First blog post from recent trip to Koh Samui, Ayutthaya and Bangkok in Amazing Thailand
Amazing Thailand is a very special place for me as it was here that me and Missus traveled first time out of India on our honeymoon, many moons ago. In all these years many things have changed in Thailand from a traveler’s perspective, mostly for better. Recently I was in Thailand once again though all alone this time on invitation of Tourism Authority of Thailand.
While I work on thousands of pictures that I clicked though mobile as well as my DSLR, let me present a curtain raiser on my visit to Thailand, which showcases the top ten things that I indulged in Amazing Thailand.
So ladies and gentlemen in no particular order I present my top ten experiences in Thailand that will part of my memory for a long time to come.
- Colorful flowers: Flowers are everywhere in Thailand, from the airport, to the hotels, to the mesmerizing flower market in Bangkok.They are used in garlands for gods, decorating homes, hotel receptions, and generally grown almost everywhere.One is spoilt for choice when it comes to flowers in Thailand, no wonder that the logo of Thai Airways is combination of colors and shape of two flowers pink Magnolia blossoms and the purple orchids. This first picture I share here was clicked just outside at the front office of Tourism Authority of Thailand in Bangkok.
- Island hopping from Koh Samui: Besides mainland Thailand, there are literally hundreds of islands that are part of the Kingdom of Thailand. I have been earlier to Phi Phi Islands, James Bond Island, Phuket etc. in the Andaman Sea, but this time for island hopping our base was the magical island of Koh Samui in the gulf of Thailand.You will be pardoned for thinking for a moment that you are in one of the Mediterranean islands when walking on the streets of Koh Samui. We visited the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park near Koh Samui in a Yacht for snorkeling and some hiking; there is also a lake there where the movie ” The Beach ” featuring Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed.
- Beaches: A land of hundreds of big and small tropical islands Thailand is blessed with inviting pristine beaches,and you are spoilt for choice to walk on those bustling with activity of hundreds of tourists or go to secluded beaches where only waves, smiling sun and wind caressing your hair for company. Take your pick based on your budget and style.
- Night life: Whether it is the full moon party in Koh Samui or bustling bazaars of China Town in Bangkok the night life in Thailand is better experienced than explained. We visited the night markets, had real late night dinners, walked the streets and checked some of the pubs.
- Boat Cruise on Chao Phraya River: Chao Phraya is known as the river of Kings, and is lifeline of trade, transportation and a lot of tourism activity in the downtown Bangkok area and upstream provinces too. We hopped on a private boat overlooking the Wat Arun or Temple of Dawn and checked the Bangkok Skyline that can easily compete with any western metropolis. Chao Phraya is a busy river highway with small boats to big barges and tourist cruise liners with private dining riding the waves that have seen the building of Bangkok after the capital moved from Ayutthaya. A lot has changed since then and the bank features some of the busiest business and tourist destinations in Bangkok.
- Street Food and Fine Dining: Normally street food and fine dining are not typed in same sentence but not in Thailand.From some of the swankiest restaurants offering Thai, Italian, Indian, Sushi, Chinese and many other cuisines, whole of Thailand is a street food heaven, especially if you are into sea food and other non vegetarian dishes. But vegetarians like me can also find enough choices to keep them happy.
- Shopping: Thailand is known for it big malls as well as street markets, and it is fun to bargain hunt on the streets, as well as great deals on high street brands in the malls. I too indulged in some retail therapy on the streets of Bangkok as well as in Koh Samui and sure would recommend a few things to buy from Thailand in an upcoming post. Till then check this picture from one of the many street markets in Thailand.
- Stay at Finest Hotels: Though Thailand has options for all budgets, we stayed in some really nice properties. Just to give a sample here is a picture of my room in Anantara Riverside Resort in Bangkok, overlooking the Chao Phraya River.
- World Heritage Sites: From the temples of Ayutthaya to, Wat Arun, the Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha Complex in Bangkok we visited some really awe inspiring world heritage sites. Thai government manages these sites and most of them are very well maintained with proper facilities for tourists like guides, audio tracks in different languages, restrooms etc. Point to remember: Most heritage sites in Thailand are places of worship and you need to dress appropriately respecting the local customs.
- Loi Krathong Celebrations: My most amazing experience of this trip was celebrating Loi Krathong or the festival of lights on the banks of Chao Phraya River and watching the celebrations with hundreds of other expats and Thais in a grand ceremony. While a detailed post on the same is sure to follow-up, here is a picture that I clicked on the banks of Chao Phraya of the fire works as part of the Loi Krathong celebrations. Loi Krathong is one of the most mesmerizing festivals anywhere in the world and the festivities in Bangkok are very special with illuminated boats cruising the Chao Phraya or the River of Kings taking you to a different world.
So dear reader brace yourself on an Amazing journey to Thailand from beaches, to fine dining to many more things in the week to come. Do share your comments and check my earlier post on giveaway for readers of desi Traveler blog. You can win a 2016 calendar with 12 pictures clicked by your friendly neighborhood desi Traveler.
I was invited to Amazing Thailand by TAT New Delhi
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