Travel Thailand: Hopping Islands

Thailand is a place I think about a lot.

It was my first venture into the great continent of Asia. It’s so easy to think that the whole world operates as it does in your hometown. But boy, does it not.

I used the Couchsurfing app for the first time in Thailand. My friend and I met up with two boys at a coffeeshop—one from Russia and one from Lithuania. Sounds very shady, I know, but it turned out to be the greatest adventure. We had lunch, visited the outside of temples(we were definitely too underdressed to go inside), and took a ride on a tuk tuk. The driver knew very little english but with hand gestures and very slow speaking we got him to understand that we wanted to be taken to the ocean edge, to a place where we could see the sunset. We told him to take us to where there was a camera icon on the GPS which means it’s a scenic spot. We all piled into the back of his tuk tuk and hoped we would get to a nice view.

And we did!

It was cloudy so there was no sunset that day but hiking through narrow dirt trails framed by green foliage, standing at the edge of the cliff and watching the ocean splash onto the edges of the land, wind breezing and solo cups in hand was so freeing. Lenur screamed into the wind and we all reveled in our adventure. That night we went to the craziest road I have ever been on—Bangla Road in Patong. There was so much live music, alcohol, and travellers everywhere. My favorite place there was a karoake bar that played American covers. We rode home on a moped, our hair casually blowing in the wind as we drove the curvy roads in the dark.

Other highlights of the 10 day trip:

-Visiting Maya Bay. We rode a boat to the edge of a cliff. Then, we had to swim to the edge and climb the jagged cliff using a fishnet covered in slippery seeweed(Most exhilerating moment of the whole trip. Maybe because of the waves that kept crashing on us that made it a strong possibility for us to fall)(We were OK). We scrambled out way to the top, walked through a tropical forest with our bodies still buzzing, and made it to the setting for the movie The Beach. It was absolutely incredible. Mountains enclosed a small clear beach and longtail boats were in the distance, with other travellers swimming to the shore. Swimming anywhere for me is delicious but especially here.

-Giving an elephant, Lu Lu, a bath(if you ever have a chance to bathe an elephant, BATHE THAT ELEPHANT!)

-Riding a scooter with three people and trying not to fall off/die

-Kayaking on a triple kayak in the ocean on Railey Beach

-Watching rock climbers climb insane heights above the roaring water

-Finding a ”penis cave” that was filled with different sized and colorful wooden penises

-Visiting the Big Buddah temple in Karon

-Swimming in the pool as it rains, surrounded by trees

-Taking a local bus(so colorful and vibrant) to Krabi

-Traveling on a longtail boat to the nearby little islands and swimming with tiny bright yellow and blue fishes

-Tom Yum Soup and ALL the food the whole time

-Thai massage that made by sunburned, tired body feel amazing

-The kindest customer service from everyone

Weird Sleeping Situations

As a traveller, sometimes you gotta get used to sleeping wherever you can for the night. For me it’s not about beautiful, fluffy white comforters(although those were nice in Montreal) or the best sleep I have ever slept. It’s about the adventures you’ll have during your waking hours.

During my longest roadtrip ever(48+ hours to Banff National Park in Canada), one of my safe havens when it was late and impossible to find a hotel was actually Walmart. Walmart actually lets you park your car or RV in their parking lot overnight and for free. On that same roadtrip, there was a night when we could not find a hotel, airbnb, couchsurfer, or walmart.

So, we fell asleep parked in the car next to a sold out hotel. Covered in blankets, car seat laying down, and the sun coming up I heard a knock on the car window. It was a lady who mistaked us for being homeless, and wanted to give us a 10 dollar bill. I cried thinking of how sweet I thought it was that she cared for random strangers. I also cried because in that moment I felt a little homeless.

After that occurrence though, we headed for the mountains and hiked with the most incredible views. We saw lakes that looked like gatorade ready for someone to drink, mountain peaks so high and snowy that they seemed like they were digital paintings, and trees that smelled like Christmas in July. The nature there is one of the most amazing that my eyes have had the pleasure to witness in my entire life.

In Spring of 2018 I travelled to Europe for two months and reached a variety of countries thanks to Ryan Air and Vueling(Cheap airlines—I flew for about $18 dollars to Spain). When I was in Germany, I decided to go on a roadtrip to Paris at the last minute with a friend, her cousins and her cousins’ baby. We hit the road without even looking for a hotel. We figured we’d just find one when we arrived(big mistake). Of course, we found no vacant hotels.

After spending hours looking for a vacancy, we gave up and coincidentially drove to a street with an empty parking space with the Eiffel tower shining right in front of us just about a block or two away. It was cold but I’ll never forget all four of us peeing behind the car, one by one, the Eiffel tower as our only witness. It sparkled in the background as if to say, Welcome, Darling. Our Paris trip was quite hectic to say the least but I loved walking in the rain in such a romantic city.

So, where you sleep doesn’t matter as much as the sights you see and the things you get to experience in new countries. You can sleep comfortably when you’re at home. A good night’s sleep is nice when you are abroad but I’ll trade some good ZZZ’s for a good experience any day.