January 19, 2013

Throwback: Thailand

In the summer of 2009, I spent a month in the Philippines with my mom {which I posted about here.}. Jason was also staying in the Philippines at the time and before I went, we decided we should take a trip somewhere outside of the Philippines, and I knew right away where I wanted to go. We decided to take a quick (very quick!) trip to Thailand because flights from Manila were really cheap.  We were only there for less than a week, but it was still awesome. I really want to go back and stay longer.
The reason I wanted to see Thailand was because I had grown up around the Thai culture-- my dad spent 8 months there ages ago and is still fluent in the Thai language. All my life we'd go to a Thai restaurant and he'd speak Thai and the people would be so surprised that this white man was speaking their language and he'd make friends instantly! (This still happens, even today!) Going to all these Thai restaurants and meeting all these Thai people are what helped my love grow for Thai food and its culture.

The first night we got to Bangkok, we immediately hit the streets for food and walked around the streets exploring what we could at night. Of course, Thai food never, ever disappoints-- even more so in Thailand!

The next morning, we rented a car for the day- which we named BangBang Jo. We stopped at some really nice vistas and at a national park:

The next day we flew to Phuket where we spent 2 days. Unfortunatley, we were there when it was rainy season, but that didn't stop us from enjoying the beach! Jason even rented a body board and did some surfing:

After our short visit to the beach, we flew back to Bangkok to spend our last 2 nights and we decided to stay at Khao San Road. Now, if you don't know about Khao San Road, it is CRAZY. It's a street packed with people all day and all night. Vendors, bars, restaurants, massage parlors, and some crazy other stuff, line the street. At night, there are carts to buy soy sauce-flavored bugs, such as cockroaches, meal worms, grasshoppers (and of course, we had to try it!). Tourists and backpackers {and men there for the wrong reasons, but I won't get into that} flood Khao San Road. Also at night, there are, unfortunately, many prostitutes (and men at every turn asking if you want "pingpong show". Yikes).

So, Khao San Road is crazy. Of course, just avoid all the creepy, sketchy stuff and everything is fine. But we wanted to stay there because it's close to a lot of stuff to do and the nightlife is fun. And there is a plethora of budget hostels to choose from. The first night we stayed right on Khao San Road. I'm not a picky person, but this place was way too dumpy and noisy. The next night we moved to a different hostel a short distance from the strip-- it was much better. We ate at so many good restaurants (and not just on Khao San Road). We also got Thai massages and, just like the food, it was really cheap! We also got off the streets a few times and ate in little alleyways. {Many alleyways in Bangkok have people with little carts who cook & serve you fresh Thai food and have little tables and chairs set up-- and of course, this is even cheaper than food at a restaurant}.
Khao San Road, early morning.

A sign in the reception area of the first hostel we stayed in.

The bug vendors. They season it with soy sauce. Jason tried everything. I only tried the mealworm. Just tasted like salty crunchiness. I wouldn't eat it again. . .
A close-up for your viewing pleasure.

Eating in the alleyway.

On Khao San Road-- it was 10am.

 We wanted to get out of the craziness of Khao San, so we headed out on foot to explore the city a little. We visited many temples and took the boat to the other side of the city, did more exploring and went to an aquarium:

Of course, the food didn't disappoint. From alley food, to street food, to restaurants-- everything was awesome.

In the short time we were there, Thailand was still a great experience. Next time I want to explore the country more and go to different places, like Chiang Mai. And I apologize for the lack of specifics- like names of hostels we stayed at, places and temples we went to and restaurants. It was such a quick trip and were constantly on the move that I didn't take the time to write anything down. BUT, you should definitely visit Thailand if you get a chance. Mostly everything is affordable, the culture and history is interesting, and of course of course-- the FOOD! =)

I can't wait to go back.

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