Epilogue – 6 April 2005
Reworking this journal in order to put it online has reminded me why I love writing travel journals. It’s been over two years now since we were in Thailand, but reading through this journal again made it seem like yesterday. There were a lot of little details that I left out of the journal the first time around, which isn’t surprising, considering that I was trying to squeeze writing into any and every spare moment. What is surprising is that, even two years later, simply reading the journal jogged my memory enough to bring back all of those details. Although what you just finished reading is pretty much what I wrote while in Thailand, there are a number of details and thoughts that I added this time around.
When writing travel journals, I usually write an epilogue on the plane, wrapping up the trip and doing an “evaluation.” I didn’t do that with this journal—I had planned to write something upon returning to Korea, but time seemed to slip by and I forgot all about it. When I did remember it, I thought it was too late and that I had forgotten too much. Now, after rereading and rewriting the journal, though, I think I can write my epilogue.
Hyunjin and I still look back fondly on our trip to Thailand. We had a great time, and we still talk about the things we saw and did (and ate) there. Now that I can look back at the trip as a whole, it’s easy for me to pick out my favorite moments. Bangkok was a lively city, but I would definitely not call it my favorite part of the trip. In fact, when we go back to Thailand, we probably won’t spend all that much time in Bangkok. Most likely we’ll go straight to our destination. If you’ve never been to Thailand before, you should definitely take a look around Bangkok, but it would be tragic to spend an entire trip there.
The next phase of our trip, Ko Phi Phi, was a welcome change from the hectic haze of the city. I can still remember paddling around Monkey Bay in our canoe, snorkeling through huge schools of fish (and the occasional jellyfish), and just enjoying the laid back island life. I was stunned when the tsunami hit at the end of last year—I saw the news coverage, but it just didn’t register. I saw a video of the devastation at Ko Phi Phi on the news and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Everything was in shambles. I couldn’t help thinking about the people we had met there: the owners of the RS Guest House and their young girl, the lean, muscled boatmen on our snorkeling boat, the woman at Sunla Restaurant and her family, the British ex-pat “Fatty.” Months later I still find it hard to believe, and I can only pray that they made it and are somehow putting their lives back together.
Our tour of Ao Phang-Nga was also memorable, as was the night we spent sleeping out over the water. Sitting around the table and talking with our fellow travelers late into the night was one of those traditional backpacker moments that really make traveling exciting—those moments when you’re brought together with people from all over who share a love for seeing the world. Hyunjin ranks that tour as the best, and I would have a hard time making an argument against that.
Chiang Mai was perhaps the most impressive location in and of itself as far as cities go. Ko Phi Phi was beautiful, of course, but neither of us are really the tropical island type. Chiang Mai, though, was different. It is said that a lot of ex-pats live there, and I can see why. We enjoyed our time there so much that we have even discussed spending a winter there. Not necessarily a winter-long vacation—we would actually consider just living there for a couple of months. All of my work is done over the internet anyway, so all I would need is a connection and I could work as normal. Mind you, I don’t know if we’ll ever actually do this, but Chiang Mai impressed us enough to make us think about it, even if only casually.
Ayuthaya was nice, and I’m definitely glad we went, but I don’t know if it would warrant a second trip. There is one thing that I would like to see, and that is the sound-and-light show they have to commemorate the Burmese invasion and overthrow of the ancient capital. My father-in-law experienced it when he was there, and he said it was quite impressive. Other than that, though, I don’t think we’ll go back. If we were to go back, though, we’d definitely rent bicycles.
I guess that about wraps it up. Thailand holds a lot of really great memories for me, and now they’re online for the world to see. They probably won’t mean as much to anyone else (if they mean anything at all), but this journal and the accompanying photos in the Imagery section will have hopefully given you a taste of what it was like. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to go yourself and have your own experiences.