This was my first but definitely not the last visit to Thailand. I did not keep a diary, unfortunately, but I tried my best to remember all the experiences from my first days in this “paradise”, that at first did not look like a paradise at all.
I visited Thailand in March with Pavlina, a friend of mine. We bought the tickets quite some time ago as we came across a promotional fare and we had to decide whether to go or not in an instant. We had been both super busy before the departure so we hadn’t had any chance to do some planning before we went. We managed to buy some accommodation in Bangkok and book a yoga retreat with the intention to stay there for three days.
The D-day consisted of a long journey with a 12-hour layover in China. We wanted to go outside of the airport gates but in the end, we were so exhausted by the trip that we decided to stay in a hotel. We did not see much of China and what we did see did not impress us – including the sun that we were barely able to recognize behind the smog smoke screen.
When we finally arrived to the capital of Thailand, Bangkok, we had been on the go for several hours. We planned to stay for just one day and continue south – to the islands. That turned out to be a good idea.
Of course it depends on what your reasons for visiting Thailand are, but for us, we wanted to get out of city, so Bangkok actually made us exhausted (or at least me). My friend that travelled with me is the type that wants to see and do it all (hi there!), which is great but I am the exact opposite. I don’t like to plan in advance, I go with the flow and I simply enjoy wandering around. If I visited Bangkok and I would not see a single temple, I would not feel bad about it. But because I was with the friend of mine, we visited a lot of temples and frankly, they all looked the same to me. In addition, it was unbearably hot and crowded. It is not easy to come from five degrees and get used to 38.
I was ecstatic when we left the hot streets for a cold shopping mall, the biggest in Bangkok. Shopping malls here are not just buildings for shopping for clothes but they are also places to have fun. The one in Bangkok has a water park inside (that I visited on my way back, on my own). The shopping mall has several stories and you can find anything and everything, from young Thai designers and stores full of colors and patterns all the way to Uniqlo and Zara and big designer labels.
Trip to Koh Yao Noi
After Bangkok, our plan was clear: Go to Koh Yao Noi, tiny island with a yoga retreat. I got this tip from my friend; her Instagram pictures from this place were unbelievable. But first, we had to get there somehow. We went for the trip via Krabi, which took about an hour and a half by a plane and then additional hour by a boat to the Koh Yao Noi island itself.
A taxi driver that took us from the airport to the port scammed us, because in the local taxi app that we used, we didn’t enter that we want to go to the port, just to the village that the port itself is in. The app did not have the option of selecting the port, which we told him at the beginning and he spoke English well, yet he still stopped where the navigation took him and gave us two options: get out or go to the port but pay fifty percent more (even though it was just additional 5 minute drive).
If I were in the Czech Republic or with my partner instead of my friend, I would argue, but in the end, my friend and I just nodded in agreement. The result was, that we were just upset about the situation and we promised ourselves that we would not give in next time. The only upside is that Thai baht, local currency, is close to nothing compared to the Czech crown, so even if you are charged extra here and there, it will not be such a big loss in the end. It was the first and fortunately the last negative experience we encountered in Thailand.
When we stopped in the port, the taxi driver played nice and guided us all the way to the boat that looked as it will go under any minute and he encouraged us, together with the very shady looking captain, to get on. We hesitated for a while but we hopped on in the end. The boat was empty at the beginning and we started panicking, but other tourists started to pour in and we finally calmed down. We started to realize that us, city girls, used to European capitals, will have a lot to get used to here.
To be continued.