Yes, this is another travelogue by me. But no, it is not the kind of travelogue you have seen me write. If you are looking to find an itinerary for a week’s travel to Thailand, look elsewhere. In this blog, I will focus on the one thing that makes any place memorable – “The amazing people you meet”.
You may want to ask, why Thailand? Why am I writing about the people I met on this vacation. Isn’t it an important aspect of any travel? For me, the biggest highlight of this journey was definitely the variety of people I met. Of course, the places were beautiful and picturesque but not as beautiful as the souls that touched me.
To give you an idea, I would like to start with the experience I had on the day I landed a foot in Thailand. I was just crossing a street near the lively Khao San Road and I saw a woman struggling with some bags. I offered to carry her huge sacks and bags while she crosses the street. Once we were on the other side of the road, the lady was immensely overwhelmed with happiness and she just hugged me. She took out a bottle of fresh juice from her sack and gave it to me. At this point, I realized she was a juice seller and more importantly a very simple and generous woman.
It makes me think, how simple are these people who yearn for a little bit of generosity in their lives. Such that, even a small help with bags is being welcomed with a hug and an emotional smile.
The Lady at the park
Another woman I met at the Lumpini park in Bangkok. She was retired from her job at an Insurance company and travelling the world. I saw a glimpse of a traditional mother in her when she warned me not to be outside in the night in a foreign country. Initially, she sounded very concerned and started sharing cases of women being attacked in the dark in Bangkok. But slowly, she started sharing her own adventures around the world, especially in Turkey. My heart was warmed when she offered to walk me till the bus stands for my safety.
By the next day, I was joined by a friend on my trip. We walked out in the scorching sun to go and see the Bangkok Grand Palace. We bumped into a guy who recommended to go towards the boating dock in Bangkok city. He was more than generous in guiding us with the details of it. We expected that he may start asking for some money but he didn’t. But later when we reached the boating spot, we clearly understood that the guy had some affiliation with these boatmen. We were overcharged for the boat as we discovered later. The funny part was, we did not mind paying. Simply because the hospitality was amazing.
The Full moon crowd
We spent another day sightseeing at Bangkok and later headed to Koh Phangan for the highlight of our trip – “The Full Moon Party”. It happens on many beaches in Thailand but the original or the first one is known to have happened here at Koh Phangan. The best part about the full moon party for us was the people we met on the beach. It felt like the whole world was there. There were people from the UK, US, Canada, South Africa, France, Belgium, India, China and so on. The crowd was crazy huge but there was so much of sanity and control among people. We never felt uncomfortable.
A small incident that I remember here was when a French guy offered me a drink and said – “You can try my drink if you like. You are a woman so I let you decide whether you are comfortable to try it but I assure you that it is a mild one.” Just the approach was so humble and honest. I was impressed.
The Homestay owner
This blog would be incomplete if I do not mention Mr.Long from Krabi. He was the owner of the homestay we picked in Krabi. I am pretty sure I have not met a more lively old man in my life. He had a huge collection of books, souvenirs, paintings, and wooden articles all over the place. The house was like a cottage straight from a village but placed right off a busy road near Ao Nang beach in Krabi. He was generously helpful when we stayed there but one moment when I saw him just sleeping off in the open area with a cat on one arm and a dog sleeping on his leg stands in my memory. He was just such a social and loving man.
We met many characters in Krabi. The Indian traveller who helped us bargain our island hopping package and the transgender who made a pass at me were some of them. How can I forget the chef at an Italian eatery who went nuts when we asked for some chillies to be added to his Pizza. He was really annoyed by the amount of Indians who add chilly to Pizza recipes which are not meant to have chillies. After he gave a lesson on how each Pizza is different, he came back with a chocolate dessert to make up for the unrequested lecture he gave us. We saw his passion for his food and could empathize with what he said.
I was especially looking forward to meeting the digital nomads or the travelling freelancers there. And we did meet quite a few. We met an Indian scriptwriter looking for inspiration, a French train pilot on a three-month vacation, a couple of Canadian waitresses on their sabbatical year and many freelancers settled and working from Thailand. I was interested to hear the different motivations each one of them had. And the different perspectives they had about ambition or life as a whole.
Finally, I hope you see now why this trip was so much about the people for me. The variety of travellers, freelancers, locals you get to meet in Thailand, is just amazing. I end this write-up with a picture from my favourite island in the trip (Hong Island) and a line by one of the freelancers we met on the trip – “I came here to settle and freelance. But more than that, I came to Thailand to get out of my Machine-life and live a little.”