Asia Thailand

Turning 30 In Thailand

I remember a Home Economics class in secondary school where you had to create a hat inspired by another culture. I used this (rather bizarre) brief as my chance to research Thailand, a destination neither I nor anyone I knew had ever been to, but for some reason was the obsession of my 13-year-old self. I created mood boards of orange, gold and turquoise, cut pictures of beaches and rocks from brochures and eventually made one of the most hideous pieces of headwear you have ever witnessed. (Binned, quite rightly, shortly after I finished it.)

You know you're in Thailand when..

You know you’re in Thailand when..

It was some 13 years later I got to live out my Thailand obsession. It was a prerequisite of my round-the-world gap year, added to the end of the itinerary so we could work our way round to it, 8 months of travel building up to it. I had a month there visiting temples and hill tribes in Chiang Mai, partying in Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Samui, marvelling at The Beach in Ko Phi Phi and eating so much green curry my pee colour matched it.

I left reluctantly, making promises to myself to come back some day.

Railay Bay was just how we pictured it

Railay Bay was just how we pictured it

That chance came up in 2010 when I travelled to Asia with a colleague who had never been there. We spent New Year’s Eve at a beach party in Phi Phi and started the new year in recovery on Ko Lanta. We had so much (calamitous) fun the same friend convinced me to start a blog to share the stories. The rest is blogging history.

So last week was a big deal for me. It was a return to a country I can’t help but be drawn to and it was a big birthday the last few years of blogging have been building up to.

But it was extra special this time because I visited with my boyfriend. He too shares my love for Thailand – it was this, in fact, which played a part in bringing us together. As we technically met through blogging. He was one of the early readers of this blog (and I of his, when he still had one) and left a comedy comment on a post I wrote about Thailand. That was 4 years ago and is one of the earliest memories I have of him.

Justin and I taking a token Tuk Tuk selfie

Justin and I taking a token Tuk Tuk selfie

Which brings us to last Saturday. We had arrived in Thailand a few days earlier and found it to be everything we both hoped and remembered it to be. Krabi was an area of Thailand that neither of us had visited previously and the beauty of Railay left us speechless. We moved further down the coast for the seclusion and spa luxury of Anantara Si Kao and spent the day of my birthday at its private beach club on the idyllic looking coast of Ko Kradan.

Celebrating turning 30 on this idyllic beach on Ko Kradan

Celebrating turning 30 on this idyllic beach on Ko Kradan

The hotel (more of which later) treats all its guests like royalty but really upped the ante for my 30th birthday. Housekeeping left a floral message and the restaurant (in collusion with my boyfriend) set aside a streamer strewn private area of the dining room, in which they served a specially created 4 course Thai menu. We dined on Thai pork salad, spicy fish soup, red curry, a primary-coloured coconut milk pudding (Tub Tim Krob) and cake, which the team bought out singing. Nature also upped its game, cloudy skies clearing in time for us to watch a deep purple sunset over neighbouring island Ko Lanta.

A message from housekeeping

A message from housekeeping

The best birthday breakfast ever!

The best birthday breakfast ever!

Our private dining table

Our private dining table

The view from dinner

The view from dinner

My family had sent ahead presents, which I wore on the day, and my boyfriend presented me with a voucher for a seaplane ride over Sydney. The day prior had been the King of Thailand’s birthday so we have spent the evening enjoying traditional Thai dancing and lighting paper lanterns (our first had fizzled out and flopped into the ocean but we shan’t dwell on that!) I’d also spent time in the spa enjoying traditional Thai massage. In short: I couldn’t have felt more spoilt.

Lanterns to celebrate the King of Thailand's 87th Birthday

Lanterns to celebrate the King of Thailand’s 87th Birthday

But it got better.

After dinner, my boyfriend who had started doing some unusual heavy breathing, asked me to join him on a walk along the beach, illuminated that evening with light from the full moon. When my hand brushed his pocket I felt his muscles tighten. Suddenly I realised my surprises may not be over.

