Merry Christmas, 2015

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2015:
January – England, UK: went to an international school job fair in London. Got rejected left right centre by all schools in Europe. I was not an eu citizen, I didn’t have a masters, and I didn’t have at least 15 years of experience in whatever curriculum the school practised. Crushed Qiu. I was aiming for European schools so that Nigel and I could be together. Him as an eu citizen and myself as a work permit holder.
Quit sugar. Oh my word.

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March/April – Mysore, India: 2 months yoga teacher training with Vinay Kumar in Mysore. Had a ball with Tom and Tara. It was tough but Tom and Tara were great company. Vinay doesn’t give people an easy time, and I respect him for that. He doesn’t need people to like him. He knows he does a good job and focuses on that.
India has definitely grown on me. I oscillate between love and hate towards it. Definitely love it more than I hate it. Miss it loads.

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May – Singapore: GOT MARRIED. Mrs Forster. A proud one at that. Lots of love from the Singapore clan. Honey moon part one in Krabi.

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June/July – Singapore: 5 weeks to kill and spent 3 weeks working as a cashier in a mega supermarket. Twas a humbling experience.

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July – Cologne, Germany: vipassana retreat with Steve and Rosemary. Very fortunate to have come across their retreats. Most well-rounded, informative Buddhist teachings I have ever encountered.
Honeymoon part 2: Cologne and Prague.

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August – Newcastle upon Tyne, England: job search. Again. Quite hopeless at this point in time. ‘It’s not hiring season’, ‘Term is just starting’ ‘nothing going to come out  of this’
Went ahead and sent CV s out anyway. Send send send. Bang. Landed a job. Suddenly. In Leipzig International School. Job offer one day, flight to leipzig the next. Straight into the deep end of the ocean. School started immediately.

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August/September – Leipzig, Germany. Oh my word. Talk about transitions being stressful. Visa woes, search for new Apartment, what the hell is up with lights in this country, foreign language, more Visa woes, foreign children, new school, new colleagues, no Nigel (yet. He was flying back and forth trying to wrap up guitar making his end). It was everything. I nearly cried one day at the checkout counter. The Germans are fast. Very fast.
I was exhausted and perpetually overwhelmed. Old demons came back to haunt me.

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October – sprained my ankle. A blessing in disguise. Reminded me to slow down. Started to take charge of myself and put Steve and Rosemary’s teachings to good use.

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November – started to exercise and get back to yoga. Thank goodness. Left ankle still wonky, as can be seen in the picture above. Continual reminder to take it easy. Stressing a lot less over work and my wonderful colleague, Juliane reminds me to have fun with the children. They are so precious and I’m very privileged to be working with children. They’re magic.

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December – Mallorca, Spain: holidays! Food, wine, strolls around a beautiful island. Charmed by Spanish homes. Windows, shutters, walls, everything. Olives, oranges and leather shoes. Goodness me the shoes.

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016.

Menial Job-ing

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I had a few weeks in Singapore, and figured I might as well find a temporary job. Every job I searched for required a minimum of 3 months. Bah. I then found a job as a cashier at Giant Supermarket – Turf City, which is a 10 min bicycle ride away from where I live. 8sgd/hr! – it was a contract for 3 months but I only had to give 3 days notice. Perfect. The only thing I had to grapple with was my ego. But it’s so…menial. I’m worth so much more than that. I charge at least 10 times that per hour teaching private yoga. I get so much more in the classroom.
No matter, I figured I’ll take it as a little mental experiment and see what happens.

Oh. My. Word.

Cashiering is hard work. I’m not saying cleaning toilets or unloading trucks is easy, but wow. Cashiering is hard work. It’s more than just scanning bar codes. Which, for your information, requires a certain skill in handling the thing so you don’t scan the item a second or goodness gracious, a third time. You’ve got to keep checking the screen with each scan, because regardless of whether the bar code went through or not, the same ‘beep’ is sounded. No warning beeps for faulty scans. (what a retarded system.)

There are pages of codes to remember. Lots of fruits and vegetables are coded rather than price tagged. Did I mention there are 4 types of pears, 2 sizes of watermelon, 2 types of coconuts and 5 types of apples? Prices per piece and price for a bunch of 5 are different, so the codes are different too. Oh and when the offer changes, so do the codes. There are 7 numbers EACH. The first 2 numbers are always ’20’ but seriously. It’s hard work keying the correct item in. There are large limes from Thailand and large limes (full stop). There is young ginger, old ginger and yellow ginger. There are red onions, small and large, big and small bags, yellow onions small and large, big and small bags…you get the idea.

