Bangkok streets buzzing. Phuket crystal clear beaches. Thailand. Most upcoming seniors either spend their summer working or visiting prospective colleges, but Kamrie Holms, on the other hand, got the chance to spend two amazing weeks halfway across the world.
“It’s one of those places that you see on television and never really imagine going there,” Holms said.
The trip started in Japan, but the Holms’ didn’t stay there long before heading to Bangkok where they stayed on Khao San Road. Holms described it as having “crazy restaurants…loud music, crazy dancing, and lots of stuff to do.”
They stayed there for four days before visiting the Island of Phuket, known for its picturesque beaches and vibrant scenery.
While in Thailand, Holms recalled that one of her favorite activities was driving a moped through the busy city streets: “Think about it; driving a moped for the first time in an Asian country where the streets are opposite and people drive on the right side of the car. It was terrifying. But once I got it – it was amazing,” Holms said.
She also advised to not always trust the wildlife you may encounter in Thailand. Stating that while interacting with some monkeys in a local zoo, one took a liking to her sunglasses. “He immediately snatched my sunglasses from my head and ate them.”
“We were in the rainforest in Thailand and we rolled down our windows to feed some monkeys and they attacked our car!” Holms exclaimed. “They stole all of our food. I think at one point there were seven monkeys in our car.”
She provided one piece of advice about visiting Thailand: “Do not trust monkeys. They’re up to no good.”
Holms also noted the amazing opportunity for bargain shopping in Thailand’s large city centers.
“I got clothes, backpacks, watches, sunglasses, you name it they had it; normally $20-$50 in America, but for $2-$3 in Thailand.”
The cheap shopping available in Thailand, while beneficial for tourists, is actually related to one of the primary human-resource problems facing the world: poverty.
Holms witnessed this first hand and remarked that while many people in Bangkok have enough money to survive on, “There really is no ‘being wealthy’.”
And though poverty rates have been steadily declining, there is still approximately 10.6% of the population (7.3 million people) in Thailand living below the poverty line and a radically different life than many in Dripping Springs.
“Walking through the streets of Bangkok, there would be houses held together by frail and old pieces of wood,” Holms said. “My sister and dad went up to one of the houses and it was tiny. It was one bedroom and a kitchen with little room for a table.”
“Through all the places I have been, I have never felt such a culture shock,” she said. “I think living in a town that’s primarily people who have been gifted with a great education, roofs over our heads and our needs fed, we have been bubbled into a sort of fake reality that people are equally as fortunate as us.”
Kamrie Holms had the experience of a lifetime in Thailand, gaining world knowledge and understanding of different religions, foods, customs, and cultures in an opportunity that isn’t afforded to many young people.
“Thailand is a truly spectacular place with so much to do and so many cultural opportunities to take place in,” Holms said. “I really hope to go back to Asia some day.”
Written by Olivia Fletcher