Travel Stories: Exploring Thailand

Our original destination, Bali, Indonesia, changed to Thailand in all of five minutes due to the ‘active volcano’. It was a strange event, but a blessing, and I could not have asked for a more eventful diverse vacation with my brother.  Spontaneous goes without saying, considering we planned for the off season, stormy rainy weather, in Bali, and we got beautiful bright sunny days in Thailand.

Once we were in Thailand, the flights were dirt cheap. We were able to explore four regions of Thailand: Bangkok, Krabi, Phi Phi, and Chiang Mai.

Bangkok had a dirty grungy city feel, where bargaining came the easiest, along with the cheapest places to stay.  The street markets gave us our fill of mystery meat, some of the most flavorful noodles and dishes, all for about fifty cents to a dollar a plate or skewer. We took a muddy boat ride to the cosmopolitan part of the city and got happily lost. We wandered through the most intriguing parks, full of people, all ages, playing games and spending time together under the trees.  The view of the city from rooftop lounges was spectacular, and we were actually able to watch the Lunar Eclipse (blood moon) from thirty-two floors up. Being above the filth and fuss and buss of the street life was the ultimate game changer.

Krabi was much cleaner, and super touristy on the beaches of Ao Nang and Railay.  We swam out far past the two points and through a cave, which was both exhilarating and frightening. On the swim back, we found another hidden spot in between the rock formations where we swung on tree vines. We watched a family of monkeys, with babies on their stomachs, jump from tree to tree while being hunted by wild dogs.

Phi Phi Island was full of kayaking, snorkeling, exploring multiple beaches, hanging out with the monkeys, and finding hidden underwater caves. The water was crystal blue and the fish were all unique, multicolored, and curious.  We were able to swim with a sea turtle, which was the highlight of our stay there. The bars and lounges were a blast, and the neon beach parties at night consisted of sand buckets of jungle juice, flame throwers, limbo, and large double jump ropes. We had a routine of going to Banana bar every night at seven, to watch a movie on a big screen on the rooftop. One night, during the middle of the movie, we got caught in a massive rain storm, and it was pure magic.

Chiang Mai was a completely different feel and was the cleanest and most organized of all the places we had previously been.  The markets were more abundant and had better quality fruits, veggies, and nuts. Beaches were replaced with the freshest, most beautiful, waterfalls in the jungles.  The temples were so detailed and complex, and our favorite one had a maze of tunnels to wander through.  We were able to find an array of different foods there, like Italian, Sushi, Mexican, American, Indian, and Mediterranean.  Our adventure, an hour-long scooter ride, to the elephant sanctuary was life changing.  Having the opportunity to interact with these sweet, affectionate, gentle giants was more than I could have ever dreamed of.

I had the time of my life, bonded with my brother, explored and adapted to a new culture with new people and friends, tried things that frightened me, and ate all kinds of different food, some of which made me sick.  I cut my foot open multiple times on live rock, encountered all kinds of diverse wildlife, and even got growled at by a monkey protecting a banana he stole from a tourist.  I hiked everywhere, swam every second I could, and promised myself to do all things that scared me, and I did. I had multiple near-death experiences riding on the back of a scooter all around Thailand and rented a bicycle for the day where things really got dangerous. I found the beauty in the dirt and developed more of an appreciation for all that I had back home. Traveling really opens your eyes to the daily privileges that are so easily neglected and taken for granted. It forces you to appreciate the little things to the peak of all they are. I missed my family, dog, bike, shower, bed, cleanliness of the states, fresh food, clean drinking water, no mosquitos, cool weather with little humidity, the gym, work, my car, apartment, writing, my laptop, my kitchen, daily routines, being acknowledged by strangers, and people being nice just because. I learned, I grew, I allowed a country to sculpt a part into my life, I took the good and the bad, and I came home with a traveling itch scratched and intrigued to plan the next. ❤




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