Is 25th birthday a huge deal for all of you or is it just us? My friend Nandini was going to turn 25 and we had not planned anything. Our wandering souls bothered us, “But it’s June! Summer is at its peak in India, where can we go” I said. “Who said anything about India?” exclaimed she 😊
That’s how, within a few weeks, we found ourselves on a plane to Thailand.
Phuket was our first destination, the country’s largest island. We were welcomed by a very friendly staff of the Novotel Resort which was recommended to us by DPauls. The first glimpse of the property itself left us in awe.
The resort is spread across the slope of a hill, it is one of those places you really don’t want to leave!
We spent some time swimming and playing volley ball in the pool, however, since we were here to explore, we decided to go to the famous Bangla Road in the evening.
Walking down the beach, I was immediately attracted to the aroma of pancake. A street vendor was selling pancake with various toppings. I chose the mango and Nutella pancake which left me wanting for more.
The sight on Bangla Road is a contrast from this beauty of the beach. The road is closed for vehicle traffic and comes to life when the sun sets. This should be the only place you go to if you’re looking for a fun night out. Most of the pubs are outdoors and the deafening music literally vibrates the entire road.
We chose to go to ‘Monsoon’, away from the seediness. Apart from the light refreshments and drinks that they offer, the Monsoon Bar offers quality house band for its guests every night.
Phi Phi Islands (six in number, Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Lee being the largest) is a must visit for first timers, which was our next destination. They lie 40 kilometers (25 miles) south-east of Phuket. We took a speed boat to Maya Bay which is one of world’s most beautiful beach and it was love at first sight
We halted at Koh Phi Phi Don for a buffet lunch. Instead of eating Indian, we tried Thai (else, what’s the point) Strolling on the island, we came across various small restaurants and cafes. I am not sure if it was the boat ride, the nice warm weather, or all that stroll on the island, that both of us wanted to just lie down and take a nap. We found a wooden cot under a tree which was facing the sea as if it was destined to be there. 😉 Without any second thoughts, we sat on it and within a few seconds we found ourselves laying on it and fast asleep 😃
On our the trip back to Phuket on the speed boat, we sat swinging our feet from the side rails and watched the beautiful islands
After some time of sightseeing, both of us succumbed to sleep – on the side rails!! The sun shining meekly and the sound of waves dashing against the boat singing a perfect lullaby. We slept sound for about an hour until we were woken up surprised with some shower of water on our face, it was raining 😊 Within moments, the sky had changed its color and the waves of the dark angry sea were now roaring.
It was beautiful to see the two sides of the same place, don’t we all have these two sides of us too? Both are true and both are beautiful.
After an amazing stay at the beautiful Phuket, we were ready for Bangkok 😊
On our first evening in Bangkok, we enjoyed Bangkok nightscape from the porch of The Chaophraya Cruise deck, overlooking the famous Chao Phraya River.
Some historical sites and scenic temples line the banks of the river like the Wat Pratum Khong Ka, Wat Kanlayanamrit, the Royal Thai Navy Headquarter Buildings, Wat Arun, Wat Pho, the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Keaw (the Emerald Buddha temple), Phra Sumen Fort and the Rama VIII Bridge.
After a hearty buffet, we went to the Sirocco & Sky Bar Lebua, made even more famous by hosting the Hangover II boys. The multi-hued Bar is situated 64 floors up overlooking the river.
Safari World and Marine Park was booked for the next day. If you’re interested in a safe close encounter with animals you’d rather not have otherwise – this is your chance!
We were in a car and were directed to keep the window shut at all times. Driving around the park stretching kilometers, we saw deer, giraffes, zebras and even tigers! Being so close to the tigers was an experience I will not forget. I was amazed at how calm they looked lazing on that grass!
The giraffes were friendly, we fed them some food and they happily ate it all away.
If you are an animal lover, Safari World should be on your list. The “Marine Park” hosts the dolphin show and the seal show which is captivating to watch – if you are someone like me, you will definitely wonder how the dolphins feel somersaulting in mid-air, tossing balls with their fins and singing in a chorus, or performing dives unrivaled in their gracefulness and swiftness.
Khao San Road a 1km strip takes off at night and the only way to navigate the road is by foot. Decorated by neon lights and music blasting from the street pubs, the road is home to backpackers around the world.
Street vendors selling spring rolls, hamburgers, pizzas and falafel are seen to be all around.
You will also find vendors selling scorpions, cockroaches, spiders, mini-frogs, and grasshoppers. It’s a sight to see people eating these creatures.
A market all unto itself, you will find vendors selling bags, cheap flip flops, sunglasses and really everything you need here.
We sat at one of the clubs that was playing the best music and celebrated Nandini’s birthday dancing through the night.
Our last day in Thailand was booked for a half day city tour. The vacation couldn’t have ended on a better note than this 😊
Wat Pho, one of Bangkok’s oldest Buddhist temple is home to more than one thousand Buddha images as well as one of the largest single Buddha images. The temple contains about 90 chedis (stupas)
The Wat Pho temple is guarded by these beautiful Chinese Stone Warriors.
The temple is also known as the Temple of Reclining Buddha. The viharn (Sanskrit for Buddhist monastery) contains the reclining Buddha built in 1832. The image of the reclining Buddha represents the entry of Buddha into Nirvana and the end of all reincarnations. The right arm of the Buddha supports the head with tight curls, which rests on two box-pillows richly encrusted with glass mosaics. Although the reclining Buddha is not a pilgrimage center, it remains an object of popular piety.
Wat Traimit is the temple of the Golden Buddha.
This beautiful 700 years old Sukhothai Traimit Golden Buddha is the largest Golden Buddha image in the world made of pure gold.. The statue is 3 metres (9.8 ft) tall and weighs 5.5 tonnes
For a follower of Buddhism, this day was more special to me than any other.
Once all the places we wanted to see were checked off, we decided to splurge on shopping at the end – not every girl looks at shopping as a priority 😊
Chatuchak Market – This is among the largest markets in the world. There is plenty to see, do and buy here. Once you enter the market, you will feel like there is no order or escape, but the market is arranged into sections.
The first is the antiques, handicrafts and souvenirs. This is where we picked up presents for folks back home and some magnets to adorn our fridge 😊
Second section is for clothing and accessories. From Thai youth culture, to punks, cowboys to sophisticated independent labels.
Third section caters to eating and drinking.
We chose to eat the coconut ice cream served in coconut shell, where else would you find this?
The fourth section is for house decor which specializes in all manner of housewares, from plastic buckets to brass lamps.
The last section is for plants and gardening. It features a large variety of potted plants, flowers and accessories for the garden. If, like me, you’re not interested in flowers, you can take one of these home 😉
Thailand is one of the most thrilling places in the world and whether you’re here for a week or a month, it is sure to leave you with some great experiences.
Have you been to Thailand? Do let me know of more places I could visit the next time I am there!
Thanks for stopping by