Trip to Thailand
Sunday, April 10, 2016
If there is Heaven somewhere on Earth, it’s exactly here!
Crystal Blue Beaches, mesmerizing Waves, Fresh air, thick jungle, limestone cliffs, beautiful islands, exotic marine life, lively night life, great food and what not…..Thailand has all ingredients for a perfect vacation recipe.
Thailand, a most popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia is also known as Land of Smiles, and for a reason. It’s a place which not only brings smirk on your face but also rejuvenates; specially those living and working in the sedentary life of Kuwait.
This August, I had the privilege to Visit Thailand along with my Husband and other friends. We planned to cover major touristic destinations Like Bangkok, Pattaya, Krabi and the individual islands of Phuket.
Our journey kicked off by boarding an early morning Jet airways flight from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport and landed Bangkok by 7:00 am. After freshen up at the Bangkok airport itself, we right away took a bus to Pattaya and that was the beginning of our audacious journey.
We had done our homework on weather conjecture and August being end of monsoon season, we were expecting light and heavy showers during odd hours of day and night and truly speaking, this actually added spice to our trip.
We meticulously enjoyed the scenic journey to Pattaya accompanied by graceful showers. Pattaya is also called Miami of Thailand. We did half day tour on our own, enjoyed the clean n green beauty of the place, visited local walkways, captured the moments in our camera and reverted to Bangkok city by dusk.
As we had to board early morning flight to Phuket, we had booked mix dorm hostel located in the downtown. We hit the bed and rushed early morning to the airport to board a domestic flight to our next destination, Phuket.
Phuket is the place where the paradise of Thailand rests. I felt that Mother Nature must be having a special liking for this place and that’s the reason, its so so beautiful. Let me mention that Phuket is a small town but it harbors most of the escorted islands of Thailand.
To begin with, we visited Phuket's Big Buddha Temple, which is one of the most sacred and revered landmarks in Phuket. The huge white image of Lord Buddha sits on top of the Nakkerd Hills between Chalong and Kata and at 45 metres high. It is easily seen from far away.
The lofty site offers the best 360-degree views of the island, easily reachable via a six-kilometre road leading from Phuket's main artery.
We had three nights in Phuket to crease all gratification and leisure. We had read reviews on numerous websites which lay emphasis on booking day trip locally and not in advance. We checked few local agents and booked our island trips later in the evening.
The third morning was paramount. We boarded a speed boat and commuted for about an hour to Racha Island. The one hour journey was a thrilled one, threshing and crushing the high waves of the Andaman Coast. Kudos to Weather Forecast Department, it started raining heavily after ten minutes’ ride. And then that speed boat turned into an interactive drama action-adventure of lifetime. We were thrilled, excited, scared. As the boat was jumping up and down, everyone on the boat was screaming and laughing; probably enjoying best days of their life. And finally our tour guide mentioned that we can spot the island now. This island is famous for its transparent beaches, exotic marine life and is among one of recommended diving sites.
After stepping on the island, we were taken to our diving start point in local TukTuk, where we met our trainer. He made a small demo on diving, made us familiar with diving equipments and taught us basic fundamentals which we need to learn before going for the dive.
Then I went underwater to satisfy my curiosity and as I sinked myself and went down, it was like WOW ! I am in a wonderland. Suddenly the color all around me changed and it turned bluish -green.
It was a completely different world out there. There was complete peace and silence, only sound I could hear was sound of my own heartbeat and the sound of my breath.
I saw some small fish, big fish, colorful coral, dead coral effected in Tsunami, Some Urchin, yellow fish, blue fish, golden fish, orange fish, zebra fish, A-fish, B-fish, No name fish, fishes, fishes, fishes…I was ecstatic seeing the fishes swimming around me.
As started going deeper and deeper my ears hurt. Following my diving instructor, I equalized my ears often, until I felt comfortable to explore the deep underwater.
After a while the instructor signed for going up. It was 40 minute past but felt like just 5 minute. I was so lost and wanted to live in the water forever. Now I can comprehend the phrases "A FISH OUT OF WATER"
After this one hour trip to fairy land, we came back on our land of existence. We were totally exhausted and we rushed to grab our lunch plates. A fine Thai buffet was waiting for us at a local restaurant at the island and within few seconds, our plates were loaded with fry chicken, fish curry, fried rice and water melons. Aah! That was just perfect to serve our bellies and it was again time to hit the waves on our speed boat as we returned back to Phuket and reached our hotel by 6:00 evening.
Next day, we opted to visit Phi Phi Island. It’s extremely popular for its wondrous tourist spot and great vacation point. The stunning and exquisite great looks that Phi Phi have in store for anyone undoubtedly are embedded in the brains of all those who visit it. The place is thought of as the Shangri-La of Thailand. Phi Phi has become the beloved of Andaman coast, with all its curvy and flashy beaches and huge green jungles. There are loads of people who visit it but till now, it has always tried to maintain its beauty nevertheless. Its important to mention here that Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh was the setting for the film The Beach, featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, and offers some of the most sensational natural scenery.
Get Set go! We put on our life jackets, and once again we boarded the impish speed boat and we were ready to battle the Andaman Waves.
