By: Kimberly Lawrence
Being a passionate traveler, I always loved visiting new places and discovering new countries. Of course, some holiday destinations are like a timeless classic: who can get tired of a romantic weekend in Paris or summer holidays in Greece? However, once your wanderlust tells you it’s time for something new, as an avid traveler, you’ll feel like you just have to go.
Last year I decided to go on a travel with some friends, but we initially had no idea where we wanted to go. Then, my wanderlust kicked in, so I told them it’s time we went some place we never went before. We started browsing the internet, and I felt intrigued by the images of a big golden Buddha statue. Not even knowing where it was, I felt like I wanted to go there. I wasn’t motivated by religious reasons, I just knew one thing – when I feel the call of my wanderlust, it won’t be a mistake to listen and go where it tells me to go. And it isn’t until later that day that I discovered where – to Thailand.
None of the people in my life ever went to Thailand, so I did not know what to expect, but the minute we landed on the island of Koh Samui, I knew it was going to be a unique tropical experience I read about in one of those brochures they give you. I was so glad we moved our summer holidays for the winter, since we arrived there in January, just after the rain season, and the surroundings looked so fresh and beautiful.
In the beginning, it was a typical summer vacation. As this place is full of beautiful white sand beaches, we decided to visit some of the biggest and most famous ones. Our young spirit led us first to the biggest one, Chaweng, also known as a party resort. For 24 hours, all we did was going from bar to bar, having a great time, and I assure you, this place organizes the best night, as well as day parties.
When we could not stand on our feet anymore, we decided to pay a visit to Lamai beach, where the atmosphere is completely different. We laid around all day, relaxing, reading books or flipping magazine pages, and ate in some of the best restaurants this place has to offer. We managed to taste local food in most of them, and not once were we disappointed. I also liked that the sand was quite firm here, so I could go jogging, as I was used to doing at home.
One afternoon we went to famous Walking Street near Bophut beach, where we found everything, and I mean – everything: carved soaps, handmade wooden ornaments, and electrical goods that we picked out as souvenirs to take home, but also different food and drinks. It was truly a unique experience to shop at such market, because the stalls were actually cute little Chinese shop-houses we have never seen before. Here we met a lot of people from Western countries and it turned out most of them were expats who decided to leave their old lives behind and came to live in Thailand. After this trip, I completely understand their decision. The mild climate, breath taking nature and kind hearted local people would be enough to make everyone think about moving to Thailand.
What about the scenery? Not in my wildest dreams could I think of such beauty. We walked through some pretty dense forests, and it was a good decision to wear comfortable shoes, and not my new pair of Mary Janes. We were sweating, at one point I think one of us started swearing and regretting that we decided to go in this field trip, but as we finally reached Namuang waterfalls we forgot about the pain we were in. We stood there in silence and listened to the sound of water falling from the hill on to the swimming hole. We took our clothes off and jumped right in. Relaxed, we enjoyed the scenery, the smell of fresh air, and counted the number of all different animals we saw running around. I don’t remember the last time I felt so close to nature.
I am glad that we also had the chance to see some monuments I read about in a brochure, so we sat in one of those cute rikshaws and went for a tour. First we saw 25-year-old mummy, just like the ones I saw in Egypt few years before that, except this one was of a monk. We also rode through, what I would call a temple district, as there were so many in one place, but the most famous one was a golden statue known as Big Buddha – yes, that was the statue that made me think of this trip in the first place. So, I was finally standing there, at the place that awakened my curiosity and was, in a way, responsible for this experience. Of course I couldn’t leave the island without visiting. I discovered that this place was a favorite destination of many tourists, but despite so many people being there, despite all those cute souvenir shops and food stands, there was something peaceful and serene about it. We ended our visit by buying a tile on which we wrote a message and left it in the temple – which is a common practice here. I’d tell you what I wished for in that message, but I’m afraid it wouldn’t come true in that case. However, I think it’s not hard to guess what my wish was after having such an amazing experience in Thailand…
The next day was our last day, so I packed the bags with tears in my eyes and swore that one day I will come back and become one of those foreigners we met on the beach (now I think you get the hint on what I wished for). I am sure I would be the happiest person alive.