Wednesday, June 13, 2018

#Ceetheworld : Thailand

There is no path to Happiness,
                             Happiness is the path - Gautama Buddha

I had this trip planned in January and as technology and their cookies will have it, everything from then on that popped up on my phone or email was Thai related so imagine the excitement build up and if I was to put it in one word, "WOW". Mama I made it to Thailand!!!!!! I have a serious case of "organizia" so I had our days and activities all planned out before we headed there. I don't travel to sit in a 5 star hotel and gaze at the views from my suite, order room service and take bomb photos at the hotel pool and lobby. Best believe I'm here for bomb photos but I'm also here for the culture experience, the price haggling, the Taxi drivers never having change/ switching up the price. If only they knew my background!

Thailand has a lot of beautiful islands. It definitely was a tough choice but I chose to go to the capital, Bangkok and get a good look at the temples and floating markets and I chose Phuket as my second destination because yes all the pictures of the boats and the ever so blue water got to me and the distance from Phuket to Ko Phi Phi Le is only about an hour. Other great options for cities will be Chang Mai (I hear it's even cheaper ). I'll bet the experience is the same.

My room overlooked Lumpini Park, Bangkok's version of Central park.

In Bangkok, I stayed at the Sofitel So hotel. Their customer service is top notch, decor is phenomenal, views are great and the breakfast buffet just wrapped up 2018. Make sure you get the breakfast option it's pointless without it really. If you want a more local experience, Khao san road is where a lot of backpackers and tourists stay, so you get to meet many more people. There's hotels as well as hostels that are pretty good too on that street as I've heard.

PS: Some of the pictures were taken in amazing dim lighting that doesn't work well for pictures LOL.

Lumpini Park, Bangkok
It's a pretty long flight from Los Angeles so when I arrived 18 hours later, I rested up during the day and my intention was to check out Zense lounge, turns out it was closed but it was located in a shopping center that had live music and a lot of bars around. Ended up being a pretty good night. The next day is where the exploring truly began. Mind you in May Thailand is pretty hot and humid! 

Hotel employees! 

I love shopping and I love it even more if I can shop cheap and get good keepsakes. So I went to a weekend market (Only opened Saturday and Sunday), Chatuchak, afterwards I had to see the the reclining Buddha so I went to the Wat Pho temple. The temples do not allow clothing above the knee or exposed sleeves and they're pretty strict about it. They have cover ups that you can rent to wrap yourself up. You also have to take off your shoes before walking into the temple. It seemed a bit weird to disturb the people praying but uhm I had to see Buddha.
Then on, I went to the MBK center which is a mall with any and everything in it and discovered a photo studio that does traditional Thai outfits shoots. I wasn't rocking with their prices but if you are interested in this, shoot me an email and I'll definitely give you the details. I will be a fun thing to do. I hit up Chinatown for some good street food and at night went to the highest rooftop bar in the city at Baiyoke's rooftop bar.

It's all gold and yes I was thinking exactly what you are right now.

Phenomenal architecture

The next day I went to the famous floating market. There's a few of them outside of town but I went to Amphawa which is a good hour away from the city. Lucky enough there wasn't much of a crowd as it had rained earlier but typically you want to get here by 8 am to avoid the hassle and bustle. In all honesty I was not here to shop but for the experience. Whoever thought shopping in a boat will be a great idea is a genius! I'm not going to lie the water is dirty but I mean it is a market and you can find good keepsakes and souvenirs for cheap. Funny story, we get to one seller and are heavily bringing the price down so in attempt to keep bargaining I speak to Kabsy in french, gossiping how we are about to go lower and the vendor starts speaking french too. I damn near died of laughter! So lesson to note: they are used to having a lot of french tourists in the city and islands so ALL vendors have picked up french.  It's actually fascinating! After the market we went to old town for some local street food and if you're ever in Bangkok look for Jay Fai at 327 Mahachai road (he's closed Sundays) and on that same street there's a pretty bomb restaurant too. You literally cannot miss it, the line is always super long to sit down so I got mine "to go". Best padthai of my life! Check out my IG sotries under 'Global citizen' to see how swift they made the food. On vacay you don't sleep before midnight, so I checked out Vertigo and Moon bar to close off the night. They have thee best rooftop view in my opinion.

