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First visit to thailand
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    I must tell you that Thailand 2004 has been an
    incredible experience for me. I gained exactly what I
    wanted to do; indulge myself in the culture, people,
    food and experiences. A recap of my trip follows:

    Landing at BKK on 3/20/04, I was greeted by a friend
    JJ where we ventured off to kanchanaburi for a few
    days with glamour camping in Erawan park. It was
    such a serene place; the best way to relax and explore
    after a 12 hour flight from Seattle, USA. From
    Kanchanaburi, JJ and I traveled east to Phetchaburi
    where I home stayed with her wonderful family of 4 for
    3 days. That was my eye opener to traditional Thai
    families and living¡Kan experience I will never
    forget. I felt like their adopted son and it was nice
    having a bit of family love home away from home.
    I¡¦ll miss them dearly.

    JJ and I returned to Bangkok where we said our
    goodbyes and I headed to Kao San road on the back of a
    motorcycle taxi. Wow! What an experience.
    Obviously, I arrived safely and lodged at the Kao San
    Palace for the night. I wasn't overly
    impressed¡Kstaff was rude, over priced rooms, noisy
    and backpacker overloaded. An email buddy Kade and
    her colleague Johnny made here way through the
    horrendous BKK traffic to meet me for drinks and
    appetizers at a nearby restaurant. Shortly after,
    another friend Pat joined me for a movie somewhere in
    downtown BKK. The movie wasn't exactly that great
    but I was quite impress with the advance theater
    architecture and the salute to the king before the
    presentation. It's amazing how much respect and
    honor everyone has for the king. It's actually
    impressive. Sadly, you never see anything like that
    for political powers here in the US or Canada.

    Fed up with BKK, I caught the first plane to Chiang
    Mai for 4 days. Now you've heard me say this before
    and I'll say it again: I LOVE CHIANG MAI. It's
    amazing. It's me. I want to live, work and retire
    there. I was overjoyed with the mixed blend of
    Indian, Chinese Hill tribe and other nearby Thai
    cultures with native Thai people. Yes, I ran through
    the infamous Night Bazzar. To be honest, it looked no
    different from the others. I stayed at the Souvenir
    hotel and participated in a few tourist events like
    the (i) full day trek with river rafting, elephant
    riding and swimming in water falls followed by a (ii)
    half day thai cooking class. I video taped both
    excursions. Once again, it was the people that made
    Chiang Mai my favorite. I actually partied quite a
    bit, safely and honestly. Mai, a Chiang Mai native
    with a few roots in Toronto, Canada went out for
    dinner followed by my first Thai foot massage as well
    as a Thai boxing match. I'll always remember Chiang
    Mai. Oh, how can I forget, nearly every souvenir I
    purchased was from Chiang Mai.

    Returning to BKK, I decided not to go to Kao San and
    ventured for the Miami Hotel in the Sukumvit area.
    Now that¡¦s my style of downtown living. In fact, I
    liked it after all. Certainly a different flair from
    Kao San. I was only there for 12 hours as I had an
    early flight to Kao Tao the next morning. After
    dinner at a traditional Thai restaurant where I had to
    order completely in Thai (as they spoke no English and
    had no customers), I strolled the downtown streets in
    awe at all the action. Now, I'll be honest. Every
    city has its reputation and I couldn¡¦t help but not
    peek at what the commotion was all about regarding the
    infamous Soi Cowboy. Yes, I was there. Very
    interesting. Actually, I hear it's peanuts compared
    to Nana Plaza or Patpong which I had never visited.
    So I met this guy from the US who was armored with my
    juvenile look of astonishment. He suggested that if I
    had only 10 minutes to run through the Soi, it was a
    must that I take a stroll through Long Gun. Well I
    did; impressive it was. To be honest, it was actually
    kind of fun just hanging out with a ton of people
    having a few drinks. I was kind of disgusted with the
    drunk, childish and disrespectful European men I
    encountered there but what can you do? Not
    everyone's perfect. All in all, every working woman
    there are simply trying to make a living and you
    can¡¦t fault them for that. I just hope the net
    outcome is safe for everyone. Yes, I stayed out of
    the typical BGG action as all I wanted to do was
    sight see but a waitress named Douangmala and I
    went out for the ever popular Papaya Salad. Sure
    it was OK but the street food vendors over did it with
    the the spices. I learned a ton about the foreign
    business on Soi Cowboy, perhaps more than I needed to
    know. But I was in so much awe that our continued
    talking and night along with the BKK nightlife that
    goes on until daylight actually made me miss my flight
    to Kao Tao. So here I was in BKK for another extra

