Golden Week: Thailand!

I had 10 days holidays at the end of April (Golden Week) and mum was in town visiting so we headed to one of the country’s we have always said we would visit together: Thailand (others include: Italy and the Vatican)

Thailand was unreal! I’ve been wanting to go to Thailand for some time now, mainly because I love Thai food. It might seem like a silly reason to some, but I have always thought that if Thai food tastes so good in Toronto imagine how much better it would be in Thailand. Plus, up to our trip Southeast Asia was a mystery to me, and of all the countries in Southeast Asia Thailand was the only one that I was interested in (all that has changed since and right now I’m making preparations to visit Vietnam in August).

In Thailand we stayed in Bangkok, Ao Nang, Koh Phi Phi  and Chiang Mai.

There’s not much to say about Bangkok, unless you are living under a rock, you must know that the situation in Bangkok has been tense for sometime now. It is also not the safest city to be in right now and in my opinion it was just another city. A lot of people, cars, tuk tuks and pollution. However, there was one experience in Bangkok that made me think that my 12 hours in there were not so bad after all. On our way back to the airport after spending only 1 night in Bangkok we got the nicest, sweetest and funniest taxi driver we could have gotten. This man is 75 years old, but I have never seen such an energetic, and happy 75 year-old man in my life. In the 45 minutes drive to the airport he told us the history of Thailand, the current situation of the country, the fight between the red and yellow shirts, how he had seen many wars and fights in his country and how at his age, he wants to make a decent living, keep his family safe and live a happy, and tranquil life. He also explained us that the reason that there were military soldiers outside the airport is because they were there to keep the protesters from going into the airport and bringing the airport to a stop as they did in December of 2008. He said that they were very young though, and spent too many hours under the sun, so he sometimes stopped and gave them whatever water/food he had as the airport was on his way home. I realized that that is why I love traveling because you never know when you are going to meet that wonderful 75 year-old that will make you see the world in a different way, especially in a place that is filled with so much anger and frustration.

Ao Nang was lovely: a beautiful hotel, nice, quiet beach and amazing food! Mom and I spent a lovely night there, we went out for dinner, shopping and enjoyed the swimming pool in our hotel.

Koh Phi Phi was interesting. When we first arrived I was NOT impressed. I found it way too touristy, which I really shouldn’t have been surprised about and thought a lot of the people were too aggressive for my liking. However after exploring the island and a good night sleep everything looked so much better. Koh Phi Phi is absolutely stunning! Jade water, nothing but sunshine, mountains and lots and lots of coconut milk shakes! Mom and I spent a lot of time at the beach, we went swimming everyday, we explored the island, went for walks and finished every night with drinks by the beach. It was exactly the kind of place that we needed. In Canada there really are no beaches and winter here was long and cold, so I enjoyed every second that I spent on that island. It is also very famous for Koh Phi Leh which is a short boat ride away and was the background for the movie The Beach starring Leonardo diCaprio (sorry ladies, Leo was nowhere to be seen).

After a few days in paradise, we decided it was time to get some real Thai culture and headed up north to Chaing Mai. My friend Sarah went to Chaing Mai a few years ago and told me that she felt like a little girl while in there. That’s exactly how I felt. The night markets with all the lanterns, all the silks, the smells, the food, the fruits…. aahh, it was unreal!  Not to mention that there are as many wats (temples) as there are Tim Horton’s in Canada. They are everywhere and they are all so beautiful, with their gold pagodas and buddha statues. In Chaing Mai we did a lot of shopping… I almost needed a new suitcase! We also visited Wat Phra Singh a beautiful temple of top of a mountain, and we spent a lot of time exploring both the Night Bazaar and the Sunday Market. I definitely wanted to stay there longer than what we did, but unfortunately we had a plane to catch and before we knew it we were back in Nippon.

What can I say? I absolutely loved Thailand, it was a fascinating country to visit. At times it was a heartbreaking experience, but many others it was an absolutely pleasure. I also couldn’t have asked for a better companion: this was definitely one of those experiences that mum and I will be able to talk about for many, many years to come. I know that I will have to go back to Thailand before I head home and I can’t wait for when I do so. Here are some pictures from our trip…. Enjoy!

Keeping you posted!