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The Ping-Pong Mafia

When abroad, we like to to do, see, watch and try all that a country is either famous or notorious for, next to self-exploring the lesser-known. What we often don’t realise is that not all of these activities are environmentally or politically justified. In South-East Asia, one of the main examples of such a tourist attraction is elephant riding. I hope that most travellers have by now figured out how much harm the are causing by engaging in these activities, so we can boycot the industry. However, today’s article is not about riding elephants, because that subject has long been talked about. This article is about another branche that I believe needs some extra attention: Thailand’s notorious Ping-Pong shows.

Attention to the faint-hearted and extremely well-behaved. This post is going to contain some vulgar language and/or descriptions that I am trying to limit, however that is hardly possible when adressing Ping-Pong shows as a subject. Continue readig at own risk…. Also, if you have little time I would ask of you to just read the final paragraph, which contains a final important conclusion on what makes these shows so disgusting and why you should never visit one.

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You can buy an iphone, or you can buy an experience

Ok. So, it’s done. I can stop changing my mind now. Those of you who actually know me or live around me have probably heard a handful of different, non-related summer-holiday destinations spilling from my mouth in the past couple of years: wildlife volunteering in Sri Lanka, journalism in Israel, seeing old friends in Canada or meeting new ones in Cambodia. You probably stopped believing that I was actually gonna go anywhere, but it is decided now. If you had 600 euros, would you buy an Iphone, so you can take these kind of photos…
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or would you buy an experience, so you can take these kind of photos…
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I was bored last night, so I booked a flight. I booked a flight to Thailand, because it was 250 euro cheaper to fly to Bangkok than to fly to Phnom Penh for some reason. We’ll landcross the border to Cambiodia, It will be fun, the hassle is part of the experience isn’t it?

You might have noticed that I said “we” and I did. I actaully do have a travel buddy this trip. I was absolutely thrilled, because I am not used to people having the guts to actually accept my offer to show them around the world and I am therefore not used to having a travel buddy on my out of Europe trips. I mean, obviously I have had plenty of travel mates, but I would always meet them along the way. Like the time that I burst into a hostel in Katoomba, Australia around 9.30pm. Having just returned from a trip to the Jenolan caves, my clothes were all sweaty and my hair was dirty. I had also never been to this hostel before, so there were no familiar faces. I decided to place myself in the middle of the common room, in order to have the attention of all the people who were just lounging there, checking there phones. If anyone was interested in hiking the ruined castle track with me. Tomorrow. We’d leave at dawn.

This tactic amazingly seems to work all the time, but I’m drifting off. The point is that this time, I will have a full-on travel buddy. One of my study mates. People ususally get all excited untill the moment comes when it comes to the point of booking, so I was rather surprised when this girl did not retreat the moment I asked her for money to pay for the ticket. It is also her first time out of Europe, in Asia, during monsoon season. Oh well, I’ll take care of her.

Having someone to travel with and to talk to is a great thing! However, it has its downfalls too. For example, a solo ticket would have been a lot cheaper, as you can fill up a single empty seat. The other disadvantage is, that having someone to communicate with might make you reluctant to meet other, solo travellers. However, I am determined to not let that happen. Meeting foreign travellers and sharing experiences is part of the fun!

Have you been to Cambodia (during monsoon season), do you have experience crossing the Thai/Cambodian border? Do you have any advice on places to go and places to avoid (this time of year) or do are you planning to travel the same area around the same time? Don’t hestitate to contact me.