So finally I am making a post about Thailand. I am very sorry it took so long, but these days have been quite hectic. I’m writing this post on my few hours left in Bangkok, as I wait for my flight to Bali.
Thailand has been quite an experience…from parties at amazing beaches to insights at Buddhist temples, for sure it has had many contrasts. And without a doubt, the experience of living in India has affected the way I experienced Thailand.
Chapter one: First impressions and the islands
On my way out of the airplane as soon as we reached Bangkok, there was a Thai boy right in front of me talking to the flight attendant. Both of them were standing less than 1m away from me, and yet I could hear absolutely nothing of what they were speaking. This was my first impression of Thailand: silence. Leaving the taxi, I could hear…again, silence. Again. No cars honking, no loud engines, no people talking loudly, no confusion, no mess. It actually felt weird. I guess I got too used to Indian chaos and noises on the streets.
On the way out of the airport, I could see all those tall modern buildings with Asian-like people on outdoors and advertising. To me, this was much more the Asia I had in mind. At least in Brazil, when we think of Asian people, usually we think of someone who looks like…well…me. Even though I live in India, and India is in Asia, India does not feel like Asia…India feels like its own continent, planet, world apart. It’s too different from everything else.
The first few days were spent at Koh Phangan, where we went to the Full Moon Party. The island has very beautiful beaches, like Koh Ma, and our hostel was quite good, with good food, nice people and the beach just a footstep away. We went to parties 3 nights in a row and beaches during the day. The parties were a lot of fun, even though the Full Moon Party seemed a bit overrated to me, as it was just a bunch of bars by the beach, each of them with its own music and crowd.
HOWEVER…it did not feel like Thailand. Something was missing. Too many tourists took quite a bit of the authenticity away, something that India carries very deeply, and some of the places were very similar to a few beaches in Brazil. In India, everywhere you go, it’s very clear that you are indeed in India…and I did have high expectations of Thailand, that could not be totally fulfilled at this first touristic spot.
Right after the Full Moon Party we moved to Koh Phi Phi, a 10 hour boat/bus/boat ride, which was insanely tiresome, considering we went straight from the party. Again, our hostel was right in front of the beach, giving us an amazing view to a very clear light green ocean, which I could spend the whole day staring at. But again, too many drunken teenage tourists. Not that I hate it, but sometimes it felt more like a spring break than Thailand itself.
The following morning we took a day trip to the islands around, which was unbelievable. It was one of the places I always wanted to visit, and completely worth it. The boat stopped in several places along the way, including Bamboo Island, Monkey Beach, Maya Bay, where the “The Beach” movie with Leonardo di Caprio was shot, and my favorite one, the lagoon. This lagoon is a completely wonderful place with a very clear green water, surrounded by rocks. We had snorkels, and the clear water allowed us to swim and see amazing colorful fishes. Nature is such an amazing thing.
Due to scheduled flights and boats, we had to move to Phuket to spend one night, which turned out to be quite an interesting experience. At first we didn’t intend to go to Phuket at all, because the island is mostly known for sex tourism than anything else. As soon as we arrived we could see why. Our hostel was located in Patong, an area filled with bars, clubs, prostitution and Go Go Bars. Now THIS deserves a special addendum.
The Go Go Bar was without a doubt the most bizarre experience of my life. The entrance is free, but you are obliged to buy something to drink, and the cheapest beer costs around 50 USD (which was also the most expensive beer of my life).
At first there are some strippers dancing around, no big deal. Suddenly, the show starts, and sadly no one is allowed to take pictures. A Thai girl walks in, takes off the bottom of her bikini, and starts taking out things out of her “lady parts”. Yes. The first item was an egg. Then she left, another girl walked in and started pulling out a bunch of colorful threads out of her lady parts as well. And like this they spent an hour taking turns and taking off the most unimaginable things ever. One of them “smoked” two cigarettes with her vagina, the other opened bottles of water the same way, then together they popped balloons that were being held by customers.
When you think this cannot get any worse, one of them takes a LIVE baby turtle off her, followed by two small rats, a bird and three golden fish, that were thrown into a fish bowl. I thought I had seen many weird stuff in my life, but nothing compares to this.
First impressions: Thai food is as amazing as I remembered (this will get a special post). Thai people are too nice and happy all the time. Thai islands are incredible but some places can be too crowded with drunken young tourists.
Next chapter: Chiang Mai