Summer 2016 Travel Diary

First Stop: Thailand

      My 2016 summer started off under the blazing hot sun of Thailand. Thailand had been on my go-to list for quite some time and it did not disappoint. I spent most of my time in Bangkok because I was actually interning there. To be honest, Bangkok was a little different from what I thought it would be. When I thought of Thailand, I thought it’d be a tropical paradise but Bangkok was actually more of a very modern busy city filled with tall buildings and huge shopping malls. Despite it being not what I expected, the shopping and nightlife scene was amazing and definitely one-of-a-kind. Downtown’s Siam Square was busy no matter what time of the day, and showcased a variety of shopping spots–from your high-end boutiques to the cute outdoor stalls in the streets.

A must-see when you’re in Bangkok is the Grand Palace. It is huge, and absolutely breathtaking. Although I would advise you to avoid coming here on the hotter days, because you need to walk around quite a bit and the dress code is strict…no shorts and shirts must cover shoulders! But this architecture is worth every sweat drop. The gold detailing and white walls made this place so beautiful.

Something I was pretty worried about for Thailand was the food. If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I can’t eat spicy. At all. However, after spending almost 2 months in Thailand, I actually improved my spice tolerance and I now love Thai food (although I still ask for less spicy haha). My top favourites were ka prao, massaman curry, khao soi, and tom yum soup. You NEED to give those a try if you ever hit up Thailand!

After my intern ended, I was finally able to explore more of Thailand. And that is when I experienced the Thailand that I had imagined. First, I went to Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is a city in the northern mountainous areas of Thailand. It was a nice break from the constant 35°C I was experiencing in Bangkok. I spent 3 days in this city. On one day, we went to Doi Inthanon National Park. We drove up to the highest point in Thailand! It was so high that the temperature dropped to about 16°C!! How crazy is that? Not going to lie, I was pretty cold in this outfit LOL.

Two of my favourite things in this park were the pagodas (which I couldn’t get a nice photo of because it was so foggy) and the waterfalls. I’ve never seen so many waterfalls in one park!

On another day, I went ziplining! I’ve been wanting to zipline for so long, and what better place to give it a try than in the beautiful mountains of Chiang Mai. And let me tell you, it was such an amazing experience. I did it with a company called Flight of the Gibbons and our guides were wonderful. They were so friendly and fun to be around!

Chiang Mai is known for its mountains and nature scenery, but don’t forget to explore its downtown as well! We spent a night walking around downtown and found so many little gems. We came across this lit up alley lined with small shops–a fun spot to eat and shop around!

       

My second vacation spot in Thailand was Koh Tao. Now this was a tropical paradise. I mean, just look at that beach!

We stayed here for 4 days, and it was so jam packed with activities. We went snorkelling, island hopping on a boat, cliff jumping, rappelling, and hiking. And of course, some relaxation time on the beach.

 The waters were clear and filled with marine life!

 Here, I’m on a cliff looking out onto the famous Nang Yuan island.

So that pretty much sums up the highlights of my Thailand trip! Check out this video that my friend made for more bits and pieces of my trip 🙂 And if you’re looking for a place to go, I definitely 100% recommend Thailand. It was such an unforgettable experience.

Second Stop: Singapore

Singapore was also one of the places I really wanted to go, and I feel so lucky to have been able to knock off both Singapore and Thailand from my go-to list. I wasn’t able to spend a long time here so I didn’t have time to explore the little streets of Singapore, but I did go to the larger touristic spots. Universal Studios was a must for me, because I absolutely love amusement parks!

Before heading to Singapore, I remember my Singaporean friend telling me that I need to check out the Supertrees…and I’m glad I did. These electric, brightly lit up “trees” were so tall and there were so many of them, it looked like a magical forest. Despite the humidity and crowds of people, I just stood there looking up in awe for a good 30 minutes. A lot of people had blankets out and just sat there appreciating the scenery. It was quite an experience!

If you’re in Singapore, you need to go up to the top of Marina Bay Sands. The view from the observation deck was breathtaking.

Third Stop: Tokyo

Ah, Tokyo. No better place to spend the last week of summer in. Tokyo is a city I call my second home. I visit every year, but I never get sick of it. The food, the culture, the architecture, the language, the people, everything–I love pretty much everything about Japan. Normally, I spend a much longer time in Japan (at least 2 months) but because of my intern in Thailand this summer, I was only able to stay in Japan for a week. Therefore, I didn’t get to go around too much, but I still had lots of fun. I spent most of my time just hanging out with friends and family.

Despite only having a week, I made sure I didn’t miss my annual trip to Disney! I’m such a little kid at heart.

I’ve always wanted to go to Kyoto to see the famous thousands of torii gates, but I found myself a mini version of it here in Tokyo in the Hie Shrine!

And of course, I can’t forget Harajuku and Shibuya. I just love how every corner, every street is so cute and picturesque.

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Well, that pretty much sums up my entire summer! I know it was a long post, but thank you if you read up to this point! If you have any travel questions, or questions about my time here in these 3 locations, please do ask!! Hope you guys all had a wonderful summer as well ❤

Love, Lena

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