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Apologies for the light posting again this week, guys — it’s been an emotional roller coaster around here! In the past week I turned 25, showed one of my favorite travel buddies of all times around Koh Tao, and said goodbye to the island that I never quite seem ready to leave. My friends on Koh Tao and around the world made sure I was ridiculously spoiled with love on my birthday — I still can’t believe what a special few days it was. However, that only made it harder to say goodbye to my little island family. The past two and a half months have been the happiest and most content I’ve felt in quite some time, and I’ve long been in denial about them coming to an end.

I’m currently in Bangkok, where I’m bidding farewell to my favorite country in style for a few days before flying to Cambodia for a week of catching up with an old friend. Then it’s home for the holidays — a fact that my brain still hasn’t quite wrapped itself around. I promise to actually write more than one post this week — pinky swear, in fact.

Much love and happy Monday!

Photo A

Sai Nuan Beach BungalowA birthday getaway at Sai Nuan Beach

Photo B

Aminjirah Koh TaoAdmiring the ocean

Photo C

Thailand PhotographyTouchable textures

Photo D

Koh Tao SunsetMind-boggling sunset views from Aminjirah

Photo E

Loy Krathong Koh TaoMy friend Katy making wishes for the new year on Loy Krathong

Which photo is your favorite?

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52 Comments...
  • Emily from Let's Roam Wild
    November 10 2014

    Seeing as I just booked Roctopus to do my open water, your stories and photos of Koh Tao have clearly influenced me! My question for you is, why leave?
    Emily from Let’s Roam Wild recently posted..Madison Bachelorette Party

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      Aw, so happy! You’re going to love it! I am leaving to go home for the holidays. I promised my family I’d do it, and despite my sadness at saying goodbye I really do want to go home every other year for Christmas and Thanksgiving πŸ™‚

  • Sky
    November 10 2014

    Photo D!

    It’s crazy to believe the holidays are almost here – it feels like (as a reader, at least) that you just got to Thailand the other day.

    Are you planning to return in the new year?
    Sky recently posted..My (Tentative) Central America Packing List

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      I am definitely going to be back in 2015 — the question is just when. And yes, these three months just flew by!

  • Silvia
    November 10 2014

    That sunset!! I love how blissed out you always seem when writing about Koh Tao. And if you’re anything like me I’m sure you’ll find yourself returning to Thailand again and again.
    Silvia recently posted..Photography Lessons from Boracay

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      I think this is already my fifth or sixth trip to Southeast Asia. It’s home! And I love that my Koh Tao happies seep into my writing x

  • Emily
    November 10 2014

    Happy belated birthday! I am glad you rang it in with good friends and full of happiness.

    Also – photo D!
    Emily recently posted..Udaipur, Need I Say More?

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      Thanks Emily, I did indeed πŸ™‚

  • Justine
    November 10 2014

    First of all, happy 25th! This week I’m going to go with D. That sunset is unbelievable and I must say I’m missing good sunsets here in Jakarta! For some reason I’m sad that you’ll be leaving Southeast Asia and Thailand, I suppose because I love reading about it! I’m sure you’ll be back on your favorite rock of Koh Tao soon enough though! As always I’m excited to see what’s next for you πŸ™‚ Enjoy Cambodia!!

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      That is too sweet Justine… I’m feeling the pain right now! Thanks for the sympathy pangs πŸ™‚

  • becky hutner
    November 10 2014

    Happy Happy Birthday Alex! E for me this week — candles make for such beautiful, warm light.

    Koh Tao indeed seems like a magical place, so much so that I’m recommending my coworker head there for the Xmas holidays, solely on the strength of your posts! He’s a first time visitor to Southeast Asia, looking for good diving & delicious food so I thought it was a no-brainer no?
    becky hutner recently posted..INSTAWORLD: Halloween Edition.

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      No brainer indeed! The only problem — he’ll be spoiled for life.

  • Ashley
    November 10 2014

    So many gorgeous photos, I can’t choose just one! I love Photo A, B, and D. And happy belated birthday!
    Ashley recently posted..Tips for Travel in Australia on a Budget

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      Thanks Ashley! It was a big one…

  • Rachel of Hippie in Heels
    November 10 2014

    Maybe after the Holidays you can get back to Ko Tao and stay longer! I did notice you hadn’t been posting as much πŸ˜‰ but it’s worth it. have fun…. blog later!
    Rachel of Hippie in Heels recently posted..Bathing Elephants in India | Dubare Elephant Camp

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      Ha, yeah, I can’t believe how badly I’m slacking! I promise to make up for it over the holidays x

  • Kristen Noelle
    November 10 2014

    Happy belated 25th! What a lovely way to spend it.
    I loved C and then my heart absolutely skipped when I saw that SUNSET!
    Kristen Noelle recently posted..A Long-Awaited Visit to Hawaii (+ 5 Excellent Travel Planning Resources)

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      It was pretty insane… felt like I was losing my mind while I watched it!

  • Steve
    November 10 2014

    Belated birthday greetings Alex. I’m choosing photo D this week. Have drink on me.
    Steve recently posted..Castle – Day 14, 26/09

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      Thanks Steve! I definitely toasted to the whole Wanderland community over the birthday celebrations πŸ™‚

  • Emily
    November 10 2014

    Loving Photo D this week. And happy birthday! Glad to hear it was so nice πŸ™‚

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      It was lovely. I felt spoiled! Thanks, Emily.

  • Mary
    November 10 2014

    I’m a sucker for a sunset so I have to go with D.

