Thai Trip – Pics, Views, Reviews & Tips

Mar 03

Panoramic Vew of Grand Palace

Panoramic Vew of Grand Palace

Writing after a long time, yes I know I had promised to write more about my France/Swiss trip but thanks to my exams, I haven’t been able to do so. The wait for results is getting into my nerve. For those who aren’t aware about the Supreme court case & NEET, let me just tell you Medical PG exams in India have gone from bad to worse. Results were supposed to come out by Jan end, it’s almost March now; still no signs of results. Wouldn’t like to bore you with the NEET stuff any further; the reason why I mentioned about it, I was so frustrated with the situation that I desperately needed a break. As many of you would know, I just love traveling; what better way to relieve stress than go out for a short vacation!

I had 2 options: Dubai or Thailand, as the other countries would need more time for Visa. Since one of my friend is moving to Dubai soon, the rest of us intend to visit him soon. So I was left with only one option Thailand! Glad I went there!

I decided about the trip just 2-3 days prior to my take off. Did my bookings online. It was a cakewalk. I had an exam on 19th, returned home on 21th & I was supposed to catch my flight to Bangkok on 24th Morning from Mumbai, so had to leave immediately. Thankfully everything went smoothly as planned & boarded the flight to BKK, Cathay Pacific CX 750.

Well frankly my onward journey didn’t go very well, thanks to a group from Gujarat who looked as if they were hell bent at tarnishing India’s image. These guys were but obviously first timersĀ  (That’s perfectly fine), but the annoying part was they were totally manner less, shouting loudly, playing music loudly, troubling the cabin crew repeatedly. I was so embarrassed by their actions.

Thankfully, the flight took only 3 and half hours to reach BKK. It was a huge sigh of relief for me.

Thailand has a provision for citizens of few countries (19 precisely) to get Visa on arrival. I knew there was going to be huge queue, so I quickly made my way to the Visa point, had no trouble getting the Visa. In no time I was cleared through the immigrations.

The services in Thailand for tourists are very well organized. I had a cab waiting for me with my name on a placard, so it was all very convenient getting to Pattaya from BKK airport. The roads are pretty good (any road will seem good to you if you compare them to Indian roads), took just 1 hour 15 mins to complete the 120 Kms journey. I had the day free to explore Pattaya. I stayed at a hotel called Citin Loft.

Tip: Tuk tuks are excellent way to travel through Pattaya, no matter how far you travel; you just need to pay the driver 10 baht!

kp

The second day I was taken to Coral island by the tour’s company. Getting to the coral island can be boring for many. What they do is before taking you to the main island, they have 3-4 stops (which are a Must!), you need to wait there for over 10-15mins. There stops have attractions like parasailing, underwater exploration, etc. So instead of getting bored, there is a very high probability of you trying a few of them. It’s all part of Marketing strategy employed by thai people. And it works!

Personally, I didn’t like Coral island much; too much crowded. You will find more Indians there than Thai! Anyways, I came in touch with 2 guys from West bengal of my age here. It was good hanging out with them. Later in the evening we again met for exploring more of Pattaya. Ripley’s Believe it or Not is a good attraction.

Over all, didn’t like Pattaya much. If you are a Veggie, you shouldn’t face any probs as there are many Indian restaurant there.

Next day, I was supposed to leave for BKK at 8 am, so had to get up early. I stayed at a hotel called Swiss Park in BKK.

Had a sight-seeing tour organized immediately on reaching the hotel. It wasn’t that great. Firstly they don’t show you the major places in BKK & they forcefully include some promotional places. So I decided to ditch it & explore BKK on my own. I was pretty impressed with their skytrain (BTS) & subway metro (MRT) services. Very easy to get around. Visited various temples, Grand Palace, Malls, Ocean World (Liked it the most).

Met 2 of my Local Thai friends in Bangkok. There were extremely warm & friendly. Enjoyed every moment spent with them. They took me to a Mystery Haunted hotel, which apparently isn’t known even by the locals. Came to know many things about local culture through them. So glad that I met them. These are the times when you realize people still do care in the world, there is something called as Humanity.

My aim usually while visiting any country is to explore the local culture. That’s why I don’t opt for conducted tours.

The next day I had my flight late at night, so I had about 12 hours at hand, decided to explore more of BKK. Over all found the Thai people to be very friendly & warm.

The cab came to pick me up to the Airport as scheduled. Came across a Chinese aunty who was very sweet to offer me fruits while I was waiting for my flight CX 709. Rest of my journey passed off uneventfully.

Thailand has a lot to offer apart from what people normally make of it, I hope to be back in Thailand again to explore more of it’s local culture.

Tips

The only not-so-pleasant incident to mention about BKK: When you visit Grand Palace; the so called guides outside the palace will tell you the Palace is closed for the ceremony & they will take you to Wat Arun instead (just across the river on the other side) for just 10 Baht. DON’T Believe them! PALACE IS OPEN TILL 3.30 PM everyday. So beware!

The tuk tuks drivers will try to rip you, so always have your Google maps at hand to check the distance & give them a reasonable offer. If they don’t agree move on. Stop a moving tuk tuk, chance of them quoting a reasonable price are far more than a tuk tuk parked at a stand in front of a Tourist spot.

As opposed to popular belief of electronic goods being dirt cheap in Thailand, I didn’t find them that cheap. For example, the cost of an iPhone there was 20,600 Baht. Which comes up to about 41k INR, but there is no international warranty on it. You can get the same handset here for 45k with Local warranty. Yes TV sets could be cheaper, but I wouldn’t want to carry them all the way back to India, too cumbersome for me.

I had bought a Local Sim from AIS for my iPhone which offered 1 GB of 3G data. I had to buy it because the telenor provider was out of internet sim on Airport, their plans were cheaper. If you need a sim just for calling, try True-Move.

I claim to be no expert on Thailand, just sharing my experiences. If you need any info, I will be glad to help you out.

Have a look at few of my pics

Review of the Hotel Citin Loft, Pattaya:

Over all it’s a very good hotel; spacious & clean rooms. The service is great. The major downside is the location. It’s located far away from the happening places of Pattaya, so you need to take a cab or a tuk tuk. But other wise you will like the hotel. The break fast was decent. One more issue I faced: I had asked the room to be cleaned while I left the hotel in the morning, but it wasn’t cleaned even though I returned by 4 pm. Then a maid came to clean it at around 4.30pm. Looks like the hotel is under staffed, the same maid was working for 2-3 floors, which took her so long. Anyways, since I was staying for just 2 days, I didn’t bother much. But you are advised to inform the receptionist to clean the room specifically while you are out.

Review of Swiss Park Hotel, Bangkok:

The major highlight of this hotel is the location. It’s situated pretty much in the heart of Sukhumvit which is like the heart of Bangkok. It is located near the BTS station Nana & Asok, MRT Sukhumvit; so accessibility isn’t an issue. But over all the hotel is pretty average. The rooms were clean. The staff was pretty warm & helpful. There are a lot of vegetarian Indian restaurants near by, so if you are a veggie you won’t go hungry! The breakfast was pretty decent, but beware it gets over by 10 am & much of the offerings are empty by then, they don’t re-fill after 9.30 am. Over all an average hotel in a great location.

Have a look at my pics from Swiss/France Tour