I went to Thailand for Christmas & New Year with my sister, who flew over from England. It was a brilliant holiday, equal parts exploring, adventure, relaxing and chilling out.
I arrived in Bangkok a day before my sister and did a bit of exploring as well as going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens as my sister hasn’t seen the other films and has no interest in seeing this one! In the process I found a free Star Wars exhibition, which was pretty cool.
Once my sister arrived we had a busy couple of days in Bangkok seeing the Grand Palace, the Emerald Buddha, Wat Po, the 45 foot tall Buddha, the reclining Buddha, Patpong night market, going on a cruise down the river, eating lots of delicious food, wandering along Khao San Road and generally exploring.
We also watched a little of a ping pong show and almost got ripped off for a lot of money. Luckily, I’ve lived in and travelled round Asia for over five years now and I’m not about to let myself be taken advantage of. We were approached by one of the many people walking around Patpong night market with a ‘menu’ showing what we could expect to see at the show. We were told that there was no cover charge, we just had to buy a drink. Upon being given a menu with no prices, we checked this again and were told that we just had to pay 100 baht (about £2) each for the soft drinks we ordered. The ‘show’ consisted of four ladies on a stage in the centre of the room, who took turns in displaying their ‘talents’ – blowing out candles on a fake cake, shooting gherkins across the room, ‘smoking’ two cigarettes and shooting ping pong balls across the room to be batted back by customers. In between these performances the ladies just stood on the stage and kind of swayed next to the poles, or ‘entertained’ the male customers. To be honest they all looked quite bored and unimpressed with the whole situation, and both myself and my sister found the whole show slow and slightly disturbing. Needless to say, we decided to leave as soon as we’d finished our drinks. We got our 200 baht ready to pay and went to the counter, only to be given a bill for over 8000 baht (£160)!
I immediately said to the staff that we were told there was no cover charge and drinks were only 100 baht each. The woman who was apparently in charge started making fun of me saying ‘We were told, we were told.’ At which I gave her the 200 baht, grabbed my sister’s hand and walked out. they let us leave, knowing that they were in the wrong for trying to scam us ‘stupid foreigners’.
If you decide to check out one of these shows, don’t let yourself get taken advantage of!
After the excitement of Bangkok my sister and I headed to Koh Samui for a bit of chill out and relaxation time. Koh Samui is lovely; lots of things to do and see such as tours of the island, Big Buddha, ziplining, ladyboy cabaret shows, elephant rides, and coconut farms; plus plenty of gorgeous beaches, massages and delicious food to help you relax.
We also enjoyed a delicious Christmas buffet dinner at the Anantara Bophut Hotel, whilst being serenaded by a fantastic singer from Estonia.
We ended our trip at the Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan – an amazing end to a fantastic holiday.
Read my guide to the Koh Phangan Full Moon Party here!