Travel blog Thailand

Life’s tough my darling, so are we!

A moment lived in Thailand by Sheena, a traveler from India

Let me begin by stating a fact that I have never returned the same person who first embarked upon the journey. I am not sure if that’s how I feel or if it’s something most travelers experience but there is always something that’s changed. I love everything about traveling, entering something unfamiliar and coming out the other side knowing more; it’s enriching, it’s rejuvenating, it’s exciting and it’s life changing.

From every travel adventure I have returned having learned something; sometimes it’s about people, new culture, a new language, cuisines I had never tasted before and more often than not I come back having learned something about life. Many travel experiences come to mind when I write this but for this travel moment, I choose to write about this particular moment I stood corrected and a learning I acquired over Tequila (yes, you read that right)!

As I walked down from my hotel, I pass this restaurant looking like it needed a real good makeover. It was less fancy than most others on the Island and honestly, from the outside, it wasn’t much to look at. In fact, it didn’t even look open, therefore I didn’t pay it much attention and continued about my business of exploring this beautiful Island. On my return, as my thirsty eyes absorbed every little detail around me, I felt it drifting back to this ramshackle. But why, you ask me?

Well, I have no clue. Like I said it wasn’t much to look at but somehow I was constantly being pulled towards this particular restaurant. After four nights on the Island (and the fact that I had to pass it each day on my way from and back to my hotel), I finally gave in to that unexplainable yet intriguing energy that was calling me and got myself to go check it out. As I made my way through a narrow pathway, I was not expecting to be surprised, I had already prejudiced my thinking and wasn’t anticipating much.

Okay, so we go and I get comfortable at a table facing the blue waters and a view that looked out at the stunning limestone rocks jutting out of the sea. We place our orders and I take a moment to look around me. I see hammocks, old crippled boats, a laid back energy and a chill vibe. It looked really nice, I must admit I was second guessing my initial drawings made of the place from outside. I began to feel, we may just have a good time here. This looks like a pretty cool spot for a relaxed afternoon, maybe play some pool, read a book and enjoy a good meal. It wasn’t until after when some of our new friends (from the restaurant) joined our table and we got talking that we realized we were amidst history. Don’t worry, if you don’t understand what I mean. I will explain, I’m taking my time to recreate the dramatic unveiling we experienced.

Amongst our new friends was the owner of the place and with some tequila to keep us company our host told us a story that shook us. A story that was real, honest and painful. A story that made me realize how quick we are to judge, how ignorant we are of our blessings, how ungrateful we are to this life and how privileged we are living inside our perfect bubbles. With the waves in the ocean splashing and roaring in the background, the light outside dimming as the sunset colored the atmosphere a glistening yellow, we listened with bated breath hanging on to his every word.

Popularly known as the Island’s most chilled-our bar; the irony lay in the fact that this restaurant was rebuilt with reclaimed wood after being destroyed in the 2004 tsunami. Our host had lost four of his family members to the ill-fated tsunami and you can still see long tail boats named after each of them in the restaurant. The tables and chairs that we were sitting on were made of wood saved from the deluge that took many lives and ruined property that unfortunate day years back. Suddenly this quaint, rustic shamble called a restaurant started to look like poetic debris.

At that moment I realized I didn’t want it to be fancier, or cleaner or more refined anymore. I get it now, the primitiveness about the place, the natural ornamentation and chill ambiance. It all made perfect sense to me. This was no restaurant trying to look inviting, it was an honest story waiting to be told. It was a clear reminder of faith, belief, and hope. A relentless strength of neither giving up nor pretending to lay the past. This little restaurant celebrated the beautiful souls; those lost and those that lost with only so much as a hint of the tragedy.

I learned at that moment that life’s not easy, it’s pretty tough. Tomorrow is unknown and unprecedented, I learned that there is no shame in accepting loss, in grieving in our own way, in finding our own purpose to live, in being scared and in embracing all that brings us joy. I am reminded that life is a gift that we were given because we’re strong enough to live it. From that day on, I have added a new motto to my way of living; being thankful for this adventure called life. We travel because we want to explore and see the new right, but some adventures are within.

With every breath, I take in more courage from these inspiring stories and exhale any fear I may possibly feel. I am going to always continue to explore, to be curious and treat every new experience with respect. I am a travel addict not only because of the wonderful things we as travelers get to enjoy but also because this world still has so many stories yet to unfold themselves to me. With this blog piece, I pay my sincere tribute to my friends around the world who have shared their stories with me and changed my life. Thank you for making me a better traveler; today I travel more because I learn more because, with every new trip, I feel like a better person!

Oh and yeah, someone wise told me most things get more amazing with great company, good food, and some tequila ;-)

This traveller has a blog : Miss Travel Junkie

credit photo : Sheena

 

From a spoilt to the postcard backpacker

A moment lived in Thailand by Kate, a traveller from Czech Republic

“Wow, you’re cool! Alone? Are you crazy? To travel 6 weeks in oriental SE Asia! You’re really good! Is it ever safe for a woman? Well mainly, that you survived, the plane did not fall with you, nobody robbed you, raped etc.” The most common reaction of the family and friends of mine to the question how I enjoyed my trip to the other side of the globe. “And didn’t you travel there to see a friend?” It’s possible to make a life decision within 24 hours? I will be traveling alone and enjoy it BUT what if!? Also, can you think of a million reasons why not? I had about a thousand of them that were running through my head. My brain paths worked at 120 %. Then I saw myself in my mind how I will go defeatedly back to the Czech Republic.

