Bangkok has often been referred to as the microcosm of Southeast Asia. Firmly centrestage on the global backpacker scene, Thailand’s capital city is where an entire generation has learnt how to travel. Navigating through the buzzing, boozy night markets where tourists often outnumber locals, bargain shopping, negotiating with tuk-tuk drivers, discovering new flavours and sounds - it often all begins here - in this thumping metropolis with some of the most iconic places that are on every young traveller’s bucket list. Of all the things to do in Bangkok, you will inevitably wind up Khao San road, take the river cruise on Chao Phraya river and walk into one of the many grand palaces and temples that dominate the city’s skyline. While you are there, enjoy hours of guilt-free street shopping, while sampling the exhaustive menu of the unique local cuisine of the streets of Siam. Flutter through alleys of Sukhumvit, buzzing with cafes, bars and everything in between. Bangkok’s nightlife is among the city’s top attractions. Don’t leave here before witnessing the neon glitter that paints the city life after nightfall. By choosing an exciting Bangkok tour package, this magnificent city can be travelled in an extremely delightful and hassle-free manner.Read More
Bangkok has often been referred to as the microcosm of Southeast Asia. Firmly centrestage on the global backpacker scene, Thailand’s capital city is where an entire generation has learnt how to travel. Navigating through the buzzing, boozy night markets where tourists often outnumber locals, bargain shopping, negotiating with tuk-tuk drivers, discovering new flavours and sounds - it often all begins here - in this thumping metropolis with some of the most iconic places that are on every young traveller’s bucket list. Of all the things to do in Bangkok, you will inevitably wind up Khao San road, take the river cruise on Chao Phraya river and walk into one of the many grand palaces and temples that dominate the city’s skyline. While you are there, enjoy hours of guilt-free street shopping, while sampling the exhaustive menu of the unique local cuisine of the streets of Siam. Flutter through alleys of Sukhumvit, buzzing with cafes, bars and everything in between. Bangkok’s nightlife is among the city’s top attractions. Don’t leave here before witnessing the neon glitter that paints the city life after nightfall. By choosing an exciting Bangkok tour package, this magnificent city can be travelled in an extremely delightful and hassle-free manner.
Bangkok is great for shopping and a lot cheaper than Phuket but always bargain till you can creep them out :D. Platinum Mall, Pratunam Mall, MBK Mall and Indra Square are the places to shop. Though Indra Square is cheper than others and it also has night market which starts at 11pm and goes on till 9am next day.Our stay was right in the heart of the shopping paradise in Bangkok, at Indra Square!!!. We were right next to Baiyoke Towers but we gave shopping more importance than visiting Baiyoke Rooftop. Haha! Grand Palace, Wat Phra Krai Temple, Golden Buddha Temple, Safari world and Noong Nooch Botanical Garden are family and kids friendly places. Skip these places if you are a couple on honeymoon or holidaying with friends together for fun. We regretted visiting these places. Instead, we could have hopped few new islands and had more fun! sigh!Being vegetarian, I had to survive on Subway sandwiches, salads, fruits and juices. Thank god, I had carried homemade food too with me to survive!Thailand weather is just like Mumbai. Hot and humid all around the year. But do keep a check on the weather when you plan your trip for untimely rains.Bangkok cruise is nothing less than Indians gathering and partying. There are 2 cruises ferrying on Bangkok river. One is for firangs loaded and others for Indians.
