20 – 24th June 2016
I arrive in Thailand after a long bus journey from Cambodia (around 13 hours, including the border controls) and desperately looking forward to my next shower. It’s my first time using Couch Surfing and staying with a woman. I don’t know why I’m nervous about it. I guess I’m nervous I might start flirting with someone who is just trying to be nice to me and prove myself to be a jerk. Maybe I’m nervous that she’ll start flirting with me and I’ll feel obliged to respond. Maybe it’s just the nerves before a new experience. Who knows but I’ll give it a go. What’s the worst that can happen?
My mind quickly moves on as the bus pulls up and I haven’t a clue where I am. Thankfully, there’s another traveller who has been here before. We hop on a tuk tuk together and get to the nearest train station. From here, she helps me figure everything out and gets me on the right direction to where I need to be.
With only a train station to meet the person who’s putting me up at, I hope there’s Wifi. Otherwise, I’m lost. I chuckle to myself. Me and my first world problems. When I arrive, there is indeed Wifi. I chat away to the lady who runs the coffee shop and she giggles as I try to learn a little bit of Thai from her. The lady who’s hosting me messages me to say she’ll be about an hour. That’s fine. Time quickly flies and I manage to pick up hello and thank you. The two most important words, that with a few smiles, head shakes and gestures can be translated to mean anything you need them to mean.
Rachel, the host, arrives and informs me that another couch surfer is staying with her also. We meet him outside the station and then grab some street food for dinner.
We’re all getting on well and it’s off to a good start. Rachel informs us that she normally only hosts one person. We’ll have to decide who will sleep on the floor and who will share the big bed. She’s kind and genuine so there’s no real worries. I think to myself this is what it must be like for women who turn up to a man’s house and then he says “you’re welcome to stay on the couch but my bed’s big enough for two”. With that guilt that they’re helping you out and then suggesting the unreasonable I feel sorry for all the women that have to put up with such jerks. I promise myself I will never do anything like that if I ever host people myself.
Then, I have a shower, take the bed on the floor and easily fall into sleep. The morning is brilliant. Myself and Valery, the other couch surfer, have access to Rachel’s pool. We’ve hit it lucky and we’re making the most of it.
Brilliant way to wake up!
Valery stays behind to do some work from his laptop and I hit the touristy things. On Rachel’s recommendation I head to check out the Golden Buddha.
Supposedly, this Buddha was once covered in plaster. Only when someone accidentally chipped it did they discover that the entire thing was made of gold. Making it the most intrinsically valuable historical piece in the world.
Then through China Town and then get a very fancy fish curry lunch and whisky by a riverside restaurant (all for £6 or so) before catching a boat.
I’ve been on more boats in the last month than I had previously been on in my life. I love that.
This takes me straight to the Palace. Which although shut because I spent hours enjoying the luxurious lunch is still impressive and I have a walk around it. The security guard starts a hotspot on his phone kindly so I can use his Wifi and arrange to meet up with someone I was chatting to online again through Couchsurfing.
Shortly after we meet up and go on to see the reclining Buddha. Even Buddha’s find it tiring sitting straight all day long!
We hit the local American bar, where Rachel used to work, again. It’s an awesome place, with really friendly people and an open mic night occasionally. Just as the place is about to shut I get talking to a girl who is about to leave. We’re getting on well and I tell her I wish we started talking an hour ago. She suggests we should go into town and can continue talking there.
The next think I know it’s morning, I look out the window and don’t recognise the surroundings. Looks like we had an enjoyable night in town and then conked out back her hostel. I tiptoe out and we grab some breakfast before parting ways. She was an incredibly interesting person to converse with and I wish her well.
Back at Rachel’s it’s time to lounge around a bit more. Me and Rachel are getting on really well and a few hours easily pass away together in the flat.
This afternoon I met some more of Rachel’s friends who are equally lovely. In the evening I check out the rooftop with one of them. Which although surrounding by a number of taller buildings still serves as a nice spot to chill out.
Over the next couple of days, Rachel kindly takes me to some local eateries.
Getting stuck in! Before I have to leave Thailand there’s time for the one thing I just have to experience. Thai massage!
We head back to the flat and have an enjoyable evening.
As I check my tickets, it turns out that I’ve booked them through Rachel’s company. Small world! In the morning we head into her work to get the tickets and I prepare to leave and, for a number of reasons, I’m again leaving another country with a grin from ear to ear. A little bit exhausted and looking forward to a snooze on the train but nevertheless in good spirits.