In February of 2017, Jen Allen visited Thailand for a Thai Yoga Massage Retreat. Here is here recount (part 1 of 3) of the experience…..I wanted to go to Thailand ever since I read the Dharma Punx book in my early 20’s. It was the story of a man from California that had a rough upbringing and found spirituality and personal growth by travelling and experiencing south east Asian culture. Many years later, when I began teaching yoga, talk of visiting foreign lands with beautiful landscapes, practicing yoga daily, and sampling local cuisine, was frequently discussed in our teacher training group. So, why Thailand? Why Thai Yoga Massage?

So yes, you can learn Thai Yoga Massage in the United States and even in Maryland, where I currently reside. However, nothing can quite compare with the experience of a different culture, meeting people from all over the world, and getting a Thai Yoga Massage on a shala floating in the middle of the Jungle surrounded by the sounds of monkeys, birds, and the water? Can you feel the breeze on your body as you lay and receive the thai yoga massage or give your own treatment to another? I think you get the picture. Before I even GET into the tranquil part of the trip, let me first preface by saying: Bangkok is forever busy and full of life!

A Few Tips When Visiting Bangkok

Accommodations. I found it VERY helpful to use airbnb or a similar service. First off, the rate is way cheaper at a house near the airport than what you would pay for a hotel (which is already great as I only paid $16/night) in the city. Not only that, the host, The Solunery Art House, was an INCREDIBLE experience! My flight got delayed by almost 2 hours and the host still welcomed me into her house at 2:45am Bangkok time. I apologized profusely for waking her but traditional Thai culture, my host was very kind and showed me to my room and around the house. ^_^

Another benefit of using airbnb was that I also got to hang out with other travelers and thus leads me to my next tip….

Ride in a Tuk Tuk. It’s a small, taxi like motobike that has been converted to carry passengers. You get to zoom out places all over the city and fit through traffic. Just don’t watch or worry about other drivers on the road, let your driver handle the roads and enjoy the ride! Here is where I traveled with newfound travel buddies Marjolein and Alexander. We also did yoga in the morning, all of us including Tossaporn!

Let’s not forget one of the most memorable things about Thailand (to me) THE FOOD.

Try the Street Food. The Thais are well known for their delicious cuisine on and off the street. With the prices and availability of street food, it’s WORTH it to buy from a vendor selling food on the street. Bangkok is PACKED with so many people, it is quicker and cheaper, yet still great quality (a-hem depending on the vendor) to get the street food. Think of it like the precursor to food-trucks here in the States!

Overall, Bangkok was a short stay in comparison to the following 12 days in Thailand at Surat Thani. In addition to sampling the local cuisine, it was great to be immersed in another culture and make connections with strangers from another country! At the end of the night, we did a fun drawing exercise with the host back at her place. She shared with me her kindness and gave me a gift to take home with our shared drawing we made together. The other two travelers (the mother and son duo) were great to meet and just happy to be out and traveling. Bangkok was just a blip in my trip, but it will definitely be a place I go visit again.

Now….coming up next week is the MAIN reason for going to Thailand, to learn Thai Yoga Massage and to be immersed in the course, with no distractions, on a floating rafthouse with just the jungle to surround me. Ahhh… Can’t wait to re live this moment through my next post!