Thailand was decided on a whim. Coming to the end of my University degree I had no clue what I wanted to do. It was a weird feeling; life had always been a succession and things always fell into place. One of my high school friends was heading to Thailand with a bunch of her uni friends and asked if I wanted to jump on the bandwagon. So I said yes! And wow I am glad I did. This trip changed me. I am usually so organised and it felt unnatural that this adventure was out of my hands. I learnt to go with the flow and that is truly the best way to travel.
Unfortunately my friend had to pull out, so off I went with a group of people I only knew of, had never really met properly. Backpacking around Thailand certainly blossomed non-existent friendships….from getting lost in Bangkok, squishing together on overnight trains, midnight ramblings in random villages, and fearing for our life on rickety wooden boats in rough seas. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all bad, there were amazing bits too; snorkeling where ‘The Beach’ was filmed, copious cocktails in colourful buckets, riding an elephant for the first time, tubing in Laos and dancing the night away at the infamous Full Moon Party. Posts on these antics to come. Not sure why I decided to shoot devoid of colour, but here it is; Bangkok in black and white.
Those first few days in Bangkok were spent trying to take in all the exotic and not always pleasant sights, sounds and smells. Apart from Buenos Aires I had never been anywhere so BUSY. But this was a chaotic busy, no order on the streets and slightly terrifying kind of busy.
I feel like I don’t have a true representation of Bangkok as we spent most of our time in and around Khaosan Road also known as “backpacker’s paradise.” Maybe this street is a tribute to what Bangkok was like many years ago before the luxurious 5 star hotels and huge shopping malls took precinct. This part of the city is full of guest houses, budget hotels, internet cafes, tattoo parlours, cheap street food, seedy bars and nightclubs, market stalls and plenty of overly-excited travellers. At night is when this street really comes to life and where tourists sip on unknown concoctions in bright buckets and swap travel stories. You can be totally overwhelmed by it all – or you can let go of all expectations and just immerse yourself. We did the latter and had the best start to our Thailand trip.
We managed to squeeze in a day tour South of Bangkok to a place called Kanchanaburi to see the floating markets and visit the tiger temple. The 100 year old floating markets were spectacular and as we floated down the river I didn’t know where to look. Boats were bursting with fresh fruit, fish and seafood, tourist trinkets, traditional Thai hats and clothing. The Tiger Temple was a different story and made me feel very uneasy – not due to the fact that Monks were casually strolling around with full grown tigers on a leash you would put on your Chihuahua, but due to the fact that the Tigers seemed so unhappy, lethargic and almost on another planet. What tiger in the wild allows you to sit next to it and pat him without wanting to rip your head off? It was a bizarre place and not something I would encourage anyone to visit that cares about animal welfare.
I couldn’t believe it was only the beginning of our three week adventure.
Lost in Bangkok