On the last day in Bangkok, we woke up late since we had a night flight to catch and we had to pack. We had to figure out how to shift all our shopping from hand baggage to our main baggage without exceeding the weight restrictions. I had carried an extra travel bag with me with nothing in it for just this reason. After I'd filled it up with the items we'd bought, I filled up a new Thai handbag I had just purchased with the rest of the accessories and we were set. We spent some time in the room and decided to catch the train and head to MBK mall to check out (buy) some electronics and do some last bit of shopping. They had a lot of great stuff but I didn't particularly need or want anything so I ended up not buying anything. We spotted a spa and got the world famous Thai massage, pampered myself a little, and finally checked-in to the airport late at night! Our flight was at 2 AM. Worst return flight timings. This time, we were flying back with Indigo.To summarise, here are a few tips to keep in mind before going to Thailand!1) Keep your passport with you all the time.2) Vegetarians, please pack some ready to cook/eat food because even Ramen, chips everything has some non-veg ingredient in them. I ended up buying this seemingly vegetarian ready-to-eat noodles and later found chunks of beef floating in it. I literally cried out of disappointment.3) Do not lose any tickets that you pick up, like - boat ride, bus, or bills for bike rentals. You need to pay all over again if they ever ask for it again and you don't have it.4) If you are going to any temples please wear full clothes that cover your body. Applies to both boys and girls! While Thai people don't normally say anything if you show off your legs or skin, it's frowned upon and they take it as a sign of disrespect. 5) People going from India, I would suggest you to carry less Thai currency from here and exchange directly in the airport only after you reach as they do not deduct any extra amount for each currency. Also, convert USD to Thai, not INR. It may not even be accepted here. Plus, you get more THB for USD. More money, more shopping!6) "Loth rakha noi, dai mai krap". THIS SENTENCE WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE! Trust me.7) Key to not get lost in the city/country that you are not familiar with is to simply be polite to the locals and they'll do anything to help you. As much as they do not speak English, they always try to help as long as you are nice and respectful.8) Say NO to Tuk-Tuk rides. They charge a bomb - sometimes more than taxis - and please do not ask them for any directions. They'll follow you and pester you by saying that they would drop you to the place. In Bangkok, they would take you on an alternate route to purposely show you some antique shopping areas to promote certain stores. They have tie ups with certain stores and charge less if you purchase something from those stores. It's just easier to rely on cabs and the huge network trains they have.9) Traditional Thai massage will actually hurt a little. They press it hard, so do not get scared. It's all worth it in the end.10) Wear clothes according to what your plans are for the day. If you are the type to worry about what you eat, please ask them before you order. Even though I specify veg, it always smells of fish and has at least egg and seaweed. Learn basic Thai phrases, it'll be of great help. Thai people do not like loud people, so always be polite and kind. While we headed towards Poonsiri from the Krabi Airport, it was mostly a quiet ride where our minibus was filled with soft speaking Singaporeans, Thai people, Americans, and us. While we spoke and interacted gently and politely like any normal human beings, the bus stopped to pick up a few more Indians at one point. A bunch of guys from Delhi got on and after 5 minutes, I didn't know where to hide my face because of how embarrassing they were as representatives of India in another country. They were annoyingly loud, rude, laughing, and poking fun at the Thai people and their language. Our local languages would sound just as funny to Thai people, but you don't see them making fun about it openly, do you? Please be mindful of saying such things in public space. The American and Singaporean couple just smiled at us awkwardly as the guys continued on, and that was the end of our rapport thanks to those idiots.11) Do not even think of disrespecting their king! Do not disrespect him on coins, notes, and even the smallest of pictures. Apparently, he's done a lot for them and recently passed away.12) What to buy: clothes, essential oils (because in India the same ones are exported and are over-expensive), and lights! Electronics, if you need something. Watch out for duplicates.> The mistakes I made:1) If you are in Bangkok do not stay in a hotel away from the city. It is really difficult to getting around due to the lack of connectivity.2) Changing resorts everyday: it'll take half of your day in doing so. You will not have much time to do the other things.3) Converting cash into Thai currency in India because you end up losing a lot in the exchange. Do convert some amount, but as little as possible. Just to cover any immediate purchases either on the flight or the moment you get off.4) Having a huge plan to cover almost all of the places in 9-10 days which is physically NOT possible. When you say, you're going Thailand, you're going to an entire country, not a city. Can you cover the best of India in 10 days and be satisfied?5) Not visiting Ayutthaya and Damnoen Tiger Zoo. I absolutely missed out on these. North Thailand.Aaaand that's it! Hope this blog helps you in at least some small way because I have literally written down every single aspect of what happened! On my way back from the Bangalore airport to my place, I stopped at a local restaurant, ate chicken biryani, and headed home. That was the concluding moment for my trip. Namma ooru biryani!
