Graphic Designer Jamie embarked on a journey of firsts to Thailand and Burma – first group trip, first solo adventure and first time in Asia. How did she get on?
“There were quite a few things I was nervous about before heading off on my trip. I normally travel with my partner or friends/ family so I knew the dynamics of being a solo traveller in a group would be different. Having never been to Asia I was also nervous about the hotels, especially the overnight train! I was really excited about visiting Bagan after working on our brochures and seeing loads of beautiful photos and I was also intrigued about the river cruise.
As a group we gelled immediately which is what I had hoped for, we felt relaxed in each other’s company and the jokes were quickly flying around. Having a solo room I looked forward to meeting up with the rest of the group at meal times and chatting about our day. It’s great to meet people you wouldn’t otherwise speak to – a great reason to join a group tour.
I’d heard some horror stories about the overnight train so my expectations were certainly exceeded! There were clean sheets and mattresses plus mosquito shutters over the windows. The 15 hour journey went surprisingly fast – I think it was Bob’s (a publican) use of pub quizzes that kept us occupied!
I really enjoyed seeing the contrast between the more westernised Thailand and the traditional Burma. Everyone was so friendly and eager to chat, we really felt welcome and content. I’d love to return to Thailand in the future to explore more (and to eat more delicious food!)
My absolute highlight was the river cruise up the Irrawaddy River. A local family looked after us – navigating our journey and cooking us delicious and traditional three course meals. After we finished our dinner we relaxed on the shore with a campfire and then we were welcomed back on deck to mattresses and mosquito nets, where we enjoyed a peaceful night sleep. After waking up to the quiet rumble of the engine and the trickle of the river we all agreed it was our best night’s sleep we’d had in a while.
The hotels throughout the trip were also really great – most had pools to relax by with a book which after a busy day is just what you need.
What would I say to others thinking of their first solo or group trip? There’s got to be a first time for everything, so go with no expectations, embrace your group and enjoy every moment.”