SJ Mobilità Travel Diaries

September 15, 2020

Thailand, Does it need an Introduction?

Filed under: Travel,Visa — jani @ 8:24 am

About Thailand:

Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand and formerly known as Siam, is a country in Southeast Asia. It’s known for Tropical beaches, Royal palaces, Ancient ruins and Buddha temples.

Visa:

Indian passport holders who are visiting Thailand for Tourism and plan to stay no more than 15 days in the country can avail the Visa on Arrival service from the 32 designated channels of Immigration checkpoints including Phuket International Airport.

Tourist visa can also be applied through the consulates in India (New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai & Kolkata). My personal recommendation is to always apply for the visa before travel and it saves the waiting time at the immigration in Thailand and it’s more hassle free and convenient. Do refer the below link for more details.

https://www.vfs-thailand.co.in/

Travel Itinerary:

Thailand is the go to country for most Indian men, the moment you say Thailand, people only think of sex tourism and when you decide to go, the first question is why are YOU going to Thailand? and they expect only men to travel there. My partner was questioned about this as well when we told that he was accompanying me to Thailand, with folks saying, why are you carrying a home cooked food, when you are going out to eat.

Since I had an opportunity to attend the CTW conference as a Speaker, I had asked Sur to join me so that we can explore Thailand post conference. We were also invited for a Pre-CTW Asia Pacific Luxury Experience for the Speakers along with Partners and were hosted by Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park for 3 days. So we were looking forward to enjoy the Marriott hospitality.

Day 1:

We were booked in Thai Airways and it was my first experience with the airlines and it didn’t disappoint. We had a relaxing flight and landed in Bangkok. We had the VIP experience from the moment we landed. There was a conference representative who came to receive us at the airport and she picked us right inside the airport as we stepped out of the plane. She guided us through the immigration and escorted us to the car that took us to the Marriott where we were getting hosted pre conference.

We were welcomed in the hotel, had a smooth check-in and were allocated the best of rooms. We were a group of 10+ people who were hosted by Marriott. Marriott ensured we had the best experience throughout the stay. The same evening had an introductory cocktail party and got introduced to all the speakers and their partners who had come from across the globe. In the evening, as we were served the cocktail snacks, I informed the F&B team that Sur was a vegetarian and they immediately ensured they prepared something for him as there was hardly anything for a pure vegetarian and he was the only one vegetarian in the entire group.

Day 2: After the awesome breakfast at Goji kitchen + Bar in Marriott, I had few sessions to attend with the CTW organizing committee while Sur was chilling out in the room. Then we along with our partners had a cooking session with one of the local chefs who specializes in Som Tum (spicy green papaya salad with dry shrimp and peanuts) and it was so delicious and fresh. We were asked to prepare a salad by ourselves along with the chef’s guidance and we had made the vegetarian version for Sur without adding the shrimp. If you are in Thailand, ensure not to miss on this one.

Then we were taken for an amazing lunch and I had a laugh at the table as staff had kept a whole fried fish on the table and it’s mouth was open and it was looking at Sur. He was scared to look at it while eating and he whispered to me to move the plate towards me so that fish doesn’t look at him. I had to control myself from laughing out loud, until I reached the room. The lunch spread was delicious and after having a great lunch we headed out for a massage in Quan Spa in Marriott itself, since we both love massages. In the evening we also walked around the hotel, in a public park close by. It literally felt like an open gym where everyone was seriously working out and it was nice to see that people were conscious of their health.


Whole fried fish
I have also heard of Thailand Red bull, which is much better compared to the normal red bull that we get in India and it makes you very hyper. So Sur wanted to try that since he is a red bull fan and we picked up Theoplex-I (Thai Red bull) close to the park and he enjoyed it. We also explored Sukhumvit Street Market which was recommended by friends. If you love budget shopping, then this is a good place to go. Since we are not much into shopping, just spent a little time around and returned.


