We arrived in Thailand during the morning on the 21st Feb, and our tour was starting that night. We arrived at the Sawaddi Patong resort and stored our luggage as we couldn’t check in until around 2pm. We decided to get our bathers on and hang by the pool, as it was a lovely hot day and we weren’t feeling up to exploring yet due to travelling for the last 12 hours or so.
At the pool we met another girl who was also on our tour. She was a bit older and from Hollywood! She was really nice and it was good to meet someone already. We decided to all have lunch at the hotels restaurant, which overlooked the pool area. This was when I had my first real Thai massaman curry (my favourite dish!) which was delicious.
At 2pm we went and checked into our rooms, which were a lot nicer than I was expecting! The room was modern and clean with two double beds, and nice bright colours decorating it. Between the 4 of us we had 2 rooms, although they were at opposite sides of the hotel. I was sharing with Liana and never actually got to see the Kahly and Liv’s room. I remember trying to find it drunk one night but I couldn’t remember their room number.
At the designated time, we met in the restaurant area to meet all our tour mates and for a briefing by our lovely tour guide Cassie. We waited for Cassie for about 10 minutes at a long table, in which we got to know one another. At first it was a little awkward but everyone was friendly and open to chat. Our tour mates had come from many various places such as the UK, Canada, USA, Europe, South Africa and of course Australia! There were a few solo travellers which surprised me as I didn’t think of Thailand as a place to go on your own, but Contiki definitely makes it comfortable to do so. Generally solo travellers seemed to be roomed with other travellers of a similar age, which made it easier to make a friend from the get go.
We were the youngest travellers on the tour at this point, at 19 years old. The next youngest was Jess, a 23 year old from Sydney who we would later become very good friends with. As the tour was towards the end of our uni holidays, the people on our tour were generally a bit older (mainly 25-35).
When Cassie arrived, she gave us tips for safety, drinking the water, and how to interact with the locals which was very helpful. We signed up and paid for the optional activities, and then went to have cocktails by the pool.
After this, Cassie had said she would take us to a restaurant on a hillside for dinner, and then we could hit the town! We went back to our rooms to get changed and ready for the night and then met up in the lobby area.
We waited for a strange open air bus/ truck to pick us up which we all managed to squeeze into somehow. The bus had seats along the sides and a wooden bench seat along the middle which everyone had to straddle. This was one way to get to know each other quickly as we were all pushed up against each other. It was a very hot night might I add so every one was quite sweaty!
The bus made its way up to the restaurant, which was high up on a hill somewhere that wasn’t too far away. The outdoor restaurant was decorated with fairy lights, and mostly made of wood, which felt like we were up in a rainforest or something. The group squeezed onto two big tables next to each other and we all ordered food and cocktails. I remember this night I shared a delicious pad thai with Kahly, as neither of us were very hungry (still full from lunch!) It was a great way to get to know a few people and also get our first feed together!
From what I remember, after dinner we got dropped at the famous ‘Bangla road,’ where Cassie took us to a Tequila bar in a strip with many bars! The one we went to you could get 6 tequila shots for about $3.50… dangerous!
After some drinks many of us decided we wanted to watch a ping pong show! It is quite gross, yet intriguing at the same time. I recommend seeing one whilst drunk so you don’t feel so awkward!
After this we headed to a nightclub called White room, which was at the back of a lane full of bars and things. It was quite fun, we had a drink and a dance and someone was even dancing with a blow up sex doll!
Eventually we headed back to the hotel in small groups as we knew we had to get up fairly early for the boat trip the next morning.