Sweden, Thailand, Vietnam · 25 Days · 9 Moments · June 2017

Around Southeast Asia in 80 days

29 June 2017

PAI Pai is a laidback hippie village where backpackers on scooters run the streets. Pop songs are mixed into a reggaebeat and the smell of ganja is predominant. We booked a hostel little outside the city in a relaxing environment, Suandoi. It looked like a resort and was therefore a popular hostel for many backpackers. We planned to buy motorcycles in Vietnam to drive North to South, so this was the perfect time to get some practice! I figured it would be easy, but at the first intersection I almost ended up in someone else's house. Practice makes perfect, and the driving-on-the-left that almost got me killed in Bangkok became a piece of cake. We created our own gang of 7 scooters, ironically called Rain Riders because we rented the scooters on the only sunny day. As we drove off in the sunlight and had an amazing time with a wonderful view, we came back in the moonlight with liters of rain falling down on us. I kind of didn't feel like buying a motorcycle anymore, for now.

13 June 2017

LADYBOYS Another highlight in Chiang Mai was the ladyboyshow in the Chiang Mai cabaret which was just an amateuristically build - but very convincing - theater. The "girls" would pull us in aggressively but once inside the atmosphere was on point. We were put on a table in the back of the theater but I was so enthusiastic they put us in the front row during the show. The show is absolutely phenomenal, but I want to spare you the details so you will be either scared or curious, or both. To finish the show some people got pulled up on stage. Of course I had to be one of them. We would go backstage - and get our private parts grabbed so many times - get dressed into the ugliest ladyboy clothing, and get back on stage to show our sexiest poses. I figured I could be an amazing ladyboy, had to refuse the job offer though. I'm just a piece of meat for ladyboys.

11 June 2017

CHIANG MAI - ELEPHANT SANCTUARY VISIT So far Chiang Mai has been a curse and a blessing. You feel like you could stay here for a month and have something new to do everyday (if you can afford it). One of these was the elephant sanctuary visit which was definitely the highlight. We arrived early in the morning at the elephant camp to meet up with the elephants for half a day. We would put on some traditional clothing and meet up with the elephants to feed them, touch them and take pictures. You could feel that the elephants didn't care about the human presence as much as we cared. Definitely if you get kicked by one (Ouch!). They were just like "meh, gimme food". After feeding time you got to bathe them, which was even better because they love water so much and got so crazy! I can highly recommend this experience - in Thailand or elsewhere - because it's so special and unique. Don't think these elephants are not tamed though. They undergo a special training to listen to commands.

8 June 2017

HOW TO BECOME ROBIN HOOD 101 I left Bangkok really early on the 4th of June to catch a plane to Chiang Mai and meet up with Mieke, my travel companion. Chiang Mai being totally different from the chaos in Bangkok is a little exaggerated. It's just smaller but there are still a lot of tourists, tuk-tuk's and people trying to rip you off. In my head this place was just crowded with monks and smiling Thai people. But NOT. Hippies (or wippies) run the street with their big ass elephant pants. Which ofcourse - peer pressured - I also bought for and equivalent of 3 euros, which is basically noting. Anything is cheap here, not just in Chiang Mai but anywhere. Meals for 1, mojitos for 2 and hostels for 3 euro. You just have to be careful that when you pay you don't lose something, like me. During one of my many purchases I must have dropped one of my wallets carrying an equivalent of 400 euros in other currencies and I didn't notice. Shitty, but life goes on and I prefer to be happy!

