So what is Thailand?

On 1 July 2014 by From elephants to kangaroos

Outside Kenya, where I made a humanitarian mission, Thailand is the country where I am remained the longest. Five weeks spent there, 5 weeks that I didn’t see. And a lot happened in five weeks, I have seen very beautiful places, had unforgettable encounters, laughed a lot, partied, took lots of pictures too. After five weeks here, let me give you my vision of this great country.

IMG_6240Thailand, it was a sudden unexpected coup. The political situation in this country is not really what we can call stable in recent years, but it turned out that the situation has degenerated a few days after my arrival there. Military in the streets, curfews, large media coverage. For us tourists, nothing dangerous and nothing more than what I just mentioned. In contrast, for the premises, a few bad months / years to come with the non democratic political system which could force them or impose some limitations in their daily life

Thailand is all these fabulous scenery that I discovered along my journey. It is a country that has everything: mountains, stunning countryside, hippies corners, sites of old temples, beautiful beaches, islands not knowing where to go, caves and so on. There is something for absolutely everyone.IMG_6675 And depending where you go, you will be alone to explore the area or with many tourists, remember to keep this in mind.

Thailand is renting scooters everywhere, at every step. To see all these beautiful places, to be lost on small roads, to meet local people, ethnic minorities, to enjoy the sunsets from beautiful points of views, to make new friends, to avoid taking another bus or minivan. To have the wind in your hair, not think about anything and just enjoy, enjoy everything that can surround you. To drive aimlessly, lost and discover unexpected corners.

IMG_7925Thailand is a lot of other various transport, including trains, I love their slowness, their low prices and encounters that I made there. But also the long tail boats, the famous boats that we see pictured everywhere when it comes to Thailand, or the buses, minivans, boats used to cross the country from the Laotian border in the north east to islands in the south west.

Thailand is the pad thai and all other local dishes that pleased my taste buds. Surely one of the countries that offer the best dishes to my opinion in Asia, healthy food, full of tastes, flavors. Cooking with the heart. And some specialties depending on which city you go.

IMG_5793Thailand is the elephant I wanted. I knew that I could see elephants in almost every country in Asia, but those of Thailand, I was waiting for them, I had imagined them for many years. And I was not disappointed! We actually see some everywhere, unfortunately sometimes misused for (and by) mass tourism that does not realize the harm they are doing to them (or do not worry about it). Elephants in Thailand are very beautiful, in numbers, often in groups. And my experience at the Elephant Nature Park was a real good time in my journey, to hug” them, shower them, take care of them. A blast.

IMG_6895Thailand is Muyai Thai boxing. A new sport that I discovered in Pai via a traveler who was part of a club, and I could actually observe more during the match in Chiang Mai. Interesting sport, physical rather violent (it must be said), but still respectful of opponents. You can see fights in all cities of the country so I urge you to go see one night just for the atmosphere that reigns there and see local doing mass bets between two beers and a few shouts. It was also an opportunity for me to take new kind of photos as I never made ​​too many sports photos before.

Thailand is party. This is probably the country where one meets most travelers, this is not a coincidence that this is the most visited country by all the round the worlders travellers. Therefore, almost anywhere you can go clubbing / on the beach and party. IMG_6573Whether for the Full Moon party or some other event, you will always have a good reason to celebrate! The famous alcohol buckets are sold on the street as water bottles in supermarkets (take care of you however). Loud music, casual dressing, rampaging travelers, a good package for good memories to reminisce!

Finally, Thailand is my tattoo. If you follow my blog a bit, you read that Thailand was an important trip for me, not only for sightseeing but for personal reasons. And that tattoo somewhere helped to move on, this trip has definitely calmed me and helped to accept some stuff.

IMG_6195In summary, for me, Thailand is arriving by boat from Laos to Chiang Khong with my friends, the white temple in Chiang Rai which requires and imposes itself on this trip, my 2 days at the elephants camp and my tattoo in Chiang Mai, my peaceful life surrounded by great people in Pai, the first city where I see myself put my suitcases, my return to Chiang Mai with the boxing club to see the fights, the visit of the temples in quiet Sukhothai, frenetic life in Bangkok with this good day spent with Romain to discover the main spots of the city, including the taxi boat ride on the river, a stop in Hua Hin to run on the beach and enjoy the passing of time playing pool while watching Roland Garros on TV bar. Then comes the time of the islands with Koh Tao to start, probably the most relaxing island I have been to although I have not stopped moving, the great surprise of Koh Nang Yuan and its breathtaking view up, the full moon party in Koh Phangan with great travelers encountered, surely the most beautiful panorama in Railay / Tonsai beach even with this feeling of being blocked, the shared time between parties and walks laughing with my 2 English (among others) on Koh Phi Phi and a last stop in Phuket to watch the kite surfers flying over the sea, a peaceful way to close this chapter of my beautiful 276 days travel.

IMG_6201And it is obviously once again pretty meetings I made, and there are a lot so I’ll try not to forget anyone. Without mentioning their names, thank you to all the locals who are incredibly kind contrary to what I had heard. I was told several times that the Thai people in the South were harsher and less friendly than those in the North. For me, in my experience, all were as friendly and open to dialogue / sharing, so thank you to them all. And for travelers met along the way, thank you to my friends Flo & Pit with whom I arrived in Laos (and I left for good this time!), Jill & Liz, Luckie, Marielle, Som Chai, Sara & Marcela, Matias aka Chile, Fergus, Marni, all boxing club which Lisette, Laura & Fulvio particular, Romain, Brittany, Chris, Marc & Noémie, Woody, Matthieu & Melanie Marcel & Jordan, Peter, Leah & Robyn, Emma & Eli, and all others with whom I spent less time but still a good time.

IMG_6375Thailand, it was a goal, a purpose, a must do during this trip. And it paid off. I come out grown, different, peaceful, smiling, happy… I was afraid of mass tourism side before I got there, especially having gone and loved India, Myanmar and Laos before that offer a peaceful life without too many tourists. In the end, I found myself loving this country and all the encounters I was able to do. I have great memories with the locals, inexplicable laughter but remain engraved in my memory. And just the same with travelers. I fell in love with nature in this country, particularly in the north and especially in Pai. It goes something magical in this country that you do understand only when you actually go there Try to visit different places, not just the islands or just Bangkok, Thailand has a lot of variety to offer if you have time and if you want to.

I spent five weeks there, a lot for some people, not enough for me. There are many other parts that I would like to discover during an upcoming trip. It will surely be different, full of new feelings. But part of my mind already think about it

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