She Left Sydney… For Thailand

Sawasdee! Hello!

Well that’s it… I’m finally in Bangkok, Thailand! But, as normal, there were a few hiccups along the way.

So I guess the best place to start is this morning. 3am to be exact. I decided in my half-asleep wisdom to turn off my alarm. A great idea if you wanted a sleep in. Or if you accidentally set the alarm. Or if you didn’t really want to wake up and you were just kidding yourself the night before when you set the alarm. What it’s not good for is when you need to be at the airport at 7:30am and the 3am alarm was set so you could (finally) pack. Whoops.


A final few checks that I had everything, a few extended goodbyes, and it was off through customs. That was it. No more friends or family for 34 days. (Except for those flying up in 2 days time. But you don’t think of that when you’re standing in line at customs with puffy red eyes.) I made my way through customs, and then a body scan. Yep, you read right – a body scan. So I’m not sure if this is a new thing, or if it’s just because I haven’t travelled in a while but oh golly. I had to stand in a glass cage with my hands in a diamond above my head as a super quick X-ray whizzed around me and scanned my body. Kinda invasive, kinda cool. Youtube it!


8.5 hours later and I wake up to a smoggy, 28 degree Bangkok. It’s beautiful. The landing was perfect, and there has always been something welcoming about touching down in Asian countries to me. I think it has to do with my heritage, and the memories associated with the smells of Asian countries – but it’s almost like an overwhelming sense of familiarity. I managed to nab myself an express immigration pass to cleared immigration and customs pretty quickly before jumping into a taxi towards my hotel.

Just to give you a quick update – Thailand is currently in the middle of huge political unrest. There have been antigovernment demonstrations in the middle of the city that have become violent and left many people injured. You can feel a sense of unease in the air. On the way towards to hotel, I passed a police blockade. We were travelling in the opposite direction, so I didn’t really get a good look at what was happening, but you can’t miss the number of police around Bangkok. They’re everywhere you look at the moment. I don’t ever recall it being like this on past visits. I am intrigued as to how intense things will get as we get closer to February 2nd when there are scheduled elections.

But, I wasn’t going to let all this doom and gloom ruin my first day. I was pretty tired when I arrived at the hotel, and managed to touch base with home before heading out to explore the block that my hotel was on. Considering the situation at the moment, I was pretty wary about straying too far from the safety of the hotel, so the street stalls around Chong Nonsi BTS were the plans for the night. I’ve always had a pretty good stomach for street food, so I got pretty excited about what was around. There were noodle stalls, seafood-on-a-stick stalls, BBQ meat stalls – but I felt like something refreshing, so the fruit stall caught my eye. Those of you who are good friends with me probably understand my love/hate relationship with pineapple. It is delicious, but is the hardest fruit in the entire world to cut up. Bangkok has provided me with an answer to my biggest life problems. Precut Pineapple. For $1. Oh man.


Sawasdee-Tom-Kham! Good Night!

This is an excerpt from Sarah’s personal blog She Left Sydney: A Story About How One Girl Went to Find the World. Check it out to read more about her experience in Thailand on the Australian Youth Ambassadors in Thailand program!

Sarah Portwine

Sarah 2 Sarah 3

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