A country synonymous to vibrancy is a must on everyone’s travel list. The hustle of Bangkok, the serene beaches of Krabi/Phuket and the colourful atmosphere of Pattaya, Thailand has got it all. From temples to street food to bargain market to high end shopping malls, there is something for everyone. The options are varied but the result remains the same – a feeling of awe.
I have been a regular to this side of the world and know what to expect in my every visit, But Thailand surprises me everytime. So this time, my trip was for about 10 days and I had an adventurous one.
So here is all you need to know about this pristine land, so swasdee kha!
The most convenient way to reach Thailand is by air. There are two international airports in Bangkok- Don Mueang International Airport (oldest operating airport in Asia) and Suvarnabhumi Airport.
There are also direct and connecting flights to Phuket International Airport. It is the second busiest airport of Thailand after the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.
The only international train from Kuala Lumpur connects to Padang Besar station at the Thailand-Malaysia border.
A metered taxi is good for airport to hotel distance and can easily be found in Bangkok. But in other cities or small towns of Thailand, they are not as readily available. These are air conditioned , so can save you from the scorching heat.
The traffic in Bangkok is always appalling, so for your everyday short travels, number of other options are available. There is usually no haggling but sometimes a non-metred taxi driver may try to rip you off.
The famous three wheeled vehicles for a memorable ride are found in almost every corner of Bangkok. But remember, being a popular transport for tourists, they are a lot more expensive than your average motorcycle taxi or Songthaew.
Motor Cycle taxi
If you are looking for cheap and immediate transport for short distance, nothing can beat a motorcycle taxi. It is your best bet if you are an everyday backpacker and would like to explore city’s every nook and corner.
Theses are small pickup trucks which have comfortable two rows of seats. I travelled in one during my pattaya trip, but they are not so common in big cities like Bangkok or Chiang Mai. They run on preset routes and are very cheap (just 10 bahts to get to one side).
Bangkok BTS Sky train
Bangkok’s traffic can be really congested during peak hours and should be avoided. A great option to reach from one side of the city to other is the skytrain. The fare is reasonable and it has stops at many tourist areas and attractions. It can be crowded at office hours, so try to avoid those.
It is fairly easy to drive in Thailand for an Indian as there is left-hand drive and the roads are generally in good condition. The traffic is chaotic and can be easily compared to Indian roads. A two wheeler is usually a preferred mode for travellers in cities like Phuket and many shops offer them at a bargained price.
The Grand Palace Bangkok
There’s a handful to see and do in the capital, but it is best to start with the Grand Palace. It is staggering in historical significance and craftsmanship. It takes several hours to justify the Grand Palace grandeur.
One of the oldest and largest temples in Bangkok features the famous Reclining Buddha, which is the largest in Thailand measuring more than 150 feet in length. It is a temple, a religious place, so be mindful of your attire.
Wat Arun is almost directly opposite Wat Pho, so it is very easy to get to. Although it is known as the Temple of the Dawn, it’s absolutely stunning at sunset, particularly when lit up at night. The quietest time to visit, however, is early morning before the crowds.
There are several floating markets near Bangkok, Amphawa and Damnoen Saduak being among the most popular. You can go there alone or join a guided tour, which can include visits to local houses and shops.
From the old Phuket Town to the busiest beaches, Phuket has it all. The beaches concentrated around Phuket’s southwest coast (Patong, Karon, Kata) are flanked by beach bars, cafés and jet ski operators.
It is a convenient place to enjoy the sun, sand, and sea. Because of walking street and Tiffany show, it remains more of an adult’s destination. But if you are traveling with the family or are seeking a more subdued location, check out Jomtien Beach or Naklua.
Bangkok can easily boast of having every major luxury brand in the malls. The options to shop are endless. With everything from antiquities to the latest pair of trainers to designer jewellery available, Bangkok has an equally exhaustive, and potentially exhausting, variety of things to buy.
There are few shopping streets in Bangkok where a lot of contemporary things can be bought. From clothes to beauty to eyewear to local aromas, these streets offer great variety for a first time traveller. These kind of small markets can also be seen in other cities like Phuket or Pattaya.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Known locally as JJ Market, Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok is the largest of its kind in Thailand. With more than 8,000 stalls peddling wares ranging from antiques to clothes to furniture, the wildly popular market draws in more than 200,000 people on weekends and includes a wide array of tasty restaurants.
Me in Thailand
It was a slice of heaven in Thailand. I am sure my experience has given you motivation for your next trip. So here I conclude my post.
See you soon!