Reaching Phi Phi island was breathtaking. Stunning rock formations and tranquil turquoise waters teeming with colourful marine life; just the sheer beauty of Phi Phi is enough to tickle everyone's fancy. The landscape seemed to be a painting by the bestest painter of the universe, our own creator. I havn’t seen a place so beautiful, full of life. I felt like my two eyes are just not enough to capture and hold the beauty of this place. There were many small and big cliffs with lush green trees standing with pride on those cliffs and they were adding a unique beauty to the place. We jumped inside that transparent natural pool and now it was time for snorkeling and exploring the marine life on our own ease. Blue sky, green water, white sand, fresh air, slight rain....what else you need to relax on the most beautiful beach on earth!
Later in the afternoon, we had another session of local barbequed Thai cuisine and lots of fresh fruits to keep us energizing all day long.
Thereafter, our journey on the speed boat continued and we visited few more islands like monkey island, poda island and chicken island, all equally spectacular.
We were back to our resort by evening and now it was time for some fun and night life. We took a small nap and then stepped into a totally different world of Phuket, apart from the natural beauty, the nightlife at Bangla road is also a must see in Thailand.
Bangla Road comes to life when the sun sets. The road is closed to vehicle traffic and becomes 400 metres of neon lights, loud music, drinks and similar leisure. Jammed most nights of the year, it is actually a lively place to walk around.
Almost all of the bars are outdoors, so the music from each one blends into a deafening mess of sound. Street performances are also common most nights. The local performers are very talented and very skillful. We found one such troop performing that night in one of the clubs. They performed on all international tracks to bind people from all nationalities and guess what; they hummed ‘Dhoom Machale” as we Indians walked in.
Next morning, we hired a local transport van and drove for about four hours to reach our next destination called Krabi.
It’s a small town located in the West coast of Southern Thailand. We booked a two storey villa in the interior of the limestone cliff jungles blended in with the natural surroundings to emphasize the beauty of the abundance of species of native trees, flowers and bamboo that thrive at the resort, that will allow you to get back in tune with nature. After nesting in our resort, we took a long boat ride to Railey Beach. Describing long tail boat, it was a traditional wooden boat, single engine with seating capacity of 12 pax. It took us nearly 15 minutes to reach our destination. What shall I narrate for Railey Beach? Its beauty beyond words! Calm water, limestone cliff formation, lush green jungle, dizzy lights and light showers….It was like journey of a lifetime.
Next day we hired a local taxi, popularly called Tuk Tuk and travelled around 70 KM to reach Khao Phra Bang Khram Nature Reserve. Its nature’s own hot-tub jacuzzi. The water here comes from thermal springs, originating deep underground in volcanic chambers. Located in the jungle, this site features naturally hollowed-out ‘bathtubs’ in the smooth stone, filled to the brim with fresh running spring water at a pleasant 35-42C.
After the natural jaccuzi, we headed towards nearby ‘Crystal Pool’ also known as Emerald Pool, this is an astonishly-hued and large natural pool that is filled with pure spring water. The pool is reached via a network of trails through the Khao Nor Chu Chi forest, which offer a glimpse into a unique aquatic ecosystem, fed by the area’s abundant spring water. On the way to the pool, we pass by series of clear mini-pools, waterfalls and streams, plus hundreds of species of tropical trees and plants.
Later in the evening, we boarded a flight to Bangkok and following day was our last day in Thailand. In the early morning, after tit-bit breakfast, we took a cab to the famous Grand Palace of Bangkok.
If there is one must-see sight that no visit to Bangkok would be complete without, it's the dazzling, spectacular Grand Palace, undoubtedly the city's most famous landmark. Built in 1782 - and for 150 years the home of the Thai King, the Royal court and the administrative seat of government - the Grand Palace of Bangkok is a grand old dame indeed, that continues to have visitors in awe with its beautiful architecture and intricate detail, all of which is a proud salute to the creativity and craftsmanship of Thai people. Within its walls were also the Thai war ministry and state departments. Today, the complex remains the spiritual heart of the Thai Kingdom.
Within the palace complex are several impressive buildings including Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), which contains the small, very famous and greatly revered Emerald Buddha that dates back to the 14th century.
It took us nearly three to four hours to complete the view of the Grand Palace. Thereafter, we took a two hour ride about 100 Km southwest of Bangkok reach to Damnoem Saduak Floating Market.
We hopped onto a decorated long-tail boat and with the roar of the engine our boat glide down the narrow canals. The boat driver use to slow down in between to let us appreciate the winding waterways and get a brief glimpse of those who live on the river. The journey took around 20 minutes and it’s great to enjoy the peace before the hectic pace of the market. Usually the market is overcrowded but we were sailing in peace as we went at odd hour of the day. Visitors from all parts of the world and sellers actually brought noise and colour to the area. There were dozens of fruit & vegetable sellers and many local vendors selling sovereigns, jewelry, T- shirts etc while rowing their boats along the narrow canals. There was plenty of tasty food to try along the docks, from freshly-made mini coconut pancakes to boat noodles in their rich meaty broth.
We spent plenty of time wandering around, tasted some local produce and took plenty of pictures.
Later in the evening, we opted for a Thai Foot Massage. There are plenty of salons all over Thailand which offers vivid range of Massages, which is also among the specialties of the country. We explored night markets, purchased few sovereigns and T-Shirts, enjoyed some local Thai street food and later ended up packing our luggage at the hostel.
With lots of unforgettable memories and fun, we boarded an early morning flight to Mumbai and that’s how our fantasy journey concluded.
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