So.. I'm back! 2 and a half months travelling around south east Asia is over and although I know I'm going to miss the good weather, the cheap food, the endless excitement of meeting and seeing so many news faces everyday, I have to say I am happy to be home. This week has been full of all the mundane back off holiday tasks like washing all your clothes, opening post, catching up on life admin, but also nice things like drinking Yorkshire tea and eating home cooked British food, which we've missed so much.
As my laptop decided Christmas day was an excellent time to break down, I sent it back to England meaning I was without it for Skypes, blogging, and sorting all my holiday photos. Luckily I've managed to keep doing couple meetings out here and have booked some fantastic weddings for 2017 & 2018. It meant some 3am Skype calls to work with the UK time zone but a small price to pay! I've ticked two things off my bucket list with a Eden project wedding booked for next year, and a Harry Potter themed wedding in Edinburgh for October this year, squeal!
I've loved documenting my trip through the lens of my Fuji XT1 camera, shooting documentary street photography just for myself, and exploring using a much lighter and smaller camera too. Lots of places I've visited have been busy and touristy (I can't complain as I contribute to that too!) so its also been working out angles and ideas to take a different photo to the one straight in front of me, and the one everyone else will be taking for their holiday albums. If you follow me on Instagram you've probably seen some of this work (interspersed with beach pictures and jealousy inducing clear skies!) but as I haven't had a chance to put the second half of the trip up here's a blog post with all my favourites of my travel photography.
We started off in Chiang Mai (which you can see two blog posts about here and here) for three weeks. The main reason for staying somewhere so long was that we really wanted a good amount of time at the start to immerse ourself in a new place and try and get to grips with culture, language, food and weather before travelling everywhere else. Plus try and get a sense of routine while Nick was still working.
Next stop was Koh Phangan for Christmas, three days of beach time and exploring the island. Koh Phangan has a rep for a party island but we steered well clear of this and chose to relax on the quieter side of the island!
Next we headed to Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam on boxing day, and spent a week here in the city. Two of our friends flew out to join us for what was definitely the most memorable new year to date! I didn't take a whole load of photos in Vietnam, we did A LOT of eating though...
On the 2nd Nick flew back to Thailand, and me and Molly travelled by bus to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Bus journeys in Cambodia are something of a experience. The roads are often not well build or non existent, the drivers go WAY faster than they should and they stop often (sometimes for seemingly no reason) and it always takes double the time it says it will. Our first trip by mini bus was in the dark too which did nothing to help the nerves.. We spent two nights at Otres Beach and then headed over to Koh Ta Kiev, a beautiful, quiet island about an hours boat journey away. One of the best things about this place was there was no wi-fi which meant i was enforced to not check my emails for 4 days. I'm slightly ashamed to say I can't remember the time I haven't checked them for 24 hours so this was quite a shock for me, but it's definitely made me realise I need to do it more. After Otres we had to head back to Phnom Penh for a night, before getting a bus to Battembang - a quieter town a few hour south of Siem Reap. We were treated to a horrendous bus journey with an almighty hangover as we left here, and headed up to see the famous temples at Siem Reap.
From here I Flew back to Thailand to meet back up with Nick on Koh Samui where we enjoyed a week of nothingness which felt like true honeymoon time. I barely picked up my camera the whole week hence the lack of photos! We also met up with photographer Claudia Rose Carter - I feel unbelievably lucky that by coincidence she was looking for a couple to shoot while we were there. As it so happens, the day we were shooting was the worst weather we've seen all trip, torrential rain and not an ounce of sun.
The end of our trip was much more off the tourist route; we'd done the big cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai and the islands too so wanted to explore all the bits in the middle that can get missed. We started in Prachuap Khiri Khan staying at a homestay - it was one of our favourite places the whole trip. A quiet, authentic respite after the busy islands and our host was a lovely lady called Ying. We cycled around the beautiful coastal areas and samples some of the best food we've eaten the whole time. We then headed to Sam Roi Yot, an area which boasts a huge national park with some extremely treacherous caves (definitely below the English level of health and safety!) and some long hikes. We rented a little side car and explored for a few days, and the landscape was truly breathtaking. At the end of our trip our plans took a bit of a change as we went somewhere we weren't so keen on, so ended up staying in the suburbs of Bangkok for our last 5 days, squeezing the most out of our trip with some sun & pool time. The area we stayed in had some of the best street food we've had and we were spoilt for choice most dinner times...
It's been a whirlwind and such an experience. We've met so many wonderful thai people and other travellers, and experienced such truly incredible things. I also feel I'm well prepared to dole out honeymoon advice to any couples hoping to go there after their wedding!
I am now 100% rested, recharged and READY to start the year off with my photography, I have family and engagement shoots booked in up to May which is when I start shooting weddings, and I have some absolute beauties booked in this year! I'm also getting my branding redesigned by the lovely Claire at Pura Vida Creative and I can't wait to launch what she puts together on my website. I've also been working on a 10 part wedding planning guide, that draws on my experience from the wedding industry as well as my own experience planning and having a wedding last year. You can see Part 1 here .. with Part 2 coming next week.
Here's to 2017!