Contiki Asia 16 – Part One

Cheow Larn Lake, Khao SokJungles and small huts vanishing past the window as fast as they appear, patchy torrential rain falling on our 10-seater as it speeds down the windy road towards the pier. It’s been eight hours and counting since we left our jungle tree house in the heart of Khao San National Park, 24 hours since we were cooling down in 165 square metres of pristine Cheow Larn Lake and 48 hours since 15 strangers congregated in the lobby of the Nouvou City Hotel in Bangkok. As the backside paralysis starts to set in, I’m overcome by an unwavering sense of appreciation for not just the experiences had but the remarkable people I’ve met in just under a week.


Cheow Larn Lake, Khao Sok


Travelling with a group of unfamiliar faces can be a daunting thought to most, but can be easily abated through keeping an open mind and embracing whatever experiences are thrown your way – good or bad. Last night our humble abode was set atop a tree house with minimal comforts by way of two beds complete with worn out mosquito nets, a trickling shower that ran permanently cold and a rudimentary wooden study equipped with two bottles of water and desk lamp. The pure rawness of the environment had an enticing draw to it nonetheless with nothing but the crickets singing and bats screeching to lull us to sleep. Five-years-ago-me would’ve wanted to seek out more luxurious creature comforts but I’ve learnt to see a benefit behind all encounters. Everything you experience is a memory, and how you choose to remember it will ultimately shape how you grow as a person.


Cheow Larn Lake, Khao Sok

The dynamic thus far has been incredibly positive with an abundance of laughter and smiles across the group. From playing boisterous games of charade in tree houses, singing T-Swizzle songs (badly) in the back of the van to sharing intimate stories of each other’s past over a Chang beer – we can all safely say that we have no regrets to signing up for this trip. What we all share in common is the desire to experience foreign cultures, discover how the rest of the world exists and realize scenery that most would perceive as imaginary.


Cruising in a long-tail boat surrounded by 165 square kilometers of manmade lake in the middle of Khao Sok national park was surreal to say the least. The scenery could have been taken straight from Jurassic Park with perpetual evergreen jungle and towering limestone cliffs. We arrived at secluded floating bungalows for lunch and to cool off, we threw caution to the wind and leapt straight into the water with our food babies. The peaceful surrounds were almost too dreamlike to part with but alas, this was not where we would call home for the night. Instead we were taken into tree house style accommodation where we spent the night appreciating the orchestra that comes to life under the moonlight.

At dawn we set on our long journey to Langkawi Island that consisted of many hours in the back of a van and crossing international waters into Malaysia. We celebrated dear Mike aka dad’s birthday on the trip with a celebratory feast after our long commute. This was promptly followed by a night of beers at an Irish Pub that played the entire Vengaboys album whilst we played I’ve never. The first 72 hours was an intense cocktail of feelings; excitement for new experiences, nervousness from being amongst new people, fatigue from all the activities and early starts, appreciation for everything that we have and camaraderie for your new family abroad. Writing this whilst travelling from Langkawi Island to Penang was the only way I thought would be possible for me to describe the experience first hand.



  Khao Sok

Khao Sok  Khao Sok



Helen Chik is a Sydney based fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle digital content creator and influencer sharing everything from unique style to her adventures around the world through her rainbow tinted lenses.

  • Christine

    Wow this trip sounds like one heck of an adventure. I love that it is so raw and so unpredictable but makes for such amazing memories and stories. Your travel photos are gorgeous as is your writing style. I can’t wait to see and hear more! Xoxo, Christine

  • Yuena

    Omgosh sooo beautiful!! 😀 You guys look like you had an amazing timeee!! Love all the picturesss!!

    With love,

  • Oh my gosh, this looks absolutely AMAZING! I must put Asia on my bucket list!


  • Camille Lenore Nichelini

    This is seriously a DREAM trip! I can’t wait for you to upload more photos ahhh!!!

  • Atsuna Matsui

    These photos are so stunning! You really are goals.. I’m always so in awe of the amazing photos you capture and the photographer you work with. 🙂 I really need to travel soon as well to unwind and get inspired again.


  • Jo

    These travel pictures are so amazing captured. I always want to go back to Asia and travel through different countries. So this inspirational post really motivates me to come up with a travel plan soon. I can’t wait to read your part II of the trip soon.

  • Wow, I want to be there with you right now. This looks like an amazing trip, it’s so amazing to meet like minded people and explore!!

  • Deddeh Howard

    This is paradise girl. How beautiful is this place! Love the images beautiful????

  • It honestly looks like you’re having the absolute time of your life in these photos. It’s so cool to see you traveling to so many incredible places. I can’t wait to see part two!

