While it may have been just two years since I stepped foot in Thailand it feels like it happened only a short time ago. It was my first solo vacation trip and also my first trip to Southeast Asia.
While my trip was not glamorous and beach-going it certainly was full of adventure. From the picturesque mountainous island in the Andaman Sea – Phuket to the concrete metropolis of Bangkok I ventured through some of the most beautiful and unique parts of Thailand.
My story about Thailand took place after I completed the final of two grad school dissertation papers in mid-May 2014. I was all booked to go on a 10 day vacation to Thailand that a classmate of mine had helped book flights for. Unfortunately, some Korea University classmates set to go with me had switched their own travel dates around and spend more time visiting neighboring Cambodia rather then Thailand. Upon arriving in Thailand together I could have chosen to start my own separate Thailand trip, but instead I decided to join my classmates on a brief 3 day cross-border adventure as mentioned in my Arriving in Cambodia post.
Once again I was visiting a new land where I was least familiar with the language, culture, and people. However, having met a Thai friend through one of my Korean language level classes at Sogang University I knew that I would have at least one contact to help me if needed.
My trip started out pretty well. After returning to Bangkok on a 6-hour bus ride from Siem Reap,Cambodia I disembarked at one of the BTS line subway stations. From there I transferred to the BTS subway line and headed north towards Don Mueang International Airport (DMK). From DMK I planned to purchase a round-trip plane ticket to Phuket -to visit an old Sogang classmate of mine in her hometown & afterward return and explore all that Bangkok had to offer.
After purchasing r/t tickets on Nok Air at DMK I checked in for my flight, sat down in the waiting area, and started writing down my Thailand itinerary interests. Within just 1 hour my flight landed down in Phuket International Airport (HKT). Thankfully, upon landing I was able to connect to free wi-fi and meet up with my Thai friend who was waiting for me.
Being new to Thailand my Thai friend told me she had come up with a wide range of activities that we could do while I was in Phuket. Some of our activities entailed having tons of authentic Thai food to start off the evening, driving down to see the Old Town district along Thalang Road for its unique Portuguese architecture, and finally driving to the Patong, Phuket area where there is a popular night life and an abundance of night markets.
Once we arrived in Patong we toured the area by walking around its winding streets and passing the beach area. Looking for a good accommodation for the night we looked into which places were promoting specials. After picking a place I dropped off my stuff and we decided to hit the streets.
For anyone interested in visiting Thailand for beach, fun, and a night scene then Patong is certainly a city to keep in mind. Patong is one of the party capitals of Asia. While walking around the area me and my Thai friend could see tons of party-goers, open bars, and some exclusive night clubs. We didn’t join any of those events, but instead found a nice beach breeze spot where we had some drinks. Enjoying the ocean breeze and the view I felt immersed in my surrounding and relaxed.
On the second day of my trip me and my friend decided to visit Jungceylon, one of Patong’s International Shopping Malls. Here you can spend the day shopping or relaxing at a massage & spa center. I spent a lot of time on the lower levels of the mall where (similar to outside vendor carts) there were many unique gift shops. While I didn’t purchase too much I enjoyed viewing the jewelry, souvenirs, stationary, clothing, bags, accessories, etc. My friend and I spent most of the morning shopping before having some lunch.
Later on in the day I got to meet with my Thai’s friends family and have dinner with them. It was a pleasure and very warm-welcoming to be treated so nicely. They had also invited me over to stay on my last night in Phuket.
The following day, my friend and I decided to visit some local waterfalls in the area and later stop by a beach-side cafe alongside the 4027 road next the Pearl Village area and close to the HKT airport. Since it was a little windy that day we were able to see many flying para gliders departing from the resort area off the coast and landing onto the beach area we were sitting at. It was a great sight to see and possibly something I might try if I ever get the chance to visit Phuket again.
After finishing our drinks my friend drove me back to the airport where we said our goodbyes. Her and her family were so nice to make time for me throughout my stay in Phuket. I told her that the next leg of my trip would be majorly in Bangkok since I had only three days left of my trip and my return ticket to Seoul was via Bangkok as well.
On board my return flight to the mainland I looked into the information I received from my friend on temporary housing accommodation in the Lat Phrao area of Bangkok and transportation information. When I first arrived in Bangkok I used a taxi to take me from point A to point B. But, this time I decided to make an effort to get to know the BTS Line (Bangkok’s subway), its bus services, and maybe even try out the tuk-tuk taxi service.
After landing in DMK, and taking a local shuttle bus back into the city I decided to take some pictures of the city. From the colorful taxis lined up back-to-back in the street to the monitor lizards, which by surprise I got to see at Chatuchak Park.
After walking around for a while I hopped onto the nearest BTS Line and made my way to the Lat Phrao area to reserve a room at Be High Suite. Recommended by my friend I found the location to be very convenient to the BTS Line as well as the popular JJ/ Chatuchak weekend market and famous Union Mall. They have very nice hotel style suite rooms available at affordable rates for short-term and long-term stays.
Please continue to Traveling through Thailand: Solo Journey – Part 2 for the second leg of my solo journey story.