Thailand A traveller’s tale
Living in Japan in December is a bittersweet time. The weather is super cold however if you are into snowboarding and skiing then Japan is your dream location. If you are like me and can’t ski and loath the cold and you are on vacation, you would want to get out and travel somewhere warm.The problem with this is Japan is slightly isolated therefore the places you can travel to is very limited. For this reason, the most popular destinations during this season is either Thailand or the Philippines. Therefore, I was caught up between these two destinations. Speaking with a few friends who had traveled to Thailand or had family living there I chose to give it a shot.
I instantly fell in love with the country. There was sunshine all day I felt right at home. Wearing shorts and a t-shirt on December is an awkward experience. It was especially humorous to see Christmas trees displayed around Bangkok or Christmas songs blurring out from stores and convenience stores when the weather was 35 Celsius. The hot weather somehow reduces that special feeling associated with Christmas.
What made me love the place so much?
Prior to travelling there, I had this idea of Thailand being relatively dangerous and a heavenly world for sex tourists. This is partly true being a tourist you have to stay on your toes, and yes sex tourism is one of the biggest attractions for many. In my experience, I had a very comfortable stay the people where super nice some of the nicest I have met in my vast experience in travelling. On one or two occasions I was charged extra on Taxi rides but I suppose that is expected being and looking like a tourist with a camera strapped around his neck. In terms of travel from the second day onward I started using the train service. It’s cheap and convenient but most importantly you avoid the chaotic traffic in Bangkok. MY GOD the traffic …
What did I do whilst staying there?
Honestly, I think I overstayed. I was in Bangkok for one week for those who have traveled there know that in terms of sightseeing there isn’t much there, and the whole city can be covered in 2 days. However, I did meet some great people and they made my stay worthwhile and took me around. The highlight of my sightseeing tour was certainly the temples and the floating market. The eloquent detail of the temples left me in awe beautiful golden temples and Buddha busts illuminating with the reflection of the sun was truly beautiful. The floral scent of burning incense created a magical atmosphere that heightened the experience. The burning sun had at this point left me and my friend exhausted so we decided to visit a local Thai restaurant.
Thai food instantly became my favorite kind of food. Without a doubt, Thai cuisine is the king of exotic dining. Each and every dish bursts with exotic flavors. Pine nuts and herbs dried lime and salted shrimps ate with this mysterious leaf that I could not figure out what it was created a rainbow of flavors on the tongue. This was one of the two starters. Next came deep fried chicken placed inside wrapped banana leaf which had to be patiently removed to expose the scrumptious chicken dipped in smokey pomegranate sauce. My friend ordered me an equally exotic soft drink consisting of mango and passion fruit with a dash of lime mixed in honey helped cool me down. The main dish was the classic green curry and rice. Creamy, not too spicy and extremely fragrant. Lastly, came the dessert honey coated banana with vanilla ice cream and pistachio was the perfect finish.
I took two things away from eating Thai food. It’s not just about stuffing your mouth it’s an experience. Travelling to Thailand is not complete without proper Thai eating experience.
I am sure you are salivating by now so let’s move on…
The floating market.
The floating market was great despite the long wait to get on a motor boat. The trip is brilliant slowly taken around it was amazing to see people who actually live around the area. The gentle breeze caressed my face as we went the water was surprisingly clean without any poignant smells or flies. Slowly we approached the shops who sold cold beers for extortionate prices and plenty of gift shops and creative art work on display. There were many food stands which were great I tried the noodles it was brilliant.
Definitely a highlight and a must visit if you travel to Bangkok however it takes two hours from central city to the river therefore be careful if you get a taxi. Luckily my friend who was Thai managed to bargain a great price for being driven to the floating market then took us to the Golden mountain and back to the hotel for 1600 THB. I know a great deal. Therefore, having the ability to speak Thai or being with someone who speaks Thai could save you a lot of money. Believe me. Also, being in Thailand finding someone to hang with is extremely easy people are very friendly or you could use apps such as tinder or something to find someone to hang with.
Being a boxing aficionado it was only tempting to visit a Muay Thai event. The atmosphere was relaxed although a little tense. The fighters came in and performed their initial dance. People stared with excitement including me. The referee stepped into the ring and asked the fighters to touch gloves and the bell rang. Both fighters were extremely respectful bowing and touching gloves. It was great to see such sportsmanship in a violent sport most people associate with thugs. The traditional Thai music started to play as the Thai spectators roared and cheered as the two competitors kicked and threw straight hands to the face. On one side of the stadium people where actually betters shouting out odds and betting right there in the stadium. It was fascinating to watch. The fights normally started very slow it was almost like a Beethoven composition. It started slow and built up into something rather chaotic and violent. In one particular fight it was round three. The athletes approached each other one threw a leg kick the other responded with a Thai clinch and started to knee the ribs. At this point the other fighter also got a clinch and they placed themselves in the center of the ring exchanging brutal knees to the kidney and ribs being ringside I could hear the impact of those shots on the men. At one point one threw a elbow making a deep flesh cut on the opposing opponent with blood flowing and dripping on the canvas. The betters were at this point screaming in excitement and money exchanged hands in dramatic fashion. I knew the fight was over. The fight ended with the opponent who had caused the cut to finish the fight with knees to the face.
Overall I loved Thailand outside of Japan if I could live anywhere else in the world it would surely be Thailand. I felt regretful not visiting Pattaya I will make sure I do so on my next visit. The sun is continuously shining the food is great the people are friendly. Despite all this Bangkok itself was relatively expensive and traffic was chaotic and certain tourists just take away from the magic of the country but putting that aside this is now my favorite destination. Let me know your thoughts, have you traveled to Thailand before? What was your experience like?