We’re back with Thailand part 2! Here we will talk about everything we did week 2 of our trip. This is the part of the trip where our bodies went from ghostly pale to sunburned and crispy. And we loved every second of it.
Disclaimer: I will say that most of the pictures in this post were taken on our cell phones. I apologize for the poopy quality, however, sometimes it gets exhausting carrying a heavy camera around everywhere. Don’t get me wrong. I love my camera. In a perfect world, I would take it everywhere with me. In reality, it is heavy. Some would say a nuisance. I brought it with me for most of the trip, but I got to the point where I just wanted to enjoy myself without trying to take the perfect picture. Yeah, we want pictures, but we also want to be present where we are.
This day was mostly a travel day. We lounged around the hotel in the morning and then flew to Phuket in the afternoon.
We spent all of week 2 in Phuket, which is an island that holds some of Thailand’s most popular beaches. Weather forecasts were not looking good. 90% chance of rain every single day. Luckily it only ended up raining once! At night after we were already back at the hotel. We were very, very lucky and really appreciated the sunshine.
On day 6 we boarded a boat and went to the Phi Phi islands. (Literally pronounced P P islands) These are the types of islands you see on postcards. White sand. Crystal clear blue water. Paradise. At the beaches we layed out, did some snorkeling, got sunburns, went swimming, thought about putting on more sunscreen but didn’t. Typical vacation stuff. Then we traveled to an island that is famous for monkeys. They are everywhere, just hanging out, being monkeys. We didn’t get off the boat, but we floated by on our way to our lunch spot. Our final spot was Maya Bay on Phi Phi Ley where Leondardo Dicaprio filmed the movie “The Beach,” if that is something that interests you. We have never seen the movie, but both of us would gladly stand anywhere Leo has stood himself. We might have a small (large) obsession with him. But, in all seriousness, the islands were the most beautiful places we have ever seen. When you think of Paradise, you are thinking of exactly what these islands are.
One thing we both really wanted to do was the fish/feet thing. I’m sure you’ve seen it in movies or heard about it somewhere. The tanks of fish you stick your feet into, then swarms of tiny little stupid fish start sucking on your feet to get the dead skin off. Lauren didn’t mind it. I, however, was a different story. I paid for 20 minutes of fish sucking. Total time I actually spent in the tank: 15 seconds.
Couldn’t do it. I hated every second of it. It is a sensation I cannot even describe. Aside from tickling like crazy it just feels like swarms of fish sucking at your feet. I could not deal. I was a tourist attraction. People stopped and stared. “Hey, look at that pale American that is squealing.” Yea. That pale American was me. I will say, even though I was only in the tank for a millisecond, my feet did feel amazing afterwards. If I actually stayed in the whole time my feet probably would have felt like a baby’s bottom. Luckily, it was not an expensive activity. Take my money. Take my first born child. Take my rubber spatula collection. I don’t care. Just get me out of here.
On day 7 we got in the back of pick up trucks and drove to a private beach. I did have visions of being killed and left for dead on this journey because we were driving down a sandy road for ever and ever. It was as if this beach was on another planet. EVENTUALLY, we got to the beach. It was awesome because for once we were the only people there. No other tourists to bump into or ruin all of our pictures.
Then, we went to a turtle sanctuary. There were probably turtles. I wouldn’t know. I found a family of kittens and played with them the whole time.
Ok, here’s some actual turtles.
We went to a restaurant for lunch and it was the best meal we had the whole trip. We had papaya salad, chicken, fish, rice (meh), other stuff, and then some other stuff. Then, the restaurant owner came out and asked “do you want ice cream?” It was as if the sky opened up and released an actual angel among us. Yes. Yes please we want a dairy product.
AND THEN, once we finished our ice cream she came out and asked us if we wanted more.
Finally. Someone asking if we want seconds of something other than rice.
Lastly, we went to a big mountain temple thing that is supposed to be where monkeys live. (We didn’t catch the name unfortunately!) Our tour guide bought bananas for the damn things and they never came down. A native man kept yelling to the monkeys to come down. Monkeys did not care. They stood at the top of the mountain and probably laughed at the humans yelling on the ground. You could kind of see them. Like little moving specs. This was disappointing. I wanted a monkey to sit at my feet while I fed him bananas, leading to the monkey and I bonding. Then, the monkey would follow me around and let me hold him. Then, we would laugh together and eat bananas for the rest of the day. All you had to do was come down monkeys. That was all you had to do.
The picture above was not at the monkey mountain. We were on the bus driving somewhere and I happened to look out the window at the perfect time and saw this. Um, what? Just a couple monkeys casually sitting in the back of a truck. Were the monkeys already there and the driver was like “well, I guess you’re coming.” OR, did they themselves put the monkeys there? The questions that keep me up at night.
At the end of the night we went to a cabaret show. Apparently “lady boy” cabaret is a thing over there. A popular thing. Men, who look more like ladies than actual ladies, sing and dance around. Seriously. They are like beautiful. You can’t even tell they are men. From far away anyway. Same same, but different. Imagine a lady boy doing a PERFECT impression of Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’. It was amazing. The show was amazing.
Then, at the end of the show all the performers line up outside for pictures. I got roped into a picture I did not want by not 1, but 2 lady boys. After the picture was taken the lady boy to my right whispered in my ear “200 baht.” (In her very deep voice). What? Why? How? What is happening? Apparently it costs 100 baht PER lady boy for a picture. They got me. They got me good. Needless to say, I did not know this, nor did I have 2oo baht lying around to give them, so I just walked away while they pointed and yelled at me for not paying. Just walk quickly. Get in the car. Go. Now.
