Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to go to Thailand. Documentaries I’d seen on TV made it seem like an enchanted fairyland. Pretty Thai dancers and the buildings with their upturned pointy eave decorations enthralled me. About ten years ago, I got the opportunity to have an overseas holiday in Thailand, but I’d have to go alone. It took two minutes to decide I was going. I felt scared to travel alone, but I had a motto, 'feel the fear and do it anyway'. With time enough for a few days in Bangkok and a little over a week on the Island of Koh Samui, I set off with high hopes of enjoying myself.
I landed at Bangkok international airport at night time, and after initial anxiety over finding my driver, my fellow minibus tourists and I were taxied through unnervingly dark streets where I saw an elephant being groomed. This let me know I wasn’t in KANSAS ANYMORE. (Or Melbourne in my case.) At last, we emerged in the middle of a colorful shopping precinct on Grand Sukhumvit road. I had just started to relax when we shot off down a narrow laneway lined to the road edge with street stalls. Pausing for traffic we stopped briefly next to a stand with rather scary looking deep-fried scorpions, hanging at my eye level. So far I wasn’t enchanted.
We turned a corner, and the street stalls disappeared as we drove into the forecourt of a grand hotel. It was five stars and not somewhere I’d usually stay, but I’d got it at half price. So my humble travel suitcase and I didn’t really fit in, but I didn’t care, all I wanted was to find my room and have a nice cup of tea.
The hotel staff were so friendly, and my room turned out to be a suite. I had everything I needed. The next day I began exploring Bangkok with a city tour company. I went in a banana boat and visited the Wat Arun (Temple of the morning) I couldn’t get over how beautiful the mosaic that covered it was. The next day I went shopping on Sukhumvit road and bought a bag and visited the king's palace. The gardens were gorgeous, and the architecture was so beautiful. Domes covered in gold and tiled roofs with dragons and upturned flames on the rooves.
In the evening I went to a Thai banquet with many dishes. The entertainment music was played on traditional instruments, and there were the much looked forward to Thai dancers. I took heaps of photos and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the gorgeous women and their costumes in real life.
Then It was time for me to fly to Koh Samui. Here I stayed at a resort on the beach. There were two swimming pools and a restaurant on site. I didn’t hardly leave the resort because I was so happy just relaxing and writing. Yes, I took a laptop. Well, I am a writer, and I thought I might get inspired. Which I most certainly did. I didn’t have to make a bed or cook a meal, just write and go for walks or swims at the resort. Traveling alone, I might have been lonely, but each morning at breakfast, the staff greeted me as a friend. Anywhere I went a staff member would wish me ‘Sawasdee ka if a woman or Sawasdee krab if a man’ (friendly Thai greeting).
After a couple of days, I booked a tour of the island. The highlights included visiting a market town full of handcrafted items, a waterfall in the jungle, the big budda ( a giant statue of Buddha at a temple), and to an elephant show, with rides and a monkey display. I was terrified of the elephants but remembering my mantra, ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’ I made myself have a ride. I was nervous most of the time, but it was a huge adventure, and I love the photo I have of me sitting on the elephant.I love being able to look back on my time in Thailand. A bucket list item that didn't disappoint. Despite uncertain beginnings, my Thai fantasy holiday surpassed all expectations.
You can learn more about Dora Bramden and find her social media links on her website
What a fascinating adventure your trip turned out to be! Makes me want to visit Thailand! I love you mantra - fear makes us miss out on so many wonderful experiences in life.
Oh Dora! Yeah you going to Thailand on your own. What an adventure!!! Shivered at the picture of the deep-fried scorpion hanging at your eye-level when your shuttle stopped. I love most of the Thai food I've eaten. We have several Thai restaurants in Portland, two are within 10 blocks or so of my house! One uses sustainable ingredients and I can tell the difference because the vegetables in particular are fresher. I think wandering through the stalls would be an amazing experience. Did you have any problems communicating or do you know a little Thai?
Pushing through fear has let me experience many highlights in my life. I started small in the beginning and worked up to the big things. Being uncomfortable passes but the memories are gold.
We have amazing Thai food in Australia too. I found it is different in Thailand though. Its more fragrant with flavors I didn't recognise. I assume locally grown fresh spices and herbs taste a bit different to dried ones. Chicken Pad Thai is my favorite. Had it for lunch most days. The Thai prople have enough english to be able to serve you on the shops and market stalls. Hotel staff were fluent. It's a lovely place. You would enjoy a holiday there.
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