Thailand

Thailand was our third and final stop. At this point in our backpacking trip, we were starting to get tired. Besides, we had been on the road, carrying our backpacks, and on top of one another for over a month, either way, Thailand was still a wonder.

We arrived in Bangkok via bus from Siem Reap, Cambodia via bus, another night bus. Woken up in the early morning to go through the border and show our passports. Found our way to our hostel and wasted no time exploring. Stopped immediately at Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Man gkhalaram Where you can see the reclining Buddha. I love temples, I’m very secure in my religion to explore other religions. I’m fascinated that as humans we all want to believe in something, anything, an entity that can give us tiny mortals hope. I purchased a bell, wrote my prayer request on it, thanked my Lord and Savior for such an opportunity as this, and departed.

The following morning, we were excited to visit a floating market, when you think of Thailand this is usually the image that surfaces. Turns out there are several so we asked our Hostel worker for a recommendation. We landed on Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and picked a tour. I typically try to stay away from places specifically for tourists, but hey once in a while is fine. LOVED the floating markets, fruit, meats, and delectables everywhere you looked. Since there were so many tourists, everyone seemed extra friendly.

The monks:

I told you I’d get back to them. I observed the monks every morning outside our hotel. They would leave the temple and walk the streets of Bangkok very early. People would walk up to them, give them food and then receive a prayer. I noticed a white male among them, one morning and approached him. To my luck, he spoke English. He was an Englishman who had left England behind and chose to live this life as a monk. He explained to me how they receive their meals and invited me to visit the temple, I nearly jumped from my skin.

I let my friends know where I was headed and walked over to the temple. The men do not acknowledge women, nor are they allowed to touch them. I looked for the Englishman but could not find him, by chance a young student was leaving the temple and asked if I needed help. He let me know if I wanted to enter I needed to bring an offering. In Christian churches this usually means money… but here it meant food or drink. I ran out and returned with a sandwich and a can of what appeared to be a sprite. He walked me to a praying monk and asked me to kneel, I held my offering up to him but was instructed to place it next to me. The monk reached for it himself and placed his hand over me… not ever getting close enough to touch me. He began a chat in Thai and stood up without so much as a goodbye. I looked at the student, who let me know I had been blessed. “Thank you,” I said with a smile.

The Full Moon Party:

We ended up visiting Thailand during the week of the King’s birthday, so many events were canceled including the Full Moon Party, but a party still went on. I was glad because it was less crowded but still more than enough people to have a good time. Think amusement park crowded on a Thursday vs. a Saturday. This place was a blast! They have a fire jump rope, arm wrestling, and buckets… oh those buckets. Thailand’s Red Bull is illegal in our countries for reasons unknown to most, if I had to guess it’s due to what’s inside of it… they do not taste the same nor will you feel the same afterward. No matter, this place was a lot of fun, and people came to have a gooooood time! If you don’t lose all your wits about you, you will too.

Toward the end of this trip, I decided to split from Sean and Emma, as they wanted to head south and I wanted to go back North. Luckily I wasn’t alone, as I met a friend, Janin Von Pn from Germany, in the hostel we were staying at and she joined me back North. We ended up In Chaing Mai… as it so happens is my favorite city in all of Thailand. She and I spent the remainder of my time in Thailand together, I’m so lucky I met her, she’s adventurous, smart, and knew her way around a motorcycle.

This area is more country and less city, rural, and everyone was very kind. I got lost for a moment and a kind man on a motorcycle offered me a ride back, without hesitation I got on the back of his back and I found my hostel again. Janin had an international driver’s license, and offered to drive us around on a rented motorcycle… my sensible side should have told her “no” but I didn’t. She was only 22 at the time. Janin took us to a Grand Canyon, Tiger kingdom, Poo Poo Paper Park, and even booked us a tour to live among the locals in the mountains (another story for another time) and my favorite Wat Rong Khun.

Wat Rong Khun:

Breathtaking beyond words. You truly have to see this place to take it all in.

At the risk of making my blog longer than a novel, I have to stop here. There is so much more I could share about Thailand, but alas, I implore you, to visit Thailand! My photos do nothing for the experience you will take on from this hypnotic land. Everything from the food, to the people, will leave your mouth agape. Don’t leave without trying the local beer and eating the local food.

Hostels:

Bangkok: Suneta Hostel Khaosan

Koh Tao: Goodtime Beach Hostel

Phuket: FIN Hostel Phuket Kata Beach

Chiang Mai: Family Home Chiang Mai **This is my favorite hostel, it’s a family home and they are so friendly and kind to all who travel there.

Excursions:

Elephant Sanctuary

Tiger Kingdom I recommend this one, they don’t drug their tigers, they explain how they allow some out at a time after a full meal. Any sign of agitation and they go back to their room.

Poo Poo Paper I liked this place, it’s fun, funny, and you get to take home a souvenir…made of poo.

Mountain Family Stay: unfortunately this was through the hostel we stayed at. Family of the family hosted this tour. I’m sure there are others.

Wat Rong Khun I love this place. There is also a hot spring around the corner to boil an egg.

Final thoughts, Thailand for me is meant to be enjoyed. Don’t go in with too many qualms or reservations, open your heart and welcome adventure.

Till next time.

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