Desperate to go in search of some sun or at least warmth, I decided to head to Thailand for my latest "You have to go here" blog post. In typical Matt Tapley fashion, I managed to book it in rainy season, however this time unlike my trip to LA, the weather was actually pretty damn good considering the amount of money you save travelling during this time of the year. I headed to the vibrant, chaotic and seemingly massive city of Bangkok looking to cram as much as possible into my time there before retiring to the relatively unknown island of Koh Yao Noi (little long island).
After a long and not so comfortable flight (thanks to British airways super old fleet and the old guy next to me who had his elbow on the reading light button for 11 HOURS!) we arrived to that wave of heat that you dream about when thinking about your next holiday, then you quickly realise just how humid it is in Bangkok. I personally loved it but you need to accept that you will look like a sweaty mess at times.
After quickly settling down at the incredible Anantara Riverside hotel (which I'll speak more about this later) we headed out to try and see some of the sights and of course shoot some fire content. We visited Wat Arun and Wat Benchamabophit, both of which are absolutely stunning.
Starting with Wat Arun it was such a peaceful place. An absolute contrast from the insanely busy, bustling city of Bangkok, it's visually stunning with multiple temples to wander around outside of Wat Arun itself. Pleasantly it wasn't mobbed with tourists and everyone there was really polite and respectful, no jostling for that perfect insta shot or glaring eyes if you stand somewhere having a look for a little too long which was a really nice surprise for me.
As I mentioned earlier it was super hot and humid the whole time I was in Bangkok so this was no exception. I wanted to wear something bright that would stand out alongside the white of the Wat but also go with the bright accents of the structure. The Adidas flamestrike T-shirt worked perfectly, paired with an extremely comfortable and breathable pair of Adidas LXCON'S, ideal for exploring a busy city.
Before going to Wat Benchamabophit we also explored the outer temples around Wat Arun which were a lot quieter than Arun, not quite as imposing but still impressive. Both the smaller outer temples were covered in gold accents. Swipe through the slideshow below to take a look.
After grabbing some food once we were done at the Wat's, we headed back to our hotel to relax and get some energy ahead of an early start for day two.
We headed to The Ancient City first thing in the morning on day two and wow what a decision. It's out towards the outskirts of the city so it feels like it's quite far from the city centre but it's only 30 minutes. This is a MUST if you visit Bangkok, it's like an amusement park style activity but instead of thousands of screaming kids its completely empty and rather than rollercoasters it's jammed full of Thai buildings replicating styles and specific buildings throughout the countries history. It was such a brilliant experience topped off by being able to hire our own golf buggy to drive around for £5 an hour. The entry is on the steep side (roughly £20) for a country that is usually so cheap but you can spend all day there and it's virtually empty. You have to go here!
After a long, hot morning at The Ancient City we decided to have a relaxing afternoon/evening back at the hotel which was incredible. Everything about Anantara Riverside was fantastic. The service was impeccable, the food was great, the room was really nice and the general atmosphere around the place was just the ideal setting to get away from the craziness of Bangkok when you needed to. So I'd really recommend staying there if you ever head to Bangkok.
In the shots below lounging around the hotel pool I'm wearing an Adidas T-shirt alongside Adidas swim-shorts. An ideal combination for a relaxed pool day while staying stylish.
Day three was the hottest day in Thailand by far with absolutely no cloud cover. Scorching hot, so what do we do? Go to the Grand Palace where you need to wear trousers and be fully covered up. Honestly? This was overrated. It was far too busy to enjoy, especially in the heat and for what you're paying you don't get much for your money. This is the most visited tourist attraction in Bangkok so obviously I expected it to be busy but it looked like a scene out of the walking dead with hordes of people shuffling through the queues. If you're insistant on going, go early. If not, go to The Ancient City... 10x better!
We quickly exited being most put out that we wasted our money and headed to Wat Pho which is just around the corner yet has literally no one there, much better in my opinion, not as grand but actually pleasant to walk around.
To wind down after a busy morning I decided to complete my customary city run for each of these trips! As usual I won't go into too much depth regarding this as there is a separate blog post coming but it was a great change of pace compared to earlier in the day and Lumphini park is certainly worth visiting that's all I'll say. I'm wearing an Adidas tank top and a pair of Adidas x Parley Alphabounce running trainers.
To end our time in Bangkok, we visited Lebua at State Tower (made famous by the Hangover 2) for some incredible cocktails which were also incredibly expensive. After a great evening taking in the panoramic views of the city (and a bird pooing on my head - cheers pal), we left and headed back to pack our bags ready for our next part of the trip heading to the island of Koh Yao Noi.
So our trip to Koh Yao Noi started really well with Thai airways being a really good airline to fly with and the flight being short, perfect start. Then it went a little bit sideways, trying to save money and time, rather than wait around for the direct hotel transfer via minibus then boat, we decided to do our own thing...big mistake, not a disaster, more comedy gold. Ending up at the pier after a 40 minute drive, the taxi driver tells me he has no change despite me asking before hand if he has change for a larger note... we're then standing there in the middle of nowhere while he's telling me I owe him money, no I do not sunshine, I was more than ready to pay you, not my fault a cab driver doesn't have change. After running around to the locals we finally managed to get our money changed up and pay the guy. Only to find out we've then booked onto the most rickety, dodgy looking wooden boat for our 45 minute boat transfer. It is literally how I imagine you'd smuggle yourself into a new country. We're below deck on this sweat box when it starts to pour with rain and the other passengers start to grab life jackets for no apparent reason... But after what feels like an eternity we make it to the island and we're on our way to the hotel on our own boat and we can take in the surroundings and it is gorgeous.
Finally, we arrive in our room for the remainder of our time in Thailand and oh my god it's one of the best views I've ever seen and I have a bed and a pool overlooking this!
The time on the island was absolutely stunning, a great change of pace from Bangkok and the perfect place to relax. I won't tell you my daily routine because you don't want to read that "I grabbed myself another cocktail" about twenty times within 3 days. But exploring the island, enjoying the beach, swimming and kayaking were all highlights, as well as the food.
It was a really well kept bay with little to no trash and I'm really proud to have worn an Adidas x Parley 100% recycled polyester t-shirt during my time there to support the movement to save our oceans from pollution. I feel it's really important to try and positively impact upon this issue and Adidas x Parley really are at the forefront of this so I'd love to recommend you checking it out or even just doing a little research on it.
After having to drag ourselves away from the island and this time learning to take the hotel organised shuttle to the airport, it was time to leave Thailand after having an absolutely incredible time. Wearing an Adidas Hardens T-shirt we headed back to England and my recommendation to you for Thailand would be You Have To Go Here!
Disclaimer: Although this blog is part of a collaboration, all the views are my own.