Honestly I know very little about the country, apart from my roommate who’s told me the food is amazing, and the climbing is even better. So when Arjan, one of the other cool dudes who works here, and I were scheduled to have our visa runs at the same time, it seemed like a pretty great place to go visit!
Before coming to South East Asia I had a vague idea of the countries here. Now I have a somewhat firm grasp on the location of Vietnam and Thailand, and know there’s a few countries in between. One of my weaker traits, maybe that’s the horrible American in me coming out, but I am absolutely terrible with geography. It’s not just countries I struggle with, but towns, roads, cities, explaining how to get down the road, I still struggle.
So when Arjan and I actually made it successfully to Thailand and traveled around Bangkok and up to Amphoe Kaeng Khoi I was pretty impressed. Not that I had a whole lot to do with the travel logistics, if I had been leading the trip, we might have ended up in Laos.
But it was quite the adventure!
We bussed off the island, (my first time away since arriving!) and arrived at our hostel in Hanoi a few hours later. I was still wearing my work shirt from the office shift we had before and met one of the guys who had work with us before! It was amazing, I got a few compliments on my shirt, he really wanted it, but I needed it, so instead we bought each other beers and balloons. If you’ve never had a balloon of laughing gas… it’s something to try. I’m sure it kills off all brain cells, so travelling the next morning was a little rough.
Arjan and I maybe had five or six hours of sleep between the two of us, but thankfully is was a breeze to get through airport security. Our passports got stamped and then we were good to go! Spent a bit of time trying to figure out the bus system and exchanging money, but managed to get far enough to our hotel that getting a taxi after was not that expensive!
The hostel, Samsen 360, we stayed at was in a really cute area of Bangkok, super quiet street and it had free coffee which was awesome! We had lunch at a little restaurant down the road then passed out until dinner.
The next day we walked to the train station, and got the cheapest tickets. Little did we know that the ticket we got were standing only. We did some seat swapping around since the train was pretty empty and ended up in a little town where none of the signs were in English! Had lunch at another nice little road side cafe, didn’t know any of the menu items so we just ordered from a picture. Not sure what we had, but it was pretty delicious!
While we were eating we ran into the owner of Nam Pha Pa Yai, the climbing camp we were headed to! Joy gave us instructions on how to get to the camp, take a bus and get dropped of on the road, then a nice 3 kilometer walk to the camp. It was great! A bit sweaty, but we made it just in time to get in a multi-pitch climb before dinner.
To get to the main wall of climbs, you had to take a zip-line across the river, possibly a major highlight of the whole trip! Spent the next few days climbing and eating really good food! Also lots of amazing iced coffee…. I can never get enough coffee! We slept in a tent at night, it was on a platform under a roof so not too bad.
On the way back we were planning on getting the bus back into town, but ended up getting a ride from a family who stopped with their truck to pick us up. It was pretty awesome! They dropped us off right back at the train station and then we headed back to Bangkok.
Spent another night in our hostel. Did some touristy things, I bought an interesting key chain, some really neat pants, and a few shirts. I did a really touristy thing and ate a scorpion.
I think it was fried, the lady handing out bugs on sticks dressed it up nicely with vinegar and salt and pepper. It took me a few tried to actually stuff it in my mouth, but I have to say, I’d probably eat one again. Similar to chicken in flavor, pretty crunchy. Not too bad overall though.
Although I do have to say the coconut ice cream was loads better. It came served in a coconut so you go the fresh coconut meat with the ice cream! And of course there was always the option to get it topped with chocolate sauce and peanuts, which of course I got.
Thailand was a blast, but I still feel like I haven’t really been there. Maybe I didn’t experience enough, maybe I didn’t see quite enough. Maybe I’m just weird. whatever it is, I think someday I’ll have to head back so I can say I really and truly experienced Thailand.
For now I’ll just say I was there.