backpacking thailand and loving itTraveling 

Thailand review by a backpacker newbie

My, then 17 year old little sister, came to Thailand for the first time ever. To become a backpacker. For the first time ever. Here is her experience. 

 

Meanwhile more than one month ago, I visited my brother Sascha in Thailand. It was my first time in this country, so I experienced a lot of different and interesting stuff I’ve never seen before.

I started my journey right after my prom night on July 5, starting at Frankfurt Airport, having a stop in Dubai and finally arriving in Bangkok. I was really impressed by all those huge buildings, since I’ve never been to that a kind of city before. We spent my first day at Park Lumphini, lying in the grass and enjoying the atmosphere of the city – and being with Sascha, which is quite special since we only meet very seldom (almost 10,000 km are not that easy to pass!). Oh and I can’t resist mentioning the squirrel dropping down a tree right in front of our feet. Way too funny and cute!

My first nights were spent in a small apartment near Rangsit University, where I not only spent hours in the computer room for planning my trips but also visited one lesson. Actually not as a student, but as part of the lesson. This was also where I first came in touch with Thai people speaking Thai English. While it was quite hard for me to understand them during that lesson (sorry again to you students), I really got used to the accent after some days. I can say that about the food and the weather in Thailand too – it only took me little time to get accelerated to. Admittedly for example, I miss rice dishes and spicy food here in Germany now. The only thing I absolutely missed while enjoying Thai cuisine is some traditional European breakfast…

1st time bangkok - bro & sis
1st time bangkok – bro & sis

I spent the following days mainly alone in Bangkok since Sascha had to work during the week. Sightseeing – the Grand Palace, the Giant Swing, Khao San Road, The Democracy Monument… and so on, this entire tourist stuff. “Mainly alone” may sound quite boring and dangerous for a small girl like me in a big city like BKK. But it was like that: every time I felt lost, I simply chose some short-time-fellows. And this is probably one of the best experiences of the whole trip – learning to be very, very open. Meeting new people (whether I liked them in the end or not), letting them be a part of my adventure and hopefully also being part of theirs. Well and if there was really nobody who seemed to understand this small lost European girl, I just walked on. And as you can see I always reached my destination in the end. This aim for I used many different means of transport, such as the BTS Skytrain, taxis, MRT, bus and of course the fantastic adventurous motorcycle-taxis.

Sis with some of my ex-students from Udon Thani - thx for taking care of her :-)
Sis with some of my ex-students from Udon Thani – thx for taking care of her :-)

Of course my journey wasn’t pall and so my next challenge was called “Taking an eight-hour-ride in a bus without people knowing your language to visit some people you’ve never seen”. This bus took me to Udon Thani, a city in the north-east of Thailand where my brother had lived before he came to BKK. I was nervous more than words can say as I didn’t know what I had to expect. I stayed with a girl named Patty – have to say that I really miss her right here. We visited the Vocational College and afterwards drove to the tropical rainforest with a group of about ten people. It was indescribably beautiful to me, since I had never seen scenery like this before in reality. After we had followed the river upstream for some time, we went swimming there – another experience I’ll never forget. On our way back we stopped at an overwhelming viewpoint. It seemed like nearly the whole world was rainforest. In the evening we managed to forget about our tired eyes and went to some bars and clubs in the City. Again completely different than party locations I knew from Germany. And I have never seen so many people enjoying Whiskey Soda before. We spent our next day in Udon Thani with another teacher from the College until I already had to leave. And again I was sat into a coach which would bring me to an unknown place.

1st time chiang mai. tae pae gate
1st time chiang mai. tae pae gate

This place was Chiang Mai – located in the north-west of the country. I arrived there in the early morning and met Sascha again. We visited a temple in the afternoon and the walking street in the evening together with some friends. The walking street is a long street covered by lots of shops for clothes and fooooood which looks quite nice in the evening. I had one of the spiciest snacks during my time in Thailand there. Must have looked rather funny for the others, since I was kind of surprised because it didn’t look that hot to me… Well. The next day was spent with strolling around the city, searching for a quiet, green place to hang out. That was pretty hard in fact, but after some time we managed to find a small park. We took some overnight-bus to get back to BKK again.

