People ask me sometimes "How did you get in Thailand?" and I answer is always "By airplane". But in reality it was a bit more complex, so I did write some postings about that. In 1985 I traveled to SEA for 1 month together with a good friend. For both of us it was the first time outside Europe and it was a total culture shock. In all ways possible. We did fly to Bangkok, in those days with Singapore Airlines with about 3 stops on the way. We did stay in Bangkok for 3 days with an American friend of my mother. Well that was the first culture shock. And after 3 days we were happy to leave dirty and noisy Bangkok. From Bangkok we did fly to Singapore where we had 1 day stop-over before we would fly to Medan in Sumatra. Well Singapore was the next culture shock, with the high-rise building, clean streets and beautiful ladies.
From Singapore we did fly to Medan in Sumatra to travel there for 2 weeks on Sumatra. We did go to Brastagi and Toba Lake. And as culture shock, Sumatra rocked the boat. After 2 weeks on Sumatra we were happy to see McDonalds again in Singapore. After 3 days Singapore we did fly home again. My mother had been right, for me it was a mind-changing experience. For my friend it was a once and never again experience. It would take another 6 years before I would return to South East Asia.