Editor’s note: TravelQ, a series that documents travel through the eyes of dapperQs, returns this week with a new feature by Anna Åberg, who takes us on a journey through Thailand from Bangkok, to Koh Chang, to Koh Mak, and back to Bangkok again!
I’m Anna, the photographer, and I took my fiancé Frida for two weeks of beautiful island life in Thailand, this time close to the border of Cambodia. I traveled the area before, but Frida has never been. I find it nerve-racking to see if the person I bring on a trip will enjoy it, especially if I take them to a part of the world that I enjoy spending time in. But, she liked it, and we had two great weeks!
We didn’t plan that much in advance; we just bought plane tickets from Stockholm to Bangkok. From Bangkok we continued on to Trat, and then by taxi, boat, and another taxi to Koh Chang, the white sand beach where we had our first two nights booked. I enjoy traveling, but I have a love/hate relationship with airports, and much of that has to do with the fact that I just hate using gender-specific bathrooms. (I think a lot of people reading this can relate to why I don’t like gender-specified bathrooms.)
Anyhow, let’s continue. Thailand is easy to travel in. We only had our first two nights firmly booked in Koh Chang. We then traveled down further south, and by boat we ended up on Koh Mak. We walked along the beach and checked out all the bungalows. On the third bungalow we visited we hit jackpot: nice, relaxed, clean, family-run little place that didn’t give me funny looks trying to figure out who I was. It also had great food!
This is not a big island that offers a lot of stuff to do. So if you want to fill your days with a wide array of activities and partying, don’t go here. If you are more into relaxing in a hammock, taking a dip in turquoise waters, and catching up on reading, you are on the right island.
10 days of relaxing, snorkeling trips, diving, reading books and some light workouts made us feel relaxed and ready for action. So, we went to Bangkok for what was supposed to be three days, but ended up being just two because of the weather. We traveled at the end of March, which, on the positive side, means fewer tourists because it is the end of the season. But, it also means the start of the monsoon season; we had some rain almost every day. It didn’t bother us to have some rain around 9am. The morning rain lasts less than an hour and then the sun and heat return. If you are looking for maximum sun hours, you will be fine. However, our flight from Trat to Bangkok was canceled due to the monsoon, so we had to travel by minivan. It’s just a four hour drive. While it’s not very far, we unfortunately missed out on the weekend markets that are supposed to be something extra in Bangkok. So, try not to miss it! We did get two full days in Bangkok though, and we visited the temples and Kao San Road. We also traveled by boat on the muddy river, had food from the little tuk tuks by the road, and ventured out to see Bangkok’s Museum of Contemporary Art. (Well worth it, but kind of hard to find.). Then, we spent some time shopping in the malls around Siam Center, checked out a rooftop bar, and enjoyed this amazing city to the fullest!
Do I recommend Thailand to LGBTQ travelers? Yes! Tourism is a big part of Thailand’s economy and they welcome LGBTQ visitors. (Bangkok is often listed as an LGBTQ-friendly tourist destination.) While I am not an expert on the subject of LGBTQ rights in Thailand, the country does have more work to do towards changing attitudes about their own LGBTQ community. For example, trans-identified individuals are still misgendered on their legal passports.
About the author/photographer: Anna Åberg is a Stockholm-based freelance photographer, an androgynous queer with a taste for travels, tattoos, good books and always in the search for a good cup of coffee. You can finds Anna on the internet as mandalaya, mostly active on Instagram these days.