The Thai Adventure: Vikesh’s 4-Week Experience
Day 1: 17th September
Today I began the first day of my one-month journey travelling across Thailand. We checked in to our place which is in close proximity to Khaosan Road. Khaosan road is often referred to as the backpacker’s paradise in Bangkok and for good reason, the place is buzzing with other backpackers and travellers. The first night was great, we started by visiting a great restaurant that sold a variety of western and Thai foods and catered for everyone. After dinner we all headed to great bar called Golf bar with low-priced drinks and buckets being sold. Here we spent some time socialising over drinks, had a good laugh and really got to know one another better. After a few drinks at the bar we moved on to a livelier club and partied through the night. Overall a great night full of fun and excite, a perfect introductory day to the trip.
Day 2: 18th September
The next morning we were up fresh and early for breakfast and to continue exploring more of Bangkok. In the morning meeting, our tour guide gave us some safety advice as well as her number just in case they encountered any problems. After the meeting we the proceeded to walk to the pier to catch a long boat to visit some of the famous temples situated close to the rivers. Had a fascinating time viewing Bangkok along the river and seeing some amazing buildings and the environment of the city. We stopped of at some incredible temples along the river including Wat Arun, Wat Pho and the Grand Palace. Some of the architectural work on the temples is astounding and a marvel to look at. Our friendly and helpful tour guide was able to give us detailed information about the history of the temples, the stories behind them and their importance.
The rest of the day we had our own free time so we had the opportunity to roam the area ourselves, most decided to explore Khaosan road further. The place was full of market stalls, massage parlours, street sales men, tuk tuk drivers and bars; so plenty to see and do. I opted to try and get a full Thai massage, which helped to relax some of my muscles. I also enjoyed bartering with the market salesmen on the road and trying to get the lowest prices on items. Later that night I went with some of the group up to the roof top bar on Khaosan Road to enjoy some live music and a few drinks.
Day 3: 19th September
We had the following morning and afternoon free to explore Bangkok, so the group split up to find a variety of different activities to do. Half the group did some more shopping and massages Whereas myself and some others decide to go back to the pier and went back on long boats along the river to go on a longer venture on the river, unfortunately we missed out on the floating market, as it was only open until early morning. Later that evening we hopped aboard a private bus towards Chiang Mai, I found it really comfortable, as the coach was equipped AC, comfortable seats and a TV playing movies.
Day 4: 20th September
After the long journey we finally arrived in Chiang Mai early the next morning. The accommodation was very cool, stayed in bamboo huts. The area was very tranquil and green, a completely different environment from the hustle and bustle on Bangkok. We then promptly travelled a short distance to the elephant camp by standing in the back of pick up trucks! Got fully kitted out in traditional mahout costume and taught how to ride an elephant. We all took turns practising manoeuvring and controlling the elephants. We then rode the elephant to the river where we were able to bathe them, the elephants looked like they loved it! This was honestly one of the greatest experiences in my life, getting up close and being able to interact with the elephants. That evening I joined in with some drinking games back at our lodgings with a few others, which was great fun.
Day 5: 21st September
After breakfast we returned back to the elephant camp where we were treated to an hour-long trek on the elephants. Got to see some spectacular sights and went over very steep hills before returning to the river. Got served a variety delicious homemade Thai food for lunch. I managed to take some unbelievable shots whilst on the elephants. Later on in the day there was an option to either go zip lining (for an additional fee) or visit a waterfall. I personally opted to visit the waterfall. It was a really beautiful and refreshing sight to see after spending the morning with the elephants. There was a small cliff approximately 5 meters high alongside the waterfall where you were able to jump off from into the river. Returned back to the hotel by pick up truck.
