Thailand / by Dario Branco

Here I am tired, trying to finally get some rest and recover and can't find the words to write about Thailand. Not because I can't, but because there is so much to say. But I want to do it now while everything is fresh in my mind.

Since the moment I landed until I left all I could think was, what a place with such contradictions. One day I am in a polluted messy city and on the next, I am on a clear water beach watching the sunset and relaxing.

Ugly and yet Beautiful.

The first moments in Bangkok I get overwhelmed with the thick, polluted air and the sewage smell. Everything is messy. The traffic, people on the streets trying to sell me anything they can, the power lines. And this is not only in Bangkok. In Chiang Mai, even being close to the jungle, it seems that it gets worse.

But here is the thing. I love this mess.


I loved avoiding getting hit by the traffic. I loved going to smelly, dirty crazy markets. I loved how there is no regard for anyone's safety. I loved how people would ask if I wanted a tuk-tuk ride, a massage, a tour somewhere, on every street I went. To be honest it started to get annoying after a while but i loved it.


I loved sleeping on a train for twelve hours from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, only being able to see the scenery a few hours before arriving while having breakfast on the train.


I loved, even if I wasn't in the mood and didn't go out, for the most part, to pass by a party street. The noise is just too much. To talk with someone i would almost had to scream to them. I loved eating on the streets, sweating uncontrollably while trying spicy Thai food. I loved trying maggots, crickets, and scorpions for the first time and being disappointed by it. I loved being sick of eating rice and noodles and for one day just eat a hamburger. I loved being ripped off while buying a shity SD card, it messed up my budget but i loved it. I loved having to bargain for a ride to the Big Bhuda Statue in Phuket. I loved diving in warm clear water, snorkel and watch the marine life.


I loved getting covered in mud with an elephant, bathing with it and feeding it. I loved the party beaches of Phi Phi islands, although i would also have loved to sleep a bit. I loved all the Russian tourists and teenagers in Phuket and Phi Phi islands partying and not caring about anything or anyone. I loved having to take off my shoes off every time i went to a temple. I loved and learned how they take as an insult and disrespect using Bhuda image as decoration. Respect is a big part of their culture.


Every time I would buy something, ask to take a photo, gave a printed photo to a grownup or a child, ask for directions, went to a sky bar everyone would join their hands like they were paying and bow down and would say thank you in Thai. I would be lying if i said i didn't meet a rude Thai, staff on my Hostel in Phi Phi Island, but fell in love with all Thai people. Humble, respectful and polite people. For the last time, messy and dirty but i loved them.


I loved meeting with a friend i met in Glasgow almost 5 years ago out of pure coincidence. Once again it just shows how small the world really is and how like-minded people will always get drawn to each other.


I also have to talk about the girl that traveled with me. We were only together in Chiang Mai and last days in Bangkok but she was the best travel companion I have ever had. Even though I had a few reservations about how she planned her trip and how long she took to decide what to do, in the end, we had very good time and good communication between each other. We were not bound to each other. If we wanted to do something together we both would discuss and check how to do it. It wasn't planned to do a tour to the highest mountain in Thailand but we managed to book it one day before after checking what was available and what we both wanted to do. If we wanted to do something different then we would just go our separate ways. Example, I decide to stay in Thailand while she decided to go to Cambodja. Here is her Instagram profile for you to follow.


It is apparent by now that I don't have a lot of bad things to say about Thailand. For me, the ugliness of the country is what made it interesting. And obviously, i could not escape all the beauty and enjoy it. Is impossible not to.


I am back and I feel I learned more about respect and accepting things for what they are and enjoy what I have and who I am. This is a topic for another time but I feel healed and at peace with everything around me. It came at the perfect time at the perfect moment. It could not have been more perfect. I grew up as a traveler and as a person. I honestly think that. 


I also feel I've seen a lot but there is so much more to see. From all the places I want to go back, Thailand is now on top of the list to go back to. Is impossible not fall in love with.

There is so much left to say and to show what I experienced in Thailand. Is going to take me some time to get everything together and find the right words to do so. I hope today I was able to pass on to you all the feelings and thoughts I was having while I was traveling. So keep tuned in and sooner rather than later I will post a lot more about it