So I have recently been on one of the best holidays of my life. Before the busy period of summer school started I wanted to get away and have a nice, relaxed, beach holiday. Living in Asia, my local beach destinations are far more exotic than the ones available to me in the UK. Me and my flatmate, Georgie, were looking for cheap flights and Thailand kept on popping up… perfect, there are worse places to visit. I had always wanted to go there but I never ever thought it would be possible, so it seemed I was living the dream. Within the blink of an eye, flights were booked, holiday shopping was done and we were on our way.
I am one of those people that is all for research and having a bit of an itinerary when I’m on holiday (obviously scheduling lots of time to relax). I just like to make sure that I’m getting the most out of my holiday, especially if I’m somewhere that I’ve never been before. That being said, with this holiday, there was no real plan, no real research, just a quick look Trip Advisor for the best location and hotel recommendations. When we arrived the weather was scorching and the waves were roaring, we knew we’d done a good job and gave ourselves a celebratory pat on the back. After a blissful day spent tanning on the beach, swimming in the sea, drinking cocktails and eating the freshest seafood, we were thinking that we could, all too easily, get used to this.
The next day we woke to torrential rain, like nothing I have seen before (not even in Shenzhen). At this moment we checked our weather apps only for them to tell us that the rainy season had started and we should cancel any ideas we had of having a tan. Obviously, myself and Georgie are no strangers to rain, we are from England after all. A little moisture isn’t going to scare us off. We realised that this is why our flights were so cheap because of the time of year, we also realised that this is why we do research. However, the rain didn’t dampen our moods though as we were still on holiday, not at work and in the most beautiful place.
Thailand was everything and every bit as beautiful as I thought it would be and then it also wasn’t! When someone says the word Thailand, my mind naturally skips to sandy beaches, islands and crystal clear seas, brightly coloured mopeds and amazing seafood. Whilst Thailand has all of these things it is also horrifically touristic. Naively, this isn’t something that I ever expected. We were in Patong, Phuket, which is where A LOT of people go for the typical Thailand beach holiday as it is so close to the Phi Phi Islands. Whilst tourist spots can make for a very good/ interesting night out, in the daytime it can really emphasise the island’s flaws. Beach vendors don’t allow you to relax, there is animal cruelty being advertised on every excursion stand and women are being valued mainly for their bodies and not much else. I really didn’t expect Thailand to be like that and it shocked me to think that the paradise I created in my head actually had some serious flaws.
Although Thailand wasn’t what I expected it to be it gave me so many opportunities to check off some bucket list items, small and big. One of these was a Thai massage on the beach – relaxing, yet not relaxing at the same time. This was a smaller item on my bucket list but it was on there none the less. Another was when we went to visit the Phi Phi Islands. Here we had the opportunity to go snorkelling. Now, I’m not the most confident in the water, I like to know that I can touch the bottom and my feet are firmly on the ground, preferably, the tiled ground of a pool. Freshwater/seawater freaks me out, you never know what’s lurking in there ready to eat you! Despite being scared, I conquered my fear of deep/ish water and went snorkelling. It was amazing! I’ve never seen so many fish and the coral was beautiful. I’m not going to lie, I think I was in the water for about 15 mins before I had to get out. I found myself in a school of fish and it freaked me out, something had stung me and that freaked me out too… I just had to get out of the water. I was still so proud of myself for doing it in the first place though and giving myself the opportunity to see and do something out of my comfort zone. Another very large thing that I managed to tick off my bucket list was, visit an elephant sanctuary. Now, this isn’t one of those cruel places you hear about giving elephant rides and keeping their nellies in chains. We went to the Green – Elephant Sanctuary in Phuket where they look after rescued elephants. You basically meet and feed the elephants, bathe them in mud, scrub it off and get into a big elephant shower with them – it’s a massive elephant spa. This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Getting to meet these astonishing creatures really humbled me and I’m so grateful for spending that time with them.
As well as opportunities to tick a few things off the bucket list there were countless opportunities to take amazing photos or at least attempt to (got to love a trier). This was it, I was going to become an Instagram queen because of Thailand and the amazing backdrop it provided. Sadly this dream didn’t become a reality, although, I did manage to take some great photos and have a laugh whilst doing it (the hair flick is a lot harder than it looks)!
As soon a I arrived I knew that I never wanted to leave and a week really wasn’t long enough for me! TBH I think I could live there for the rest of my days. It really was paradise, flaws and all. Just like anyone coming back from a vacation, the post-holiday blues hit me hard. Luckily I had a few days in Hong Kong catching up with a good friend to soften the blow, however, going back to work still sucked. It sucked so much I booked flights to Singapore for the next weekend and so the addiction started…