Having Ricky Martin’s ‘Livin la vida loca’ play during frantic closing hour times is a really bad joke as well.

All in all it was a great experience because I was reminded how fortunate I am.

Here are some pictures:

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My cousin came to visit. “Smile!”

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before I noticed he was there. This was the first week at work, I needed to c.o.n.c.e.n.t.r.a.te.

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Baby sis came to visit as well “Smile!”

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A friend came to visit during rush hour. “Smile!” I managed a grimace.

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I’m super proud of this. A cashier – I learnt loads.

Qiu’s Sugar Post

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I call it <Qiu’s> Sugar Post because I’m writing about sugar in relation to what I have been through.In no way am I judging anyone who eats it. It’s purely FYI – if you’re interested in what it was like. If you don’t want to know, don’t read it. I’ve divided this into 3 sections – sugar-ed up me, letting go of sugar, post-sugar me.

I started cutting back on sugar on 27th January 2015. Here’s my sad “Percy Pigs I love you, don’t leave me!” face:

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Sugar-ed up me

Anyone who’s ever known me, lived with, worked with me know that I love dessert. I love chocolate (dude, I have ‘chocolate’ tattooed on my skin. Come on). I LOVE PERCY PIGS. I’m not sure ‘love’ is the right word either because it’s an obsession. I’d ‘replace’ meal calories just to have cookies/cakes/chocolate/kit kat/twix/snickers/palm sugar (yes I ate them neat)/waffles smothered in sweet syrup/junk – corn chips/potato chips/seaweed chips/salty and savoury. It’s all calories isn’t it? A calorie is a calorie. I’d rather have something I enjoy eating.

Regular food held little joy for me. I’d patiently wait for dessert. If someone didn’t suggest it, I would.

Have you seen me with salted caramel ice cream/tiramisu/red velvet cake? I go absolutely bonkers and will do a little happy dance, bouncing up and down in my seat. People found it funny. Was I proud of it? Hell, yes. I can eat whatever I want. So there. Freeeeedom! (cue: dramatic scene from Braveheart)

It was Nigel who pointed it out (what a brave man)

Nigel, casually: Qiu I think you might be addicted to sugar.

Qiu, snappily: no I’m not, and even if I am, so what. I’ll eat whatever I want. You’re not trying to control what I eat, ARE YOU?

  • Another day –

Nigel: Qiu have you seen this 5 weeks to sugar detox book…

Qiu: SCREW THAT.

Little did I know as much as I loved sugar, sugar didn’t love me back. Here’s why:

  1. I was absolutely totally addicted. If my life is going along swimmingly happily, I still ate a lot, but less sugar. If there is a hint of stress, whoa, the sugar intake goes waaaay up.
  2. This is the main reason: It’s what it does to my mental state and emotions. I’d roller coaster. “I’m dying”. Yes I frequently felt like I was dying, struggling with the will to live. My sugar highs were less often and the lows stuck and stayed more easily. The more stressed I got the more I reached for that sweet milky chocolate. Did it make me feel better? No. It was just enough for me not to want to crawl back to bed. My mood swings. Super happy, super sad. Mostly sad. Why was I always depressed? Have I got chronic depression? IT’S WORK. IT’S SINGAPORE. I always felt ‘foggy’; I’d often not be able to think clearly. Just a cloud over my head. My goodness – I keep up a chirpy front to the world (exhausting), but to my boyfriends/family? Grumpy goddess (yes I’m declaring myself a goddess. It’s fun). I’d hate myself afterwards, for being so mean to them. Worst of all, I’d hate me more for being mean to me.
  3. I was perpetually hungry. If I need to eat, it’s a mini crisis. I need to eat now now NOW OR I’LL SURELY DIE. That and perpetually tired and perpetually bloated PhotoGrid_1411100469855
  4. My poor skin (don’t know if it’s big enough to see but trust me, it’s spotty and blotchy) photo 1 (1) - Copy
  5. I’m not fat, but I always felt so heavy, so lousy, so utterly energy-less. I’m active, but because I forced myself to. I always wished I was skinny, so I’d cut all the calories down to just the sweet stuff, and not eat anything else.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy a sweet treat. The problem I have is that sugar has an extra strong grip on me. It’s the way cocaine is to a cocaine addict. They need more and more, and it gets to a point where they need a lot just to stay sane.

