June 2016 and throughout summer of 2016
First and foremost, if you can AVOID flying with Aeroflot, DO IT. Do Not use this airline. They were extremely rude, wanted to overcharge me for luggage, did not understand their job and almost made me miss 2 of my flights. I had to run, they did not accompany me.
Thailand is the most popular South East Asian country to visit because they give out visas on arrival easily. Phuket, Koh Samui, Pattaya are all framed extremely cheap, beautiful and the locals- smiley and friendly!
Since I lived in its northern neighbor (Laos) I had the opportunity to travel to Thailand on a numerous occasions and get to know the culture a bit better than the regular alcohol and ladyboy curious tourist.
Upon my arrival, we stayed in fancy hotel So- Sofitel beautifully decorated, and they welcome you with flowers and a purple drink. We took a hotel tour as every few floors the design and theme of the rooms changes. Ours were the bestest- see pictures below. We were also lucky, since there was a very popular pool party (once a week in different hotels around town) in our hotel that is free for hotel guests. Stunning views, drinks, and hot people. I loved the music and how my outfit glowed in the dark. That was my first impression of the city. In the banquet hall area of the hotel there was a BMW employee’s party and I found the locals dressed extremely stylish and original.
We started touring the city and went to get some pad thai at the Asiatique riverfront. A very modern and quite expensive touristic place.There were robots/transformers to rent for kids and I found that really awesome. Wish I was a kid again. What I noticed as unique were the soaps shaped like boobs or penises! They also smelled so good.
The following night, we went to Nana Plaza where we were told we can spot the ladyboys bars. There was heavy rain that night. I also tasted street food and it was cheap and tasty. We proceeded to visit a few strip clubs. Ladyboys were grabbing Jon’s bum, catcalling him and I found that hilarious! A country where girls are not harassed, ouf! Finally! Inside the strip clubs however, it is really expensive to drink and they are so pushy for you to order drinks while the strippers act so so bored, barely moving and some of them looks like 12 year old boys /or ladyboys, as only their breasts were showing, I was really not sure about genders.
NB! Do negotiate with the tuktuk drivers because they always rip off the tourists.
Once, we witnessed a taxi driver who was not happy with a foreigner and showed him his gun!
My second time in Bangkok, it was to meet a friend from Canada. We managed to watch some Thai boxing which was super exciting. At least the first few fights. I was shocked how expensive tickets are, so please don’t bother buying the front seat tickets since you can move freely once inside. Buy the regular tickets. Unfortunately, they put tourists far from the locals who scream their bets like crazy all the time. I would have loved to be amid this crowd but maybe I wouldn’t have been able to focus or hear my thoughts. They were also the decisive power when it came to disqualifying one opponent who was not very energetic or passionate about winning which surprised me! We met there a Dutch guy and proceeded to Khao San road where we met more people. Together, we danced on the streets till dawn and I tried scorpion, it was awful! We were drunk and happy in a tuktuk trying to find a karaoke place!
Khao San Road it’s where I had the most fun in Bangkok! There is so much to do! Little streets, lights, massages, buckets of booze, scorpion or spider sampling, street food heaven, funky t-shirts and souvenirs, open air street bars, offensive bracelets makers, the couch surfing meeting, dark tunnel streets with homeless cats and dogs, balloons with funny air inside.
For research purposes, me and my friend one day attempted to find the Bus terminal. Well, we got frigging lost. It was so so hot! After some time spent in desperation and wrong directions, we found some fenced off gardens and jumped the fence with our backpacks. No matter who we asked, they gave us different directions. Well, it was a workout. Note that any thai person can offer you a ride on their motorcycle, but they really ask too much! (in any case, just accept if you are super lost).
I stayed a night in my friend’s hostel which was containers stacked and super colorful called the Wanderer Hub. I liked the hostel a lot. We also tried another close to the train station. It was clean and modern. However, I found reviews really matter in Bangkok…uhhh,just keep reading.
Me and my friend then departed to Cambodia by train. But man…that’s a whole new story.
On my return, I was alone and I wanted to be close to Khao San road, so I booked the closest and cheapest hostel around. Hello Guest House. I would certainly name it Bangkok’s most disgusting hostel with rude staff and a used tampon in shower: http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/Hello-Guest-House-Bangkok/Bangkok/69824#propname
On my last trip to Bangkok, I was with Jon again as he came to say Goodbye to me. I was done with Laos and was going to head back to Europe. Coincidentally the king of Thailand had passed away and the whole country was grieving. No parties, no noise, everyone and everything, every building, every public toilet, every clothing shop- ALL BLACK. They adored their king. So, needless to say, I wasn’t going to make it to Full moon Party. It was all cancelled. That is still on my list!
