Bangkok: First stop on our first big trip was Thailand and where best to start than Bangkok!
So we arrived fresh faced with a total sense of anxiety and no idea what to expect. Bangkok was mental from the word go! The first few days are a blur of Chang and excitement. Khao San road is the heart of Bangkok so typically our hostel was smack bang in the middle of the strip. We were officially travellers so no better way to begin than grab a local beer and mix with some fellow backpackers!
Other than the crazy nights out of which probably should be kept considerably low-key on here there wasn’t all too much to do in the day time. I’m 1000000% sure there was but due to our naivety at the time we were completely oblivious. Apparently Bangkok boasts the best nightlife in the entire World. From my experience it’d take some beating! It took us until the third day before we ventured out, taking a tuctuc tour of the city and finally seeing some culture!
Koh Panghan: More crazy nights passed but soon it was time to travel for the first time. An over night bus to Koh Phangan awaited and several days later as did the infamous Full Moon Party! Note I would seriously advise against taking the overnight bus in hindsight!
Our bamboo hut hostel was right on the beach, this was the life! The full moon party was 3 days away but there was 3 nights of build up to enjoy! This was our first experience of the Thai buckets. A hideous concoction of cheap alcohol and knock off mixer poured into a child’s sandcastle bucket and sold for peanuts. Potent!
My single regret of Thailand was that I had perhaps one too many buckets at the Full Moon Party and went AWOL. Oh dear! Missing in action, missing the sunrise. Adding to this was a lost phone!
Koh Samui: After Koh Panghan it was neighbouring Island Koh Samui. Larger and more commercial but with equally as good a reputation. Sadly the first few days were a bit of a wash out! Tropical storms coming in full force while Tommys guts were suffering in full force. He was out of action for a few nights so me and Sam teamed up. To be fair we had a couple of good nights and our first experience of a ladyboy show. Which was well worth checking out actually! Had the weather been on our side the beaches would have been beautiful but sadly we missed out. We finished our stay by watching some brutal Thai boxing. Not for the feint hearted, with every bout ending in a K.O.
Ko Sok: From 2 weeks of constant party our next location was in the middle of the jungle. Even us 3 would find it hard to party! Ko Sok was the first place we were able to explore and see the natural beauty of Thailand. Despite getting chased by wild dogs (I may write a whole blog post on this terrifying ordeal!) after taking a wrong turn, this place was just what we needed.
Our hostel was run by a family, Mama, Papa and their son Kap. They welcomed us with open arms, cooking for us whenever we were hungry and taking us out on fantastic trips. This starting with some tubing down one of the rivers, a classic but some amazing scenery, elephant trekking and night safari, monkey watching and finishing with a lake and jungle tour. I think it was these few days that made us realise the fact we were now travellers rather than holidaymakers!
Phuket: We took a public bus from Ko Sok towards Phuket, via a few dodgy stop offs. The city of Phuket is somewhat considered the little brother of Bangkok, but in my opinion it could quite easily have been a little crazier. We stopped for 2 nights only but had two amazing nights. The city was perhaps summed up best when I saw an elephant riding in the back of a taxi…
Koh Phi Phi: On from Phuket, via another ferry and four days of partying awaited us in the famous Koh Phi Phi. We experienced amazing nights, beautiful views, topped off with a trip to Maya Bay (the setting for the Leo DeCaprio film ‘The Beach’). It was quite remarkable.
Phi Phi doesn’t have any roads, just dusty streets which flooded up to our shins one day due to the tropical storms! They would come out of nowhere. We’d be enjoying the beach, then all of a sudden the heavens would deposit all the water in Asia on this tiny island! Nevertheless every night travellers made their way from the central bars towards the beach parties where essentially anything goes! Some great times were had and some fantastic friendships formed! Sadly I got ill on the last day and had to call in sick on the last night but despite feeling like death that didn’t put me off the island.
You may notice that my photo quality gets better as of now as I bought myself a decent phone in Phi Phi!
Koh Lanta: Needing a few days to recover and allow my body to return to neutral we headed to Ko Lanta. It was exactly what we needed. Three days of chill over a weekend of which the hostel owner gave us the use of his TV to watch all the live football. Thank you Sir! There wasn’t too much to see so we saved our resources and spent most of the days on the beach or around the pool. Here I think I learned that regardless of being a traveller you still have to behave normally once in a while, allowing a few days of rest and eating properly in order to avoid burning out and becoming ill.
Bangkok II:It was then back to where we started; Bangkok round 2! We selected to travel back on an overnight train of which I can’t praise enough. It was one of the best nights sleep in a long while and despite hearing horror stories I felt very safe.
Upon arrival in the capital we headed back to the hostel where it all began. Big mistake deciding to go without air con though! Our flight to Australia was the following evening meaning we could leave Thailand the way we’d started!
Australia was next…