When I went there: October 2014
I went to Thailand on my year away with my friend. We went there in between Cambodia and Bali.
We started in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. We had heard this place was the best for seeing elephants and for buying fake handbags! We booked what we thought was a hotel with a pool to be disappointed this was more like a pond. Our whole time there was cloudy so this didn’t bother us to much. We did some research on where we should do our elephant visit and booked. We had heard that riding the elephants is wrong so we wanted somewhere that we can play with them and look after them for the day. We spent on of our days visiting the Chiang Mai zoo and saw the elephants were treated badly. The zoo was good and worth a visit but seeing some on the pens how small they were upset us.
Four our day with the elephants we were picked up and taken into the Thai countryside and made to wear funny looking clothes – this stopped our own clothes getting ruined. We met the elephants and fed them bananas, they scooped them up out of your hands with their trunks. We then walked them down to a river where we bathed them. We then got lunch and played with the elephants for the rest of the day.
We mainly shopped in Chaing Mai, we discovered a large shopping mall and we went a little crazy shopping as all the clothes and shoes were so much cheaper than back home. We went to the cinema a number of times as it cost £1.50. We did go to a large market which sold Thai authentic items and fakes. I bought my Mum a Thai silk scarf and I bought myself a fake Mulberry bag. I got pretty good at bartering. One of our days we walked into the walled village of Chiang Mai and got a feet pedicure with those fish that eat all your dead skin, there was a huge craze with it in the UK.
After Chaing Mai we flew to Bangkok to start our 10 day Thailand tour with Ultimate Thailand. Our first night there was a night of drinking along Khoa San Road where we ended up in a club. The bars are crazy in Bangkok, they don’t measure the alcohol and they don’t check ID. I am quite shy in large groups of people so it took me a while to relax. A group of us then headed to McDonalds of all places before returning back to our hotel. The following day we went out to view some temples and the sleeping budha, the majority of the group was hungover. We spent the afternoon shopping in the malls and markets, the shopping was so cheap we went crazy once again.
We left Bangkok to head to Khao Sok National Park. We boarded an overnight train which was horrendous. Trying to sleep was not possible. The seats turned into beds and we had curtains we could pull across but the movement of the train was so loud I barely slept. The toilet was a hole that just looked onto the tracks so I preyed I didn’t need to use it. Khao Sok National Park reminded me very much of Halong Bay in Vietnam, they are basically the same. We stayed in floating huts on the water and went on longboat cruises to see monkeys.
Our next stop was in the jungle in Khao Sok Jungle Village. Here we did one of my favourite things that I did in my year away, we went river tubing. A group of us sat in large black rubber rings and just cruised down the river, it was so surreal and relaxing that I loved it. Another option was to have a Thai massage but the tubing was an excellent choice. That night I tried Massaman curry for the first time and loved it – I now have it in Thai restaurants back home. While here we stopped at the Monkey temple which is full of monkeys as it says in the name. I took bananas and nuts and got attacked.
We left the jungle and headed for Koh Phi Phi – party island. the amount of restaurants, bars and markets was insane. There was so many fake handbags, sunglasses, make up, anything you could think of. We had dinner in a Mexican restaurant and drank from buckets of cocktail. We went out in Koh Phi Phi our first night and the beach turns into a massive party. The following day we took a boat trip to Maya Bay, the famous beach from the film ‘The Beach’. Getting to Maya Bay was dangerous, we had to scramble over a jagged reef and clamber up rocks while battling the tide. We reached the beach which was pretty but felt ruined due to all the boats and tourists wondering around.
The next stop was Koh Phangan. This was a more relaxing part of the tour where we staying in huts and relaxed by the pool. We had the chance to visit a Full Moon party but this was cancelled.
Verdict? I did enjoy Thailand but I enjoyed Cambodia so much more. If the opportuinty arose I would go back but I am not desperate to return Go back? Maybe