What Happened in Thailand, Stayed in Thailand

When wise people warn you to be careful with what you’re saying, and that there is power in manifesting, they are not, in any way, joking.

Last year, I remember saying to my mom and sister, “It must be fun to go to Thailand next year.” I thought it meant nothing, just me joking with tongue in cheek and ending up wishinga simple girl, I may be, but I wish for a lot of things. Going abroad to where I thought the native language would be quite a barrier felt too challenging at that time, thus the desire was buried deep and thereby was nowhere to be seen. Little did I know that what I had considered as a small personal talk was what the universe considered a manifestation of the said simple girl. Fast forward to a few months ago, an exciting announcement came: I was going to still be included in a trip to Thailand before I quit my current job.

Never have I realized the power of words. How dangerous they could be, but how beautiful they could be too. From that very moment, I became more vigilant about what coming out of my mouth. Likewise, my trip to Thailand this year was the epitome of danger and beauty. I put myself out there differently, and it felt dangerous all the while beautiful too.


A short getaway this time of the year was quite unexpected yet at the same time long-awaited. Since I had been worn to a shadow after weeks of not getting enough rest, going on a break seemed to resemble an oasis in the abandoned. Alas, sleeping was still a hard quest for me to do. It goes without saying that the thought of going abroad with some close colleagues before a new adventure began didn’t help my cause either.

If you've been following my travelogue these past two years, I’m sure you readers are well aware of the fact that I have this tendency to attract morning trips like honey to bees. Exactly one day before our trip to Thailand, I could only manage two hours' worth of sleep before waking up at 01.30 a.m. Our flight was scheduled to take off at seven. I figured I should just follow the unspoken norm and get ready even so early. The journey to the airport was peaceful. I was not yet enough energized.

We had more than enough spare time to spend, but time elapsed quickly when we had a good time. It didn't pain me to be more friendly to some workmates from other neighboring departments, and so I did. Our three hours waiting in the airport afterward went unnoticeable as me and my friends, both older and newer, talked and laughed about random, unnecessary things. We arrived in Bangkok around 11 in the afternoonno time difference to adjust to this time.

Upon our arrival, we were ushered to do what we had long been waiting for. Since airline breakfast was not exactly satisfactory, lunching at a pretty bistro called Sinthorn Steak House Restaurant located on Srinakarin Road, Bangkok, was a total level up. The food there was delicious. My personal favorite would be the tom yum. It was sour but super fresh!

After lunch, we went to visit a dried food souvenir shop. Since this was only the first day and I was hoping to shop much later into this trip, I only bought a pack of sweet fermented mangoes which tasted marvelous. If I had known it tasted that good, I would have bought more than one pack for sure. But what had happened stayed happened. In a jiff, we were all ready and already back on our bus, and the bus driver directed us to the famous Big Bee Farm.

Something sweet and good happened on our way there though. All of us were pampered by the most mouthwatering mango sticky rice I had ever tasted. There was nothing like enjoying a famous delicacy of one country in the actual country itself.

Traveler tips: Most of the people I met in Thailand, including our local tour guide, spoke Indonesian quite fluently. It was not at all out of place since I had then found out that tourists from Indonesia mushroomed everywhere I visited. At one point, I even felt like I didn’t go abroad at all. Thailand felt a lot like home, either environment or weather-wise.

Our first day in Thailand felt so long, so starkly juxtaposed with the fact that we actually didn’t do anything much. We spent most of our time on the road. I spent most of our time on the road sleeping.

After the long day we all had had, we spent the night watching the 07.50 p.m. Alcazar Show in Pattaya. The show itself was jam-packed with the ladyboys dancing and lip-syncing. It was also brimmed with luxurious background changes, so magnificent to the eye.

Unfortunately, it was drizzling before and after the show. Our way back to the hotel would be what I called a nostalgic surprise. I was on a bus with some fellow workers from other departments, and they made the bus seem lively with music and limited dancing. Laughter colored our night and almost no one realized that we were passing a flooded street at one point. And when the song “Kenangan yang Terindah” by Samsonsa good oldie from our countryplayed from the speaker, we all sang along. It felt like a bus full of high schoolers on a field trip.

In Pattaya before bed, some friends and I decided to visit the Seven Eleven nearby. If Bangkok reminded us of Jakarta, Pattaya reminded us of Kuta. Walking under the drizzle there felt somehow perfect.


