Thailand is perhaps one of the most visited countries by Bangladeshis in the world. In fact every single person in my family has been to thailand and I, myself, have been to Thailand 3 times! I suppose though, Thailand is a tourist hotspot for people from all over the world, In fact, in 2017, spredfast.com ranked bangkok the most visited city (21.47 million visitors!) and the most number of travel posts (465 thousand!) according to instagram, in the world.
I was in Bangkok end of November 2016 for a work conference and took a short 1 night/ 2 day trip to Koh Samed with my friend Swikriti and dear god, it was so much fun! So the two of us met up on the MRT to the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai) and took a minibus to Ban Phe which cost about 350 bhat return. The bus minibus was air conditioned and with 1 stop on the way for toilet break, the whole trip took somewhere between 3.5 to 4 hours. Once we got to the ferry port, we had to buy the ticket and wait around for 10 minutes before we could board the ferry. The ferry ride takes about half an hour and voila, you have reached Koh Samed. We stayed at a really nice lodge a few minutes from the beach. We spend the first day on the beach, over indulging on food, mojitos, sun and sea.
There are plenty of dining options in the island, incredible Thai food, on the street and also in the restaurants.
At night, the island gets lit up beautifully, with plenty of nightlife, clubs, bars and such. We ate dinner by the ocean, smoked shisha at a lovely bar with some out of tune live music, strolled the coast line and sat in front of the ocean, talking till late.
One glaring factor, the reason why I dislike coming to Thailand, is the glaringly obvious exploitation of lax laws in the form of sex tourism in the country. I clearly remember witnessing this for the first time when i was 12 years old and visiting Thailand for the first time. I remember there were two very old white men, perhaps in their 60s or 70s, with two super young thai girls, perhaps 15 or 16 checking into the hotel we were staying. I remember laughing at them to my mother, she promptly explained the situation to me and at the age of 12, that was a little too much for my little heart to bear. The situation is no different now, some 15 years after my first visit to Thailand. This dissuades me from going to Thailand more often as i find it unbearable to see this level of exploitation out in the open.
The next day, after a big brunch eating pretty much all food we could find, Swikriti and I hired a motor bike and did a short beach hopping trip going from one beach to the other! It is worth mentioning that most of the island is considered a national park and as such there is a park entrance fee of 200 bhat for foreign tourists for
conservation purposes. But trust me- its worth it! I used google map to direct us to the various beautiful beaches, while Swikriti drove the motorbike. We saw 6 beaches on that trip, taking a quick dip in each and speeding away. We saw some of the most pristine beaches, ate some of the most delicious food and headed back for a quick shower at our hotel before heading back to catch our boat back to the city. I honestly wish we had more time to see more of the island, but it was still a wonderful trip.
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Maliha Fairooz is a 27-year-old Bangladeshi solo traveller, who has travelled to 83 countries, on a Bangladeshi passport. Through her blog www.maliharoundtheworld.com, she shares her experience of travelling as a brown, Muslim, Bangladeshi woman while simultaneously encouraging a culture of travel amongst Bangladeshi youth.