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The best boat tour to take to Phi Phi Islands! A review of Simba Sea Trips!

By Victoria Prince

The best boat tour to take to Phi Phi Islands! A review of Simba Sea Trips!

Savat D kah! Good morning from Thailand. If you are looking for the best boat tour to take to Phi Phi Islands, or you want to read about the epic adventure, you have come to the right place. Ill tell you everything!

 

It was an absolutely breathtaking day island hopping with Simba Sea Trips on their tour of Phi Phi Islands yesterday!

 

First, the booking was so easy from their website. Second, the shuttle was a nice private vehicle with an awesome driver who arrived outside our villa on time on the dot. 

 

After a sketchy boat trip in Bali last summer we really didn’t know what to expect. By sketchy, I mean there wasn’t even a boat dock, I was unexpectedly in water up to my chest at 6am walking to the boat lol. The boat was slow and dirty and we were breathing exhaust the entire trip. We were so happy to be there we shrugged our shoulders and laughed about it but other honeymooning couples were not so flexible, they were straight up angry and fighting haha!

 

Back to Thailand, we pulled up to their office at the pier and to our surprise it was beautiful! We were greeted with hot coffee and tea, water and breakfast biscuit snacks. Our tour guide Jane was funny, informative, and polite. The service was fantastic.  

 

We hopped on the boat and began our tour which by the way only had 12 people, their max capacity for tours - unlike the other boats we saw 30-50 people crammed inside.

 

Cruising across the Andaman Sea at sunrise was refreshingly stunning. The water reflecting the pastel sky with glassy rolling ripples softer than butter nearly brought tears to my eyes. One of those ‘I’m so grateful to be alive’ type of moments.

 

 

Our first stop was a secluded beach on Bamboo Island. Later we discovered it’s not a secluded beach at all, 10,000+ tourists visit this beach DAILY. We couldn’t tell because we were the first to arrive, ahead of the crowds!

 

There we were on an empty beach, being served fresh cut fruit, banana bread, and veggie rolls for breakfast on straw mats laid out for us like kings and queens. 5 star service to say the least.

 

While we were there our sweet tour guide Jane came up to me and asked “are you going to sing on dis island?” I just laughed not thinking anything of it until she said “really, are you going to sing? I saw your music video on YouTube” I was shocked! Apparently their office watched my video because I booked the trip via email and my website is in my signature! I was so happy to hear they all enjoyed it. You can see it here.

 

 

 

We hung out here for about an hour just as heaps of other tour boats began to anchor. For the record we took all of these photos on our iphones and my gopro. The other boats were scary looking, loud, and the people were packed inside like sardines. Our boat was clean, fast, and spacious. Thanks Simba!

 

Next, we sped across the Indian Ocean passing countless islands and cliff faces straight out of the movies, literally, to Maya Bay. This bay is temporarily closed to allow the Coral Reef to repair and regenerate as its one of the most famous places in Thailand!

Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie THE BEACH was filmed here in the 90s. Even tho we didn’t park here, the view as we slowly drifted by for photos was worth it. This bay was actually the inspiration for our trip. We chose Thailand because Graham’s daughter is named Maya, you may have met her in my previous blog post on our tour of Beijing. On this trip we learned that Maya means Magic!

 

Floating right along, our next stop was 

Phile Lagoon. Now this. Was. Unreal. Sputtering through this canyon of crystal clear turquoise waters and towering canyons wrapping around us to create a 3 dimensional paradise was indescribable.

We swam in the natural pond, jumped off the boat, and basked in the beauty of it all. This was also a spot where Leo starred in THE BEACH. We couldn’t have dreamed of a more incredible view.

 

Next we pulled up to Monkey Island just as another boat was ambushed by a huge monkey trying to get more food! He jumped right into the bow of their boat because they were throwing bananas. The monkeys were catching them and peeling them like professionals but this guy wanted more. We heard screaming and a splash as we watched them back away the monkey just dove in the water and swam back to the cliff face of the island to climb up a rope! We didn’t feed them, now we know why, but we saw many moneyed including a little baby clinging to it’s mothers tummy as she climbed! 