    Stephanie //

  • Okay you are seriously giving me major FOMO right now girl! So jealous of all your adventures but always looking forward to seeing your fun IG stories and following along. These photos are beautiful! Thank you for sharing your adventures with us and I can’t wait for ours when you come visit LA next year! 😉 xo, sharon

  • Bernice Abuan

    Your Contiki trip already looks so amazing! What a great experience to stay in tree houses and really immerse yourself into the environment than to live outside our our comforts. I love how beautiful it all looks and how happy you all seem to be even though you just met!

  • Linh Dao

    Wow your pictures are stunning! Can I be you right now and travel? This is so amazing! Looked like lots of fun! Can you take me next time you go travel? I would love to be your traveling partner! So fun! Thanks for sharing!


  • These are such amazing capture and this looks like an amazing trip and adventure.

    Ann-Marie |

  • Mariann Yip

    Your pictures are absolutely amazing! I definitely want to do a month long trip in Asia. So glad you had fun and thank you for sharing your experience 🙂


  • snappedbygracie

    What a wonderful trip and adventure. A five star hotel is so not needed when you have a landscape like this. Absolutely beautiful 🙂 Glad it was fun !
    xx, gracie.

  • brownpaperdoll

    Wow this looks like the trip of a lifetime. So glad you’re having fun and enjoying a new experience with new people. Can’t wait to see what’s next!
    xo, Lauren Ashley

  • Wow this trip looks incredible and you got to enjoy a new place with new faces! It sounds like you’re having tons of fun. I would love to travel a month dedicated to exploring Asia!! Can’t wait to see the second part.

    XO Jenn

  • Wow all the moments from this trip must be engraved in your memories! I could not agree more with you: when things happen to you ( good, bad, uncomfortable ) it’s the way your react, the way your turn bad into good that will shape the future!

    These pictures are absolutely amazing! Can’t wait to see part 2!

    Bisous, Josie

  • Babe firstly I must say you attire extremely well. The way you articulate ever moment and feeling you are experiencing allows me to envision your experience. This looks like an amazing adventure and your photos are breathtaking! I look forward to reading more about your journey. Enjoy! xx

  • I can’t believe such a beautiful place like this exists! you captured it so well through your photography! can’t wait for part 2!

  • WOW such beautiful pictures Helen!! Looks like you’re having a blast, can’t wait to see P2 girl!:) – Mitra

  • Thomas Falkenstedt

    It sounds like you’ve had an amazing experience so far, but what really made me laugh was the fact that you were tortured through the whole Vengaboys album!! I could do one, maybe two songs, but not the whole album, haha. And like you mentioned, the scenery and landscape could be something straight out of Jurassic Park. It looks incredible and just as if you’d be in another world. I wish I’d have the chance to visit a place like that some day. Looking forward to part 2! 🙂

  • Mandy Arisa

    This Contiki tour sounds amazing I must try it once in my life for the experience too ! I cannot wait to hear more about your trip when we catch up! Your posts always make me want to travel more!

    x Mandy

  • Love your photos babe, you look so beautiful in that dress! Seems like you guys had a great time and I cannot wait to read part 2 of your travel adventures.
    xx, Kusum |

  • Gorgeous photos! I’ve had a few friends who have done Contiki tours and they said it was amazing! Seems like you ladies had such a fab time there too!


  • Your pictures are absolutely stunning! I’m so glad you’re having such an amazing time! How amazing you’re meeting cool new people along the way???

  • Such a gorgeous photo diary! I would love to go on a trip like this, with a bunch of strangers, and learn more about yourself that way. Travel is all about new experiences right? And it’s also harder to find people as you get older to travel with as work and family get in the way. This sounds like such a great opportunity!

    xx Yasmin

  • This looks like the funnest trip ever! The scenery is gorgeous but the people you travel with matter most, and it looks like you have a great group with you!

    Chow Down USA

  • such beautiful photos and you look gorgeous!

  • omg this looks just amazing! what a gorgeous landscape and I bet the food is delicious

  • Lily

    Oh my god, this is perfection!!! I look to be here, and I LOVE that orange dress – omg need!

  • Fernanda Samaia

    These photos are so dreamy babe!! I love the view, love your looks, and every single photo! Thank you so much for sharing this with us <3


  • Ollyvia Laura

    omg what a beautiful place, Helen

    anyway, would you like to follow each other on gfc? Let me know 🙂


  • Lisa Mao

    Omg babe you look like you had such a fantastic time over there!
    I can totally understand and see where you are coming from, but unlike you, I am still not where you are yet! I’m still quite timid and afraid of the unfamiliar but it is so beautiful to see you learn to appreciate and take in all that you encounter and turn it into a positive experience. I would love to change my mentality because honestly seeing you open up and just having the time of your life makes me feel like I have to stop holding back and being scared of everything. This was really inspiring for me babe thank you for sharing

  • Seriously babe!!! This looks so amazing!!! Take me with you next time 😉


  • wow girl your photos are flawless. this place looks amazing!!!