Letting go of Sugar

So I started to do some research.

These 2 freaked me out:

  • The Secrets of Sugar – The Fifth Estate – CBC News

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDaYa0AB8TQ

  • Robert Lustig -The Bitter Truth:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

The research absolutely totally freaked the living daylights out of me. I’m not going to list the science of it as the information is pretty clear in those 2 videos. A calorie is not a calorie. Sugar isn’t just ‘bad’. It’s very, very bad. Liver, heart, insulin-resistance, etc. At the rate I’m consuming it, I’m a very likely candidate for Type 2 diabetes. It’s not just fat people who develop diabetes.

The one that really got me was the experiment of the rats dropped into a pool. Those who ate normally took 5 seconds to find safety in higher ground. Those fed sugar swam round in circles and took 33 seconds. That’s me! The sluggish, brain fogged sugar-fed rat!

These 2 helped:

  • How to kill your sugar addiction naturally

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3sixYr7onw

  • If you’re a woman, reading this might help. If you’re a man, you’ll roll your eyes.

http://growinghumankindness.com/sugar-addiction-book-audio-detox/

p.s. I cried a fair bit: (tears fall) it wasn’t my fault that I’m grumpy and sad all the time (wails) it’s the sugar (bawls) I am going to do this, I’ve got to be sttttrrroooong! (bawls some more)

Thus began my sugar detox.

Week One:

Tapering off

–      Cut out candy and chocolate totally. Was still eating digestives and ate the cheesecake I baked. Had gingerbread cookies on Sunday after which I felt absolutely drained and horrible. Dying on Sunday, totally emotional, crying all over the place. Nigel had to deal with all of it. Went salsa dancing but felt shit. I was wailing and calling out names of stuff I wanted to eat, like Twix, Snickers, CARROT CAKE, chocolate, etc. Poor Nigel.
Week 2:

Chromium

–      Nigel saw a chromium advertisement. I started taking them one afternoon. Wasn’t hungry at all till dinner time and I was flying on feeling happy. Threw biscuits and tomato paste away. Amazing energy, totally happy, wasn’t hungry. Chromium picolinate: 100mcg breakfast and 100mcg with lunch but after a few days it lost its effect. Increased chromium to 300mcg a day. Started working again! 200mcg with breakfast, 100mcg with lunch. Laser sharp focus. Declared Chromium amazeballs. I could tell when I was actually hungry. Started getting headaches, occasionally emotional. Went to bed thinking about food and snacks and wake up thinking about what I can eat. Would wake up and immediately grab a pear. Not too hungry throughout the day, but mentally hungry, if you know what I mean. Headaches.
Week 3:

Still cheating,

Stopped chromium.

–      Was watching a lot of sugar theories and realised my brain was still making excuses. I was sipping mulled wine throughout the day, and still eating a shit ton of fruit. Who was I kidding? Poured the bottle away. Seriously cut down fruit intake to 1 banana, 2pears, 2 satsumas, 1 apple a day. (a dramatic reduction for me) After I threw away the mulled wine, the craving for fruits started to decrescendo. Was worried about headaches so stopped taking chromium this week. Noticed increased sensitivity to alcohol. Super flu-y. Bit nauseous.
Week 4:

Realised I had to cut out yeast/bread

–      Realised I no longer felt like a hippo. Still bloated but only slightly. Had one fat slice of wholemeal bread that I made on Monday and was totally foggy and bloated and sad the next day. Cut out bread. Haven’t argued with Nigel in ages, but in loving support of my endeavour, cut out sugar as well. Noticed I wasn’t struggling with myself. A lot of mental torture vanished. Simply vanished.
Week 5:

First week of cutting out refined sugar totally (stupid mulled wine)

–      Sarted taking 200mcg chromium for a couple of days, alternate. Headache is gone, and so is the craving for caffeine. The smell of milk is oddly starting to turn me off. Managed half a cup of coffee, which is VERY unusual for me.

–      Learnt about Candida. WTF. Will this ever end??

–       Eating a shit ton of yoghurt and cheese to substitute sugar. It’s a bad <need-to-have-something-in-my-mouth> snacking habit. Slight craving for sweets but tolerable. Not actually hungry. Headaches all gone. Energy, brilliant. I can now swim freestyle without going out of breath/thinking I might drown. Only sipped Nigel’s coffee. Not interested.

