….. Uncountable memories, travel experience, emotions… !!
Indeed, with every holiday trip, comes feeling of “All is Bright” and the ineluctable amusement. The thrill had people, sleepless for nights before the D-day.
You could see people on “Google” to search for best dress, best shoes, best pose to click, and to make the list of things to do. Because, no one wanted to come back feeling “Oh!!! I missed experiencing that”.
Thailand, rich in its culture and beautiful beaches and temples, is one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations. Every location within the country promises a different holiday experience.
This trip was a stunning experience and the umpteen memories we collected, are imprints on sands of time. I bring to you a collection of my, rather “our” memories. I hope, you all like and plan to add to the tourism of Thailand.
Day 1 – The Journey Has Begun
Everyone was supposed to reach IGI International Airport at the decided time. I faintly remember the exact time, but the night was worth every wait. The flight to Bangkok is a non-stop flight, and takes maximum of 6-7 hrs. We were to board, one of the machines aka Aero Plane, by Thai Airways.
Indira Gandhi International, (IGI) airport was recently renovated and the new terminal – Terminal3 was so talked about. You would never forget the first view and the first feeling as you enter the terminal. It’s breathtaking and marvelous inside. While waiting for everyone to assemble, we never missed a chance to pose and get clicked.
Once everyone had gathered, we moved to currency exchange counter and also completed immigration check formalities. The staff at Immigration desk was so friendly and seeing so many happy faces, they were smiling all the time.
Once we boarded the plane, we cheered and shared the cry of joy. Everyone have been so looking forward to this trip, that no one wanted to be seated. The steward/stewardess has such a hard time – dealing with us. Finally we were in air, not only virtually in our mind but also for we were flying.
Day 2- The Long Wait on Flight
Thailand is called `The Land of Smiles’, and with good reason- for there’s a smile on every face here, a welcoming and friendly smile.
We landed at at Swarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok! Its huge and with awesome infrastructure. We were supposed to complete few immigration formalities too, and hence went toward the queue. To stay connected at home, most of us bought SIM cards, easily available from the airport. Everyone was tired from the flight journey, yet the morning was refreshing.
We exited the airport and boarded our respective buses. We were to reach Pataya City. The drive via the city was splendid, very comfortable and above expectation. The tour guide very sweet. You could see amazing architecture and all the more beautiful sight all through the drive.
The buses stopped at “Sriracha Tiger Zoo“. No one wanted to visit the zoo, for everyone was hungry and it was time for breakfast. We were later told, that the zoo was the venue for Breakfast. We walked and sat at the restaurant only to realize that the entire restaurant was surrounded by the Tigers. Believe me… this was one “Daring Breakfast“.
We reached our hotel, A-One Hotel, Pataya City. We were given our room keys and were later asked to assemble for lunch and to relax and later explore nearby places and market. The rooms were comfortable, prim and proper.
The hotel staff was so friendly and hospitable. They took great care of everyone needs and attended to us with utmost priority. We were served delicious Indian Food and there was no dearth of exotic fruits. We went back to our rooms to relax and later, explored near by market and few open bars, restaurants and shopping mall.
A party was planned for the night. So everyone came back and were dressed up in their party dresses. This was an official trip with my previous company MindFire Solutions. The party promised – Thai Music and Dance performance, DJ and Music and Dinner of course. The entire group had a gala time.
After the party, we all planned to visit “Walking Street – A kaleidoscope of neon and racy nightlife.“ Pataya is situated 130 km south-east of Bangkok, and is tagged as the “Naughty” city of the Thai Capital. It is a vibrant and pulsating city. The nightlife isn’t confined to a Friday or Saturday night, it is every night. The massage parlors, go-go bars and late night discos overwhelm the city of Pattaya, and are the major attraction that draw tourist worldwide.
You now see more of couples and families, holidaying at Pataya City. There is no denying the fact, that this after-hours culture is still very much part of Pataya city. A stroll down the Walking Street, after dusk shall adjure! We also experienced foot massage before we made our way back to the hotel.