Without giving too much away from our private moment, I’m delighted (ecstatic/gone a little bit loopy) to say my 30th birthday concluded with my best friend, loyal reader, travel companion and (in all senses of the word) partner asking me to marry him.

Justin: "I went full Beyonce."

Justin: “I went full Beyonce.”

And just in case you were wondering..

My answer was yes.

Returning from Thailand with my fiance (and a few bites from the sandflies!)

Returning from Thailand with my fiancé (and a few bites from the sandflies – very typical me!)

J x

51 Comments

  • Reply
    Ali
    December 11, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Sounds like an amazing trip and the perfect birthday! Congrats on the engagement!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 11, 2014 at 8:06 am

      Thanks very much – it was absolutely perfect 🙂

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 11, 2014 at 8:06 am

      Aside from all the insect bites – I should add!

  • Reply
    Ellie Bloomfield
    December 11, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Congratulations!!! I love thailand too and would love to be able to go back someday soon!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 11, 2014 at 8:22 am

      Thank you! It was just as pretty as I remembered it. Hope you get to go back soon 🙂

  • Reply
    Monica
    December 11, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Ahhhh, this gave me tingles. How romantic! Well done, Justin!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 11, 2014 at 10:00 am

      Haha – the boy done good!

  • Reply
    Desiree'
    December 11, 2014 at 9:41 am

    What a dream birthday! Congrats to you both 🙂

    Des | http://theanti-tourist.blogspot.com

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 11, 2014 at 10:00 am

      Thanks so much 🙂

  • Reply
    Silvia
    December 11, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Eeee I got chills reading this! Your story is so sweet, and you told it so beautifully! Huge congratulations <3

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 11, 2014 at 10:02 am

      Aw thank you. It was a tough one to get the balance right between sharing the exciting news and keeping the soppy parts private!

  • Reply
    Jen
    December 11, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Yay! So happy for you both. A wonderful couple. Now come back to England again soon so we can celebrate blogger style with champers and selfies xx

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 11, 2014 at 10:03 am

      I can’t tell you how much I want to pop back to London for a weekend of bubbles and selfies. Hold that thought until 2015! xx

  • Reply
    Beverley | Pack Your Passport
    December 11, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Well done Justin and congratulations to you both! 🙂 xx

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 11, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      Thanks Beverley xx

  • Reply
    Janice Stringer
    December 11, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    How fantastic… With a combination of old individual memories and new shared ones. What a way to forge ahead with a new life, moved forward with your love and create something wonderful for you both-individually and together.
    ขอแสดงความยินดี

    (If i’ve got it right!!!)
    If not I meant congratulations… 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 11, 2014 at 11:13 pm

      Hahaha thank you – I’ll take your word on the translation 🙂

  • Reply
    Hannah
    December 11, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Wow! Big huge congratulations on your big birthday and your engagement, what a beautiful story. I wish you all the happiness x

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 11, 2014 at 11:14 pm

      Thanks so much Hannah x

  • Reply
    Natasha
    December 11, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Lovely post – beautiful and congrats to you both !

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 11, 2014 at 11:15 pm

      Aw thank you 😉

  • Reply
    Caroline Eubanks
    December 11, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    SO HAPPY FOR YOU GUYS! 🙂

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 11, 2014 at 11:15 pm

      HAHA THANK YOU 🙂

  • Reply
    Renuka
    December 11, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Sounds like you enjoyed your 30th birthday a lot! Thailand seems to be a perfect destination for such milestone birthdays. 🙂

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 11, 2014 at 11:21 pm

      I think so 🙂

  • Reply
    Katy
    December 11, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Eeek congrats and happy birthday! I’m turning 30 in April and will leave this blog page open accidentally on purpose for my boyf to see how a big birthday can really be done!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 11, 2014 at 11:22 pm

      Hahaha great plan! Let me know how it goes 🙂

  • Reply
    Katie MacLeod
    December 11, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    Aw a huge congratulations Jayne! Sounds like a wonderful birthday and holiday in every way!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 11, 2014 at 11:22 pm

      Thanks so much. It was the best!

