At our annual Line Christmas party, I tell my sands my plans to travel the world. My sands Ari tells me she plans to visit Thailand in March with another one of our sorors, I jokingly said “not without me.” In a playful manner but was very serious as Thailand was definitely top 10 of my bucket list travels and plus that was my birthday month. Few weeks passed, she sent me the deets, we booked the trip, made the itinerary and come March we were off. They were flying from LA and I was flying from Detroit so we were on completely different flights. My flight had a pretty hefty layover in Beijing, China which I originally was just going to spend at the airport reading and relaxing but upon research I found out that one can conquer The Great Wall of China in a mere 5 hours or so. I decided to take on the challenge.
PRO-TIP: If you are ever in a city for a layover more than 5 hours, book a layover tour to make your trip a 2 for 1.
The tour company picked me up right from the airport where I met two other women, a hairdresser from Miami and a retired teacher from Vietnam who swiftly became my travel crew for the day. It was a rainy day in Beijing so we took the cable car up and walked the rest of the stretch of the Great Wall. The sight of the Great Wall was aesthetic, remarkable. I also distinctly remember something else that was remarkable though. The blatant, right in your face stares the locals gifted me when we stopped at a souvenir shop on our return back. I understand that it wasn’t meant to be disrespectful at all, some people in China genuinely have never seen black people before, but it did however make me uncomfortable and I quickly decided I ain’t need no souvenirs. Farewell to that!
Next stop was Thailand! Met up with the travel squad around 1am and we were off to our amazing condo. We slept, got up the next morning and started our adventure. We went elephant trekking and ATV’d to Big Buddha which is considering hallowed grounds in Phuket. Elephant trekking was amazing until I witnessed how harshly the operators treat these precious animals. Yelling and hitting them with bamboo sticks was so horrid to watch. With that said, I would suggest if visiting Phuket to visit an elephant sanctuary where these creatures are valued and well taken care of. Elephants are so majestic and symbolize so much greatness, it hurt my heart to see them treated so harshly. The highlight of this day though was indulging in authentic thai food at the end of our long day. Unmatched!
PRO-TIP: Everything in Thailand is so cheap as far as food and shopping. Go on a Spree!
The next day we had another amazing tour to Phi Phi Islands. Phuket is an island itself, but I would recommend anyone that visits Phuket to not miss out on visiting the other islands near by. The white sand, blue waters and rock structures are so picturesque it almost seems unreal. We spent the day island hopping, snorkeling, playing with monkeys and enjoying the scenery.
Our last day we spent shopping on Bangla Road, going to Patong Beach and enjoying Thailand’s fun but very interesting nightlife where we got lured into attending a sex show and I was able to analyze Thailand’s cultural obsession with “whitening” agents. We then went home to pack as Arielle & Dana’s plane left at 5am in the morning and mines left at 11. Thailand was an overall very exciting and cheap destination. Highly recommended!
- Major credit cards are accepted in many places in Thailand. But get local currency (baht) for things like transportation, bars and local markets.
- US plugs will work in Thailand.
- Phuket transportation is accessible and cheap (most preferred is taxi) but walking is also extremely doable. Try to avoid Tuk Tuks especially at night as they will extort you for all you got.
- Phuket is hot and tropical all year round.
- Visit an elephant or tiger sanctuary.
- Phuket gets very busy during peak season January- March, try to avoid the island during this time if you hate crowds.
- Plan a day trip to another nearby island such as Maya Bay or Phi Phi Islands.