26th feb ‘15 –      Had my last fruit. A green apple. The whole thing.

p.s. I heart fruits like all fruit lovers will heart fruits. This was the hardest decision in the whole sugar thing.

27th feb ‘15 –      1 tomato, 1 carrot a day, a lot of coconuts. Does that count? I AM tired and dehydrated due to the journey from England to India. 4 coconuts. Are coconuts a fruit? Can I have too many coconuts? Ah this is hard.
9th Mar ‘15 –      1 tomato, 1 carrot, ONE coconut, a lot of dried coconuts, almonds, cashews for snacks. It was after I cut fruit out that any physical cravings for sugar stopped bothering me, completely. Feels great. I eat what I want, when it’s time to eat. I’m not usually hungry. Or ever hangry.
20th Mar ’15:

3 weeks without fruit.

–      Yesterday I considered eating chocolate again. Why? Time to examine the demons. Nothing was happening. Is it boredom? Loneliness?

–      This before bedtime snacking thing has to be dealt with. It’s the mindless eating thing that also has to be dealt with. It’s not happy for sure. Guilt afterwards. It’s the eat eat eat> habit.

28th mar ‘15

A month without fruit. Well done me.

–      I feel balanced. And calm. Actually I’ve felt balanced and calm since I tipped the mulled wine out. You could say it’s all the yoga and routine, but I’ve done 3 intensive yoga trainings before, and always had that <I’m struggling> feeling. People who know me and are reading this will go: but Qiu, you’re always calm. I know I LOOK calm. In fact I’m very good at looking calm. It’s not hard to develop a calm veneer.

–      2 months since starting sugar thing.

–      Still munching/snacking, but am gently working with it.

I’ve read how people were off sugar for months and all it took was one good chocolate cake and they were back to square one. I will be introducing sugar back into my life at the end of 3 months. I’m scared.

Post-Sugar Me

I feel fantastic. I can think. My brain works. I’m not freaking struggling anymore. I’m not depressed. I’m not fighting with biochemistry. The mental and emotional demons are there but they’re so much easier to work with. Most of all, I am free. I don’t crave it anymore. Yes of course in a social setting I’ll humour people and go “oh yes, that dark chocolate almond butter is DABOMB” or something like that. It’s a memory. I don’t physically need it anymore. Inner peace, which used to be dependent on my circumstance in life, is much more accessible to me.

The hardest part? The initial bit. That was physically, mentally, emotionally draining. It was hard to stick with. Some research I’ve done call it withdrawal symptoms. I was crying over not being able to eat malteser bunnies. I mean, malteser bunnies!

What kept me going? Feeling a little better, bit by bit, the grip loosening, bit by bit and eventually, feeling perpetually clear headed and energetic again.

This isn’t about some diet.

This isn’t about some cleanse.

This definitely isn’t about losing weight.

This is about an addiction that controlled me. Do I still get sad? Of course I do. The old demons come up – self hate, self pity, worry, fear, anger, etc etc. So much anger, so much stress. The difference now is in my capacity to work with them. My ability to work with the demons are not reduced or sabotaged by my physical body anymore. The uneccessary mental torture is gone. Demons are tough stuff to work on and it’s a life-long process. I’d like to reduce obstacles along the way.

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There you go 🙂 Qiu’s Sugar Post.

p.s. I’ve met with a fair few ignorant people along the way – why are you so hard on yourself? Are you STILL not eating sugar? Come on, live a little. If anyone has any good tips on what to say to them, do share.

Hanna

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Dear Hanna,

It wasn’t till I wrote the title that I realised I didn’t know how your name was spelt. ‘Was spelt’ or ‘is spelt’? I’m not sure of the appropriate grammar after a person dies.

I know we only met a few months ago, but I really like you and I am proud to consider you my friend. Thank you for sharing your stories with me, and thank you for listening to mine. I love the art work you create, sitting in that same spot, at that table, sewing pretty bits of cloth, sequins and buttons together. You draw your inspiration from nature, and you like taking photographs of reflections in rivers and the light that accompanies sunsets. You like flowers and moss as well.

2015 was already an awesome year for you. You were well into your art degree, you were rebuilding your relationship with your mother, and you found the strength to leave your husband. To make all those changes at 57 (or 58 or 59, I don’t know) is pretty incredible. You knew you weren’t happy and you were actually doing something about it. The best part is, you didn’t hate your husband anymore. You’d forgiven him. You let the anger and decades of hurt, go.

