For years I had been wanting to travel the world and visit as many places as I possibly can (read about my competition of how many countries with my sister here) but I settled down in one area. And, after seeing all of my friends travel through South East Asia, especially through Thailand, I knew that was where I was to go next. So, I planned a six week trip and off I went.
I wouldn’t call this trip soul searching, however I would say it was all about the wanderlust of wanting to see everything that my eyes could possibly take in. Especially the culture. After growing up in the UK it is quite a culture shock going to South East Asia. It is just all so different. Bangkok especially, which is where it all began.
Arriving late in the evening and settling into our hostel (yes I wanted to be a true backpacker so no hotels for me), we headed straight for Koh San Road. Okay, so in honest truth we had only be told that this was the road that everyone went to to have a laugh and a good time and they were not wrong. It was jam packed with street food stalls (couldn’t quite bring myself to eat a scorpion), live bands, restaurants and bars and it was the place to socialise with people and meet fellow travellers. It was crazy! Yet due to jet lag, it wasn’t a night of craziness for us, boring I know but I wanted to see all the culture the next day, so off to bed it was.
Over the next two days we crammed in pretty much all of the sites of Bangkok, being chauffeured round the city on a long boat and then a tuk-tuk (make sure you don’t get charged ridiculous amounts for this like us who found out later you usually pay half the price, lesson one learnt for us). Of course, anyone you speak to about Bangkok would tell you to visit the Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), the Imperial Palace and the Temple of the Rising Dawn. And I would agree. I have to say, in Thailand once you’ve visited a temple you have pretty much seen all of them as most of them are quite similar however, you do just have to see them to be able to take it all in. The Thai’s do know how to make a beautiful temple that is for sure! And don’t even get me started on the Grand Palace, I would just love to live there. Please make sure though that you do your research before you go though as we were almost scammed many times over the cost of entrances and whether or not places were open or closed. Just stick to what you know and found out and you’ll be fine. Also learn to say no otherwise you will buy pretty much everything that you see (lesson two for us!)
Another tip: eat the street food, especially the pancakes. They are delicious!
Stop two in North Thailand was Chiang Mai which we travelled to via train. Chiang Mai is split into two sections; the old town that is still surrounded by a wall and moat and the new town which sits just outside these walls. And there is just so much todo here. From visiting the night markets (prints and colour galore) to canyon jumping to feeding and washing the elephants (this is now promoted a lot more than elephant riding) there is something for everyone and let me tell you, it was a blast! Also great for a night out too – all backpackers go to the bar Zoe in the Yellow Garden to meet everyone.
The final stop in North Thailand was Chiang Rai before crossing over the border into Laos. Here you need to visit the White Temple as compared to all other temples in Thailand this structure is completely different. There’s no bright colours, instead there is just the structure and detail of the building that is what stands out. Breath taking!
From here it was goodbye to North Thailand and off to Laos and that post will be coming shortly