Day 6: 22nd September
Checked out of the elephant camp, as this morning we were to be trekking through the jungle and mountains to our campsite where we were to spend the night. This was a really fun and challenging experience. Had to concentrate carefully to avoid slipping as it had been raining the previous night. Halfway through the trek we stopped off for a refreshing dip at another spectacular waterfall. Continued trekking uphill shortly afterwards to the hut where we were to stay for the night. It was really basic and we all to stay under one roof for the night. A rural and peaceful location with some outstanding views overlooking the jungle. Got served some delicious homemade massaman curry for dinner. Everyone in the group joined in with some hilarious drinking games tonight where the forfeit involved getting your face covered with oil. We all sat around a campfire whilst the locals played some traditional songs. Even tried some barbequed cricket and then danced and partied until the early morning.
Day 7: 23rd September
The next morning we continued our journey by trekking back down the mountain. On the way down we were able to go water rafting where groups on 4 travelled down to river, saw some really cool scenes including colourful butterflies as well as a snake! . I really enjoyed this activity, nice and relaxing after expending a lot of energy trekking. After this we all then travelled by pick up towards our hotel situated in Chiang Mai centre. Lovely accommodation with Air Con, a fridge, fast Wi-Fi and a swimming pool. Spent most of the afternoon swimming and tanning by the pool. That evening we headed to a really nice Mexican restaurant with some live bands playing. Had an awesome burrito and some nachos, delicious!
Day 8: 24th September
Spent most of today relaxing by the pool and catching the sun. Later that evening went to the Tiger Kingdom In Town restaurant was really good and offered a large variety of western and Thai food. After dinner most of us went on a night out to some of the bars located in the town centre. It was really a good night where we had some cheap alcohol buckets before we headed to some of the lively clubs close by.
Day 9: 25th September
Had a free day today so we were able to do whatever activity we wanted. The group split into two groups, some decided to go the Chiang Mai zoo and the rest of us who went to check out Tiger Kingdom. I personally chose to visit Chiang Mai zoo. There were hundreds of different animals to see including rhinos, elephants and even pandas. I was able even to feed the elephants, hippos and giraffes. On top of all that I managed to grab a selfie with a giraffe!
Day 10: 26th September
The following morning I said farewell to Chiang Mai and went back abroad the private tour bus headed towards Ayutthaya. This was a rather long but comfortable journey that took over 8 hours. We had a few movies on to keep us entertained and managed to grab a nice nap to recharge my body for all the action and adventure awaiting us. Reached Ayutthaya later that evening and checked into the hotel there. Went out with the group to the local market to find some street food for dinner, ended up purchasing some roast duck and rice for only 40baht! We went to the famous Ayutthaya night market with some others for dinner. Later that night we went to see the Ayutthaya lady boy cabaret show, which was hilarious especially when they tried to interact with the crowd and bring them up on stage with them.
Day 11: 27th September
This morning we were treated to a bike ride around Ayutthaya to visit some of the ruins as well as another two temples. It was extremely hot today so catching a breeze from cycling really helped to cool me down. The tour guide was a good laugh and explained the ancient battle with Burma that had damaged some of the monuments. The guide also tried to bless a Buddha pendant from a girl from our group; he told four of our lads to grip his arm as he tried to break loose using the power of the Buddha. However this was pretty embarrassing, as he didn’t have the strength to break free and failed miserably. Later on we travelled a short one-hour journey back to Bangkok. We got to spend a few hours on Khaosan road where we continued shopping, getting massages and exploring the area further. That evening we all caught the 10-hour bus to the pier and then hopped aboard the Lomprayah boat. Next stop Koh Samui! Really looking forward to relaxing and chilling on the beach.
Day 12: 28th September
Arrived at a really lovely accommodation here in Koh Samui. Loved the accommodation had everything we needed and situated close to a stunning beach. We had air-con, HD TV and hot showers which was more than I could ask for. Furthermore the bar at the place had table tennis, a football table and a pool table available for us to use for free to keep us entertained. Ended up playing doubles on pool with some of the American guys that were staying there, ended up losing 2-1 as I unfortunately potted the white ball together with the black ball. Went out this evening to the town with a small group of us, visited the Ark bar one of the most popular destinations in the area, this was a huge venue situated on the beach front with a live DJ. We grabbed a table on the beach and ordered some drinks; although they were slightly pricier it was well worth it for the atmosphere. Got to view some fire breathers doing some dangerous stunts, there was also a monkey that you were able to hold and take pictures with.
