Long time since last email, I know..
I've been having an absolute ripper of a time here in Thailand, I'm in love with the place.
Since our last correspondence, I have been to Ko Samui, Ko Phangan, Bangkok, Lampang and am now in Chiang Mai.. I've been a busy girl and have lots to tell :) Too hard to summarise it all...!
Ko Samui & Ko Phangan:
Ko Samui was nice, but very over-run with tourists, shops, topless sun-bathers and loud music... nice, but nothing compared to Ko Phangan. For those who have been there, you will know what I mean.
I stayed longer than I intended, pretty much because it was too good to leave.. here's a few reasons why...
I met some really great people at the Sea Sunset Resort, some people who love it so much themselves, they have been there for months... doing the odd visa run when needed to extend their time there ;)
Got to experience a Full Moon party at Ko Phangan too, what a night!
We went along to the busy beach of Haad Rin (so glad I was staying the opposite side to it) and danced the night away whilst drinking lethal buckets of sangsom (Thai whisky), redbull & coke. It's the kind of drink that just sneaks up on you - then bam! - you've turned in to mental person ;) I thought it was funny (and grose) how all the men decided to urinate in to the ocean.. what was even funnier was when I saw girls were doing it too! I made an agreement to myself straight away.. "no drunken swimming tonight Karina" :)
One the workers at the Sea Sunset Resort 'Pubet' (The funniest Thai man I've ever met), invited us and a few other (English) travellers to attend his wedding so we agreed and met him in Lampang after Bangkok...
Bangkok was kind of how I pictured it to be - hot and chaotic, but still very fun.
Ping Pong Show - I participated in the show by lighting not one, but two cigarettes for one of the girls... then watched her smoke both cigarettes with her 'area'! If that's not a quick way to get cervical cancer, what is?
Kris had a gay old time hitting another lady's ping pong back to her with a paddle haha
Tiger Temple, Kanchanaburi - I'm a big tiger fan so I absolutely loved it there :)
It was the time of day when the big fluffies are most relaxed/hot so they are pretty much harmless.. we got to pat them and take photo's so I was over the moon.
Other Highlights - Floating markets, crazy tuk tuk drivers taking you to random/unwanted destinations, bargaining galore, the many beautiful temples and free WiFi in the hotel we stayed at ;)
Lampang Province - Pubets Wedding!
Me, Kris, Tim, Carl and Adam (all met at Ko Phangan) were lucky enough to get invited to a Thai wedding, and I must say that this has definitely completed my Thailand experience. We arrived at a small village in Lampang where the wife to be (Nam) lived and where the wedding would take place. We were greeted by many curious stares, curious because the people in this village had never seen a 'farang' (foreigner) in person before. The day before the wedding i sat with some of the kids (who i called my class) from the village and went over some English with them. They found it hilarious hearing me speak English to them, but they were very bright kids and picked up new words very quickly.
That night we ate with everyone from the village, they filled us up on their home made whisky (that tasted like turps haha), they played musical instruments and the kids amused themselves with my camera.
We all got up around 6.30 and showered using a bucket, as there were no showers there. We got to the main area of the village and walked in a procession to where the ceremony would be held. It was 8am and ladies began to pass around the home made rice whisky, even during the ceremony!! So yeah, on empty stomachs, everyone was wobbly by 10am ;)
During the ceremony, all attendees, including us, got to tie a commitment band around the couples wrists and then place a donation in a tray for them. It was such an honour for us all being the first farangs to be part of a wedding in their village.
After the ceremony, the music started playing, more and more whisky was consumed and food was constantly being served. The Thai people were so happy to have us there, they didn't leave us alone... I'm not joking - every 2-3minutes another shot would be passed around, I felt rude whenever I declined. We were constantly being asked to dance, all the girls my age would grab my hand, drag me to the dance floor and gather around me. Such a wonderful experience! They were so overjoyed to be around us, and we felt exactly the same way.
These people have no luxuries and barely enough money to send their children to school, but they are some of the happiest people I've ever met.
Now in Chiang Mai, saw Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) last night and will go on a trek in the next few days... next stop Loas.
Hope you are all well, and I hope you all get to Thailand at some stage in your life.. they don't call it amazing for nothing ;)
Lots of Love, Karina x