Someone at the art studio said, “poor Hanna”…well there’s nothing poor thing about you. You’re gone, sudden no doubt, but that’s that. It’s for the living. Your 2 girls, family and everyone whom you were close to. I hope they are Ok and if not will be Ok in time.

So I shall stop being dramatic and say bye. As someone wise told me – when you miss someone who’s dead and gone, think about the good qualities in them that you loved and admired. Recreate and strengthen those good qualities in yourself. In that way, they’re never gone. Their good example lives in you.

I might have added the last bit myself, can’t quite remember.

You were brave, generous and patient.
Bye Hanna, goodbye. If rebirth is true, may you not be parted from the good karma you have accumulated.

Love,
Qiu

One pensive human

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Hello out there,

I don’t know if there is an ‘out there’, if there is a god, a spirit or if anyone is even reading. I’ve just finished teaching a class of 8, and at the end I was overwhelmed by how much fun we were all having. I was overwhelmed by everyone’s openness to each other. It was one of the girls’ birthday. Someone bought her a birthday cake, we sang her a song after yoga and in between eating the cake and other goodies (that the birthday girl brought, how nice!) we managed to continue testing out arm balances/inversions/front splits. It’s a happy community, and I’m so touched to be part of it. They trust me to teach them. I have gone over every week. Every single week for the past 3 months.
I accumulated 7 groups of people – private yoga, small group yoga, big group yoga. There were 4 more inquiries, but I’m leaving. All this spread through word of mouth!

I’m touched. It’s not just them. Travelling has brought me new eyes to see the world with. The thing was I only felt truly grateful, amazed and in awe of the human capacity only where my travels took me. It’s different in my own country. I always somehow find it stifling, boring and painful to be back. This teaching yoga thing has required a leap of faith. I don’t know if I lept properly, but I kind of stumbled along, surprised by the kindness, support and openness of so many. Old friends were reconnected and new friends were made. I’ve even reconnected with my relatives. I have their blessing. That the world is no doubt a big place to explore; that it might be tough. Nevertheless they trust that I know what I want, and (more or less) know what I’m doing. They will be my cheerleaders. That if I need to come home or if I need help, they are right here. I can’t even explain how touching it is. It’s them saying “we love you and we want you to be happy”. Powerful words.

Due to the decision I had to make, I’ve been browsing journals dating as far back as 2000 when I turned 18, 14 years ago. Some things I’ve read were entertaining – ‘I turn 18!!! I am so old!!!’ and others were pretty insightful. I read what I wrote about things I used to wish for, things I promised myself I will never do again, things I promised myself I will pursue…
It was all very thought provoking because at the end of the day, not only do I not want to make the same mistakes again, I also want to be better for myself (and towards myself, my goodness) and for the world around me.

So here I go, leaving Singapore again. Everyone around me has been saying “Oh Qiu you are so brave.”
Hmm. I don’t feel brave at all. There’s nothing heroic in all this. Truth be told, I’m bloody scared. Very. Very. Scared. What if it doesn’t work out? What if no one likes me and I’m friendless? What if I can’t find a job? What if I don’t like it??
Etc etc.

I do it anyway!
Why? For the one reason that I won’t be able to live it any other way.

Hugs

Sunny Rainy Humid Singapore

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May I say something. May I please say something…

Over a year ago I started this online journal before I jetted off to India. I was going on an adventure! After that? I wanted a lifestyle. A dream. As much as I love working with children, I was pretty miserable working in schools. My dream was where I got to teach yoga for a living, maybe write a few articles here and there.

For now the India-cambodia adventures are over. I’m back here in Singapore to realise this dream. Where else can I do it but here?

The funny thing is. Now that it’s actually happening, I’m actually teaching yoga, private yoga, small groups, corporate, it’s scary as hell.

There is so much more room to grow, but it’s strange. There’s an inertia that goes – hang on, wait, stop. It’s easier to have a dream stay a dream; always unreachable. ‘I wish I could, but I couldn’t because.’

It’s the ‘because’. The reasons. There will be a million of them. There is the money factor, the endless self sabotage ‘I’m worried people won’t like me, how am I going to get more students, oh I don’t feel confident enough, I’m not good enough at yoga anyway, who am I kidding, etc.’

That’s why I’m hereby publicly announcing the start of the fulfilment of this dream. Seems to add some punch to it. Some conviction. Put it out there, make it public and let go this whole idea of ‘shame’.

