We heard a lot of stories about the ultimate backpackers Walhalla before we packed our backs and got on a plane. Thailand is popular among backpackers because it’s known to be cheap, easy to travel around. Besides, it has some of the party hotspots and the food is delicious. Sounds pretty awesome indeed! However, because of this, it’s also known to be very touristic, busy and it attracts.. how to say? a certain kind of traveller – young party people that want to let loose on the famous full moon parties. Nothing wrong with that but I wondered if this was the kind of trip that I could enjoy for a few weeks. We decided to take a look with our own eyes and discovered that both stories are very true.
Our trip passed many villages, temple’s, jungle, tropical islands and dusty roads. And indeed, at some places, there are just too many people. Sometimes it hard to take a good look at a Buddha right in front of you. But for those who like to look beyond the carved paths, there are hidden treasures to be found! Hidden gems, outlying villages and abandoned beaches. So if you’re in doubt to travel to bustling and touristy Thailand, just go. Go and find your own way. You will probably love it as much as I did. Locals are very friendly and helpful, the food is amazing and nature is absolutely stunning!
Another time Thailand?
If I could do it all over again then I would have visited Kanchanaburi again. And then I mean the area with the bridge and the cemeteries. The history there is horrible and the pictures don’t lie about what happened at that point. But there are simply too many people on and next to the bridge for getting the message. With camera’s non-stop clicking around you I couldn’t visionary the whole story. Later I heard about an elephant camp in the neighbourhood, too bad I didn’t know. At that camp they treat elephants very well, they even have a website!
Then, on our way south, we stopped by in Hua Hin. Also bad decision in my experience. Again a lot of groups, very busy traffic, and the skyline is filled with high hotels and other ugly buildings. After a few hours of searching, we find a little restaurant named SeaSide Hua Hin. It’s hidden in a small side street but when you enter the terras the view is amazing. You can sit next to the sea and watch the fisherman arrived with the catch of the day.
Koh Samui, that was a love/hate relation. We met so many lovely people there, eat the most delicious and pure food. And, stupid enough, we visit the Tiger Zoo. Yes, I regret that. That was painful. We didn’t read about it before and we were to naive. Never. again. If you want to really connect with an elephant or other animals, just use google for story’s and alternatives. The one Elephant Camp in Kanchanaburi is a good example!
Where I would definitely go when visiting Thailand
What I really loved were the few nights we spend in a floating hostel on the River Kwai. Yes, off course this is also made for tourists, my bed was soaking, there were ants everywhere and the roof was leaking.. but other than that it was amazing! This was the place in Thailand that I was closest to nature and the connection with the locals was as real as it gets. On River Kwai are also more luxurious stays but we skipped all of them.