    Frank Vinyl : A California Fashion Blog

  • Jennifer Quattrucci

    Wow !! I am deeply intrigued by your beautiful descriptions and these gorgeous photos ! I can’t even imagine playing charades in tree houses and singing T-swizzle songs in Asia but you inspired me to maybe look into a future trip there ! That’s really funny about the Vengaboys and I’m looking forward to hearing more ! Xoxo

  • maggie

    Dude, your photos and your layout are so amazing! It’s seriously like going through a high fashion magazine editorial. Was the travel there very difficult? Lots of boat riding?


    Maggie S.


  • Oh wow your photos are AMAZING here Helen! The scenery is so so breathtaking and it looks like an enjoyable trip 🙂

  • This trip looks so amazing!! I studied abroad in SE Asia so this brings back some memories. Floating bungalows, rustic accommodations, and long bus/super van rides. Love all of your colorful outfits! They are sooo perfect for the setting!

    xx freshfizzle

  • Hayley Rubery

    Girl your pictures are AMAZING – how incredible does this trip look/sound! I’m currently in Phuket and adore Thailand!

    Hayley xo

  • Vukosavljevic Ana

    Woow! It souds like you had amazing time there. Pictures are stunning! Can’t wait for another post! ????❤️

  • Amy Maree Comber (AMC)

    I really want to do a Contiki tour! This looks super fun girl! Love all of your amazing outfits babe!! Can’t wait to read further about your trip!

  • this looks awesome 🙂 thanks for sharing!

  • There is honestly nothing better than travelling with strangers 🙂 It sounds like you are having such an incredible experience Helen and all of your photos make me want to hop on a plane

    Rachel xx

  • Jessie Li (4evajessie)

    Girl! Those travel photos are amazing! damn I have to steal your photographer next time 😛
    Seriously my travel bugs are crawling out after seeing your photos, I have to schedule my next trip soon before they eat me up =P

    xx, Jessie

  • I feel like I’m reading a beautiful travel/fashion magazine! There’s a very editorial feel to this and the pictures are stunning. Thailand is one of my favorite countries to visit and I can’t wait to read more about your adventures.

    Love, Liz

  • jacqueline

    Wow this looks incredible. It’s so nice to travel and completely immerse yourself in another culture. And you’re right it is all how you remember it. I can’t wait to read the second part!

  • ellen kim

    Wow!! I feel like I’m traveling with you through these photos! Your trip looks beautiful with beautiful people! How exciting. I’m totally jealous of this and will be following along for your next post!!!

  • Tandya

    Wow! Absolutely stunning! Your trip looks amazing! The best things happen outside of your comfort zone. Keep doing what your doing!

  • Wow, these pictures are amazing! I wish I could travel more. You look lovely!

    xo, Maryam

  • Amanda Smith

    This sounds wonderfully amazing. I’m right there with you on embracing surroundings and letting go of those creature comforts. All of these images are absolutely beautiful and I’m looking forward to the second part of your journey!

    Manda |

  • Sofia N

    I love your travel posts! you re so lucky to be traveling all over. And the photos are amazing too. GAH

  • Andreea Birsan

    Your travel posts are always so intriguing! All the pictures were so stunning that they make me wanna book a trip to a warmer place. Have a nice week! <3


  • Sarah Atiq

    Wow this looks so incredible, I am in love with your photographs. They capture the beauty of Thailand perfectly, it looks like a magical journey. I am looking forward to reading the next part of your journey.



  • Rachel Vogt (Rachel Vogt Trend

    This place look absolutely amazing, i want to go there so bad.

    xoxo, Rachel Vogt


    Hello dear!
    Love your photography, beautiful travel and nice colorful outfits. Ideal for trip advetnures like this.
    xx Eva

  • Its Goldie

    Woow! Those photos are just beautiful! Stunning! Makes me want to go on a trip right now!

  • Vanessa Troset

    OMG I just saw this post and I feel like I was there just for a few minutes. The you write your experience and the quality of your shots really makes me feel like I was there with you too! I hope to travel there one day and get fun as much you do babe! Kisses.

  • Marcy Yu

    MAJOR wanderlust babe!! i need to visit this place looks so amazing and for sure will add it to my bucket list!!! LOVE the pics


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  • Nadia

    What an amazing post, beauty!! The photos look divine!! Haha, you made me laugh when I read about Vengaboys. That must have been so funny 😀
    xox Nadia

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