As my many, many Thailand posts with all the tips and tricks come to an end, I want to share some of my favorite memories during our two-week trip around Thailand. It was a life list trip, and being able to check off some incredible experiences with my favorite person was special. Every day was a new adventure (and sometimes a new challenge). These are the moments I look back on and think, “wow, I’m going to remember that forever” because it was “once-in-a-lifetime” and awe-inspiring.
Walking among elephants (Chiang Mai)
I walked next to an elephant! I touched an elephant! The average size of a male Asian elephant is 12,000 lbs and a female is 6,000 lbs. These creatures could easily squish me! Yet, they were calm and majestic. The ones I met had suffered a lot from abuse, and I’m glad I got to learn more about their stories. [Check out my post about our visit to Elephant Nature Park here.]
First moment going underwater when scuba diving (Similan Islands)
My first time scuba diving in the OCEAN was in Thailand. After five days of classes in a murky lake in Austin, TX, I put my head underwater in Thailand and all I could see was everything. (Haha, that’s not dramatic AT ALL!) That’s when the joy of scuba clicked for me. I wasn’t sure I liked scuba diving until then. It was like I had blurry eyesight and put on glasses for the first time. From right at the surface I could see the ocean floor. Later on, I saw a variety of sea creatures and huge wall formations. There is an unbelievable underwater world full of things to see and discover. It can be scary and dangerous if you let it, but it’s worth it! [Check out my post about our Scuba Diving Liveaboard here.]
Standing on the bridge, looking up to see the many lanterns floating up (Yee Peng Lantern Festival, Chiang Mai)
We saw lights floating up as we were eating dinner and realized that there were still celebrations going on. (We thought they were the day before and we had missed it.) So we followed the lights and people after dinner until we were on the bridge where people were lighting them up and letting them go. Seeing the lights float away along with (symbolically) all the negative vibes and frustrations of life brought peace with how things are and appreciation for the opportunity to be there and celebrate joy with strangers. [Check out my post about our Yee Peng Lantern Festival experience here.]
Zipping through the streets at night on a tuk tuk (Bangkok)
We didn’t take many tuk tuks in Thailand, but I’m glad because we had an unforgettable tuk tuk experience. The transportation for our food tour in Bangkok was by tuk tuk, so we looked like a colorful parade of six tuk tuks zipping from one restaurant to the next. There wasn’t much traffic, so we sped through the street, feeling the wind in our hair and the adrenaline of exploring Bangkok at night and discovering all its best food spots. [Check out my post about Bangkok, including the food tour we went on, here.]
Sitting at a table on a sidewalk, inches away from the street, eating the best pad Thai ever (Bangkok)
Speaking of the food tour in Bangkok… We had eaten so much on our food tour that we were holding our stomachs, but there we were at one last place. This restaurant had been there for over 50 years! The seating spilled out from the restaurant onto the sidewalk with metal tables and chairs. There were cars whizzing by. There we were, our food tour group, enjoying the best pad Thai I’ve ever had. [Check out my post about Bangkok, including the food tour we went on, here.]
Being drawn into a bar on Bang-La by a Thai cover band singing Zombie by The Cranberries (Phuket)
I know it sounds strange, especially given how crazy I thought Phuket was. We wanted to see what Patong and Bang-La was all about, so we ventured out from our hotel after almost deciding we would go to bed instead. There was loud music, bright lights, and promoters asking for our attention for their show or drink special. Shortly after we arrived to the start of Bang-La, we heard some familiar lyrics and music coming from a bar. It was Zombie by The Cranberries covered by a Thai band and they were rocking out. We grabbed a seat, amazed by how enthusiastic the band was and surprised to hear this familiar song on the other side of the world. The covers didn’t end there. They played more songs and so did the next band. After all the (frustrating) craziness we’d experienced in Thailand so far, we sat back and relaxed, taking in a familiarity of home. [Check out my post about Phuket here.]
The beautiful thing about travel is that there are always new adventures. Even if you travel with someone, what you feel during your trip and what sticks with you is your own. Chances are, the memories you keep are moments unplanned or unexpected. You never know when something amazing is about to happen. Take note of the things that happen (that’s why I travel with a journal!) and reflect on the memories that make you smile. I hope you have many of those experiences in your travels this year!
What’s one of your favorite, unique travel moments you’ll always remember?
P.S. The Thailand fun doesn’t stop here! Check out all my Thailand posts here. Planning your Thailand trip? Check out the ULTIMATE guide here.