I woke up at fifteen minutes past five the next morning feeling drowsy still. After taking a warm shower to freshen up, minimizing the risk of catching a cold, I applied a little makeup in the dimness of my hotel room. My trip to Thailand this year was the inauguration of me trying to enhance my facial features by wearing a touch of powder and stuff. And that, my friend, was the literal thing that resembled what I secretly felt the whole trip.

I have sensitive skin. Wearing makeup meant I put myself at risk of growing acne, but I wore it regardless as it made my face look much fresher. It was all I could debate about: the risk was high but the outcome evoked an appeal even higher.

Its literal meaning was the perfect match to fit the metaphorical puzzle. Putting myself out there, all quite ready and vulnerable, I finally sensed what I was not so sure of: hope. In Thailand, I realized that hoping was treacherous, yet there was something beautiful about it that made you feel like you had something to hold on to. No matter how big or small. No matter how futile it was. Like when you’re hoping for the rain to stop so you could go night strolling with some friends, or when you wished not to get seated on a bus with someone you barely knew.

It’s also kinda like when you hoped for a particular someone to actually notice you, and when he did notice you, you hoped that he actually had the drive to talk to you.

I think it’s safe to say that I kicked off the second day with quite an undecided feeling. Hoping might give you the fire, but its power would not save you when everything fell apart. Both sentiments grew dimmer after breakfast was over, thankfully. I tried to ignore the nagging point-of-view when we went to visit Gems Gallery not far from our hotel.

Gems Gallery was certainly a view with many glamorous jewelries, so of course, I didn't buy anything there. But I did buy a glass of fresh mango smoothies at Nongnooch Village afterward. It was a beautiful tropical garden with many dinosaur statues. All of us then watched the Thai Cultural Show there, followed by the elephant's attraction in the outdoor area, until the figurative lunch bell called out to us and we enjoyed the buffet.

Traveler tips: We’re prohibited from bringing any food or drink to the show arena, so please arrange your snacking time wisely.

What an exhausting day it had been already, though unsurprisingly it hadn’t ended just yet. We were scheduled to do a group photo in Laser Buddha, so off we went to a place where my sister's reaction to the picture I had shared was, "Everyone I know goes there when in Thailand." No surprise. It was one of Thailand’s most famous landmark attractions for its laser-carved 130-meter-tall and 70-meter-wide Buddha image.

A quick stop to Phetchaburi Road before going to Jodd Fairs

Right after our photo stop, we went to somewhere equally famous. Jodd Fairs was where we were asked to treat ourselves for the night. With swarms of people around, it's honestly a little hard for me to hunt for something interesting. A crowded place like this discomforted me, so I was quite proud that I managed to try more than one kind of food there: giant squid, strawberry caramel candy, vanilla and chocolate mochi, and lastly durian. For me, the first and last ones were, hands down, the best.

Our day was closed with us shopping for souvenirs in Big C since we had then switched hotels to Bangkok. Big C was such a big supermarket with affordable prices. You should go there before midnight when you visit Thailand on your next trip.

Going back to the hotel by tuk-tuk was sooo much fun!


If my first and second day in Thailand was a mosaic blur of walking and sightseeing, the third day was more solid. I didn’t wake up very early on the third day, but my friend and I did get ready a little more quickly to “rebel”. Instead of having breakfast in the hotel restaurant, we went to a nearby eatery called Kuang Heng. From our local tour guide we knew that the place was famous for its hainam rice.

Excited to "rebel" and try the local food instead

While my friend bought the deep-fried chicken to complement the rice, I chose to order the boiled chicken instead. We each paid 50 Baht to the auntie before kicking off our morning with a satisfied belly.

It was really hot in Thailand that day. Our itinerary brought us to go on a boat ride in the Chao Phraya River. It felt exactly the same as the boat ride I had experienced in Malaysia last year. The only thing that differentiated the past and the present was the chance to feed the fish. In Chao Phraya, we were given the option to buy 20-baht bread to throw into the river. Most of us didn’t think twice. Legend said, feeding the fish here would bring you luck.

Once we were done with the boat ride, we visited Wat Arun, a Buddhist temple located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. Reputed as Thailand’s very own Eiffel Tower, the craftsmanship of the temple was magnificent beyond words. It’s a little unfortunate that the scorching sun prevented us from wandering a little more deeply into it, so I wouldn’t say no to revisiting this place again someday.