Fear of failure. That’s a huge one. It will determine that I’m never good enough, never capable enough, and will never amount to anything. *shudder

But hey…I think I’m pretty good at teaching yoga 😉

We shall see.

I’m going to stay as level headed and as optimistic as possible. I’m going to use everything that I have learnt and shall continue to develop them. Buddhist teachings, yoga practise, teachings from this great big thing called Life. When the familiar self sabotage voices come in, I’ll recognise them, know they are just voices, and try my utter best to gently let them go.

I love every second of teaching and sharing yoga. I do. I love it. I love the planning, the thought process, the engagement, the connection, the hard bits, the smiles, the laughter, all of it. It’s truly an honour to be welcomed into people’s homes and to be trusted to teach them, week after week.

May everyone have the privilege and courage to pursue their wishes.

http://www.privateyogasingapore.com

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Smiling through Navasana (boat pose)

Rabbit Island, Kep, Cambodia

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One morning at 5.15am, I woke up and decided to lie in the hammock just outside the hut. The sky was starting to light up. Everyone was asleep. The foreigners in their huts, locals sleeping in hammocks or on mattresses laid out in their island restaurant. Dogs were asleep. It was really quiet except for the crrrash…subside…crrrash of waves on the shore. The huts here at rabbit island face the sea. The water is there. Right there, 5 seconds away. The sky lights up behind me. I sway and swing on the hammock.
……………………………………………………

The days on rabbit island are very simple. There is no wifi, no electricity except between 6pm-10pm and that’s just for lights in the hut. A hut cost 5 usd a day.

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Hut on Rabbit Island

One doesn’t need much at all. Just writing, reading, yoga, going into the sea, a nap…eating bread dipped in iced coffee. Have I mentioned I love local ICED COFFEE.

The huts face the sea so we are treated to a major magic light show every single day. Every day a perfect golden pink orange sunset that lights the whole sky. Where vibrant shades of red and yellow splash crazily across the scene, every moment shifting, transiting and exploding into a different beauty.

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Sunset on Rabbit Island

Well. It was not possible to capture the lights going nuts amongst the clouds, nor the way it reflects in the water. After cursing and swearing at the phone camera, I was reminded to put the thing away and just admire the sunset and take it all in with my eyes, my being. Not for the online journal, not for showing off to family and friends and definitely not for face-freaking-book.

It’s incredible how the days go past just like that. Serenely and pretty quickly. No planned itinerary, no activities or things to explore. It’s a small island. How did I use to have a full time job??

…………………………………………………………

(5am continued) I watch the sky light up, and everything changes. The locals start waking up. The hills glow, but barely. Faintly. Dogs start running about and some people stumble out of their huts to go for a dip in the silvery calm morning sea.

Shallow, clear, warm waters. A happy heart. Priceless.

End of deep musings, start of technical information

Rabbit Island (Koh Tonsay)

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View of rabbit island from Kep beach

Rabbit island is a 20 min boat ride away from Kep, along the coast at Cambodia’s bottom.

Kep is a very small town with pretty much…nothing. Nice guesthouses, a beautiful small stretch of manmade beach and a fresh crabs market.

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Boat to rabbit island

It cost 9usd per person for a return boat trip Kep Rabbit Island (if I’m being ripped off, I have no idea)

There are many huts lining rabbit island beach and cost between 5-10 usd a night. None of them have wifi and none have fans or electricity in the day. There is no need for fans, as there is a perpetual sea breeze.

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Huts along rabbit island beach

Every group of huts belong to a family and they run a restaurant as well.

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Restaurant on rabbit island

All these are right on the beach. It’s lovely.

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The restaurants on rabbit island are right on the shore

Prices of food are about the same as those in Kep. A dish of khmer food might cost 3-4 usd and western food like burgers and fries (didn’t try, didn’t trust it) about 5 usd. Iced coffee for 1 usd 🙂

Lots of benches around for lazing on.
Some shaded

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Bench on rabbit island beach

Some not

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Benches on rabbit island beach 2

I had the most basic, lovely time.

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Sunset on Koh Tonsay

Contrary to what your boat man says, you can catch any boat back to Kep island. Just ask the restaurant /hut owner. All you have to do is flash your ticket at the boat driver to prove you have paid. There are a few boats that ferry locals in the morning from 7am-10am. You can also return at 4pm, with everyone on a single day trip to rabbit island.