight on past the police station (small hut next to the slipway) and they’re on your right hand side. I have dived with them on many occasions and always had a great time. The team there are amazing plus they have a speedboat rather than a slow boat, which makes a huge difference. Go and check them out, tell them John sent you!
Shopping in Saladan is fun, you have lots of places to choose from, there are 7/11’s which are great especially just to cool down. Lanta Mart is a great place to do your Friday big shop as it’s where the locals go, it’s also next to the bank. There are markets stalls, food stalls, tailor shops, dress shops and lots of opticians for some reason. I have discovered that Thailand is a great place to visit the dentist as they are of a high standard and reasonably priced. You’ll see tattoo parlours, massage parlours (careful) and hair salons.
They are everywhere in Thailand and you need to know a few things, everyone or most people think they can give you a massage. Only go to a massage parlour which is recommended to you by someone who has been, because if a massage goes wrong then you could have a permanent back injury. Also I’m sure you’ve heard about a massage with a happy ending. That subject is not for this post and you’ll have to search Google for more information.
Okay! In my last blog post I promised to talk about Apps.
So all the Apps I refer to are for Android and available from the Google Play Store, I’m not an Apple fanboy and if you have an iPhone then there maybe an ios version.
Top App for me has to b Google Rewards. (this is an odd one)
Told you it’s an odd one but if you don’t mind answering a few questions every now and again then this app is great. Mainly because it means all your other apps are free, yes that’s right free! Google gives you credit towards the Play Store which you can use to buy apps.
So from now on the list will be in categories.
Finding your way around:
Maps has jumped to the top of my list for several reasons, mainly in the last few updates you now can take it offline. The biggest thing is, it just works! I use other navigation apps and spend most of my time updating them. Google Maps has helped my find accommodation, food, transport, ATM’S and lots more. I recommend ensuring your smart phone is unlocked and you buy a 4G sim whilst here. That way you can use it ‘live’ and download areas you’re going to be visiting, just in case you can’t get online.
Now a backup for Google Maps, this app pulls information from Open Street Maps so sometimes either Google Maps or Maps.me will have info’ which the other doesn’t, there is a lot missing from both. Make sure you setup this app up before downloading Gigabytes of offline maps. Luckily I have a Micro SD slot, so ensure you set it to download to external storage or it’ll clog up your device. No micro SD slot? Just use Google Maps.
Local Transit Apps
Whilst in Bangkok I downloaded the apps for the Airport Rail Link, BTS and the Railway. These proved to be a waste of time for me, so instead I used Google to find a Bangkok Transit map and downloaded (printed) to my device, that way I could navigate the transit system easy and offline.
This app can get a bit annoying with notifications but pop into settings and set the app to notify you of an emergency only. There’s a lot of different settings but it’s good to be aware of any local emergencies. You’ll receive notification of Earthquakes, Tsunami, Traffic Accidents, etc.
This app does a lot more but for weather it can’t be beat.
Information taken live from buoys out at sea, excellent! Designed for the surfing community so when it’s windy it’ll say excellent conditions, so be aware.
A great way to find accommodation and new friends around the world. I have booked 4 x Airbnb stays and will blog about them soon.
Stay with locals for free. I’ve not had any Couchsurfing experiences yet but will report when I do.
Apart from navigating by the sun, it’s good to know you’re heading in the right direction.
I saw this on Top Gear and had lots of fun with it, you not only can see speed, handy on trains or minibuses but Altitude, Weather, Trip Odometer, Compass and lots more.
I bought this year’s ago and hadn’t used it, until now when my itinerary is crazy and sometimes I have to check on what I am doing next with my schedule. It also keeps my Mother happy knowing where I am.
I have a Sky Rewards Card so keep track of my points and flights.
Counting the cost:
Every time I spend money I get a receipt (when I can) I then record my spending in Trabee. This app is great for budgeting.
I’m traveling through several countries all with different currencies so this app helps me keep track of exchange rates and helps me avoid being ripped off.
Meeting new Friends:
I had seen Skout before when I was in the UK and thought it was a dating App, here in Asia it seems as popular as Facebook. It works completely different, more of a cross between Tinder, Messenger and Instagram. I deleted it within a week, not because it doesn’t work but because it was killing my battery. Skout is running continuously and I couldn’t figure how to stop it. I did turn notifications off but it still drained my battery.
Now saying that I did have some fun with it and I got to meet lots of genuine people who gave me great advice, there is a dark side to the app.
I had never heard of this App but it is Asia’s answer to Messenger. When using Skout or Tinder people will post their Line information, so to chat you need Line.
Tinder is probably not what you think, to me it seems to be how people get a one night stand or not! In Asia it’s a combination of dating, hookups and Bargirls (prostitutes). I downloaded Tinder and uninstalled it within a week.
Smartphone Photography and Video:
I’m stupid sometimes (no comments please) I wanted to travel light so left my DSLR and Lenses in the UK, big mistake. I am using my Smartphone and a GoPro Hero 2 and it shows. The Smartphone is the better of the 2 but when I go back to the UK for Christmas I’ll pick my DSLR up and buy a Rode mic for my next adventure.
The stock Android camera on my phone is okay but there are better apps.
A Better Camera:
There’s a free version but I go for paid every time probably because I don’t actually pay for them. (See top app). This app has all those DSLR controls you’ll want and more, it’s an amazing app and I highly recommend it.
My new video app, Horizon keeps everything horizontal so has improved my video production. There are a few minor issues though, the first 2 to 3 seconds of video are unusable. It’s like you zoom in when you start filming. Apart from that thumbs up!
I rarely use this but should, mainly to set up the shot from the GoPro Hero and using it as a remote-control On my tablet I use it for time-lapse (early days yet), I use a different SD card for time-lapse as it eats space.
Image and Video Editing:
Easiest editor I’ve used and produces great results, there are hundreds of features.
Photo bombed? remove unwanted items or people from your images.
Remove the background from an image, great for memes and stickers. Saves as a png file so very useful.
Pixlr doesn’t do layers, so this is the answer.
Useful for png and stock images.
Cyberlink Power Director:
This app is getting better all the time, it’s the only app I’ve found for decent editing on a tablet but has a few downsides. No video layers, footage judder on transitions (even with lead in and lead out video) every now and again the screen flashes blue, no idea what it is but I’m glad it’s not the windows blue screen of death or is it?
This is really annoying as a new YouTube creator I want access to the Video Manager but the app is really for viewing, uploading via the app stops me from scheduling.
Just for stats, which make me sad.
So to upload, and schedule I have to force chrome to open as desktop but guess what YouTube editor uses flash and Android now doesn’t. Where’s my laptop. In the UK, fuming!
So there’s a handful of apps I use on the road, I will be producing video walk through of each one soon and I will add the links into this post.
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