My Just You Story: Pete Lee
A life-changing encounter for his first Just You solo holiday, Pete Lee shares his favourite memories of Thailand and some of his travel plans for the future…
I booked Thailand as it was something I needed to recharge myself, as it was my first holiday in a long time and it meant the world to me.
I searched for a solo holiday online, and spoke to my brother who’s done a lot of globetrotting and asked him for his advice, and he said that everyone is in the same position so it brings you together.
Pretty much everyone is doing the same thing as you, and I liked the idea of that.
While I could have booked it all independently, I chose Just You as I knew it was all planned for me and could get out and about more by travelling with a group of solo travellers. All I had to worry about was going to the airport and it meant I could just focus on enjoying my time away.
THAILAND – A LAND OF SMILES
I was very nervous and excited in equal measure – I’ve never even been to an airport on my own. It was all a bit unknown who would I meet and what would it be like. A rep met me at the airport which was reassuring. I wish I hadn’t spent so much time worrying about it all, and I’m really buzzing for my next trip.
We had so many temples to tour, and it was nice as each one was different, but Wat Palat blew me away as it was set within a jungle, with a waterfall, hills and forest paths. It was such a peaceful place and exactly what I needed.
ENCOUNTERS WITH NATURE
The Elephant Nature Park was also impressive, we split into two groups and spent time learning about all the charity work they do at the park, and then toured the sanctuary. They also had other animals there too which they rescued after the tsunami or taken in because of abuse or neglect, so it was quite humbling to see all their efforts in action.
We weren’t allowed to get too close to the elephants which are roaming free in the sanctuary. I’ve never been as close as I was to an elephant before, they really are so majestic, so it was a really special encounter for me.
It’s also quite emotional learning the stories as to why these animals have come to be here, so it’s a bit of an eye-opener.
As it was a very busy tour, being able to spend three days relaxing at the hotel at the end of the trip was much needed. The hotel backed onto the beach so I would get up at 5am to watch the sunrise – I love this time of day, it’s so serene and I as a videographer made the most of capturing some time lapse videos of the sunrise.
In the afternoons and evenings I would join some of the others for a bite to eat which was ideal for getting to know people. Some members of the group did advise me that Thailand is one of the more relaxed tours so I look forward to picking up the pace for future tours!
Being my first break in a while, I wanted to make the most of things so I booked the optional boat cruise. I loved every minute of being able to sit back and relax as we toured the canals and seeing wildlife like giant lizards basking in the sun.
MEETING NEW PEOPLE
The trip changed me in a lot of ways and did me a lot of good, being able to go out and explore solo and yet meet new people at the same time.
Our guide Aek was amazing, and he would suggest places for us to go in the evening, organising taxis to take us to shows and night markets.
He was an absolute legend – I cannot fault him, nothing was too much effort for him and it was great as it brought us all together in the evening.
Some days we had a long coach journey but he managed to keep us entertained to stop us getting restless, teaching us the Thai language and furnishing us with information of where we were about to visit.
Thai people are known for their friendly nature, but Aek was one of the nicest people I have ever met – he was very knowledgeable too on Thai customs and traditions.
As a group, we all got along really well with each other and it was really interesting sitting with different people on the coach and discussing their travels so far and plans for the future – I enjoyed everyone’s company.
After receiving lots of recommendations of where to go next from the group, everywhere seemed amazing, but India seemed to be the top pick for many, so I’ve it added to my ever-expanding list.
PETE’S TRAVEL TIPS
If it’s your first Just You trip – it’s natural to feel nervous but I can promise you as soon as you get on that plane and get talking to people, the nerves disappear. You build up all this stress but you meet great people and travel to fabulous destinations in the process, so it’s better to focus on the end result!
When I was younger I’d always wanted to go to Thailand and regretted not doing it before now which gave me the motivation to get it booked as I had dreamt of visiting for many years. So my top tip would be if you have a dream destination playing in the back of your mind, make that your first solo trip as your passion to visit will spur you on.
Oh, and my last tip would be if you just happen to be going to Thailand, pack plenty of mosquito repellent, your arms and legs will thank you for it!
I work in retail, so I usually chose to travel in January after the rush of Christmas, it’s a nice start to the year.
I have started looking recently at other trips as I’ve got the solo travel bug now. When I came back from Thailand, my plan was to do some European ones while I save up for a bigger trip such as St Lucia which is swaying me at the moment, and India as I mentioned earlier.
European tours that I quite like the sound of are Croatia’s Istrian Coast to see the national parks and the waterfalls in Plitvice National Park, and the Italian Lakes, but I have now booked my next adventure with Just You, I decided on Sardinia for September.
Ultimately, and without being too cliched, there’s a whole world out there to explore. I’m just delighted that Just You has helped to give me my confidence back to get out there and see more of it! I came back from Thailand a completely different person to the one that left the UK, the group was really supportive and we all had so much fun together.
We set up a WhatsApp group to keep in touch and we’re hoping to arrange a reunion at some point in the UK or further afield. I feel like a came back with a new family. I’m just so grateful to the team at Just You, for all the work that goes on behind the scenes to put together these incredible experiences.
Let us take you there
Thailand - A Land of Smiles
Discover the many attractions of exciting Bangkok then travel northwards through Thailand to the city of Chiang Mai. Along the way, visit ancient ruins and stunning temples, before your journey comes to an end in the relaxing coastal resort of Cha-Am.
14 days from£3,349was £3,499
- Return flights
- 11 nights in 3 & 4-star hotels, 2 nights in flight
- 23 included meals: 11 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners