Dolly Nghixulifwa, travel enthusiast and all round lover of life and adventure took on Thailand and had a whale of a time.
Why did you decide on Thailand?
A well-seasoned traveler who happens to be my colleague had been telling me how amazing Thailand was and how I should plan trip there. At first, it seemed like a casual conversation but after some persuasion and lots of research, I was decided. The kingdom of Thailand seemed very attractive because it boasted clear waters perfect for snorkeling ,white sandy beaches ,exquisite cuisines, a rich culture and a bustling nightlife. I found it very hard to resist such a luscious paradise, so I was packing my bags and going to Thailand for vacation.
How did you afford to travel, What was your saving plan?
I planned my trip through a travel agency. I knew from the onset that I wanted to explore the island vibes of Phuket as well as the city life of Bangkok. So I requested that my agent customize my package and book me for 5 nights in Phuket and 2 nights in Bangkok .My request was granted and I was required to make an initial payment of N$1000.00. Then I paid the rest of the amount later. I was able to afford the trip because I had begun a “Travel” savings account about six months in advance to my full payment being due.
Did you have any fears traveling in Asia, being so far away from your comfort zone?
To be honest,I felt more excited than fearful because I had heard so many awesome reviews from people that had vacationed there (my colleague obviously and a friend). As for my comfort zone, I’m naturally spontaneous and I adjust so well to new spaces and experiences. Plus, I had mentally prepared myself and had decided that I wanted to fully immerse myself in this experience. I wanted to truly feel everything and live in the moment. I must say it worked out absolutely great for me.
What was your first culture shock?
My first culture shock was the fact that you have to take your shoes off before you enter certain buildings as a way to show respect. I found myself taking my shoes off when I had to enter the upside down house in ‘old-town’ Phuket and at the massage parlour at the hotel. After “googling” into it ,the basis is that the shoes may have stepped on all types of dirt on the street like poo or other nasties and it’s just disrespectful to walk around with them on in certain establishments like homes,temples,schools and small stores.
What was your favorite place to visit in Thailand?
Oh my goodness it has to be the day we went island hopping and stopped at all these beautiful islands for a swim or to snorkel.I remember snorkeling and tearing up when I could see the coral reefs and the fish swimming with the current..they were all so beautiful and unique, some were ‘Nemo–like’ hehehe. It was overwhelming to come to a realization that all that beauty is God’s wondrous works.I also loved Khai Nai Island with its clear waters and I could enjoy some fresh coconut water.
What is your favorite memory?
Apart from the out-of-this-world food (the food was aaaamazeballs).The burst of flavours where never- ending. I really love the Thai people, bless their souls they are so unbelievably sweet and hospitable. A cab driver in Bangkok was so fascinated by me (melanin poppin’) that he pulled out his phone and asked that we take a pic and then forwarded it to his contacts on his LIVE (equivalent to WhatsApp). Next thing, his daughter facetimes him and he excitedly hands over the phone to me to talk to her and I’m FACETiming the cab driver’s daughter who was showing me the dinner gathering they had and then asking me questions about my origin. Shame, she couldn’t believe she was talking a chocolate queen..lol! After the call ended, the driver was so excited he started using a translation app so that we could chat till we reached our destination.I really just love the enthusiasm, big smiles and effort. Og it was really sweet, the people really make the place.
Where to next?
Going for Samba classes in Latin America perhaps??? We will see.
What would be your top 5 Travel tips?
- When planning a trip to a tropical place,make sure you avoid the months that are susceptible to heavy rains or monsoons as the occurrence of those may dampen and spoil your entire trip.
- When buying goods on the street, try to negotiate and see if the seller will barge.
- Pack clothes that suit the weather conditions at your destination and remember to always have a jacket to keep the cold away in airplanes or when in transit.
- If you intend to swipe or make withdrawals, inquire if you are eligible to do so at the country you intend to travel to and make necessary arrangements with your local bank otherwise.
- After spending your hard-earned cash on your trip, make sure you have fun and enjoy it to the fullest. Positive and receptive attitude is key.