Updated: Nov 25, 2019
Landing in Kuala Lumpur airport produced issues its self…. In the back of my mind I had concerns over being ‘let into Thailand’ due to not having an outbound flight. So, with this in mind, I tried to upload £100 to my Revolut card. I have 4 bank accounts, 2 in Jersey, 2 in England. Naturally before I left, I went to inform my bank that I was leaving the country.
After finally landing after 2 hours in one of the most dysfunctional and unorganised airports I have ever been in I landed in Phuket at about 9:50am, in flying over the famous airport beach where there was already the odd couple of people trying to get their famous beach selfie.
Riddled with feelings of excitement but also anxious af - finding it hard to decipher which is which? Both produce the same fight or flight response it’s just dependent on the situation at you which feelings you feel.
I had been sat next to a guy that was over on his two week, all inclusive holiday. We got chatting about my plans for the next year or so and I started to mention how I had a slight hiccup at the airport as I had no outbound flight to prove I was leaving Thailand before the 30 day mark. He was the situation. He changed my situation. He rabbled on for the remaining 20 minutes prior to landing that they wouldn’t let me through immigration unless I had proof of leaving Thailand, and I’d immediately been thrown back straight on a plane back to England. I mean - me being me, with the little travelling experience I had had no idea whether this was true or infect the case. So. With that, as soon as I’d landed, while trying to fill in a visa form (also a challenge when you don’t have a permanent address, trying to explain to the immigration officer that I was staying on a boat was a challenge in itself), I connected to the WiFi and bought myself the cheapest ticket out of Thailand in about 2 weeks to Laos.
I get to the immigrations desk - guess what, he takes my passport, boarding pass, VISA, scans my fingers and guess what? NADA. No questioning, no asking for a date of departure. Nothing. Thailand 1, Zoë 0, - £50
Lesson number one learnt. DO NOT listen to English Tourists.
Stage 2 - Get bag, get SIM and get to Phuket Heaven Marina.
I’d been told by friends that had been travelling the easiest thing to do is to grab a SIM either in the airport (more costly) or, if you can wait, get one outside of the airport. While waiting for my bag, I head over to the first of the SIM station, unlimited data, x amount of calls. £16. Job done. Out of the airport and in a taxi to Yacht Heaven Marina - rip off, 600 Baht. I'm in a hurry and a naive new solo traveller, I pay the chap and get on my way.
Most biggest underestimation of the trip so far is the humidity of Thailand. Having had no chance to change from my ‘airport’ outfit (lit just leggings, trainers and an oversized tee), the un-airconditioned taxi drive itself was one of the most uncomfortable journeys; followed by being welcomed by the whole of the Canadian rugby team was intimidating to say the least. Wow, I’ve just realised I should probably rewind. Jeff, one of the Canadian rugby team a cross somewhere between Jesus and a lumbar jack, invited me to sail round Thailand with 6 of his friends….
Meeting the squad happened in stages due to everyone arriving on different days. We stopped at a supermarket to get supplies for the week and headed out on the boat not far from the harbour to wait for another team member, one of the guys girlfriends, to build our 6 up to 7. We mored not far from a pier, walking down this pier I kid you knot felt like a mile long, and was the one thing standing in the way of us and the only restaurant, 1. Open, 2. Close enough for us to get to by foot.
This took me back to my first ever ‘traveller’ experience in Kenya when I was 17. Unfloored (by this I mean either mud or concrete), full of cannabis smoke and toilets manned by two sleeping woman demanding 10 Baht (£0.30) for use of facilities that are barely even established. It was this evening that I was first introduced to the delight go tom yum - if you haven't, its a must. Tom Yum is a Thai soup or broth thats a type of hot and sour taste but a definite taste of lemongrass
normally made with shrimp. Its heaven.