In December I went to Thailand with my mum. It was the Intrepid Family trip and it was my first ever time travelling outside of Australia.
I had travelled around Australia before but not overseas. I was so excited to have an adventure in Thailand (and because I love eating noodles), but I couldn’t imagine what it would be like or how I would survive such a long plane trip. Australia is so far away from other countries. But I did it and it was amazing. Here are some things I will never forget.
The first thing I noticed getting off the plane was the air. It was so humid and smelled kind of salty! But after a few days I got used to it. The traffic in Bangkok was really busy and very crazy. Crossing the road seemed dangerous at first, but we worked out how to do it, even when there were motorbikes and taxis that would not stop for us. You just have to find a gap and walk steadily, or follow a local person.
We did a boat trip on the canals. It was quite mesmerising because we saw the local Thai people’s houses going by and it was different than where we live in Melbourne. After a while we found ourselves in a lock where they had to raise the water levels, then we went to see the reclining Buddha – it is quite a sight!
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We took the local bus to Kanchanaburi. Me and my new friends on the trip bonded very quickly so we all sat in the back of the bus together. It was so hot back there! But we wanted to sit next to each other and have fun. But I wouldn’t recommend sitting back there. It is so hot.
When we got there, me and my friends jumped in the HUGE pool. I’m pretty sure this was the best hotel because of the pool (and the ice cream).
3. Erawan Falls
Going to the waterfalls was one reason I wanted to go on this trip. And swimming in the second level is amazing. Warning: Fish alert! They will try to bite your feet and it really tickles. But swim anyway because you can splash around there all day. Don’t worry if you aren’t a strong swimmer as they have life jackets.
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We went to Ayuthaya and had a day room at the hotel to use after our tour, which was really great as we could also use the pool. Pools are very important for kids on trips! After a refreshing swim we set off to go on our first overnight train. This train was a very new train. I was so excited, especially the thought of travelling with my friends. It’s a bit like school camp!
5. Chiang Mai
We went up to the temple when we arrived. Warning: there are lots of stairs! But the view is worth it. We went to the night market that night. I was looking everywhere in the market for a traditional hill tribe doll. We went to so many places to try to find one. It was the one souvenir I wanted, but I couldn’t find one anywhere. In our free time we also did a cooking class and went zip lining with the gibbons. Wow! Just before we left for the train mum said she wanted to go to another shop just in case they had dolls. We were about to give up, but right when we were going to leave mum said “look!” and there was a whole shelf of beautiful handmade dolls in traditional costumes. Right across the road from our hotel! I bought two 🙂 .
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6. Elephant Nature Park
These enormous creatures are very big and very beautiful. We met lots of elephants and their buddies and got to feed some bananas to them. It’s not scary feeding them, you just put it in their trunks. They have other rescued animals there too, like cats, dogs, buffalo and horses. Save room for the big vegetarian buffet lunch there. I’m vegetarian so it was the best!
7. Homestay Village
Our homestay hosts didn’t speak any English so we used Google translator. It was fun, even though it didn’t always make sense. We had new foods we hadn’t tried before for dinner and breakfast, like purple-coloured rice, some vegetables I didn’t know, and a kind of tofu and mushroom dish. In the evening we learned a hill tribe dance and all joined in. The next day we went on a jungle walk where I ate LOTS of sticky rice and sweet potato wrapped in banana leaves for a snack. YUM.
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8. Overnight train
We came back from zip lining and were ready to go on the overnight train again. This train was an older one but we got on a bit earlier so we had time to play with our friends before we had to go to sleep. We played Uno and Go Fish until we had to go to bed, as the train was arriving into Bangkok very early the next day.
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9. Hua Hin
We arrived in Bangkok at 6.30am and had a long drive to Hua Hin. The weather wasn’t good at all when we were here, but I still swam in the pool (even though the waves from the sea were crashing over the edge!). There was a really good market near the hotel called Cicada Market. I went shopping and bought some earrings and a present for my grandma (a wooden elephant) and had a really good dinner. Pad Thai, of course. And ice cream.
10. Bangkok (again)
On the way back to Bangkok, I was so sad the trip was ending. I made so many good friends! Our goodbyes went on forever. But the next day one of my friends came with me to a cool play centre. It was a kid’s city where we got money and could spend it and drive mini cars and also earn money by doing different professions. It was awesome. And a great way to end my holiday in Thailand.
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A few tips about packing for Thailand
Don’t pack too much. It’s so much easier to carry just a little suitcase and a backpack with you. My mum and I actually had a competition to see whose suitcase was lighter when we checked in at the airport. Of course I won; mine was about 8.6 kg, and that was for a two week trip. Here are some essentials to pack:
- You only need a few t-shirts. You can wash them as you go, which is than wearing them all, running out and needing to wash them all at once. We just took some soap and a washing line. Also buying a new t-shirt from where you travel is a good souvenir!
- If you are travelling to Thailand, it is good to buy some of the local “elephant” pants. You will see them everywhere and they are not expensive. They are really good for temples because you can put them over your shorts. Plus they are very comfortable and pretty.
- I like to to take two toothbrushes, because you can have one in your backpack on the plane and one in your suitcase for when you get to your destination.
- Also bring long sleeved t-shirts because if you are going north where it is cooler you might be cold without one. Sometimes the trains get quite cold as well. Not everywhere in Thailand is hot all the time.
- Me and my mum brought our reusable cups, lunchboxes, utensils, water bottles and straws. They were useful for street food and takeaway drinks, as there is SO much plastic waste in Thailand and it’s horrible. It’s good to try to help the planet when you travel too.
- An eye mask and maybe even ear plugs are really useful for the overnight trains because there is noise and they don’t turn off the lights. It will help you sleep better and then you will have more energy to explore when you arrive.
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I really want to do another Intrepid family trip because they are fun, and a good way to see a new country. You are not alone, you always have someone to explore with, and a local leader to guide you through your journey who knows all about the country. Next I want to visit London, China, Russia, Japan… I want to go EVERYWHERE!
Ammy and her mum Tara travelled on Intrepid’s 12-day Thailand Family Holiday adventure. Check out our full range of family adventures here.
You’ve seen more of Thailand than I have! Good for you 🙂 Happy travels and hope you’ll have many more adventures coming up with your mum!
THe food there looks awesome, I would be curious to try. I have never visited elephans sancturay, I hear so much about some of them being not respectful for animals.