The Padthai here ruined Padthai for me in the US..PhD level!
I normally don't do Zoos as an activity anywhere but this Safari Park is pretty legit! You could spend all day here if you wanted to watch all the shows but I was working on time crunch so I did the Safari tour yes I sat in a car and drove through a field with wild animals and I thought it was a great experience, but one time was enough, very soon one day the animals vex but I digress. I've never been on Kenyan safari, I bet that one's better but this was pretty good too.  After that I got a Thai massage and for only $8.00. Yeah you read right and it was way way worth it. These women are literally on top of you releasing all the stress in your muscles. It was then that I confirmed american masseuse are yet to learn their craft. Sorry! . I'm so sad I only got one throughout my trip :(.

Yes they make you change into "Green and brown are the new black" type outfits.
Thee best rooftop by far in Bangkok is Vertigo Moon bar. The best views of the city from the highest chic and very dressy environment. The next morning I took a few hours to indulge in Sofitel's pool! Inifity pool with a great view of the city? Say no more!

Before we dive into my next destination, a few Pro Tips;

  • You will find cabs everywhere, just make sure they always put on the meter. While taxis are super cheap, nobody should be playing you. They always try to bargain with you instead of using the meter. CASH ONLY.
  • Bangkok has a lot of rooftop bars, take advantage, it's such a pretty view from on top.
  • Traffic is pretty heavy due to the two lane roads so if you have a long distance to cover start out early. Airport is easily 40 minutes from the center on a good day. 
  • You are a foreigner, you look like a foreigner so anything you decide to buy will be 10 times the original price boutique or not never pay said price. Start from the bottom and work your way up. No do not convert it to dollars and think you're getting a good deal just start from the bottom. If they say 300 baht start from 75 baht ya dig! 
Melanin is not exactly common in Asia so yes you will be lowkey famous and have people stop you for pictures, babies running to you all excited and people forever staring. Hollywood on the DL and I ain't mad!

She asked for a picture at the temple! 
After 4 days in Bangkok I was off to Phuket (pronounced Puket)! :)

Pro tip 2: The 'h' in Thai names is silent.

In Phuket, I stayed at the Avista Hideaway in Patong and after dropping off my things with no time to waste I went to the tiger kingdom to hold and feed tigers (eh Seigneur!) Life is truly an adventure. When I tell you that I walked into a cage with 3 big sized tigers, my heart dropped. I had every bible scripture running through my head because if one of those tigers got mad, issa funeral! We thank God I conquered and prevailed. After this amazing experience we went to trick eye museum. Pretty rad place to spend your time and the pictures if taken right definitely look real. It's a great concept and was lot's of fun! On the way to trick eye you drive through this part of old town that reminds me of Bo-Kaap, South Africa. It was mainly boutiques and a few restaurants in this area.

It was here that I decided it was over.
This took all lots and lots of balls!

When you start to get comfortable

Seriously how real does this look!

 At night I went to Phuket's version of 6th street ( Any Austin natives???) called Patong Road to vibe the night away. Highly recommended this street!  Couldn't stay out too long because I had an early morning the next day. Vacation on a schedule!

Pro tip #3: In Phuket, stay in Patong (a city). That's where everything happens!

Transportation in Phuket is not as swift as Bangkok. There are cars with taxi stickers on them and not overly common. Most hotels offer complimentary shuttles to town and the taxis hang around Patong road so you can easily catch one back home. I suggest setting up your rides with the taxi guy you find, they're pretty loyal in picking you up and don't forget to haggle the price!

