Solo Tripping in Thailand!!

Tripoto
19th Jun 2019
Photo of Solo Tripping in Thailand!! by Zaid Salman

All of my memories of traveling are vivid & detailed, but I'm more inclined towards traveling alone.

Travel as a lifestyle in itself is a luxury, but solo travel is soul stirring.

And this June I found myself going on one such six days solo trip to Thailand to explore some offbeat places which are a thing in there own.

Day 1

Took my flight from New Delhi at 11.30 pm. It was an almost 4-hour flight to Bangkok. It took around an hour to get through the visa process, which by the way is free for 4 months!

Photo of Bangkok, Thailand by Zaid Salman

There are shops inside the airport which provide with SIM cards for tourists with some great plans. Got myself one such sim and left the airport.

Since I had booked my entire solo journey with “Absolute Fantastic Holidays Pvt Ltd”, I had a driver & my guide waiting for me right outside the airport.

Got in the van, and left for Pattaya as I had planned the trip starting from there first.

Photo of Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), Soi Mu Ban Nakhon Thong 1, Nong Prue, Bang Phli District, Samut Prakan, Thailand by Zaid Salman

Pattaya is usually known for its nightlife around the globe but lesser known are the temples around Pattaya. I had planned to visit the Sanctuary of Truth and the Buddha temple which is located right in the heart of the city.

Photo of Pattaya, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri, Thailand by Zaid Salman

Sanctuary of truth turned out to be one of the most articulate and detailed structure. The alleyways and the main hall which houses the relic is magnanimous and is a true sight. It took me around 2 hours inside as it would be a delight to any photographer.

Photo of Sanctuary of Truth, Pattaya-Naklua, Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri, Thailand by Zaid Salman

Next in line was The Buddha temple. The idol kept there has a unique feature; where looking at the idol, from a specific angle it appears smiling. Temple doesn’t really require a lot of time to explore and imbibe its vibe.

Photo of Buddha Temple, Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri, Thailand by Zaid Salman

In between all this, I had my food at a place called A’La Campagne. It had one of the most friendly environments considering the language barrier & my choice of food being vegetarian. I'd strongly recommend their Thai salad and fried rice if you ever visit there. Foodgasm is the word I'd use for that!

Photo of A' La Campagne, Na Chom Thian, Sattahip District, Chon Buri, Thailand by Zaid Salman
Photo of A' La Campagne, Na Chom Thian, Sattahip District, Chon Buri, Thailand by Zaid Salman

Next morning in Pattaya, “The Floating Market” was planned as per the itinerary.

Day 2
Photo of Pattaya Floating Market, Sukhumvit Road, Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri, Thailand by Zaid Salman
Photo of Pattaya Floating Market, Sukhumvit Road, Pattaya City, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri, Thailand by Zaid Salman

It’s not originally a floating market but it has been inspired by the actual floating markets across Thailand. This one place is a great cocktail of everything; from local Thai food to local jewelry, souvenir shops, art galleries and artists around those places painting and a boat ride to get around and discover the richness of the surrounding Thai architecture and riverside. It's a must visit, preferably in the evening if you are looking forward to some photography.

Photo of Solo Tripping in Thailand!! by Zaid Salman

After finishing the floating market it was time to leave for Chanthaburi - a capital town at the banks of Chanthaburi river.

Because we were running a little behind schedule, our lunch was a takeaway from Burger King on our way to Chanthaburi.

Photo of Chanthaburi, Thailand by Zaid Salman

Its almost 2.30 hrs drive from Pattaya to Chanthaburi, and on reaching, we straight away headed to the Sacred Cathedral which the locals denote as Thailand’s Notre-Dame de Paris. A very fine architectural marvel standing against the sun, at the edge of the river. We couldn’t make it inside the church as we reached past the closing time which was at 5 p.m. So I went around and clicked as many pictures I could and some did turn out to beautiful.

Photo of Chanthaburi, Thailand by Zaid Salman

Because it stands right at the edge of a river, the sunset views are astonishing to say the least.

A few minutes walk from the cathedral was our abode for the night.

RajaMaitri boutique hotel turned out to one of the coziest places I have ever stayed.