 

Not far from there our tour guide Jane pointed out Viking Cave. This place looked like it was straight out of a movie starring Magellan.  Viking Cave owes its name to the paintings found on the walls of the cave: they represent various types of boats, including what resembles a Scandinavian drakkar. These paintings are pretty recent, and were possibly discovers by sailors taking shelter in the cave during a storm.

Jane also explained that one of the most profitable local industries is the hunting/harvesting of swiftlet birds’ nests.

Particularly prized in Chinese culture, these edible nests are believed to promote good health and to be specifically good for the skin. A local legend says that long time ago, sailors lost their boat during a storm and got stuck without food. They took shelter here and found a colony of swiftlet, the men could survive by eating their nests which gave them enough strength to wait for rescue. The harvest of bird’s nests is a risky job, hunters climb handmade bamboo ladders in the dark to collect these precious items. Bird’s nests are sold, on average, for about 83,000 Thai Baht per kilo ($2,500 for two pounds!) Ten people own the island that Viking Cave is connected to, and they legally have the right to shoot you if you are caught inside the cave after 6pm. 

 

Anyway we docked our boat in this area and snorkeled looking for white tip reef sharks. Jane says they are there only 50% of the time, this time the weren't! Bummer, but it was still so beautiful. The coral reef was absolutely amazing! Being an avid snorkeler back home (lol) I’ve never seen anything like it in the US. 

After this we pulled up to a beach off of Phi Phi Don island and ate a delicious thai lunch at Phi Phi Cliff Beach Resort!

They served the 4 of us a freshly cooked vegan meal as everyone else ate from their impressive buffet. We ate vegetable stir fry, veggie fried rice and vegetable tempura, so good! After we ate we walked the beach and snapped some photos for Fusedhawaii.com .

 

 

 

We boarded the boat for our last stop at Rang Yai Island. Jane explained this stop was just for relaxing. They had a restaurant and bar right on the beach and a pearl gallery where they were selling pearls harvested right off the coast of the island. We laid on beach chairs in the shade as Jane served us fresh young coconuts and banana smoothies.

 

What a day! Sunrise on the Andaman sea, breakfast on bamboo beach, Island hopping between 5 different islands, swimming in two lagoons, lunch at a private secluded resort, and cold drinks on a shaded beach. We loved this tour so much we are taking another to the jungle in a couple of days! 

 

If you’re ever in Phuket, book with Simba Sea Trips. No doubt, the best boat tour company here! 

 

Chai Yo - Cheers in Thai.

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Level-UP! Magazine Review of my Debut Album HEARTSTRINGS!

By Victoria Prince

Level-UP! Magazine Review of my Debut Album HEARTSTRINGS!

I’ve been featured in Level-Up Magazine out of Chicago, Illinois with a full review on my new album!

They are calling HEARTSTRINGS the “album of the season” but even better than that, “Let’s not get lost in its catchy tunes, for the message it relays is far more beautiful than any song in it.” 

THANK YOU to journalist Rianna Ronquillo for the flattering and impressively accurate review of HEARTSTRINGS without even interviewing me! 

 

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The best place to stay in Phuket, Thailand! A tour of our villa in Mono Village!

By Victoria Prince

The best place to stay in Phuket, Thailand! A tour of our villa in Mono Village!
And check out my other blog posts full of adventure and travel tips!
Kob Kun Ka - Thank you in Thai :) 
 

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A day in Beijing - Review of Lily's Airport Tour to the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, and Forbidden City.

