I have been to Thailand many times over the last 10 years. With two weeks holiday over Tet holiday this year, I took Xenia on her first trip to the Kingdom of Siamiles. Our dating has always maintained a shared love for eating amazing food. We are quite happy in Asia having sat over many amazing meals of Chinese food, Japanese, food, Indian food, and various fusion style dishes. I reserve a special pleasure of watching her take the first bite of something that she has never tried before. So I knew I was going to please her with some of the delicacies of Thailand.
We flew from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok on a 90 minute flight that cost us around $80 each. There was something incredible about taking such a short flight since both of us are used to having to deal with incredibly long flights with terrible layovers to or from our respective homes.
We arrived to Bangkok at night. As our taxi took us to our airbnb apartment, we were taken aback at how the enormous grey roads and off ramps made us feel like ants on the body of an elephant and disoriented at the shapes of things just as that ant would be. Bangkok is a city that one can never be fully explored and one can never forgot. I knew that we would leave thinking that we would have to come back.
We would spend only 4 days in Bangkok. Never too impressed with nightlife and choosing to go to sleep early, much of what has earned Bangkok a seedy reputation was missed which was too bad because I really wanted to take Xenia to a gogo bar. We hardly got started when we realized that we had better make plans to visit an island before we lose too much time on our short holiday.
In 2009, I had gone to Phuket. On a snorkeling trip, the tour made 2 stops to explore some reefs. At lunch time we reached Koh Phi Phi for lunch. There was no pier, only a handful of small boats, and only a few open air restaurants up a narrow path of stone laid over the sand. I was told that just up the path was a quieter beach where no boats were anchored. I went swimming there for a couple hours before the boat would leave to return to Phuket.
It was this beach that I had in mind when I suggested to Xenia that we go to Phi Phi Island. Fast forward seven years and Koh Phi Phi of my memory is mostly gone. We still had a great time and enjoyed our guest house, hiking through the forest to find a resort beach, and of course the Thai food was amazing. Navigating through the maze of streets and the carnival atmosphere that was enjoyable in some respects but not what I was hoping to find.
We enjoyed Thailand for what it was and I loved being with her on the trip. Knowing that we would be returning to Ho Chi Minh City with little time to catch the last bus back to Vung Tau, we arranged to spend two nights in a nice hotel in Saigon. A rooftop pool allowed us to get some final holiday sun before returning to work. I spent the last day of the holiday collecting my thoughts and thinking how I could take a refreshed attitude towards my life as an expat and towards my relationship with Xenia.