Mae Yen Waterfall in Pai is definitely for the more adventurous waterfall seekers. Hence the reason it deserves its own section! Its located on both Google Maps and Maps.me so finding the start point is easy. Like with every adventure, it’s worth every minute and makes truly everlasting travel memories!
Now let me start by telling you we were not expecting to be trekking a total of 14km, crossing the river 72 times and hiking up some pretty big hills. Obviously, we met almost no other people on route and we were both shattered at the end because we’d already had a pretty busy morning!
We got to the start of the hike around 12:30pm and the first thing we saw was the sign saying 7km (with ‘good luck’ written next to it!). We were both shocked because we’d spoken to guy at our hostel the previous evening who said he’d got there and back within two hours! Me and Katie put a pretty solid place in but I can assure you, that unless this guy was some sort of marathon fell runner there is no way he completed it in two hours. Try 4 hours or possibly longer.
As always, we laughed, rolled our eyes and got cracking. I’ve mentioned earlier that there are 72 river crossings, we counted these on the way back because we thought it was insane! (We also had a bet how many crossing there were one way and Katie won! I massively underestimated!) This is no joke. The first one is within 5m of beginning the trek. Rest assured we tried to manoeuvre our way across over rocks by jumping, skipping, leaping and even attempting to cross with our shoes off. Inevitably, we both fell in, got soaked and decided it was impossible to try to do it without getting wet shoes! This also probably saved us a good hour of time overall! (So be prepared to get wet shoes!)
The trek itself was amazing. We saw loads of amazing plants, bugs, fish and a couple of monkeys! As always, we didn’t see a single tiger, monster, dinosaur or man eating spider that westerns seem to think jungles are full of. Its pretty well signposted, although some parts that go through the stream are easy loose the path but generally not to hard to find again. At worst technology will save you! Maps.me has the trek pretty much planned out for you. However, it is usually more fun to panic and try to find the path yourself again.
After what seemed like hours we came to the bottom of a mahooosive hill. There was another couple at the bottom who said they’d attempted to go up, but given up and come back down! All I can say is they really missed out! There is a sign here that makes out as though its going to take an hour to climb the entire hill! It does not! The hill is pretty step but actually doesn’t take too long. It took us about 20 minutes after which there are no more steep inclines!
From the top of the hill, its a further 20 minutes to the waterfall, walking through some of the most incredible and dense bamboo we’d seen so far on our travels!
When we arrived at Mae Yen Waterfall we were blown away, especially because we were the only people there. Okay, its not one of the those crystal clear blue lagoon waterfalls, but its still amazing! (Plus, those waterfalls are usually full to the brim with tourists)
We stripped off, climbed in and then of course, climbed up! Its not too hard to climb up the side of the waterfall to around 10 metres. We didn’t go any higher because the rocks got really slippery and it becomes pretty unsafe - we wouldn’t recommend this. After that we took some cool/cheesy pics and made our way back! Another amazing day in Pai and definitely one to do if you want to get “Off the Beaten Track” as the kids say.
Overall the day turned out to be an unexpected adventure and we loved every moment of it! For more things to do in Pai check out our guide to the top 10 things to do (Link Below)
Throughout the past 6 months, we’ve climbed mountains, motorbiked through an entire country, braved thunderstorms like no other, whilst all the time being surrounded by the sea and you know what we just hadn’t seen yet? A single bloomin’ fish! We couldn’t wait to get diving qualification so we could finally venture into the deep blue seas that constantly surround us throughout our travels.
Koh Tao, Thailand is world renown for being the one of the best places in the world to get your diving qualification - mainly because of the price of the courses (cheap, cheap!) and also due to the beauty of its’ waters/dive sites, just off the south coast of Thailand. Fun fact - a third of the worlds divers today, actually received their first diving qualification in Koh Tao!
We chose Carabao Diving School in Koh Tao as it was the cheapest school we found, with some of the best reviews and accommodation! We paid 8600 Baht (£195) each for our SSI open water diving qualification and 3 nights accommodation. The accommodation was amazing, there was a huge pool next to a big apartment complex. There was a bar opposite the pool that played the best music and served alcohol until around 11pm. The restaurant on site had an awesome menu, however we spent the few days ordering cheap and tasty chicken salads and Pad Thais from ‘the sandwich lady’ stall, next door to 7-11, just up the road from Carabao divers.
Now, you might be wondering why we chose an SSI qualification instead of a PADI qualification, which seems to be the most popular. Well, not only does Carabao only offer SSI qualifications, but we learnt during our time here that they are literally both the same! They both follow exactly the same regulations and are recognised qualifications all over the world. Therefore, SSI or PADI makes no difference.
