Canadian Travel Photographer Cody James embarks on a last minute journey to Thailand with his partner in crime Alynn! Full Moon parties, scuba diving, elephant rides, monkey attacks, and much more in this first of a two part post!
Disclaimer: I haven’t had the chance to edit my 5,000+ photos from Thailand, so anything in the next two blogs are either from my wicked little Go Pro or my phone.
Three and a half weeks in a foreign country with the greatest travel partner a man could ask for! There were so many ups (and depending on how you view it) a few downs *I will address those later, but overall it was the greatest trip of my life, one that I will never forget and one that I cannot wait to share!
Our journey was set to begin in Ko Pha Ngan, after 20+ hours of flying we had the pleasure of landing in Bangkok and ended up at the bus terminal somewhere between 1-2:30am. The only people around the outside of the bus depot were a few locals, and our first encounter with cat sized rats!
The bus trip down wasn’t so bad, we stopped and got our first taste of authentic Thai food and some fresh fruit which was great and caught up on some much needed rest while taking in some beautiful scenery!
(View from our ferry ride to the island)
Finally we arrived to our first destination Ko Pha Ngan!! My wonderful girlfriend had read that it was better to book hotels when you got there, this was not the case! In high season especially with a December 28th Full Moon Party looming and New Years party a few days later, the place was absolutely packed. We had met a friend on the ferry ride to Ko Pha Ngan she had a friend kindly set us up with a hostel that turned out to be one very small room with 15-20 bunk beds, it wasn’t cheap nor ideal so we set out in hopes of finding something better, to make a long story short we got a wicked deal on a little bungalow about ten minutes from the beach, our own private sanctuary from all the madness! The bungalow had an amazing view of the ocean with some beautiful palm trees that looked incredible and to boot the sun would set directly in front of us!
The first few nights in Ko Pha Ngan we’re wild, there was always a huge party occurring on the beach, on Alynns Birthday we decided to go scuba diving for the first time ever! We had an amazing instructor who provided us everything we needed, gave us excellent advice, and took us out to a dive rock that had some incredible fish! We were hoping to see a whale shark but unfortunately they’re difficult to find, we did get to see a giant jelly fish though that had fish swimming right inside of it, quite a sight to be seen. I also experienced my first sea sickness (no fun) and got stung by something to boot! That night there was a full moon party, thousands upon thousands of people come to the beach to have a great time and celebrate the full moon!
(Full Moon Party in Ko Pha Ngan)
(Rocking the start of what was the best beard I’ve ever had! Getting dressed/designed for the Full Moon Party)
(Some of the many food vendors surrounding the beach)
One of the last nights in Ko Pha Ngan we went to a kick boxing arena where we had ringside seats to take in the action. It was a great show, tons of solid fights, and we were even allowed to go in the ring to get a picture of Alynn and I squaring off!
(Muay Thai fight!)
New Years came around and we were able to celebrate it back in Bangkok with which had to be 50,000+ people, we spent a few days in Bangkok touring around the city, taking in temples, visiting the floating market, as well as a tiger temple where we go to touch and take pictures with 15-20 tigers, hang out with a younger tiger, and ride/feed elephants!
(Our best Grump Cat impressions)
(Playing with a young tiger in the tiger temple)
Our next destination was Chang Rai in northern Thailand. Our first night we were able to visit my favorite temple of the trip (white temple) it was some of the best architecture I’ve ever seen. Our Tuk Tuk driver literally abandoned us though, leaving us to fend for ourselves, unfortunately it wasn’t the most heavily toured areas and we were stranded for a solid hour until this wonderful owner of a shop nearby introduced us to individuals who ran the temple, they just happened to be heading back in to town and were kind enough to bring us back! The next day in Chiang Rai we rented a car (right hand drive!), toured around hitting up one of the most beautiful outdoor gardens I’ve ever been to, we saw so many beautiful landscapes, and we’re attacked by monkeys! *The part where I said there was a few downs! I thought it was wild and crazy, but Alynn wasn’t to keen on the whole experience.
That was about the midway point of our trip, tons of pictures had been taken at this point, stay tuned for more in my next post!