We had an early morning flight and landed in Bangkok! What a city, fast life, just like any metropolitan city! The city is contemporary set with tall buildings to the monastery and palace. The city has touch of both. We went straight to our hotel which was near Suvarnabhumi International Airport since our return flight to Bangalore would be extremely early in the morning. Taxis maintain a base fare and it adds a few THB up for every km. We had three days in Bangkok and we planned it meticulously.We did the typical tourist thingy in Bangkok which included going to all the tourist places such as Grand Palace, Wat Arun, China Town, Thanon Plaeng Naam - street food market. In the evening, we took long tail boat for the sunset and discovered some crazy food!During this entire trip, I was unable to adapt to their food on any level because I am not really a fan of meat. Any food we bought had fish oil in it and it was mostly beef, pork, insects, octopus, squid, and seafood of all kinds! Yes, vegetarians, it's really hard to find food for you! All the best.The usual MCD and KFC have completely different menus which I thought would save me but that was an utter flop! I love KFC and even KFC burgers and chicken were topped with fish powder of some kind which gave off a very seafood flavour. Definitely not for me!
1. Siam Niramit.Siam Niramit offers memorable acts of Thailand's most colourful festivals and history of Thailand. You can book the show online or buy it at the counter. Your evening starts with an early dinner and pre show activities followed by the main play. Throughout the show, you'll come across Thailand's history and most beautiful and colourful festivals. If you love dancing you can even join the artists in the pre show entertainment. This has been one of the most amazing things I did in Thailand.Place: Siam Niramit theatres are located both in Bangkok and Phuket.
Ah, this is an Indian man's favourite destination. Your cousin or distant uncle must have told you how "funtastic" Bangkok is, and they weren't kidding. The place is a melange of beautiful beaches and ancient Hindu temples, and the people are really hospitable all over. The best part is, tickets are cheap!Must do while here: Go monastery hopping. Visit the Khaosan Road to experience the outrageous nightlife.Average cost per day per head (excluding flights): Rs. 3,000Best Hotels.Read more about Bangkok.
Every year Bangkok experiences a rise of 0.8 degree Celsius and along with temperature fluctuations, flooding has become a present reality for the city. In last few years Bangkok's issue with climate has speed up drastically and a future with irreversible effects.
Day 6, Jan 9th, 2017: Our travel agent had left us to our own devices for this day, so we decided to visit the floating market, another unique thing to Thailand. There are a few floating markets around Bangkok, and we were taken to the Damnoen Saduek Floating Market. We rented a taxi from the hotel to take us there as it is an hour's drive from Bangkok. We crossed lush countryside as we headed for the market. The tickets for an hour long ride on the long-tailed boat along the canals was pretty expensive, 1000 Baht. The roar of the engine sounded loud as we chugged along the narrow canals. We were met by a burst of color and sound as we reached the main area of the market. You can disembark from the boat to stroll the shops in the marketplace or u can choose to browse by boat. Houses on stilts on the banks can be seen in some places. The floating market is colorful and fun at the same time. Each time you want to inspect something from a shop or buy something, the boat rider slows down to make it convenient. The shops sell everything from bags, wallets, belts, beautiful scarves, Thailand t-shirts, dragon printed shirts, coconut shell artifacts. It is an unique experience. We made a stop at a coconut factory and shop, it is strange how every part of the coconut is used for making something. I got some tasty fresh coconut treats to take back home, the lady at the counter even let me taste one.My friends visited the Golden Buddha Temple after we returned back from the floating market and then were taken to a gem factory. We spent our evening shopping again at Indra Mall and nearby areas. This was officially our last day in Thailand as we would be leaving the next day, although we did actually have another day since our flight was late night.
Day 5, Jan 8th, 2017: After a leisurely breakfast, we set out for Bangkok. Our stay was at the Ecotel Hotel, which was the least favorite of the three hotels we stayed in during our trip. We had relegated all our shopping to Bangkok since we had heard it was the most appropriate place to shop for cheap and trendy items. It was noon by the time we arrived at Bangkok and I skipped the day tour as I had been to Bangkok earlier, and decided to concentrate on shopping. The Indra mall was where we did all our shopping. There was everything available and at very reasonable rates, need I mention you need to barter well. The evening was spent shopping and then we visited the massage parlor for a leisurely massage before retiring for the night.
I love the bright chaos Bangkok offers me. I look around and my eyes pop out at the various colors that whoosh past me. I love your city at night with the lights and the sky train that shoots past over my head. While here, I am certain of how to start and end my day; you wrap your arms around me and lead my way.
