Expectations are a nasty thing. The only thing it really gives you is a pleasant outlook on things to come (if it is something to look forward to), which in turn draws your attention from enjoying the things you are currently doing. On the downside, expectations almost never fulfill; things are always different then you imagine them to be, making the whole expectation thing a trap I usually try to avoid. With Thailand, I stepped in the trap.
It is commonly known that thailand is a backpacker place, woth all the negative consequences showing for it. Even in the famous book/movie the beach, about a backpacker going to thailand, most of the country is already described as “spilled” as far back as 1990, meaning atleast 26 years of backpackers went before us to spoil all of it. Atleast, that was the expectation. I would probably have skipped it if it weren’t for my temporarily travel companion from the netherlands and my brother studying in bangkok.
As usually with backpacking (and maybe life in general), you usually find what you are looking for, or atleast close enough. For me (/us), instead of a backpacker loaded koason road, mindless drinking and sex tourism, it’s more nature, culture, chilled places with an occasional “what the f*ck” moment. And thailand offers it all. Where some places are just loaded with drunken australians and old guys and way too young thai girls, the more northern thailand offers piecefull villages, caves, mountains, waterfalls and stunning roads. Exactly on the other side of my expectations, the mae hong son province proved to be one of the best spots so far. Perhaps it was the constant good company or we had luck discovering some “unbeaten” tracks and caves or just the place itself, it was amazing. To top it off we finised 2 weeks in the north with the most famous thai festival loy khraton, the festival of lights. The north is a face of thailand that is not often told about, even though “the beach” has been telling it’s story for quite a while.