Thai Red Bull
Then Sur said he wanted to watch Kingsman: The Golden Circle which got released recently, so we thought why not watch it in Thailand as he was saying, by the time we reach India, probably it might be out of the theatre and he didn’t want to miss out. So we headed to Terminal 21, one of the largest shopping malls in Sukhumvit, Bangkok. This mall has almost 600 shops and it has 5 floors, which includes most of the brands, food court and cineplex. We had our dinner at the food court itself and went to the watch the movie and enjoyed the Gold class experience. It got over late night and since the hotel was close by, we just walked back and rested for the night.

Day 3: After another sumptuous breakfast, productive sessions with the organizing committee, we had a seven course lunch arranged in Pagoda Chinese Restaurant and I was amazed that Sur had a separate menu card printed and his veg options were served exclusively to him, they only knew a night before about his food preference. I don’t think I needed another proof to show how the staffs at Marriott ensured that everyone had the best of experience. Hats off to the team of Marriott, Bangkok and I don’t think I have enough words to thank them for going extra mile to ensure everyone was treated with the best of hospitality, specially taking care of Sur.

Then we had to check out from Marriott to go to Centara Grand where the conference was happening. Since we didn’t have much activity planned we checked in, got a room which had an amazing skyline view from the window and that was Sur’s working space for the next 3 days since I was busy with the conference for those days.


Sur’s Office in Thailand
Day 4: After another delicious breakfast I headed for the conference. We also had pre show tour to Sampran Riverside at Nakorn Patham for a local Thai experience. Here we got to interact with locals to know about their organic farming, tried local Thai teas like butterfly blue pea flower and other herbal teas which I heard is super good for health. Tasted local tender coconut, it’s very different from Indian coconuts as it taste like toddy and its an acquired taste. We also got to see the local Thai art and crafts like bamboo dancing, garland making and fruit and vegetable carving. Then we had an amazing local Thai lunch. After a great experience we returned to the hotel.

Once we both finished our official work, we decided to go to Uno Mas, which is a unique Rooftop Restaurant in Centara Grand which serves the finest Spanish & Mediterranean cuisine in the most spectacular Al fresco panoramic city view. Spent a little time, enjoyed their food and then called for the night.

Day 5: Next day after a quick breakfast headed for the full day conference and after a hectic  back to back meetings with the travel suppliers and then came back to the room. Sur and myself went to the Red Sky bar which was on the 27th floor of the Centara Grand hotel. Since we both were cheese lovers we had a cheese platter and cocktails. The presentation was noteworthy as it was very creative. Every drink was presented in a  different way. One cocktail was kept it in a cage and another was served a in wooden art container so we kept ordering different cocktails and, along with it we had an amazing skyline view. It would burn a hole in the wallet but if you can, don’t miss out such unique experiences. I also had a first experience of the blue cheese which was the favourite of Sur and my expression said everything to Sur as I found that it was an acquired taste as well.


Drinks at Red Sky
Day 6: It was a little hectic day as I had breakfast with my team of panelists so that we could discuss and be prepared before we go on stage and then headed to conference. The conference went very well. Being first time on a panel stage gave me confidence and I was glad that it went well. Then as I was meeting the suppliers, I was referred by a relative to Mr. Sunny for organizing some sightseeing which we wanted to do it post conference. Mr. Sunny (+66 817826131) owns Sunny Online Travel and we booked for the sightseeing tours for the next four days.


Panel Discussion
Day 7: Mr. Sunny had sent someone to pick us from the hotel and he took us around in Bangkok in the morning and went to flower market. Which was pretty much empty as Bangkok mostly sleeps during the day so we didn’t stop anywhere and went to the Golden Buddha Temple, it’s officially titled Phra Phuttha Maha Suwanna Patimakon, commonly known in Thai as Phra Sukhothai Traimit, is a gold Maravijaya Attitude seated Buddharupa statue, with a weight of 5.5 tonnes. It is located in the temple of Wat Traimit, Bangkok. The temple is so beautiful and also there are certain dos and dont’s in terms of not having any buddha tattoos on your body and not going there with short dresses. Do read the local guidelines before you visit. This is a place of worship and it needs to be respected. We said a prayer and started our journey to Pattaya. Once we reached Pattya, we met Sunny and he had given us the itinerary for the next few days and we were dropped at the hotel. We checked in and chilled at the hotel for some time before we began our sightseeing in the evening.