But we'll let you into a little secret! SSI is cheaper and if you're travelling, much more convenient because all the information you need to read is found on an app, instead of a big book you have to then carry around!
We arrived on our first day here at around 3:30, after an incredibly choppy boat ride from Ko Phangan. As the course starts at 4:30 on the first day, we chose to start our course pretty much as soon as we checked in that day.
The first day of the course includes introduction to diving videos and individual reading using the SSI app. As it was just the two of us on the course, our diving instructor (Froggy) said that we could do this in our room instead of the classroom. The videos were, well... a bit boring to watch but it has to be done and it’s really interesting if you actually listen to it! There’s some really good information in the videos too that will help you with the theory on day 2, so don’t nod off until the very end! The next job was to go through the first 3 chapters that had been assigned to us on the mobile app containing all the theory for our SSI open water course. We read through all three chapters before we went to bed that night, thinking it was going to be a doddle and wouldn’t take much time. FYI - they do! We were up till fine 12 o’clock having gone to bed at 10! Each section takes at least half an hour to properly read through and if done properly (not skipped like I tried to do in the first chapter), you’ll pass the quiz at the end of each section no problem.
On day 2, we spent the morning in the classroom discussing the theory side of diving (talking about why we would be doing the things we would be doing in the sea - ya get me?!). It was really simple when it was all explained, Froggy was brilliant teacher and made us laugh the entire time he taught us. At the end of this session, we got our kit ready and went through all the safety checks that we would have to make, on a real canister and buoyancy aid.
After lunch, the second half of the day was spent in the pool. We got geared up, did our safety checks and did the whole lesson underwater. In the pool, we practiced skills such as buoyancy, ascending and descending and other safety measures such as retrieving your breathing device, emptying water from your mask and sharing air. We practiced all of the hand signals and even practiced how to get rid of your diving buddies cramp whilst under! The session was awesome and we both felt so confident afterwards. We couldn’t wait to get down and dirty with the fishies the next day!
That night, another 3 chapters were released onto our SSI app, which were to be completed by the morning as we would be taking the big exam then. So, you guessed it, we spent the night reading and revising after a good old Pad Thai.
On day 3, we had another morning of theory before we took the big test. Word of advice - the big test is comprised of the questions from the quizzes at the end of the chapters on the SSI app. Therefore, if you get these right and revise them, you’ll pass the exam! We got 96% and 98% (very chuffed that I’m the latter after Jac and I had a bet about one of the answers on the quiz which we both differed opinion on!)
In the afternoon, we hit the big blue! We got all of our kit ready and got onto a long tail boat with around 15 other divers. The boat dropped us off to the bigger Carabao Diving boat that was out at sea. We were assigned a canister, got all our equipment ready, had a coffee and some pineapple and hit the ocean.
It was a little nerve wracking trying to remember all of the stuff you had been taught previously, but after a few puffs in and out underwater it all comes flooding back! (mind the pun)
Diving under the sea was literally unbelievable, as you can already imagine. Jac and I instantly fell in love with scuba diving from our first dive! We dive down to 10 metres on both of our first two dives, which doesn’t seem like much but there is so much to explore just 10 metres deep! The coral reef is beautiful, a little brown and broken in some parts unfortunately, but stunning in most of the rest. The colours and marine plants are amazing. We swam down at one point and waved our hands above these multicoloured plants that looked like pipe cleaners, they all shot back into a rock when you waved your hand above them, it was so cool to see!
We saw so many cool fish! We saw big ones, small ones, spiky ones, fat one, goggly-eyed ones, rainbow colour ones, buck-tooth ones... he did actually tell us the name of all of these ‘ones’ afterwards but obviously we can’t remember. We’ll leave that to good old David Attenborough to tell you in his ever-so-soothing voice.
We practice our 3 skills underwater which went... swimmingly! (cracking myself up with these now) and then came up to surface for 10 minutes before jumping back in for our second dive of the day.
On day 3, we completed 2 more dives, including a 18m dive which was awesome! Mostly because saw a motorbike that had been thrown into the sea on this dive, just sitting on the ocean floor. Either that or someone’s definitely parked it in a silly spot before a night out and forgot where they left it! You can bet they didn’t feel so fin-tastic in the morning! (thank you thank you, I’m here all night folks)
After 2 awesome dives, we surfaced and had completed our open water diving qualification. It was such an incredible experience at Carabao Diving Centre and we would recommend this centre to anyone if they are looking to do the same qualification! If you have any questions, please leave a comment in the second below we would love to hear from you. You never know, we could meet in the middle of the ocean diving in the same part of the world one day!