Since arriving in Siem Reap, Cambodia last September I've been itching to get out and explore. I'm also keen to share what this beautiful country has to offer aside from the Angkor Temples and The Killing Fields. Whilst these are absolute musts, there's a whole lot more to Cambodia, much of it off the beaten track, away from the tourist hoards. With that in mind, this series was born. Andy and I will endeavour to visit and write about one off the beaten track place here every month. The aim being to encourage people to stay longer in Cambodia and see some of it's less touristy offerings. First up is a Kulen Mountain day trip, where a group of us went on a day trip from Siem Reap in January.
Siem Reap is as being as flat as a pancake, but 40 km to the North East of Angkor Wat, in Svay Leu District is Phnom Kulen National Park. The small regular shaped plateau of the Phnom Kulen mountain range protrudes from the landscape, nestled amongst thick jungle. Locals consider Kulen Mountain or 'Mountain of Lychees' to b the most sacred mountain in Cambodia. It's frequently visited by Buddhists and Hindus's in pilgrimage. On top of the plateau is a sacred hilltop with about 30 ruined temples. Much of the land is yet to be de-mined, which means currently, the public can't visit many of the temples, and definitely not without an expert guide.
What to See and Do
As we stepped off the plane at Siem Reap International Airport the excitement took over. We were hit by the familiar hot, humid air and the smell of South East Asia. I think this unique smell is a combination of close, muggy air infused with incense, spices, cooking, gasoline, and in the rainy season, wet grass, leaves and mud.
Andy and I are now nearing the end of our first month in Siem Reap. Therefore I wanted to update you on our roller-coaster of an integration and assimilation to expat life here. Just a pre-warning...this is a lengthy post - I'll try to keep future posts on the little but often basis.
Integration and assimilation is normally over in a day or two after arriving in a new place. It involves finding our bearings, discovering how things work and generally getting into the swing of things. This time it's been different. I think this is partly because we've both been to Cambodia and Siem Reap several times before. It's also because we're not just travelling here, but living and working too.
As a result this post is about our 4 week stint house and pet-sitting, and running our friends guesthouse ( Rosy Guesthouse).
A friendly tuk-tuk driver from Rosy Guesthouse met us at the airport as usual. He whisked us straight there where we were welcomed by our friends and partook in several obligatory Cambodia draft beers, before getting settled into our favourite room for a few nights.
We then spent an enjoyable evening at our friend's house, where we had dinner and a good catch-up. We also got a tour of the house we'd be living in for the next 4 weeks and met the pets we'd be looking after.
The following day we were given a thorough handover of the day to day running of the guesthouse. We also got a grand tour of the important places in town that we might need such as the bank, money exchange, wholesalers, markets, malls, petrol station etc.
A Tourist Mecca
As we drove around town it soon became clear that Siem Reap has changed alot since our last visit 4 years ago. It's tourism industry has boomed since we first visited 8 or 9 years ago, which was inevitable given the proximity to the famous Angkor Temple complex.
During our first visit the roads were mainly dirt tracks, with a distinct lack of pavements and just a smattering of guesthouses. Now there are guesthouses, hostels, and hotels everywhere you look.
At the end of October we flew into Siem Reap, Cambodia which was to be our home for the next year. The rest of October we started to get settled into house and pet sitting for our friends and also into getting into the swing of relief managing Rosy Guesthouse for them whilst they returned to the UK for a visit.NovemberWe were kept very busy throughout most of November looking after the Rosy Guesthouse, which was a great experience and helped us to meet lots of other expats and start to make friends here.Our favourite part of this month has to be the 3 day Water Festival. Rosy Guesthouse over-looks the river and Royal Gardens, meaning we had a prime position for watching the dragon boat races. Cambodians love a good party and it was all pretty crazy in the streets near the river.
Lotus fields Siem Reap Cambodia Christmas was wonderful as we spent it with Siem Reap friends old and new. A lot of eating, drinking and partying was involved. Then 5 friends from the UK arrived for a two week holiday and to see in the New Year. It was fantastic to see some familiar faces and a great time was had by all.This post was originally published on Can Travel Will Travel.
