Finding Myself in Thailand

I had the absolute pleasure of spending a month in Thailand with my best-friend/life-mate, Mitchell. It was one of the best experiences of our lives, thus far, and hopefully there will be many more adventures to come.

I do not know what can actually be said about a country so wonderful and so beautiful that would be more gripping than simply looking at the images. Or better yet, by experiencing it yourself.

We spent a few days in Bangkok exploring temples on our own before the GAdventures tour began. We ate street food, mastered how to cross the street (if you’ve ever been you know what I’m talking about), learnt how to say no to scammy tuk tuk’s and discovered a way to avoid squat toilets. You can’t avoid them forever but I certainly tried!

The tour began in Bangkok where we spent one day and one night before taking a 13-hour sleeper train to Chiang Mai. From there we were supposed to go on a 3 day hilltribe trek through the mountains but… Mitch contracted a bacterial infection from the eggs on the sleeper train. Tsk tsk. Let it be known that I warned him. Let it also be known that he ordered for me as well and ate my portion when I refused. Anyhow, I stayed behind to take him to the hospital. Obviously. Poor guy. Can’t exactly visit South East Asia without coming back with at least one story about dysentery now can you.

We were at Doi Suthep when he started to feel it. I assumed he was having an adverse reaction to the malaria pills so there wasn’t much I could do but wait for it to pass and hope that I wouldn’t have the same reaction. It wasn’t until the last turn coming down from the mountain that he rolled down the window and quite politely hurled out the side of our mini-van, narrowly missing some passing motorcycles. If you don’t already know this about me I’m emetaphobic. So I was very proud of myself for being able to rub his back, however brief, while he was sick. Even if it meant plugging my ears and stifling my body’s natural reaction to witnessing that particular act.

So while the tour went ahead on the trek, we stayed behind and explored Chiang Mai. One of the best things about staying behind was discovering a beautiful terra-cotta collection owned by a local. I felt like I was in the Jungle Book. It was exactly like I had envisioned Thailand to be. Impossibly green, misty, majestic. Overgrown vines wrapped around tree trunks. Light filtering through in thick white streaks and monkeys swinging from branch to branch.

From Chiang Mai we made our way over to Ayutthaya, again by sleeper train. Mitch did not eat the eggs. I biked through the city with my new friends while Mitch took a tuk tuk, because he can’t ride a bike. Oh shut it, only I’m allowed to laugh. I’m just kidding. Sort of =P. He did snap a few pictures though!

From Ayutthaya we made our way to Kanchanaburi where we stayed on a house boat for a night. I think that may have been my favourite part of the trip. I felt like I was in a photograph. It was so picturesque. It didn’t quite feel real. We went canoeing into the sunset, swam in the cool water, lit fireworks & colourful smoke bombs, played poker until the lights went out, wrote in our journals and snapped a few pictures in an attempt to capture those fleeting moments of bliss. In the morning we woke up to a thick mist and watched the sun light up the sky.

Kanchanaburi to Bangkok. Back to the Bangkok Center Hotel (just look up the reviews on trip advisor). It wasn’t terrible the second time around though. I think good company makes all the difference. It somehow makes the worst of situations bearable. Like when I got sick on the sleeper train on the way back.

We spent NYE in Bangkok on Khao San Road and had a killer goodbye party. In the morning Mitch, myself and our two friends Kelsey and Andy (from the previous tour) flew down to Ao Nang for the second leg of our tour. We visited Krabi, Railey, Koh Poda, Koh Phi Phi, Bamboo Island, and a bunch of other islands where we camped out, baked in the sun and tried our best to appreciate every second of life.

I didn’t take my SLR with me all the time so, for me, there are gaps when I look back at the images I have. I remember taking an awesome tuk tuk with Kelsey around Krabi island and seeing how rubber was made. I remember running onto the beach at low tide with the sand stretching out towards infinity while the crabs ran away in a hilarious scuttle. I remember the monkeys climbing all over me and having a staring match with one that had stolen my peanuts (I don’t even like peanuts, but it was the principle of the matter). I remember being on Koh Poda and swimming for hours. Mitch being buried on the beach for the first time in his life, complete with coconut knockers. I remember swimming into a cave with Kelsey and Andy, climbing into the tunnels, carving our names, and looking up at the jagged rocks while floating in the water and thinking that if there were an earthquake at that very moment, we’d be impaled. There’s a lot that wasn’t captured but sometimes you have to put the camera down and just… live.

The images below aren’t exactly in chronological order. I had a hard enough time choosing. 

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