    The next morning I went to Kao Tao via Kao Saumi for 3
    days of scuba diving with the company Planet Scuba.
    Again, another fantastic experience. Certainly the
    best place in the world I havfe ever dived after being
    in the Australian Barrier Reef, Mexico¡¦s Pacific
    coast and the Carribean Atlantic Sea. Now,
    surprisingly, I found Kao Tao a bit sterile. In fact,
    very often I would ask the question where's the
    Thai people. It was almost as if the Kao Tao was
    made for foreingers only. Every Thai person spoke
    perfect English. Sure that¡¦s helpful but it was a far
    cry from the authentic experience I sought after.
    Another unexpected observation was the number of
    young, careless, broke (income) teens and 20 year old
    somethings I met who were really in Kao Tao just to
    waste time until the next moon party. In many ways, I
    didn't fit in with these people. So I rented a
    motorcycle and daily ventured off into the villages to
    meet and hang out with the local Thai people. It
    worked for me and I loved it.

    When I returned back to BKK, my friend Douangmala
    reserved some tickets for us at the infamous BKK
    Cabaret show. Again, another eye opener. It makes
    you think¡ can¡¦t really tell whose a male or
    female. Well, at least I couldn't tell.

    During my last day, I took the skytrain and met another
    friend POM in the Khao San area and toured Wat Mai and
    Grand Palace. The water taxis were fun too. Believe it
    or not, it was only then, my last day, did I have my first
    Thai Ice Coffee! I love it!

    Sadly, the next morning, I returned to Seattle at
    11:35AM. The flight was long but comfortable and I
    slept for the 2 weeks that I was up while traveling
    exciting Thailand.

    To sum my experience, it was the best trip I've
    accomplished in my whole life. A few answered
    questions for you:

    Would I do it again? In a heart beat.

    Did I need more time? I'm sure I needed just another
    7-10 days more. No longer.

    What did I enjoy the most? First the people, Second
    Chiang Mai, Third the Dviing, Fourth Chaing Mai, Fifth
    the people!

    Tips for other travelers?

    1. Get yourself a DTAC SIM card and a world phone.
    2. Purchase a phone card. The Lonely Planet is
    an awesome book for Thai travelers.

    What did I miss doing the most? If I had just 2-3
    more days, I would have gone to Chian Rai. My friend
    Kade coordinated a visit but I got sick and didn¡¦t
    want to chance going up North to a home stay where
    things could have gotten worse. But I'm 99% sure
    that I missed out an awesome experience. Sorry Kade.
    Maybe next time.

    Where's my next trip? Most definitely Chiang Mai.
    Then I¡¦ll cross the border into Burma. I¡¦ll
    probably go to Udon Ratachani as well and step into
    both Laos and Cambodia for a few days as well.

    My favorite food? Most definitely Phad Pa Ruyem Kai
    La Cow and sticky rice with Mangos of course. I
    don't understand what the big rave was about Papaya

    Where will be my next closer to US trip? Well, my
    hearts in Romania and Turkey. That's where I've got
    to go next. The culture is so rich and the history is
    intoxicating. I met so many people so far that I have
    to get there tomorrow if I can.

  2. #2
    Ferret Guest
    good experience, you had a great time by the sound of it. som tam not my cup of tea but it comes in a lot of different formats depending on the region. you will be back thats for sure 2 or 3 days 20 or 30 years maybe enough.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Toronto, Canada
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Great recapitulation! I enjoyed reading it a lot. Hope we will hear more. If you go back for a diving trip, try Similan Islands, Phangnga. Heard from one diver that it was the best kept secret among divers as a diving heaven. As I don't dive, hope to hear if it would top your list.

    About our King as political power? He's more like a representation of the Thai Soul. Who wouldn't love our common Soul? (Couldn't help being Thai, could I? Shucks, I'm in love, forgive me.)

  4. #4
    Ajink Guest
    I think u enjoyed u r stay in Thailand and larened many different things in Thailand???

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