By Victoria Prince

A day in Beijing - Review of Lily's Airport Tour to the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, and Forbidden City.
What better way to spend a 12 hour layover than to take a tour of one of the biggest cities in the world! When I was booking my trip to Thailand I decided to stop off in Beijing. I simply googled "things to do on a layover in Beijing" and found Lily's Airport Tour!
Booking was easy and to the point, I paid in advance using Viator.com 
Upon arrival to Beijing from Honolulu we applied for our 24 hour visas, went through customs, changed our clothes, exchanged our currency (This took us about 1.5 hours) .
Sherry, our tour guide met us outside of our terminal holding a sign with our names on it. She led us to the parking garage where our driver picked us up in a nice mini van (it even had wood floors) to begin our day. 
Sherry was highly educated and shared many facts about China's history and culture. She said she spoke "Changlish" Chinese English haha and apologized for her thick accent. I loved it. 
Here are some of my favorite facts I learned: 
• Beijing: population 22 million. 
• In the old days common people were beheaded for wearing the color yellow and using the number 9. Yellow and the number 9 were symbols of luck and royalty and were forbidden to the common people. Even if you were born on the 9th of the month, your parents would be forced to pretend it was the 10th. Whenever the number 9 came up, common people by law were supposed to skip to 10 as if 9 didnt exist! 
• Chinese women are only allowed to have two children and before 2016 there was a strict one child law.
• Due to high population and pollution there are trees EVERYWHERE. Even city blocks are lined with huge magnificent beautiful green trees. Trees are farmed specifically to clean the air. In America we cut down all the trees and then print “save the trees” on paper. 
• Most older places of residence do not have their own bathrooms. 2-3 families share a home and have to use a public restroom outside.
• Facebook and google are banned in China due to Chinese government information being leaked through both. 
Moving on, the drive from the airport to our first stop Tiananmen Square & Forbidden City was a little over an hour. Beijing was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Plush green trees lined even the busiest of city blocks. 
 
When we got there, our driver gave us cold bottled water from his mini fridge in the back of his van. 
We followed Sherry into Tiananmen Square where we stood in front of what she called "The Chinese White House"   The Great Hall of the People 
Tinanmen square was HUGE and swarming with tourists from all over the world.
Next, Sherry led us to Forbidden city, connected to the square.
This place was packed with incredible architecture, history, and fascinating traditions. Sherry shared many interesting facts and walked FAST so we could see everything during our time crunch. She was also willing to snap many photos for us! 
Next, Sherry took us to the cutest, most authentic, most DELICIOUS Chinese restaurant for lunch. Which by the way was included with the tour along with admission for all of our activities. 
Always China steal my kisses
The restaurant accommodated the vegans and meat eaters in our party, I cant even express how delectable this Chinese food was. Which I suppose is just called food in this country haha.....  I am forever changed! 
 
And last but not least, we saw one of the seven wonders of the world. The Great Wall of China. More specifically, the last leg of our tour as described in the booking was  Mutianyu Great Wall.
Most people visiting this part of the wall have to park in a parking lot and take a shuttle bus to the base of the mountain. Lucky for us, Sharon had a VIP parking pass and we were able to skip the extra 30 mins and packed bus and park super close! We had to take a "chairlift" AKA a ski lift to the very top.
It was breathtaking. 
You remember my husband Graham, as described in my past blog posts about our epic honeymoon in Bali!

 

And this is Graham's daughter Maya (on the left) and her best friend Hope. They are heading off to college this Fall so we decided to take them on the trip of a lifetime for their last summer before adulthood.
Bucket listed. 
 
After we explored the wall for about an hour, we were able to take a Toboggan ride down the mountain! It reminded me of the old movie "Cool Runnings" minus the snow lol.
They were basically little individual sleds with an E brake in the middle so you could control your own speed. We sped down the mountain accidentally rear-ending each other, getting scolded for going too fast and then too slow, (we assume, because most of the employees didnt speak any english) holding on for dear life, and laughing up a storm. It was way more fun than I expected!
There was a cute little souvenir shop where we all bought shirts that said "I climbed the great wall" then we hopped in the van for our journey back to the airport.
 
