There are few places in the world that can inspire one to travel. One such place is the Southeast Asian country of Thailand. The vivid colors of the country and its culture along with the amazing landscape and seascapes will make you long for the country. My trips to Asia have consisted in visits to the Philippines since I was born there and still have several relatives there. A short two night stay in Hong Kong was my only deviation. It was definitely time to explore Asia and on my short list was China, Thailand and Bali in Indonesia. Having only two weeks for my holiday, the list was shortened to Thailand and Bali. I spent most of my holiday in Thailand exploring Bangkok and its surrounding area along with the Phi Phi Islands which made up Expedition Thailand. Bangkok is a sprawling and an impressive city with modern high-rises and decades old temples. My focus in my short time here was to visit the historic structures of the area so I decided to stay near the Grand Palace and my boutique hotel was right on the river, the River of Kings, Chao Phraya. The hotel was across the street from Wat Pho (Temple of The Reclining Buddha) and minutes from the Palace. Along with visiting multiple temples, I scoured the countryside for experiences. I visited the railway market, the floating market and the once center of the Siam empire, Ayutthaya. My days here were long, in fact, one night I didn’t return to my hotel until after 7 pm. The surrounding roads were shut down due to a ceremony in the nearby Grand Palace. The walk would have taken at least an hour so I took my tour guide’s advice and took the river ferry. It seemed easy at the time but when I came to the first pier and I realized that the signs were in the local alphabet, which I couldn’t read, just a bunch of squiggly lines to me. Who knows, there might have been a western sign for us tourist but I didn’t bring my eye-glasses so my vision was impaired. I didn’t bring them since trekking through the city and using the ferry wasn’t on the itinerary. With the help of the boatman, I was able to disembark on the right pier and found my way to the hotel. I found the area of my hotel safe and I didn’t have any fear walking around at night. Bangkok was totally an amazing experience and I’m greatfull for all that I saw, even though the days were very long.
Expedition Thailand was now in its second phase and I was on a plane to Phuket, then a one hour taxi ride to the ferry, and a 90 minute ferry ride to the Phi Phi Islands. This archipelago was made famous by the movie “The Beach” which used Maya Bay as their primary location. The movie put these islands on the travel map and the visitors have increased exponentially. The Phi Phi Islands are much more than just the “The Beach” and worth a visit. Before I knew it, my four-day visit to the islands was over and it was time to make the long way back to Bangkok, again. I spent one more night in the city, basically a layover before my morning flight to Bali. I stayed in the downtown area hoping to see the famed nightlife of the city. It rained this night and I decided to stay in. I was also tired from the long road and previous day’s activities. My night out in the city will have to wait for another time.
(for a more detailed account of my experiences, click the link: Thailand)
The next morning brought the end of a magical time in Thailand. I had high expectations of my time here and the experiences I gained and they exceeded these lofty expectations. Thailand is filled with so many locations of interest, I would truly love to return for another expedition.