Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Thailand – The Cultural Cousin

This is a country, where tourists from all age group, must visit once – but as a bachelor. Oh wait, do not cancel the trip if you have planned it already with your partner or family, because Thailand will not disappoint any one of you, of any ages. The lush tropical topography and a part of Indo-China have a lot of resemblance to India. In fact it feels like a cultural cousin of India.

The lush greenery of tropical Thailand welcomes you as soon as you are about to land.

Thailand is like that eternal women who have stopped aging in her youth and people, who have savored her magnificence once, do not mind returning back to her in her tantalizing arms, be it a monk or a bachelor. That is because it offers you value for money, superb hospitality and a homely feel. There is one more reason for it, the nation is made up by its people and I felt that they are alluring, the Thai people, they are genuine and warm. 
You can find the patriotic Thai people fluttering their national flags all over the country. This was on a speed launch on the way to the numerous isles near Phuket.

With just 5-days in hand this made-to-tailor trip for us 3 bachelors was exciting, intimidating and adventurous too. On any trip I am like a child absorbing and imbibing everything that is on offer or concealed. I arrived there with a mindset, with all the things you have learnt and read and you go back home with a changed perception. But with Thailand, I was almost in sync from the time I landed. It seemed to me like a long lost cousin of India who is more tasteful and embraces life with a colorful smile. 
The skyline of bustling Bangkok and the Metro line cutting them across
We landed in bustling Bangkok only to be in-transit on the way to Phuket, running across massive Suvarnabhumi airport. With our baggage along, to get the immigration done and catch the connecting flight to Phuket. We manage to do that in 40-minutes flat, we didn't had any option. That was the fastest one-hour spent traveling. 

School kids at the Safari World. Lot of school arrange such educational tours in Safari World

Phuket is tourists' paradise, a more sophisticated brother of Goa back home. Everything is meant to attract tourists and make them spend more. A complete tourist economy of Thailand. 

There is a peculiar odour associated with each destination and for Thailand it was mild aroma of jasmine everywhere from the lobby of hotels, to the cars, taxis and the boat we took to the islands. 
No this is not Madagascar, this Lemur seemed to be astonished in the Safari World.

Bangkok resembles a lot like Mumbai, but more structured. It’s vast and acts like a magnet for the Thai people as well as for tourists all over the world. It is the most important economic center for Thailand and also one of the world’s top tourist destinations. It houses several UN affiliated organizations and offices.

A Buddhist nation predominantly, but ironically meat, pork and beef eating, they do not even know vegetarianism. However the people there managed to be slim and trim, reasons I guess lies in their hard work, not much wheat and fatty food, lots of greens, rice noodles eaters, but they digest any meat and sea food of any kind.
You will find such small places of worship in front of all the dwellings throughout Thailand.

5 things you should definitely do in Thailand

  • Street Food – Thailand offers anything and everything moving and dead as food. If you are a strict vegan, you might not want to visit some of road-side stalls which offer slimy insects to reptiles, rodents and snakes! It is displayed all over the country and most people traveling from India get a culture shock. However hard core non-vegetarian you are, you will not be able to stand some of the road side stalls there and that's a challenge. 
  • The Shopping – When you are in Thailand it is “The Shopping” experience for the people from sub-continent. Abundant variety of clothing, , gadgets and it is so economical on pockets. When you are on the airport returning back home, you can see passengers carrying branded boxes twice as size of their own luggage when they had arrived there. If you can bargain well, you can get awesome deals on electronics and Apparel . Malls like Siam, MBK and Indra market, night markets, famous floating markets and many others, offer you mind-boggling variety of everything under the sun.
Elephant crossing road in Phuket. There is a deep connection between elephants and Thai people

  • Massage – Almost entire nation offers you relaxing Thai massage, so be careful while selecting. Brush up your bargaining skills and choose wisely. Remember that Thailand has legal prostitution and you do not want to end up in a place uncomfortable. The best bet would be hotels where you have put up. They offer a spa and parlour services either in their own premises or has an affiliated service provider. 

  • Wildlife - Yes you heard that right. Thailand is the place to see and learn how to preserve wildlife in captivity.  Entire family and especially if you have school going kids, they will be delighted to visit numerous parks like Safari World in Bangkok, Siam Ocean World in Bangkok, FantaSea show and its theme park in Phuket, Tiger temple in Bangkok, Snake show in Phuket. Thailand is an Elephant country; they are omnipresent, in emblems, on banners, souvenirs, on currency, in the form of elephant god – Ganesha and of course the real ones. Thailand, due to its tropical wet climate is hot and humid and you can find a lot of fauna. It gets rains from the monsoons and has numerous national parks.
Sleeping Buddha in Wat Chalong, Phuket.
  • Buddhist temples and monasteries - Thailand is primarily a Buddhist country with lot influence from India and Hindu culture. Ayutthaya Kings built a lot of temples and Buddha statues as a sign of prosperity and peace, which are evident throughout. They have their own south-east version of Ramayana. The very name Ayutthaya is derived from the Ayodhya, the birthplace of Hindu lord Ram. Buddhism has been the main spring from which flow its ethos and philosophy, its art and literature, its ethics and morality, and many of its folkways and festivals. Foreigners looking for nirvana, peace and wisdom have lot to imbibe here.
That sums up the night life in Phuket for you :)

How to reach Thailand & What to see?
  • Almost all international airlines fly to Bangkok from major cities in India – Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, and Bangalore.
  • Make sure you have minimum 3 days for Bangkok. Shortlist from all the shopping destinations mentioned above, there is much more that Bangkok offers.
  • Must see – Safari world. It is a city in itself with all animals in the world in their natural habitat.
  • Include Phuket in your list and take a local airline to Phuket. You can also take a road trip to Phuket to see the countryside.
  • Once in Phuket, explore, indulge and rejuvenate with Thai massage and enjoy the hospitality and just relax. It is a tourist destination and everything is so very organized.
  • It is a feast for non-veg food lovers. Enjoy the boat rides to various islands including the James Bond, Krabi and the Phi-Phi Island.
  • Go for the Phuket city tour; take the elephant trekking and visit the stunning Wat Chalong Buddhist temple.
  • Get soaked in the water sports on Patong beach and take an island tour of Phuket. You can see a match or two of Kick boxing if the season is on.

The famous and exotic James Bond Island

Visit back for more pictures and leave your comments if you are planning a trip to Thailand or already visited these places. 

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