I got back from my holidays a few days ago, however I still find it difficult to get back on top of my life after such an amazing time I spent travelling around Thailand with my best pal/boyfriend Corey. As dog sitters, we naturally went to this breathtaking country to look after a lovely dog named Luna. We were also house sitting a beautiful home in Chiang Mai of 2 beautiful people who traveled to Scotland to visit their families. I felt the way I have never felt on holiday before – I felt like home! This sense of comfort was probably caused by the fact we lived in this gorgeous house, we were looking after a dog, making food in the kitchen, travelling by uber, cleaning up, watching movies, ordering takeaways – basically everything that we do back home. When we go on holiday, we usually stay in hotels, so the environment and atmosphere is slightly different to what we’re used to at home.
Anyway, I can’t say one bad thing about this amazing holiday, it felt great, we managed to see quite few different things and places in Thailand so I am excited to share 10 of them here.
- Elephant Sanctuary
Some experience! Definitely huuuge number one of all the Thai adventures. Among so many animal-cruelty touristy attractions, it’s very refreshing to see places like elephant sanctuaries. They gather animals from cruel riding camps in order to provide them with labor free, friendly environment, where they can eat, bathe, relax and live! the way they want. It is still a major touristy attraction, but the only thing we were allowed to do is feed fresh bananas to those gorgeous animals and spray some water on them when we went to the river for a swim. The elephants are not forced to go to the water, they go there for as long as they want and leave as soon as they want. It’s great to see them doing so well.
If you go to Thailand or anywhere else in Asia where they offer such stupid attractions like elephant riding: DO NOT GO! It’s cruel, they get beaten up with hooks, forced to work ridiculous hours and get separated from their families/babies.
Avoid also tiger resorts, where you can take photos with the animals. Tigers are naturally dangerous. They have to be drugged and forced to stay calm for you to be able to take a photo. It is not going to be an impressive photo but just the proof of you supporting animal cruelty.
Sanctuaries all the way!!
2. FOOD FOOD FOOD
Literally I can not express enough how much the food in Thailand blew my mind. No matter how much I try to cook something similar here in Scotland, old Thai ladies laugh in my face. The same, fresh ingridients as the ones they use in Thailand are very difficult to be found. The skills are a pretty far reach for me as well. Plus the food just wont taste the same eaten in the West End, Glasgow apartment as the one eaten on the plastic chairs, on the streets of Bangkok or Chiang Mai.
3. Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai was definitely my favourite city I visited in Thailand. It serves you everything you expect from a big city – great nightlife, great food places, loads of things to do (pleeeenty and more touristy attractions), breathtaking temples, great shopping markets and UBER (yep, that saved us in many situations)!. But it’s very local, not as cramped as Bangkok and not as polluted. Both me and Corey felt like home there – could easily move!
4. Thai Massage
This was something else! Not in a weird way.. I was trying to choose the right salon to go to for a while. I ended up in a lovely wee place in the old town Chiang Mai. Ladies working there were really nice, event when they realised I was close to being too tall for the beds they were using. Anyway, I had no idea what to expect, went there without researching too much (on purpose). It was basically as training yoga, but with someone else stretching your body. It was intense, sore at times and I didn’t know that bones in my body can crack so loud. The masseuse literally walked on my back, elbowed my neck and cracked my spine. All in all it was an experience, but I felt great and refreshed afterwards.
5. Chicken coconut soup
I know I already talked about food, but this soup deserves a separate point. It is absolutely delicious! I ate about 5 of them, in all different places around Thailand. You can tell the small differences between them in each area, but the overall awesomeness is always there. I tried to make one at home, and it became my personalized version.
6. Tuk Tuk
Rides in Tuk tuks are one of the most fun thing ever. Once you overcome the awkwardness of communication and language barriers, you are in for a treat. They all drive like nutters and you feel like you’re just about to fall out. But after a while you realise the drivers know what they’re doing (kind of) and you start enjoying the refreshing feeling of wind in your hair.
We were very lucky to visit Thailand during Thai New Year – Songkran. Apparently, Chiang Mai is the best place to be on that special day, so that’s where we stayed. It was absolutely nuts. I have never experienced anything like it in my life. It’s basically just a huge water fight all over the city. This kind of tradition was developed from much more subtle ceremony, of pouring small bit of water on each other’s backs for blessings and good fortune. A lot of people still did that to us, and that’s when you know you can’t follow this by pointing your massive water gun at them, but you pay them respect with the similar act. The street party version of Songkran was definitely a lot of fun though. Locals, mixed with tourists were just releasing their inner kids, having a blast. At some point I went a bit too crazy and ended up with a cut eyebrow (ooops). It can be dangerous at times, but as long as you are looking after yourself, you will have the time of your life.
8. Monk Dogs
I definitely did not love the fact that there are so many street dogs in Thailand. This position relates to my appreciation for them and hate for people who mistreat them. Unfortunately, there is a lot of them in Thailand. Dogs are the most beautiful, loving creatures in the world and it was difficult to watch them struggling to find food and love from people. The street dogs are almost like different species. However, monks are some of the nicest people in the planet when it comes to looking after dogs. In every temple we passed, monks adopted, fed and loved pretty much every dog that was hanging around the area. Thank you Monks!
9. Live music
Literally in every pub or restaurant, there was a band playing live music, starting around midday. The bands were not always great, but when you’re on holidays feeling the festive spirit, you really don’t care. I personally loved them all.
10. Muay Thai
This is some sport. We had a chance to watch it in Chiang Mai, a daily event which wasn’t too crazy busy, but significant enough for us to experience the real deal. Starting off with kids (8-10), moving on to older kids (12-14) through to teenagers (15-16), females and adults (18 and above). We got a leaflet with names of each boxer and as it turned out, they all seemed to be related. For many, Muay Thai in Thailand is an escape from poor, rural areas into cities in the search of better life. Unfortunately, this is usually done at the expense of children who are being forced to fight. Of course, some kids might have always wanted to become Muay Thai fighters – good for them! It is definitely an unforgettable experience to watch. I don’t know much about Muay Thai, but even the youngest kids seemed to be very professional. Overall – something not to be missed!
It feels likes ages since I came back from Thailand! The memories still feel very fresh though and I know already, I definitely want to go back!