Seoul Searching: Bright lights, Bangkok
My four-day trip to Thailand went by so fast, the entire experience felt like some kind of dream. As soon as my friend Kerry and I landed at the airport, her family member Reina greeted us with hugs and an excited smile. From the moment we arrived, our adventure began. Reina introduced us to her close friend, Jun Kim, who she met while interning at the Korean embassy. Moments after our brief introduction, Jun quickly helped us with our luggage and we were told to get ready to go out. It was 1 a.m. Without a second to think, we changed in the airport bathroom and we were off. The thick and humid air of Thailand greeted me with surprise. I was glad I was wearing a skirt.
On our way to meet the rest of Reina’s friends, the pretty lights that illuminated the streets of Bangkok hypnotized me. Tall buildings were lit up with colorful designs and even at that time of night, everything felt so alive. I quickly snapped out of my daze as I listened to Reina go over our itinerary for the remaining days of our trip. First night was clubbing, then breakfast at Reina’s family restaurant followed by shopping, sightseeing, fish massages, boat rides and dinner at The Asiatique Riverfront. Before arriving, we all promised each other that within our short stay, there would be no time for boring nights or being too tired. Making the best effort to keep our word, we stayed busy.
One of my favorite days was spent at the floating market in Pattaya, an area known for its popular tourist attractions. There, I bought souvenirs for my friends back home and enjoyed a variety of Thai dishes sold by the market vendors. People were all very friendly and the food was delicious and inexpensive. Some of the shopkeepers even knew how to speak Korean. They would yell “ma-she-suh-yo,” meaning “it’s delicious,” and “yep-uh-yo,” meaning “you’re pretty,” in order to get our attention. We laughed as we walked around and took pictures of the beautiful scenery. In addition to drinking out of a coconut for the first time, I attended an elephant show and watched a traditional Thai dance performance where we arrived early to get good seats. On our last day in Thailand, we went to a spa where we treated ourselves to two-hour massages that only amounted to about $30 each. The deep-tissue massage felt amazing, and relieved all the stress that had been built up from the restless nights of traveling.
Although we had a jam-packed schedule throughout our entire visit, I really enjoyed moments of relaxation and time spent embracing the Thai culture with my friends. The most memorable experience I had was when I rode behind my first motorcycle taxi. Feeling the fresh breeze with the wind blowing my hair as we sped across the city of Bangkok, I really felt like I captured the beauty of Thailand. Overall, it was a short, but wonderful, experience and I hope to visit Reina again in the future. Sitting in my dorm back in Korea, I feel really thankful to have met good friends and to have shared such a great experience with them.