It’s always been a dream of Jacs’ to go to a Muay Thai camp in Thailand, as he used to fight semi-pro Muay Thai back in the UK when he was a bit younger. Obviously any sort of physical activity is my idea of heaven too, so we booked on to live and train at Santai Muay Thai Gym in San Kamphaeng, 40 minutes out of the centre of Chiang Mai.
We booked a package that combined 2 weeks of training (2 sessions a day) and accommodation (Double room with AC) on-site, which cost 15,000 Baht for 2 weeks altogether (£347). Seeing as our budget is £910 for 2 weeks, we couldn’t believe how much money would be saving excluding food and living costs.
When we arrived at Muay Thai Camp, we were told we had to rent/buy some kit. If you are only going there for a week or so and are into boxing back at home, it is well worth buying some gloves here and taking them back with you. SantI sell Fairtex boxing gloves for 1200THB (£30), which is a great price as these gloves will cost you about £70-80 in the UK. We rented gloves for the 2 weeks as we have no room for a pair of boxing gloves in our backpacks surprisingly!
Glove rental cost 800THB each (£20) and then we had to buy some wraps for 200THB (£5) and shorts for 300 THB (£7.50 - these are optional, but who goes to a Muay Thai Camp and doesn’t buy a pair of traditional Muay Thai Shorts, ey?!). Therefore, all in all, our accommodation, training and kit rental/cost to buy came to 17,600THB (£440), which is pretty amazing if you are on a budget - £31 per day for two people for two weeks, excluding the cost of food. It’s almost worth doing this camp purely to save a bit of money! But that wasn’t the reason we were doing it of course, can you guess why we were doing it?
a) really challenge ourselves - training twice a day for 2 weeks, core this was going to be a killer!
b) to learn how to fight Muay Thai by professional Muay Thai fighters in the country that the sport was created
c) to stop eating rubbish/drinking alcohol for two weeks straight so that we could go back to being shredded!
d) all of the above is the answer
The owner of the gym showed us to our apartment for the next 2 weeks. It was literally amazing! We stayed at Penprapa Place which was a 2 minute walk from the gym. It had a really nice sit-down area outside and the rooms were so spacious. We had a huge double bed, a flat-screen tv (that only had Thai channels so you can imagine how much tv we watched those 2 weeks), a table and chairs, a huge wardrobe, an ensuite bathroom and a balcony. There was a washing machine and places to hang your washing downstairs, which was great for us as it was really cheap and meant we could do our washing practically every day (because you can imagine how we stunk at the end of every sweaty training session!) It was a really nice place to stay and we loved it during our time there.
The gym was brilliant. There was a huge space filled with all different kinds of bags for bag work, 3 boxing rings for pads with the trainers/clinching/sparring, a small gym/weights area and loads of tyres outside for tyre flips/jumping/agility work. There was also a 3 mile loop that went around the area of the gym for running in the morning.
There were two training sessions a day: Monday - Saturday. The morning session was 6:00-8:00 and the evening session was 16:00-19:30. Truth be told, we got there on a Friday and skipped our first 2 morning sessions due to not being able to physically remove ourselves from our new comfy bed to train at that time in the morning! We went to the evening sessions for the first 2 days, had our rest day on the Sunday and then smashed the rest of our time there, attending the morning and evening sessions every day.
The training sessions were great, especially if you are like us and push yourself by your own motivation and will. On the website, the training sessions are laid out as follows:
• Warm up Run (4km / 20 min.)
• Skipping (10 min.)
• Stretching (10 min.)
• Shadow Boxing (10 min.)
• Bag Work (5 rounds / 25 min.)
• Push-Ups, Sit-Ups, Burpee’s (20 min.)
• Pull-Ups (3 sets)
• Warm Up Run (4km / 20 min.)
• Stretching (10 min.)
• Shadow Boxing (10 min.)
• Bag Work (5 rounds / 25 min.)
• Pad Work (5 rounds / 25 min.)
• Clinching (Everyday at 6PM) / Technical Sparring (2 – 3 times per week)
• Knees On Bag (100 knees / 10 min.)
• Repetitive Kicks on Bag (100 kicks / 10 min.)
• Individual Technical Drills (20 min.)
• Walking Knees / Kicks / Push-kicks / Punches
• Defense / Offense Training
• Sprints (15 min.) * 2-3 times per week only
• Weights (15 min.)