We booked our tickets on the Mekong Express bus for 13$. I highly recommend this bus service about which there are glowing reviews everywhere online too. They provide a minivan pick-up from the hotel to the bus station and the buses themselves are super comfortable with plush seating, toilets, air-conditioning and most importantly, curtains to keep out the harsh sun. The Cambodian countryside is soothing to the eyes and after a while most people on the bus dozed off for a bit. We arrived at Siem Reap at 1:30 p.m. having left Phnom Penh at 8:30 a.m. and there were tuk-tuk drivers jostling for customers at the bus-station to take us to our hotel. Another Air BnB find, our hotel was very strategically located...just walking distance away from the hustle and bustle of Pub street but tucked away into a quiet lane right beside one of the exits to the Arts Market. At 4500 INR for three nights, we thought it was a steal.Our hotel reception, as I am guessing will be the case with all hotels, was a treasure trove of useful information about day tours to Angkor sites and other interesting sights around Siem Reap. It was from here that we booked tickets to the Angkor National Museum for 12$ each it saved us the expense of hiring a private tour guide to be with us on the two days that we planned to devote to Angkor temple sites. It was a smart move as it not only saved us nearly 60$. The hotel also helped us with hiring a tuk-tuk, who at 12$ a day was going to take us on a half day tour of all the major and minor sites.
In Siem Reap you can visit the Angkor Wat temple complex, the largest religious monument in the world - which is really worth the visit.You can purchase a single day pass or a 3-day-pass, depending on how you plan to spend your time there. There is lots of companies that offer a day trip to the temples, with a air-con van and water included. I really recommend these packages, because the weather is really hot.At night you can go to Pub Street, filled with backpackers from around the world. I would say it's a smaller version of Khao San Rd, in Bangkok.
Siem Reap happens to be a city that is stuck in a time warp. It is wedged between a rapidly growing hospitality sector and a bequest left behind by its former colonial masters. The province essentially serves as a bridge that travellers take in order to explore the fascinating temples and ruins of Angkor, possibly the most popular UNESCO World Heritage Site on this planet. The city on the other hand is a constant party considering its fancy restaurants and bars and an open-air discotheque of sorts in the form of the massively popular Pub Street.
Day 2 - Was travel day to Pattaya.Thanks to a very minor accident,we had to postpone the travel to early evening and not morning as planned.We took a bus from Ekkamai bus station to Pattaya.Buses leave on time here and hence it is best to arrive early enough.It gets very humid in Bangkok and hence best to ensure that you consume enough fluids through the day.We arrived at our hotel in Pattaya,relaxed for while before we headed to the streets nearby.Pattaya can be very much on your face initially.Definitely not my favorite place!Travel tip - shared tuk tuks are really cheap.Do ensure that you confirm the price per person before boarding these shared tuk tuks.Day 3 - By now,we were getting used to the weather,food and streets in Thailand.The strong cooking oil odor is everywhere and takes time getting used to.Day 3 started by a walk down the Pattaya beach road.The beach is strictly okay here.Travel Tip - Buy water from 7/11.It would cost anywhere between 9-18 THB.Restaurants charge a lot for bottle of water.After a long walk down the beach road and lunch at an Indian restaurant,we were back at our hotel ready to move back to Bangkok.The bus ride from Pattaya to Bangkok feels very similar to the bus ride from Mumbai to Pune.Since,we had an early morning flight to Phuket next morning,we booked a hotel (G9 Bangkok) closer to the Don Mueng airport.Travel Tip - If you are short of food and it is very late in the day - just walk upto a 711 store and buy packed food for 35-60THB.They would warm it at their store for you to carry back to your hotel.We had to do this because all restaurants in the area had closed by the time we got ready for dinner.If one has time,chatuchak market is a must visit.Day 4 - Travel to Phuket!A very different place compared to cities in North Thailand.The approach to Phuket runway is lovely! There are several small hills dotting the sea below!It looks gorgeous from the top.Read More