BUT I’ve faced a life challenge! ME, the first time ALONE in Asia! God, maybe I’m crazy?! I collected the last bits of courage to take a deep breath. I let the feel of the thrill from the unknown flow through my body, the feel, which has been ruled by a fear so far. How big of a little fool am I, I have no idea at the moment. I’m lovingly opening my heart to the knowledge of a new country culture. My steps lead me forward into the unknown across the bridge of fear. I didn’t have an idea where I will sleep tomorrow, who could cross my path and where the wind will take me. I only knew one thing. It will never be the same from right now at this moment.

It is late afternoon. The sun burns white beach and I’m sitting in a cozy beach bar, where I’m enjoying a delicious fresh coconut cocktail. Like the waves gently impinge the coast of the island, the birds twitter and form a common siren with the sound of ocean effervescence. So I am smoothly letting my thoughts kidnap me away into the past. “The 1994 has been written. My puberty during the fame of the musical band Kelly Family. How surprising was the fact that I had done far crazier things, just so I could follow their concert tour through Europe daily. I used all transportation options, including hitchhiking. I loved the feel of freedom and space when you did not know, who you will meet, what you will discover, where you will unfold the sleeping bag to go sleep that evening. The following 10 years, I have dreamed about satisfying this feel again. “

“Madam, madam…” From the deep contemplation, I am awakened by the impulse of the waiter. I am given another great chilled coconut cocktail. The sips of coconut milk are so delicious that it’s easy to forget about the outside world. Again I am immersed in the thoughts about the decisions in the past few weeks… “And now, after 10 years, when I was standing face to face in this chance, I was paralyzed with fear. But why was that? Perhaps because I am an adult? As we get more and more mature and advanced, we deal with unimportant things. We are accustomed to our convenience in the comfort zone. Our point of view of courage is controlled more by head than by heart…” I’m sipping the last sip of the coconut milk. I know that my decision was correct. I listen to the heart more, my heart, the heart that experiences my joys but also worries with me daily. I do not regret for a second! At the same time, it has been the craziest and coolest step forward on this fateful crossroads of life. I have gone beyond my comfort zone to find freedom of my life story. The story that I want to write with a pen filled with the experiences that I lived in the moment, here and now!

The sun slowly conjures a symphony of colors on the surface of the ocean. I am cheating on my favorite coconut cocktail with a delicious mango shake. Traveling in a backpacking style, with eliminating extra kilos to the minimum necessary evil on my back, it is a wonderfully liberating feel. Nothing ties you up. You are as free as birds. But it does not change the fact that I like giving gifts to the family and friends of mine, the souvenirs from my travels. I am coming back to the roots of our grandmothers, several decades back, to the days when the world was ruled by the postcards. “Still two hours remaining until the departure of the night bus”, I’m telling myself. The heart is already crying with Thailand-sickness, the time to send the last postcards from Thailand. I’m pulling a couple of them from my backpack. With the pen in my hand, I’m hardly pushing a glistening tear in my eye which falls and rolls down on the last postcard. Tomorrow morning it will only say from Malaysia. I feel in my heart that I’m not giving my last bye from Thailand.

At the time of the advanced technology, where everything is carried mostly electronically, I forgot how a little thing, such as a postcard, can make you happy and create a smile up your cheeks after a very bad day. When out of nowhere, from a mailbox, something other than a bill to pay falls out on you, it really feels priceless. Every new adventure is asking for more and more of them. When your grandmother calls to you, how it conjured up a smile on their cheeks, it warms my heart for a long time :)

This traveller has a blog : Cover the Road

credit photo : wikipedia.org

 

The Tree House of Dreams

A moment lived in Thailand by Angus and Vivian Adventures, travellers from United Kingdom

Living in a tree house was a dream of mine since I was a kid. There is just something so peaceful about climbing into the trees and nesting yourself its branches. My dad built me a tree house when I was younger; I used to spend hours and hours up there, reading a book or just spying on the neighbours. While Angus and I was planning on Thailand trip, I found that my dreams could be a reality. I discovered the Chiang Mai Tree House, a family-owned tree house resort located about 45 minutes from the actual city of Chiang Mai. It was a “must do” on my list, and I immediately booked us a few days in one of their infamous tree houses.

Our time there was a dream come true and a half. Mink, one of the managers, warmly welcomed us when we arrived. He proceeded to give us a small tour of the resort, and I gazed in awe at the place. We were in the middle of a small village, in a lush, tropical area brimming with trees and wildlife, and surrounded my multiple tree houses. Some were 15 meters high, with steps spiralling around the tall trees. Some were larger and surrounded two trees. Then, Mink showed us our tree house, and I swear my jaw dropped. It was the kind of tree house you’ve imagined in your dreams.

The rest of the village was just as stunning. The small resort gave us bikes to borrow for free to explore other areas. Since the village was so small, everything was easily accessible with the bikes. We biked along dirt roads and found gigantic, deserted caves that would have seemed scary if the placed hadn’t been so serene. We had the chance to walk into these caves, looking out for bats and seeing if there were any thai rock carvings on the walls. We were the only two there.

Another place we found reminded me of a scene from the movie, Spirited Away. We found an abandoned village that had been deserted for years. Homes still scattered about the area, and it was dead quiet except for the sound of the wind whistling through our ears. The place was a lush green, with a small lagoon with a rope swing situated by the river. Of course, Angus and I had to jump in. The water was cool, crisp and the place was dead quiet. So quiet, it was almost creepy. But we didn’t let that scare us, and had a great time splashing around without a tourist in sight.

Our few days at the Raebang Pasak Tree House came to an end, but our memories will of the area will last forever. It was an amazing place not just because of the tree house, but because of its location. It was so rural, you had no chance to running into heaps of tourists. You had the place to yourselves, and could enjoy the amazing natural landmarks the area has to offer, from bat caves, to view points, to lagoons and waterfalls, the area was a place I wish to come back to, again and again.

These travellers have a blog : Angus and Vivian Adventures

credit photo : Angus and Vivian

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