Be aware of taxis in Bangkok. Most drivers are from the villages. They have no clue where you are going. They do NOT speak English or use google maps, not even paper maps. Once we took 1 from the hotel and it wasted 2 hours looking for a robot restaurant. We requested to take us back to the hotel and argued not to pay. At the end, the hotel paid him.
Eventually, I found this robot restaurant! It is really tasty and fun. Quite far away and hidden in an abandoned shopping mall. But the robots are dancing on Lady Gaga while serving you delicious food!
We visited as well the floating market Khlong Lat Mayom which was so far away and was not floating at all. But we tried some unique foods, saw a salamander and discovered another area! Bangkok is so big.
Please remember that the area where all fancy hotels are is boring as hell. There is nothing to see and nowhere to eat. And only taxis available.
Anyway, when the king died, cops were patrolling even Khao San road to make sure no music is played loud. It was awfully depressing.
The best part of my experience was visiting the Unicorn Café. Like designed for me! It was paradise. I so want to bring this concept to life in Europe and even have the interior design in my head. If you are an investor or someone with nice savings, please write to me lol.
At the top of our hotel Banyan tree (beautiful big rooms, best pillows, robes, fruits and exotic fruits brochure, flowers, and scent of the day, free massage) there was the most famous roof top bar- Vertigo. On the 61th floor! The service was lacking tough. No one came to serve us and when they did, they never brought our orders. We just left.
Our last night together, we enjoyed some New Zealand food-fish! It was so so so good! Always wanted to visit NZ.
Pattaya and Ko Lan island:
Me and my friend from Canada went to Cambodia and then I came back alone to Pattaya. In a few short words, this city is: For rich Indians who can pretty much only get visas for Thailand and extremely surgically modified Russian prostitutes. I was excited! To get to my hostel was a whole new adventure. I arrived very late in a huge tropical storm. The bike guys wanted too much money, so I got onto some kind of truck which didn’t even know where to stop. Well, I got there anyhow. I stayed in 18 Coins hostel. They set up the AC to -100 degrees and the staff is the rudest I have seen so far. No facilities for socializing, luggage, no one cleaning the toilet areas, etc.
The main avenue in Pattaya is full of Ping Pong show promoters, clubs, Indian tourists, massive packs of Indian older men. Subsequently, I changed my hostel to a faraway one, a much calmer place: Jomtien beach- Jomtien Hostel. Oh what a bliss! Breakfast included. Beautiful, clean, peaceful rooms.
But getting to this part of town, was a whole other adventure! From the ferry port, I asked so many bikers, tuktuks, trucks and even random cars for a cheap ride, but was out of luck. At the end, a touristic private mini bus told me to hop in at the front seat. The man drove me around with his clients to a hill with amazing views, but my phone was dead to take photos. The driver who didn’t speak much English and was around 50 years old kind of liked me, so he drove me for free and even paid my lunch (it was amazing to try local food ordered by a local!) and told me at night, he will pass by my hostel and pick me up to go party! Well, uhhhhhh. I, of course told the receptionist to tell him I left already. He did indeed came looking for me, but I was out with my roommate.
My roommate was an Indian guy. It happened to be his birthday! He had a scooter and we hit the downtown. We also met a Pakistani friend of his who he met in Phuket. The Paki guy was staying downtown in a fancy hotel. He was not as poor as us! I have to say- I had a BLAST with those two! We got drinks, danced in an Indian club (the music was epic!!! The men were throwing their money on the floor as a thanks to the club owners for organizing this soiree!!! There were buckets of cash! Tempting to reach down and pretend to tie my shoe while I grab some….oh well. One old prick asked me ‘’how much?’’ They thought I was a Russian prostitute. L It was kinda sad.) We danced with an old funny grandpa on gangsta rap. His whole family taking photos. We saw a ping pong show and Thank God for my friends who basically negotiated for it to be free with free drinks! I will spare you the details of the Ping Pong show as some of you might be sensitive. But I thought it was entertaining! I loved the bars in Pattaya. So many to choose from.
Gotta tell you, even after this unforgettable party, the moment that will stay with me FOREVER is this one: Me and my two friends on a blanket on Jomtien beach sipping wine and eating rice watching the beautiful sunset. This is when the Indian guy (we never exchanged contact information) recited a poem he wrote. He is a philosopher. I just felt at peace, complete harmony and admiration. I learned SO MUCH from them. About their culture, their differences, the Kashmir conflict, the food in North and South of India, the Pakistani language, what brings them together. It was what traveling is all about!
The rest of days, I spent tanning, trying some shallow swimming (there were giant jellyfish), drinking coconuts and reading The 10 rules of Love on the beach. I loved it but I was missing my boyfriend. It was time to head back to Laos.
