Daily Digital is a photo series showcasing some of our favourite moments, people, sights and places. As long as we have internet, we will be posting a daily photo of our travels explaining it’s significance to us, or to where we are travelling.

Daily Digital – Our Camera Is On Vacation

 

travel photography, travel blogs, travel writing

Alright, so our camera isn’t exactly on vacation, and neither are we, but our Daily Digital series will be on a slight hiatus for approximately 2 weeks. During that time we’ll still be trying to capture photos worthy of a bit of a spotlight, but we’ll be stationary on Koh Phangan, Thailand immersing ourselves in a Tropical Writers’ Workshop.

We are excited to learn new skills and acquire some tools to add to our arsenal but it means less time for capturing those Daily Digital photos and writing our blurbs about them. We may send out a few here and there, should we see something we just have to share, but for the most part our Daily Digitals won’t be so…daily.

 

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Daily Digital – Loy Krathong, Koh Samui

 

We’ve now posted a couple Daily Digitals mentioning Loy Krathong and explaining its significance in Thailand. We’ve explained how the full moon plays a central role in the full moon parties of Koh Phangan and the South, which occurs every full moon, as well as in the celebrations of Loy Krathong. We’ve also described a little bit about our experience participating in Loy Krathong and the difference between it and the festival of Yi Peng, celebrated in the North by releasing lanterns into the sky. While we’re sure we’ve given a decent description of the festival, we thought that it deserved a dedicated Daily Digital of its own.

We’ll be honest. We didn’t know when Loy Krathong was or that we’d be on Koh Samui, where there are large celebrations, for the festival. We heard about it from an owner of a restaurant we were dining at while talking to her about different things to do on the island. To our credit, we had heard about Loy Krathong before and the practice of launching krathongs, or decorated vessels, onto the water. Loy means to float and krathong is a word for the vessels that are launched onto the water. Loy Krathong then, is a festival that involves floating these decorated, candlelit vessels and is celebrated every first full moon of the twelfth lunar month. In addition to flowers, incense and candles, coins and strands of hair or nail clippings are also put onto the krathongs. This is seen as a way of releasing the bad luck and bringing good luck. The krathongs are released to the goddess of water, as an offering and as a request of forgiveness for any wrongdoings done to the water, such as pollution or overuse.

Since we were a little disappointed that we had missed Yi Peng in the North, we decided fairly quickly that we would make our way to Loy Krathong on the night of the full moon. On the way, we saw many tables selling krathongs and stopped to pick one up ourselves. We chose the area of Chaweng as the celebrations would be revolving around the river and we thought it would be a pretty great spot. The roads and sidewalks were packed and the area around the krathong release was set up as a sort of fair. There was a food tent with live music, fairground games, vendors and a nonstop stream of people entering the area carrying their krathongs.

We both added a few strands of hair to our krathong, lit the incense and candle and sent it onto the water into the mass of krathongs floating near the riverbed. It was an incredible visual display on the water and was only made more breathtaking when one looked up to the sky where lanterns were also being released. It was a great night and we were happy to have been able to participate in Loy Krathong and the festivities on Koh Samui.

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Daily Digital – Revisiting Yi Peng, The Lantern Festival

Yi Peng is the festival of lights celebrated in the North, in Chiang Mai, with the release of lanterns in the sky and is different from Loy Krathong, which just occurred in the South, in which floating vessels are released on the water.

Unfortunately, we left Chiang Mai less than a week before Yi Peng on our first trip to Thailand and therefore missed the amazing spectacle that is the festival of lights. Thousands of lit lanterns floating into the sky above would have been a truly incredible sight and it would have been interesting to participate in this ceremony that pays tribute to Buddha.

We did skip the full moon party and got a chance to participate in Loy Krathong, when we went to Koh Samui that same year, and released a Krathong (or water vessel) onto the water as an offering and request of forgiveness to the water goddess. While hundreds of Krathongs lit the waters we were lucky to witness many lanterns lit and released into the sky.  It made us feel like we were experiencing a taste of Yi Peng. The lights in the night sky with the lights on the peaceful water made for a breathtaking and stunning scene.

Once again, on this last trip to Thailand, we missed out on Yi Peng. While the photos and videos are absolutely incredible to watch, we are still waiting for our chance to participate and release a lantern of our own up into the flickering, light-filled night sky.

