South-East-Asia Part 2: More Thailand

I know, it's been a while, and this is by-far many months over-due.

Nonetheless, here's a post on Days 5 & 6 of the trip to South-East-Asia I took earlier this year.

Monkey Hill

Perhaps it's a blessing, perhaps it's not. The lack of regulation in South-East Asia means some of the most odd and curious attractions are free, readily accessible, and excessively unregulated.

A piece of advice: buy peanuts (de-shelled), not bananas, and get them before you rock up at Monkey Hill. Along the way there are most definitely people who will try and sell you peanuts and bananas, but at a much higher price that it needs to be (not surprising at all, really!)

And, would not recommend walking up the hill. Call a taxi, car, tuk-tuk, whatever -- walking up the hill in 35 degree Celsius weather is not pleasant.

Thankfully, we caught an GrabCar up the hill, but sadly did not think about the preemptive peanuts.

Needless to say, South-East Asia is infamous for its monkey population. In particular, the most common, and arguably the most annoying (synonyms: cheeky) are the Macaques.

I never thought I'd like an animal portrait as much as I like this particular picture

There were moments when I felt cornered by the encroaching monkeys, who seemed fearless of their seemingly more evolutionarily-advanced counterparts. Well, isn't that a kick in the ego?

Only kidding. Definitely worth a visit. Just make sure you hold onto your valuables, and give them peanuts when they want them!

Impromptu & Spontaneity 

Some of the best things that happened on the trip were often due to decisions made on the fly. 

At one point we were walking around for a place to eat lunch, and really just walking around aimlessly, seeing what would come our way. On our way down we stumbled into some local markets that we never would have discovered had we not wandered aimlessly, and it turned out to be a fantastic place to walk into (more on this later in this post)

Perhaps you can call us adventurous, or brave, or just silly, but we consistently tried street food from vendors simply because we could (of course, provided that it was safe, hygienically cooked, and looked like it wouldn't kill us if we consumed it). "What is that?" "I don't know, but it's only 8 Baht..." "I see... Wanna try it? I'll split one with you." "Yeah OK". Most often this was not a decision we'd come to regret. In fact, more often than not we would enjoy it so much that we'd go back and purchase a second one! 

The majority of the time the street vendors were old, Thai-speaking women, and we really had to rely on non-verbal communication to get by. More on this later.

That feeling when you discover one of the most tastiest little morsels of food at a street vendor on the side of the road that you had the guts to approach and try, is completely indescribable. And, well, as long as you're careful, you probably won't get gastritis!

Language II (body language, trial & error)

Time and time again our non-verbal communication skills were tested.

For lunch on Day 5 we found a very nice-smelling and delicious-looking corner Noodle store. The noodles were pulled straight and fresh, cooked in a mouth-watering broth right in front of our eyes. And it was cheap... 

With the overzealous amount of bravery that can only be found in tourists in a foreign land, we walk up and ask "Do you speak English?" Yeah, nah. After exchanging quick looks of uncertainty, one of us exclaims "I'm so hungry... Screw it, let's just eat here. We'll point."

So, with vigorous pointing, head movements, and hand gestures, we manage to order ourselves lunch. (A small side note; remember to ask price before you order -- we realised this halfway through and realised it left us highly vulnerable, but thankfully the stall was filled with decent people!)

And, more on those street vendors and street food; if you love surprises, then I highly recommend the popular tourist-activity of lets-just-buy-this-street-food-and-hope-its-good-because-they-can't-seem-to-tell-us-what-is-in-it-but-it-sure-as-hell-looks-super-damn-tasty. Hit or miss, whatever. It's an experience. Just take a deep breath and do it.

Local Markets

Exploring with your own feet can sometimes be priceless. We hadn't intended on stumbling across this set of local markets, but with some exploration we managed to come across them.

Surprisingly different experience to the 'Markets' that we explored earlier on our trip -- unlike those ones, these local markets are not targeted at wealthy tourists that are gullible and have thousands of Baht sticking out of their pockets (only kidding!).