In the morning we walked down the street to find a Thai massage place. Lauren and a couple of the other girls on the trip got massages. I decided not to. I was very, very sun burnt. The thought of someone aggressively rubbing my burns made me want to cry. Good thing I didn’t. Lauren came out of the room looking like she had just been through something.
Hi! It’s Lauren. Just a brief disclaimer about my massage experience. I knew going into it that I was not a huge fan of massages. Strangers rubbing me down has never been my thing. But, when in Thailand, do as the Thai people do, right? So, naturally I was like yes, please sign me up for a life changing Thai massage. No. Hard no. I expected to leave the spa feeling like a new, stress free person that could poop rainbows or whatever life changing magic is supposed to happen during a massage. It was painful. She bent and stretched my limbs at angles that math has not even discovered yet. This tiny little woman that couldn’t have weighed more than 90 pounds was strong AF. Ever have someone twist your body and crack every single centimeter of bone in your spine ? Well, don’t. It’s horrifying. Moral of the story, Thai massages are not the same as regular massages.
Then, we went to Patong beach and layed out for a bit. Which is a stupid thing to do when you’re already burnt to hell. We drank out of coconuts for the first time! I also realized that I do not like drinking out of coconuts! Coconut water is not actually good. Tastes like coconut butthole.
Our last day of the trip was a travel day. The longest travel day in the history of travel. At least it felt that way. Neither of us is able to sleep on planes. AT ALL. Long story short, we were awake for over 24 hours, and pretty much walking dead people. Picture two bedraggled, exhausted girls unabashedly sprawled out on the floor in the middle of the airport for 3 hours. Yes, that was us. But we finally made it home, with no problems (thankfully). We spent the following 24 hours cuddling our pets and eating disgusting amounts of french fries, macaroni and cheese, pizza, tacos, and basically anything that wasn’t rice.
Things we learned week 2
Sunscreen– Bring it. Wear it. Reapply it often. Even if you think you’re putting it on too much, do it anyway. Trust us. The sun is so much stronger in Thailand. You also never realize just how burnt you are until you get home at the end of the day and your skin feels like it is falling off.
Beware of cab drivers: We actually learned this on our very first day of the trip. We got a taxi to take us to the mall and he insisted that we stopped at this specific store on the way to look around. We told him we did not want to go because we were in a hurry. However, he insisted that we go, look around for 5 minutes, then he would take us to the mall. Out of frustration we went to this damn store. It was a very expensive store with nothing we wanted. Our cab driver popped his head in and then went back outside. THEN, he took us to the mall. Later we asked one of our tour guides (shout out to Tar. You the best), and she said that cab drivers get sponsored by some businesses. So, if the cab drivers bring in customers, the store will pay for the cab drivers gas. Long story short, if this happens to you, be strict with them. Tell them to take you straight to where you want to go or get out.
Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate: Everything is negotiable in Thailand. Especially at the markets. We know it can be a little difficult to negotiate at first. You will feel weird. And probably uncomfortable. BUT, negotiating is totally normal and can save you a lot of money. We negotiated for most of our souvenirs. There is a sense of satisfaction when you successfully negotiate! We also love a good bargain. 300 baht for elephant pants? Um no. 120. Honestly, most vendors would rather have a sale for less than the asking price, than no sale at all. If they tell you the price and you seem standoffish, they usually sense that you are probably going to leave and will offer you a lower price anyway.
If you see something cool, buy all of it: There are a lot of souvenirs that multiple vendors sell. So if you pass on a cute pair of elephant pants, chances are you will see them again at another vendor. On the other hand, there are some things that are very unique. You might see it once, and then never ever see it again. SO, if you are drawn to something, buy it. With that being said, one of our largest pieces of advice is to buy LITERALLY ALL OF THE ELEPHANT PANTS. They are life changing. Trust us, you’ll never want to wear regular, boring old American pants ever again.
If there is one piece of advice that is more important than all of the other advice we could ever give you, it would be to be present. Traveling is exciting and you want to take pictures of every little thing, and that is understandable. But remember to stop and actually look around you and appreciate where you are. Immerse yourself in the culture and allow yourself to be apart of what is happening without distractions. We all want to make sure that we get the perfect Instagram picture (even if we are ashamed to admit it), but you don’t want to experience your entire trip through a phone screen.
If anyone is curious about how we did this trip, we went through a program called EF College Break. Basically, they offer trips for anyone age 18-28. Everything is planned out for you and included in the price (with the exception of some meals). You meet up with a bunch of other travelers from around the country and essentially vacation with a group of strangers. It sounds horrifying! But it was honestly incredible, and we got to meet a lot of great people. We highly recommend it if you are interested in travel. It is such a stress free way to go on a trip because you don’t have to worry about planning anything, and you have a tour guide the whole time. Go to the website and browse the different trips they have, but beware, it’s addicting. I’m on the website at least 3 times a week.
Overall, our trip was incredible. We never in a million years thought we would go to Thailand. It was on our bucket list, but one of those things that we didn’t think we would ever get to do. I mean who ever thinks that one day they will get to spend 2 weeks in Asia? We decided to take life into our own hands and just do it. Like Nike would want. We met so many new people. Made great new friends, and made a ton of new memories. We highly recommend that each and every one of you travel. Maybe you can’t travel a lot. Maybe you can’t cross oceans. But please, just go somewhere. There is a whole world out there that is a hell of a lot different than where you are right now. You will learn things. Experience things, and sometimes be uncomfortable. Yeah, travel can often times be expensive, and you might be overwhelmed with the thought of planning a trip. And you might miss your flight and end up stuck at the airport for an extra day. But, it is so worth it. Invest in your life, and invest in your experiences.