Visiting Bangkok and Pattaya
16.09.2008 29 °C
We returned from office a bit early today and did the last minute checking to ensure that we kept all the required documents, cash, passports and other belongings. We reached the Mumbai International Airport well in time. We rushed through the baggage screening, immigration formalities and security check and boarded the Thai Airways flight, which departed on time at 23:30. The Thai crew was warm, kept on smiling and spoke broken Hindi and they seemed to be proficient in pronouncing “Namaskar” very well. The service was good and we got vegetarian food too, but the tea served was horrible which we gulped down sans the flavour and brew.
We could barely sleep for a few hours before it was announced that we will be landing shortly at the Suvaranbhumi International Airport at Bangkok. The landing was on time at 05:30. The airport was newly built and it was quite an experience walking from the aerobridge to the immigration counters, beautiful paintings and statues of Lord Buddha decorated the passage. We collected our baggage and came out looking for our travel agent, who was waiting for us. We had taken transfers on SIC basis, sounds sickening but it simply means Seat in Coach Basis, which made us to wait for a while before other guests of our travel agent could turn up. Finally our coach, an AC mini bus started at 08:00 and we headed straight to Pattaya, which was around 3 hours away. We reached Cosy Beach Hotel in Pattaya at around 11:00. It was an elegant 4* hotel which had, apart from the normal facilities, a small private beach of its own.
We checked in and had shower and then had the “Thepla’s” which we had brought from Mumbai. The room was spacious, neat and clean with comfortable bed. We rested for a while and in the evening we went for the famous “Tiffany Show”, a cabaret show with spectacular sets. It was priced at 550Baht for one hour show. We were dropped back at the hotel after the show but then we had to roam around for dinner. My wife (Runa) doesn’t have non-veg food so we searched around, finally we got an Indian restaurant, which was a bit expensive but we had no other option. The restaurant owner allowed us to call Abbu and Papa from his mobile, though he charged a steep 20 Baht/minute for the call.
We woke up refreshed and had a buffet breakfast, which was included in the package. Today Coral island excursion was on our agenda and our local guide was Katie. We boarded the speedboat, which whizzed past the turbulent waters at an amazing speed.
We reached the Coral Island 45 minutes later, an island of white glistening sand. We could see the corals that thrived in abundance in the shallow bay waters. The island had lots of small shops owned by the indigenous people, selling all kinds of goods. Runa, while getting down from the speed boat tore the straps of her slippers. We went around and got a slipper for her at 80 Baht, though we had to bargain hard. The island was buzzing with a host of water sports activities, how could we have been left behind? We decided to take the plunge and try our luck at the water scooter. After the usual haggling and bargaining he settled for 250 Bahts for both of us. First it was Runa’s turn, with the life jacket on she went on the scooter, of course the guide was standing behind her and he had the controls. I switched on the camcorder and recorded her entire route from start to finish. She was thrilled and enjoyed every bit of riding a scooter on water. Then it was my turn and after an initial sense of fear I enjoyed to twists and turns of the ride.
By afternoon we had to return back to Pattaya and had lunch that was included in the package. We then decided to spend the evening roaming on the Beach Road and the parallel First road, which had bars all over the place. Then again dinner was a problem and after much futile searching we had decided to skip dinner and had fruits instead which was a much healthier option too. We returned back to hotel and had a good sleep after a hectic day.
We had breakfast and left for Bangkok at around 08:00 again on SIC basis. We checked in Hotel D’Ma Pavilion, Bangkok and rested for a while as we had a half-day city tour coming up in the afternoon. The city tour started at 14:30 and it included the Temple of Emerald Buddha, Golden Buddha, reclining Buddha, enroute we saw the important sights of Bangkok city, which was well explained by our local guide named Amy.
Finally we went to the famous Gem factory, which we had also visited in Pattaya. The tour ended and we were dropped at the Platinum Mall for shopping and other activities. We took this opportunity to roam around the streets to get a real feel of local population. The street shops were much the same as we have in India. Runa, expressed a desire to have a foot massage and we decided to go for it, at 120Baht/per person for 45 minutes. Dinner was again a problem and after searching for a while we found a Punjabi Dhaba and without wasting time we decided to eat there at whatever the price he quoted. We returned back to our hotel had a good nights sleep and woke up relaxed, had breakfast and were all set to leave Bangkok for our next destination--Malaysia.
We both loved Thailand, the people are so warm and hospitable here, we would surely love to come back again!!!