• Push-Ups, Sit-Ups, Burpee’s (100 each / 15 min.) *Competitive- prize for first finisher
• Pull-Ups (2 sets)
We saw a lot of the sponsored Muay Thai fighters in the gym practicing parts this routine, however we never saw any competition taking place as stated above (which we would have loved to take part in) or any ritualised training really. It was all a bit random and done under your own We’d like to say this was our complete training schedule too, however our actual training was a bit more relaxed and didn’t really feature much of this structure.
Our sessions pretty much featured the following:
Our favourite part of every session was the 5x5 minute rounds on the pads with the instructors. They were so good at pushing you and we felt physically exhausted (but even more motivated) after every round! As Jac and I love training and pushing ourselves, the relaxed structure of the session was no bother to us as we made ourselves train our hardest and improved our techniques massively by the end of the two weeks, with the help of the trainers who corrected your technique (at every whim!)
The trainers are awesome and are really approachable when you need help with something. There’s a mixed team here too of 3-4 sponsored western fighters combined with 5-6 sponsored Thai fighters. The other people that trained there consisted of many different nationalities and were all there from differing amounts of time. A lot of them were training at Santai on 3-6 month retreats, simply wanting to spend 3 months learning from the best, whilst implementing the ultimate health kick for themselves away from home. Everyone was really nice and we enjoyed spending the 2 weeks training with them all.
Whilst living and training at Santai for 2 weeks, we got very creative with food in our little apartment (ew no, not in the way you’re thinking!) We have eaten our at restaurants for the past 6 months and loved the idea of cooking for ourselves for a couple of weeks. We had only a kettle so we cooked everything we ate using only this appliance! Our diet looked a little something like this:
Post training - 8:00am - overnight protein porridge (1 scoop protein, milk and porridge oats) and 1 tiny banana
Lunch 11:30/12:00pm - 1 tin of tuna, lite mayo (bought from the big C, 7/11 or Tesco down the road) and a tonne of salad (bought from the morning market down the road)
Some serious lunch prep going on! Jac used to spend ages in the morning market. He assured me he was just haggling and getting the freshest vegetables. However, it seemed that when I ventured with him once, I got a lot of dirty old looks from all the old Thai ladies that he'd obviously been flirting with!
Pre-training/3pm - a portion of jasmine rice
Post training - 1 tiny banana and home made chicken noodle soup. To make this we bought loads of vegetables from the morning market, chopped them up and boiled/reboiled them about 4/5 thought the day. We used our jasmine rice plastic containers to do this and our kettle. We bought 2 5ltr bottles of water and cut the tops off of them when they were empty to make two big bowls. We bought some noodles/flavouring from the shop and some cooked chicken breasts from 7-11. And there you have it, chicken noodle soup with a tonne of veggies - voila!
Desert: 70 calorie lychee jellies from 7-11
We both pretty much ate this exact diet for 2 weeks (with training combined) and managed to shed the few lbs that we’d put on during our 6 months travelling so far. We loved cooking for ourselves again, so the novelty of it all was fun for us alone!
During our 2 weeks training, we ventured out to the San Kamphaeng Saturday night market twice during our stay! It’s down the road from there Muay Thai camp and is one of the best markets we’ve ever been too! There was so much food on offer and you can be sure that we had a little pig out here! (This is a major understatement - we actually went mental and ate about a million different things!)
On Sundays, our rest days, we ventured out to explore San Kamphaeng. On the first Sunday, we went to a Waterpark, which was awesome and had some wicked rides! We went on the big waterslide that shoots you into a big bowl and then drops you out of a little hole into the water with 2 Thai men that joined us in a dingy, and laughed our heads off as one of the Thai men had the highest pitched scream we’d ever heard!
The next Sunday, we rented a motorbike from the apartment owner and visited the hot springs and the cave that are located in San Kamphaeng. The hot springs were awesome! The springs are so hot that you can boil eggs inside them. We boiled some eggs in them for our lunch, which was a bit of a disaster as we read for a runny egg, you need to leave it in for 5 minutes. So we did... and then had to re-dip the eggs about 5 times for the next 20 minutes as they kept coming out raw! When we finally got a cooked egg, it was hard boiled! It’s a really nice place at the hot springs, we chilled here for a while and read our books after going in the unbelievably sweaty mineral baths that nearly made us both pass out!
The cave was really good too. There was a bit of the cave inside where you could rub your hand in mud and leave your handprint on the wall! (Either that or we’d joined in a dirty protest!)
