Our insider this week is a video creator for Lonely Planet and has been named as one of USA Today’s Top 10 Independent Travel Videographers, so she knows a thing or two about documenting her travels. Kristen Sarah produces fun adventure travel videos on her Youtube Channel and shares them on her blog, Hopscoththeglobe, as well as writing travel tips and inspiring stories, with a focus on solo travel.
We catch up with Kristen to talk about one of her favourite destinations, Thailand – the food, the best ways to get around and how to balance capturing holiday snaps and videos with enjoying the moment.
With so many incredible destinations to choose from, what do you think makes Thailand special?
It’s got everything that you’d want in a destination: beautiful beaches, incredible weather, delicious food, interesting culture, friendly locals, lush jungles, wildlife, endless underwater and land adventures, great parties, amazing spas and beautiful accommodation.
It’s a destination that’s perfect for any types of traveller, whether you’re riding solo or with a family, and is very budget friendly.
What was your favourite moment in Thailand?
Riding motorbikes around Koh Phangan island. You feel so free and it’s a great way to explore.
Did anything about Thailand really surprise you?
Usually I try to avoid super touristy places because I want a more authentic experience, surrounded by locals. Even though Thailand can be touristy, I still crave going back all of the time and love it so much there.
I’ve been five times already and plan on going back again in the next year. It’s just one of the few places where I feel most comfortable and know I could live there.
In terms of food, visitors sometimes find themselves eating at all the obvious places or even chain restaurants. What advice would you give our readers who want to be a little more adventurous?
Eat at the markets or from street stands. That’s where you’re going to get the best and cheapest meals!
Is Thailand an easy place for a gluten-free vegan to navigate? We know how hard that can be sometimes, even at home!
As someone who is gluten free and eats vegan often, Thailand is perfect!
It’s very easy to eat gluten free and vegan here. Almost all meals are made with coconut milk. There are so many dishes that also use tofu and rice noodles – rice is a staple.
What was the best dish you tried?
I’m obsessed with Red Curry, Massaman Curry, street Pad Thai, Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango and even deep-fried crickets. Yummy!
As a successful YouTuber, what advice would you give to those who want to capture every moment of their holiday on film, but still want to live in the moment?
Don’t capture every moment on film. Keep some moments just for you. Experience a moment first and then pick up your camera and share it. Balance is key or else you’ll end up spending your entire time behind a lens.
How would you advise our readers to prepare for a trip to Thailand? Do you have a pre-travel ritual?
Pack less. Thailand has amazing night markets and you’re guaranteed to buy something. Half of my wardrobe is from Thailand.
What’s the best way to get around, for those wanting to see everything Thailand has to offer?
Getting around Thailand is super easy and affordable. It really depends where you want to go. If you’re travelling from the North to the South and don’t have much time, I’d fly. Flights within the country are super cheap. It won’t cost you more than £40 for a one-way ticket.
If you’re travelling by bus (another great and comfortable option), just make sure you keep all of your valuables with you for the entire journey. Do not store anything that’s of value in the cubbies below as petty theft has been common.
If you could take one thing from Thailand home, what would you choose?
Pants!!!! They have the best Harem pants ever.
If you got the opportunity to go to Thailand again, would you do anything differently?
I’d just explore a different area than I’ve already seen. There’s so much to see and do in this beautiful country.