My second week in Thailand started with a crazy coincidence. After I had got kind of lost in China Town, I decided to take a boat to get to the city center. Finally I found a pier on the riverside where I started to check out the timetable. And when I looked up again, I realized that I was standing next to a girl who had been going to school with me with her boyfriend. This was so unbelievably funny as it is rather unlikely to meet someone you know in a city like BKK more or less accidentally. We spent the rest of the day together having dinner, visiting their hotel and Siam Center in the evening. They already traveled on the next day, so I had to arrange my plans by myself one more time. I decided to visit Ayutthaya, too. And this was when I really got lost. I took a Minivan to get to the city, but when I asked someone how to get to the temples in the center, I was taken to another Minivan that brought me to… nowhere actually. I found myself some kilometers abroad where I realized that I was completely wrong. Unfortunately, the taxi driver didn’t understand me at all so I started to search for someone else to help me. In the end again I could use a bus that brought me back and so I reached the temples in Ayutthaya. And it was really worth it. As I had already seen a couple of Wats in Thailand, my expectations were highly excelled by the different look of the temples there. They are really old and mostly “only” ruins to explore. In the evening when I was back in town, Sascha and I had dinner with one of his foreign students (greetings to Chinami!) before we went to visit Baiyoke II Tower. The highest building in Thailand was likely the biggest building I’ve ever been on and so I was really impressed. The view of a city that’s so loud and dusty downstairs being just calm and glowing in the night really pleased me. Oh, and we got some Cocktails for free (whereas we had to pay about 400 Baht to enter the Tower at all…). Thereafter we took a cab to Khao San road, which is also very nice at night. Especially for those who want to a. get drunk or b. go shopping. I also tried Thai Massage once – amazing feeling afterwards, but some pain meanwhile though. And it seemed like I was the only girl who entered the massage studio… The train market was another sight I had to search for quite long. I actually had to climb over a fence to enter it, but that was the same way that many Thais used, so I think I was right. The market itself was again very beautiful with lots of clothes to be offered.

1st koh samui tattoo
1st koh samui tattoo

Then there was this long weekend we spent on Koh Samui. We went there by plane on a Saturday morning – one hour flight to the smallest (and cutest) airport I’ve ever seen. Then we had to take a coach and a ferry to get to the biggest of Thailand’s islands. Staying at a cozy resort next to the beach, I felt like having entered paradise. Really. The next day we lent a motorcycle to explore the area, climbed up some paths in the rainforest, saw a huge waterfall, searched for a nice spot at the beach and somehow I managed to have a motorcycle-accident. But the only thing that happened was my leg looking kind of thrashed and so I took quite a few pictures of it, haha. We had a great time on Samui including dinner and cocktails at the beach such as great tours and sights (we also saw the Big Buddha, who wasn’t as big as we expected. But big though, yes). Our journey back to BKK was really annoying this time, as we chose a bus that not only took about ten or twelve hours back but was also untight, and so we had drops of water falling on our heads during the whole trip. Didn’t like that.

I had one day left in Bangkok which I used for getting souvenirs for my family and friends.

In the night before I left, we checked in at the Banyan Tree rooftop bar for having some cocktails again. This again felt amazing – enjoying a drink with an overwhelming sight of the city at night. Later at the airport, I was very sad having to leave Thailand and my brother again…

backpackers and sisters recommend my-thai.org ;-)
backpackers and sisters recommend my-thai.org ;-)

Concluding I still want to say that I learned a lot on my journey to Thailand, especially being more independent. I also loved experiencing this completely different culture, although it was strange sometimes, for example not having a kitchen at home or seeing pictures of the king all around the country. I saw a great variety of scenery I could never have imagined before and I tried a lot of new food. Exceptionally those fried insects, I actually wanted to but I more or less forgot about it.

And so i think I can say that I had a great time with all of those who spent their time with me in Thailand and although – or maybe because – life is so different and simple there, I would definitely like to come back..

Sascha Funk

Founder / Editor at My-Thai.org
Sascha is the publisher of my-thai.org and switched from an online marketing agency life in Europe to a teaching and education life in Thailand. He also writes about Teaching & Technology.

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