Day 3- The Pataya Morning
The next morning at A-One Hotel, Pataya had everyone up and ready on time for Breakfast. Again, for it was the day for adventure sports.
Pataya is unbeatable, for sun-sea-and-sand combination. The beaches are as beautiful as the quality of beach side rest and recreation.
Pattaya abounds with water sport activities due to its location, weather and facilities. You could do diving, snorkelling, sailing, jet skiing, fishing, windsurfing, water skiing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, banana boating, parasailing and yachting.
We wanted to take to the sky and hence choose parasailing – the newest sport for those seeking a temporary rush of adrenaline. Few that took the sport, could be heard saying, “My heart stopped beating.. and suddenly it was beating faster”. And, to few it was an unexplainable sensation.
You could practically feel like a bird. Up in the air a it gives you a different perspective of everything on the ground, and definitely a natural high. You could enjoy a panoramic view of Pattaya city below.
After parasailing experience, it was time for another water sports activity – Under Water Sea Walk .
The drive to Coral Island has its own attractiveness. We boarded the speed boat for the ride, it was kinda fun to think we were super cool with the wind blowing in our face on our speed boat, but one thing we didn’t anticipate was the lack of suspension that came with the speedboat bouncing on the water when it went over waves. THAT was painful.
Coral Island is a full white beach with clean and beautiful blue water. It’s a very relaxed sight. You can check out the awesome fun time we all had at the Pataya beach and Coral Island.
We came back to our hotel. Later we went to visit the Gems Factory. The tour of a gem factory started with a guided rail tour that explains the the origin of different natural stones. It then was followed by the actual gem-cutting factory visit.
Real stones are kept there unprocessed and processed. You will be taken to a display of the best cut gems, gold section and the The pearl section. The gem factory showroom is the biggest in the world and pearl section has huge collection of pearl necklaces.
All precious stones from entire world are present – Diamonds, Emeralds, Topaz, Ruby, Sapphires, Garnet, Opel, Jade, Tourmaline, Pearl, Zircon..etc. You could buy anything to almost everything. Most of the ladies in our group bought several jewelries and made the most of the time at the Gems Factory.
We returned to the hotel for Evening Snacking and also to get ready for evening show, Alcazar Show.
You ought not leave Pattaya without seeing the “Alcazar Show“. You’d see a marvelous combination of music, dance and costume. This show is an amazing night out to please and amuse yourself. The color and grandeur of the show will hypnotize you and take you to a different world all together.
Alcazar Cabaret Show in Pattaya City has all the allure and razzmatazz of a Las Vegas nightclub. Dazzling performances by artists in glittering evening gowns thrill nightly audiences, as well-groomed ladies mime and dance against a backdrop of surround-sound and computerized lighting. The unique feature of Alcazar’s entertainment, that sets it aside from Las Vegas, is that all the girls are boys!
Ladyboys or Katoeys as they are famously referred to as in Thai language are a huge phenomenon in Thailand. They are transvestites and some of them so beautiful and convincing it’s hard to tell them apart from a woman.
They are a fully integrated part of society and while some of them work as prostitutes it’s not unusual for them to have the more regular day jobs of tour guides, bank clerks and so on. There are also beauty contests held for Katoeys in Thailand.
Day 4- Bye Bye Pataya, Bangkok Here we come
It was day to pack our bags, not because the trip was to end. But we were to now leave for Bangkok. We all check-out with our luggage. We left early for the breakfast was planned enroute. We left Pataya with happy mind and memories for life.
Bangkok is known for its chaotic, crowded streets, cheap food, cheap clothes, wild nightlife and traffic. Spiked with scores of high-rise buildings of concrete and glass, it’s a vast flatness that holds an estimated population of eleven million, and feels even bigger. Yet you’ll find a heady mix of chaos and refinement, hushed golden temples, of dispiriting, zombie-like sex shows and early-morning alms-giving ceremonies.
Many travelers come here and either love or hate it due to the pollution, noise, and crowds. It’s a city that slowly reveals its secrets and if you spend a little extra time here, you’ll find that this seemingly ugly city has a lot of beauty.
