This Is How 84 Travelers Celebrated The Queen’s Birthday In Thailand

Tripoto
30th Jul 2016

It's time for me to hit the road again. My backpack's ready to get puffed up with stories and yes, souvenirs from Central Thailand this time. The next six days will be about exploring the 84 Perspectives of Thailand with women travellers from around the world who will start the journey from Bangkok. It's the month of HM Queen Sirikit's 84th birthday and 84 writers from around the world are on their way to experience the Amazing Thailand for the next 6 days.

Day 1

But what's different this time?

* Challenge 1: The long travel record of travelling without an itinerary ends here and now. I'll be travelling for the next 6 days following an interesting itinerary for this Media FAM trip to Bangkok – Phetchaburi – Prachuap Khirki Khan.

*Challenge 2: I'm solo no more. It made the introvert inside me sob just a little but moving on, I'm curious about the places, people and most importantly, the FOOD.

*Challenge 3: Get ready for instant stories straight from the road. I'll be using the Tripoto app to update my stories and photographs each day as I travel and publish on the final day. At this moment, I have a packed bag waiting for me and I LEAVE IN THE NEXT 20 MINUTES.

Photo of Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi, Delhi, India by Disha Kapkoti
Day 2

Waking up in Bangkok.

It's 10:00 am and I'm ready to share with you the most stunning 'room with a view' in the heart of this city at Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok. It's been said time and again that this city is an experience not a destination. But what I do know is that Bangkok gets a clear win for this fantastic first impression this city has left on me.

View of the Chao Phraya River and the sprawling city.

Photo of Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

Now that looks like a plan for the evening.

Photo of Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

Wat Suan Plu, a community temple next to the hotel.

Photo of Wat Suan Plu - Dumex Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

Tucked between the winding lanes, this temple was my find on the first day in this city.

Photo of Wat Suan Plu - Dumex Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Wat Suan Plu - Dumex Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti
Day 3

I'm here in Bangkok to celebrate the 84th birth anniversary of HM The Queen of Thailand. On this journey to explore the '84 perspectives of Thailand', the Queen's Gallery in the city is our first stop.

For travellers who come to this city to explore the much talked about cultural extravaganza of South East Asia, the Queen's Gallery in the capital city would be the first site to get yourself acquainted with the diversity Thailand has to offer. The gallery has a meticulous collection of tribal art and craft with people of the communities proudly displaying their work. This corner in the city of 12 million people somehow links Bangkok to the roots of Thailand, which strongly holds on to the tribes in the remote areas.

The first day of the tour and we're set to visit the Queen's Gallery.

Photo of The Queen's Gallery Ratchadamnoen Klang Road Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

The Democracy Monument in Bangkok.

Photo of The Queen's Gallery Ratchadamnoen Klang Road Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of The Queen's Gallery Ratchadamnoen Klang Road Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

People of the Mein Tribe displaying their work.

Photo of The Queen's Gallery Ratchadamnoen Klang Road Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

The Queen's Gallery.

Photo of The Queen's Gallery Ratchadamnoen Klang Road Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

I'm at the Grand Palace Bangkok and it feels somewhat like time travel. The grandeur of the architecture of the previous century comes alive at the first sight of the colourful rooftops of the palace. It's this palace that first gave Bangkok the status of a capital city. The temple inside the compound of the palace is also the seat of the Emerald Buddha. During the years of absolute monarchy in the country, the palace was the religious and administrative centre for the people of Thailand.

Photo of The Grand Palace Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of The Grand Palace Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of The Grand Palace Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

It's been a long and interesting morning getting our first sneak peek into this wondrous city. It's time for a ferry ride to Saputara River House along the Chao Pharaya River.

Supatra River House

Photo of Supatra River House Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Supatra River House Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Supatra River House Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

View from the pier.

Photo of Supatra River House Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

We take back something each day on the road. Today's take away from Supatra River House includes the Spicy Prawn Soup and Fried Sea Bass With Chicken Sauce. Food in Thailand is a important part of their culture. Every meal on the plate has a story here and I'm trusting the Thai Hospitality entirely to make some major additions to my Thai favourites by the end of the trip.

Photo of This Is How 84 Travelers Celebrated The Queen’s Birthday In Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

I'm at the Thai Song Dam Cultural Centre in the Petchaburi Province and this new day begins with the sound of flute, dance and numerous performances by the people of the Laos Song tribe. The people of the tribe are here to share with us their classic tribal recipes, artwork and give us a firsthand experience of their lifestyle and everyday routine. The Lao Song tribe is the section of people who migrated from Laos and who have kept their traditions alive through hundreds of years.

Photo of Thai Song Dam Cultural Center Khao Yoi Phetchaburi Thailand by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Thai Song Dam Cultural Center Khao Yoi Phetchaburi Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

Caramel and coconut.

Photo of Thai Song Dam Cultural Center Khao Yoi Phetchaburi Thailand by Disha Kapkoti
Day 4

Do you know that golf courses in Thailand are a major attraction for visitors?

Japanese players and tourists who are on the lookout for the best golf courses around the world often fly down to Thailand to spend their holidays at one of the golf course destinations. We're at the Black Mountain Gold Club, a world-class golf resort that has been acknowledged as one of the 100 best golf courses in the world. The country has almost 10 state of the art golf courses in different locations all across the country.

