18 August 2015

5 Things I Didn't Do in Thailand

Thailand is one of those countries that has so much to offer any type of traveller, as this south-east Asian country has really opened up as a backpacker destination. Although, having said that, I had been avoiding Thailand for years as I was sick of people heading over and not really engaging in Thai culture, but instead I was hearing stories of drunken rampages, sunburn and neon paint. But I did finally go over last Christmas, and I did have an awesome time, therefore contradicting many of my past beliefs about this country. However, I do feel that I managed to avoid five of the things that a lot of travellers head over to Thailand to do, so here is my list on the stuff I missed out on, some happily and some not so much...

1. Full moon party

It doesn’t really need an introduction, but the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan is potentially one of the main reasons why young travellers want to visit Thailand. I used to be snobby about this, and say how it was one of those travelling experiences that wasn't cultural and not 'proper' travelling, but who am I kidding, if my dates would have worked out then I wouldn’t have passed at the chance to get drunk on a beach with my friends! But I wasn’t willing to plan my whole trip around one neon filled drunken night. I feel like the Koh Phangan Full Moon Party is one of those rights of passage that you have to do whilst you’re young, going in the same category as the likes of interrailing, doing a ski season, working in an American summer camp etc etc. But I missed the party and headed to Koh Phangan between moons, and what a sad sight it was…

2. Tiger temple

I’ll be really snobby about this as I’m really against the tiger temples. No matter what some travellers say, or what the signs out front of certain tiger temples say, these establishments are cruel and against what I believe in when it comes to animal rights. A lot of the tigers are sedated, and treated very badly in these temples, hence why I refuse to go there and spend money encouraging the system.

3. Ride an elephant

Animal rights rant not fully over… I also don’t believe in a lot of these elephant camps and the series of riding elephants. This could be seen as really hypocritical of me as I’ve ridden camels, and I would do again, but for some reason, riding elephants didn't seem quite right. Plus, I visited a supposedly 'Elephant Conservation Camp' when I was in Chiang Mai, and it still seemed a bit cruel with the amount of circus tricks and the sort that these elephants has to do. Now my rant is over. 

4. Ping pong show

Man alive I really wanted to go to one of these. Another reason why I’m pretty hypocritical, as my friend stated how I’m against tiger and elephant camps but I’m happy to see ping pong shows where the ‘performers’ have no rights and are doing this type of work as they have no option. I really don’t know the full background, and I’ve been told on a number of occasions that ping pong and lady boy shows don’t have ethical work rights. But I still want to see that dove fly…

5. Get a tattoo

I’m not against tattoos, but getting one whilst in Thailand wasn’t something I would tick off a list. I met some girls who got drunk and got matching tattoos on their feet at 4am from a back alley... so basically I didn’t let my hair down and get a dodgy tattoo whilst drunk?

Did you tick off any of the above, and if so, what did I miss out on? If someone wants to fly me back to take me to a full moon party and see a few ping pongs flying about, then I’ll be more than happy. But I’ll wait in the tuk-tuk whilst you see the tigers and elephants with your back alley tribal tattoo…

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