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It’s up to you! *Wink*

…Just kidding. Unless no one else is around, then say it however you’d like!

I was in Phuket for 3 days. You usually hear of: Koh Phi Phi or Phi Phi Don or Krabi, they’re all in the same area. But with the knowledge I have now, I think I would go to Krabi over Phuket (and I haven’t been to Krabi). I just have a feeling it’s more worthwhile.

Most of our days featured: reading by the pool or beach, sunbathing by the pool or beach, or eating by the pool or beach. We spent one full day doing an island-hopping tour via “Captain Mark’s Phuket Sailing Tours*.” It was fun, but LONG because it started at ~ 7AM and ended ~5PM?
Anddd I didn’t take many pictures on the tour because I was afraid of getting too excited and dropping my phone at the bottom of the ocean.

*Captain Mark’s Phuket Sailing Tour included visiting: Phi Phi Don, Monkey Beach, Viking Cave, Phileh Lagoon, Loh Samah Bay (my fav I think, the least crowded), Maya Bay.” This tour was a little pricey, but it was a whole day and included food, drinks, and workings snorkeling gear. The captain was cool and the staff were really helpful and nice. I definitely felt more safe here than when we did snorkeling in Bali.

Other Notes About Phuket:

  • I’m still not sure how to pronounce “Phuket.”I’m going with “poo-ket.”
  • One clear, beautiful beach can change a person (me).
  • Snorkeling PROTip: Take a piece of fruit (i.e. a banana) in the water with you. Fishies will come to you!! It’s a weird and awesome phenomena.
  • There are a lot of lady boys.
  • It’s more expensive in these tourist-heavy areas. Meaning when I paid 30 baht for Pad See Ew in BKK, I paid 80 baht for the same thing in Phuket.
  • ALWAYS HAGGLE for clothes and souvenirs.

Here are some of the pics that I did take…

phuket evening

Phuket in the PM

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Beach

On the Phuket Sailing Tour

On the Phuket Sailing Tour

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I blogged zero times last week, shame on me… It was a peak-and-valley-type week, and I’m still learning how to my budget time better. Budgeting time should have been taught as a UGS class at UT, am I right Longhorns (and everyone on the planet)?

During my SE Asia trip, I spent a hot second in Chiang Mai, which is north (NORTH) of Bangkok. And there are a couple of things that I will never forget about that place: Op, the elephants, how it reminds me of the PNW, and the vom.

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Op. She was the owner of the hostel we stayed at in Chiang Mai. It’s called “Banilah” and their lobby is a cat cafe. There were 6 cats roaming around while you had your tea and coffee. Op sat us down gave us the lowdown in Chiang Mai before settled in. She told us where to eat authentic northern Thai food (Tong), where to get ice cream (iBerry), where the university was, etc. She had two maps for us and color coded everything. You could tell that Op loved stationary…and loved to sass. She was the best hostess we ever had in Thailand, and it was a sad time when we had to leave.

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The elephants. I touched one, it was so real.

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The PNW. The rain, mountains, and green- how could it not remind of me of the Pacific Northwest? It was a touch hotter and tropical, but when we were trekking, there were cooler temperatures.You had to be there. So I will name Chiang Mai as “Thailand’s PNW.” And though I haven’t ventured all of Thailand’s regions, I think Chiang Mai is my favorite.

The Vom. So I don’t think I vommed here, but I experienced a lot of motion sickness. Between the trekking cars and winding roads, my body stood no chance to nausea. I took a lot of Dramamine during the portion of this trip.

Bonus story about Chiang Mai: Special to northern Thailand, there is a noodle soup dish called “khao soi.” As per Op’s suggestion, we left our hostel to go find a restaurant that sold it. After roaming for what seemed like 20 minutes and finding out that our map was not to scale, Tommy asked a Thai woman for directions to the place. Instead of telling us directions, she took us to the restaurant herself! She even helped us order, making sure we were okay before she left on her way. Where was she going? I don’t know. Did we interrupt her or bother her? I’m not sure, she seemed smile-y. Regardless, bless her for helping us and bless khao soi because it was nothing like I had ever eaten.

