The Asian Sensation

Trip Start Aug 02, 2010
Trip End Dec 06, 2010

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Where I stayed
Nappark Hostel

Flag of Thailand  ,
Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ahhh Asia. What a magical little place, where the beer is cheap, the food is cheap, the lodging is cheap, and the people are extremely friendly. I know I've been awful at keeping up with my blogs, however if you ever come here, or if you've been, you'll understand why. I'm eight days away from returning home... sad I know, so I'm making it my mission to get you updated on the last 2 months of my life before I return. Well at least try anyway because I'll be sitting on a  beach for most of the time because judging by the weather updates I've been receiving, it'll be cold and snowy... yay!?

My story starts in Bangkok, Thailand.  I believe the saying is what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and what happens in Bangkok, just can't be described. So my story about that city ends here... Relax, I'm kidding! You guys really have to lighten up...

After sleeping, well trying to sleep for about 30 minutes, in the airport in Amsterdam for the night on the cold, hard floor, Alex, Donnie and I said our goodbyes, and jumped on our separate planes, heading to separate places. It was a pretty shitty moment, as it meant the end of our European adventure, one we both quit our jobs and sold our things for and bought a one way ticket to Europe. How many buddies do something crazy and amazing like that? Not too many, so it's one of those things I'll never forget.

It wasn't all bad though, Donnie was going back home to Ottawa to get his promotion, Alex was going to travel Ireland and Scotland, and I was off to Asia with nothing but a smile and a Lonely Planet book. Pretty cool way to leave each other if you ask me!

From Amsterdam, I had to take a quick flight over to London, transfer planes and head to Dubai, which had the most amazing airport I've ever seen. They really know how to build things over there, and it has given me the itch to explore there sooner rather than later. I only had a couple of hours to kill so I couldn't leave unfortunately. It was my first real experience out of the western world. The airport had prayer rooms all over the place, there wasn't just one or two women wearing veils, but thousands of them, and turbines everywhere I looked. The McDonalds menu was full of things I've never seen before like curry items and spicy chicken. Really cool...

From there I jumped on another plane, and headed over to Bangkok. It took 12 hours, and 6 time zone changes, but I made it, and had no idea what to expect, and no idea where I was going. An adventure! I love it! Reality set in that I was in Asia, by myself for the first time, and my heart was pumping.  Yet again, another holy shit moment.

I breezed through customs, grabbed my backpack, found a bus to take me close to my hostel, and set off for what will turn out to be an adventure of a lifetime.

My original plan was to visit Bangkok, up to Hua Hin, down south to the Islands of Koh Samui and Koh Tao, over to Krabi, up to Koh Pi Pi, then up to Bangkok to meet up with Matt, the Australian I met in Prague, travel Cambodia for a week or two, come back to Bangkok, head up north to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, then fly home on the 14th of November. What happens next will show you why you can never plan when your backpacking alone...
The bus took through the city and what I saw on that journey definitely shocked me, and made me think, "where the f&%* am I?". Just on the outskirts of the sky scrappers that rise high above the city, there is the poorer people who live in these bamboo huts made with random signs and whatever else they could find for a roof, over top of water and underneath overpasses, in the dirtiest living conditions I had seen, up to this point bear in mind. There were random, white, and extremely skinny cows along the road, not tied up, eating garbage from the piles
sprayed everywhere. Oh, and we were driving on the left hand side of the road. Not only in England do they do that apparently. They had people working in buildings that you weren't sure if they were building, or tearing down given the shoddy construction methods...  I'm not in western civilization anymore, but I f*%&'in love it!

I got dropped off a few blocks away from my hostel, and I walked around aimlessly trying to find it, approached by the many tuk-tuk drivers, asking me to go with them, and for a dollar they will drive me around to all the sites around the city, as long as I agree to visit their friends jewelry store or clothing store at the end and buy something... Right...