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Daily Digital – Full Moon Celebrations, Thailand

full moon thailand, full moon parties, koh phangan full moon party, loy krathong, full moon festival thailand, loi krathong,, significance of full moon thailand

 

If you’ve been to Thailand, you’ll have most certainly heard of the full moon parties that occur in the South, particularly on Koh Phangan. These parties occur every full moon and draw loads of tourists. Music, dancing, body paint and fire juggling spectacles, these parties continue all night and have people travelling quite the distance to experience. In recent years, there have been mixed reviews on these parties, their level of safety and how crazy they can get.

We didn’t end up going to the full moon party, although we were close by. Instead, we chose to stay on Koh Samui, a neighbouring island, and take part in the Full Moon Festival, a once a year occurrence on the first evening of the 12th lunar month. The festival is named Loy Krathong, Loy meaning floating and Krathong the name of small vessels sent onto the water. These krathongs are decorated with flowers, coins and candles, as well as nail clippings or hair from the person or family, and are sent onto the water after dark. This is seen as a way of getting rid of bad luck by providing an offering to the goddess of water in apology for all the wrongdoings, such as pollution, done against the oceans and rivers and in thanks for all they have provided.

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A Picnic On Koh Matsum

Koh Matsum, or Madsum as it is sometimes spelled, is one of several smaller islands located a short distance South of Koh Samui, Thailand. In addition to Koh Matsum, the other islands include Koh Tan, known for snorkeling, and 5 smaller islands, Koh Si Koh Ha (translated to four islands, five islands). While all of these islands are partially inhabited or uninhabited all together, Koh Matsum and Koh Tan are particularly well-known to tourists.

It is on Koh Matsum that we had our picnic, through Island Gem Picnic Tour, on this beautiful, secluded beach. After some amazing snorkeling off of Koh Tan, we settled down and relaxed, enjoying the shade of the Banyan tree overhead, the calm water, and the beautiful scenery.

Since it was a private tour for just the two of us, and we were away from the main beach typically used for picnics and tourists, we were able to take the time to fully enjoy the peace and beauty of our surroundings.

We had one amazing day spent snorkeling and enjoying this private island picnic  that became an anniversary do-over!

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Daily Digital – Long Tail Boats of Thailand

Long tail boats of Thailand, or Ruea Hang Yao in Thai, are very popular traditional wooden boats, particularly found in the south. They were developed as a simple, low cost method of transportation and for fishing and tourism. These wooden boats use automobile engines, diesel or gasoline, mounted on the back of the boat on a rotating base. The engine is attached to a long pole (the long tail) with a propeller at the end which the engine drives. This pole is used to steer and power the craft and can be tricky to maneuver.

Long tail boats  are incorporated into many tourist activities, including use as taxis, and are a common sight around the Southern islands. We recently took the Island Gem Picnic Tour in Koh Samui and were transported to our snorkeling site and our picnic site by a long tail boat powered by an Isuzu motor.

Sacred Area of The Long Tail Boats of Thailand

While the motors may be from different makes and models of vehicles, the one common part of all long tail boats, and in fact almost all boats in Thailand, is the decorations on the bow of the boats. This area has usually been blessed by a Buddhist monk and will be covered in ribbon or scarves and hanging garlands of flowers as an offering to Mae Yanang, the goddess of safe journey, for good luck and protection. This area is considered sacred and tourists are expected to respect the area as such. Long tail boat rides can get a bit rocky when the water is choppy but it’s one of those typical Thai experiences we had to cross off our list.

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Daily Digital – Teppanyaki and Kimonos

 

We are self-proclaimed Japanese food connoisseurs who have had extensive dining time at Japanese and sushi restaurants, especially during our 2 years together. When we decided to make our lifestyle change and quit our jobs, we stopped spending as much on dining out and started saving for our travels ahead. That meant sushi, and all food Japanese, was out and we’ve not had any for at least 3 months. To us, that’s equivalent to a lifetime. So when we found out about an amazing Japanese restaurant on Koh Samui, Thailand, with a skilled Japanese chef and authentic food, we knew we had to try it.

