This post is a little bit different from my usual obsession with interiors, although it still features some wonderful buildings! In July 2011 I took the trip of a lifetime to Thailand and I thought I’d share some photos of my favorite places and finds along my journey. This is a bit of a long post but I wanted to be able to show the pictures properly!
A bit of ‘Trip History’
My little adventure was one of the best experiences of my life. It took a lot of planning, research, and pretty much all of my savings but I have no regrets at all. It was a real experience and so much happened in just under a month! I saw amazing temples, some beautiful beaches, ended up in a Thai hospital for 2 days, went to a Full Moon Party (unrelated to my stay in hospital!), had some crazy nights out, learnt to cook Thai food, and met amazing people among so many other things!
I travelled alone to Thailand to gain a little bit of independence, but I was 19 and I’d never been that far abroad before so I chose to go with a travel group. I found ThaIntro online and they seemed like the perfect balance between culture and the fun ‘traveller’ experience that I wanted to give a try. My group were all amazing and I had a fantastic week. I travelled on with two girls from ThaIntro and met up with most of my group later over various places in my trip. I would really recommend ThaIntro, and for more information on them click here.
The good stuff!
One of the first places I visited was Wat Arun in Bangkok. We got to the temple by taking a boat down the Chao Phraya River. It was such a hot day and the building looked amazing in the weather. Fun fact: the spire is over 70metres high! Impressive. It was a really steep climb to get to the top but it was worth it. There was a view across Bangkok that my camera couldn’t do justice to. There as also a large piece of fabric for people to leave messages on.This is the Reclining Buddha found in Wat Pho temple in Bangkok. Wat Pho is the largest temple in Bangkok and the Reclining Buddha is incredible! It has such intricate decoration and it is really wonderful to behold. For a donation we were able to write messages or hopes or prayers on a piece of slate that would be placed on the roof of the temple that was being refurbished. It was a lovely opportunity to know that a little piece of my experience is in that roof!On my last day in Bangkok I visited the Grand Palace. Above is a picture of me looking very red, hungover and touristy. The Grand Palace had such exquisite architecture and the grounds are immaculate!
Next I travelled to Khao Sok National Park to stay in a floating bungalow. These were basic but beautiful; hand crafted from all natural materials and only holes with a shutting door for windows, complete with lovely roofs and decks. Each bungalow can sleep 4 with 2 double futons. The bungalows were set in a completely idyllic location where mainly Thai residents come to holiday. I’ve been told these bungalows are pretty difficult to arrange, so ThaIntro groups are lucky to be able to go there! We had incredible weather during the day but at night a lot of rain happened and we woke up to our doors and windows blowing open in the monsoon winds! It was pretty scary, but these huts are stronger than they look!
After Khao Sok we made our way to Koh Phangan, par-tay island (cringe)! It wasn’t all Full Moon and famous buckets (although that did happen, nothing like dancing to some crazy music on a beach!) there was a lot of day time fun too. We visited a ‘Chinese Temple’ which had an breathtaking view over Koh Phangan, climbed up a beautiful waterfall and explored the surrounding forest, rode an elephant (amazing but terrifying) and made some friends! I met a guy called Wut, who is a tattoo artist who owns his own shop. When we had free time during the day we’d chill in his shop, which I thought I’d post a picture of. His artwork is displayed all over the walls and the hand decorated poles make it a really lovely place to be.I thought I’d include a picture of the beach in Phi Phi. I wish English weather was this good!Part of the Thai culture is to have a ‘spirit house’ on your property. These are shrines to spirits of the property, and people give them offerings to keep them happy. Spirit houses vary in size and look, and I saw so many ranging from delicate, small houses to grand, intricately decorated ones. Every spirit house I saw was unique and I think they really are beautiful.
This photo was taken two days before I flew home (hence the awful sunburn), but its one of my favorite from the whole trip. My whole experience at this temple was incredible which sounds really typically touristy but whatever, it was! I was blessed by a monk and discovered some awesome traditions just by talking to the people around me.
I’m using the word ‘interiors’ very loosely here, but I thought I’d show a couple of photos of my accommodation while I travelled. The photos make it seem like I roughed it the entire time, but the hostels ThaIntro offered us were great although I didn’t have any pictures of them. I also stayed in way worse (picture a room in a scary city covered in tiny black bugs..) but it was all part of the experience!
The first picture was a hostel we stayed in while we visited Koh Tao. The hostel was right above a bar which wasn’t ideal considering two of us had just got out of hospital, but it was the only vacancy we found. Everyone there was lovely and friendly, but I did wake up to what sounded like bad karaoke at 2 in the morning…
The second picture is of the overnight train we took from Bangkok to Koh Sok. This was so much fun and even the squat toilet on a moving train wasn’t so bad. The beds were surprisingly comfy and had their own curtains to pull for privacy. We travelled in a large group so I never felt ‘unsafe’, and this is definitely a great way to travel on the cheap!
British tourists and especially ‘gap yah’ travellers have made a bit of a bad name for themselves by going for the cheap booze and parties. This is a bit of a stereotype, and none of the people I met there were travelling just for the parties, and even the most unlikely characters had amazing stories of their adventures to tell.
I could go on forever, but I hope you enjoyed these little pieces of my Thailand experience. I love hearing other peoples travel stories so feel free to share! Have any you ever travelled? What were your best and worst experiences?