After completing a year’s placement with Fold/Radius Housing I decided that I deserved a break before starting what was going to be the toughest educational year of my life so far, with deadlines coming at me left right and centre and no time to have a break in between.
For the past few years I had talked about and fantasised over travelling the beautiful country of Thailand but never had the money to allow me to do this. I worked hard for a full year and saved as much of my money as I possibly could and in January 2017 my best friend and I booked our flights to Bangkok.
Here are my top tips for travelling Thailand:
- Do NOT pre-book anything!
When we left Dublin on our flight to Bangkok the only thing we had planned was our very first night. At first I was a bit apprehensive about this as normally when I travel/go on holiday everything is prearranged. However, not planning our route or which island we were going to next turned out to be the best decision we made. We met amazing people in each destination and made our ‘next island’ decisions with each other, as we travelled to more islands and met more people we ended up travelling in a huge group, maybe about 25 of us, as you can imagine this was mighty craic and I can honestly say I’ve made friends for life!
- Bring an emergency cash fund!
Everyone will tell you about how ridiculously cheap Thailand is, this is true but very deceiving! Some nights I was staying in Hostels for £3 a night, and more importantly I was drinking buckets for £2.50! (For anyone who doesn’t know, in Thailand they don’t drink from glasses but rather buckets, a quarter bottle of vodka and your mixer for £2.50. What more could a student ask for?) As well as the drink being cheap the food was also cheap! (Maybe this was because I lived on spring rolls and 7Eleven toasties since I was too afraid to eat anything for the fear of getting sick) However… The amount of travelling you do in Thailand, from flights to boats to buses and everything in between (TukTuks… you can’t go to Thailand and not ride in a Tuk Tuk) all of this money adds up and soon enough you know you’re left with zero money and contacting the bank of Mum and Dad.
- Be Careful and Be Safe
There are so many different aspects of Thailand that can be dangerous.
The Ping Pong Shows: before I go on to talk about ping pong shows I’d like to make it clear that I did not attend any of these shows- Before leaving to go to Thailand I was told that in some shows you pay the equivalent to £10 at the door and that includes all your drink for the rest of the night, which sounds like a pretty good deal, however when you go to leave; the doors are locked and you are forced to pay a sum of money before they let you out.
Boat Parties and one day island trips: mixing drinks with the ocean is never a good idea but in Thailand it’s all fun and games and no one really gives a s**t. Look out for yourself and your friends and always make sure you can be accounted for, there is no such thing as a life jacket in Thailand! Also on the ‘one day island trips’ you will most likely visit ‘Monkey beach’ – Do Not believe the myth ‘Monkeys can’t swim, stay in the water they won’t be able to bite you in the water’ This is not true! Monkeys may look cute and you might think they are lovely little animals- also Not True! They are vicious, nasty and dirty and they WILL bite you! Not one but two people on my boat got bitten and had to go to hospital (not before finishing to booze cruise of course)
- Finally, enjoy every single second!
I travelled around Thailand for 3 weeks, this was not even nearly enough time. I never stayed for longer for 3 nights at one destination and this is the only thing I would change about the holiday – Make it longer, make it last forever. Everything you see in Thailand is beautiful, take time to appreciate the views and the amazing things that you don’t get to do at home. From 1000m Ziplines, playing in mud baths with Elephants, playing beer pong on the beach, sleeping in some very questionable places, scuba diving with turtles, seeing the most beautiful temples and much much more I had the most amazing three weeks of my life with some of the most incredible people and I cannot wait to go back!
Jenny Martin is a final year BSc student in Communication, Advertising and Marketing at Ulster University, Jordanstown. You can follow her on Twitter @Jennymartin95 or on Facebook: /jenny.martin.12979431