Ko Lan island is super super super super, extremely polluted island and I felt so bad, I started cleaning the beach and got 2 bags of garbage. I was there just for a day with the ferry. If I were you, I could skip that.
Noticeable things: Bulgaria Yogurt milk in the 7/11. P.S. There are 7/11’s everywhere!
Best hostel: http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/Jomtien-Hostel/Pattaya/34389?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIuaLP8K2x1QIVLhbTCh3ZxgmLEAAYASAAEgKPGPD_BwE&s_kwcid=AL!591!3!183293718124!b!!g!!&source=adwordsdynamic&network=g&creative=183293718124&adposition=1t1&uniqueclickID=9825965108907239422&sub_keyword=&sub_ad=b&sub_publisher=ADW&ef_id=WSrP9wAABcTYMC7z:20170730155047:s
Worst hostel: http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/18-Coins-Cafe-and-Hostel/Pattaya/99328?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI0PObla6x1QIVx-AbCh35cgOcEAAYASAAEgKwnPD_BwE&s_kwcid=AL!591!3!183293718124!b!!g!!&source=adwordsdynamic&network=g&creative=183293718124&adposition=1t1&uniqueclickID=454126764723653218&sub_keyword=&sub_ad=b&sub_publisher=ADW&ef_id=WSrP9wAABcTYMC7z:20170730155123:s
Getting to those islands is kind of a struggle! Flights are impossibly expensive, so go to Surat Thani and take a ferry. As mentioned, since the whole country was in mandatory 1 month grieving, the island was pretty calm. I walked for 2 hours because the tuktuk dropped me far away from the main area. Along the way, I checked 5 hostels and even beach mini huts. I said No each time. Something was pulling me forward and I knew it when I saw it. The best hostel I have seen in Asia! Modern, sharp, cheap, clean, colorful, social. Hell Yeah! Stay there- Behind the scene hostel.
I thought the island generally was a bit boring or maybe I did not want to spend any money and visit waterfalls or ride elephants- I have done it all already! And I had a stomach issue. I found an amazing Italian restaurant and swore to go there on my last night. Incredible food and atmosphere! I love lights. I am in love with lamp. Go there – Taverna Samui.
In my hostel, there was a German girl and we hit it off. Went for shisha and beach fire performance on the shore. It was a blissful moment. The moon, low music, cocktail and shisha on beach beds.
A French Egyptian from the hostel rented a scooter and we went to the big Buddha statue to see the sunset. Meh. Nothing special.
Best hostel: http://www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/Behind-The-Scene-Hostel-Club-Samui/Koh-Samui/85336?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIoaaX4K-x1QIVajPTCh1KmAVQEAAYAiAAEgKd-vD_BwE&s_kwcid=AL!591!3!183293718124!b!!g!!&source=adwordsdynamic&network=g&creative=183293718124&adposition=1t2&uniqueclickID=8905767434955813536&sub_keyword=&sub_ad=b&sub_publisher=ADW&ef_id=WSrP9wAABcTYMC7z:20170730160010:s
Best restaurant: https://www.facebook.com/tavernasamui/
I was pretty damn exhausted and stayed 1 night in this city. Very local. No tourists at all! Found a nice hostel. Very clean. Saw the night market and got some street food. Don’t experiment too much with that…since it disturbed my stomach.
Flying from Vientiane to Thailand was too expensive! So we drove to the border, crossed and took a tuktuk to the city airport. The city is really….ugly. They do have shopping malls, fast food and supermarkets at least, unlike Laos, so I could finally buy some much needed products like a frigging hairbrush lol!
The Bottom Line
What I loved about Thailand:
1-The street food is tasty and unique. Beware that the pad thai includes little warms traditionally.
2-The tourists are so friendly and in such a good mood! They are up for anything and make traveling alone special. Jordan from Jordan- you the man!
3-I loved being treated like a royal with vip rooms, free massages and cocktails in the hotels we stayed at.
4- Pool parties and roof top bars
4-The thai massages
5-Coconuts and mangosteen
What I didn’t love:
- The tuktuk and taxi drivers always trying to cheat or don’t know directions
- Most clubs, you need to pay an entrance. A Club we visited in Bangkok was 10 dollars!
- The pollution and traffic!
Why I WILL be back:
- I know…so stereotypical, But I Have to see Phuket and Ko Phi Phi of course, I heard such good stories
- FULL MOON PARTYYYYYYYYYYYY in Koh Pha Ngan. I cannot believe that I didn’t go yet. It is everything that represents me: Neon, Beach, Drinks and Dancing
- Chiang Mai mountains
- Chiang Rai white temple
- Real floating market
- Beach hut stay and snorkeling in Koh Tao