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*Guest post by Becky Bailey
With white sand beaches, cheap prices, and gorgeous temples, it’s no wonder that Thailand is the hottest destination for world travelers – but there are definitely things to skip in Thailand as well. Everyone who comes back raves about the flavorful curries and reef snorkeling they did, but no one really tells you what parts they didn’t enjoy.
I’ve been to Thailand twice in my life. Once on a vacation full of fun and island hopping, and once studying at the world-famous Chiang Mai University. During my travels I had the most life changing adventures, but I also had plenty of questionable ones.
Here is my list of things to skip in Thailand:
I know, I know, I’m crazy for making this my number one on the list. Everyone dies to meet a monkey for the Instagram post, but hear me out. My friends and I went on an all-day excursion in the islands where you pay a flat price so they can show you the smaller islands via boat. One of the “must see” stops is Monkey Beach, where wild monkeys roam free expecting tons of easy food. My friend Katie was feeding a monkey when a much bigger male came up wanting his share of banana. After giving him his piece she turned to a smaller monkey. Long story short, the bigger male jumped on her back, scratched her arms and bit her on the face. Several series of rabies shots later and poor Katie was down for the rest of the trip.
Chiang Mai boasts one of the longest zip lining courses in Southeast Asia. A two-hour bus ride through winding mountain roads dropped us off in the middle of the jungle. A little car sick from the drive, we started our hike up to the top to start our descent. Now, to say the zip lines are a little sketchy is an understatement. Let’s call the harnesses “worn in”. Once we got to the start, we had to climb stairs stuck into the tallest trees to a platform where every gust of wind had us questioning the stability of the trees. Safely “secured” we started zipping from platform to platform in the canopy of the jungle. Occasionally we would cross a wooden rope bridge with two whole feet between the planks over the 200-foot drop. Safely on the other side of the bridge, I looked up to see a centipede the size of my cat, Stella, hanging out on the platform. For you adventurers out there, this is for you. For the rest of us. . . better pass.
Many people know that riding the elephants is frowned upon, but when I first went to Thailand I had no knowledge of it. My friends and I were on a hike from a local village to the elephant camp. We walked into the jungle to a little clearing with a huge platform, with each elephant stood on one side so the riders could hop on easily. After everyone was safely on their elephant, it was our turn. My friends Karen, Kaelyn and I were told we would ride the big male. He came up to the platform and he was mad. The elephant trainers told Kaelyn to get on the head of the elephant. From there, the elephant only got more upset. He was doing everything in his power to shake Kaelyn from his head while the trainers desperately tried to get me and Karen on its back. Finally, we were all on, and our elephant was roaring mad. We started walking towards the food in hopes to get him calm. While the trainers had their backs turned, our big male decided he needed to head to the top of the tree for the best leaves. All three of us were holding on for dear life as he lifted his front legs into the air to get a better reach. The rest of the ride continued like this, with every stop for fresh leaves resulting in a shower of jungle spiders raining down on us. Not sure who hated the experience more, us or the elephant.
4.And obviously the Ping Pong show but this is a family blog. . .