Mr. Sunny came to pick us up in the evening and took us to the streets to show where we can hang around before he dropped us for Alcazar Show which is done by the lady boys. It was so graceful and amazing. Kudos to the lady boys, we had a blast. This is a must visit and my thanks and respect for the ladyboys who put us the spectacular show.

Sur really liked one particular lady boy who was so beautiful, even I agreed with him on this and wanted to take a picture. He was too shy to ask, so I went and paid for the photo to be taken with her and gave an extra tips as we were so impressed with her during the show as well. She was very kind. We clicked a picture and thanked her. Sunny picked us up and dropped us to the walking street and he instructed how to walk back to the hotel and he left.


Beautiful Lady from Alcazar Show
I had no clue about the walking street and I did kind of guess by seeing the way ladies were dressed. We had a drink in one of the bars which was an open place and then we walked back. While walking back, these girls were trying to show the card, for me it looked like a food menu card, I didn’t realize the menu card was for sex and I took the card, looked at it and I was in a shock, since the pictures were explicit and it had rates as well. So I started walking back and then the girls were trying to woo Sur to go to their bars and I got paranoid as the street was crowded and I was worried  I might get lost in the crowd and I had no clue how to get back to the hotel alone if I didn’t find Sur. Since I was in a panic mode, we decided to leave and then it started raining, so we had to hurry back quickly. We did get lost on the way since it was too dark and hardly anyone was on the road outside the walking street. Finally we found a small shop which was open, found someone who guided us by sign language since we couldn’t understand/speak Thai. Finally we reached the hotel and this adventure was more than enough for the day and crashed for the night.

Day 8: We started early, had a quick breakfast and headed to the floating market in Pattaya, where the stalls were just getting set up, and it had less crowd since we reached early. So we could go around quickly and were impressed with an elephant painting in neon colors in one of the stalls. It looked so beautiful, however the size that we needed was incomplete and we couldn’t buy immediately. That was a bit let down. The canoe ride was beautiful, attended monkey show in the market which was fun, had a photoshoot with a local costume and tried more local thai teas as well. There was also a zipline which was for a very short distance and I had fun.


All dressed up in Local Ethnic wear
Then for lunch we headed to Nong Nooch garden, which was good and then went around to enjoy the botanical garden spread across 500 acre of land which has Thai Cultural and elephant shows and it’s a beautiful themed garden with thousands and plants and trees.  Then we headed to Underwater world, Pattaya. This is beautifully done with the glass dome for an amazing view. Enjoyed the sharks, sting rays, sea horse and many more. I was bugging Sur, telling him which are the fishes that I ate, and finally he told me to tell only which I had not eaten, as per him, that list might be shorter.

Next we headed to Ripley’s believe it or not and it had packages to choose from, we did the Vault Laser Maze, Moving Theater 12DX, Infinity Maze, Louis Tussad and Haunted Adventure. I am not a big fan of haunted or any of these experiences but Sur had fun so I tagged along reluctantly. Finally when we had to do haunted, I was adamant that I won’t go as I don’t like the haunted house experience. Since Sur didn’t want to go without me, I had to tag along as I didn’t want him to miss out his adventure. So as soon as we entered, I held his hand and closed my eyes and I told Sur, I am not going to open until the end, which I knew,  it was the saw (Movie – Saw) experience where they scare you with the chainsaw. I saw it while standing in the queue as that was the last experience of the haunted house and it was on the first floor balcony and people were coming out screming and running, so I knew what to expect at the end. Sur couldn’t control himself as everyone was trying to scare me, they were surprised why I was not reacting at all, only after few minutes they realized that my eyes were closed. Even I was climbing down the stairs in the haunted house, Sur had to insist me to open my eyes as I might fall. So I opened for a minute and before I stepped into the last step, I closed again as I guessed there might be someone to scare at the end of the stairs. Finally with my closed eyes I reached the balcony for the last chainsaw scary experience and I could hear the loud noise of it. I just stood there with my eyes closed till the guy got tired of scaring me as he knew I am not going to open my eyes until he finishes. So he gave in and went back, then I reconfirmed with Sur and only then opened my eyes and came out of the haunted house. I don’t think anyone went to haunted house with the eyes closed. I am sure, the staffs would have had the last laugh on account of me.

