Recently I was lucky enough to visit Thailand for the first time.To be honest I was’t very excited at first, as many people I know told me that Thailand is overdeveloped, everything is done for tourists so I won’t be able to experience real Asia etc. So I thought it would be my one and only visit, after which I’d tick Thailand off my bucket list — how wrong was I!
Thailand stole my heart. First of all the people – literally everybody has smiles on their faces, they make you feel so welcome from the moment you get off the aircraft. Food… Spring rolls that I had every day, Thai curry and very spicy Jungle curry were my favourite. Lobsters, tiger prawns…. everything fresh, amazing and of course every day you need to start with a Chang (Thai Beer).
Anyway I better move on as I could write a lot about how amazing Thailand is and I’d never finish this post. The first stop was Bangkok… and I had a night of my life. If you’ve seen Hangover Part II it wasn’t too far away but thankfully we didn’t end up with tattoos on our faces. There are people everywhere, locals mixed with people from all around the world, everybody’s in a very good party mood. The city of Bangkok is absolutely insane.
When you’re in Bangkok you can tell instantly that you’re on a different continent. Tuk Tuks are everywhere, traffic is crazy, so many times I stopped wondering what are the road rules (If they have any) The various street food carts and the temples dotted around the city between the tall skyscrapers and huge shopping centres, all that giving it a modern vibe, and making this city even more interesting.
Despite the city’s size — Bangkok is home to over 8 million people — it’s easy to get around whether by sky train, riverboat, tuk tuk or taxi.
After a crazy night in Bangkok, we arrived at the airport and our next step was Chiang Mai. When we landed we could feel that the temperature had dropped a little bit. It definitely wasn’t as busy as it was in Bangkok. Chiang Mai is a comfortable size for a city, large enough to stay interesting but small enough not to get lost. It was our first proper taste of Thailand and it was magical. We spent our time in Chiang Mai exploring the city and getting immersed in the culture.
After a long day and night of exploring the city, we started our 3 day trek.
We were picked up from our hotel and started driving towards the Mae Tang area. En route we stopped by at the local market where we had a chance to buy some fresh supplies for the trip into the hills.
Our first stop (after quite a challenging trek in 35 degree heat) was an elephant camp where we had a chance to ride an elephant, wash them and spend some time with local people.
After the first night in the elephant camp, where we didn’t get enough sleep as on one hand we wanted to meet all of our fellow travellers who ended up on this trek with us and on the other hand the local rooster was either jet lagged or something was wrong with him as he was crowing every 30 minutes. Second day was all about trekking to a picturesque Lahu village situated on a mountain top. On our way there we stopped by the waterfall, where we did some crazy jumps and slides (from a slide carved in rocks by water) It was as crazy as it sounds and I’m still surprised I did it.
Lahu village was amazing. We stayed there for the night where we had an amazing meal prepared by our guide and as we found out in the evening of 31st January that it was their New Year’s Eve, so we joined the celebration with locals. Day 3 was all about white water rafting. We went about 5km down the river and then when the river calmed we changed to bamboo rafts where we kicked back and relaxed. After 3 intensive days we drove back to Chaing Mai for a relaxing day before our flight to Phuket. We managed to see a few Mauy Thai fights and I loved it! In the excitement there I almost ended up in the ring.
Next couple of days was all about Phuket. Amazing food, good drinks, wakeboarding and lots of sun. At some point we rented scooters and felt like real Thai people, driving around the island and trying not to be killed ;) We did well, taking into account the fact that my husband had never driven a scooter in his life and we visited the whole island with me on the back.
After a few days we took a big boat and went to Phi Phi, probably the most beautiful island I’ve ever seen, where the water is so blue it’s hard to describe. We also had a chance to attend The Full Moon Party, but I’ll leave it without any comments ;) We also visited Maya Bay situated on the island Phi Phi Lay and what I can say – WOW! Not only because Leonardo DiCaprio was there ;) It is a stunningly beautiful beach. Definitely worth seeing! After 3 days in Paradise we decided to go back to Phuket as we really wanted to visit James Bond Island before we headed back to Bangkok; and again, such a good trip with amazing scenery. On our way there we stopped at Koh Pahyee, a Muslim floating village. Over there we had an amazing Thai lunch.
Next few days we spent in our beautiful villa, enjoying the last days of our holidays. On the 8th February we headed back to Bangkok where we had a great time exploring this amazing city.
Words & Photos by Dominika Scheibinger