Located right in the center of the town, overlooking the river on the side it was a perfect place to call it a night to such a long day.

Day 3

The third day began early as I was told by the hotel staff that early morning around 5, monks do their rounds of the streets and could be around the hotel in the morning. So in that quest, I woke up early and went out exploring. The nooks and corners of the Chanthaburi streets looked very much like our old Delhi streets minus the crowd.

Had breakfast at the hotel and left for the most fascinating exploration.

Chanthaburi is actually a gemstone town in Thailand. It's one of the biggest gemstone trading markets. And that’s what we were going to do in its most basic form, Gemstone mining.

“Absolutely Fantastic holiday” planned it in the best way. They took me to a place called the INDYSTONE. This family is one of the oldest when it comes to gemstone mining and trading. They took me around to experience it first hand.

From mining up to 2 meters to cleaning the gravel, to identifying the stone in its most raw form, it was an experience worth having.

Photo of IndyStone, Bang Ian Road, Hua Ro, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Changwat Ayutthaya, Thailand by Zaid Salman
Photo of IndyStone, Bang Ian Road, Hua Ro, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Changwat Ayutthaya, Thailand by Zaid Salman
Photo of IndyStone, Bang Ian Road, Hua Ro, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Changwat Ayutthaya, Thailand by Zaid Salman

Soon after the Indystone, we left for the market in the main town to witness the gem markets and its trading. I was standing and observing the proceedings outside a shop when the owner came out to and invited me to have a look inside. As soon as he realized that I’m an Indian, he switched to Hindi and we had quite a good conversation. And the highlight of it was that the shop, which was almost the size of a study table dimensionally, costs him USD 20k per year. That was the charm and the value of that particular market and street.

Photo of Chanthaburi, Thailand by Zaid Salman

Once I was done with the gem market and some food, which I had at a local restaurant right there, we left for the most beautiful part of this solo trip, the KOH CHANG island. The journey from Chanthaburi to Koh Chang island is quite interesting. Initially, it is a drive of almost an hour to the TRAT province, there we hopped the vehicle on the ferry which carried us all the way to the islands in approximately 40-45 minutes. The views from the ferry are something to look forward to.

Once we reached the island it took us around 20-25 minutes to reach the place I was staying at- Ramayan Koh Chang Resort & Spa. Situated very close to the beach and in the midst of greenery, this place offered gorgeous sunsets and a very relaxed time at the poolside. Hence, I had decided to relax, spend my time admiring the sunset and going around the property later.

Photo of Koh Chang, Trat, Thailand by Zaid Salman
Day 4

The morning greeted me with crazy thunderstorms and rain. The plan to leave early to check out the backwaters of Koh Chang and the mangrove plantation it had was on a halt till the rain stopped. While we started to explore, we realized that as it was a very wet morning, we were the only ones out there asking for a boat to take us around the mangrove forest and the backwaters. Got lucky with one such gentleman who gave us rain covers and got us on his boat. Going around the backwater and the mangrove forest reminded me a lot of our Dal lake of Kashmir. The kind of peace, the serenity, and the views made it a perfect morning.

Photo of Koh Chang, Ko Chang District, Trat, Thailand by Zaid Salman
Photo of Koh Chang, Ko Chang District, Trat, Thailand by Zaid Salman

As the sky started to clear, I decided to hit the lighthouse. We drove for another 30 minutes and reached the end of the Koh Chang island where the lighthouse stood beaming against the mighty ocean which connects Cambodia to Thailand. About less than 30 minutes it takes to see the whole place around.

Photo of Solo Tripping in Thailand!! by Zaid Salman

As I had skipped my breakfast, I decided to have brunch at one of the restaurants at the lighthouse which turned out to be pretty filling and good for a vegetarian like me though it was famous for its seafood.

Photo of Solo Tripping in Thailand!! by Zaid Salman

Post-brunch and lots of exploring, we headed back to the resort as we had almost finished everything on our to-do list for the day and also, I was already looking forward to one gorgeous sunset at the white sand beach. I don't think the pictures did justice to what I experienced there yet I gave my shot. Beautiful and mesmerizing is just an understatement.