6 June 2017

GOLDEN MOUNT (BANGKOK) During my period in Bangkok there was one Wat that made my life stop for a minute, the Golden Mount. The perfect opportunity for meditation and exploring - if you can get used to the constant sound of ringing bells that is. At this place I felt Buddha coming inside of me (#nohomo). There was this wind on top of the Wat (yes, you can climb up and the view is great) that caused all the bells to ring and put my mind on hold. Accompanied by sunshine and wind I started my meditation to find what I truly am. (awesome, duh!) As my thoughts got deeper the bells started ringing louder through the intensity of the wind. Just at the climax of this moment I opened my eyes slowly to get back into reality. And believe it or not, the bells stopped ringing!! Of course I couldn't believe what I had just witnessed and gave it another shot, with the exact same result. Astonishing! PS: at this place there are lots of big bells and even a fucking gong to sound #kidincandystore
EXPLORING BANGKOK - DAY 2 I guess waking up bleeding like a pig that has just been slaughtered will be a common thing here in Southeast Asia, since all these fucking mosquitos want my blood and no one else's, or at least that's what it feels like. Second day in Bangkok, second day of exploring by foot. I wanted to see as much Wat's (temples) with free admission as possible. Usually these places are more relaxing. I wouldn't say they are less interesting because sometimes they offer you a little extra, such as the inauguration of a new monk, or the discovery of your own soul - help I'm becoming a hippie, kill me now. I went to see the royal palace from outside, rode on a motor taxi which was fortunately more comfortable than I had thought before, ate padthai and other dishes from local street vendors (yey!) and even tried scorpion. What you get is a crunchy scorpion, you don't even like but just eat because it's a once in a lifetime experience, just like the blue whale challenge.

5 June 2017

EXPLORING BANGKOK - DAY 1 All I needed after my exhausting and mostly wet (not rainy wet, no girls wet, just sweat wet) route to the Hostel was a moment to relax. I got to know some American people who would figurally fire a million tips and tricks at me. PS: I mentioned figurally on purpose there, hehe. After a few hours I was off to Bangkok. Thinking it would be a small city and I could walk all the way, which made all the tuk-tuk drivers cry. Or laugh, because never in my life was I so wrong. Bangkok is fucking huge, it's like Paris but totally not Paris. Paris doesn't smell like shit, Paris doesn't look like shit, and in Paris people don't smile at you when you smile at them because French hate people and people hate French. Oh by the way, Bangkok doesn't look like shit at all. Or at least some places. I went to check out Wat Pho for a day and didn't regret it at all. There were more Buddha statues than tourists, I would say a factor 100 to 1, perfect.

4 June 2017

FLIGHT STOCKHOLM TO BANGKOK The flight per se wasn't so bad. Good food, normal legspace (which is still too little for me), good entertainment offer. If only this entertainment offer was eligible for me. Thanks to apple and their genius "fuck aux" policy I couldn't watch any series or movies with my newly purchased iPhone 7 and its headphones. Yey. 10. Fucking. Hours. Once arrived at the Suvarnabhumi airport, the stress started to show up as I didn't apply for a visa and neither did I match the criteria to enter the country. When I passed the passport control successfully - with my heart going into overdrive, best comparable to the beat of a hard style song - I could have cried. In fact I think I dropped half a tear! I was officially and legally in Asia with my long cargo pants and sweater. People in Sweden stared at me for just wearing this and now these Thai people are doing exactly the same! And with good reason, because I was soaked in sweat after arriving at the hostel.
DEPARTURE FROM SWEDEN An early leave from Lodge32 in Stockholm made me quietly say goodbye to the first people whom I had met on this trip just the day before, two of them participated in the Stockholm marathon, the others were (rather pretty) exchange students from France and Italy. My flight was only at 14:50 and the transportation between the city and the airport is truly amazing. Heck why did I wake up so early? As I walk into the Stockholm Central Station I remember. The smell of Egg McMuffin and McToast calls me like it needs me, and of course I couldn't say no. Great breakfast which gave me enough energy and power to board my Boeijing 787 Dreamliner to my new home for the summer, Southeast Asia. Unlucky for me the seat next to me was taken, luckily though it was taken by a kid who couldn't even reach the floor with his feet (fucking midget). Perfect opportunity for me to get some extra leg space under the seat in front of his, thanks kiddo!