It was with a lot of hope and excitement that we, as in the better half and me, set out on our trip to Thailand. We had scheduled a 7-day trip and planned to visit only two parts of this wonderful place – Pattaya and Bangkok. We had the flight tickets booked, and the hotel reservation confirmed, but didn’t book a guide to show us around, which, on reflection, turned out to be a good decision. We didn’t have any predetermined hectic schedule when we left, and had the scope to mix up local sightseeing with shopping, interaction with local people and long walks to unwind. That is precisely what made this trip as memorable as it was. A lot of people told us that we had missed out on a lot of sightseeing and fun activities there, but both of us loved it just the way it was. We wouldn’t have wanted anything to change.
The trip was special for two reasons – the first being that it was our first long trip together, and the second being that I was setting foot on foreign soil for the first time in my life. We landed at the Suvarnabhoomi Airport in Bangkok, which, in itself, is a nice place to look around. A few photographs and innumerable formalities later (Phew! That was tiring! ), we took a taxi to Pattaya. By then, we had already grown enamored by the sweet way the Thai people speak English and the courtesy with which they treated us. Our hotel in Pattaya was wonderful, to say the least. It offered the best of facilities, and, at the same time, was a wonderful place to just sit back and relax. The best part about the hotel was that we just had to turn a corner to reach the Pattaya beach, and turning another corner would lead us to an array of massage parlours, restaurants, shops and pubs.
We stayed for 3 days at Pattaya, which both of us found more relaxed and a more fun place than Bangkok. Orchids, the national flower of Thailand, were everywhere in Pattaya, and I had kind of grown to like the pretty flower by the time we left. Similarly, there is seafood everywhere in Thailand – the sight and smell of it is quite overbearing there. Thailand is truly a heaven for seafood lovers. We, being the veggies that we are, had a wee bit of trouble finding veggie food over there. Oh, there are Indian restaurants all over the place that serve dal-sabji-roti-chawal, but very limited choices for people like us who would love to experiment with the local cuisine of the place. The result – we experimented and ate whatever veggie stuff we could lay our hands on, which would mostly be snack items or fruits, and would cook some in the hotel room. 😛 We had heeded our well wishers’ advice and taken loads of MTR ready-to-eat packets and easy-to-cook soups there. ( Yeah, yeah! We ARE big-time foodies. Go poke all the fun you want to! 🙂 ) There was one teensie-weensie problem, though. There was only an electronic kettle provided to us in the room. Well, we can’t give up, can we? We just scrubbed it clean and made everything from soup to noodles and lemon rice to puliyogarai in that thing. 😛 Maximum utilization of available resources. It was painstaking, but it was OODLES of fun too. 🙂 The local fruits (especially the jackfruit) and tender coconuts were too good, which we made the most of too. 🙂
We did a lot of shopping at Pattaya, especially clothes. In terms of sightseeing, we went to the Nong Nooch Village, the Gems Gallery and Coral Island. The Nong Nooch Village is a kind of privately funded park owned by Mrs. Nong Nooch, with a miniature zoo in it. And the place is HUGE. It has a lot of amazing structures and cute little animals (including a tiger cub, an orang-utan, macaws and a baby elephant), with whom you can pose for photographs. We saw the Thai Traditional Show in the Village, which was just AWESOME. It consisted of various forms of Thai dancing and boxing. We also managed to catch up with the Elephant Show over there, which was great as well.
The Gems Gallery is a place which every lady would love. It has a toy train which takes you through a presentation on everything about gems – how they are extracted from the earth to which countries specialize in gem production. There is a factory where you can see everything from the cutting of a stone to its polishing and its fitting into a piece of jewellery. Last, but not at all the least, there is a BIG showroom having the most fantabulous pieces of jewellery for sale. Then there’s another section of the gallery showcasing and selling traditional Thai clothes and handicrafts. We LOVED the jewellery section and ended up staying there for hours together. For those of you who are curious, we shopped for rings with our birthstones, as mementos for ourselves. 🙂
The Coral Island is another great place worth seeing. We traveled there in a speedboat and the experience was wonderful. En route, there are a number of activities that you can do – from parasailing to underwater walking – none of which we took up. 😦 The island is BEAUTIFUL, with its bluish-green water and almost white sand. There are a number of restaurants and shops selling knick-knacks on the island, which reminded me of Robert Kincaid’s adventures in ‘A thousand country roads’. 🙂
All this combined with the explanations about Thailand that the local people gave us while commuting and shopping made for many beautiful moments that we shall remember and cherish always.
On the 4th day of the trip, we left for Bangkok, a 2-hour drive from Pattaya, the story of which I shall bug you with at a later date, along with photographs from the trip. 🙂 Till then, ciao!
Song for the day: