As the routine of attending classes and working in the Academic Center came to a halt for our ten day break this month, my buddy Forrest and I decided to venture to Thailand. I had always heard rave reviews of the tropical paradise the country had to offer and was convinced to give it a go. Both Forrest and I knew very little about the country, but we were up for an adventure. When we landed in Bangkok at 3:00 a.m., we had no idea where we were going to stay in the city. This proved to be an issue as we attempted to sneak through customs without filling out the cute little box on the immigration pamphlet which stated, “Domestic Address.” The sneaking tactic didn’t quite work. Luckily, we met some very nice, groovy, dread locked backpackers who gave us the name of a random hostile we could put on the immigration card. Boom! Problem solved, we made it through customs!
After hailing a taxi, we were weren’t really sure where we were going, but we were headed somewhere! After about twenty minutes in the taxi, we came across this majestic building that contained beds……at this point, we were exhausted from traveling and didn’t care about price. After grabbing a few hours of sleep, Forrest and I decided to explore the city (after we got some food of course)! As we were headed to scrounge up some grub, we bumped into this super nice Thai man who ended up giving us a brief history lesson of the city and a day’s worth of attractions to explore. The sights were exceedingly interesting with deep historical significance. By the end of the day, we were recovering from jet lag and fatigued from the extreme humidity.
The next day we ventured to Pattaya, which is a city renowned for its nightlife and beautiful attractions on Thailand’s eastern Gulf coast. Forrest and I spent a total of two days in the city exploring different sites and attractions. Through word of mouth, we heard about a popular lure called, the Sanctuary of Truth. The sanctuary is entirely constructed of wood and filled with hand carved sculptures based on traditional Buddhist and Hindu motifs. The building was one of the most magnificent works of art I had ever seen. Another place that we visited in Pattaya was the Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden. The garden is 500-acres of sheer beauty. I’ve never seen a botanical garden of this scale with such intricate detail.
As our time in Pattaya was coming to an end, I meet up with a local contact by the name of Joseph who I had been emailing back and forth prior to the trip. Joseph has been living in Pattaya for three years now. He used to be a detective in Atlanta, Georgia before moving with his family to Pattaya in order to establish a ministry. Three days a week, Joseph and his team hand out New Testament Bibles translated into Mandarin to Chinese tourists. He and his team give out approximately 1,000,000 bibles per year to the constant wave of Chinese vacationers. For a moment, Forrest and I felt as though we were back in the hustle and bustle of Dalian due to all of the Chinese being spoken around us. It was so awesome to see the immense impact being made upon China through Thailand.
Next stop on the list was Koh Chang. Koh Chang is the second largest Island in Thailand and famous for its tranquil tropical environment. Forrest and I spent the last five days of our trip in this extremely hot, tropical paradise. On the island, life was super chill. Snorkeling was an absolute blast on the first day, and we met some great Thai friends in the process. Though it is difficult to pinpoint, my favorite part of the trip was probably when we went night fishing for Barracudas.
All in all, Thailand was a total success, and the Dalian’s fairly close proximity made the mini vacation affordable and convenient.