Backpacking in Thailand
Every now and then, I’ll be featuring posts from other travelers. This featured post is by a fellow Nigerian, Dapo Osinaike. Enjoy his experience in Thailand 🙂
On 1st May 2012 around 1900 hrs. I arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok, Thailand on Board of a Lufthansa Flight en route Qatar. It was an excruciating 16 hours long haul flight .The landscape of Bangkok was lit with glowing lights, as observed through the window on-board the plane. I was so anxious as only a few of my friends knew I was embarking on such a terrifying journey (well to any African) .My purpose of backpacking was a bit vague to me and why would I invest over £2000 (Including payment for a missed return flight back to Britain; no thanks to Malaysian Immigration) on backpacking around Asia in 3 weeks,I guess I just needed an adrenaline rush.
Thailand is country inhabited by about 66.7 million people also home to over 200,000 foreigners. Thailand is also popularly known as a land of smiles; a place where people come to commit crime, a free for all land, a Land of drugs, sex and sometimes violence. I was even teased about coming to see my “ladyboy” when I told friend I would be visiting Thailand.
I was picked up by my friend who I established contact with on Facebook for about a year.
The transport system in Thailand was great and nothing compared to Nigeria, I was expecting an epileptic power supply too but I was disappointed as the power never blinked. Everything seems to function well for a small country whose main source of export is rice and gemstones.
The Thai government offers tax rebate for first-time car buyers, this has lead to a rapid growth of car owners. There is always a condo unit to fit a person’s needs in Bangkok, depending upon the budget, lifestyle, tastes and requirements .I thought I could probably retire here someday and join league of many Brits who have made Thailand their home (Not to seek a Thai bride though).
I knew one of the reasons of coming to Thailand was to get some first hand information about student life, studying in Thailand and the challenges of studying in an Asian country, so I was armed with a DSLR Camera and few clothes .I spent a day or two with my friend and I was also introduced to a British Indian who has been leaving in Thailand for over 10 years, we became good friends really quickly and I spent some of my days at his condo if I wasn’t I would be booked into a 3 star hotel (saving money tactics).
He told me about the lives which many Nigeria lives in Thailand and around Asia, soon my idea of coming to make a student documentary changed. I decide to hang out with my new friend more, we explored so many places in Bangkok; from Nana to Soi cowboy (red-light district) some of which my eyes just couldn’t withhold, I met some Nigerians, some were nice, some were saucy and they wanted to introduce me to a Thai lady (some Thai ladies count it as all joy having sex with a new visitor in town; dis-virgin they call it). I was asked by my friend to visit a popular downtown district in Thailand where Nigerians live but I was scared as I was physically harassed by a Nigerian some days before, he accused me of being a secret spy and said no black man would want to backpack with his own funds (I heard he has been deported back to Nigeria). I met Liberians, who seems to be very nice too. I heard and witnessed a lot of things in Thailand, which will be shown in my short documentary. After spending a week and some days in Thailand I then bordered an Air Asia flight to my next destination Singapore!
Post by Dapo Osinaike. You can contact Dapo on Twitter (@dapoosinaike); Facebook or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
After 10 months, 10 countries and 52 cities
It’s a week today since I got back to the United States. I left La Ceiba for Copan 2 weeks ago and then went to Guatemala for a night to get the bus to Mexico. The journey to Mexico was stressful, it took longer than normal because of floods & road closure as a result of the bad weather. But after a full day on the road, I got to Mexico City a day before my flight to the United States. I was happy to be back in Mexico City. I spent the day walking around the downtown area and did some last minute shopping.
FIFA has a fan centre in downtown Mexico City. The centre is open stage with a Big screen to watch the match and live bands play also -its free and safe…….Now that am back to the states, I’m busy preparing for my move to Ithaca, New York -I’ll be driving there with a friend so technically my trip is not over!!!!
So my favorite countries are (1 being the best and 10 being the least)
1. Colombia 6. Guatemala
2. Honduras 7. Mexico
3. Belize 8. Cuba
4. Nicaragua 9. Costa Rica
5. Panama 10. El Salvador
My top 10 favorite cities/towns
1. Cali, Colombia 6. Mexico City, Mexico
2. La Ceiba, Honduras 7. Leon, Nicaragua
3. Caye Caulker, Belize 8. Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala
4. Panama City, Panama 9. Havana, Cuba
5. Medellin, Colombia 10. Bocas del Toro, Panama
Least 5 favorite cities/town
1. San Salvador, El Salvador
2. Granada, Nicaragua
3. Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
4. Playa el Tunco, El Salvador
5. Trinidad, Cuba
I’m extremely glad I was able to do this trip – it did change some of my views on certain cultures and issues and it definitely widen my horizon. I met a lot of great people, did a lot of wonderful things, visited some of the world finest Mayan Archeology sites, tried new food (I now love Bagels and Ravioli), got sick twice, took belly dancing classes, acquire a taste for some of the world’s best Ron (in my opinion -Flor de Cana & Havana Rum) and hitchhiked .
Some of the things I would do differently next time are to pack more lightly and bank with Citibank. Citibank has branches in every country in Central America and Colombia -if I banked with them I would have saved lots of money from ATM charges when I took out money from the ATM.
Now am just glad to be back, it was a great feeling going to my former job and seeing my co-workers and students. Now am getting ready for Atlanta, Georgia – my niece is going to be 1, it will be July 4 next weekend and I’ll be seeing my mum and sister & brother in law.
I have no regrets and I’ll do this all over again. Many thanks to everybody that read my blogs, all the wonderful people I met. I hope you stay true to your words when you said ‘my house is your house’ because am coming to visit your town/country one day.
Yeah, I have more trips in the planning stage. I intend to visit my country -Nigeria and if possible Germany, Togo & Ghana this December and for next summer I’m thinking South America – Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. So yes, more blogs will be on the way……..