The final week of my trip in Christmassy Bangkok. A week where I just wandered around the city and its many shopping malls. I also met up with Besty (from Chanthaburi) who was in Bangkok for a day. The last week of trip like this has to be finished in style so as a last accommodation I switched from my hostel to a fancy hotel. And then it’s really time to fly home. Two flights took me from Bangkok to Helsinki and on to Amsterdam where my family was waiting for my arrival! And then it’s time to look back on one amazing trip.

Walking around Bangkok, Siam area.

FINISHING IN STYLE
Arriving to Bangkok from Chiang Mai I headed to my hostel in the Siam area. Siam basically hosts a lot of shopping malls, food courts and everything that comes along with it. Since I was feeling a bit hungry I made my way to the food court in the Siam Paragon mall and found a good sushi place. I spent about three nights in the hostel before I moved to the last accommodation of this trip. I found a nice hotel in the Thonglor area of Bangkok, an area where you can find plenty of bars, restaurants and hotels. No more sharing rooms and bathrooms, no snoring people, no waking up to people coming back in the middle of the night and no more single person beds! I had a big room with a double bed and everything I needed just to myself!

Christmas carols at the Siam Paragon mall.

One of the things Bangkok is known for are its (cheap -compared to Europe-) tailors. Many backpackers buy a tailor made suit just before they leave and I am no exception… I ordered one suit and on the day of departure the whole thing was finished and I could return home in style.

One of the people I’ve met during my trip is Besty. I met her in Koh Chang in the second week of my trip and I visited her hometown Chanthaburi just before heading to New Zealand. I messaged her to ask what she was up to and she happened to be in Bangkok and I met her in the middle of a shopping spree in the Siam Paragon mall. The whole mall was in a Christmas vibe and there were people singing or dancing all around the area. We got some Japanese lunch together and went out on the street where we saw a street performance of people who were just reenacting a scene from the Rocky film. Afterwards we wanted to see one of the big temples on the east side of the city but we were too late it was already closing time. So instead of a temple we made our way to the nearest cinema to see the new Jumanji movie. We still had some time to kill before the start of the movie but right in front of the mall was a virtual reality game with VR goggles and we had to try this of course.
Later that evening Besty had to return home in Chanthaburi and we said our goodbyes. It was nice to see one of my travel friends again!

Street performance: “Rocky”.

VR gaming.

BACK TO WHERE IT BEGAN
On my last day I returned to this park to the place where I wrote my first Travel Short. I remember having a cold and needed to get out of the –not so inspiring- hostel I was staying at. I walked around for a bit and then I found the Santi Chai Prakan Park. It felt like a small oasis close to the busy Khao San Road. Now -ten months later- I can look back on an amazing trip visiting so many different places, meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds, going out on adventures and having new experiences. I let it sink in for a moment before finally making my way back to the hotel by water taxi and preparing to leave for the airport…

Water taxi.

THE JOURNEY HOMEWARD
7pm Time to leave the hotel and get a taxi to the nearest sky train station to get a train to the airport…Packed up and ready to go I step into the taxi to start my journey home. With the tickets ready I boarded the plane for the first flight of two. This eleven hour flight would bring me from Bangkok to Helsinki where I had a three hour layover. Sleeping in airplanes is still not my thing and I think I managed to get about three hours of sleep and the rest was just trying to get into a decent resting position. At Helsinki Airport I took an early breakfast at 5am and before I knew it I was boarding the airplane to Amsterdam. Unfortunately the flight was a bit delayed because of strong head winds in the Netherlands. We had to wait in the plane for half an hour and then we could take off. This second flight was short and easy and upon arrival I saw my family waiting for me on the other side of the glass next to the baggage belts. Once I had my backpack I walked through the exit doors and there they were in real life; my family, a proper welcoming really excited committee awaiting my arrival. Most people around us were looking like “what’s going on here?” as if some famous person had just landed and all his fans were waiting for him.
After this warm welcome we headed home, had some coffee and talked about my trip. That evening I went to sleep at 7pm and slept for over 13 hours just to wake up the next day…back in the Netherlands.
Ten months have passed by so quickly…I can remember the day I left, a rookie at solo backpacking and only a ticket and my backpack with me… Nothing planned or booked ahead… I was so nervous that day and then I just went.
Now ten months later and a lot of experiences richer I return home and it doesn’t feel like I was gone for that many months but when looking back at it… a lot has happened.

First sights back in the Netherlands.

COMING UP NEXT
In the time to come I will readjust to life in the Netherlands and I will write one more Short about my trip. I need some time to think about all that happened and eventually I will write a recap of this 10 month adventure across Southeast Asia and New Zealand.