What's new, let's see... I just got back from Thailand last week! What a great trip, it was kinda a 30th birthday present to myself (11 months after the fact). But hey I'm still 30 so it still counts. I've always wanted to take a warm winter vacation so that's exactly what I did.
I flew to Bangkok via Moscow, yes is Russia, and no there was no issue. Actually, I thought Aeroflot was really a decent airline, it was much better than any US airline, that's for sure although US airlines are not hard to beat. Sure there were direct flights from Amsterdam but going via Moscow was cheaper and I thought it would be a bit of an adventure. Not that I really got to see the country or anything but I did have a Russia beer and some kind of cheese bread pocket thing at the airport. The Russian travel videos that they had on the plane also kinda make me want to go to St. Petersburg. Maybe next year.
Bangkok was amazing! Wow, so much going on, so warm, delicious food, genuinely kind people, and so much more. The city was always bustling with people and no matter where in the city you were you could always smell many many different kinds of street food... delicious. I ate on the street or at local "restaurants" and I use that term loosely, most of the time. I think I may have eaten at an inside place with a proper menu maybe twice during my whole trip, but that was the whole point, experience Thailand for what it really is, not the Disneyland Europeanized version of it for all the white folks.
I took a food tour that brought us though local neighborhoods where we went to 5 different restaurants and tasted 10 different foods, not to mention the stuff that we could not resist buying along the street as we were walking from place to place. New favorite things mango sticky rice and spicy papaya salad. There just happened to be a food blogger on my tour and you can ready about the whole experience with pictures here.
I explored much of the city and then before I new it, it was time to hop a plane to Phuket for some time at the beach. I stayed in an area called Pantong Beach and as expected it was quite touristy. Luckily not everywhere though, it was still quite easy to find local food places and markets. The beach was great and the water incredibly warm, maybe the warmest I've ever been in. On my last night there, I actually watched the sun set while I was in the water. The colors were amazing and it was still oh so warm, try doing that in the North Sea without freezing to death.
Also I got a lot of massages there. You could get 1 hour for less than €10. Pretty amazing. As a matter of fact, everything was amazingly cheap, meals would cost me only about €2 - €3. On my last day I was trying to spend money on whatever I could just to get rid of it.
Lastly, after getting back I had a huge fever and headache on Saturday. Didn't thing too much about it especially since it was pretty much gone on Sunday. But then Monday it was back in full force and I had to leave work after only being there an hour. Later I did have some mild itching and joint discomfort (I would not say pain though). Judging by the fact that I did get bitten my a mosquito in Phuket, I'm pretty sure I got Dengue Fever! Not 100% sure though since the second stage was so mild. Woo hoo, my first tropical disease! ha. The good news is if I did in fact have Dengue fever, I will be immune from it for the rest of my life, the bad news? There are 4 different kinds and I can still get the other 3 and being that I already had one (maybe...) then the second time I get it could be much worse. Was it worth it? Yes for sure! Will this stop me from going to the tropics again? No way!
Recommendation for you: Go to Thailand.