Photo of Koh Chang, Ko Chang District, Trat, Thailand by Zaid Salman

Called it a night and headed back to the Ramayan resort for dinner.

Day 5

The fifth day consisted of overcast sky, a lazy morning, heavy breakfast and packing all my stuff & gadgets as it was time to leave for the capital city once again.

We drove back to the ferry which took us all the way back to the Trat province, from there we headed to the most beautiful airport ever, the TRAT airport.

You need to look at the pictures to understand how it wasn’t any airport but a treat for the eyes.

As it was raining very heavy, our flight back to Bangkok was delayed by 30 mins, which in turn gave me more time to be at this heaven. Once we boarded and flew, it took us almost 50 mins to reach Bangkok.

After leaving the airport, I was again greeted by the driver sent from the “Tourism Authority of Thailand”. Now it was time to witness and know what “Suvarnabhumi” was all about.

Straight from the airport, we left for the oldest trade market of Bangkok which houses one of the premium restaurant cum bar, TEP BAR. Sweet on the ears and spicy on the taste buds, it was a great melodious evening all by myself.

Photo of TEP BAR - Cultural Bar of Thailand, Yi Sip Song Karakadakhom 4 Alley, Pom Prap, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok, Thailand by Zaid Salman
Photo of TEP BAR - Cultural Bar of Thailand, Yi Sip Song Karakadakhom 4 Alley, Pom Prap, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok, Thailand by Zaid Salman

I called for an early night as the next day was going to be completely packed with exploring Bangkok fight bar culture, temples and a flight back to India.

Day 6

Last morning in Bangkok started right on time. I checked out of the hotel in the morning by 8 as I had to catch a live class at one of the prime centers for Muay Thai in Bangkok. Entered the class to some intense scenes happening in the ring, some hardcore workouts, and some Jujitsu. Spent almost an hour absorbing the energy at the center and iced it with some vegan wraps which the fight lab called “ Nourish”, it was true to its name. Totally vegan, it had some amazing rolls and wraps. Undoubtedly I got myself a few wrapped.

Photo of Bangkok Fight Lab, Soi Sukhumvit 50, Khlong Toei, Bangkok, Thailand by Zaid Salman
Photo of Bangkok Fight Lab, Soi Sukhumvit 50, Khlong Toei, Bangkok, Thailand by Zaid Salman
Photo of Bangkok Fight Lab, Soi Sukhumvit 50, Khlong Toei, Bangkok, Thailand by Zaid Salman
Photo of Bangkok Fight Lab, Soi Sukhumvit 50, Khlong Toei, Bangkok, Thailand by Zaid Salman

While I tried finishing my wraps, we headed out towards the “Temple of Reclining Buddha”. It was almost 11.30 am when we reached there. I had thought that I would get done with it in about an hour, and then I could take a quick tour to “The Grand Palace” until I entered the temple. It took me no time to realize that it's not going to an hour but much more than that. The “Temple of Reclining Buddha” is one great amalgamation of history and art together. It houses a grand temple, school of Thai massage and some hundreds of Buddha statue which have their own significance.

Photo of Reclining Buddha Wat Chaiyamangalaram, Lorong Burma, Pulau Tikus, George Town, Penang, Malaysia by Zaid Salman
Photo of Reclining Buddha Wat Chaiyamangalaram, Lorong Burma, Pulau Tikus, George Town, Penang, Malaysia by Zaid Salman
Photo of Reclining Buddha Wat Chaiyamangalaram, Lorong Burma, Pulau Tikus, George Town, Penang, Malaysia by Zaid Salman

By the time I was done with the temple it was already 2 pm and I had a flight at 6 pm for Delhi. Since I did not really have a lot of time left, I headed directly towards the airport.

Every time my trip comes to an end, be it national or international, I think of how thankful I am for getting to do what I do. I know that people dream of seeing the world, and I get to do it for a living. Travel is a privilege, and the more I do it, the more I am thankful for the luck and opportunity I get and the more I get to understand the world we live in.

But most importantly it has allowed me to find and understand myself; my hopes, dreams, and desires. It has taken me out of my comfort zones, made me less shy, more outgoing, and more confident in who I am and what I can do.

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