We had our breakfast en route before, we started our tour of the temples in Bangkok. We started with, Wat Traimit, Temple of the Golden Buddha.
It is a Royal temple famous for the enormous gold Buddha image it houses. The image is more than three meters high, weighs some five and a half tons and is most likely some 700 to 800 years old. It is the largest solid gold Buddha image in the world. For centuries the true identity and value of the image were not known, until by accident in the 1950’s it was discovered that the image was made of solid gold.
Everyone was suddenly hungry, post the tour. Again, it was quite late and past Lunch time. We went for lunch. The food served was Indian and was delicious too.
We had another temple on our tour, before we check-in to the hotel. The next stop was at Wat Pho, Temple of the reclining Buddha.
It is located behind the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and a must-do for any first-time visitor in Bangkok. It’s one of the largest temple complexes in the city and famed for its giant reclining Buddha that measures 46 metres long and is covered in gold leaf. The figures here are impressive: 15 metres tall, 46 metres long, so large it feels like it has been squeezed into the building.
The Buddha’s feet are 5 metres long and exquisitely decorated in mother-of-pearl illustrations of auspicious ‘laksanas’ (characteristics) of the Buddha. 108 is a significant number, referring to the 108 positive actions and symbols that helped lead Buddha to perfection.
It was beautiful place, with own decorum and code of conduct. As this is a revered image, all visitors must wear appropriate clothing; this means no exposed shoulders or skin above the knee. So do, read on the “Do’s and Don’ts”. Check out the pictures here.
We were all tired and boarded our respective buses to later, check-in at Holiday Inn, Bangkok. Everyone was tired and wanted to take power nap before the dinner.
The interiors for “Holiday Inn” was breathtaking and splendid. It was a great combination of Modern and Traditional.
The rooms were clean and comfortable. Everyone enjoyed their power nap, just before the dinner. The furniture arrangement and the decor were simple and yet had their own charm.
After our dinner, we all changed in casuals and went for night stroll. We were told by the staff of the hotel, that there was a street market that was opened till late night. We started walking and enjoying the weather and the huge skyscrapers.We did some shopping from local market. The stuff were beautiful and really cheap. We came back to the hotel with shopping bags.
And finally, it was time to take good sleep for the long day ahead. Everyone chirped and chatted only to doze off, one by one. The trip so far has been more than amazing, than our expectations.
Day 5 – Tour Bangkok and Time for Home
It was the day when we were to leave for home. And no one wanted to go back, for none had had enough of the stay. Everyone wanted to go back and take one more plunge of adventure sports or the visit to the temple, the gem factory and lot more..
We were asked to come down for breakfast and also to pack our luggage. We all packed our luggage and went to explore the hotel. They have used the space and made it look so calm and beautiful. It indeed, help you laze and relax to max.
We later left the hotel,for MBK, Bangkok’s Market. This is one place for electronic good. Everyone wanted to visit and buy Electronic Stuffs – LEDs, plasma TV, mobile phone, camera, PlayStations consuls and games, MP3 players, DVD’s etc.
A tourist discount card is available on application from the Tourist Information Counters on the ground floor, giving up to 30% discount in selected outlets.
Platinum Mall, Bangkok was another attraction for the girls. It promises, no brands but is packed solid with bargains: the top 2 floors are dedicated to shoes and handbags, the others to clothing. A lot of the clothing is cheap and cheerful, but there are some gems hidden that are unique and positively value for money.
Being a wholesale mall, you will need to purchase a minimum of 3 pieces to get good price, or you should be real good at bargaining.
We were given a time frame to gather and board buses, so that we could leave on time for the Airport. Reaching New Delhi, India was overwhelming as well as satisfying. Coming home, is always emotional.
Perhaps travelling with friends can never be put into words. This was one such trip – for, everyone cry, laughed, ate and make merry all at the same time. They discover the best of the world and best of the companion with them. The experience was wild and wonderful in its own way. Indeed, everyone will carry, this beautiful trip, dear to heart.
**Kindly refrain from commenting on the people in the Photographs!