Thailand: For the seeker in all of us

Note: This is a more personal experience with my travel to Thailand. I did travel with a friend, as you will see in pictures, however, travel is personal and this is my experience in Thailand. Further down is the information that could be helpful for you if you are thinking of traveling to Thailand. 

The following is verbatum from my travel journal from the last days of the trip, please ignore grammar and spelling errors..

Birds chirped at my as I walked by a large red hibiscus tree. I walked on the quiet side road by the guest house that we were staying at, the golden wats on either side of our residence glinted in the morning sun. The sun had just woken up but already the heat was notable, by smiled inwardly as the rays basked on my shoulders and back, like a hug from a friend. Walking on the brick roadway, scooters and delivery trucks occasionally passed me moving fast to their destinations. On the roadways shops began to wake, the doors open with their owners sweeping the floors using palm fans or using hoses to clean off the store fronts, moving the leaves and garbage from the day before. There are smiles anywhere you look for them, each single person would offer the largest smile and a polite hello if you just offered the first smile. I now arrive at “The Bird’s Nest Cafe”, my destination, not far from our place and one of my favorite places to sit, think and drink coffee (French presses with clove and cinnamon need I say more). I order and find my seat in the top section, taking off my chacos and sitting. This city was the last we would visit and today was the last day of the trip, how did this happen? Where had the time gone? Was I that frivolous that I had given my minutes away as though they meant nothing?

“March 26th, 2017- Chiang Mai, Thailand

The point of my life is what? To see many things, impact greatly, or maybe to see as many places you want to before finding someplace you wish to stay perhaps and call home, if only for an evening. Sitting in a coffee shop Thailand I can  say that when you get out here you meet some amazing humans, all welcome and all seeking. I wish to have the ability to travel as they do, free and without strings. To take off like the bird I am, to see it all and land atop a tree now and again. I want to seek and find what it is my soul craves, of which I do not know; A person, place or purpose?

I feel at home here in Chiang Mai. The bustling city moves and sings together from the moment the sun rises to long after it has set. Everyone smiles and greets one another. A smile gets you a long way here, even if you don’t know what to say or how to say it. Pleasant demeanor gets you a long way.

I feel as though this place is a current and it has many people moving through it following their hearts to seek. Most don’t seek with the intention of finding a specific thing but just to be a part of the search for something greater than our knowns.  If you ask say “how long are you traveling or where” they will respond with not knowing but that they are experiencing some amazing places and people along the way.

This place makes my soul crave to be a part of that current, it pulls at me asking me to “come” and my worldly obligations this year stop me from obliging the current, however, I will work on it with every fiber of my being to make an extended trip a reality for next summer.

I want to seek, for I am a seeker”

Leah 

The beginning: Vancouver, BC to Bangkok, Thailand

This was a long trip but I highly recommend flying out of Vancouver international airport, it was so much more comfortable and cheaper than flying out of Seatac. We arrived into Bangkok around 1 am and after wandering around getting familiar with the airport (as we were to come back later that day to take a bus to Koh Chang) and getting money from the ATM, we were off to our short stay at a Bangkok hotel (5 hours to be exact) it was a pretty sweet little hotel (The Great Residence”), they had a fantastic breakfast and we even saw a monitor lizard while we were there! Later we returned to the airport and got on the bus to Koh Chang.

Getting from Bangkok to Koh Chang

There is a bus/van service which departs from door 8 on ground floor at Suvarnabhumi Airport directly to Koh Chang, it is 600 (includes the ferry ticket) baht per person and takes about 5 hours with a stop for snacks/potty break halfway. I highly recommend this service (Suvarnabhumi Burapha is the service provider)

Koh Chang

After riding the ferry we began to feel like we were finally arriving in Thailand, as silly as that sounds but we had been just traveling for almost 2 days. The final road to our bungalow at Lonely Beach was a crazy rollercoaster of a road, the people there drive fast and as far as I could tell there was not many traffic regulations, it was amazing and we got used to it quickly.

We stayed at the Lonely Beach Resort, which is less of a resort than you are likely thinking (in terms of western expectations) however the bungalows were excellent,  there was a fantastic swimming pool and the bar/restaurant in front was very very good (still remains one of my favorite places to eat even after the trip), eat the spicy salads mmmm. We stayed here for 4 nights I would most definitely return. Lonely Beach was beautiful and an experience of its own, with the jet lag we would get up very early (before sunrise) and then walk around town once the sun came up. Every morning the town was dead quiet, the people got up later and the town became active closer to 9 am, we learned (from the evidence on the ground in the form of  litter and experience) that every night was a rager of a party catering to the european travelers which lasted into the morning of the next day. This is all well and good but my friends if you need coffee (as I do) you cannot get it before 8AM (our hotel didn’t have a self-serve station as many do). Once 8 am hits there is a fantastic couple of places to get coffee including the Sleepy Owl, theres was likely the best of the whole trip.

Suggestions for Koh Chang:

  • use the taxis and go many places
  • go to Bang Boa and eat seafood at one of the “luxury” restaurants,
  • go snorkeling (wear sunscreen on your backsides my friends…)
  • eat somewhere new every day
  • try all the fruits available (Especially the fresh Guava)
  • wait to buy anything you don’t need until you leave the island and go elsewhere (very spendy).

The same service that takes you to the island can take you back, again a very good deal. From the Suvarnabhumi Airport we took the shuttle to Don Mueang airport and from there flew to Chiang Mai. Very easy and I suggest Airasia (no additional bag charges, some other companies do this too)

Chiang Mai

We arrived and easily procured a taxi to Thai Thai Hostel, a hostel suggested by friends. This hostel was very accommodating and excellent. The beds were very comfy, the people who were staying there were very interesting and many laughs were had on the roof over Chang beers and Marlboros. The first night we went on a walk to the center of old town to a bar called Zoe in Yellow, this place is pretty quiet until about 10, when it becomes a raging electronic party strobe lights and all, their mojitos are fantastic and you can get a whole bucket if you want one.  The hostel also booked us a full day cooking class at “Mama Noi’s Cooking school”, it was a deal for the fee! Very cool garden, people and yum!

Later we stayed at Gongkaew Guest house, this was an amazing find, if felt as though we were in the middle of the jungle but we were right inside the old town next to a couple of wats (monks chanting are an amazing way to wake up in the morning). This place I would recommend with two thumbs way up. At first we stayed in dorms and we were the only ones in the rooms, the bathrooms were outside under cover which was alright with me but if you don’t like the flying insects (biting or otherwise) then a private room with in room bathroom is for you. The last night of our trip we opted for the private room just incase some other travelers joined up in the bunks, we wanted to makes sure to get a good night sleep.

Suggestions for Chiang Mai: I wish I had more, next time…

  • Visit as many wats as you can
  • Eat street food (especially at the Chang Puak food night market)
  • Go to the Night market west of old town and the sunday walking market (my personal favorite of the markets)
  • Get a massage at Lila Massage, great price and experience
  • Try the unripe mango with dried chilli powder and salt! Mmm
  • Talk to everyone you can, the travelers in this area are great
  • Go to Zoe in yellow if you’re craving company, you will meet some excellent people (and possibly share buckets of mojitos, dance into the wee hours, consider dumping your life and joining a wise and beautiful french man on a multi month/country trip to find yourself but then wake up with a big headache the next morning full of regret you didn’t choose to)
  • Take taxis everywhere again, haggle!

From Chiang Mai we took a flight to Bangkok and then some hours later we departed Thailand on March 28th. The end before it felt like the beginning. 

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