Sherry was amazing, I highly reccommend Lily's Airport Tour! 
Upon arrival to the airport she even led us into our terminal, showed us where to get in line, and spoke with TSA to let them know we were good to go! 
If you ever find yourself stuck in Beijing for a long layover, book a tour to see one of the seven wonders of the world. You wont regret it. 
Zai Jian - (goodbye in Chinese) 

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Pregnancy loss awareness month

By Victoria Prince

Pregnancy loss awareness month
Pregnancy loss awareness month is here. As I endure my second miscarriage, I imagine the babies I'll never hold in my arms. Just beneath my hand there was a life. Not once but twice this year. There were two little lights burning bright. Bearing so much joy, so much hope, so many dreams of little fingers and feet, life lessons and growth. Two lights ignited by love that one day just went out, for no known reason, taking all of the hope and dreams with them.
As it is getting dark in this heart of mine, I am only comforted by the fact that I am not alone.
I am reminded never to judge a book by its cover. On the outside I'm a free spirited singer & swimwear model and I need to "enjoy it while you can, you won't be able to perform/model/travel once you have kids" and on the inside, in an instant - I would trade the stage for lullabies and this bikini body/passport in for a real chance to have a healthy baby.
I am reminded how important it is to be kind, more than anything, because you never know what someone is going through.
I thank organizations like Hospice of Kona for our community pregnancy and infant loss event last night. It was beautiful. And for powerful movements like @ihadamiscarriage for openly sharing the stories of many women experiencing this heart wrenching type of loss. I thank those women for their strength, honesty, and willingness to speak up and raise awareness about something nobody talks about. A persons a person no matter how small. Suffering in silence is unbearable and unnecessary.
I thank the people in my life for being there, for understanding, for planning and unplanning with me, and for loving me more than I can fathom - you know who you are. I thank my husband for everything above and so much more. You make getting out of bed in the morning (or any time of day) seem possible. I grieve deeply today. This month. This year. But like the Phoenix rises from the ashes, with all of the love that I feel in my soul - I know I can and I will, eventually, rise again. ❤️👼🏼🙏🏼 #ihadamiscarriage #pregnancyloss #1in4 #breakthestigma #speakyourtruth #infertility #pregnancylossawareness #unsilenced #waveoflight #neverforgotten

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"Gimme That" Out now! And the story behind it.

By Victoria Prince

"Gimme That" Out now! And the story behind it.

I just released one of my all time favorite creations "Gimme That." I usually like to let the listener interpret the song as they hear it themselves but this song means so much to me I'd like to share the story behind it. 

Gimme That explained:

There was a time in my life when I finally realized that I didn't need anyone or anything in order to be happy. Nobody could get my true attention using material things, lame pickup lines or empty promises. I knew in my bones that music was the only thing that brought me real joy in this life. 

A stranger once asked me "What can I give you that would make you the happiest?" to which I replied "Nothing I can't give myself."

I'm not impressed by possessions, I don't want to see fancy things, or hear excuses. I want to hear truth, I want to hear passion, I want to hear music. Give me a song I can belt out from behind a steering wheel or in the shower. Give me the kind of song you just can't help but tap your foot to. Give me a song that makes me stop in the middle of a run so I can tap 'add to playlist.' Or the kind of song that makes me smile ear to ear while I'm driving in the car with the windows down. Or the best kind of song, the kind that makes the fuzz on my arms stand up because the lyrics are speaking straight to my soul. Chicken skin.

During this time in my life I wanted music more than love, more than money, more than anything. I knew I didn't need a person to fill my head with sweet nothings - I could fill my own head with the sweet sound of my guitar. The beautiful thing about playing an instrument is you get out of it exactly what you put into it. Not more, not less.

I love this song because it's not a love song. I wrote this song for me and me only. It's great to be inspired by love, loss, or hope. But it's empowering to be inspired by your own will to be happy with nothing but the simple things in life. In my case, I just wanted to let my hair down, cut all the BS, move past my insecurities, bypass all the excuses and make some music. I wanted nothing more than to play my songs and be free.

