Thailand is a popular tourist destination, it has lots to offer to every type of a traveller. It’s also one of the best places for beginner backpackers. And that was us! My three “bodyguards” and I that had never done backpacking before! We didn’t have any plan at the beginning, we didn’t know what to expect from the travel and how we’ll get along for three weeks. It was a completely new experience to all of us. Now I can say it was absolutely worth it! We did enjoy it as much as we could and it will be one of the travels that will not be forgotten. So let me tell you more about our best adventures.
How did it actually come up?
Everything started in October, when I was offered to travel with my Spanish friends to Thailand. I liked that idea very much but on the other hand, I was a bit afraid of backpacking with three boys. Two months later I changed my mind, actually I got persuaded by one of the guys and I bought the flight tickets. It was exactly 4 weeks before departure. By reading different backpackers’ blogs, I was trying to find out what I should take with me and how lightly should I pack. I had never done backpacking before so the essential was to buy the right backpack and several other things. I prepared everything on time and on 7th January I was leaving for Thailand!
My three “bodyguards” –Hector, Oliver and Pedro – were flying with Emirates from Barcelona with a layover in Dubai. I had a flight with Qatar Airways from Vienna with a layover in Doha. We met at the Bangkok airport and that’s where our Thailand backpacking adventures began.
Experiences in Bangkok
When we were in a tourist office in Bangkok, we got to try the spirits with cobra and scorpion inside. It was probably some kind of vodka. It looked quite scary but it didn’t taste so bad.
Laughing gas balloons
At night, in the backpacker’s street called Khao San Road there are many sellers of “laughing gas balloons”. It seemed to be harmless so we decided to try it. After inhaling the gas from the balloon, you can get different feelings. I felt like everything around slowed down, including the music, and then I started to laugh. It doesn’t affect you for a long time, it lasts around 1-2 minutes. Before writing this post, I did some research about it and I actually found out that in some countries it’s illegal to sell it for human consumption. Anyway, if you try one, nothing should happen, if you overdose, it will have an impact on your health like every chemical/drug.
Eating a scorpion
Everywhere in Bangkok you’ll be offered to eat a scorpion, spider or other bugs. It’s all deep fried so it’s quite dry an crunchy. It’s worth trying but I personally wouldn’t eat it again.
Tuk Tuk ride
Tuk Tuk ride is one of the things that you shouldn’t miss. There are many tuk tuk drivers in Bangkok and they will always offer you a ride. Some of the tuk tuks offer to take you to some temples and markets for very low price, but they will take you to some shops as well because they want to get comission from your purchase. That’s what happened to us but at least my friends bought tailor made suits for a good price! Anyway, you can use tuk tuk as a taxi as well but it’s better just for short distances as it’s not so comfortable. Don’t forget to negotiate the price before you get on.
Adventures in Chiang Mai
Overnight sleeper train
One of the exceptional experience was travelling by the overnight sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. When we were buying the tickets, we wanted to get the first class where you get a cabin just for four people. Unfortunately, it was already sold out so we had to take the second class. Fortunately, there was an air condition. The carriage was full of bunk beds, each bed had its own courtain so everybody could have some privacy. We got two beds on each side so we could be together. We were travelling around 13 hours. I got quite a good sleep in the train as I don’t have a problem to fall asleep in any bed. Approximately the last two hours of the journey we were just sitting since each lower bed was transformed into two seats.
One of the best experiences in Thailand was a visit of the Chiang Mai Elephant Sanctuary. That’s where I got a hug from the elephant! We did a half day trip. Our day started early in the morning. First, we were feeding the elephants, then we were covering them with the mud and at the end we were washing them. That’s just a short description as I decided to dedicate one post just to this visit. What I have to say is that if you’re ever in Chiang Mai, don’t ride the elephants, visit a sanctuary instead because it’s truly a unique experience!
Tiger Cave Temple
This is one of the adventures that I missed because of not feeling well. My bodyguards went there by motorbikes. To get to the top of the mountain where the temple is situated, they had to walk up exactly 1237 very steep steps. I could see the video as they were going up and it was really hard to get there. They seemed to be exhausted and sweat dripping but they made it to the top and I am really proud of them!
At the top of the mountain there is a large golden Buddha statue and you get extensive views of the landscape. As they told me, on one side there was a beautiful sunset and on the other side there was a storm coming. Fortunately, they got back down on time and then they had to wait for the heavy rain to pass in order to come back to the hostel. They were quite excited from this adventure and they remembered the stairs several times during our travel. Obviously it was unforgettable!
Phi Phi Island
As you can guess, one of my bodyguards and I got a bamboo tattoo on the Phi Phi Island. He actually prod me into doing it. Even though I had been thinking about getting a tattoo for some time, I wasn’t 100% sure about that. So when I decided to do it, it was kind of spontaneous decision. I don’t regret it though, I’m glad I did it because I love my tattoo!
We did it in Devil Bamboo Tattoo shop which was recommended to us. It was probably the busiest bamboo tattoo shop on the island. It was always full and it seemed to be safe. Anyway, I should probably explain you what the bamboo tattoo is because it’s not the same like a gun tattoo.
The bamboo tattoo technique is different. It’s made by hand, using a bamboo stick with surgical steel needle attached to the end. The needle is dipped into the ink and gently tapped into the skin. The skin is punctured but not torn, so there is little or no bleeding. Bamboo tattoo takes longer to apply than the machine tattoo but the process is less painful and heals much more quickly. The tattoo is healed within two days. When it’s done, you just walk away with a small tube of vaseline. There is no problem to go swimming or sunbathing the day after you get the tattoo.
If you decide to get a bamboo tattoo, make sure the place is safe and clean. Regarding the price of a bamboo tatoo, it’s negotiable. I got mine for 1000 THB (around 28 EUR).
Koh Phangan Island
Full moon party
Last adventure I would like to mention is the Full moon party on the Koh Phangan island. Full moon party is an all-night beach party that takes place every month on Haad Rin beach. There is an entrance 100 THB to get to the beach, you’ll get a bracelet as a souvenir. The party is attended mostly by tourists, there are around 10 000 – 30 000 people at the party each month. The beach is lined with numerous clubs with different kinds of music.
It’s also very popular to get your body covered by neon paint, there are many artists who offer it directly on the beach. They also sell different kinds of accessories like flower head gears, hats, masks etc. In the town there are also many shops that sell special full moon party neon clothes.
We stayed there in the hotel Little Paradise and we got the best apartment situated directly on the beach. We couldn’t get much sleep after the party because the apartament was kind of shaking with that loud music that last till late morning. Although it was perfect because we could buy cheap beers in supermarket, leave it in our fridge and just take it whenever we wanted. We didn’t have to spend so much money on the alcohol that was sold in the bars. Nevertheless, I should say that the most popular is to buy buckets with cocktails or mixed drinks of your choice.
Full moon party is crazy. It’s overcrowded, there are many drunk people and also thiefs so you should be careful with your personal belongings. I would advice to leave all the expensive things in the safe box in your apartment and keep money and apartment key attached to yourself. Like that, you don’t have to worry and you can just enjoy the party!
So these were our best and unforgettable adventures from Thailand. It can be an inspiration for you if you decide to visit this amazing country. There are so many things to do, to try and to experience. I have to say that I really enjoyed the time in Thailand and I’m glad I got persuaded to join “my three bodyguards” for this backpacking experience. When we were about to leave Thailand, I was really sad that it came to an end but when something ends, there is something new about to come. There are always new adventures and experiences waiting for us. I’m so grateful I could spend three weeks in Thailand and I’m sure that it wasn’t the last time for me to travel that far!