A Tale of a Long Distance Relationship

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

– Laozi

I rarely post about my relationship online, but when I do, I post enough so people are aware that I am in a relationship, though not too much so that others are also IN my relationship. There is a difference between privacy and secrecy, and I wanted to establish that for myself. However, for the past year, I have been in a long distance relationship (LDR) and I thought that my experience of it could be shared with others who are going through the same thing, about to, or wanted to know more about what a LDR entails.

[Background information, this is my first ever relationship.] Blushes in embarrassment.

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Being in a different place was difficult enough, but also a different time zone (6/7 hours difference to be exact) was trying at times. Nonetheless, despite all this, I came to realise that a LDR is not like what the movies portrayed it to be. It was not something completely heart-crushing, that you thought about breaking-up whenever you were unable to physically be next to the other person, and then end up separated. No, not at all. It made me fall even more in love with the man who showed how committed he was to me, who was willing to wait for my return, who devoted his heart into this relationship, into us.

I think a relationship should consist of a physical and emotional bond. Not just romantic relationships, but any relationship, even friendship. The ability to physically and emotionally be supportive and loving in our words, actions, and feelings. But that is not possible in a LDR. So we had to learn how to rely on each other’s soul to keep the relationship alive. Without the physical contact of seeing one another – which had to be stripped away – we were left with our personalities, our interests, likes and dislikes, and our minds and memories. It was a big challenge, without a doubt, but I knew that this distance would help set the foundations for our relationship, knowing and trusting in God to deliver us.

I had to learn to love from afar. Even though I wanted to be the one to physically support my partner when he needed me, to be there with him to celebrate his achievements, and just exist in each other’s presence, I knew my choices would prohibit me to do so.

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It was the little things we did for one another, that played a contributing factor in keeping us together. We said good morning and goodnight, everyday. We sent letters, small gifts, texted, Skyped, and called. We played online games, encouraged one another in our studies – by being study buddies – even though we studied different degrees. We tried our best to be what they other person needed in each moment.

In all relationships, you have to be selfless. This is very true for a LDR. You have to be thoughtful, understanding and supportive. Patience is key. Truth. It is about how much effort and love you are willing to invest into your relationship that makes it seem almost effortless to maintain. Of course it was hard at times, because I did not have my best friend around to do all the things we did, when back in England. He has always been a supportive best friend AND boyfriend. He wanted me to take chances in life, just like this study abroad year. However, I still felt so guilty for leaving him behind, as I jetted off to many different countries without him. I felt that I was responsible for his loneliness, for the absence, for making him wait, for making his first serious relationship become a long distance relationship.

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This is also an appreciation post.

My love, I have so many reasons to give thanks to you:

  1. Thank you for taking a chance on our relationship, knowing that we would have to spend the first year of it apart.
  2. Thank you for arranging a rose to be waiting outside my bedroom door on Valentine’s day,  with the help of my housemate.
  3. Thank you for sending me my favourite British snacks to munch on!
  4. Thank you for going to sleep late, just to say good morning to me, knowing that you will be exhausted the next day.
  5. Thank you for sending me endless selfies upon request, so that I felt like I was with you, each and everyday.
  6. Thank you for encouraging me to try new things, especially with flying to different countries across Asia.
  7. Thank you for being my doctor when I was ill, drastically researching ways for me to recover from the different illnesses I had, such as the fever, chest infection, and diarrhoea (too much information!)
  8. Thank you for your letters, postcards, and gifts that you sent to me, knowing that it was expensive alone just sending them (I will repay you, somehow).
  9. Thank you for my bouquet of roses to be placed in my room for our anniversary.
  10. Thank you for loving me, and proving that not all LDR results in a break-up.

I have more to thank you for…but these will have to do, for now.

People are so black and white when it comes to relationships in general, thinking that it is about giving and taking. It is about trusting, challenging, encouraging, faithfulness, loyalty, understanding, commitment, and above all, love.

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I can love, because He loved me first. Jesus is the one who holds our relationship together, and I cannot post this, without giving thanks to Him. Love conquers all, and I am blessed, SO BLESSED, to not only love, but to also BE loved in return.

