Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Thailand Tales

Maya Bay, Koh Phi-Phi 'The Beach'

So, I have just returned from an amazing 4 weeks in Thailand…where to begin? I am greatly struggling with the stark reality of being back in England and even worse, back at work, so I know that in writing this post, my depression about the situation will sink in either further.

We touched down in Bangkok with only the name of a hostel scribbled down on a scrap of paper and a general idea of the area we wanted to get to. Straight away the taxi driver looked baffled when we showed him the hostel address – not the best start. We had an evening flight and by the time we arrived at the Koh San Road, the night was in full swing. It felt as though we had accidently landed in Malia. Overwhelmed, overheated and frustrated at not being able to find where we were looking for, we headed to the closest hostel we could find; and the less said about that, the better.  

Everyone says that Bangkok is a place that you will either love or hate. I disagree. It is, in my opinion a place you grow tired of as the days progress. At first it’s all lights, excitement and action; you get caught up in it all, but the locals trying to sell you junk and the sound of “tuktuk?”, “ping-pong show?” grows old pretty fast. It’s definitely an experience, but a couple days there is more than enough.

A 14 hour train/boat journey later, we arrived in Koh Phangan, a few days early for the Full Moon Party. The 5 days spent on this island were a mixture of buckets full of vodka, sand (everywhere), sea, fire shows, glow paint, parties and embarrassment. It is a must visit for anyone travelling Thailand, although I’m sure you won’t need me to tell you that. But let me just say it lives up to its reputation.

The shoes were compulsory, and that is not a sweat band (keep reading)

I won’t run through everywhere we visited, as there was some rain and illness along the way which led to some very relaxed and unexciting days. Koh Phi-Phi though is absolutely worth the mention. Simply put, it’s amazing. Everywhere on the travelling route in Thailand is kinda commercial these days, and not that Koh Phi-Phi isn’t crammed full of tourists and fake Ray-Bans, but it still has great deal of untouched charm. The high cliffs that surround the island make it feel almost jurassic, and the devastation left by the Tsunami means it’s pretty underdeveloped, but beautiful. It offers the perfect balance of culture and tourism, and when you’re there you definitely feel a million miles away from home, in a good way.

50 something hours later we arrived on the Thailand/Laos border. Visiting Laos was never our intention as there was only really one reason we wanted to go there and we couldn’t justify spending that much time and money travelling to a whole other country just to do one thing. But somehow this is where we ended up next. We, of course, made the journey to go Tubing. For those of you who don’t know, tubing is basically like a giant bar crawl in the day – on a river, in giant rubber ring. Yes, it really is as fun as it sounds. You just float down the river waiting for a bar to chuck you a rope and hook you in while getting drunk with lots of other travellers. It’s pretty dangerous though, 27 people apparently died last year, and we didn’t manage to escape unscathed either. Although, sprained wrist and dislocated breast bone aside, it was definitely worth it!

There are so many more stories to tell, but I feel I would be here all day and no one wants that. Anyway, for anyone who is on the fence about visiting Thailand, GO. It’s not too much of a culture shock, but just enough to ease you in to travelling and open your eyes to the wide world that is out there. The only negative is the feeling of reality setting in once you arrive home. 

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