Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hailey's Travels. The Journey to SE Asia: Thailand

So as you know, I recently spent a few months traveling around South East Asia! It was the most amazing experience I have ever had with some of the most amazing people I have ever met. Anyway, Winn asked me to share some of my experiences and photos. Unfortunately I took too many to stick them all up here but here are a few favourites...

First Stop: Bangkok, Thailand

We arrived in the early hours into Bangkok, Koh San Road. I'm sure you've heard, it's ridiculously crazy and hectic! Lots of bars, road-side entertainment, pad-thai stalls and cheap accessories to buy! We wanted to get stuck in as soon as possible but first had to locate our hotel, bit of a struggle when you have a stupidly heavy rucksack on your back whilst trying to navigate your way through crowds of people! Once we managed to find our hotel, we decided to dump our stuff and explore the area on our first night before meeting our volunteer/tour group the next day!
Travel diary now filled with souvenirs and memories!
Koh San Road, Bangkok
Tuk Tuk's are the local transport around the country! We bumped into a few fellow travellers along Koh San Road and decided to have a bit of a race on these Tuk Tuk's. It was possible the must fun, dangerous and exciting experiences I have had to date!
Along Koh San Road there were plenty of stalls selling fried insects as well! Naturally we had to try some, they were salt/chill flavoured. Can you guess which one I had? I will not be doing it again, trust me! I can say that others did try the cockroach, frog and grasshopper! Yuk!
We did manage to tear ourselves away from the crazy Koh San Road to see a few of the sites around Bangkok though...

The Grand Palace, Bangkok
Wat Arun Temple, Bangkok
(VERY steep temple to climb up to! Worth the view though)
Reclining Buddha - Wat Po Temple, Bangkok
Music and Cocktails at 'Gazeebo', Koh San Road
(Possible my favourite bar!)

Next Stop: Kanchanburi, Thailand

Our next stop was a little place called Kanchanburi. We stayed at a gorgeous place just alongside the River Kwai! Our first night was spent on a floating-restaurant along the river. So beautiful! Anyway here are a few snaps:
View from the floating restaurant

Erawan National Park
We spent a day in the beautiful Erawan Waterfall Park. It was absolutely stunning as you can see. The waterfall contained the types of fish that eat your dead skin, mental that people actually go to foot spa's specifically for it! Far too weird for me! There are 7 levels at the waterfall, bit of a trekk to the top but worth it! The higher you go, the less fish you'll find and the clearer the water!
Cute menu from Camelia Resort, Kanchanburi
We explored so many temples during our time in Thailand! However this one was probably the toughest, it has over 500 steps and climbing it in 30+ degree isn't too much fun! Totally worth it when you get to the top though. Oh...we discovered that the steps don't stop at the mouth of the dragon either, there are MANY more to go after that...
Another temple, what makes this one unique is the fact there are three routes to the Temple at the top. From left to right, each represents Love, Health or Business and locals believe if you choose a route, the same up and down, to the temple it will bring you good luck in that!
View from the Temple
Tiles to write your wishes on for good luck.
Monks teaching us to meditate at another Temple.

Next Stop: Sangkhlaburi, Thailand

Sangkhlaburi was one of the locations we spent the longest time in. We were really lucky to be able to come to a place like this, it was still quite rural and under-developed. Only open to tourists in the last 10 years, it had one bar, a few restaurants, a few shops and lots of walking in between to get to them! Really beautiful though and the people were so friendly!
Here are some photos of how we spent our time there:
Elephant Ride, Sangklhaburi
I was told that Thai children have to spend either 3 weeks, or if the choose 3 years, at a monastry to learn about Buddhism. I just happened to be walking down one of the main roads in Sangklhaburi and saw a small army of them!
Baan Unrak Bakery, Sangkhlaburi
A few of us couldn't resist coming back to this Bakery for their chocolate cake time and time again! So friendly and profits go to a good cause as well!
Dream House Orphanage, Sangkhlaburi
The main purpose of joining this tour/volunteer group was to volunteer at this orphanage. Whilst a few of us spent time teaching some of the children English and child-care activities. The rest of us were busy slaving away to construct this water-tank for safe drinking water! It was tough work but incredibly worth it!

Last Stop (in Thailand): Koh Phangan!

I loved every minute of our week on Koh Phangan, as you can imagine! It was a beach week filled with time to relax, time to party and time to soak up our surroundings! Great way to end the most amazing month in Thailand.
On the way to Koh Phangan - view from the boat
Our beach huts, Mac Bay Resort
View from our stunning beach
We went out almost every single night to a place further down the coast from our resort called 'Haadrin'. Drink, alcohol or not, was filled in sand buckets (see above!) and entertainment consisted of dancing on tables, watching fire-dancers, taking part in beach tournaments and lots of madness! We were lucky enough to be there during the Black Moon Party also! Lots of neon paint and glow sticks too! Unfortunately I didn't take my camera out much, there had been many casualties involving dropping cameras in the sand! So I'll leave it to your imagination instead....

