The day that I clicked the button to confirm that I was going with Gap force to South East Asia I felt sick.... I was worried about being away from home, flying by myself, not knowing anyone, the food etc but as soon as I was greeted by Terence in the airport in Thailand I felt as ease! And from that moment on I just sucked up every aspect of adventure within Thailand and Cambodia and I have to say I don’t think I stopped smiling!
The dynamics of our group were so lovely and I felt that after a couple of days we became so comfortable around each other and truly became good friends. This also applied to our leaders Callum and Terence who became very close to us ,along with being super protective of the group, energetic and being able to give advice under all circumstances!
The food, hostels and areas we visited were all unique and met everyone’s tastes. Our hostels sleeping arrangements varied from location to location yet we always slept well and had access to a bath room even if this included having to get up early to get the first slot in the shower! There were also some cases where there were strangers in the room as-well which was slightly strange and was always tried to be avoided.
The food took me awhile to get used to. Especially when we had to have noodles/rice for breakfast! But now I’m back home I crave the Thai food so much and despite bringing my own spices home I can’t seem to replicate the food to anywhere near the quality that it was.... so embrace it while you are there!!!
Every location we went to was different from the last and therefore contained both positives and negatives. My favourite places were Pai which felt very small and safe aswell as Bees elephant sanctuary which consisted of very simple living in the countryside, with the company of the most amazing people and creatures which I loved! I didn’t like Bangkok which is dirty, busy and very smelly! Sadly Bangkok is a focal point during the course of the trip which means that despite its negative connotations we had to revisit it quite a lot which was a downside to the trip as no one was ever looking forward to the return!
The trip contains a lot of travelling such as overnight buses which last on average about 10 hours. These are not incredibly fun to travel on so make sure you have a neck pillow and some good snacks as you never really know when your next stop is!
Also if you are considering doing this trip I advise you to review your fitness level as some of the hikes ie to view points and waterfalls are quite physically challenging for some. However don’t let this hold you back as there are sometimes alternative activities such as a cooking class which can fill your day if your not up for a hike!
During my time on the trip I was surprised yet I enjoyed the amount of independence and free time we were given. We could utilise our free time in whatever way we wanted even if that was just a day of chilling or perhaps going to explore a new temple. We were allowed to go out to the local shops whenever we wanted and could eat when and with who suited us!
All in all if you are reading this review then you must be somewhat interested in joining Gapforce to go to South East Asia and I urge you to do it! It was one of the best decisions I made and I was supported the whole way by my team leaders who were such great guys and from my family at home (there is WiFi everywhere). As a result of this trip (the first time I travelled alone) I feel like I have developed so much as an individual and I am much more independent and capable of travelling alone in the future. So my advice to you is to just go for it and you will soon get the travel bug too! X