I’ll be back for you Chiang Mai. You and your elephants, your polite Thai people, and Op.

Sidebar: If you like my pictures, I take lots of them, put a filter on, and post them to this thing called Instagram.

Thanks for stickin’ around,

Thu

What can I say about BKK?

There are a lot of temples.
There is a lot of haggling.
You will still probably get ripped off.
At least the food is cheap.

That’s Bangkok in short. In long? -Deep breath- Here we go, my thoughts are scattered.

Collectively, I think we spent 3-5 days in Bangkok, Thailand. We stayed in hostels, not on Khao San Road. You can stay there if you want, it’s a busy, busy road and “backpacker haven.” I resent it. Yeah, I resent a whole road.

We concluded that the ice was safe to drink, but always buy/drink bottled water.
thailand temple
You don’t even have to try to see temples and you will probably run into one. That being said, I wouldn’t pay to go to the Grand Palace…but we did. This is one way I felt like I got “ripped off.” Once you see one temple, you’ve seen them all. Gold, large, ornate, etc etc etc.

IMG_0666Transportation. We did it all except motorbikes: taxis, tuk-tuk’s, ferries, slow boats, and fast boats. Taxis reign supreme and they’re cheap if you’re traveling with other people. Always ask for meters or you’re basically consenting to getting ripped off. (Do you sense a theme?)

Co Van Kessel Bike tour. Yes, this is actually a dutch bicycle touring company. We did the 3-hour tour and it was pretty fun. We biked through a lot of alleyways and saw a lot of the city in a short amount of time. Somehow, I find myself on a bike everywhere I go.

Tours, in general. I’m not a fan. They are exhausting, they start too early, and you don’t get to do what you want. We did some tours, and after experiencing good and bad ones-meh.

IMG_0679JJ’s Market and markets in general. They are overwhelming. It’s like Portland’s Saturday Markets + Pike Place Market + French Quarter Market + Rose Bowl Market…on steroids. There is so much stuff. You haggle, you eat, and then you haggle some more. Gold teapots, Buddha’s, sarongs, scarves, fried tofu, it’s all at the market.

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Lastly, the food. It can be expensive, if you’re lazy. If you’re willing to roll like the locals, it will be dirt cheap and the best thing you’ve ever eaten. Pad See Ew for 30 Baht (which is like $1 USD)? I hopped on the cheap food train quickly, even though I sat in an alleyway and no one spoke English. It makes me think, “DAMN IT, why would I ever pay $12/ plate in the US?” The kicker is that I probably will…in a month. For now, I want to stuff myself full of breakfast tacos, El Milagro tortilla chips, Trudy’s margaritas, P. Terry’s burgers, and Whataburger everything.

I sit here tapping on my phone screen as my friends wade in the pool in front of me. We have a few more hours until it’s time to hop onto another plane and travel back to BKK.

Yep, I’m in Thailand and I have some idea of how I got here. Mostly whimsy, and some of “I’ll-never-get-this-chance-again.” What I’ve learned is that you learn along the way, and how you spend your money is really up to you (more on that later when I have a proper computer). I wanted to write a bit to check in with you guys…so that you guys know that I’m alive and getting by, ha! Thailand has been beyond what I’ve expected, and I have so much to say about it. It’s a big* country. I will always remember Anthony Bourdain saying that travel changes you, and international travel changes you in a big way. Maybe I’m taking too much in, maybe I’m not taking in enough. Regardless, there is a missing for home and a hunger for more. What I realize is that it never ends. My thirst for travel grows more, my nostalgia for home and friends is never-ending, and my budget gets smaller and smaller. Luckily in Thailand, if you know the right places, you ask the right questions- you’ll be okay. I think. This is more than I planned on writing, but I’m a writer by nature.

Here’s the baseline of it all: Thailand, same same, but different.

Until next time when wi-fi is free,
Thu

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