Travels East

Bangkok, Thailand – 06:35. I’m still operating on Swedish time, however, so it really feels like 01:35. I obviously haven’t slept a wink on the plane, with a ten-hour flight in the middle seat, and by the time I’m through customs and at my AirBnB, I am drenched in sweat and literally falling asleep standing up. None of these conditions help my first impression of Bangkok, Thailand. My first time in Asia, and all I can think about is when I can take a shower and a long nap…

Luckily, I was able to take that shower and nap rather quickly, because my opinions of this place immediately changed. My first sense of exhaustion caused me to feel a bit overwhelmed, which was understandable. Coming from a three and a half week pre-Thailand adventure in Holland, Finland, and Sweden, Bangkok left me quite shell-shocked.

Point A

Point A

First of all, there was no longer a need for a hat or jacket. On the contrary – it was like I had been transported to the middle of the Amazon Rainforest. Fortunately, I attended college in Florida, so I’ve since quickly adjusted to the humidity that is Thailand weather. Second, I was in a major city, and it was obvious that this city was quite different than Stockholm, my previous destination.

Bangkok is loud and hot and chaotic. Motorbikes weave through traffic, while tuk tuks cut off taxis and cars zoom past buses. It is dirtier, there are a lot of new smells, and always a great deal of commotion. But it is also a city rich in culture and history. In Bangkok, I witnessed temples that are some of the prettiest man-made sights I have ever laid eyes on, and some of the most unique architecture I have ever seen.

Point B!

Point B!

I left Bangkok content and with my eyes opened, and arrived in Phuket. It’s provided quite a balance, since now I’ve been able to see some of the prettiest natural sights I’ve ever laid eyes on. The Phi Phi Islands are surrounded by water so clear and blue it seems Photoshopped.


The massive Big Buddha looks over Phuket protectively, and Wat Chalong boasts more extravagant and breathtaking temples. I have only been in Thailand for nine days, and it is safe to say that this country has already stolen my heart.


While traveling, sometimes the differences are what initially stand out the most. You notice the different people, a different language, different smells and sights. But as you become engrained in a culture of people, you begin to also recognize the similarities. Parents who sit together eating dinner, while their children run off and play. Families helping each other with chores. People getting up each day to work and make a living. The characters are different, but the themes often remain the same.

It’s in this that I find the most comfort. Humanity, regardless of the country with different cultures and customs, often remains as one. My pre-teaching adventures have only excited me more about my journey to come, and I look forward to a more in-depth exploration of this incredible Thai culture.

Emily is teaching abroad with API in Thailand.

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