For me, Thailand was a tail of two trips.
One trip was to Bangkok, one of the busiest, most bustling cities in the world. I traveled to Bangkok on a couple different occasions and had an incredible time exploring the diverse offerings of a city rich with history. I also got a chance to see the famed nightlife of Bangkok, which is somewhat highlighted in the popular second installment of The Hangover.
Spending a week in the city of Bangkok was not nearly enough to explore everything that the city has to offer, but I spent all my time trying to take in as much as I could. I traveled on the water taxi up and down the Chao Phraya River, toured various old temples within the city, waded through knee deep flash flood waters at the National Palace, spent nights on a rooftop overlooking the city, walked in many sketchy places that would probably be advised against in travel magazines, watched professional muay thai matches, rode the passenger rail across the country, and had my life flash before my eyes countless times while riding in tuktuks across the city.
Of course, I couldn’t talk about the joys of Thailand without mentioning the food. Value for price, I challenge you to find anywhere in the world that comes close to matching the street food of Thailand. Delicious foods on every corner and all for such affordable prices, it is probably a good thing I didn’t stay an extended time in Thailand or I would have put on serious pounds.
The second part of my Thailand adventure was a trip to Chiang Mai, one of the largest and oldest cities in northern Thailand. While based in Chiang Mai, I was able to venture out into the surrounding natural landscape of the Thailand high country. Taking a 2-day jungle trek up a mountain was an awesome way to escape back into nature and engage with the mountain landscape that I had been homesick for. Along the way we say elephants grazing in the forest, interacted with local children that lived on the mountain, and spent a hot afternoon swimming under a cold mountain waterfall.
Another experience I got to have was taking an elephant trek, getting an elephant massage, and getting to feed and bathe the massive creatures. I spent a lot of time researching the different elephant sanctuaries because it was important to me to only give my money to an organization that would treat the animals right and not abuse them. Therefore, after a lot of research, I picked one that had the most positive reviews from trusted sources and only offered short and humane treks. Being that close to such a magnificent animal and trusting your life to it is definitely a thrill and a half.
While in Chiang Mai, I also went on a ziplining through the jungle canopy, hugged tigers, went shopping in historic street markets, and ate a lot of the spicy sausage that the region is known for. Thailand truly is a wonderful place.