Day 9: We had an early start since we were going for a diving/snorkelling with Jomtien Dive Center. Since Sur had a PADI certificate, he was allowed to go for diving and I had to settle for snorkelling since I didn’t have one. We went to the centre for paperwork and then we were taken to the beach. On the way to the Beach I realized that I forgot my swimsuit and Sur was making fun of me saying, how could I forget the swimsuit which is needed to get into the water and since I didn’t have time to go pick it up anywhere, I was lucky to find a girl selling swimsuits near the boat. I had no other option than to pick one quickly as we had to get into the boat. It was almost an hour drive and enjoyed the ride and then time came to get down for our adventure. Diving groups had been allocated along with the instructor and the owner lady was helping everyone to ensure they get in the water and some of the folks were scared and one of them returned back out of fear, but all others went for a dive. I was given snorkelling kit, was expecting someone to guide like how they did it for diving, since this was my first time. Unfortunately there was none for snorkelling in our group and no one bothered to tell me what to do while I was waiting someone to instruct. Finally I had to ask the lady what should I do and she says just jump and be close to the boat. I was a bit disappointed that I was completely ignored.


Sur Diving
Then I jumped for the snorkelling and ensured I held on to the rope, as I didn’t want to get drifted. This was one of the best experiences watching the various varieties of fish. The water was not that clear, but still it didn’t disappoint and I had a blast. After almost 45 minutes of snorkelling, I went back and Sur returned back from diving as well. We freshened up and sat for a delicious lunch and returned back and I didn’t forget to complain to Sur that I got ignored so I should get my PADI certificate so that I can join him next him and I wouldn’t be left alone.

In the evening we thought will step out for dinner and there was a restaurant adjacent to the hotel, so we thought will try that. The cocktails were good and the best part of it was the glasses were huge with long straws, am sure it contained more than half litre of cocktail. We ordered 2 cocktails without realizing the quantity and we found it difficult to finish. Then we grabbed our dinner there and called it a day.


The large cocktail
Day 10: It was time to return back to Bangkok to catch our flight in the evening. We checked out the hotel in the morning, enroute  we stopped at the Safari world, Bangkok. The entrance was not maintained well as the water had a foul smell, but once we went in, it was great. Went to Safari park for the exotic birds, had our lunch and then watched the Spy war and Hollywood cowboy stunt show which was really cool. There was Orangutan show, which was quite entertaining and the sea lion show which was really fun to watch and the bird show which was amazing. Overall it was a very good experience and while took a turn to leave, there were zebras. With such an breathtaking sight, we had to leave for the airport. Do spent a day here, its worth your time.

We boarded Thai Airways and enjoyed their hospitality while returning and landed with a memorable experience of Thailand. We felt incomplete, as we couldn’t do other beautiful places like Phuket, Krabi etc.

As we came back with the happy experience, I was appalled to hear an experience from another friend of mine who went to Thailand for her first International trip to celebrate her 40th birthday along with her bestie. One of the evenings in Bangkok, she returned to the hotel late night after celebrating her birthday and found a girl, in the hotel lift, bleeding, with fingernail marks all over her body and she was crying. She was telling my friend, she will never go with Indian men. I just couldn’t sleep for that day when I heard about this. The country that you are visiting for pleasure, don’t you think you should be grateful and respect the people who are helping you to attain your pleasure. Is this how we treat another human? Paying for the service doesn’t mean, you own any. No one has any right to hurt someone. Is it that Indian men don’t know how to enjoy sex without hurting the other person? Sorry folks, you need to educate yourself before you go to such places and don’t embarrass the other gentle men of our country.

My apologies on behalf of the Indian men who hurt the Thai women and any other person irrespective of gender, am sorry once again, they didn’t deserve you.

I am looking forward to explore more of Thailand and let’s all pray that we defeat this Covid soon, so that we can start our travel again. Until then, stay safe.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress