It’s been a while since my last blog post. Since Laos I have been to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. I am writing this post on my flight on my way to Bali with the intent to catch up on some writing.
After Laos the next stop was Thailand. Of course I had to go to Thailand because have you really travelled the world without being the stereotypical traveller and going here? The first place I visited was Chang Mai, the home of the elephants. I had 2 days here and wanted to make the most of my time, I went to the flight of the gibbon, a thai boxing show and also an elephant sanctuary. The flight of the gibbon is a zip lining park through the rainforest where you’re able to spot gibbons swinging in the trees, there are over 30 zip lines with some of the longest zip lines in Asia. The trip here takes half a day and you get food included so you really get your money’s worth.
Being in Thailand you really must watch a Thai boxing match, I’m not much of a sports lover but watching this was really interesting. As Thailand is still quite poor despite all the tourism and lots of the boys rely on boxing as a career choice, they are all so determined to win and, in a way, it is really inspiring to watch them achieve their dreams. I enjoyed learning about the difference between normal boxing and Thai boxing and placing bets on the different people. Each round was generally a knock out.
Chang Mai is one of the main places in the world where you can visit elephants, as you can imagine, there are good and bad places to visit elephants based on their treatment. If you are intending to visit elephants in Chang Mai pleasedo your research! Lots of the companies here mistreat their elephants and promote riding them, you must notride them. Riding them breaks their backs and they have gone through a lot of abuse to be trained to let people ride them. If you support this by riding them it will only mean future elephants will go through the same abuse as there will be a market to sell it to. It’s heart breaking to see. I visited a company called ‘elephant retirement village’ where elephants had been rescued from poor treatment and are now living their best lives. The half a day trip was very good value for money, about £30. For this price we were able to feed the elephants as many bananas as they wanted, make medicine for them and feed it to them, wash them in mud baths and swim with them. It was beautiful and they were so happy. You could tell they were treated well by the way they followed the people who worked here. There was a baby elephant that was running after one of the trainers there and playing with him, the man was singing to him, it was lovely. Hands down this was my favourite day of the trip.
After Chang Mai I went to Bangkok where I spent 4 days and this was far too much as I didn’t really like Bangkok at all. Once you have done all the touristy things, there’s not a lot else you can do here. I visited all temples including Wat Pho and Wat Arun. I also chose to visit the Grand Palace and go inside which was definitely worth the money. The architecture inside is stunning and I was blown away with all the detail that had gone into the build of the palace. The only downside to this attraction was that there were so many tourists, in order to avoid this I would recommend getting here as early as possible to miss the rush. In Bangkok there is a canal which has floating markets on, you are able to visit these markets for cheap and are able to see a different way people make a living here.
For food and restaurants there are 2 places I would recommend visiting. The first one is the sky bar as you can get beautiful views of Bangkok and are able to see for miles. I was lucky enough to watch another beautiful sunset, one of the best I’ve seen, but it still had nothing on the sunset I saw in Fiji. The drinks up here are a little pricey (£17) however I justified it as they could have quite easily charged an entrance fee which I would have happily paid for the view. The second place I would recommend that a friend introduced me to was Watanna Panich which is where a lot of the locals go. There is a huge pot here full of food cooking and has been cooking for 49 years with the food being replenished constantly. It is very cheap here. For example I paid 20p for a coca-cola and usually spend 1.50. The restaurant isn’t in the central so travelling out reduced prices by miles.
A final thing I did of interest in Bangkok was a night out at Khao San road which is the main street for clubbing. Bars and clubs line the street with live music everywhere you look. People are selling things on the street including bugs on sticks to buy, I stupidly agreed to eat one when drunk. The main thing to buy here are buckets of alcohol which cost 100THB which is equivalent to £2.50ish! Bargain!
After 4 long days that dragged I finally left Bangkok and went to Khao Sok which is a lake to the south of Thailand and really reminded me of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. Both places have very similar rock formations but I definitely preferred Khao Sok. Khao Sok is much cleaner than Ha Long Bay with fresh water and next to no tourists. We were actually able to swim here where as Ha Long was too dirty for us to go in. I spent the day here swimming, tubing, kayaking and snorkelling. I chose not to, but there is the option of staying the night at Khao Sok in houses that float on the water. There aren’t any buildings around so I can imagine with the 0 light pollution you’d get amazing night sky views.
My last stop in Thailand was Koh Samui which is one of the main beach islands in the country. My favourite thing that I did here was go to Angthong national marine park. It takes about 1-2 hours to get here by boat however the views do not disappoint. There’s a lagoon you can go to and many view points you can hike up to and get views of all the small islands surrounding. It is an amazing day trip.
My next stop is Malaysia.