A long time had passed since we wanted to go on a trip outside India, and my last foreign trip was the one to United Kingdom eight years ago in the same year in which the trip to Sri Lanka had happened. Here, the obvious choice of nation for a quick visit was Thailand, as most Keralites do prefer the country these days, and the other options like Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka were already covered by me. Pattaya, Bangkok and Phuket have been becoming dream destinations for our people, especially Pattaya with its water sports, islands and beaches bringing quite the reputation.
Even though the holiday packages have both Pattaya and Bangkok on the list, the former is the place where we get to spend more time. It is Bangkok where we arrive, at the Don Mueang International Airport to which Air Asia operates daily direct flights from Cochin. It is Suvarnabhumi Airport which seems to be the sight to behold though. But for now, the travellers from here will have to wait to have a flight to travel in that direction. Even though we arrive at the city of Bangkok first, the itinerary from the holiday agencies will have us beginning our expedition at Pattaya with a quick ride from the airport to the beach city.
There is one mistake that we tend to make due to this travel plan, and it is that we leave the idea of buying goods to the end, and the problem here is that it is always cheaper in Pattaya than in Bangkok. The price of goods that you see in Pattaya is only going to get higher in Bangkok. So, waiting for the trip to get to the final stages before going shopping will be the wrong thing to do, unless you have a lot of money to spend. Pattaya also have a good number of Indian restaurants, and for us, they become the obvious choice – the selection of food is mostly North Indian though, with not much of a dosa team presence.
Just before we reach Pattaya City, there is Sriracha Tiger Zoo, situated on the outskirts of the city. The place claims to have the largest such populations of tigers and crocodiles for a zoo all around the world. The tickets would cost nearly one thousand rupees when converted, and will be part of almost all packages. There is a lot of space to walk around and souvenirs to buy, along with separate shows involving tigers, elephants, crocodiles and pigs. Indian breakfast was available there including Poori and Uppumavu. We can watch the tigers roaming around outside the glass, as we have food.
At Pattaya, before anything else, finding an Indian restaurant was important to us, and there was one close – there were actually many of them to be exact. Then there are those shops on the side of the road, and there are those 7-Eleven and Family-Mart stores which come to save the day. These are those days when visiting McDonalds or Burger King are cheaper, and one finds tea to be the expensive drink. But the days are worth it, and spending on each and everything here is absolutely worth it. There were so many other Malayali families around there too, as it was the grand vacation time.
Then there is the programme on the way to Coral Islands and on the island, starting from parasailing which is done from a boat located a little away from the beach and underwater walk which are conducted from boats located further away from the coast. Watching some marine life and walking underwater was a different and interesting experience for sure, even though the water was not that much clear as expected – 1200 bahts for a person is worth it for sure, especially with a CD of the experience for 700 bahts. It is still something that is to be remembered for long. The time spent at the island is rather less, and one has to be quick to go through jet ski and banana boat, and there was not much time to explore out there – we avoided them for a walk.
Pattaya was indeed a fine experience, and we spent a lot of time on the streets, especially late night. The journey to Bangkok followed, and leaving Pattaya surely didn’t feel good, as we never really felt that we had enough. Maybe, one needs to travel through Pattaya without a holiday package, and it should be just wandering. Some exploration lasting a few more days would do better, without doubt. The two extra additions to our packages were the Sanctuary of Truth and the Floating Market, both which should be part of any travel plan, former for its beautiful carvings on an astonishing structure and the latter for that kind of a market to which we are strangers. Well, others know Pattaya from Amar Akbar Anthony, but that movie had a silly reason.
*All photos were taken by me on my Asus Zenfone Max. My friends on Facebook can see more of our experiences at Pattaya.