Solo Travel in the Kingdom of Thailand (1 of 4)

IMG_5206It was weird at first, traveling alone. Half a world away from all the thins I knew and loved. Being outside of my comfort zone. In a foreign country I’d never been before, all while being female and black.

But that feeling didn’t last long, thankfully.

The truth is, I wasn’t really alone. I met some really interesting people during my travels throughout Thailand, some of which were female solo travelers themselves! And while sure I dined alone, had drinks alone and went back to my hotel room alone … I actually enjoyed my solitude. It was freeing. It was as if I had taken the training wheels off on life. Daring. Liberating. Mind opening. Sure I’ve done other daring things in my life. But this one was different.

While taking a solo trip has always been on my bucket list, my trip to Thailand wasn’t originally a solo trip. I was suppose to go with a friend of mine to celebrate our birthdays. She had to cancel so … what else does a girl do when she’s already booked a flight to Thailand. Uh yeah, go anyway.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Daemon Saduak Floating Market

So I spent 10 full days in Thailand  and two days in Tokyo. I went to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket and ended my trip in Tokyo. I planned the entire trip myself which was fun as well. Being solo I was able to do and see exactly what I wanted, when I wanted, in the order that I wanted. If I changed my mind on what I wanted to do for dinner or when I wanted to go to dinner, I just did! And I didn’t have to consult anyone. It was pretty awesome. Is that sad?

For my first day in Bangkok I booked a public tour to visit the Daemon Saduak Floating Market. This was one of those truly unique Thai experiences. Picture a flea market with a river at its center where one can travel by boat and purchase fruits, meats (squid, shrimp, octopus and otherwise), and other random things like elephant souvenirs all while in a boat on the water. The smell wasn’t that great (a bit fishy in parts) and there was a lot of haggling going on (bring your A-game), but overall a very new and very Thai cultural experience. I also visited the Royal Grand Palace and all of its grandeur this day. I couldn’t help but notice the grandiosity and majesty of the Palace compound as it sat adjacent to much more humble dwellings. Shanty towns may be the more appropriate description.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Boat ride at the Daemon Saduak Floating Market.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Daemon Saduak Floating Market view from the bridge.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Tourists at the Daemon Saduak Floating Market.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A temple within the Grand Palace compound.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The stateliness of every inch was impressive.

 

 

My second day in Bangkok was all about Thai history. I visited Bang Pa-In Royal Palace (พระราชวังบางปะอิน), also known as the Summer Palace, in the Ayutthaya province. This is a palace complex formerly used by the Thai kings. The palace dates back to the seventeenth century. Today it’s mainly used for state occasions rather than as a royal summer residence. Ayutthaya is about an hour north of Bangkok and it is old capital of Thailand during the Kingdom of Siam from 1350 until its collapse in 1767 when the Burmese invaded Ayutthaya.

I visited Wat Maha That, also known as the Monastery of the Great Relic, and also located in Ayutthaya. This place is (was) a Buddhist temple believe to have been built in the 14th century. It’s massive and the photos of its ruins  hardly captures the magnitude of it beauty or largeness. There is one iconic image at this sight that I would encourage everyone to see. It’s the image of the Buddha head entwined within the roots at the base of a tree. It’s perhaps one of the most recognizable images from Thailand. Wat Maha That was reduced to ruins when the Burmese invaded Thailand and destroyed the temple in 1767. It is said that after the temple collapsed and lay abandoned for years the roots of the tree simply grew around the Buddha head. The sight of it is quite mystifying.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Wat Maha That, also known as the Monastery of the Great Relic.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Ruins of Buddha at Wat Maha That.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Buddha head entwined in the tree roots.

 

This is the first in a series on my solo trip to Thailand.  Subscribe and stay tuned for more details on my trip excursions,  how I planned my trip, where I stayed, tips for traveling to and within Thailand and things you should know but may not get from an ordinary travel guide. For more photos, check out my gallery page. Thank you for reading!

– xo

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *