So many people dream about travelling round to the exotic climes of South East Asia and really immersing themselves in a culture vastly different to their own. When I decided to make these aspirations a reality, I wanted to do it properly so I set aside three months to spend in Thailand.
The first port of call was the bustling city of Bangkok, with its busy streets, lively night markets and beautiful temples a mere few minutes away from the city centre.
Upon first arrival in the vast city, everything can seem a bit overwhelming, with street sellers stopping you at every turn, tuk tuks rushing past and so many shops, bars and restaurants on offer. The first thing any traveller in Thailand needs to learn to do is to get over their British sensibilities and embrace haggling! The streets are lined with stalls selling all sorts of goods, from pretty little trinkets to fake jewellery and tie-dye trousers to cumbersome lighting features that you’ll never get back through customs, however much you want to. While haggling may feel impolite and wrong at first, Thailand’s salespeople expect it and once you’ve got into the swing it can even be quite fun to get that bargain.
When it comes to getting around the city, there are three options: train, taxi and tuk tuk. It is a good idea to rule out trains unless you’re going any particular distance, and while taxies are cheap compared to cabs back home, they are nowhere near as much of a bargain as a tuk tuk, which is a similar vehicle to a Rickshaw. Open-sided and often decked out with flashing lights, tuk tuks are a fast and fun way to get around the city, so don’t hesitate to flag one down – just make sure to haggle with the driver before you get in.
Bangkok is such an exciting city that my time there just flew past, and before I knew it, it was time to jet off to Chiang Mai, situated in the North of Thailand, for a jungle trek which turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. A jungle trek is an incredibly popular tourist activity, but visitors should ensure they pack appropriately. The number one priority on a jungle trek is a good sturdy pair of walking boots. The terrain is diverse and rough, and adventurers will find themselves climbing steep rocks on one day and squelching through deep mud the next. Deet is also another must, and will become your best friend in the jungle as it helps to keep those mosquitoes away. A good, lightweight water bottle is also very handy. It may seem over the top to pack an entire first aid box, but it is much easier to get into scrapes in the exotic terrain of the jungle than back at home, and plasters and anti-septic cream should be packed at the very least.
Another important aspect when it comes to packing for holidays is undoubtedly securing travel insurance. If you’re going on a lengthy break then it is important to look into a good long-haul policy, which are usually offered on breaks of more than three months. At travel insurance company Staysure, policies are tailored to the individual, meaning you can get exactly the right amount of cover depending on where you’re heading and what activities you have planned. Making sure you have the right sort of travel insurance policy will allow you to throw yourself into the holiday of a lifetime worry-free.