Photo of Black Mountain Golf Club, Petchakasem Rd, ตำบล หัวหิน อำเภอ หัวหิน ประจวบคีรีขันธ์ 77110, Thailand by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Black Mountain Golf Club, Petchakasem Rd, ตำบล หัวหิน อำเภอ หัวหิน ประจวบคีรีขันธ์ 77110, Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

We are at the Sirinath Rajini Mangrove Ecosystem Learning Centre, the biggest Mangrove forest in in this country. From a deserted shrimp farm to the lush green Mangrove plantation, the land and the natural ecosystem has transformed for the better in this region of Prachuap Khiri Khan. In the past few years, after the mangrove reforestation under the Queen Sirikit's Project, the region has recorded a drastic increase in flora and fauna. Our visiting team also released crabs in the swamp, a small activity to boost the expansion of this man-made ecosystem.

Photo of Mangrove Pranburi Pran Buri Prachuap Khiri Khan Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

Shades of green of the Mangrove tree tops.

Photo of Mangrove Pranburi Pran Buri Prachuap Khiri Khan Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

Jelly made of Mangrove bark.

Photo of Mangrove Pranburi Pran Buri Prachuap Khiri Khan Thailand by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Mangrove Pranburi Pran Buri Prachuap Khiri Khan Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

These trees are as high as 20 to 25 meters.

Photo of Mangrove Pranburi Pran Buri Prachuap Khiri Khan Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

Releasing crabs in the forest.

Photo of Mangrove Pranburi Pran Buri Prachuap Khiri Khan Thailand by Disha Kapkoti
Day 5

We are at the Hua Hin Artist Village where 19 artists reside, practice and display their artwork. The village is home to Tawee Kesa-ngam, Hua Hin's famous artists and other artists of this family. For me, this quaint little place has been the highlight of the trip and also got me interested in some of the woodwork demonstrated by an artist.

At Nang's Artyard, the entire team of 24 visitors sat and worked on their own artwork for almost an hour. This place looks like an artist's dream with large art galleries across 4 acres of land, studios, classrooms and gift shops.

Photo of Baan Sillapin Artists' Vilkage 3218 Hin Lek Fai Prachuap Khiri Khan Thailand by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Baan Sillapin Artists' Vilkage 3218 Hin Lek Fai Prachuap Khiri Khan Thailand by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Baan Sillapin Artists' Vilkage 3218 Hin Lek Fai Prachuap Khiri Khan Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

Today we are at the Chaipattana Foundation, an NGO run as a royal project to help the local community create employment opportunities during the rainy season. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is the executive chairperson of the foundation. Under this royal project, the people of the region are given basic training to grow medicinal plants and herbs at this farmland that spreads across 10 acres.

Several plots of land are used by the farmers as demonstration farming to educate farmers about the sustainable methods of farming. The volunteers greeted our team with some fantastic preparations for lunch with ingredients straight from these farms.

Team Lunch at The Chaipattana Foundation.

Photo of Chaipattana Foundation (Thailand) Bangkok Noi Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

Flowers on my plate.

Photo of Chaipattana Foundation (Thailand) Bangkok Noi Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

Our lunch wrapped in lotus leaves.

Photo of Chaipattana Foundation (Thailand) Bangkok Noi Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

I'll call this a Thai alternative for 'paan',

Photo of Chaipattana Foundation (Thailand) Bangkok Noi Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

Juices and syrups prepared from the herbs grown in the farm.

Photo of Chaipattana Foundation (Thailand) Bangkok Noi Bangkok Thailand by Disha Kapkoti
Day 6

It's a new day and we are standing at the stunning beach of Hua Hin at 6:00am. The monks have already arrived here. This is an alms-giving session organised for the team to acquaint each one of us with the religious traditions and practices of the region.

Just before the sunrise, the monks of Hua Hin walk around the city to collect offerings from the people. They then quietly walk back to the monastery where prayers are offered to the ancestors of the people who have offered food here. It is also believed that your offerings will be the food for your next life.

Photo of Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa Hua Hin Prachuap Khiri Khan Thailand by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa Hua Hin Prachuap Khiri Khan Thailand by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa Hua Hin Prachuap Khiri Khan Thailand by Disha Kapkoti
Photo of Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa Hua Hin Prachuap Khiri Khan Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

It's the last day to explore Central Thailand for our team and we are at the Laem Phak Bia Royal Project located in Ban Laem in Petchaburi province. Beyond the vast brackish saltpans, this place offers a model setup for waste water management for major cities around the world. From the pumping station in Phetchaburi city, 18.5km away, the wastewater sent through pipelines to Laem Phak Bia and is treated through mangrove reforestation. The treated water is then released into the sea.

Released fresh water enters the sea here.

Photo of Laem Phak Bia, Laem Phak Bia, Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi, Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

The region is now a hub for migratory birds.

Photo of Laem Phak Bia, Laem Phak Bia, Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi, Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

Thousands of small crabs along the coastline.

Photo of Laem Phak Bia, Laem Phak Bia, Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi, Thailand by Disha Kapkoti

The amazing journey across Central Thailand has now come to an end. Giving us a different perspective to this country full of diversity, this 6-day trip has been an eye-opener for every single traveller in this team of 84.

Let's now talk about the takeaways from this journey.

I had my initial doubts about Thailand that has over the years established itself as a holiday location with stunning beach sides and resorts. This was more than just a vacation for me. It was a lesson and I'm in love with what this country has taught me. I feel a step closer to the culture of the regions I travelled to. The tribes of Thai Song Dam, the Art Village of Hua Hin or the royal projects around the country that have supported the locals in the most sustainable and well-thought out manner. There's more to Thailand than meets the eye.

On this trip, the Tripoto app officially replaced my travel diary. It's 2016 and it make travel writing easy to record, with every single day, location and all photographs aligned into a story. Try it out, travel writers.

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