Day 2 - Was travel day to Pattaya.Thanks to a very minor accident,we had to postpone the travel to early evening and not morning as planned.We took a bus from Ekkamai bus station to Pattaya.Buses leave on time here and hence it is best to arrive early enough.It gets very humid in Bangkok and hence best to ensure that you consume enough fluids through the day.We arrived at our hotel in Pattaya,relaxed for while before we headed to the streets nearby.Pattaya can be very much on your face initially.Definitely not my favorite place!Travel tip - shared tuk tuks are really cheap.Do ensure that you confirm the price per person before boarding these shared tuk tuks.Day 3 - By now,we were getting used to the weather,food and streets in Thailand.The strong cooking oil odor is everywhere and takes time getting used to.Day 3 started by a walk down the Pattaya beach road.The beach is strictly okay here.Travel Tip - Buy water from 7/11.It would cost anywhere between 9-18 THB.Restaurants charge a lot for bottle of water.After a long walk down the beach road and lunch at an Indian restaurant,we were back at our hotel ready to move back to Bangkok.The bus ride from Pattaya to Bangkok feels very similar to the bus ride from Mumbai to Pune.Since,we had an early morning flight to Phuket next morning,we booked a hotel (G9 Bangkok) closer to the Don Mueng airport.Travel Tip - If you are short of food and it is very late in the day - just walk upto a 711 store and buy packed food for 35-60THB.They would warm it at their store for you to carry back to your hotel.We had to do this because all restaurants in the area had closed by the time we got ready for dinner.If one has time,chatuchak market is a must visit.Day 4 - Travel to Phuket!A very different place compared to cities in North Thailand.The approach to Phuket runway is lovely! There are several small hills dotting the sea below!It looks gorgeous from the top.
Next day we headed to Pattaya, Bangkok to Pattaya is a smooth bus ride of 2 hours. We had booked a hostel near Jomtein beach. There are loads of options for stay and food near the beach. 7/11 are everywhere in Thailand so you can stock up on essentials whenever you need. We had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the Jomtein beach. We then rented a bike for site seeing here at 300 Thai Bahts per day.
Day we need to checkout and move to Bangkok. After checkout we planned to cover the rest of the places in Pattaya. We booked a cab to see the local places like crocodile park,floating market and gems gallery. Cab driver charged us 900 baht per person including all the entry tickets.
*** Day 2 and 3:We took a tuk-tuk (100 baht) to Robinsons Mall near the Saphan Taksin BTS. We did quite a bit of shopping. We checked out of hotel at around 12 noon, and took a metered taxi to Ekkamai Bus Station (near Ekkamai BTS). It came to about 100 baht. 1 PM bus to Pattaya (124 baht/person – The government blue and white bus). Takes around 2 hours and we reached the Pattaya Bus Terminus.
Visit the tallest building of Pattaya - Pattaya tower and experience Speed Shuttle/ Tower Jump which gives you breathtaking views of the city. Enjoy the famous cabaret show - Alcazar show in the evening.
MMT had booked our flights from Mumbai to Bangkok & back with Bangkok Airways, a regional airline, not as big as some of the other popular airlines. But it turned out to be good. My partner & I were the first couple to finish the Arrivals formalities at the Suvarnabhumi Airport, including VISA ON ARRIVAL etc and found our wonderful guide Ms. Tuk (a Thai National) waiting for us, right at 5.30 am. There were other couples in tow (though we didn’t know till then) and we waited for them till 7.30 am. You can expect this when there are 2-3 more couples with you, as everybody may not be as fast as you. We started off in a Toyota Mini Van, had Indian breakfast somewhere in between in Bangkok itself and then went straight to Pattaya (a little over 2 hours drive). The vehicle was very clean & nice, with Indian music being played (Hindi songs – straight from Kumar Sanu 1990s era). The breakfast is bad, except for the Orange Juice. After the breakfast, there was an introductory meeting of the couples – just to get to know eachother – and MMT pitches in with all the attraction points to go to & all activities that are must-do, at additional cost of course. But MMT doesn’t force you and respects your decision, if you don’t want to join them.
Here I was at the Sea Farm Model Royal Project, gazing in disbelief at the massive eels, salt pans and freshly-prepared spa salt. Then came the moment of truth, when I was told to taste the fresh sea weed.Read More
Here I was at the Sea Farm Model Royal Project, gazing in disbelief at the massive eels, salt pans and freshly-prepared spa salt. Then came the moment of truth, when I was told to taste the fresh sea weed.