Thursday, 30 August 2012

Does paradise really exist?

Before I went on holiday I was a bit worried I’ll admit – I was panicking about turning 30 on my birthday and I was nervous that my trip wasn’t going to live up to all it was being described to be. People had told me how amazing the two weeks would be, how beautiful the location, and I kept wanting them to stop. What if they’d beefed up the whole experience and the scenery? What if I didn’t have the greatest time and the whole thing turned out to be a bit of a let-down as a result?

Now I’m back and my holiday is slowly becoming a distant memory, my tan is fading and my clothes feel tighter I’m dreaming of another place.

My head is filled with images of perfectly clear blue skies, soft powdery white sand so bright it hurts your eyes, calm waters lapping the shore, completely transparent sun-warmed seas and a peaceful quiet occasionally interrupted by the sound of waves or tropical birds tweeting.

My head is filled with Thailand.

Still nearly two weeks after landing back in the UK, I can’t quite believe what a great place it was - the kindness of the people, the customs, all the things we experienced and overall the beauty before you.

At times when we were lying in the sun on the islands, I found myself stopping reading my Kindle and just looking up and trying to take in the view before me. I started to annoy my boyfriend as at regular intervals I would let out a contented sigh – I just was so relaxed and happy. I also tend to listen to music when I’m abroad and relaxing by the pool and on the beach. Not here. I just didn’t want to miss any of the peace and quiet.

I’ve always thought where I live is a relatively quiet area and although there is a road nearby it has never disturbed me, nor have I ever really noticed it. Since getting back from Thailand (particularly ending on the tiny remote idyll that is Salad Beach on Koh Phangan), I feel surrounded by noise – sirens, buses pulling up, cars sounding their horns.

Don’t get me wrong, there were of course other people in the locations we visited and it wasn’t silent the entire time, yet there seemed to be such a relaxed atmosphere around you that it wasn’t unpleasant or disturbing.

I’d been a little concerned before leaving as I’d read that Thailand has been spoilt and it’s overrun with tourists now. I can totally understand if you’d travelled here before and then returned after it became such a popular location for backpackers and holidaymakers it must seem so spoilt and built up. Yet to a first timer like me, I just cannot even comprehend how amazing it must have been before, if it’s this stunning and tranquil in the present day.

Years ago I’d thought about visiting Thailand, but I’ll be honest I was unsure. I – wrongly – assumed it was going to be a bit of an unsafe place to be and I was hesitant even just before we went concerned I might get there and feel constantly uncomfortable.

I couldn’t have been more wrong – no matter where we were – on a serene perfect beach, walking down unknown dirty streets, on a trip to visit sights, buying items to remember our stay, trying to cross the buzzing Bangkok traffic – I felt safe and moreso I felt extremely welcome.

We saw such a magical mixture of sights in just two weeks, I took an epic 1200 photos in my attempts to try and capture it all! Although photos alone simply can’t showcase the colours, sounds and smells we experienced.

Where else can you go and encounter all this? Temples, tuk tuks, elephant trekking, holding a baby monkey with its arm looped round your neck, lying under an elephant’s gigantic foot with its trunk on your back, being twisted to unbelievable proportions in a traditional massage. Walking barefoot around historical buildings, quietly contemplating as you stand in temples in front of a huge Buddha and ornate decorations, sampling all the spices and new flavours of the cuisine, quenching your thirst with an ice cold local beer, shopping from a wooden boat on a floating market, getting handmade coconut leaf jewellery on the back of an elephant, being bowed down to and seeing smiles everywhere you go, encountering stunning sunsets and all sorts of new creatures. I can’t even list it all here and already I want to jump on a plane back right now remembering.

And this is why I have the post-holiday blues. Big time. I’m also concerned unless we keep going back to Thailand, are other holidays ever going to compare?

I’ve been to Egypt, South Africa, America, Greek islands, Australia, Turkey, the Caribbean, to name a few destinations. Thailand and its people have beaten them all and completely won me over.

No comments:

Post a Comment