Rebecca Ezrin is a journalism junior studying abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand. With many class field trips and personal trips planned, her adventures are virtually endless. She aims to share her authentic experiences and what she has learned. Over spring break, she travelled south to Bangkok and then the Thai islands.
Bangkok is Thailand’s capital and most populated city, with more than 8 million people and comprising approximately 12 percent of the country’s population. Rooftop bars are a common tourist attraction, giving tourists a 360-degree view of the city’s giant buildings, some of which reach 80 floors tall.
Located on the west coast of Southern Thailand is the province of Krabi, which includes more than 80 smaller islands, such as the well-known Ko Phi Phi and Ko Lanta. This photograph was taken on Railay beach, which is made up of limestone rock faces. It attracts rock climbers from all corners of the world. The location also serves as a venue for the annual Rock and Fire Festival.
When I reached Ko Samui, I decided it was time for me to “test the waters” by going to a fish spa. This process involves several small fish, known as Garra Rufa or “doctor fish,” which suck the dead skin off of people’s feet. The sensation was tickly and weird, but it definitely smoothed my skin. In Middle Eastern countries, “doctor fish” are used medically to treat those with skin diseases, but in Thailand they are simply used for beauty purposes.
Once a month, the Thai islands celebrate a “Half Moon Party,” in addition to a “Full Moon Party.” “Full Moon Parties” in Ko Phangan attract up to 30,000 people every month. The parties are full of fire dancers and tourists dressed up in neon, giving off a rave-like theme. Though I was only able to attend the “Half Moon Party” on Ko Phangan’s neighboring island of Ko Samui, it was pretty spectacular nonetheless.
When I got to Ko Phi Phi, I realized that fire dancing was hugely cultural for southern Thailand. Every night there was a fire dancing performance on the beach outside of our hostel. Some of the boys performing were as young as seven years old. Pictured, a fire dancer carries a tourist under the “limbo” stick. Hundreds of years ago, fire performing was introduced to Thailand by Polynesians.
The next day, we took a boat tour around Ko Phi Phi. Our first stop was Monkey Beach. Though I had come into contact with Southeast Asia’s aggressive monkeys before, they continuously caught me off guard as they spontaneously attacked people and stole belongings. Apparently they were in search of bananas.
Our final destination before ending spring break was Maya Bay, where we went snorkeling. The Bay has been a huge tourist attraction since The Beach was filmed there in 1999. Because of this, many people around the world who have not even heard of the Phi Phi islands have still heard of Maya Bay.