Sunday, 13 September 2015

Thailand Visual Diary
September 13, 2015

Thailand Visual Diary




What To Do



1. Scuba Diving - Ko Tao: Learning to scuba dive and getting my open water 18m certifcation was probably my favourite part of my month-long trip to Thailand. Ko Tao is one of the cheapest places to learn in the world, with a 4-day course costing only 9000 baht (£180), which will then allow you to dive anywhere across the globe. Worth every penny if you ask me, it's like visiting an alien world when you reach the ocean floor, with hundreds of colourful fish casually swimming by. It's 1000x better than visiting an aquarium, you get to see the fish in the natural habitat and you can respectfully be a part of that without destroying their environment. We learnt with Big Blue Diving who were fantastic and provided us with accomodation included with course costs.


2. Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park: This park is just west of Koh Phangnan, Ko Tao and Koh Samui. Unfortunately I didn't get to visit this national park, but I would have absolutely loved to. People were raving about it all the time. I was looking forward to it the whole trip but we had planned to go when we were staying in Ko Tao, alas there's no boats or tours that will take you from that island. Make sure to go only from Koh Phangnan or Koh Samui!




3.  Maya Bay - Phi Phi Islands: My girlfriend and I went here as she had always dreamed of going after she had seen The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio. I skeptically went but was blown away when we got there. It was INCREDIBLE. Don't make the same mistake us as and go with a tour, because by the time you get there it'll be jam packed and bustling. I've seen a few photos people have taken where it's calm and empty, make sure you go for the sunrise if you want to really enjoy Maya Bay to it's full potential :).




4. Sirocco Sky Bar - Bangkok: The view up here is INSANE, can't emphasize it enough. Drinks and food are expensive, but just buy a drink each and treat it as the price to go up. If I had more money I'd go back without hesitation and have dinner there. Couldn't think of a better way to end our time in Bangkok.


5. Khao Sok National Park: Easily the most beautiful place we visited in Thailand. You can do packages to stay in a treehouse in the rain forest or a bungalow on the lake. If the choice presents itself, choose the bungalow. We had an amazing time in the rainforest, but when collecting other customers from the lake we realised what we were missing out on, and wished we had upgraded. You can do canoeing, bamboo rafting and elephant riding, and get served delicious meals. Book a few nights here and soak in the view of natural wonders and their vibes.


6. Grand Palace - Bangkok: The architecture here is majestic, and there's so many temples within the area. You can't go to Bangkok and not see the most culturally significant area in the city. It can get really busy but the buildings are high enough that it doesn't even matter. You'll see a lot of temples in Thailand but these are la crème de la crème.


7. Full Moon Party - Haad Rin: The biggest beach party in the world. Not everyones cup of tea, but if you love to party and electronic/house/dance music, then you must go. I had an awesome time, even if I was a bit overly intoxicated. Loads of fluorenscent face paint, clothes and fire breathers makes the Full Moon Party one hell of party that people round the world come to experience.


8. Cicada Market - Hua Hin: There are lot of night markets in Thailand, but we didn't come across any that came even close to the Cicada Market. We realised most markets in Thailand sell all the same stuff but the people who run this market only give stalls to people creating their own individual crafted goods and food. Every stall was completely unique and had something worth buying, I fell in love with this place. All the stalls are white and it almost looks like a little village, with outdoor seats  for a nice place to have a few drinks, enjoy the food and listen to live music.


9. Muay Thai  -  Ratchadamnoen Stadium (Bangkok): Muay Thai is such a big deal in Thailand that it'd be a shame to miss it out in our adventures. Watching the people fight was so impressive, they are so nimble, flexible and strong. The whole thing feels very traditional, with an entrance ritual and banging drums throughout. You can spend a whole evening with cheap food and snacks and watch around 8 fights for £30. A bit pricey but still very entertaining.


10. Ladyboy Cabaret Show - Chiang Mai: I was never super keene to go see a Ladyboy show but I got dragged along and it's part of the culture right? I was completely surprised to have a cracking night with tonnes of laughs and a new revelation. Are some of the women you pass by genuinely women? Some of these ladyboys are so convincing that I could actually call them pretty. Thankfully there were just as many shockingly bad ones to restore your faith in the difficulty to pretend to be a woman.





Happy summer peeps, it's been a while. I've just returned from the most amazing adventures in Thailand with Rachel and have made a little montage of all the fun things we did. We ended up cramming so much stuff into the month that we were away that coming back home and just sitting down relaxing feels surreal.

We travelled almost the whole country, doing most of the major areas including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Krabi and then did some Island Hopping to Maya Bay, Ko Phangan for the Full Moon Party and did scuba diving in Koh Tao. Rachel is actually half Thai so we stayed with her family in a rural area called Phetchabun to get the authentic Thai experience. The town was untouched by tourism and I feel privelleged to have experienced staying with Thai people and being treated like family.

Excitingly I'm already getting ready for my next trip in a just four days to the Azores with two of my best friends. I literally can't wait and I'll be making another video, so if you're interested then make sure to subscribe to my youtube channel. The Azores are these volcanic islands in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and from the photos I've seen, they look absolutely gorgeous. Expect plenty of posts when I get back, and I'll definitely be doing a post about Thailand again in more detail for those planning or thinking about going, giving tips and such. Hope everybody is having a lovely summer and can't wait to write more posts. Enjoy the video and some photos ;)

Keepin' it real,
Francis 

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