Back in August 2014, we had the pleasure of Lucy joining us on our 8 day TruTravels Thailand Experience, here’s her week in a Blog:
It seems like the most dangerous thing to even consider. Well, that’s what I thought before I booked a tour in Thailand with TruTravels in June 2014. I sat there in my bedroom for hours, wishing I had the balls to do it – reading through reviews that were screaming about how good a time I would have.
Biting my nails, I thought, ‘fuck it, shall I just book it? – what’s the worst that could happen?’
My plane took off from London Heathrow Airport at around 2 pm on Monday the 25th of August, which headed straight to Bangkok (my plane was delayed for 24hrs, so I missed a day of the tour, but shit happens…). So I was basically flying to the other side of the world, on my own, with nothing but my bag, an itinerary and an open mind. Landing on the 26th of August, I was greeted by ‘Papayan’, our taxi driver and two other girls who were also coming on the TruTravel’s tour – Rhi and Simmone, who were from London. My Thailand travels had officially begun!
On arriving at our hotel ‘Mango Lagoon’ in Bangkok, a guy in his twenties with a beaming smile and a cigarette wedged in between his lips welcomed us with a hug. This was our tour guide Luke, and from this moment, I knew that this was going to be an amazing holiday. He helped us with our bags up to our rooms and took me to mine, where I met a girl called Candida, or Candy for short. She was my roomie and also a solo traveller. I thought my nerves of being on my own would have gotten to the better of me by now. Still, the conversation kept flowing, and after a while, we found ourselves exploring Khao San Road.
And here’s what I got up to over the course of the week:
On day one of the Thailand tour, we travelled by boat along the Chao Phraya river to the golden-plated temple of Wat Pho and the strikingly beautiful Wat Arun. With incredible views across Bangkok and being blessed by a Buddhist monk, we had a great introduction to the Thai culture. Luke educated us about Thai culture and its history, Buddhism and the temples themselves, which was exceedingly factual and interesting. In the evening, we understood the concept of eating Thai style by sitting on the floor with bare feet as we ate dinner – an incredible start to the week!
On the second day, we started off with a traditional Thai massage. If I’m honest, I’m not really a massage kind of person, but this was on a whole different level! The Thai massage was absolutely amazing and quite the experience. At 4 pm, we all checked out of our Bangkok hotel and headed for the night train to take us south to Surat Thani. After a few hours of being on the train, we had our train seats turned into what looked like bunk beds. We all got a good night’s sleep and in the morning watched the sunrise over the luscious green jungles of the south.
We arrive at Surat Thani and after a short stop at the one and only 7/11 for toasted sandwiches! We head out to get a boat that went amongst the most beautiful scenery (that I have ever seen in my whole life!) – mountains upon mountains with clouds that hugged the tops of them, the boat surrounded by sparkling water which reflected the sun. It looked like something from Jurassic Park! The boat stopped in the middle of nowhere where we could spend time swimming, cliff jumping and take in the amazing views. After a while, we were led to some floating bungalows in Khao Sok National Park, where we would stay the night. Having a drink of whiskey, we floated in rubber dinghies upon the lake. Being monsoon season, the rain later on in the day came down hard, and the sound of it hitting the lake was precious.
We take in the breath-taking scenery one last time before we head off to the pier, where we get a ferry to Koh Phangan. After a few hours, we arrive, and Luke leads us to a pick-up truck, which we all climbed into the back of. We drove through Koh Phangan town and alongside palm trees until we reach some waters where a boat was waiting for us. The boat took us to the white sands of Bottle Beach, which seemed to me to be the ideal definition of paradise. Luke showed us all to our beach huts, and we all got ready to go for a dip in the clear waters. We were then introduced to the other TruTravels team members – Holly, Joe and Andre, who joined us. That night we played pool, danced around a bonfire and set off Chinese lanterns on the beach – absolute bliss!
This morning I find myself sitting on the deck of my beach hut, sitting writing my journal taking in the beauty of this incredible island. An overwhelming emotion of appreciation washes over me, and I ask myself, “How can such a place exist?” There is so much to do in Koh Phangan, but we started with taking a long-tail boat, where we all headed off to do some Elephant trekking which was absolutely incredible and also something to tick off my bucket list. After an amazing experience with the elephants, we headed to Haad Rin, where we were to spend our last two nights.
Whilst everyone went on a party boat trip, I decided that I really wanted to go and get a traditional Thai bamboo tattoo. That’s one of the good things about this tour is that you can do anything you want to do, and you don’t need to feel pressured into doing anything. Luckily, Luke knew an extremely talented and professional friend and referred me to a woman named ‘Nang’ in Thong Sala, which was a tuk-tuk drive away from Hadrin. After enduring two hours of worthy pain, I headed back to our villa, where we all got ready for our farewell dinner that TruTravels paid for! After a lovely Thai dinner, we all headed to the beach, where we had a few drinks and watched a fire show. After an emotional/drunk good-bye, we headed back to our villas.
After chatting with Luke throughout the week, he was able to help me with all of my onward travels. He made me comfortable in travelling solo for the rest of my travels in Thailand. I decided to stay in Koh Phangan for 2 extra nights to spend with the TruTravel’s team before heading back to Bangkok. By this time, I had contacted British Airways to extent my stay in Thailand (I loved it that much). I simply couldn’t get enough of this amazing country and all it had to offer!
From the moment I was sitting in my bedroom ‘umming’ and ‘rrring’ about whether to go to Thailand or not, I am so glad that I plucked up the courage to do it. I went to Thailand alone, met some amazing people, did things that people only get to do once in a lifetime and made it back to England without a scratch! I simply had the time of my life, and I would like to thank TruTravels – without you guys, I wouldn’t have done it, and I would’ve still been sitting behind my screen just hopelessly wishing..
A MASSIVE Thanks from TruTravels for writing about your week with us, m’darlin!
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