How I celebrated my 23rd birthday in Thailand - My new Kanchanaburi family

How I celebrated my birthday in Thailand

Hello there beautiful people, and welcome to a travel story post! A few days ago I was thinking about my time in Thailand and what immediately came to mind was how I celebrated my 23rd birthday there.

This is something I briefly mentioned in my post Best hostels for solo and budget travellers in Thailand but didn’t get into too many details. However, to me, this is a story that shows how travelling and being willing to step out of your comfort zone can create memorable experiences. Plus, it was my first and only time getting drunk so it might also sound ridiculous!

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The backstory of my time in Thailand

Before talking about how I celebrated my 23rd birthday in Thailand, let me give you some backstory. I got to the land of smiles from Malaysia at the beginning of October 2018. This was part of my South East Asia trip after I had left Australia indefinitely.

I had been exploring Malaysia with a friend met on Facebook. It felt weird to both travel with someone else and to get back at travelling solo. If you don’t know it yet, I’ve been travelling solo for over 5 years. It’s the kind of travelling I feel comfortable with. But, at times, it can make you feel lonely. At least it does it to me.

So, when all of a sudden and in an unplanned way, I started travelling with someone else, it felt strange. I was happy to talk to someone daily, go to places I wasn’t aware of and getting that push to step out of my comfort zone a bit more. But it was taking me some adjustments to get comfortable with it.

This girl was the opposite of me in terms of some aspects of my personality, which was a sort of double-edged sword. She was more of a “don’t think about it too much and do it” kinda person rather than a “what if/but” one like me. Because of this opposition, I managed to live adventures that I would’ve otherwise missed out on.

From sneaking into a private beach club in Langkawi to watching the sunset on the beach with friends we had met minutes ago. They might not sound crazy adventures but they were a step out of my normal way of travelling and thinking.

Although we were having fun, we were both starting to feel the tightness that usually comes when travelling with others who want to do different things than you. That’s why we split up once we got to Phuket.

All of the sudden, I was back at solo travelling, in a new country and with no fixed plans or ideas on what to do or where to go. Which is what seems to be the common denominator in all of my travels!

But I was ready to embrace this new adventure and anything the universe had planned for me. Also, I think that having travelled with a person who had such a different personality than mine, changed me a bit.

In all the hostels I stayed in Thailand, I felt more open and willing to talk to others and even accept invitations to going out or play some games. I was learning to put myself out there and create memories. That’s probably the reason that my unplanned birthday party happened.

Getting to Kanchanaburi via the Death Railway

I ended up in Kanchanaburi a few days before my birthday. While I was in Bangkok talking to a few guests, they told me about this place and the history behind the Death Railway and the Bridge on the River Kwai.

The history behind this place is both very interesting but also very tough. In short, Japan started building this railway during World War II to get into Myanmar and try to conquer it. To build it, Japan used about 330,000 between civilians from South East Asia and prisoners of war.

But why is it called the Death Railway? The name comes from the roughly 106,000 people who died while building it. This was due to malnutrition, diseases, horrible working conditions and so on.

I highly suggest you checking out Wikipedia’s article about the history behind the Burma Railway as it’s very interesting!

So, both because of its important history and as it is only 3 hours from Bangkok, I decided to go to Kanchanaburi to learn more about it and see the brighter side of it.

The pre-party experience

The hostel I stayed at was the Asleep Hostel which is located roughly 400m from the train station. The owner, Mimi, is a true gem of human beings. From the first moment we met, she was very effective, joyful and genuinely interested in you and your experience there.

The first night she taught me and the other guests how to cook traditional Thai food, the names of the ingredients and the story behind the meals. Then, she took us to a pub where her friend’s band was playing and we danced, laughed and sang for so long!

Even the people staying at the hostels were great. We immediately became friends and started hanging out together.

The celebration of my 23rd birthday in Thailand

Now, after that long preamble, let’s get to what I consider to be the juicy part. Specifically, how I celebrated my 23rd birthday in Thailand.

I wasn’t expecting to do anything in particular. Celebrating my birthday by myself is not always a big problem for me. However, when Mimi found out that it was my birthday, she was so happy to celebrate it!

The guests and I had dinner together and then went back to the same pub as the night before. This time, though, Mimi had organised some special drinks for me and the whole pub sang happy birthday! I didn’t know what to say!

How I celebrated my 23rd birthday in Thailand - My new Kanchanaburi family

I was in Thailand, by myself and celebrating my birthday with the owner of the hostel and guests I had met the night before.

Everything was just so much fun that I still remember it in a truly special way. When it comes to the drink, I don’t know what they were! They were 6 different shots of some liquid and they were all different colours! What I do remember, though, is feeling very weird after having had them! Not bad weird, just happy but also ready for bed!

I don’t often drink as it makes me sleepy, but that time I made an exception. After the last shot, I started dancing and just not caring about what my mind was telling me. We were all laughing, singing and dancing and it was fun because I knew I was spending that night with some good and trustworthy people.

When we started walking towards the hostel, I first went in the opposite direction and then couldn’t keep my walk straight. My main goal was to just get to my bed! Luckily, everyone was with me and I was just feeling tired rather than having a full-on hangover. When we got to the room, I didn’t know if I was hungry, going to throw up or just ready to sleep. What a feeling!

How I celebrated my 23rd birthday in Thailand - me with the one and only Mimi
Celebrating my 23rd birthday with Mimi

Travelling as a tool to create memories

The day after that party, I still couldn’t believe it had happened. I was feeling really happy and proud of myself along with being more in love with travelling.

One of the many amazing aspects of travelling is creating a memory, which is exactly what I did that night. Memories that will live in my mind and soul forever and that I can cherish and be grateful for.

I was in a new country by myself so I didn’t have much to lose. Instead, I gained so much. This is what we should think about more often. Not what are we gonna lose but, instead, what are we gonna gain from a specific experience or decision?

And what we gain doesn’t have to be crazy, extreme or wild. Any experience or encounter that makes you feel happy and imprint that moment or trip in your soul is a massive gain. This is a wonderful fuel for our soul.

For some, it can be leaving their home country for the first time while for others it can be learning new words in a foreign language or doing some Workaway experiences.

All those experiences happened to me while travelling and made me into the person I currently am. And on each new trip, I make adjustments and add new bits and pieces. I don’t know if any of this would have happened if I hadn’t met that person on Facebook and did some of my travels with her.

I might have gone to Thailand earlier and maybe left Kanchanaburi before my birthday. Who knows and it’s not important to know.

Final thoughts

And there it is, the famous story of how I celebrated my 23rd birthday in Thailand! At least famous comrade to my previous birthdays! Most times, the friends you make while travelling can easily become family and help you create unimaginable memories.

Writing this storytime post was very fun! It made me remember this crazy adventure and put a big smile on my face!

Hopefully, you enjoyed reading it and feel free to share some fun and/or memorable experiences you had while travelling! I would love to read them.

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