First Impressions (Korea and Railay, Thailand)

This is my third draft of this post due to me taking too long to finish it and losing it every time I lose internet. So I’m just going to power through this one.

Due to a scheduling delay on the part of AirChina–which Liz and I discovered are quite prone to scheduling delays–I was lucky enough to be able to spend 2 and a half days in Seoul, South Korea with my sis who’d already been there for a few days. The first night was spent in a spa in the airport, which was actually pretty cool. I had the option of swimming in a giant jacuzzi for my morning bath, but I declined due to my strong desire to get out of the airport and into the actual city in Seoul. I was, of course, well rewarded.

South Korea was a very nice intro to my travels as it offered a definitive break from the culture of the States, while still being more than adequately developed. A few surprising things about Seoul: a lot of the streets remind me of the futuristic world from Bladerunner, Seoulians (that’s obviously incorrect) absolutely love coffee, Seoul might be one of the most organized places I’ve yet to visit.

Bladerunner all the way

 

For reasons that I can’t quite put a finger on however, Seoul also struck me as cold, a bit subdued, and rather detached. It was as you can hopefully tell from the pictures an incredible city in its layout, architecture and content. Maybe it was the perpetual fog/smog or the surprisingly cold weather–for some reason I had it in my mind that South applied to it’s absolute and not just relative latitude–or maybe the diligently polite people, but I rarely got a warm fuzzy feeling in this city when I wasn’t drinking some delicious hot tea or a nice hot espresso. I’d like to make it clear that his subjective account is by no means a judgement on the city and I really did enjoy my time there immensely. I’ve even begun toying around with the idea of tacking Korean onto my dream list of languages to study–the alphabet, Hangeul, is one of the most interesting I’ve encountered and I encourage you to look into it.

National Folk Museum where I learned all about Hangeul and other minutia of Korean life and history

The feeling I’ve received over and over in Thailand, on the other hand, could not be more different. Today I decided that if ever during my travels I start feeling down or dejected for some reason or other, I’ll just go for a stroll, make eye-contact with the first Thai person I see and use their jubilant smile, inevitably contagious, to boost my spirits. It’s amazing how smiley the vast majority of people I’ve encountered in Thailand have been. I say smiley because of course I have no idea if they’re actually happy or not. My studies in social psychology, however, would lead me to believe that they are (fun fact: the very act of smiling improves your mood). On top of smiley, the people I’ve met here have also been out-of-their-way helpful towards Liz and I.

We flew into Phuket then went as direct as possible (an unofficial taxi and a long tail boat) to a beautiful section of beaches known as Railay.

A view of the beach we stayed on from a look out spot on a cliff

We stayed in this idyllic area for four days and while there I got to do a little bouldering (the area is world famous for rock climbing), Liz and I ran on the beach, explored some islands off shore in kayaks and swam in the ocean, always such a delight.

Our lovely but sparse lodging

Taken by my friend Manu from India who educated me about his country as well as relating some Hindu tales

I’ve been taking a lot of pictures lately and I’d hate not to share them with all of you, which is the main reason why I persevered through losing the first two drafts.

Liz and I are now staying at a delightful guesthouse in a bigger town inland called Krabi. Cross your fingers for a new post soon. All the best from Thailand

-Austin out

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3 thoughts on “First Impressions (Korea and Railay, Thailand)

  1. Martha reynolds says:

    The perseverance was appreciated! I love being able to see a bit of your life while there, and hearing about the people you have met in Thailand. Are most people bilingual? Do you have any idea where you will venture on your own? Is Thailand’s charm wooing you to remain there? My thoughts are constantly w you. Mom out

  2. Jim Reynolds says:

    Austin,

    What paradise! Amazing photos of Thailand.
    I see now why folks in Russia and Australia flock to the country for their vacations.
    I wondered if you two would see signs of the country’s recent flooding; none evident from your photos.Would be interested in time zone differences from say Vladivostok.
    Can’t wait for next post.
    Enjoy,

    Dad

  3. Sarah says:

    Hey! great to hear about the amazing places you’re seeing! Perhaps consider creating a flickr or something like that to share your photos? also, if you write your posts in an email to yourself, you can auto save them as drafts so that if you loose internet you won’t loose them completely. or if you have your own laptop, write them in Word.
    can’t wait to hear more!
    Sarah

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