Bangkok and Ko Phi Phi
Talk about a ‘round the world experience. I traveled from Washington D.C. to Abu Dhabi, to Sri Lanka, to Bangkok. That was my trip itinerary on the way to my destination. On the way back, I came from Ko Phi Phi to Phuket, to Beijing, to Washington D.C.. Literally, all the way around the circumference of the globe. There were so many things I took in during this trip. I soaked in all the customs, of every country I touched. I was also acutely aware of the customs of countries who are not especially fond of Americans, or who still treat women as second tier citizens. I was conscious of the clothing I wore in many of the cities I passed through. There were even times I did not speak aloud, aware of the political climate, in fact hiding any premise that I was American. Even in Thailand, I noticed the looks and vulgar comments I overheard from a few groups of Arab, and Russian men. I never forgot to be vigilant about my own personal safety.
Thailand is safe and beautiful. The locals are lovely. Other tourists were more on my radar as potential safety risks, especially when traveling solo.
I was also aware of the anti-homo sexual perception I noticed towards my friends, by other tourists. As friendly and beautiful the country of Thailand is, I noticed repeatedly the intolerance of other visitors. Tourists bringing their bias and hate to other countries. It is always shocking for me to witness other visitors acting ugly outside of their homeland.
I did think about my safety moreso on this adventure than I have in the last twenty years traveling solo. I questioned, was it the country and the element it attracts, or the climate of the world that has changed so direly?
|Tuk Tuk for hire|
Traffic, busy sidewalks and skyscrapers line the downtown area. I did notice traditional items that one would not expect to see in a busy city, like Tuk Tuk’s for hire and street vendors with unique fruits and liquor. But, hey, thinking of places like Las Vegas and New Orleans, this was also just unique to this city.
I met my friends here, and we stayed in a hotel central to the New Years eve activities at the city center. The hotel was beautiful and provided high end amenities and full service in regards to NYE activities. We spent quite a bit of time on the rooftop pool deck and even retreated there after midnight on New Years to keep the party going.
We visited a popular and well known temple, the Grand Palace. We found mainstream tourist activities in an attempt to have a well rounded experience even though we were specifically there to celebrate the New Year.
Once we moved on to Ko Phi Phi, we had more of a traditional experience with the locals of Thailand. We were able to experience numerous islands and bays via longboat rides. The sunrises and sunsets were spectacular and the locals were inviting and friendly. The food was everything I anticipated and I enjoyed every drop of Tom Gah soup I was lucky enough to slurp. Even in the 100 degree heat, the delicious soup was a daily staple of my diet.
|nighttime on Ko Phi Phi|
It is actually quite romantic on the side of the island I stayed on, which is completely opposite the area near Tonsai pier which I understand is where the more aggressive partying takes place.
|Phi Phi sunrise|
|longboat at sunrise|
I was able to explore the jungle and the beach, hike the mountains and walk out into the ocean during low tide. Everything I imagined was met and exceeded. To say the island was beautiful is an understatement. The island is lush and I tried to soak in every moment knowing I would probably never travel this far for vacation ever again.
Some of the beaches were so overcrowded it made me sick to be a tourist, and part of the over abundance. It made me really aware of my footprint and conscious of what impression we make when traveling. I watched an entire boat of Europeans screaming and jumping in the quiet swim bay as we made our way to "The Beach" which Leonardo DiCaprio made famous. I thought two things: I did not want to get off the boat and participate in this vulgar display of tourism, and the premise of the movie may have had a solid point. This was the only day, besides arriving at the tremendously chaotic and over crowded Tonsai pier, that I would have preferred stay in my bungalow. If you have ever been to Waikiki Beach, this was twice as bad.
I rarely give unsolicited advice on travel, but please be aware of your footprint, and respect this earth.
Youtube Video highlights!
Youtube Video highlights!