I feel so lucky that I got to visit two very cool countries in such a short time, although it makes me just want to head back to both to do and see more! In any case Thailand was just as cool as the Philippines, and I might have been the most relaxed I have ever been on the world’s most chill island: Ko Lao Liang (or Koh Lao Lieng or Ko Lao Liang, there is no official form of romanization in Thai, which can lead to a zillion different spellings of various Thai words, which are written in a beautiful syllabary that I cannot read lol)
Anyways, we arrived in Thailand, and slept in the Don Meung Domestic Airport (not the most comfortable experience of all time, but cheap and we surprisingly didn’t have to sleep on the floor). I was also freezing and sunburnt, which didn’t help too much either. Anyways, we arrived in Trang early, and we chilled in a pretty cool café until our shuttle was ready to bring us to Lao Liang. The shuttle brought us to a dock, which brought us to the middle of the ocean, where the engine promptly shut off. Not too long after, however, we were transported to a different boat, which brought us to the island. I was reading Life of Pi at the time, however, which isn’t the most comforting book to read when you are stranded in the middle of the ocean. Anywho, we made it to the island, which was just incredibly picturesque, quiet, peaceful and yet, there was a ton of things to do: kayaking, rock climbing, deep water soloing, exploring caves and general beachy waywardness. Here are some pictures of this heaven on earth:
Like in Cambodia, I tended to get a little island crazy towards the end (getting aggressive during card games usually is where it starts to make a turn for the worse), which meant it was time to go to Bangkok and explore the city there.
Bangkok is a crazy city. Deathly hot, sweaty, polluted, congested and just insane in general. At the same time, I really liked it, and it’s not a cesspool as many people believe. It is extremely modern and the public transportation is actually quite good. Also, there is a super-air conditioned 7/11 around every corner to escape the godless heat. Anyways, in Bangkok, I ate a lot of Pad Thai (and Pad Zee Ew!) and saw a ton of Buddhas. Probably too many. I also got to see the sunset of Bangkok’s main river with Wat Arun (probably the city’s most famous temple in the backgroung). It’s a great city, and it’s easy to avoid the crazy parts that you might find in Hangover 2 if you aren’t looking for them, which we were not. (Regardless, all over the city, you see many women that look like they used to be men…although ladyboys are not as rampant as in Phuket, as I have heard). Here are some views of Bangkok (plus 40 baht ($1.50) pad thai :
On my last full day in Bangkok, I travelled to Ayuthaya (or Ayutoia or Ayutthaya), again no official spelling), which is one of the ancient capitals of Thailand, the other being Sukothaya, which is not accessible from Bangkok, without staying overnight. The temples there are amazing, but very decrepit. It would be amazing to see what they once looked like in earlier times. The city is a bit strange, because it is a city and a World Heritage Site in one, so in one place you have modern buildings at 7/11s and in other area, giant stupas and temples from a bygone era. We also ended the day by riding elephants, which was objectively awesome. Here are some pics of Ayutthaya (which took me about 40 tries to get right; I kept calling it Ayatollah, which has a quite different meaning haha):a href=”https://fromalaskatochina.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/dsc_0532.jpg”>:
Coming back from Thailand to frozen Harbin was pretty difficult, but you can’t be on vacation forever, but my amazing two weeks made me wish it was possible. When Americans go on vacation, they tend to go to other places in America, the Caribbean or Mexico, which I’m sure are worthy to travel to as well, but I think there is something to be said about branching out and heading to a country that you know nothing about and learning how awesome it can be to sample some new food, new experiences and see parts of the world that you didn’t think you would ever see. For my next trip, I want to try a place I know even less about. I’m thinking Mongolia or South Korea maybe!?!