It’s incredible how time flies! It’s been almost three months since we got back from Thailand and it’s a bit surreal to only be putting together a selection of my favourite photos now, but we really haven’t been this busy in the winter time in any of the previous years. Our trip has gone by so quickly and just as it is with all of our travels, we started missing Thailand the moment we got back home.
The first day in Bangkok was a blur. We arrived in the late afternoon and immediately went to find our hotel. We had a morning flight to Phuket so we spent the whole evening walking around rather secluded streets of Bangkok, ending up eating the best soup, that I still don’t quite know the ingredients of. I just know that we all left what we later on identified as fish balls out for the cats. :P
On our trip we were primarily travellers, leaving our cameras in safety vaults more often than not, especially when on boats as we did not want to risk soaking our equipment, so some of the photos were taken with our iphones.
From Phuket-town we embarked on a boat, taking us to Koh Phi-Phi – our first stop for some much needed lay in the sun! We expected it to be super touristy and not at all to our liking, but we all loved it so much we chose to stay for a bit longer than planned. What I loved the most was that there was no cars or motorbikes, you could get pretty much anywhere on foot as the island is tiny, or visit any of the near-by beaches by a canoe. Phi-Phi is an amazing place to go if you want to enjoy the crystal clear water, crazy parties and buckets and buckets of cocktails. :)
One day we paddled to the monkey beach in hopes of seeing some cute creatures, but none actually showed up! We heard many stories about monkeys attacking people, but we only saw them from afar while on a day trip to James Bond Island.
Koh Tao was next on our list of islands we wanted to visit. We weren’t lucky weather-wise as we had very little sun during our three day stay there, but it was nothing short of beautiful nonetheless. We slept in cute bungalows, drank fresh pineapple and mango drinks, snorkled and ate some of our favourite thai dishes at this place called ‘Sawaddee thai food’. Koh Tao is an island for divers, so I would definitely think twice before tackling a twelve hour ferry ride again. However, we did take a longtail boat to Koh Nangyuan which was the loveliest place I’ve ever seen.
It’s hard to imagine the long distances from one place to another before you actually experience them. After a long ferry ride back to the mainland, we were hurried into a mini bus that took us from Chumphon to Bangkok. It was the wildest drive!!! At one point we were all a hundred percent sure our driver was seconds away from dozing off behind the wheel, so we asked for a short stop – funny enough he returned back with a bunch of energy drinks.
Bangkok wasn’t our final destination, though. We caught a night train to Chiang Mai – expecting the worst we were pretty surprised by how comfortable the beds were, and we even met some cool people to chat to before finally giving in to the sleep. Seeing how time-consuming travelling from one place to the other is, we knew that we would be returning back to Thailand sooner rather than later. It’s impossible to see everything when you only have three weeks (of which you spend three or four days just flying, catching buses and ferries), but from what we did see … I can assure you Thailand is most definitely worth visiting!
One of the first things we did in Chiang Mai was visit the Tiger Kingdom. I was a little sceptical about that as I read plenty of blog posts on how they drug and abuse the tigers, so naturally us girls opted for only seeing the baby tigers. They were lively and playful, just like the three cats we have at home, except much bigger, and probably much more dangerous if not handled properly. We were told to only rub their bellies, and the little babies loved it!
Soon we were off to experience the jungle. It wasn’t exactly the way we imagined it, but we stayed in a Karen village, rode elephants and watch them bathe in the nearby river. Later on and after quite a bit of research I found out that the Karen women are often forced to live in villages like that for tourists’ entertainment, and I’m sure there are plenty other, more genuine and people-friendly ways of learning more about Thailand, elephants and the ethnic groups, such as the Karen people.
On our last day in Chiang Mai we went to the ZOO. I’m a huge animal lover and even though I have some internal struggles when it comes too keeping them in captivity, but the Chiang Mai zoo was actually one of the best ones I’ve ever been to. Animals has huge enclosures and they all looked healthy! We even saw two pandas and it was so cute seeing them chill and feast on what looked like pounds of bamboo.
In the late afternoon we caught the night-train to Ayutthaya. This time around the ride was much less comfortable and much colder than the first time around, but we made it to one of the prettiest cities I’ve ever seen before the sunrise. The main thing we wanted to see was Wat Chaiwatthanaram and man it looked beautiful with the rising sun behind it. We walked around for a little less than an hour and then chose to get some much needed coffee right across the street, which was obviously a bad choice, as Thai coffee is way too sweet and not strong at all. :P A little exhausted but in good spirits we then saw Wat Phra Si Sanphet and Wat Mahathat. The latter was destroyed by the Burmese who vandalised Buddha statues. Centuries later the Buddha head entwined in tree roots is one of the biggest attractions in Thailand.
We spent the last couple of days in Bangkok walking the Khaosan road and buying souvenirs, trying new foods, and lastly seeing the many famous temples. Somehow the least touristy things we did were definitely my favourite, and it felt good leaving my camera in a hotel room and just soaking in the surroundings. I think I can speak for all of us in saying that we fell in love with Thailand. It’s a perfect place to go, so much so that we’ll definitely be going back very, very soon. :) And if you are considering it as a destination, let me tell you just a few of my favourite things about the country – maybe it will help you decide. Food is absolutely delicious! You can get a whole chopped up mango or a pineapple for 25 baht (which is 60 cents), smoothies and ice drinks are to die for and also very affordable. The weather is warm, the beaches are crazy beautiful and the locals are super friendly. Hotels are affordable and transport is really cheap considering the distances, and I think this is more than enough reasons for me to love this place – apart from it being very international, so it’s easy to communicate in English pretty much everywhere.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this peek into our trip to Thailand. :) It was one of my utmost favourite vacations ever, despite the very tiring twelve hour flight (and eight hour layover) back home.