Day 13: 29th September
Today we began the first day of our volunteering project, Samui beach and teach. We all hopped aboard our 4×4 truck to travel up into the mountains and we saw some astounding views on route over looking the jungle with the sea in the background. We stopped off at an area where we built a dam which was ordered by the Thai government. We separated the whole process between all of us based on our strengths. Some carried down 50kg cement bags, some looked for rocks, some mixed the cement and some helped put the actual dam together. I personally struggled carrying the cement bag down not really due to the weight of the bag, but more so trying to avoid slipping on the way down to the river. Ended up changing my role to passing along buckets of cements and looking for rocks, much less strenuous. Evening we joined our hotel owner, who was also a DJ to a club called Hush in Koh Samui town. Was a really good night! Got offered some free shots and discounts on buckets, as we knew the DJ.
Day 14: 30th September
Hungover! Maybe a few too many drinks. Ended up oversleeping along with most the group and missing the first day of volunteering at the school, really gutted about that. The few who survived either went to school to help teach or paint the school, whilst others went litter picking on the beach. The rest of us decided to spend the day on the beach unwinding and topping up our tans. In the evening our host had set up a barbeque for us that night with tons of food, felt absolutely stuffed afterwards. Played a bit of pool and table tennis with the guys.
Day 15: 1st October
Was awake bright and early ready to get involved with the volunteering project for the day. As part of our volunteer project today we had a few options depending on what each individual would have like to do. The first option compromised of teaching and helping to paint a classroom. The other option was to do a beach clean up and also help to paint the classroom. I personally chose to do the later. I started the day off litter picking on the beach; there were loads of plastic and glass bottles lying around everywhere. One elderly Thai gentleman who lived along the beachfront called us over to witness a snake suffocating and eating a lizard, felt like I was watching the National Geographic channel. After this I returned back to the school to help paint one of the classrooms, ended up getting a bit on paint on my top but it was definitely worth it for the sense of accomplishment and doing good for the community. That afternoon we hopped aboard long boats and went snorkelling just off the island. Saw some really colourful and tropical fish around the coral. I enjoyed the snorkelling here in Koh Samui as we got to visit different snorkelling spots and see a variety of spots, with different types of fish at each. After a long day hard work that night we all rewarded ourselves with a treat back to Ark bar where we bought shisha and drinks for the night.
Day 16: 2nd October
The next morning we left our place in Koh Samui and went back aboard the Lomprayah boat to the neighbouring island of Koh Tao. This is one of the main tourist attraction stops for divers and learning to dive. The first day we got here we ended up relaxing by the pool at the hotel and checking out the beach which was only a short walk away. We wondered around the market where you were able to pick up some great bits and pieces for really cheap prices.
Day 17: 3rd October
The next night we bought tickets for the famous Koh Tao bar crawl. For me this was the messiest night in Thailand so far. We got given a Koh Tao vest, a free bucket and some shots to start me off. The night was amazing we did loads of dancing and met some great new people. From what I’d heard from everyone, they all had a great night.
Day 18: 4th October
I spent most of the day recovering after last night by the pool and later the beach. I joined some people in our group later in the day to visit a place called ‘high bar’ up in the foothills to watch the sunset. I ordered some delicious Thai food from there too!
Day 19: 5th October
Another relaxing day today which consisted mainly of relaxing on the beach. Went back to town later to catch the football. Found a great place called lotus bar with a huge outdoor projector and comfy beanbags.
Day 20: 6th October
The following day (apart from those of us who were taking part in the diving course) looked for another activity for the day. We all decided to go through a separate tour operator to go snorkelling. They arranged to collect us from our hotel in the morning and took us along with other tourists on their boat. We were able to go snorkelling in three different locations and saw tons of different tropical fish species. Furthermore even snorkelling at shark bay where we managed to catch a glimpse of a few sharks. Next stop Koh Phangnan!