Someone once said - "If you're looking for permission, this is it, you're allowed to be your own muse."

Touché.

Head over to the "music" tab in the menu where you can download it and hear it yourself. 

As always, thank you for listening to the inside of my heart. My music. I am forever appreciative of you. Yes you, reading this right here and now. Thank you. 

-VP

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Shift your focus, don't change your vision.

By Victoria Prince

Shift your focus, don't change your vision.
I'm diving into my current life changes and I'm sad, hopeful, excited, and scared. Last week my fears became a reality when I was forced to make the heartbreaking decision to stop all live performances because I may be needing vocal surgery. (Pending verdict.)
I felt like an injured athlete. I felt crushed beneath the weight of my worst case scenario thoughts. I knew this was coming, I tried to ignore it like an impending doom. I was going through the five stages of grief when I had to remind myself that temporary obstacles don't = permanent outcomes. I'll be taking a break from playing live so my vox can heal and focusing on releasing my album. I was lucky enough to do what I love most for a living for three years. The whole don't cry because it's over smile because it happened thing is easier said than done but it is so damn true.
This new job as a middle school fitness teacher has helped me tremendously. I feel fulfilled working with the youth. I thank my lucky stars I have more passions than just music to help me navigate through myself and live an artistic and fiery life . Im grateful to have a loving supportive family who believe in me even when I'm down. I'm happy to have the skills and knowledge I need to turn my heartbreak into a positive opportunity for growth and change.
One thing I've learned from my constant desire to be better is - whenever I make a big life change like quitting a shitty job, leaving an unhealthy relationship, quitting alcohol, starting a new fitness routine, quitting meat, etc.... the feelings I have are always the same.
At first I feel liberated, I feel free, amazing, I think clearly, I feel the weight lifted from my chest.
And then - inevitably I question myself, why am I doing this? It's so much easier to stay, or to continue doing what I was doing, my body starts to detox and I feel like shit. I grieve my old self. I miss her. She was careless. But she was not well. I question if I made the right decision. But I don't give up. Mostly because I'm stubborn and DETERMINED to be the person that does what they say they are going to do. I stick to my guns even if I hate myself temporarily.
And then I start to bloom. The results start to sink in and feel more permanent. The struggle fades. I feel deeply satisfied and happy with my life change no matter how hard it was, my mind shifts and the payoff proves itself. I'm on cloud nine. I'm better than I was yesterday. I prove myself to myself. The change is complete and the struggle is over. For now. Until the next. Right now I'm in the first stages of change with transitioning into a plant based diet and also taking a break from live performances. No matter how hard it is, I know this too shall pass. 
You can plan anything in the world but you can't plan the outcome. "You can plan a pretty picnic but you can't predict the weather." Just when you feel on top of the world the universe has a silly way of humbling you and bringing you back to center. I thank the universe for presenting me with all of life's obstacles that I can turn into opportunities for growth. I thank you all for your continuous support. I've shifted my focus but I haven't changed my vision. I'll be releasing another song very soon. Stay tuned. 
-VP 

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OUT NOW - Summer Single "Paradise"

By Victoria Prince

OUT NOW - Summer Single "Paradise"

My Debut single "Butterflies" is currently top 5 on 93.9 The Beat in Kona, Hawaii! We've been on the charts for 5 weeks now and we held the #1 spot for one of those weeks! Everyone has been asking for more music and the outpour of love is what motivated me to give you more. 

This new song "Paradise" is seriously one of my favorites I've ever written. It's my summer jam and I'm so stoked to share the island vibes with you.

Listen close, this little ditty features my little brother Rhino Prince killing it on percussion. Mahalo to producer Jeff Bond, we had so much fun recording this song in the studio in the middle of a snowpocalypse in Portland this past winter. We were literally snowed-in in January, jamming about sunshine, wishing it was July. We knew then that we had to release this song mid-summer. So here it is. I hope you love it. 

 

Please help me share this song with the world

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Mahalo from Paradise

- VP

 

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