The saying, “right person, wrong time,” mingled itself amongst my thoughts. Why now, when I am about to leave? Why now, when I will be in another country? Why now, when I will be on another continent? Yet, I realised that with the right person, it will never be the wrong time. God’s timing is perfect. We both were meant to meet one another at that moment in our lives, because it helped us to reflect on how much we wanted to invest into our relationship. I did not know if it was a wise decision to enter my first EVER relationship, as a long distance one. I prayed a lot over this, and I trusted my heart and Christ, that as long as I had faith in Him, myself, and my boyfriend, this would be one of the best decisions I would ever make, to love.

It certainly was worth the wait, worth the distance, and worth the time, because it revealed that WE are worthy of loving one another.

This LDR tested whether we were truly and faithfully committed to one another, and deserving of each other. The distance made me appreciate everything I have in England. It made me fall in love with my country, family, friends, boyfriend, and my church, all over again.

[BUSTED: I informed my boyfriend that I would be extending my time in Asia for an additional one month period, in order to travel. Therefore, he thinks I will be back in the middle of August. Little does he know, it is a lie. He shall know soon enough when I am back!]

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

(1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

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See you very soon, my pancake.

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Songkran

Songkran is Thailand’s New Year’s festival, celebrated on the 13th April each year. I was lucky enough to experience Songkran this year, in Bangkok, as I went to Khao San Road to celebrate it with my housemates. I will share my experience of Songkran.

Many wonderful things happen on Songkran, and I managed to witness a few of the events. Firstly, Songkran is essentially like a water festival, where water is thrown onto everyone, regardless of where you are, and what you are doing. Many places hold water fights, and people will bring along their water guns and other water devices to celebrate. The water is used as a metaphor for cleansing oneself from the past, and to start new. In addition, I saw people bringing along baby powder mixed with water, and they would walk on by as they touched people with it. However, I was unsure whether it was a sign to symbolise something, or just additional fun amongst the new year.

Everyone has a genuine smile upon their faces, and they will wish you a happy new year, even if they do not know you. It was literally the biggest water fight in the world. Do not bring any valuables with you, unless you want it to get wet, or if you have a waterproof bag. Even then, it is not enough! Water comes from every direction, and it is just a joy to be amongst the festivities. Unfortunately, I cannot comment about the other events held on Songkran, because I was unable to witness it all. This post does not do any justice for how amazing Songkran truly is! (I guess you will all have to experience it for yourself!)

I highly recommend everyone adding Songkran onto their bucket list, because it is an experience of a lifetime.

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Now, on to the outfit. It is a custom to wear a flowery type of pattern on Songkran, and so this was my attempt.

  1. Sunglasses – purchased in Malaysia at an unknown store, for an unknown price (sorry for my bad memory!)
  2. Choker – purchased in Bangkok for around the price of 100 Baht (just an estimation)
  3. Off-the-shoulder top – the top came with a matching head tie (which I decided to wear on my thigh as a gun holder), and was bought for the price of 200 Baht at the market stall in Central Plaza, Salaya
  4. Shorts – I bought it a year ago on eBay, and I am sorry to say again, I do not remember the price for it

(Sorry for being so useless and forgetful about the price of each item and where I purchased them from!)

Black & White

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A simple outfit, but very versatile – depending on how you style it. The top I am wearing is actually a cropped T-shirt tucked in! I wanted to have a fun, party-vibe, and decided that perhaps a strapless style top would better suit the cigarette trousers that I was wearing.

  1. Choker Necklace with a Charm – I purchased this choker at a market stall in Thailand for roughly the equivalent of £1.
  2. Top – This top came as a two piece set (with a grey vest top overlay) for the sum total of 240 Baht, which is approximately £5, from the superstore Tops.
  3. Cigarette Trousers – Costing around £20, I bought these trousers from UNIQLO (more than what I would normally spend), but the quality is great.
  4. Wedge Heels – From Next, but I am unable to remember the exact price of the heels (around £15 maybe?) Extremely comfortable and easy to walk around in!

An outfit that can be adapted to almost any occasion.

“Comparison is the Thief of Joy”

“Comparison is the thief of Joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

In life, it is difficult to not compare ourselves to people around us. We compare ourselves to our friends, our co-workers, our family members, and even people in the media. Even if we choose not to compare ourselves to others, there will always be people who will do that for us, and remind us of that. It is a vicious cycle.

