Plastic Pollution and Pristine Paradises: Reflections on Traveling in Asia with My Sister

Plastic Pollution and Pristine Paradises: Reflections on Traveling in Asia with My Sister

This Blog is written by my sister, Csilla Gogh.

In recent times, we've come to realize and feel within ourselves that life isn't infinite. Living on different continents from my sister, we'veย realized that our time together in this life is limited. So, we made a decision: as long as we can, we'll meet at a point in the world every year and explore places together. Traveling fills both of us with joy, and doing it together is even better since we both love to travel similarly.

This year, our destination was Thailand, specifically the lesser-known parts, called the Deep South - the southern island chains. We didn't plan our trip in advance; we only booked until the first island and then went wherever the wind took us. It was a fantastic adventure ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ˜œ.

Leaving behind the attractions of Bangkokโ€”the floating markets, temples, elephant farms, and the bustling crowd of the 10-million cityโ€”we headed to our first destination, Ko Lipe. We had read about its dazzlingly white sandy beaches, reminiscent of the Maldives. Though somewhat crowded, after several days of diving, we witnessed stunning coral reefs, soft corals, turtles, colorful fish, and underwater shipwrecks...

In my opinion, Asia is drowning in plastic (they make a coffee using 6 pieces of plastic ๐Ÿ™ˆ). It's astonishing how humanity has enslaved nature here, and behind the tourist-filled streets, locals sit amidst tons of plastic, with no desire to clean up. Children and Europeans living here merge into this chaos. It seems impossible to clean up; it's the most dreadful feeling... ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿฅน.

After that, it was refreshing to visit Ko Adang Island, a 40 km long strip covered in a pristine jungle. There, we encountered animals I'd never seen before, including flying lemurs, which served as inspiration for the wingsuits of base jumpers. It's an untouched wonder that we were lucky to witness โค๏ธ, though I'm sure it won't remain as beautiful in a few years.

We heard about Ko Mook Island and its rare Dugongs from some locals we met, so we headed there. Here, we were fortunate to swim with the rare Dugong, and we also explored the stunning Emerald Cave, whose entrance is from the sea, leading 200 meters into a "beach cauldron" carved by nature into the rock. It's a chimney-like space formed in the mountain where pirates used to hide their treasures ๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿ˜Ž. However, the island was also filled with trash once we left the main tourist streets and street food vendors. It's simply heart-wrenching to see the amount of plastic engulfing the locals' lives ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ˜’.

James Cameron's movie Avatar is shockingly realistic; we humans have plundered the Earth, and soon there won't be any clean water or forests left... Are we looking for a new place in the world where we can live?? ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ‘€.

Ko Libong brought the most pleasant surprise of all my Asian experiences. A local guy took us around the island, where there were hardly any white tourists. Instead, he told us about rubber trees, how they ensure a family's financial resources for their children's education. We learned that a tree drips 1 kilogram of rubber in one day, which they sell for 65 baht (approximately 650 HUF), and we saw how they process the material to make various products.

There was NO trash anywhere on the island. They collected all plastics in large selective bins, canned drinks in another, and a company bought them back in large quantities for recycling ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™โค๏ธ. Environmental protection is taught as a subject in local schoolsโ€”hence the island is clean, even where the locals live. They collect stray bottles from the sea, something I haven't seen elsewhere.

Finally, a place in Asia that isn't swimming in garbage!!!

Ko Lanta lived up to our expectations, a crowded tourist paradise with higher prices than any other island we'd visited so far. The underwater world here was the least beautiful. We moved on as soon as we could.

During our travels, it's shocking to see a family of four riding a scooter without helmets. It warms my heart to see how naturally children blend into everyday life; they repair motorcycles, and the family doesn't make a fuss about their entertainment.

Many times you say we raise our children more relaxedly, and it's great that we travel a lot with them. I draw inspiration from the world and implement what I learn here moderately at home.

As for food, I've never been able to go two weeks without gluten, dairy, and added sugar, but thanks to the abundance of fruit and Thai food, I managed it this time ๐Ÿ˜œ.

In my opinion, traveling is still the best investment in ourselves and in becoming better people based on our experiences.

We came to travel, not not to vacation. But that is how we like it ;-)

It was so good to be together. In 13 days, we visited 9 destinations, laughed a lot, and when we parted ways, tears welled up in my eyes.


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