However, we didn’t realise actually getting to the cave and the temple at the top of the mountain was going to be such hard graft, we ended up walking up about 1000 stairs! Our poor legs, so much for their rest day!
We absolutely loved our two weeks training at Santai Muay Thai. For the price, the experience and the accommodation, we would definitely recommend booking to stay with these guys! One of the things I loved is that there was no judgement for myself being a complete beginner. From the very first session, you’re thrown in at the deep end, doing exactly the same as everyone else. In this way, it’s easy to quickly immerse with the group and pick up on other peoples skills and routines. Not for one second did I feel like a newbie and really quickly felt at home in the gym. Jac loved that they recognised his skills straight away and put him into a more advanced group with harder (more brutal) trainers, he learnt so much during the two weeks and definitely improved his stamina!
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment in the section below. We would love to hear from you!
All gone rogue x
So, we were sitting chatting with this Canadian guy telling him about what we'd done so far. He'd been travelling for 8 months already and we got swapping adventure stories. He started telling us about an Airplane Graveyard... 100% going to see this for ourselves. He told us the address and we made a plan to go there the next day.
We got an uber there which cost 250Baht (Although, the price was 220Baht) and took around 35 minutes from Khaosan Road. SCAM ALERT: The taxi driver didn't have 30Baht change for us when we gave him 250Baht upon getting there, which we found was strange as this had happened to us twice in a row now with uber drivers. We ended up telling him to keep the change as we had no other way of really doing it without hassle. But something to bear in mind - if you are on a really tight budget, make sure to have the correct change or some smaller currency notes before getting an uber or a taxi.
As soon as you arrive you see the sheer size of the planes that are in the yard. A ginormous Boeing 747 towers over a smaller plane beside it, with numerous other parts of planes lying behind them. Like school children excited to be on a school trip, we approached the fence. There were 3 children playing jump rope with a lady that seemed to be looking after them. We shouted "Excuse me" in Thai over the fence and one of the children came over. The girl said "200Baht each" in order to gain entry. We were secretly so buzzing with this as we had read on a blog post beforehand that you should expect to pay around 600-1000Baht each. We gave her 500Baht for the two of us, told her to keep the change and one of the children opened the gate. Word on the street is that the entry fee can change at any given time. Some people have said they were charged 600-1000Baht to get in, so it's just best to be prepared for this too.
We were the only people there and she gave us as much time as we liked to explore the yard - it was incredible! The Boeing 747 was the first plane to be explored. With its 3 levels, filled with wreckage of broken doors and pieces of compartments, all heaped into a huge pile in the middle of each floor. There was an abundance of oxygen masks scattered across the floors, which made the sight even more chilling.
It was literally like a human playground, with ladders to climb and doors to jump out of, we had a blast! You can't really put it into words how cool it all is until you see it for yourself. One thing that we found amazing is the fact it is run by the locals. There are two metal plane compartments just on the left as you enter the yard that have been turned into homes for them to live in. The children play in the yard everyday and the money goes towards their cost of living. Therefore, we thought it was such a breath of fresh air that the money isn't going towards a big company or corporation!
To make the adventure even more exciting - it was the first time we were able to fly the drone! Drones are banned in Thailand but on the basis this was private land, we thought it was too good an opportunity to miss (Please note that this is a bit reckless and although the people there didn't give two hoots, if spotted by the authorities you could be fined or face up to a year in prison. Therefore, fly with caution.) The drone footage of the site is unbelievable, it's safe to say both of our jaws dropped when we saw the scale of the site from a birds eye view. All of the footage is in our YouTube Video: Adventures in Bangkok - Airplane Graveyard (Please see below).
Afterwards, we went for lunch at the restaurant complex next door. It's so cheap in the little restaurant stands along the right hand side and the food is amazing! There is a little supermarket too, so great opportunity to get any bits you may need. We recommend the fruit smoothies at the back just in front of the toilets too. We got a mixed fruit shake each for only 30Baht each (75p)!
Overall - It was such an incredible day. We definitely recommend it!
Below is the address;
13.764812 100.652406, Khwaeng Hua Mak, Khet Bang Kapi, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10240, Thailand
Adventure rating - 7/10
Fitness Level - 2/10
Fear rating - 2/10 (unless you fall out!)
Cost per two people - Taxi 220Baht (£5), Entry - 500Baht for two(£11), 2 Chicken Noodle Soups - 45Baht each (£1.10p each) and 2 Smoothies - 60Baht (75p each).
For the price of how we got home... Please see our Getting Lost in Bangkok blog post because yes, you guessed it folks. We got well and truly lost in Bangkok!