“Comparison is the thief of joy,” and recently I have seen this statement evolve in my life. I am just like everyone else. I most commonly compare myself to my classmates and peers. It has left me feeling dejected about myself and my life. I see my friends doing amazing things, excelling academically, opening up their own businesses, and even starting up their home. And perhaps the most artificial comparison, I even compare our looks.

Sometimes, I feel like a working class girl, playing a middle class game.

However, I realised that I was not being fair to them or myself. Of course, I was extremely happy for them, because they worked hard to get to where they are. Yet, I also need to remind myself that if I was in their position and had their opportunities, I would probably do just as well as them, whatever “well” means, not trying to claim that their efforts are simply a result of their socioeconomic class. Nonetheless, we are different people, and my differences has led me to where they are, despite not having the same start in life and opportunities that my friends had. I should remind myself that I am just as good as them, no better, no worse. I should be happy for them, as well as myself.

Instead of comparing ourselves, we should be praising our efforts, for our situation is unique to us. In addition, we need to empower one another, and support each other in our endeavours. This life is too short to be envious over other people. We need to remember that we are all at different stages of our lives, and we all have different backgrounds and opportunities. Otherwise, we will never know joy if we are constantly focusing on how other people are doing, and ignoring our own lives.

There is no love in jealousy, only bitterness.

Love your neighbours, and love yourself.

Racism: More Than a Black and White Issue

This post has been influenced by the BBC’s televised interview with Robert Kelly and his family, during the discussion concerning North and South Korea. It led me to reflect more on my own experience, as well as the experience of other people I know, when it comes to racism.

BBC Broadcast

The video sparked debates about whether Jung-a Kim was the nanny or the mother of the children in the video. People claim that thinking Mrs Kelly was a nanny was just stereotyping, not racism. However, they have based their stereotypes on her ethnicity. Is this a form of mild racism? To me, it is the equivalent of assuming all Mexicans are drug dealers, or that those who practice Islam are terrorists, which is not true! (Those who say you cannot be racist when it comes to Islam, I beg to differ. People do not stereotype white Muslims as much as non-white Muslims. Therefore, if a person chooses to stereotype a particular ethnic group of Muslims, that is racism).

Let me ask a question. If it was a white woman who entered Robert Kelly’s study room in the same manner as Jung-a Kim did, would people have assumed that she was the nanny?

It was very admirable of Mrs Kelly to dismiss the accusations of her being a nanny, so that others could simply enjoy the clip and move on. However, I do not believe that dealing with racism should be done by ignoring it. How are we supposed to progress if we cannot address the issue at hand? This may appear like a minor incident, but situations like this do occur on a large scale. For instance, racial profiling is an extreme example of what happens when an individual is judged based on their racial identity. Small incidents, like this one, can always lead to a larger one, with society believing it to be acceptable to judge a person based on their race.

Casual Racism

Racism against East Asians tend to be a form of casual racism that is invoked into society as socially acceptable. Mocking their accents, the way they dress, their customs, as well as their facial features, has become part of the common culture of “joking”. People dismiss racism altogether in these scenarios, because they claim that a “joke” cannot be a form of racism. In addition, if you argue against that statement, other people will claim that you are too sensitive. Asking if our name is “Ching Chong”, as well as slanting your eyes with your fingers, is racism. I do not understand how degrading someone based on their ethnicity, is highly amusing? This is not an appreciation of their culture, but rather, a mocking of it.

Beauty and the Beast

On another note, I went to watch the live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast when it was released, with my friends. After we watched it, I asked my friend, what did he think of the movie? He informed me that he enjoyed it, but wished there was more diversity in the movie. I was thinking, but there was? He meant not simply black and white actors, Asians too. I realised that for a movie that was promoting diversity in its production, it was not truly promoting diversity at all. (But this is another matter to discuss another time).

Study Abroad

Studying abroad in Thailand for seven months so far, I have witnessed this Western idea taken place amongst a few international students, as well as tourists in Thailand. They want to visit Asia, without having to deal with Asians. They have no desire to actually be involved with getting to know other Thai students, and so create their own separate group. But then they have the cheek to question why Thai students always stay in a group with other Thai students, when they are doing the same with foreign students. (Obviously, there is more to this situation that I myself do not know about).