    What a gift to be able to spend your birthday in such a beautiful place with people who mean a lot to you. Best wishes for the next year!

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      Thank you so much Mary. It could not have been a better way to celebrate a quarter century.

  • Erika
    November 10 2014

    Definitely going with E.

    I’ve only been reading your blog for a little while, but it’s even crazy to me how quickly your time in Koh Tao has gone by! Must have been even faster for you. Can’t wait to read more about your time there!
    Erika recently posted..How NOT to Pack for A Romantic Getaway in Palm Springs

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      I don’t know how the last three months slipped through my fingers. It’s insane. Big sigh…

  • Rika | Cubicle Throwdown
    November 10 2014

    Loooooove photo E! And totally get how hard it is saying goodbye to Koh Tao. Hopefully there is a return trip in the near future?
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..{GIVEAWAY} The Dayplanner to End All Dayplanners

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      I wouldn’t say the NEAR future… but it is on the books. More will be revealed soon!

  • Anna @ shenANNAgans
    November 10 2014

    I adore the pic of your mate Katy making wishes for new year. I can’t wait to do this on my Asian adventures later this year. Happy belated birthday too. πŸ™‚
    Anna @ shenANNAgans recently posted..A Gumboot Tour & Picnic in the Vines

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      It was so special to see at Yi Peng in Chiang Mai, and then to relive in Koh Tao again on my birthday πŸ™‚ Happy days!

  • Happy belated birthday – sounds like it was a fantastic one! My favourite is photo B, theres something about it that seems raw and real and beautiful. Despite missing Koh Tao, it will be so lovely to spend the holidays with your loved ones!
    Christie of The Butterfly Editions recently posted..My ABCs of Travel

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      It will indeed. I am already looking forward to big reunion hugs with each and every one of them.

  • Miquel
    November 10 2014

    Happy Birthday Alex! I pick photo A because that’s exactly where I want to be laying right now.

    I don’t know how long you’re in Bangkok, but if you have time for a reader meet up that would be awesome!
    Miquel recently posted..A Rainy Visit to Wat Arun

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      Hey Miquel, sadly it was a total whirlwind of a trip! I’m already in Cambodia. I hope to be back again soon though πŸ™‚

  • Laura
    November 11 2014

    I love all of these! But I think A gets my vote because I want to sit in those chairs right now. Looking forward to reading a few more of your posts about what you’ve been up to! Enjoy Cambodia!
    Laura recently posted..Four of the Best Places to See the Autumn Colors in Seoul

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      I would do almost anything to be back in them right this second, Laura. It was a dream!

  • Diane
    November 11 2014

    Gonna go with D. I’m such a sucker for a gorgeous sunset. This one looks like fire. Is it common to see one like that in Koh Tao nightly? Stunning! (and happy bday!)
    Diane recently posted..45 Things Americans think when visiting France for the first time

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      Definitely wouldn’t say it’s common… still a special treat πŸ™‚ At least during these rainy months, it’s usually pretty cloudy.

  • Sonja at Breadcrumbs Guide
    November 11 2014

    Love them all, but photo A makes me want to be right there! Happy birthday!
    Sonja at Breadcrumbs Guide recently posted..Choose Your Own Adventure in the Sacred Valley

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      Me too. One of my favorite new memories in Koh Tao!

  • Leah
    November 11 2014

    I love photo C, that dewey hibiscus is dreamy!
    Leah recently posted..Review: Hotel Maracuya Managua

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      And that was an iPhone shot. That damn phone amazes me!

  • Chris
    November 12 2014

    Photo B for me!

    You’ve sucked me in with the blue water and lush palms… not that we’re lacking in either at the moment on the beach in El Salvador πŸ˜‰
    Chris recently posted..Ruined for free

    • Alex
      November 13 2014

      I’m actually heading to El Salvador soon myself, Chris! Looking forward to reading your posts about it… and thanks for the birthday wishes!

      • Chris
        November 13 2014

        Sensational!

        Feel free to shoot me any questions you may have and I’ll see if I can be of any help! πŸ™‚
        Chris recently posted..Disconnected in Palenque

  • Chris
    November 12 2014

    …and I almost forgot, Happy Birthday! Or perhaps more fittingly, Feliz Cumpleanos!
    Chris recently posted..Ruined for free

  • Nika
    November 13 2014

    Happy B-Day! I am excited to go back to Koh Tao in a few weeks. I have one question … Where did you find a room to rent long term and how much did you pay for it? πŸ™‚
    Nika recently posted..Berem: Ε tudent na poti okoli sveta (UroΕ‘ Ravbar)

    • Alex
      November 15 2014

      Hey Nika! You can find rooms from anywhere from 6,000 baht/month for the most basic to 20-30,000 baht/month for the most luxurious. Check out the Koh Tao Rooms for Rent page on Facebook, and drive around looking for “For Rent” signs when you arrive. Hope that helps!

  • Lisa
    November 19 2014

    Lovely Alex!
    I’m reading your blog for quite some time now and decided to visit Koh Tao in February for a few weeks.
    I would really love do learn yoga and maybe do my Advanced Open Water Diver. Do you have any recommendations for me (especially for yoga classes)?
    Would love to hear from you,
    Lisa

    • Alex
      November 19 2014

      Hey Lisa! Have you seen my post “Staying Fit on Koh Tao?” It has a list of yoga studios I’ve frequented on the island πŸ™‚ Best of luck!

  • Miles of Happiness
    December 20 2014

    So you found paradise… Wow!!

    • Alex
      December 22 2014

      It definitely is my own personal paradise, and many other people’s too πŸ™‚

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