Friday, January 3, 2014

Christmas in Thailand: Phuket, Phi Phi and Bangkok

The Christmas break from my school is the longest amount of time we get off for the entire year.  So with that in mind, my good friends from Ireland and I booked a trip to Thailand for a week.  And let me tell you that it was a great decision.  What an amazing place.

We flew into Phuket and because of our arrival time we ended up spending two nights and one day there.  The day we were in Phuket was actually Christmas as well.  The area that we stayed in is called Patong Beach.  It is considered one of the nicest beaches on the island.  We ate our first official Thai meal for lunch and it confirmed the concept that there's no replacement for eating food when it's made by the people who created it.  We spent the day wondering around, relaxing at the beach and preparing for the reputation of the nightlife in Patong.

That night, before heading out to Bangla Street where the bars are located, we decided to go to a Muay Thai fight.  It was one of the most expensive things we did while in Thailand, but for about $50 we got to see 9 fights and have a truly memorable experience.  And we got the week's catch phrase. "Tonight, tonight, tonight..." (Inside joke for Cathal and Debra haha)

The following morning we woke up and took a ferry to the Phi Phi Islands.  We stayed there for three days and three nights and it was easily the highlight of our trip.  If you're ever in Thailand, make a point to go to these small islands for as long as you can.  

As I mentioned, Phi Phi was the highlight of the trip, and the highlight of Phi Phi was taking a sail boat around to the different islands that make up Phi Phi.  The tour was about 6 hours long and we had a chance to go snorkeling, kayaking, cliff jumping, visit a cave with 800 year old drawings, and see the sunset out over the water.  It was easily one of the best days I've ever experienced.  


Finally we made our way to Bangkok for the last two days of our trip.  Honestly, I think the three of us were pretty wiped out by the time we got to Bangkok, but it was great to walk around the city and take in all the sites even though we didn't enjoy the Bangkok nightlife.  I left Bangkok thinking they really love two things there: Buddha and gold.  

It's a trip I will never forget.  We saw so many amazing things and got to relax a lot which was much needed.  Cathal and Debra leave to go back to Ireland at the end of February so it was also good to spend some quality time with them.  I'd love to visit Thailand again someday, but for now I want to focus on seeing more countries in Asia first.  It's going to be hard to top my first trip outside of Korea.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year from Korea

As I'm sure many of you have said to yourselves, I can't believe it's 2014.  I've had a few years in my life that really stand out when I look back on them.  One in particular is 2008.  But I think the year 2013 will be the one that brought about the most change, adventure and the best experiences.

One year ago today, I was sitting in my mother's house in Texas watching college football games and wondering what I was going to do with my life.  See, at the time, I thought I had wasted my chance to come to Korea and I wasn't sure if the opportunity would present itself again.  But as they always do, things worked out the way they're supposed to and one year later here I am.  In a future post, I'll explain why my mistake that led to my delay in coming to Korea turned out to be a huge blessing.  Funny how often things works out that way, isn't it?

I love everything Korea has brought me.  The food is wonderful, the culture is great and the history is simply amazing.  I've been able to see parts of the world that I never imagined.  But it's the people that have made the biggest impact on my life.  I've been lucky enough to make friends with people from around the world, Oregon, Chicago, Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and countless more from here in Korea.  And one thing I really never expected, I met an incredible girl here in Korea, and she actually thinks I'm kinda ok too.

So while I missed being home with my friends and family during the holidays, I can be happy knowing that my life here has been great.  I'm really looking forward to seeing what 2014 will do for me and everyone else in my life.  I wish you all the best and hope that the next year is better than you could have imagined.