August quickly rolled around and I was filled with both nerves and excitement for my first adventure to Thailand with Camp Thailand. I will always remember what my Mam said to me before I left for the airport:
Be careful and don’t talk to any strangers!
I looked at her puzzled… Everyone was going to be a stranger! As I tried to get my head around who my Mam did want me to talk to, we said our goodbyes and I was on my first flight all alone. I flew from Newcastle to Dubai, then from Dubai to Bangkok. This was my first ever connecting flight, it was actually my first ever long haul flight! I’d barely travelled out of Europe before so I was a bit unsure how connecting flights worked and what happened to my bags during the layover… A few google searches later, I was confident that my backpack would also make it onto my connecting flight and I excitedly hopped aboard the plane!
Bangkok airport was bustling, I arrived less than a week after a bomb exploded in the centre of Bangkok therefore security was tight and a little intimidating. Nevertheless I made it through to arrivals where I met up with fellow Camp Thailanders. We set off for our hotel in the centre of Bangkok to meet the rest of our intake and explore (after a cold shower of course!) The streets of Bangkok are full of market stalls, street food stalls and massage parlours but the city is really brought to life when the sun goes down. (Tip: don’t stay in a hotel on Khoa San Road if you want to get any sleep, with Camp Thailand we stayed in Happio Hotel, the perfect distance away!)
There was around 30 people on my Camp Thailand intake, so getting to know everyone took time. There was a Facebook group that had been set up so I was able to put some names to faces.The nerves surrounding making friends had soon disappeared with the help from a bit of ‘Dutch courage’. Most of the group ended up partying the night away on the infamous Khoa San Road. I’d love to tell you a bit more of about this but the buckets got the better of me so my memories are vague!
Nursing sore heads, the next day involved a canal tour to see the floating markets, exploring Wat Pho with its 150 foot long reclining Buddha (it is HUGE). We then took the BTS train to Chatuchak weekend market, the world’s biggest outdoor market. (This is also HUGE, I barely got around half of it due to the fear of getting lost and never finding my way out.) We stocked up on elephant trousers, tried out some street food and became accustum to the art of haggling before another night out in Bangkok!
The following day, we left the hustle and bustle of Bangkok for an 8 hour bus journey into Surin to start teaching! Subscribe to read part 2 on the life of a TEFL teacher in Surin, Thailand!