Thailand, aka Friend Trip 2017

This was a trip that I never thought would happen.  Not Thailand itself- I was always planning to go to Thailand, and I am planning to go back, since there is a lot more there that I want to see.

This trip was special because I went with four of my best friends from University.  It’s something that we had talked about since sophomore year- taking a yearly friend trip once we graduate and going somewhere none of us have been.

And we actually did it! Somehow, we all managed to take the time off, and spend a week (or two, in my case) traveling around Thailand together. We all flew to Bangkok separately- 3 of them flying from DC, and my friend in Australia and I flying from Sydney.

I was so excited to be back with them. I got to Bangkok last, meeting them all in our hostel before we headed out for the day.  We decided to head to the weekend market, to do a little shopping and explore a little of Bangkok.

Bangkok is definitely not my favorite city- it was kind of smelly, very crowded, and insanely humid.  The weekend market, however, was pretty cool.  There were hundreds of stalls packed into buildings, selling anything you could possibly need. Literally anything- they had paintings, clothes, dishware, and even live animals.

I felt a bit uncomfortable about all the animals for sale- it didn’t seem like they were treated that great, and some of the cages were really small for the size of the animals. We all decided we had enough of the markets for the day after that.

We managed to eat our fill of Thai food that day, and it was just as delicious as I thought it would be. Thai is one of my favorite cuisines of all time, so I was pretty satisfied.

The next two days we spent out to visit the temples.  Once again, it was ridiculously humid, which was only made worse by the fact that we had to cover up for the temples- no knees or shoulders showing, so long pants and t-shirts were a must.

Even though all my clothes were pretty much soaked by the end of the day (the mid-day rain didn’t help) the temples themselves were gorgeous, and definitely worth the effort.

We saw the Wat Aran Temple of Dawn, the Wat Pho Temple of the Reclining Buddha, The Grand Palace of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Rakhang, and (the next day) the Golden Mount Temple.

We had drinks at the top of the sky bar, which was overpriced but had amazing views.  We took a ride in a tuk tuk, all five of us squeezing in the cart that was at most fit for two.  It was both hilarious and terrifying, and there were definitely a few times we thought we would die.

Our last night in Bangkok we headed over to the train station to catch the sleeper train to Koh Samui- it was definitely something I would never forget.

After taking a train across the U.S, I had pretty good experience sleeping in trains, but nothing like this. I slept in a pod that came down from the ceiling, which the entire night I thought I was going to fall out of.  I probably slept like 30 minutes in total, because of the train noises and the insane humidity

15 hours later, we ended up in Koh Samui, and all headed over to the beach to hang out.  We were only spending the one night there before heading over to Koh Phanang for the Full Moon Party.

The Full Moon party was amazing, and I couldn’t imagine going with anyone else.  We painted our faces and bodies, drank about 6 buckets, danced on stages, ran across the beach, saw fire dancers and avoided the fire jump rope, kissed random strangers, and finally, drunkenly watched the sunrise in the morning, sitting on the beach.

Although we were pretty much useless the next day, it was definitely worth going. I had to say goodbye to a few of my friends, as they headed back to Bangkok, and my other friend and I headed to Koh Tao for some diving.

Koh Tao was probably my favorite out of the islands we went to.  It was touristy, but had a much more low key vibe than the other islands.  We got thai massages (which were amazing and worth every penny), ate pad thai on the beach (it didn’t sit well) and managed to get certified as advanced open water divers.

My favorite dives were definitely the night dive (which I always love) and the shipwreck dive.  I love archeology, and have looked into underwater archeology, so diving a shipwreck is definitely one of my favorite things, and I was so glad to have experienced it.

After Koh Tao was Phuket, which I wasn’t a fan of.  I managed to read a lot of books in Phuket, had another massage, and watched the stars rise on the beach, but it was so touristy and full of clubs, I just couldn’t get into the vibe.

On my way back to Australia, I had a 10 hour layover in Singapore. Have you ever had a 10 hour layover? It is quite a long time. I was going crazy the last few hours.

I don’t know if you have ever been to the Singapore airport, but you should go.  I went on a free tour of the city, and then spent the rest of the time exploring the airport (they have a butterfly garden for some crazy reason, its wild). The city was really interesting, and I would love to go back to see more of it.

It was an amazing trip, and I was so glad to be able to see my friends and see a new place with them.  I can’t wait until our friend trip next year

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