Everything was in Thai, and far more often than not we had absolutely no idea what that little food truck was selling, or what this mysterious bag of food from a street food vendor contained. All we knew was that it was cheap, smelled good, and looked delicious.

It was an entirely different experience, though, and I would surely recommend anyone who's looking for a bigger sight of culture to venture into these areas. 

Another perk was that all the prices are written and labelled (mostly), especially for the fruit. Another pro is that you can usually tell what a fruit is, without needing the ability to read Thai...

There were such a huge array! Personally, I love fruit, and this was like being in a candy-store. All these exotic fruits -- some which I had never seen -- and many that are local to Asia. Honestly, one of the best things is trying out the local food, and I would surely recommend being a bit adventurous and trying new fruits (though, sometimes figuring out how to eat them can be a struggle -- more on this later, in the next Thailand post).

Unexpected Turns...?!

In the evening of one of our days we decided to head to karaoke. Why? Not sure. Online recommendations told us it was great fun, so we tried to find 'Bale karaoke', which seemed to pop up on the map. A GrabCar ride later, we find ourselves in a dark alley...

Literally a dark, completely empty alley in the back-streets of Thailand. This was the place where people lost their kidneys. Hold onto your kidneys. Sitting in the backseat of this 7-seater car, scared shitless, we logically decide that it probably isn't a good idea to venture out here at 9pm at night.

So, instead, we inquire about suggestions and try and find another karaoke place elsewhere near a shopping center. Sadly, no karaoke place is found, but instead of giving up and heading home we decide to be spontaneous and try a Thai massage!

And my-oh-my, must I say, Asian massages sure as heck are intense and vigorous. I'm only nineteen, but I swear my joints and skeleton buckled and popped at least fifty times throughout the hour-long session. But! I felt so genuinely invigorated afterwards that I must say, it was surely worth it. I felt at least ten years younger, and filled-to-the-brim with flexibility and energy. Perhaps one of the most memorable experiences throughout the whole trip, and we didn't even intend on doing it at first!

Nonetheless, this was Momento #1 on the trip where I thought we were going to die.

Poor Planning

At this point, we also hit a point of poor planning. We hadn't planned ahead enough time for Days 6 & 7, and realised at this point that it would be very difficult for us to get back on time. Essentially, long story short, a mis-match in timing and poor planning.

Ultimately, we solved the problem by forking out money to pay for a private taxi. Perhaps not our first choice, but it worked, and I guess it was the first taste of 'almost disaster' that is bound to happen when you decide to free-lance and travel a foreign country on your own.

Irrelevant photo but Thailand has a crazy amount of disorganised electrical cables.


There was something quite relaxing about being on a sailboat tour. Something about the soft whir of the engine as the boat chugged along at a few knots per hour, with the sunset on the horizon. The sea breeze spraying on your face as you try and take in the view.

To this day I still remember that moment; it was perhaps one of the most beautiful sunsets I had seen in a long time, and I remember writing in my journal paragraph upon paragraph, describing the view. I think one of the most memorable moments on a trip can often strike you unexpected, and this was once such.

Photocreds: friend, RF

Things learnt

Things can go wrong, and will go wrong. There will always be something that doesn't go according to plan, and you need to keep your wits about you to solve it. However, in saying so, some of the best things to happen or little surprises that speckle your trip are often unintentional, spontaneous, or accidental occurrences, and so when they come along, have an eye for them.

Don't forget to eat your fruit.

And monkeys can be vicious.

Part 3 coming soon.


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Hello! I'm a student from Australia. I like photography, am aspiring to be a Doctor, have fallen in love with many things that life has to offer, and hope to see more of it. I've been blogging for a while and over the years what it means to me has changed. Currently still trying to figure that out, but here I am in a weird hybridisation of photography, film, blogging, and the confusion of a young adult, you'll find me here writing about my experiences and life. Or whatever tickles my fancy. Whether that's entertaining or not is yours to decide. Stay hydrated, kids.