This summer I had my first opportunity to experience Asia, and I was beyond excited. I’d planned a two-week girls holiday to Thailand with my friends, and it was going to be a real adventure. My time there was full of firsts and I learnt a lot about the culture as well as having a tonne of fun. Through my blog posts here on Ladies What Travel I hope to share my ‘Thailand taster trip’ experiences with you and hopefully will give you something new to add to your travel bucket list!
New to Thailand, my friends and I thought we’d start our trip with a group tour, which picked us up on Koh San Road, Bangkok. We clambered onto a minibus and set off early.
The roads in Bangkok
The roads in Bangkok are something else. Road markings and lane discipline mean nothing and right of way seems to be determined by how big your vehicle is. To drive them I think you have to be a complete maniac, but luckily our minibus driver was a complete maniac and everything seemed fine.
Visiting World War II memorials
The first stop included a war memorial ground for the people who died building Death Railway from the Commonwealth and the Death Railway museum, both were fascinating and very interesting. Next it was off to the Bridge over the River Kwai, which we wandered over and back. Our next stop was the train station where we got the train that took the Death Railway route, the scenery was beautiful and we took advantage of every photo opportunity.
We got off and were driven to another river where lunch was waiting for us on a floating restaurant – a tasty mixture of chicken in sauce and vegetables.
Rafting, Thai style
Then our group was split into those who were going bamboo rafting and those who were going to Tiger Temple. We were rafting along with three others, we donned fetching life vests and climbed onto a bamboo raft with a small table in the middle for bags. Two men also got on with paddles and a boat towed us upstream.
The river was so fast flowing that as soon as we were unhooked from the boat we started floating in the opposite direction and the guys with paddles didn’t have to do a great deal. They’d brought a spare one too which we utilised for more photo opportunities.
The dangers of waterfall swimming
We then visited a waterfall in a National Park that you could swim in. We climbed to the upper tier and as we posed for more photos we heard shouting behind us and an Irish guy had slipped over and dislocated his finger, which was alarmingly pointing in the wrong direction. The Thai people surrounding him seemed to want us to take over as we spoke English, so we helped him down and asked him all the generic questions, but he said he wasn’t in any pain so he left to find his tour guide.
Returning to Bangkok and making new friends
It took three hours to get back to Bangkok, the taxi driver on the way back was much more laid back and I even managed to sleep. We made friends with the people on our trip, a German-come-Londoner, an Aussie, a girl from Poland, a guy from Saudi Arabia and a guy from Brazil who lives in Portugal. It was really good to get to know them and find out their stories. We managed to bump into them again when we got back to Koh San Road and all went to dinner together, which was brilliant as well as very informative. We learnt how best to approach the ‘squattie potties’ and which islands are best and what to do on them.
Travelling in Bangkok during the military coup
We travelled while the military coup was still on and while there was a small military presence, there was no sign of violence at all. The curfew was still enforced in Bangkok while we were there, but it didn’t affect us at all. Although one taxi driver was telling us that it had really affected his work as everyone had to be indoors between the hours of midnight and 4:00am and that was his busiest time.
Have your say!
Now over to you! Have you done a similar trip during your visit to Thailand, if so what were your highlights and why? Have you had any disaster stories like our poor Irish friend? We’d love to hear about your experiences!
All images copyright Laura Beard.