••• The International Writers Magazine:Thailand
My First Solo Trip to Thailand
I’m not really sure what led me to Thailand, but before I knew it I was on a 27-hour flight across the world. I guess I was just looking for something new. A new memory to relive. Whatever it was, I’m so glad I took the plunge.
To give you a bit of background, I’m a 27-year-old single dude living in Maine. All my life I’ve followed the rules. Went to school, got the degree, got the good job. No breaks whatsoever. All of this was well and good for a long time, but I eventually found myself thinking, “why?” Why did I do everything so perfectly? Why didn’t I ever take any risks?
So off to Thailand I go for 9 nights of drunkenness, exploration and growth. My journey begins in a little city called Bangkok. Wow! What a culture shock. The Thai people are all so friendly. Everyone’s smiling and happy to help me. Off to a good start. I grab my bags, hop in a taxi and take off to my hotel.
I stayed at a small boutique hotel called Legacy Express Sukhumvit for this trip because it was only $40 per night and centrally located. Next time I think I’d step it up a bit, but it did the trick for me. I didn’t come here for the hotel anyway, so I threw my bags in my room and headed off to Khao San Road to meet up with some other travelers. Within about 30 min I meet a group of friendly Brits chatting loudly outside a bar. Before I know it, we’re all doing shots and dancing in the middle of the street with a little Cambodian kid. Ah, this is exactly what I needed! A fun night out with complete strangers in a foreign country 10,000 miles across the world. What could go wrong?
Turns out, a lot can go wrong when you black out. Whoops. I underestimated the strength of the Thai whisky we had been drinking and can’t remember anything from about 12 midnight to 1am. When I finally come-to I find myself inside a bathroom at a night club called Insomnia. I don’t really remember how I got there, but I do remember the Brits. I leave the bathroom in search of my new British friends and spot an old, fat, 50 something year old man dancing (wiggling) around on stage. Confused by what I had just saw, and unable to locate the Brits, I decide enough is enough and head back to the hotel. What a night!
After a successful first night of debauchery, my body needed a break. As I lay in bed regretting that damn whisky, I have little chat with myself and decide I probably shouldn’t black out in a foreign country again. Tonight I’ll take it easy I say. Tonight will be different!
It’s about 4 p.m. before I manage to drag myself out of bed, so I decide to skip the sightseeing for the day and look for a dinner date on Tinder instead. I had been speaking with a few cute Thai girls before arriving in Thailand and arranged a dinner date with one them named Siriwan. She spoke great English and we got along quite well. She suggested a rooftop bar called Above Eleven, so I reserve a table and we meet for some cocktails. Cocktails are $10 each, but we had a great time chatting and learning about each other’s cultures while taking in the views of the city. This was a good idea. This place served food too, but it was very expensive so we left and looked for somewhere else to eat.
||At this point I wasn’t quite sure how to feel about the street food. You see, in Bangkok there are street food vendors EVERYWHERE!
You can get a chicken breast on a stick for like 30 cents. It’s crazy. I’m still new to the country though and don’t want to get sick, so we opt for a restaurant instead. Me being the terrible date companion that I am, take her to Hooters. I just don’t really like Thai food ok! And I knew Hooters would be nice and American… I’m a bad tourist.
Anyway, after some more talking we’re both feeling the vibes and go back to my hotel. I’ll spare you the details, but we had a great time together. I almost wanted to cancel my flight to Koh Samui, but I decided to go since I had already bought the tickets. I wanted to bring Siriwan along with me, but she had to work so I couldn’t. Oh well. Maybe we could meet up again when I’m back in Bangkok.
Fast forward to Koh Samui - it’s like a completely different country. Beautiful mountains, ocean and clean air (unlike Bangkok). I’m staying at a little hotel called Montien House for $40 a night, again for its central location on Chaweng beach (the party area). Hotel was ok, but the AC in my room kept breaking and was super loud. You get what you pay for I guess.
The first day I take it pretty easy and just lounge around by the pool reading a book all day. I don’t do any nightlife this night and save my energy for the following day instead. Got to space it out.
After a frustrating night with an air conditioner wailing like a 2-year-old child, I wake up at the crack of dawn determined to do some sightseeing. I had come all the way to Thailand after all. So, I’m walking around looking for some place that sells tours and excursions and get flagged down by a cute Thai girl working at the desk next door to my hotel. She asks if I’d like to go on a tour and hooks me up with a nice 9-hour all-day package for just $30 bucks. What a deal! I think she had a crush on me too…
This tour was the highlight of my trip. I trekked around the island with some Brits, Germans and Russians. Our tour guide was a hilarious Russian lady that kept hitting on me and calling me her boyfriend. She was much too old for me though. Good times either way.