Understanding

Where do Asians fit within the concept of racism? Why is our experience of racism ignored? Why are our issues made to be seen as less important? Of course, the Asian experience of racism is more varied than what I have spoken about. It is more complex than that.

I am not trying to claim that one group experience of racism is greater than another. I am trying to acknowledge that a form of casual racism exists towards the Asian community. I am not trying to make every issue a race issue. But when racial issues do occur, I cannot ignore it, whoever it is towards. Racism should not be just a black and white issue. It should be a people issue.

Unfortunately, I cannot speak on behalf of other ethnic minorities who experience racism, because I have never been in their position to understand what they have been through. However, I would like to know more about their stories. Nonetheless, racism should be a concern for EVERYONE. Something for us to address, educate on, and solve together.

Cambodia

Last month, I spent a weekend in Siem Reap with my housemates, and before I went, I did not know what to expect.

Quite a lot of Cambodians working in the tourist industry were very well spoken in numerous amount of different languages. I heard them speaking English, French, German, Mandarin, Japanese and so on. I was truly impressed by how accommodating they were. I also loved listening to Khmer being spoken by the locals.

Overall, my short experience of Cambodia was extremely pleasant. Here are some of the things I did during my stay:

Angkor Wat

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In all honesty, if you ever have the chance to visit Cambodia, you must visit Angkor Wat – this is something perhaps most people would suggest. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world, as well as being a beautiful sight to behold. There are several different types of tickets you can purchase when visiting Angkor Wat. The most popular types of tickets are the sunrise and sunset tickets. I decided to buy the sunrise ticket, so that I could watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat. Be warned, there are A LOT of people, so it can be a challenge to find a decent place to stand/sit and watch the sunrise. There are also many people with large cameras and tripods who will ask you to move out of the way, as they dictate most of the area for their cameras, rather than enjoying the moment as it is. But I guess that’s the downside of visiting a temple as beautiful as Angkor Wat, many others also want to visit it too. Nonetheless, do not let this prohibit you from visiting it.

Pub Street

[Forgot to take a photo of pub street! Sorry!]

Pub street is basically a very touristy area, and as the name implies, with many pubs and clubs clustered together in one area. It had a very friendly vibe and fun environment to be in. There is also plenty of street food to try out, and market stalls on the side. Make sure not to get conned, because some of the sellers will obviously attempt to charge you a higher price for what the product is worth (since I bought a skirt that was immediately ripped after one wash – the material was of very bad quality). You can always bargain with the sellers, as they are more than willing to sell off their products off as soon as possible. Everything is relatively cheap anyways, so bargaining for every item is not necessary.

Rent a Bike

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Renting bikes in Siem Reap is a very popular thing to do, and there are many bikes around from different shops that you can rent from. It is a relaxing way to get to know the neighbourhood surrounding one’s stay, but I would only recommend renting a bike for those who are confident on the roads in ASIA! The drivers and roads are not as safe as those in many Western countries. That being said, you can still rent a bike if you choose not to go on the main road, then that is fine.

Temple Tour

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I took part in a temple tour, which consisted of me visiting five different temples in one day. It felt like I was temple hopping.

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Nonetheless, Cambodia is a lovely place to visit, and the Cambodians make it even lovelier. This is definitely one South East Asian country you should visit whenever you can. It is full of personality and friendly people.

(And what made my experience of Cambodia even better, was travelling with amazing and loving friends.)

Lent

Small Background Information

Around this time last year, I did not do anything for Lent. Despite being a Christian, I knew very little about it.

This year, I made sure to do my research so that I could get involved.

Asking around, and looking for information, I now know that Lent is a period of time which many Catholics and Christians are involved in. “The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, doing penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement, and self-denial.” (Wikipedia may not be a reliable source, but I thought that since it was a great explanation and not an essay, so why not? *gives a cheeky smirk*). 

It relates to Jesus, and his endurance against temptation by Satan, in the wilderness.

What Lent Means to Me

For myself personally, I view Lent as a period of time I can truly humble myself and connect with God as much as I can. I want to go deeper into my relationship and be detached from wordly things. This is an opportunity to reflect on what I have done in the past, and be able to improve my heart towards God and other people in my life. It is a chance to demonstrate a godly behaviour, which I have not been doing for a while.

