Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson
Thailand 2023 - 2024
Sawadee ka! My name is Anna, and I am traveling to Bangkok, Thailand where I will serve as a Volunteer Legal Advocate at Asylum Access Thailand (AAT). AAT provides comprehensive support and legal services to refugees. At AAT, I will conduct client intake and research. Read More About Anna →

Spotting turtles and baby sharks

I can’t believe it’s already mid-October and that I’ve been in Bangkok for a little over four months now! It’s gone by fast and below are some reflections about my time in Bangkok so far:

I’m blessed to be surrounded by kind, supportive colleagues and friends who have made me feel at home here.

Magical Bangkok elements:

  • cats everywhere!
  • heavy rain during monsoon season leads to dreamy sunsets
  • meeting interesting people from all walks of life
  • very spiritual place

Things that are tough about Bangkok:

  • streets weren’t designed for walking (and it’s too hot for walking to really be all that enjoyable here)
  • pollution
  • plastic waste
  • heat
  • the noise

Fall is my absolute favorite season, and I’ve really been missing the changing seasons/cooler weather, especially after hearing my friends back home talk about it. Even though Halloween isn’t really celebrated here (except by foreigners), I’m still trying to get into the Halloween spirit by hosting a sugar cookie decorating party with friends next week. 

Koh Tao:

Here’s one major thing that really helped me forget about my missing fall blues – 

Since it was a holiday on Monday, we got Monday off work, and I decided to head to Koh Tao to visit some friends who are staying there. I left early Saturday morning, taking the bus and then the ferry, which took around 9 hours. When I got to my Airbnb, which consists of huts/villas as well as individual rooms throughout the premise, there were two cats cuddling on the check in counter. For the first night in Koh Tao, we got dinner sitting right by the beach. The sunsets in Koh Tao are absolutely amazing. And, there’s cats and dogs everywhere on the island! When I got back to my Airbnb after dinner, there was an adorable orange cat sitting in front of my room door. 

The highlight of the trip was snorkeling, where we saw turtles and baby sharks. We went snorkeling at five points: Koh Nangyuan, Ao Muang, Ao Hin Wong, Shark Bay, and Ao Luek. Koh in Thai means ‘island,’ and Koh Tao is known as Turtle Island. I was so excited to see the wildlife, especially because I love sharks. I’ve been wanting to take a scuba diving course to get certified and am feeling even more inspired after this trip. A new friend I met on the island who is really into scuba says that she’s seen all kinds of underwater animals, like whale sharks and blacktip reef sharks. The water at Koh Tao is so beautiful and blue. Also, the air here felt better than in Bangkok. I’m continuously so grateful for the experiences I’m able to have here, like this weekend getaway. And, I’m lucky to be living in a place where a trip to the beach is just a bus ride and ferry away!

check-in kitty


The weekend before Koh Tao, I went to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), which contains works from traditional and contemporary Thai and international artists. I love abstract art, so my favorite floor was probably the third floor, which was all about the art of fantastic imagination from artists such as Sompop Budtarad and Chuang Mulpinit. MOCA has many great pieces, and it’s also a very calming place, not too busy or crowded, which really contributes to the experience. I enjoyed this museum more than when I went to Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) for this reason; there were so many people at BACC, and it was quite hectic.

Pictures of some of my favorite pieces below:

cultural significance of flowers in Thai society

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