April 23, 2009

Amazing Thailand 2008

I had no plan to visit Thailand, suddenly we decided to go. As Amit had 3 days training in Bangkok; he asked me to come with him. Initially I said no but I thought again and decided to go.
This was my first holiday abroad. I had been to few countries before and spent 2-3 days in Sri Lanka enjoying weekend but never been anywhere as a tourist.
I did lots of R&D on places to visit hotels to stay, etc. Thailand is a very tourist friendly country. Everything was very cheap including hotel rates, transportation and even shopping.

We reached Suvarnabhumi airport, it is on outskirts of Bangkok. They had kept free detailed maps of Bangkok and Pattaya on airport. There were ATM machines to withdraw money and lots of money changers. I found these money changers everywhere in BKK and Pattaya like small shops we find in India. We hired car instead of taxi which was pretty cheap to Pattaya. The road to Pattaya from BKK airport and Crisscross flyovers were amazing. You can see in the picture below.

Crisscross Flyovers

Road to Pattaya

Entering Pattaya City

After two and half hours we reached Pattaya, very bustling town. Checked in in hotel and immediately went out to check the activities. First of all I wanted to book the tickets for Alcazar show. Luckily we got very good seats through a travel agent. This show as really amazing, full of colors and light. Performances were excellent; they had performed on songs of various countries even Indian (Hindi) song.

View from room- Pattaya

Photos of Alcazar Show

After buying tickets of show, we had ample of time to roam around in the town. We found lots of two wheelers kept outside of many shops for hire. We hired one and went to see Mini Siam; this was bit far from main town. In Mini Siam, they had kept many miniatures of monuments like Eiffel tower, lining tower of Pisa, tower bridge London etc. After spending an hour in Mini Siam, we went to travel agent again to book a half day island tour. There are many islands around and we choose tour to Koh Larn by speed boat. This was our first experience to go by speed boat. Speed boat was really very speedy; I felt it was jumping on water. After almost 30 minutes of bumpy ride we reached on a boat with huge open platform (deck) for parasailing.

Statue at Mini Siam

Mini Tower Bridge - London

Mini Eiffel tower

Mini lining tower of Pisa

I am not very adventurous person but still I choose to do parasailing as it was in my itinerary and I found it was safe. It was the best experience I ever had, felt that I was flying. This half day tour had many activities like under water walk, scuba diving, snorkeling, etc. Well, but you have to pay for each activity separately. After parasailing we reached our island Koh Larn on the island we enjoyed some water sports and shopping. I bought lots of souvenirs. After spending almost half day, we came back by speed boat to Pattaya and still had half day to roam around. Visited a mall nearby which had 4D motion theater; Repley’s believe it or not museum and many other things. Night we went to have dinner on floating restaurant. This was also a great experience.

All set for parasailing

Koh Larn - Our day trip Island

Koh Larn


We in decorated Tuk-Tuk

Dinner on floating restaurant

We spent only 2 days in Pattaya but almost seen the entire town and did all the activities possible.

On third day morning, we took cab and came to Bangkok. This city is well connected by BTS (Sky train) and MRT (Underground trains) and even by tuk-tuk (in Mumbai we call it Rickshaw). I always wanted to travel by sky train or metro trains, my wish fulfilled here. Ticketing machines, indications to all entry, exits, and places near to station was very easy to understand. In few hours we used the sky train so many times that I could even guide anyone. :)

Road to Bangkok

BKK- Building with dragon on it

Reaching Bangkok

Building with picture on it

Entering Bangkok city

BTS Station

Sky Train

One more interesting thing I found that many malls and buildings were connected by small bridges directly from sky train stations; it was indeed great experience that you don’t have to come on ground for anything once you go up to take train.

On that day, we went to see the Siam Ocean world located at Siam Paragon shopping mall. This was the first time I saw a huge and amazing Ocean world. Most amazing thing was they had created small aquarium in a fridge, a microware, a washing machine and even in a car. I could see only fishes and fishes all around. They had created a walkway where you can see fish on your sides and on your head too. They have even glass bottom boats to see the big fishes like shark.

Photos taken in Siam Ocean World

After spending afternoon at Ocean world, we headed to our next destination night bazaar, this place has several small restaurant and have 600~700 small shops for buying souvenirs. Before going there we went to Lumphini Park to spend sometime in the evening. This was very big park located near MRT station Silom. I could never remember anything here by road name as most of the road names are RAMA I, RAMA II, RAMA III, RAMA IV and so on. It was better to remember by MRT or BTS station. Later in Night bazaar I decided to check as many shops as possible but couldn’t even walk for more than hour. I must had seen about 50-60 shops only. I was too tired to walk and was very hungry but for Indian food, luckily we found Indian restaurant.

Lake in Lumphini Park

Next day we had plan to visit Buddha temples but Amit’s training got preponed, so I had decided to take group tour from my hotel. It was group tour with guide and I thought I will have company of about 15-20 people but we were only 3 and one guide. I got company of an old couple from Europe who was staying in my hotel and a lady guide. Our guide was a cheerful lady, she explained about all the temples and their importance. I saw a golden Buddha and huge sleeping Buddha statue and some other temples.

Temple - Recently renovated

Golden Buddha

Sleeping Buddha

Devotees praying Budhha

Beautiful statue of Buddha

While on our way to Gems Gallery, we went through China town. China town is the area which you always find in many Asian countries, it is very colorful but very dirty at the same time. The streets, shops are not very clean. I saw many big posters of Kind of Thailand on road in celebration of his birthday. Our guide told us that all the Thailand people love their King very much and they even wear National Emblem on particular day of week and I really found many tourist guides like her wearing National Emblem.

We reached Gems gallery, here the environment was very different, for almost all the visitors; there is one sales person to escort. I felt very awkward as I had no intention of buying any expensive jewelry. So after a walk through of shop, I asked the girl escorting me to go and attend other tourist but she didn’t go anywhere she helped me buying some small things as souvenirs. After shopping, 4 of us (I, old couple and our guide) had chat for 20-30 minutes. Then I got dropped at hotel.

In the evening, I and Amit visited MBK shopping mall; this is very huge mall and has more than 300-400 shops. As both of us were very tired, instead of shopping we went to see a movie. We became so localized within two days that we took BTS sky train, went to a multiplex to see movie and returned late in night to our hotel.

Next day I had flight in the evening; so I decided to take Thai Massage in the morning. Thai massage is very popular; I saw many small massage parlors in BKK & Pattaya. It was extremely good and relaxing.

View from my room - BKK hotel

Thailand is truly tourist friendly country. Traveling around is very easy by BTS & MRT. Even travel between two cities also very easy and cheap. I saw many 7Eleven shops in BKK which runs I think round a clock. Environment was so friendly that within 2-3 days of my stay, I felt I know this city since many years and can go around without any hassle same as local people.

Thailand trip was my first trip abroad as tourist and the most memorable trip ever. Well I am still in search of similar destinations….

1 comment:

  1. Suddenly made plans always tend to work out well...This one seems to be one of them. Apart from the style of writing, must praise your nack of placing pictures at the appropriate place as they give a sneak peek at what the place is... Mere words cannot describe the real beauty of the place....pictures do.