Thailand awakening

12/06 – Day 1 – Travel: My travels began bright and early with a 9:45am flight to Bangkok, Thailand! 10 hours and 20 minutes later I arrive at Suwannabhumi Airport and am quickly whisked away to the H5 Luxury Hotel (it was hardly luxury though with showers and air conditioners that hardly worked and a buffet that consisted of toast and fruit!).

13/06 – Day 2 – Theday began with a tour of the Ancient City aka Mueang Boran, which is a unique outdoor park museum that features replicas of the country’s most significant historical architecture and monuments from various parts of the country. At night we were privileged to have a private meeting and dinner at the Novotel, Bangkok with the Australian Ambassador to Thailand Mr James Wise. Who discussed with us the importance of building stronger Australian -Thai relations. As an international studies student I found this meeting to be very interesting and insightful.

14/06 – Day 3 – We then headed to Pattaya where we stayed at the Vista Hotel Unfortunately, Pattaya’s lived up to its reputation as a seedy tourist area. Due to the coup and monsoon season the streets and beaches were relatively empty.

15/06 – Day 4 – It was on this day that the real work began, as we had a full day seminar with Neil Mavichak, the head of digital strategy at GroupM. The seminar was divided into two parts Media Culture in Thailand and Engagement.

16/06 – Day 5 – Relax day, spent the day walking the streets and got the my very first mani/pedi whilst a tropical storm came out of nowhere.

17/06 – Day 6 – We had a Thai Cooking Class at ‘Happy Home Thai Cooking School’ – sooo much food! Then we watched a Muay Thai match at Sityodtong Boxing Camp before we had a go ourselves. When we got back all hot and sweaty we decided to go swimming/to the pool bar, ended up being in the middle of a tropical rain storm which just made it all the more fun. Great Day!

18/06 – Day 7 – Went to ‘Art in Paradise’ Illusion/3D art museum in Pattaya and had way too much fun (still children at heart). Then we went to ‘Central Festival’ mall and shopped, ate and then watched Edge of Tomorrow at ‘The Porch’ cinema.

19/06 – Day 8 – Did some work on our projects and then went for a swim at this awesome hotel nearby called Siam @ Siam Design Hotel (if you go to Pattaya definitely splash out on this place). Level 24/25 roof pool + bar. We then went back to the cinema and watched Maleficent, this time in First Class. t’was a nice relaxing day.

20/06 – Day 9 – Left Pattaya (finally) and stopped off at Bang Saen and Burapha University. Stayed at the Tide Resort (lovely), had some fun in the pool and explored the market and milk bar scene with the Thai students we met at Burapha (also lovely).

21/06 – Day 10 – Goodbye to Bang Saen, short but sweet as the visit was. On to Kanchanaburi! Went via the Sampran Riverside where we had a lovely lunch, watched a rather disturbing elephant show (which I couldn’t watch) and an interesting cultural workshop. Checked into the Mida Resort and had a late night swim to cool down.

22/06 – Day 11 – Explored Kanchanaburi City and visited the War Museum and learnt about the Death Railway. We also visited the bridge over the river Kwai and walked through some markets and had lunch nearby.

23/06 – Day 12 – ELEPHANT SANCTUARY! Went to Elephant’s World which is an amazing elephant sanctuary in Kanchanaburi. It is a place that houses elephants who are old, ill or injured after they have been rescued from hard working lives. It is run by volunteers and it only costs AUS $400 to go there for a month and work – all food (brilliant food) and accommodation included! We got to feed the elephants and even go swimming with them. Best experience ever. There were also numerous cats and dogs to play with as well 🙂 Definitely recommend that you definitely make this a priority if you are planning to go to Thailand! And if you are planning to do some volunteering definitely consider this place as well, they do great work and really need the help.

24/06 – Day 13 – Went to the floating market, the Royal Thai Handicrafts Center and a pagoda called Phra Phathom Chedi on our way to where we stayed near to Bangkok City.

25/06 – Day 14 – We attended a conference at the Grand Hyatt in Bangkok entitled “Enabling Prosperity: Moving Beyond the Middle-Income-Trap. It was actually really interesting and we also got to have a little bit of a shop in a huge mall and we went to an Australian Alumni Gala Dinner which was amazing!

26/06 – Day 15 – Visit to Rangsit University for (apparently) surprise live TV! and a ‘class’ in the sound booth (AKA karaoke).

27/06 – Day 16 – On to the next university! Dhurakij Pundit University this time. Had great fun in a culture class with some of the students and then played a little bit of badminton and had a short campus tour before being whisked away back to our hotel at promptly 4:30pm.

28/6 – Day 17 – Rest day! Went shopping at ‘The Mall’, no jokes. That’s what it’s called.

29/6 – Day 18 – Travel to Ayuttaya (the old capital of Thailand before Bangkok) which was destroyed by the Burmese army and visiting the ancient ruin sites and then settling in at the VERY new Ayutthaya Resort (so new that we were the first guests and it wasn’t finished yet!). In the evening we went on a dinner/karaoke river cruise and got caught in a tropical pour down on the way back.

30/6 – Day 19 – Went for a bike ride from the resort over to a little temple next door and then relaxed for the day until we went to the airport and left for Phuket in the evening.

1/7 – Day 20 – Exploring Phuket and Patong. We were supposed to go to Phi Phi Island but when we got to the place where the boats go from it started pouring with rain and so we decided to go another day.

2/7 – Day 21 – Phi Phi Islands time! A speed boat took us out and around the Islands – visited the beautiful beach and then stopped off and had a swim from the boat … then crashed into a wooden long boat which almost took our heads off … then continued on to “Monkey Beach” and then snorkelling! Half way back to the Island we were having lunch on the boat broke down and we had to be rescued by another one. Made to the Island and had lunch and went for a walk/swim then headed back to the ‘mainland’ and had dinner at a seafood restaurant before heading back to the hotel 🙂

3/7 – Day 22 – Visited a lookout and a cashew factory and then back to the airport and back to Bangkok.

4/7 – Day 23 – Went to Bangkok University for the MOU signing ceremony between BU and UC. Then went to Wat Saladang Local Community.

5/7 – Day 24 – Went to The Mall for dinner…

6/7 – Day 25 – UC Alumni Lunch and Chatuchak Market/JJ Mall.

7/7 – Day 26 – Slightly broke the rules by going in to Bangkok city … went to MBK and then went on a tuk tuk to see the ancient palace, some other buildings around there and found a lovely park (with added squirrels and military training) to have a walk in. Then headed to Asiatique for dinner and more shopping.

8/7 – Day 27 – Last massage, bit of shopping and facial for the trip!

9/7 – Day 28 – Home time!

10/7 – Day 29 – Back to Sydney at ridiculous o’clock in the morning and then on the bus back to Canberra.

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