Going Vegetarian

I have decided to become a vegetarian for Lent, for various reasons:

1. I seem to have a mild obsession with chicken, and thought I should be more disciplined in what I chose to indulge in.

2. I am against animal cruelty and exploitation, hence why I choose not to buy animal tested products, and not visit any tourism industry where animals are used for entertainment. I realised that my eating lifestyle was a contradiction to my belief, and so Lent became an opportunity for me to live out that belief.

3. This was something I wanted to do for a while, and to see how it impacts on my wellbeing.

4. I wanted to contribute to help changing the world, even if it was just a small role on my behalf.

This blog post is nothing special, just my chance to remember my first Lent.

Friendship

In life, you will encounter many people. Some of those people were meant to stay, and others were meant to leave. Some you will learn from, and others you will teach. You will have friends for-right-now, and friends for life. Whoever they are, make sure you love them and be kind.

I am very blessed to have a group of friends who are fiercely loyal, extremely loving, and all incredible in their own way. Not to brag, but my friends are full of talent, ambitious, intelligent, courageous, faithful, daring, and great blessings in my life.

Unfortunately, I have not been good with communicating with them, due to my busy life, and essentially, laziness. From this, stemmed awkwardness and I realised that if I wanted to remain friends with them, I needed to make an effort or I would lose them. One of the best things for a strong friendship, is honesty. I was holding back a lot of what I wanted to say, fearing that I would hurt someone. However, that is not healthy for any friendship. We all must understand that communication is key, but so is listening to each other’s opinion. By talking with my friends, our friendship kept getting stronger, and I was glad. Something that we should all do with our friends (and those we do not call friends too):

  1. Be Honest
  2. Be Loving
  3. Be Loyal
  4. Be Compassionate
  5. Be Kind

If you cannot talk to your friends about the good, the bad, and the ugly, are they even your friends? Are you even theirs?

In friendship, no one is a burden, and YOU most definitely are not a burden to me.

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The Far Away Friends

Now, these friends, they LITERALLY are far away. I have been lucky enough to be good friends with many people across the globe. However, I have made two special friends, a darling in the USA, and a sweetheart living in France. These are the friends I speak to once in awhile, and I know that, even though we may not be in  constant contact or be able to cross paths with day-in-day-out, we shall remain friends. They had a significant impact on me, during a part of my life when I had to experience change. These are the friends who helped those changes bearable.

This also includes my secondary school friends, who are all now at different universities, or working, and still smashing life!

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The Ones Who Left

Theses friends were always meant to leave my life. They served their purpose and I realised – now looking back – the only way for any of us to move on and into the future, was by letting go. I learned a lot from these former friends. I learned about who I wanted to be, and that was, I no longer wanted to be the person I was, when with them. Although, without them, I would not be the person that I am today, and I can’t thank them enough for opening my eyes and making me wake-up before it was too late. Of course, sometimes I would like to know how they are doing with their lives, but I do not think I will ever know. So with these friends, it is best to say goodbye and, in the words of Walter Disney, “Keep Moving Forward.”

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Childhood Friends

Meeting each other so early in life, and still being connected, is an absolute honour. My girls are absolutely amazing. Be jealous. These are the friends who know WAY too much about you, and have witnessed enough of your life to write an embarrassing book documenting it all! Goodness Gracious. Nonetheless, you know that there will always be a special place in your heart for them, and that even when difficulties arise, you were meant to be friends forever. (Sorry, you’re stuck with me *gives a cheeky smirk*).

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Family

One of the best gifts in life, is being able to call your family members, your friends. My mother and sisters are true gifts from God Himself. Before anything else, they are my family first, but I have the privilege to also call them my friends. They make me laugh, they make me cry, and they make me feel loved, more than I deserve.

And The Rest…

You have many different types of friends, and perhaps you have not worked out the purpose of them being in your life just yet, but in the end, you know that you love them all.

Friends are gifts, so make sure you cherish each and every one of them. Look after them, and they will look after you. Soon you will realise that, even though life may be hard, it is less harder with your friends around to support you.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” – Proverbs 17:17

Ethnically Ambiguous…?

