The moment I touched down in Thailand I was embraced by a blanket of heat and confusion as I clumsily navigated my way through the airport, Bangkok’s underground and finally through to the bus station where I found myself the victim of scam number one, not even twelve hours after touching down. Sometimes, when you’re hot, bothered, dehydrated and tired your brain doesn’t quite kick in until after you’ve handed over your money. Note to self; don’t trust the random lady in the bus terminal who offers to help you!
When I finally got to Korat after 12 stressful and sickly hours, things began to look up. I met up with an ex-roommate who was teaching there and I hadn’t seen in two years. Honestly, I didn’t realise how much I missed the familiarity of a friendly face, or how much I needed it after weeks of couchsurfing. It was refreshing, and in a place that’s largely untouched by tourists it was great to have a Thai-speaking tour guide around with me! All anxiety about ordering food, eating street food and navigating my way around vegetarian options was eased for the first week I was there.
The four days I spent in Korat were nothing short of amazing and she really helped to show me what travel could be when I didn’t have to worry so much about budget as I had been doing in Europe. The first day I met a lovely woman and her son, who was being taught English by my friend, and learning Thai in return. After learning my name she proceeded to call me ‘Laulen’ for the time we spent together which I found absolutely adorable. I have always found language fascinating and the a sense of ‘r’ in Thai language got my gears going on more than one occasion. The four of us went to Chiaphum to visit TatTon and PhahuLanak national parks, both extremely quiet and largely untouched by tourists as they are fairly far out. The sunset on the ridge of PhahuLanak is definitely something I recommend seeing!
Since I didn’t have to worry about ordering food I got to experience some amazing vegan cafes with local dishes such as som tam and mushroom noodle salad (now amongst some of my favourite foods). Though I will admit, I didn’t eat Pad Thai the entire time I was there! Oops! A little way out of the main city was a water front restaurant which brought your food on a speedboat right to your own private hut! The novelty of which may be one of my most memorable meals in the country!
My entire experience in Korat couldn’t be more perfect. And to top it all off my friend took me on my very first kayaking trip on an open lake at sunset. Definitely the highlight of my time there! Even between night markets, late night bike rides and my first tuk tuk experience. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to Thailand!