There were clothing shops and food stands everywhere you looked, rats running around from time to time, and electronic stores at the drop of a hat. The buildings were in a lot better condition than the village I had seen on the way in thankfully, and the smell, so many of them, and I think they will be instilled in my brain for the rest of my life! I knew then and there
that I was going to love this city.

I made it to my hostel finally after some directions from some friendly Thai people, who all seemed to want to shake my hand and ask what my name was and where I was from.
Most of the Thai, Lao, Vietnam, and Cambodia people have never left their country, so they are curious to know where you've been, and what it's like. They also like to practice their English with you, and ask you what certain things are in English. Very cool.

At the door of the hostel, there were a pile of flip flops, from everyone taking off their shoes before going in, as it customary to remove your shoes if you are entering temples, someones home or guesthouse. Very cool. I checked in, had to wait around in the lobby for a few hours until my room was ready considering I arrived around 7am, and finally got some sleep after
being awake for three days straight and battling jet lag. I know, I'm a trooper!

When I woke up, that's when my whole entire trip changed. Two English guys, JJ and Adam, came into the dorm room. Adam just finished school, his bach. In science, and a PhD in Nano technology, and was traveling Thailand for a few days, then off to Australia for a year, before going back and getting his masters. JJ had just gotten a leave of absence from his job, flew in
from London that same day, met Adam at the airport when they arrived, and decided to go with him downtown to find a hostel.

We went out that night, jumped in our first tuk-tuk, which was surreal, and headed off to the Vegetarian festival in China Town. The roads were packed with food vendors, and few westerners. At one point we were stopped by a group of girls from Japan and asked if we would take a photo with them! They were pretty cute so we obliged of course...

We left China Town and headed off to explore the night life of Bangkok, bars, clubs, and some local talent shows where objects were launched from a certain part of the body at targets, which I'm not sure if it was impressive or just plain disgusting... Interesting nonetheless. Boys I'll tell you about it when I get home...

The next few days consisted of exploring the city, eating local food, checking out the various
vendors for some of the fake goods that looked incredibly real, visiting the Bangkok Tower, which stretched 997ft in the air, and has a rotating top that gives you the best view of the city at night, riding a boat around the canals of Bangkok seeing various temples and the way of life of most of the Thai people, feeding fish, spotting large lizards, and we also caught a Thai boxing event, had a tuk-tuk race against a few girls we met at the hostel through the streets, and just meeting tonnes of like minded travellers. It was an amazing way to start off my Asian trip.

One of the days we were walking around, we met a local who was talking to us about the city and the country, and where to visit. The monsoon season lasted a bit longer this year, and we were advised that Hua Hin was flooded, and most of the parts of southern Thailand were being hit hard by rain. Dammit.  That was my next destination... I need to salvage my plans, and
quickly as I was supposed to leave the following day. JJ had told me that he was heading up north to Chiang Mai, Thailand, then over to Vang Vieng, Laos for the tubing party.

We had gotten along great in Bangkok, my next destination seemed to be a waste of time, so we decided we'd travel together for a bit, because I really wanted to do the tubing party.

Why you might ask? First off, because it's a mad party and a lot of the people we met in Bangkok were headed up there, and second of all, it reminded me of a time a few years ago where this was the last thing I would've had the balls to do. It was the summer of 2008, right before Las Vegas, and I was staying at Marcus, Renee, and Nadia's place until I got the keys to
my new apartment. There was a magazine there from the beer store that I was reading, and it had an awesome article on the top 10 party things to do in the world. Guess which thing was number 1? At the time, I remember thinking to myself that it would f%&*'in awesome to have the guts to travel to some place like that, but never in a million years would I do it.

I guess a million years have passed, because I'm on my way to actually doing it! So a shout is in order to Marcus, Renee and Nadia, otherwise I probably wouldn't of been as intrigued about doing it had I not read that article, and if they had not let me graciously stay at their apartment that summer.

So Chiang Mai, Thailand next, then probably the coolest thing I'll ever do afterwards.

I'm going to love Asia...
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