We did however, prize ourselves away from our beach and the bars to take in the surroundings. Here are a few snaps from a day out we had around the Angthong National Marine Park - incl. Wua Ta Lap Island, Mae Koh Island, Samsao Island and Koh Wao...
Where we stopped to do a little bit of snorkelling.
View of the lagoon reported to have been where scenes in the movie 'The Beach' was filmed.
View from the top of Mae Koh Island.
And there we have it, my one month in Thailand summarised into just one post! It was one of the hardest things to say goodbye to all the friends I had met, traveled and worked with along my journey. I can definitely say that if you have the opportunity to get yourself out to Thailand, to do so ASAP and i'll probably come with you! A country full of so many surprises, so many things to do/see/try and the friendliest people I have ever met. I did have a little cry when I left and i'll be sure to return soon! All i can is, at least this was only part one of my travels...


  1. Wow! Looks like you had an amazing time!

  2. Thank you for this post, i looooove travelling and intend to go to Thailand one day, looks lovely



  3. Aawww these photos made me feel really nostalgic for when I traveled to Thailand a few years ago... Pretty sure I saw the same band playing at the Gazeebo bar haha! Brilliant!
    Looks like you had an amazing time! and kudos on the 7 eleven top!!!
    - Charlotte xx

  4. SEA is just brimming with culture waiting for it to be devoured by new people. what a great experience it must be.

  5. OMG! Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos! :)

  6. So many wonderful photos! Thank you SO much for sharing. I've always wanted to travel to Asia. Take care!

  7. Thanks for sharing your adventures, I'm always intrigued by what people see and do in Thailand as it's pretty much home to me as my family live there (and I'm also half Thai), despite the fact we live in Bangkok I don't think over the past 25 years I've been visiting there I've ever visited the royal temples!

    If you do ever visit again I definitely recommend a trip up north the food there is soooo much better than in Bangkok and down south (although it pretty much delicious everywhere!) and there's also some really beautiful temples and a lot of history up there to xoxo

  8. Looks like you had an incredible visit, such stunning pictures and I bet it was a hugely rewarding experience! xxx

  9. What an extra-ordinary adventure! Love this!!

    Beautiful! on so many levels.

  10. Yeah I'm so glad you did this post. I was telling Winnie I wanted to hear all about your adventures. I went to Bangkok and Koh Pangan too but not the others, they look amazing! Your 7-11 tshirt is hilarious, I sort of wanted to get one but didn't. I only stayed in Hadrin for a couple nights so didn't get to see the rest of the island which was a shame because it looks lovely

  11. hello hailey! wow i read this post start to finish transfixed, looks amazing! i am so starting a travel fund!xxx

  12. this all looks just so amazing. The vibrancy of everything and the natural features. I've wanted to visit SE Asia for a long time, this has just intesified my wanting to go!

  13. Wow great to see this all visually after hearing about it from Winnie. I definitely need to get to Thailand soon, might take the plunge and go alone if no one wants to join!

  14. Wow, sounds like an amazing experience!Travelling around and seeing/doing new things must have been so much fun. And Koh Phangan really looks like paradise.

  15. amazing pictures... you should really have your own blog ;)

  16. So love this post! I could eat a bug..I just couldn't.

  17. Wow, so jealous! Did you not go too, Winnie? The temples look beautiful

  18. its one of my bigest dreams to visit asia and especially tailand! These pictures of you make me crave morrreee:) It looks like you had a blast im so jalouse:) Perfect picures that's for sure:)
    Farah from FashionFabrice

  19. Looks sooo beautiful. So many of my friends are travelling throughout the far eastern countries. Seeing all their lovely photos deffo makes me sooo jealous! x

  20. Hailey, it's such a wonderful thing you did :) Congrats! And Thailand is so beautiful, I hope I can go there someday!

  21. I've always wanted to try fried insects, as horrible as that sounds! And wow, those temples look so beautiful.

  22. Oh wow--those beaches!! I've caught a case of the travel bug now. I just read this interview where Angelina Jolie says that her kids favorite snacks are fried insects..apparently they're uber tasty?! Keeping a travel journal is a great idea, by the way!

  23. such a great holiday!
    im glad you had so much fun
    now i want a holiday as well! hahaha


  24. It looks like such a wonderful experience.

  25. Looks like an amazing trip. I went to Koh Samui for my honeymoon about 11 years ago and loved it. We never managed to get to Koh Phanang though.

  26. *tear*

    Why must you torture me with these pictures?!

    I miss Thailand so much! I haven't been back since 2001! So dreadful especially since 98% of my family is over there!

    You look great and it looks like you had a fantastic time!

    So jealous!

    Missing Amsie Blog

    P.S. I really did ride my bike with those heels believe it or not!!

  27. what an amazing place! i'm so pleased you kept a travel journal too :-)

  28. This must have taken you ages to do! The photos are beautiful! The scenery is simply breathtaking!

    Also; both Winnie and you look so alike! Can't wait to see more of your posts! xx

  29. Beautiful travel pictures. Makes me wanna pack my bags and be on my way to Thailand.


  30. i came across this page when i was loking for pictures of places i visited in Kohpangan, we must have done a very simlar trip because you stayed in all the same places i did, i even stroked that dog we the tiny legs in the pic of the beach huts at mac's bay! hope you had a great time, i deffinatley did x

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