Day 21: 7th October
First night in Koh Phangnan we checked in to our new lodges. Really laid-back back atmosphere, rooms are basic but the environment that we stayed in more than made up for it. Had a great swimming pool right outside of my beach hut. We stayed right next to the beach, which even included a volleyball net. That night most of the group decided to go to the well renowned jungle experience party that night. It was an amazing unique night and one of the highlights of my tour. The party was based in the midst of the Baan Tai jungle with a natural mountain stream running through the party zone. Lots of house music and electronic dance music. Also there was a Muay Thai boxing arena where you were able to watch some professional fighters square up. Later on in the night after the Muay Thai fighters had completed their matches, random members of the crowd could opt to jump in the ring to battle it out with each other. It was hilarious as most did not know how to throw a punch or kick at all.
Day 22: 8th October
The next day we spent as much time as possible relaxing as we had a big night planned ahead, the full moon party!! I must have spent half the day lying in my hammock and listening to music on my I-pod. I went to the market and purchased my full moon party clothes for the night. Had pre-drinks with everyone on the beach and got painted in neon paint so I would be glowing at the party. The full moon party was packed with thousands of partiers all along the beach. There were a dozen different clubs playing every genre of music to everyone’s taste as well as the main stage. Lots of entertainment including watching some amazing fire dancers. I was lucky enough to be amongst a few friends who managed to stay awake until sunrise! The whole of the next day just relaxed and detoxed after the night out.
Day 23: 9th October
Woke up late today after getting back from the full moon party. This afternoon went to a place called Amsterdam bar. The place was situated up in the mountains and meant that we had to walk some steep steps to reach the bar. The view of the sunset from up there was outstanding, the best I’d ever seen, and you could see the sun going down behind the islands in the horizon.
Day 24: 10th October
The next morning I decided to try my hand at some Muay Thai kick boxing and sorted out some one-to-one training. Was told that my I was keeping my body and arms too tensed so had to spend quite a while on trying to loosen up. Eventually managed to get to grips with the training and picked up some basic moves. Really sweaty work but enjoyable, planning on keeping on training after the tour has ended and develop further.
Day 25: 11th October
Did The Koh Phangnan total wipe out course with half the group today, was absolutely hilarious. I found the red balls are impossible to get past, we were told only 85 people have ever done so. According to the leader board the fastest anyone has ever been around the course is 60 seconds, a 16-year-old local Thai lad. I struggled and even had to take a few breathers when I tried to get myself timed around the course, I did it in a tame 4mins 30seconds. As well as this I was able have a go on what I can only describe as an inflatable catapult where I got flung several meters in to the air.
Day 26: 12th October
Had a very LAZY day today. Spent most of it by the pool and on the beach. Had a go at playing some volleyball on the beach with some others in the group, which was great fun although I don’t think we’re ready to go pro anytime soon.
Day 27: 13th October
Our final day in Koh Phangnan, really sad to be leaving after having such a wonderful time. That evening we all sat around a bonfire on the beach and enjoyed some marshmallows.
Day 28: 14th October
Early next morning we departed on our journey back towards Bangkok. Had to catch the ferry for 2 hours before switching to another ferry heading towards Chumporn. Felt a bit queasy on the first ferry ride due to windy conditions and big waves but avoided throwing up. Once we reached Chumpon, we caught the 10-hour coach to Bangkok. Checked back in to our starting accommodation. The rest of the day we continued to explore Khaosan road and got some last minute shopping done around the markets. That evening we returned to the same place where we had dinner on our first night, ordered some flame chicken and got to see it alight in flames in front of us. Took one of my mates back to a rooftop bar where we had a few beers and listened to some great live music. Said my farewells to many of the group and wished them well on the rest of their journeys and travels.
Day 29: 15th October
The next day a small group decided to book their own accommodation, as the flights were booked for the day after. Joined them at their really lush hotel called Baiyoke sky hotel in the evening for drinks. On the 84th floor there was a revolving platform where you were able to get a 360-degree view of all of all of Bangkok. Had my say my final goodbye drinks with those who were there. This marked the end of a great adventure with the some of the most amazing people.