When I finally get back to the hotel I run in to the girl that booked the tour for me. We start chatting and I ask her out to dinner. She declines, but wants to meet up for drinks in a few hours with her friends. Works for me.
This was another night like the first night with the Brits. We’re all drinking, partying and just having a good time. I keep the whisky on the down low this night and eventually end up in my hotel room with the tour girl. Good times were had, but she didn’t speak great English so we didn’t really click like Siriwan and I. We hug and go our separate ways and I don’t see her the rest of my time in Koh Samui.
I have another uneventful day lounging around the pool reading as I build up my energy for the following night. My rule is to drink every other night rather than every night. Better that way.
It’s now my last day on Koh Samui and I’m not really in the mood for sightseeing. I try my luck at a motorbike instead. This was a bad idea. These are much harder to ride than they look. I don’t know why they even let me try and drive it considering I didn’t have a license. I’m surprised I didn’t get charged some huge fee too because I must have fallen off of that thing and dropped it 3 or 4 times. Don’t ride a motorbike in Thailand if you don’t know how to ride one!
I wanted to keep the nightlife low key on this night, so I treated myself to an excellent lobster dinner and searched for a pool bar. The plan was to play some pool and watch some rugby. Australians and their rugby. I had no idea what was going on. Pool was fun though and I met some ladies in the process. I think they were prostitutes, but they were fun to hang out with nonetheless. I did not go home with any of them.
I have just one day left in Bangkok before my trip home and decide to try and meet up with Siriwan one last time. Luckily, she didn’t have to work this day, so we met up in the early morning and did a sightseeing trip out to the Grand Palace. This is one of the largest Buddhist temples in all of Thailand. Just beautiful. Siriwan, like most Thais, is a Buddhist and told me all about the religion. I really enjoyed learning about it and seeing the temple. This was a good idea.
After the temple I suggested we get a massage. I had yet to get one of the famous Thai massages and my legs were completely covered in mosquito bites from Koh Samui. Siriwan knew exactly where to go. We each got an hour-long foot / back massage for about $9 each and I have to say, that was the best massage I had ever gotten in my life. The lotion they used was perfect for my bug bites and when they were done I felt brand new. I don’t remember the name of the place, but it was on the second floor of the mall near Nana Plaza.
Nightlife is approaching quickly and I knew I had to see Soi Cowboy and Nana Plaza at least once before going home. We head over to Soi Cowboy first so Siriwan can show me some lady boys. I had heard about this street from the Hangover 2, but I had no idea what to expect. Neon lights everywhere. Beautiful girls in bikinis. It’s definitely nothing you’ve ever seen before if you grew up in the U.S.A.
So, we head in to this lady boy bar and I’m surprised with how lady-like they all look. They didn’t really pay us much attention because we were holding hands, but when a new customer came in they’d all swarm him until he picked someone to sit with him. It was kind of strange. After about 5 minutes I was ready to go.
We head over to Nana Plaza to a bar called “Spankys.” This was on the second floor on the left side of the plaza. This place was really fun. Girls in bikinis doing different shows. The shows were so bad they were good. Everyone was just laughing and having a good time. Being with Siriwan made it all the better too because she acted as my translator of sorts.
We did not see the famous “ping pong” show, and really didn’t have any interest. We did run in to a few guys promoting it though. I won’t go in to detail about what this show entails, so if you don’t know, watch the ending credits of Hangover 2 or do a Google search.
Siriwan rides with me to the airport and we say our goodbyes. What a fantastic trip. Overall, I spent about $2,500. Not bad at all. The food and lodging is much cheaper over there and kind of offsets the cost of the flight a little bit. When I go back I’ll eat a lot more street food to save money. The restaurants really add up after a while and they’re not really necessary. The street food is delicious! Just make sure to ask for no oil because they seem to put oil on everything for some reason.
If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, I’d recommend checking out the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. I was able to get about $600 off my flight just by opening this credit card and using it normally a few months before I booked the flight. I’d also suggest using this Sawadee.com website to book a hotel on Koh Samui. It’s a low-key local site that the expats and Thais use to book hotels. The checkout process is a little wonky, but it worked fine and was much cheaper than Agoda. You might also want to look in to a timeshare resale rental as well. There are timeshares all over Phuket and Koh Samui. Sometimes you can find owners renting out their units for very cheap prices. Be careful of the timeshare sales pitch though. They can trick you in to spending thousands of dollars and it’s usually just not a very good value. A timeshare exit is common after many timeshare purchases. Just do your research.
BestTimeshareExitTeam.com. is a consumer advocacy site that compares timeshare exit companies that help timeshare owners get out of their timeshares. Not commercial.
© Jake October 2017