To the end of the Earth

After my visit to Puri In the year 2012, I became one of those beach enthusiasts who spend their lives waiting for their next visit near the ocean. The fresh fragrance of the wet sand that gently slips through the toes, the wind tickling you, caressing you and the soft waves at the shore that touch you and head back to their origin. What’s not to love? And so, last July we headed to Thailand, a full-fledged ten day tour starting from Krabi, to Pattaya and ultimately to Bangkok.

Krabi is more of a village, but do not let that fool you. The hotels are beyond luxurious (like Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort, the pace we had chosen to stay) and although it was raining for most part of the time we were there, it had its own share of breathtaking sights that the rain had beautified. The incredibly famous seven island tour, where thrilling adventures like cliff diving, snorkeling and diving await you on islands and beaches like the Railay beach and Koh si. The speed boats through which the tourists commute are a great source of thrill and your security is always the priority of the employees although they make it clear that you safety depends greatly on how careful you are.

Soon we found ourselves on a short flight to Pattaya, where our stay was in The Centara Grand Mirage, a beach resort that was so charming that it hurt to leave it behind. The gulf of Thailand, so enchantingly huge, peeked at you from each window of your room and it was almost sad that we had to leave early each morning and come back late each night of the three days that we were to stay there, as Pattaya had so much to offer. One of the many things that I must mention here is the Alcazar show. Thailand, like many other countries has various animals that you can admire. The number of Bengal Tigers that you will find there are hard to find in India itself. However, the Alcazar show is unique in its very nature. Hundreds of men free themselves of restrictive gender roles and don the costumes of women and perform cabaret, leaving you spell bound. And let me warn you, you will not know they are men until you go up to the performers and talk to them, so convincing is their disguise and dance. The show celebrates different cultures of different countries and is highly interactive and entertaining.

If you have been to Kashmir, and shopped at its floating market, Pattaya’s Four Regions Floating Market will remind you of it, except perhaps it will provide you with more options. While a few shops come floating to you, the others are fixed in what can be an antique setting, a place that has a unique charm and that you must visit even if you do not intend to shop. The Coral Island, another destination worth experiencing, offers a plethora of water sports including paragliding. The time spent relaxing under the warm sun with a cool drink in hand watching the water ripple at your feet takes you to another world altogether.

Our last stop was Bangkok, the bustling capital that flourishes due to the sheer amount of people who flock to this place for shopping. Be it the street shops or the malls that are examples of modern architecture at its best, Bangkok has a huge variety to offer. You must, no matter what, keep in hand one day for exploring the markets, the street shops owners will expect you to bargain, so they will give you a high price beforehand. You will easily be able to slice those prices to at least their half. Our stay was at Amari Watergate, which was beyond awe inspiring. Bangkok also has a floating restaurant, a cruise which sails gracefully over water and provides you with live music and lip smacking Indian food and drinks. What really struck me was how beautiful the sea looked at night. Also, every time our cruise passed a hospital, the music turned to minimum and we were asked to keep our voices low, which spoke greatly of the country’s functioning and thoughtfulness. We always traveled via Thai airways and the staff everywhere was courteous and kind, always ready to be of help. Yes, it may be a little troublesome for vegetarians as the people of Thailand love sea food but traditional Indian food is also not very hard to find. The country is tolerant of all religions and the people are courteous. Thailand, a place that has proved to be a wonderful holiday destination over the years, while also not being over the top expensive, is one place that you must catch a flight to as soon as possible!

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