Three years! I can’t believe it’s been almost three years since we said our ‘I do’s!’ and travelled to Thailand on honeymoon.

This holiday is still our absolute favourite, not only because we were on honeymoon and we had just gotten married, but because we truly immersed ourselves into the Thai culture for two weeks (except for staying at a tourist resort) and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

We ate at roadside joints, pulling over like the locals do when hunger strikes and riding scooters till our bums were numb.

Our original idea was to backpack through parts of Thailand and while this would have been incredible, I’m glad we opted rather for a typical honeymoon resort stay, at the Centara Karon Resort. The heat in Thailand is like nothing I’d experienced before. After a big breakfast (including waffles – daily), I’d have to have to Pepsi by 9am just to get my sugar up and ready for the day. By 9.30am, we’d already have been in the pool.

Days were spent beach hopping, experiencing the culture and doing all the touristy stuff. By hiring a shared scooter, we were able to see parts of Phuket that some tourists may not see and we discovered so much more than just the usual spots.

We rode an elephant, which I hated despite knowing the Thai are incredibly protective over their elephants and care deeply for them. I found the experience cruel, even though the elephants weren’t harmed in any way. Maybe it’s their sad, knowing eyes. Maybe it’s just me.

Evenings were spent around the pool which is buzzing with activities, entertainment and cocktails or spent wandering through the numerous night markets, eating Phad Thai’s and fresh fruit.

One of the most memorable memories was visiting a Thai Muslim fishing village on stilts off of one of the Islands. We’d arranged our own private tour and when we arrived by boat, were left to explore by ourselves. What an eye opener! The village is completely surrounded by the sea and is one of the very few to have survived a Tsunami some years ago. Tourists aren’t all that welcomed  to the island, although there is a small market catering for them. We walked through the market, buying a pearl necklace in support of the community and ventured into the living quarters, which I am sure is off bounds. But there we truly got to see how this community lives. Babies hang in hammocks during their mid morning naps while moms bead and peel fruit at the entranceways to their homes. It really is the simple life.

The islands like Phi Phi and James Bond are covered in tourists but still an experience you shouldn’t miss if touring Thailand. This part of the world is exceptionally beautiful and the water and sea life is just incredible. We went snorkelling and canoeing and while an octopus swimming beneath me almost had me running on water back to the boat, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

And then there’s the people. They’re known as the smiling nation and if I could bottle their way of life, their friendliness, their determination to make the simple work, and bring it back to South Africa, I would. Their way of life is hard and they’re a hard working nation. In sweltering conditions, I’m begging for a Pepsi and a bit of shade or pool to cool off in, and they’re working, cleaning streets, selling, creating, crafting, massaging, sewing… with the most basic of equipment or tools. I spent much of the holiday photographing these friendly faces, and admiring their tenacity. Oh for nothing else, I’d go back for the people.

And there’s the sunsets. The food. The streets. The markets. The carefree way of life. The simple way of life. The exquisite resorts. The clear blue sea. The soft beach sand. The unforgettable tan!!! The Phad Thai’s. The pineapples. The fruit smoothies. The banana and caramel crepes… I could go on!

We made a promise on our honeymoon to return to Thailand in five year’s time. Here’s hoping we can make it happen again!

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