We wrote more about our dining experience at Kobori and the food we ate, while drooling slightly over our keyboards, but needless to say it was delicious and above all expectations. What made it an even more memorable time was our host/chef and restaurant namesake, Kobori. He was attentive, entertaining and lots of fun. The three of us got a chance to don traditional Japanese clothing (as well as some non-traditional pieces – see Macrae’s “wig”) and take a few photos and we had a blast during this post-dinner dress-up party.

Headed to Koh Samui? Don’t forget to check out Kobori Restaurant if you’re looking to satisfy that sushi craving!

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Daily Digital – Rama VIII Bridge, Bangkok

 

The Rama VIII Bridge crosses the Chao Phraya River and is one of the most famous bridges in Bangkok. This cable stayed bridge was built in the late 90s and commemorates King Ananda, or Rama VIII. It is only one of the many structures that captures the eye when travelling through Bangkok

We noticed throughout our stay that there were a plethora of buildings and structures in Bangkok that proved interesting in construction, origin, design or current state. Whether it was a multi-level mall, a run-down decrepit building amongst several new constructions, or a large 50 storey hotel, there was always something of interest to see in the city.

Although we weren’t sure what to expect on our first visit to Bangkok as we had heard conflicting opinions, we found ourselves falling in love with the city as we explored the diverse and lively neighbourhoods of Bangkok, walked the streets of food stalls and tuk tuks and took in its culture and contrasts.

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Daily Digital – Underwater Nudi

Diving in Koh Tao, we finished our scuba diving certification at the diving site Twins. With so much to see, it’s hard as new divers to catch the more subtle and hidden creatures. Luckily, our diving instructor was quick to point out what he saw and made a point of looking for interesting finds. This creature in particular, the Jorunna Funebris, probably would have gone unnoticed had he not pointed it out.

The Jorunna Funebris, or dotted nudibranch, is sometimes considered a shell-less sea slug.  Just one type of nudibranch (nudi being Latin for nude), they are so called because they have gills that are exposed externally. There are 3000 species of the nudibranch and there are divers who dedicate their dives just to locating these mollusks. Although we only saw the one during our dive, nudibranches are apparently found in abundance in the waters around Koh Tao.

There were so many incredible things to see at the dive sites we went to and we’ve got footage galore! We’ve posted about our scuba diving certification , a video of one of our dives and our tips for those learning to scuba dive but we’ve also got a lot more great photos on what you can expect to see under the water in Koh Tao.

We can’t wait to find our next dive location – there’s a whole other world just waiting for us to discover!

This image was taken by Fat Fish Movies, an amazing underwater photography and videography company. Our cameraman Charlie, was fantastic and provided us with great footage of our dive!

Do you dive? If so what hidden creatures have you managed to find? If you don’t, what hidden creatures on land have you found when you’ve least expected?

 

 

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Daily Digital – Waterspout off Koh Tao, Thailand

During monsoon season, Koh Tao has varied showers during the day. While the rain can come down hard and without warning, it usually lasts no more than an hour. We were pretty fortunate during our time on the island as we had beautiful weather, calm waters and very little rain during the day. It was on one of those calm, sunny days that we were sitting at a beach side restaurant with our scuba instructor and some of our dive team (as we were learning to scuba dive in Koh Tao and had just come from an amazing dive off the island).

Taking in the heat of the sun and enjoying a refreshing drink, it took us a while to notice that many people were pointing their cameras in the direction of the water. Our instructor pointed and told us to look towards the water where a waterspout was forming in the distance. The waterspout started off pretty narrow and fuzzy but quickly changed into a denser, larger funnel and finally a thin, dense, defined waterspout. We watched this for a while making note of the boats on the water around the waterspout and the nearby storm rolling in.

If you’ve yet to see one, waterspouts look like funnel shaped clouds and are column-like vortexes over water. They do not suck up water but instead are weak, rotating columns of air over surface of the water. Typical to tropical and sub-tropical climates, they are usually non-tornadic and short-lived but can still pose a danger to swimmers, aircrafts and watercrafts. The one we saw from Koh Tao lasted only about 15-20 minutes but we were told by divers nearby that there were actually at least 3 that formed at the same time and moved around the area. It was a really neat sight but we were both glad we had finished our dives early

Comment below and tell us what crazy weather systems have you witnessed unexpectedly!