This was the first big trip I’ve taken since moving back to America. It was hard for me. A lot of mixed emotions were happening. This, now two years back in America, has been like getting slapped in the face multiple times but hugged after. What I’m trying to say is, it has been two years of Sour Patch Kids commercials in rea life. Let’s recap: moved to Chicago, fired for the first time ever from a job I genuinely loved, but got another job I genuinely love, moved three times within the Chicago-area by myself (I still don’t get why people didn’t help me move my boxes), got to the strongest I’ve ever been, stupid dating stuff, beautiful niece, and other stuff I’m sure I’m forgetting. But you see the trend: sour then sweet.
Anyway, we are talking about Thailand here. I just wanted to remind you of all the things that were fresh in my mind as I set out on this trip. My first stop, Seoul, South Korea, filled me with all the feels. I didn’t even have to get to Korea before I felt it. Getting on the Asiana flight and seeing the excellent service, was when it really clicked; I’m going to be in Korea again. Yes, only for 15 hours, but it was enough. Before embarking into the city, I was able to get a spa-fix right in the airport at the Sky Spa. It’s doesn’t have all the fixings of a traditional jimjilbang, but it will do the job after at 12-hour flight and it’s cheap.
I spent way too much shopping, but the second I landed, it was like I never left. I felt like I was on a break from teaching and ran to the store to pick something up the entire time. Being surrounded by the teenagers of Hongdae didn’t help either.
You know how you say a place has everything you want and need in one place, well that’s Hongdae, but they have even more. A maze of shops from brand names to street vendors, yeap; all the food: fast and cheap, delicious and meh, five course and street delicacies, of course; street performances ranging from dance covers of the latest k-pop jams to the most organized civil protests you’ve ever seen, check; excellent walkability of shops and easily accessible public transit, you know it; plus a Spider-man statue.
As I headed back to the airport, it was like I was leaving Korea all over again. Yes, I was literally leaving Korea again, but you understand that there is something happening on a deeper level here. Arriving at 1 am in Thailand was not as stressful as I assumed it would be. The Phuket airport was basically empty, and the insane traffic I was expecting from Thailand hadn’t woken up yet I guess.
I arrived at my hotel in Rawai beach area around 2 am. Little did I know at this point that was literally the only person staying at the hotel, but the service upon arrival was great, and I was looking up.
Flash forward past my 24-hour nap, I was ready to explore and find my purpose for being here (Muay Thai training, I didn’t find my life purpose on this trip sadly). Sinbi Muay Thai Training Gym Phuket, Thailand; a beast of a gym and my home for the next two weeks.
The training was obviously my favorite part of the trip. Here are some sweet training photos to get you through.
I also hit up Phuket King Muay Thai for a one-on-one with Pot, an excellent trainer.
To compact the extreme soreness, daily massages and swims were my saviors. Massages, being only $10-20, can really make a big difference in the day. Usually I’m not a fan of being touched that much, but even a foot massage could change my entire body’s feeling. Tiger balm patches helped a lot too.
My daily routine consisted of training from 7-9 am then a massage then hitting the beach and sometimes another training session from 4-6 pm. I was closest to Rawai beach, but that is mostly a pier so it’s great for seeing the boats and eating seafood, sadly no swimming. Rawai beach does have one unknown, but pretty interesting attraction, the Seashell Museum.
Of course, I was the only person at the museum. My trip had unintentionally become me avoiding people. Between no people at my hotel and no people at the monuments I visited, it quickly became a running joke that I ruined the tourism of Phuket.
I made it to the southern part of the island to Nai Harn beach by way of public transit. I was waiting for the bus for over 45 minutes, but once it came it was pretty easy. You just pay the driver and hop in the back.
Coming back was the difficult part and in the end, I was able to grab a taxi with the app “Grab”. Grab basically works like Uber or Lyft. You call a taxi through WiFi, and you don’t have to worry about price negotiating or describing your destination. It is pricey, but safety is always worth the price for me while traveling alone.
Nai Harn beach was my favorite I think. Not a lot of people and the water is clear. Kata beach was a close second because of the many activities around: shopping, etc.
On my way back I stocked up on MediHeal face masks, the greatest invention, and never left the Incheon airport. Heading back my feet had swelled up to twice their size and walking was extremely painful. But once I landed and moved all my stuff into my new apartment. Yes, I had to complete a move after 24-hours of travel time and with feet swollen. It was a super fun time. I loved this trip, and I’ve committed my budget to making this a yearly trip.