A hot day called for a glass of iced Thai tea. We devoured what was offered to us quickly while taking shelter under a big tree. Since the shade managed to protect us from the intense sunlight, I felt like we were allowed to enjoy the day leisurely. What a perfect hot day in Bangkok, with a view so beautiful and splendid.

After having another great lunch in this country, we were then gifted some more free time in Chatuchak Weekend Market, and boy, did we spend it sightseeing some more! While most of my friends had this same goal to hunt for something more and interesting, mine was as simple as window shopping all thanks to my fully loaded cabin luggage. I had taken a mental note to buy a bigger one for my next trip.

The night following the hot, sunny day in Bangkok got a little blurrier over time. My friends and I went to Icon Siam and tried some food there before boarding the Chao Phraya River Cruise where the gala dinner took place. While waiting, we were pampered by a beautiful water fountain show beside the river. And the scenery suddenly took me back to my trip to Singapore. 

Crocodile meat tasted quite good, but it just didn't appeal to me...

For me, the fancy dinner seemed like a celebration of nothing, just something to honor our blood, sweat, and tears once a year. I was seated at a table with more familiar strangers than friends, and while the feeling of not fitting in arose, the experience still hit differently this time. Familiar strangers or not, it suddenly hit me that I wouldn’t be meeting them again in less than two weeks. The thought of having a new job, which had initially excited me, didn’t seem like a great idea then. Laughter and celebration pulled me into a chaotic silence.

I’m not going to lie: starting something new scared me. So many possibilities of what could happen clouded my vision, and there I was so afraid that I didn’t dare imagine. I feared like a mouse fearing a trap, also like a pretender and a con artist, skillfully masking the doubts. Hoping felt too dangerous somehow.

But then again, as I observed the pink, the black, and the laugh, I realized that there was something beautiful in not knowing what would happen next, that there was something beautiful in realizing that surprises made life more meaningful, and that there was nothing wrong with flying and falling. It's a life cycle I have to eventually adjust to. I might feel sad to leave behind some friends I have made over the years, but life is… life. It’s cruel but it’s beautiful.

I thought so much about it while savoring the nightlife offered like a margin of the river. Something about it felt familiar yet so far, kinda like seeing a face in every face, being mistaken just because.

Night strolling since it wasn't raining

The melancholic feeling stayed overnight. I woke up the next morning feeling a little empty now that my trip to Thailand was almost over. While I missed the familiar air of Jakarta, Bangkok offered something similar but excitingly different.

I paid for what I had missed out on the day before: dragging myself to the hotel restaurant to have breakfast. Since we were given the opportunity to go anywhere we wanted for several hours, my friend and I decided to once again go to a fashion mall nearby called Platinum, a department store widely known as December’s where I had bought two outfits from, and a local skincare shop named Tofu. It was a relaxing yet busy morning for us in Phetchaburi Road, with a vibe similar to Orchard Road.

I treated myself to a bottle of banana milk after wandering around Phetchaburi Road

Our last destination was the most-anticipated one for me: it’s the famous Ancient City in Bangkok. Before the trip began, my mom had told me about how amazing the place was courtesy of YouTube. And it didn’t disappoint. Lunch there was great, with many buffet and side dish options beside a small river. We then went on a small bus to wander around the place.

Before exiting the place, my friends and I decided to buy a 20-baht artificial leaf to write down our hope and hang it on. Hopefully ours, and the rest of the wishes written on the hanging leaves, will come to fruition.

Once we were done wandering around Ancient City, our guide took us back to the airport. Our trip there was then filled with debating what to do: while our arrival was estimated to be at 4 p.m., our flight was delayed to 08.30 p.m. In the name of killing time, I went to try McDonald’s pork burger and drink Pang Cha, a Michelin recommended. It was a fun time for my friends and me overall. We talked and laughed, and by that, time flew by before we even knew it.

A night flight was a peaceful flight. As I sat in my seat, comfortably enjoying the night gloom on the plane, I secretly hoped for a lot of things. I wished to come back here and rekindle such passion one day. I wished to constantly bear in mind that hoping was dangerous but it could be beautiful too. My local tour guide said that what happened in Thailand stayed in Thailand, but boy I’m going to miss this trip so much.