It is quite ironic that I am constantly being mistaken for a mixed race person…and I am not even mixed race…

I will not get offended, or hold it against people who assume I am of a mixed heritage, in the traditional sense (as I am half Chinese and half Vietnamese – barely a mix). Although, I do not think I look like a mixed person. Nonetheless, I do accept that looks are very complex and range widely, so I do understand where people may get confused. I am honestly flattered when people ask me if I am mixed of Spanish, Filipino, or even sometimes an African heritage (and believe me when I say, people have questioned me about a LOT of random ethnicities too). Whasian? Blasain? What are you? Now things become complicated…

Phrasing

Be careful with how you ask a person about their ethnic origin. I personally do not mind people asking me about my ethnic background, but it is the way people phrase the questions that offends me. Avoid saying the following:

  1. “What ARE you?”
  2. “Where are you FROM from?”
  3. “Where are you from ORIGINALLY?”

Just stop it already, these jokes are going to make me laugh. Ha.Ha. Ha. Oh, you were not joking?

Beauty

Sometimes when people ask me about my heritage, I know it is just innocent curiosity. However, when people informed me that it was a “good” thing to be mistaken as a mixed race person, I realised that was a subtle insult to my own ethnicity. It is a generally accepted statement that mixed race people are beautiful (and of course they are, but so is everybody). To assume that in order for me to be beautiful, I must be mixed race, is extremely offensive to me. Does that mean someone like myself, who is from an Asian heritage, cannot be beautiful from being Asian alone? That is messed up. Of course I can! So can everybody else!

Accent

People also assume that I am mixed because of my “posh” British accent (it is not posh, I just use the English language correctly, but some beg to differ). Who knew that a person of Asian heritage could actually be born and raised in an English speaking country, and consequently master the English language?! Shocker!!! (That was sarcasm by the way, in case you did not get it – another British trait I have picked up from being British and all that jazz…)

Belonging

Sometimes, I get confused about where I belong and who I’m supposed to be. I am too “Asian” for the British community, and too “British” for the Asian community. Help!

We are all probably a mix of various ethnic backgrounds, but do not assume that things such as beauty and language acquisition belongs to an elite group of people.

Let me just say, mixed or not mixed, you are all BEAUTIFUL, all races, all ethnicities, all languages, and all people – everyone is beautiful! Beauty is not mutually exclusive to a select race or ethnicity.

Just think before you speak, and remember, that beauty is more than just appearance.

Hua Hin

Hua Hin is a beautiful seaside resort, that is 3 hours south from Bangkok. I had the chance to visit the place, and it was a very touristic area, but still pleasant at the same time. Personally, for myself, it did not scream THAILAND but rather, a catered version of Thailand for foreign visitors. Nonetheless, it contains a beautiful beach, which was located right at the back of my hotel, so the pool led straigh onto the beach.

CAVES AND MOUNTAINS

Furthermore, I researched online about a famous cave an hour away from Hua Hin called, Phraya Nakhon Cave, and decided that it would be one place I must visit with my housemates. However, I was very clueless that to get to the cave, one must climb moutains…in this case, I had to climb TWO! It was a major shock for me, realising that I had to climb up a very steep and bumpy mountain, with no safety equipment at all. To top it all off, I am a very clumsy person, so I was petrified each time my foot would slip across the rocks, and as a result, I ended up lagging behind my friends (it was definetely an unforgettable experience). Each step, was to my belief, an inch closer to death, and I just wanted to end this trip. Fortunately, when I eventally reached the bottom of the mountain, after climbing both moutains twice, I was very proud of myself for not giving up (not an achievement that should really gain praise, but come on, I was a fish out of water).

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NIGHT MARKETS

Thailand is famous for night markets, and Hua Hin was no exception to this. Cicada Market was perhaps one of the best night markets I have ever been to, and it did not disappoint! Luckily, on the evening I went, there was a music festival going on at the same time, inside the market.

Photos featuring my housemates (aka The Fabulous 5).

If ever you get the chance to visit Thailand, I’d say spend a weekend in Hua Hin as part of your trip. I would advise that a few days are better than a week, since you can get most of what you want to do, done, within a couple of days.