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Bare it all ?

22 Oct

Hey guys, I’m back… from Iceland! What’s the first thing you’d think of when I say ‘Iceland’? Northern lights I bet, and the Blue Lagoon is probably a close second. When I did a bit of googling prior to the trip (not much cos my amazinggggg friend pretty much planned the whole thing, I just showed up with my luggage), I came across a blog with a section on Blue Lagoon. It said that everyone had to shower naked in an open shower area, in the respective male/female bathrooms of course, before you put on your swim wear to enter the Blue Lagoon. There were many comments expressing dismay at this arrangement and wondering why there couldn’t be stalls/curtains set up to protect the individual’s modesty. I can’t remember when that blog was written, but stalls have actually been set up at the Blue Lagoon bathrooms during my visit last week – likely to cater to tourists – so for anyone who’s uncomfortable with the previous arrangement, you can breathe easy if you’re planning a trip there soon. I’ll talk more about my experience there later, but most people I’ve chatted with on this topic were also uncomfortable with the thought of baring it all in front of others. Personally it’s not an issue for me as I’ve been conditioned by my multiple trips to onsens (hot springs) in Japan where you don’t just shower naked in a public bath area, but you’re supposed to remain unclothed in the (gender separated) onsen itself. All those travel hosts on TV you see wrapped in a towel? That’s just so the programme can be broadcasted. I had my awkward moments on my first onesen experience but with more onsen trips, I literally became more comfortable in and with my own skin. I can’t speak for the male population, but as woman I have so many insecurities about my body: better complexion, tauter skin, longer legs, flatter tummy, smaller waist … the list can go on forever. In the onsen there’s nowhere to hide all these imperfections and… it’s ok. The Japanese are so natural and blase about it that it didn’t take too long for me to get used to it. No one’s gawking or judging, just there to have a relaxing time. Onsen trips don’t magically make my insecurities go away, but I learnt to not be scared of facing our own bodies. What’s your take on this?

Myvatn Nature Bath

myvatn

We drove round Iceland and first checked out Myvatn Nature Bath in the northern region. We went around late afternoon and you can see from the picture it’s not crowded. It has 2 changing rooms, with the first one connected to the main building you enter in and the second one outside. We decided to head to the second one as there were quite a few people using the benches of the first and it proved to be a good decision because there was only one other lady using the second changing room. It’s fairly spacious with racks for shoes, lockers for your belonging, couple of toilet cubicles and a main shower area. The shower area is an open square section with rows of shower heads and a poster at the side circling the areas you’re supposed to clean before entering the bath. Shower foam dispensers are attached to the walls as well so you don’t have to bring your own. So yes, for Myvatn there’s no hiding. Though if you had the whole place to yourself and your friends (the lady left very soon) like I did, technically you can get away with not stripping but I think it’s only fair to respect the rules of the place you’re visiting. Please clean yourself thoroughly!

Myvatn has two big pools, one warmer and one cooler, and a large bathtub size section (at the side outside of this pic) with water temperate at 41 deg C. The water temperate is not very constant in the warmer pool, I can feel hotter or colder currents at different parts of the pool, so somehow I ended up feeling cold sometimes? We ran over to the cooler pool to snap some pictures and expected to freeze, but once my body got used to the water temperature I felt better actually since the water temperature is more constant. Btw it’s not cold water, just not as warm as the other pool. The view there was absolutely lovely and I love my time at Myvatn. A very relaxing and peaceful time!

Prices & hours for Myvatn

Blue Lagoon

No pics but I’m sure you can refer to Google. :p Due to the large number of visitors, you must pre-book your tickets to Blue Lagoon on their website. When I was there I did see a separate queue line for people to inquire about ticket availability that day but I also saw a couple in front of me being turned away as they did not pre-book tickets.  There are ongoing renovations to expand the place with a luxury hotel so I could see cranes in the background but no construction noise actually interrupted the experience. The facilities look really new, I guess they were recently upgraded as well. The shower section has cubicles with doors (without locks) and each locker section also one changing room (with locks). There are also vanity tables with hairdryers outside the locker sections so facilities definitely on point. There were a lot of people, in the changing room, in the lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is fairly big and since the number of people coming in are controlled by the booking system, it never gets to the point where you need to compete with people for space in the lagoon, but you know this is a tourist spot for sure. But well, I’m part of the tourist group eh? The water temperate is fairly even, if I remember correctly the water is at 38 deg C, but it got too warm for me after a while I had to periodically stand up at the shallow parts to put my torso above water to cool down. We left around 8pm and even then many people were still coming in, quite a few in suits! As the Blue Lagoon is located near the airport, it’s probably an ideal spot for those who only have a short time in Iceland to pop by and enjoy.

Ok, that’s all from me today! I’m not planning to turn this into a travel blog, but if you have any questions about my travels or have travel stories to share, feel free to leave a comment!

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back from Land of Smiles

5 Oct

Back from Krabi! It rained 2 out of the 3 full days I was there and while I was disappointed on the first day, I did enjoy myself in the end and I miss Krabi terribly now. D:

I stayed at Phu Pi Maan Resort & Spa and I highly recommend this resort to anyone who’s planing a trip to Krabi. It’s located slightly off the main road at Ao Nang beach but it’s still within walking distance and even if walking is not your thing (like yours truly), the resort provides free shuttle service to and from Ao Nang beach area till 10pm. I love the tranquility of the surroundings and the comfortable and spacious suite but most of all, it was the impeccable service provided by the resort staff that made my stay there so pleasant. My friends and I made use of the shuttle service quite a bit (yes, we are a lazy bunch) and I really enjoyed interacting with the drivers during the short ride because they made me feel that it’s genuinely their pleasure to drive us and they aren’t ‘just doing a job’. There was once when we called for the shuttle service from Ao Nang at around 9ish and it still hadn’t come by 9.30 so after we got the restaurant staff to help us call again, we stood by the roadside to make sure the driver wouldn’t miss us. Suddenly a guy on a bike drove over and asked if we were going back to Phu Pi Maan. For a moment I thought he was driver soliciting for business (there are many tuk tuks and taxis for hire around) before I realised he was one of the resort drivers! He had already knocked off and was on his way home when he saw us and he actually took the trouble to stop and call the resort for us again. It’s always the human touch that makes the difference. =) The only minus thing I can say about the place is the limited selection at their breakfast buffet but I don’t know if there will be more variety during peak season. Anyway they have enough to fill my tummy so no biggie for me.

As the weather was unpredictable, we didn’t book any island tours in advance and only dropped by Railay Beach on the only sunny day we got. We had a nice time relaxing by the beach and the sun always came back quickly even though there were interim showers. The return trip to Ao Nang by the longtail boat was a killer though. The sea had gotten rougher due to the winds and as we were sitting at the front of the boat, we were getting splashed by sea water every other minute and were thoroughly soaked by the time we made it back to Ao Nang. There were no life vests provided and we were all holding on for dear life during that very long 15 minutes where the longtail boat was practically flying on the sea bt I live to tell the tale so it probably wasn’t as bad as it felt. heeh.

The rest of our time were spent on eating, massages, playing cards and sipping coffee. I didn’t do as much as I had hoped but I’m still thankful I got the chance to have a holiday in Krabi! ok, that’s all for real life events … I need to catch up on ‘Roy Mai’ and perhaps get started on tw dramas ‘Ring Ring Bell’ and ‘Office Girls’. Also hoping to review ‘Tard Rak’ and ‘Mae Kha Khanom Wan’ by this week!