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Destinations 1-3 and everything in between – Edited Travel Blog Summary from 10/8/15 S.E. Asia Backpacking Trip (Post 2/7)

Atop one of the mountains on Koh Phangan island in Thailand.
Atop one of the mountains on Koh Phangan island in Thailand.

“Well just as I suspected I am already behind on keeping a daily journal and a weekly blog. There is constantly so much going on that I always tell myself that I’ll make time for it later and later tends to never come.  That being said there is so much to put on paper in order to do justice to the last week and a half.

Flights all went rather smooth from Dallas to Bangkok, I slept, watched movies and read in order of most to least.  No shocker that the majority of my 2 days traveling (and every other mini trip since) has been spent executing the art of skillful sleeping.  I’d like to thank my sleep training in vehicles, classrooms, and even standing for preparing me for International travel.  I did meet several fascinating people though who helped liven up my journey.  Drunk sleeping/drooling Japanese man can be listed first (to get him out of the way) but he was more of a hassle as I had to be careful not to be spilled on when he woke up holding his drink. The two who I did end up conversing with were sweet Singapore lady with Blue died hair and Denise the American who practices Chinese medicine in Mexico city.  Singapore lady and I discussed politics, war, drugs, and even the dangers of chewing gum which can be a serious offense in her home country.  Denise and I started chatting in LAX and connected during our layover as she was heading in the same direction.  She was headed to the Himalayas to hike the base of Everest for the 4th time in her life and she reminded me of some of the freedoms that Entrepreneurship offers as well as simply the splendors that await in world travel.  The last thing that I will say about the flights is that if you ever have the opportunity to have a layover in the Singapore airport, or just visit it as the destination of a vacation you should do so.  This place is ranked the #1 airport in the world on purpose with numerous gardens (Butterfly, cactus, Marigold), several free movie theaters, free tour of the city and I’m told even a swimming pool.  Cool place and DFW could definitely learn a few things.

Enough about planes though…We arrived in Bangkok and checked in to our first hostel.  Nice enough place and nice to get a shower after what seemed like days (literally had been days though), but most of all it was great to be able to unload the backpacks and hit the streets.  We walked for a total of 7.5 hours that day experiencing the relentless nature of motorbikes and the endless street venders of scary/amazing food, handmade artifacts, and everything under the sun that could possibly be counterfeited.  It is interesting for a bit but after awhile the thrill ran out with the persistence of tuk tuk drivers and vendor every 2 feet becoming absolutely draining.  This went on for a few days before we caught a night train to the Islands in the South East of the country.  Being a little weary of how the train would work out soon wore off when a Police officer approached and asked to take a picture with me and we played peek-a-boo with a baby Thai boy.  The trip continued on this way as we got to see the countryside turn in to mountainside and we ourselves slept like babies.  Very lucky to get a full nights sleep as the next day would be a long one.

Getting off the train we jump on a bus that takes us to a ferry and finally land on Koh Phangan.  This island is slightly known for it’s beaches and mountains, but more so for the all-night “Full Moon Party” that is held on Haad Rin beach once a month for the last 28 years.  Music, lights, glow paint, and minimum 20,000 people make this ritual an exciting one.  Unfortunately no pictures as there is heightened fear of pickpocketing and what turned out to be a reality for Conrad who was picked for 500 Baht! (Only $15 USD luckily).  We fought the urges of sleep though and were able to witness a beautiful sunset on the ocean with thousands of our newest friends.

After the party came a day of sleeping and several more days of relaxing before Conrad and I ventured off to another island in search of new adventures.  I haven’t read about it personally, but i was told that the Island of Koh Tao island is the 2nd best scuba in the world (right behind the great barrier reef) and #1 for beginners, and I have to fully agree.  Koh Tao is a smaller, denser populated island with hundreds of scuba providers and a wonderland of thrilling nightlife to keep anyone entertained.  Being first time scuba divers we chose a 1 day intro dive where essentially we were trained on the bare essentials and our guide Bobby from New Zealand had the pleasure of baby sitting us as we kicked our way across a vibrant ocean floor up to 12 meters deep.  We decided afterwards that it was only the first of many dives to come and we would soon be fish for life after such an eye-opening/breathtaking experience.  To capitalize on an amazing day we spent the evening mesmerized by fire twirlers with likeminded travelers from around the world!  Israel, England, Germany, France, Switzerland, Netherlands, and my personal favorite Norwegians (I’m biased being half Norwegian, Ingrid did say she would help me get on the “Alt For Norge” TV show though too!)  a few honorable mentions are Mathias from Geneva (Congrats on just finishing Med School!), Dane the Scuba Instructor (Coincidentally he went to UNCW like me, volunteered at the same aquarium and his parents live 10 minutes from mine), Canadian Police officers from the arctic, Charlie the Ex-Monk tattoo artist (No ink yet), Jake, Joe, Joe Buzzin, Fiona, Dan, Sam, Katie and Sherna all Hailing from England, Mark and gang from Netherlands, and Ingrid and Marie from Norway.  Already looking forward to future trips around the world.

This beach swing sits right outside of the inexpensive hostel on the East side of Koh Phangan Island in Thailand.
This beach swing sits right outside of the inexpensive hostel on the East side of Koh Phangan Island in Thailand.

To end my rambling we had a few more amazing days on the Islands before hopping on a ferry, bus and Plane to reach Chiang Mai.  I’ll save the start of our visit here for the next post.  With fear for life on mopeds, jungle trek to a hidden temple, and a reunion with an old buddy happening all in the first 48 hours it is sure to be another long one.

“I’ve found that the larger the world gets it also grows smaller” – Dalton Keane 10/7/15 – I found this so fitting during our conversation today that as I start to summarize my experiences it is a key component.  Beautiful world and people exploring it, whether that be a weekend hiker or a Doctor of Chinese Medicine hiking Everest for 3 weeks!

Thanks for following along and look forward to talking with you soon!”

-The Scarf Guys

P.S. Click here to pick your scarf and join the party!

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