Pro tip #3: The locals are very fluent in English or understand it very well.

I love me some Pad thai and chicken Satay so I jumped on the opportunity to learn how to make it and then eat it with Phuket cooking academy. Will I ever try to make it back home? questions that need answers. It was a 4 hour cooking class where we went to the market with the chef and then made 5 dishes from appetizers to desert that we got to eat in the end (DUH! how will I cook and not eat?). The dishes are very easy to make you just need all 5001 spices seriously! Half of which I doubt I can find in the US. Do we have Thai grocery stores ? let me know if you know of one! After my high level of Carb intake, I went to trek with the elephants in kokchang! It was a beautiful ride on these glorious and insanely huge creatures. I also got to play with a 3 year old baby elephant Milo such a jovial animal. There's a lot of talk as to how some places medicate the animals to be able to do these things so I can't speak to if this place is different or not. I don't rock with animals at all so, if you're an animal advocate, there's other elephant interactions at various locations you can partake in but I'm not, so I was up there trekking. Forgive me! A local who owns elephants usually goes to Tri Tang beach and for a very small fee you can play with them in the water, however, his presence at the beach is not always guaranteed. It's a hit or miss situation.

I take food seriously

Thai chef certified :)

Baby Milo. 3yrs old

At 4:45 am my behind was up and ready to go to Phi Phi (pronounced Pi Pi) Island. Phi Phi is an hour boat ride from Phuket  so I wanted to be in and out early to make the most of my day. My brows never match but how I got them to look fairly decent at 4am is above me! I used a speed boat tour agency to make my trip a lot faster and also have a guide who will easily navigate to all other surrounding Islands. Alternatively, you can rent a private speed boat or pay for public ones and once in Phi Phi pay the long tail boats to take you to the other Islands. The scenery is simply amazing! it is everything it looks like in the pictures and then some. Phi Phi is what they say it is and then some and them some again! I can't even put it into words..and if I somehow manage too it will never be enough so I'll speak through pictures.

The tour was altogether about 5 hours. We got to go to Monkey bay which is a rocky mountain in the middle of the ocean with a gazillion monkeys who can swim. Idk why I'm suprised that monkeys swim I just never pictured them liking water. The monkeys are wild monkeys so it's advised to not go close. From a safe distance, we fed them bananas and it was hilariously to see them dive into the water to get them. We also visited Khai Island and Maya Bay. There's people who go straight to Phi Phi but I'd say definitely stay in Phuket and visit Phi Phi for a day.

My flight was later the next day so in the morning I set up a photo shoot because, what's a trip without phenomenal photos? I got to shoot with Mario! He's a pro and super huge. Standing next to him I kept thinking please don't step on my feet, I really want to keep my toes hahahah. He was such a sweet guy though blowing air through his trunk into my face which was his idea of kissing and I kept saying "Yeah let's try not to do that". He did not listennnn! Kisses apart, we make a good team. I'm still waiting on the originals which will be shared on my Instagram page (@femmeetnoir) but till then here's some equally bomb behind the scene shots.

After my shoot I went back to the hotel and headed out to the airport. The entire time I was waiting to board I could only think of how much there is out there that I am yet to see. God is truly amazing! I crossed two things off  my list. Two birds, one stone :).  In all these cultures, in all our differences, when you look closer you'll realize therein lies a lot of similarities. Spread Love people!

This was Thai done my way!! If you have any questions whatsoever about the places I visited or photographers I used do not hesitate to send me an email or drop it in the comments.
Khob Kun Ka 💓


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4 comments on "#Ceetheworld : Thailand"
  1. What are we supposed to be thinking when we saw the gold plated thingy?.....very sure I didn't think it������

    1. Lmaoooooo! The amount of money that went into it or that we could possibly make ;) LOL

  2. Now go check things of the 50 before 50 list! And looks like u had a great BTS photographer ehhhhhh ;)


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