I just returned from my trip to Thailand and it was incredible. As I mentioned in my last blog, I visited my friend Sammi, who is from my hometown, and is studying abroad at a university near Bangkok. I was there for about a week and we managed to squeeze so many activities into that short amount of time!
I have to admit that the journey to Thailand was nasty. I had to take a three hour train ride to Sydney (as usual) and then an almost nine hour flight to Bangkok! A lot of people that I talked to were really surprised that the flight was that long but if you look at a map, Thailand’s not exactly nearby.
The flight wouldn’t have been that bad but I was also trying to study on it because my first final was the day after I arrived back in Sydney. Studying with a laptop on a plane is a lot more difficult than it sounds and I’m going to be honest, not a lot of studying happened.
Once I finally arrived in Bangkok, I had to wait in line for Immigration for TWO HOURS. They are apparently really thorough and take a few minutes to check each person before they enter Thailand. Multiply a few minutes by all the people in line and evidently that equals two hours of waiting. I felt so bad because Sammi was waiting to pick me up from the airport and my flight arrived at 1am. Then by the time I got through Immigration and got my bag it was 3am and technically 7am for me. However, we were still really happy to see each other and managed to look enthusiastic for this picture!
She was waiting for me with a sign and even had a little welcome bag for me so that was sweet.
The long journey to get to Thailand was definitely worth it! I had a great time and managed to get a lot of bang for my baht (baht is Thai money, just go with the pun). I also tried to take in the Thai culture as much as possible which involved visiting temples and Buddhas, learning the language and eating the native food.
During my time in Thailand, we visited many temples and Buddhas as Buddhism is such a hugely practiced religion in Thailand. I still don’t know a ton about Buddhism but I did learn that it is basically centered around living a moral life. I was told that Buddhists believe in having multiple lives through reincarnation however, it was kind of confusing because one temple that we visited also showed what going to Hell would be like for those who disobeyed elements of the religion.
We asked for clarification on this and evidently even Thai people will give different answers on how the afterlife and other lives work. Not only do opinions on this differ but there are apparently many different types of Buddhism as well. The constant element of Buddhism is the essence of the teaching, the Dhamma or truth.
I found visiting the temples and Buddhas to be really cool. This religion is so different from my own but I think it is really interesting. I did my best to take a step back and appreciate their culture and religion instead of constantly comparing it to my own lifestyle.
While in Thailand I saw a reclining Buddha,
a BIG Buddha,
(Even the fingers were huge!)
a Buddha head in tree roots,
and many, many more.
All temples require you to remove your shoes as feet are considered the lowest part of the body both physically and spiritually. Depending on the dress code of each specific temple or museum, women also need to cover their knees and shoulders before entering. If you don’t have the proper clothing, some temples provide sarongs that you can borrow like the attractive ones that are pictured here.
The temples that we visited were incredibly ornate and beautifully designed both inside and out.
While in Thailand we also visited the Erawan Museum which is a giant three-headed elephant.
Not only is this museum striking from the outside but the inside is gorgeous as well,
including the temple that is in one of the elephant heads.
During the rest of my time in Thailand,
we explored ruins from a previous dynasty,
went to the beach,
watched a Thai cultural show,
rode in an infamous took took,
sampled the local food,
(Pad See Ew)
(Coke in a bag, they save money by recycling the cans or bottles)
took in the rooftop views of Bangkok,
and last but certainly not least, we rode and fed ELEPHANTS!
Lifelong dream = achieved
My trip to Thailand was an amazing experience. I had never been to Asia before this trip and I think that Thailand was a great introduction. I was really surprised at how safe and comfortable I felt even on the streets of Bangkok. Thailand was extremely hot, in the 90s and reaching over 100, and was not always the cleanest but it was beautiful.
The Thai people that I met were very kind and it was really fun to hang out with Sammi and meet her study abroad friends. I was glad to have this sort of culture-shock experience while studying abroad, as Australia is a pretty tame experience compared to this. Before coming to Thailand I was ready for an adventure and I definitely got one. Mai pen rai!