02 Feb Time for Thailand
I have never considered travelling to Asia until I met my super care-free, guitar playing and all-round adventurer boyfriend Scott. We ticked off Canada in 2017 which was at the top of my bucket list so it was now time to try a completely different style of holiday, BACKPACKING!
One, two, three weeks? No, lets go for one whole month to Thailand! My planner brain went into meltdown as we had only booked two nights our of the 30 and the rest we would just “wing it”, wedding planners don’t wing it, we PLAN! However, it is safe to say that Thailand was the most incredible trip and I would do it all over again.
Arriving in Bangkok 8pm New Years Eve after a 16 hour flight, we were tired. That is why (with my thoughtful planning) we had booked a hotel with a rooftop bar, meaning we would not need to think about wandering around this large city on one of the busiest nights of the year, sleep deprived. The evening was magical… Bangkok is busy, just like any city but I felt it had a sense of calmness. It sounds silly but the Thai’s relaxed way of life still translates through the hectic tuk-tuk filled streets!
One of my most favourite places we visited was called Koh Lanta. We hired a moped and rode around this beautiful island stopping off at look out points, national parks and secluded beaches. It really is a whole different experience if you are confident in riding. I plan to take my CBT course this year so I can ride out there next time (!), although you can hire a bike without a license, we heard of a lot of accident stories by inexperienced riders. We also enjoyed a speedboat trip to an island called Koh Lipe, one of the most stunning places I have been to in my life. Pure sands and crystal clear waters brimming with fish just off the beach, it was paradise to say the least.
Next stop, Chiang Mai… So off on a plane we went. Here we experienced authentic Thai cuisine at its best, the flavours, the street food, the price! I will eat my hat if I ever find a £1 meal from a restaurant in England. We took a 3 hour (762 bends in the road) mini bus ride to a little place I will forever hold dear in my heart, Pai. With one main street that closes at night for all of the street food stands to set-up, and a river with a wooden watermill, surrounded by beautiful mountains, this place was idyllic. One thing Scott was not going to get (and I promised his mother this too) was a tattoo… So, two days in Pai and a bamboo tattoo each later it is safe to say I had now completely relaxed into the Thai way of life and threw my rule book out the window!
Our final adventure was to the Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai. We had booked three months before our trip as I wanted to stay overnight which had very limited availability. This was worth every single penny and you can see why when you visit this incredible sanctuary, looking after 80 elephants that have been rescued from the tourism and logging industry. I won’t go into this as there is a lot of material on the process of “breaking an elephants’ spirit” but it seems to me that awareness is key to helping stop this cruel trade. Sight-seeing natural wonders and wildlife spotting really are my favourite things to do whilst travelling (why do you think I have a giraffe in my logo!?) and I am always conscious of the animal’s welfare which is why I wouldn’t visit Tiger Temple (don’t get me started) or the circus. The Elephant Nature Park does not let you ride or bathe the elephants but instead allows you to watch them play in the water and you can feed them (which they love!). Early morning, we got to feed the elephants before the rest of the visitors arrived!
Experiencing the wildlife (we also saw wild monkeys and visited dog welfare sanctuaries), culture and spectacular scenery of Thailand has certainly given me the bug to visit Asia again. I haven’t even skimmed the surface of the activities we did but what I can say is, if you are ever thinking of travelling, just do it. There is no better time and place than right now, you never know what may be around the corner and I certainly never have (and never will!) regret saying yes to an adventure.
Thanks for reading and see you next time,