  • Reply
    Hayley
    December 12, 2014 at 12:15 am

    Awwww how beautiful is this?! Congratulations to both of you, that’s fantastic! Ps. I always love reading your blog Jayne. So well-written, and almost poetic! X

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 12, 2014 at 12:21 am

      Aw thank you – that means the world to me! Wanted to share the news in a non-cheesy but relevant way and this was what came out. Glad you like it 😉 x

  • Reply
    Elle-Rose Williams | The World and Then Some
    December 12, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Congratulations, such lovely news! 🙂 xx

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 12, 2014 at 10:02 am

      Thank you 🙂 xx

  • Reply
    Laura
    December 12, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Oooh I must have missed this post. But CONGRATS (again!). Thailand’s been a massive part of my life since I first went in 2010, what is it about that place that just sticks! Enjoy the wedding planning… assuming it’s going to be abroad somewhere?

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 15, 2014 at 1:06 am

      Thank you 🙂 Yes as we are one Aussie and one Brit it does make sense to have the wedding abroad somewhere. Where is the question though!

  • Reply
    Miles of Happiness
    December 13, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Wonderful!! I so want to travel now 🙂

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 15, 2014 at 1:06 am

      Haha – thank you 🙂

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    December 14, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Congratulations! That is absolutely wonderful 🙂

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 15, 2014 at 1:07 am

      Thanks Elizabeth 🙂

  • Reply
    Kate ~ Beak Up Crafts
    December 15, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Congratulations! What a special trip and a fantastic ending too. I’ve been to a few places in Thailand but sadly didn’t really get to experience the same pretty beaches – guess I went to the wrong places, although Koh Phi Phi was lovely (if packed with tourists!). Your engagement ring is gorgeous too x

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 16, 2014 at 10:20 pm

      Thank Kate. It really is a case of picking the right places when it comes to Thailand – some of the islands and resorts differ so wildly. I’m a huge fan of Krabi and surrounds – Ko Lanta, Ko Mook, Ko Kradan – all very low key and stunning!

  • Reply
    Suzanne - Travelbunny
    December 16, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Ohh that’s so lovely! Congratulations to you both and in Thailand too – a whole heap of new fabulous memories for you x

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 16, 2014 at 10:21 pm

      Thanks so much. Now Thailand will always be special 🙂 x

  • Reply
    Nicola
    December 17, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    Congratulations Jayne! What a fantastic way to turn 30 and a really lovely read…makes me want to go back to Thailand right now!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 18, 2014 at 5:17 am

      You totally should – maybe an anniversary treat 🙂

  • Reply
    Taylor Hearts Travel
    December 18, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Super congratulations, Jayne! So happy for you. I love hearing other people’s proposal stories and it sounds like he did very, very well. 😀 x

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      December 18, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      Haha thank you. It certainly impressed me 🙂 x

  • Reply
    rebecca
    April 6, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Hi there, I have really enjoyed reading your past updates and most recent post 🙂 I have just started on WordPress since I am beginning my travels – not just as a recording of the journey for myself, but also to read the recommendations and insights of others. I would love to hear if you have any recommended travel bloggers that I can have a read of? I am 23 and my first blog post lists the places I will be travelling to. Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    Ryan Noakes
    June 2, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    I am currently in Koh Samui now. Its my brothers wedding, we’ve just done four nights at Bangkok and where now on a private villa.. It’s beautiful.

    @nosillyusername

  • Reply
    Lauren Davidson
    September 15, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    There’s nothing quite like celebrating a milestone birthday in a new place! Loved this post. 🙂

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      September 16, 2015 at 12:53 am

      Thanks Lauren 🙂

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