A private long boat – Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

After playing with tigers in Phuket Brian and I headed straight to Koh Phi Phi.  This island paradise became famous after Leonardo DiCaprio starred in The Beach; a movie about pot farmers and hippie tourists set on Koh Phi Phi.  Although the ferry from Phuket takes less than 2 hours plan a half day for your journey since they tend to leave late and you’ve gotta find your accommodation once you arrive.

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Welcome to Phi Phi, Krabi, Thailand

Welcome to Phi Phi, Krabi, Thailand

Brian and I opted for Marine Hotel, a guesthouse near the main port on the island.  Unfortunately we unknowingly walked right past it not realizing how close it was!  Phi Phi is a tiny island and everyone is extremely friendly.  After wandering like Harry and Lloyd of Dumb & Dumber we were lucky to meet Continue reading

A new year begins in Thailand

Ao Nang Sunset, Krabi, Thailand

Ao Nang Sunset, Krabi, Thailand

Starry sky above Ao Nang Cliffs, Krabi, Thailand

Starry sky above Ao Nang Cliffs, Krabi, Thailand

2015 is the year of the ram and my 2015 will be full of challenging new adventures.  Today I introduced 5 new members to grade 4 as the team leader, Brian and I just moved into an amazing new apartment and I’ve been volunteering with Seoul Hiking Group long enough to start planning my own hikes and even international trips!

Welcome to Phi Phi, Krabi, Thailand

Welcome to Phi Phi, Krabi, Thailand

Lucky for me that wasn’t all.  I rang in the Lunar New Year in Thailand with some of my best friends!  Just the other day Brian and I were sitting on a boat watching flying fish flap along the waves as islands littered the horizon.  The Andaman Sea is a wondrous place worthy of repeat visits by anyone who loves fun in the sun.  I know I’ll be back the only question is will I be renting long boats for island hopping or using my new SCUBA diving certificate to explore the deep blue waters teeming with life.

Ao Nang Sunset, Krabi, Thailand

Ao Nang Sunset, Krabi, Thailand

A kayaker beneath Phi Phi's majestic cliffs.

A kayaker beneath Phi Phi’s majestic cliffs.

The Andaman Sea is perhaps Thailand’s most valuable asset.  It was stunning, unforgettable and one of my most memorable adventures yet.  In spite of this awe-inspiring land we often ran into those who swear by “how different Thailand was 10 or 20 years ago.” Subtly saying “how much better Thailand was in the past.”  To this I say “how different was America 10 or 20 years ago?”  The world changes, but lucky for those of us who have had one or fewere trips to Thailand these changes have made it more English accessible.  Sure a minor degree of authenticity feels lost to those who are lucky enough to be nostalgic but even in this modern world Thailand’s southern islands are an archipelago that remain an incredible part of the world.

A kayaker beneath Phi Phi's majestic cliffs.

A kayaker beneath Phi Phi’s majestic cliffs.

Island hopping in Phi Phi Thailand

Island hopping in Phi Phi Thailand

Green fishing lights off of Ao Nang Beach, Krabi, Thailand

Green fishing lights off of Ao Nang Beach, Krabi, Thailand

I’m overwhelmed by everything about Thailand and can’t believe its over.  I’m even more overwhelmed by the thousands of photos I have to wade through as my Korean life goes back into full swing.  Its a great feeling to have so much to look forward to and I can’t wait to share it all with you!

Have you ever been to Thailand?  What was your favorite part?  What are you looking forward to in 2015, the year of the ram?

Top 10 Travel Photos – 2014 #2

2014 was my most traveled year yet.  I had the good fortune to bring in the New Year in the Philippines before returning to my job in South Korea.  Summer vacation was spent backpacking Vietnam and Chuseok (Korean thanksgiving) brought me to Japan.  I ventured to Shanghai before heading back to America for the end of the year holidays and all along these crazy adventures my camera followed me.  Tens of thousands of pictures were narrowed down to roughly 30 finalists before I selected my top 10 travel photos of 2014!

#2 shows the picturesque sunsets of Boracay in the Philippines.  Boracay is a magical island full of tuktuks & tourists.  Its where Filipinos go on vacation and I was fortunate enough to meet some locals through my good friends Josh & Christine.  We had a blast relaxing on White Beach with some of the most elaborate natural colors on Earth and I was lucky enough to capture this moment in the first days of 2014.  I love this photo so much that I commissioned my artist friend & future roommate, Brian, to paint it for me and can’t wait to hang it in the new apartment!  As an aside I enjoyed watching my watermark evolve throughout the year and am looking at this old one has inspired me to come up with another new one for 2015.

I think its time I add to my travel bucket list. Where is your favorite sunset?

Stay tuned for #1!

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Check out #1 here!
Check out #3 here!

 

Sokcho with Seoul Hiking Group

Wow, what a journey in Seoraksan National Park; after coming down a 23km hike starting at 3am along the treacherous Dinosaur Ridge we were looking forward to some beach R&R in Sokcho.  Upon arriving at the pension we sorted out rooms, cleaned off the mountain grime and promptly began collecting wood for a beach bonfire.

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While some were busy getting the blaze going others headed into town to pick up fireworks and other festive party materials (aka beer).  Hanging out on the beach the red moon brought as much of a gorgeous glow as our bonfire while we reminisced over the breathtaking views from earlier in the day.

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Moments later the beer & firework crew returned with sparklers and some roman candles.  We decided to set up my tripod and see who could write their names the best!

Brian

Brian

Jordan

Jordan

Mike

Mike

Ashley

Ashley

Seoul Hiking Group!

Seoul Hiking Group!

Ashley was our clear winner and I can’t wait to break out my camera with her on the next trip but now it was time for some roman candle “fights.”  We staged the scene and carefully coordinated to make sure no one caught on fire.  But then again there was this giant body of water next to us…

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Waking up the next day we went out to explore Sokcho.  But before we departed why not enjoy the ocean a bit more!  Sure the waves were crazy and water frigid.  That just meant I wasn’t ballsy enough to go in but plenty of others did!

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Warren!

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See! I told you the water was treacherous.

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As a fishing village there are tons of fish markets, and dried sea-life hanging from every store.  We even had a chance to take an ancient ferry ride where the passengers pull a line to bring us back and forth.

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Darren & Maddie getting frisky with the wildlife.

 

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Warren working hard to get us all to the other side!

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Up next our last meal by the shore at a North Korean style restaurant.

 

Sunsets, Sunrises and a new watermark

Over the last few months I’ve had a ton of great criticism about my photos.  Most people love them and are jealous of my travels but I do get a few complaints.  Other than my mom telling me to take less pictures of scenery and more of myself the biggest complaint has been my “distracting watermark.”   Well I listened to you all and set to work designing a new one!

After a little Google-research I decided to leave a vertical signature absent of color.  To debut this “thing which took way too many hours to design” I’ve decided to revisit some of my favorite sunsets and sunrises from around the world.

Let me know what you think!  Is it still too distracting, too big or is it just right?

Masada Sunrise over the Dead Sea

Masada Sunrise over the Dead Sea

Sunset Boracay, Philippines

Sunset Boracay, Philippines

Sunset over Seoul 1

Sunset over Seoul 1

Sunset in Bukhansan

Sunset in Bukhansan

Boracay boats before sunset

Boracay boats before sunset

Crow flying into a setting Bukhansan sun

Crow flying into a setting Bukhansan sun

Hawaiian Sunset 1

Hawaiian Sunset 1

South Korean Sunrise

South Korean Sunrise

Sunrise enroute to Saryangdo

Sunrise enroute to Saryangdo