Pattaya: Where Everyone Goes

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.

Coral Islands of Pattaya, where you desire to go!

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.

The Pattaya about which you know from descriptions!

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.

The Tiger Zoo is a fine place to begin the journey.

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.

Parasailing is certainly a common sight out there.

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.

Pattaya’s Floating Market – expand your trip with this.

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.

The Sanctuary of Truth – one masterpiece on wood.

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.

TeNy

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The Sea and the Sands

I have always loved to visit those lesser known places. The usual beaches to visit for someone from Cochin would be the Cherai, Fort Cochin, or even the Aleppey beaches. If you go further South, it would be the Kollam, Varkala, Kovalam and Shankumugham. The Northern Kerala has Payyambalam, Muzhappilangad, Kozhikode and others. But it is a few of those lesser known beaches that caught my attention more than the others. They have provided me some interesting moments. Well, there is no shortage of good beaches in Kerala, and those with lesser crowd means more happiness.

Kappil Beach
District: Thiruvananthapuram
Along with the beautiful Varkala Beach or Papanasam Beach, you can add this one to your journey there, as it is quite nearby. It has sand between the meeting points of sea and the backwaters, and the beach is a wonderful place to enjoy your evening. There are many coconut trees and not many people – the rain makes things more beautiful. You can also see Jelly fish in the waters of the lakes as they come very close to the land. There is not much of a crowd around which also means a lot of peace and cleanliness. We stopped there on our way to Varkala, and then also just for the sake of a detailed visit.

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Azhikode/Munakkal Beach
District: Thrissur
This is not to be confused with he place having the same in Kannur. This one is near Kodungallur, and as you travel beyond the popular and crowd favourite Cherai Beach while coming from the city of Cochin, you reach Munambam, a beach by itself, and when looking from that side, you can see Azhikode Beach on the other side, and Ernakulam district changes to Thrissur then. You can cover all these beaches in one stretch if you go this way. It is also known as the Munakkal Beach, and it has a very long and wide shore line, and with less visitors, you get a lot of space to yourself. There are many benches and trees around to give you a better feeling.

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Puthuvype Beach
District: Ernakulam
We first visited this beach when there were supposed to be the off-road vehicles called beach buggies. I thought that this was going the adventure sport way, but that wasn’t to happen. But it still remains a nice choice with not much crowd. The location makes sure that it won’t be that popular, and there are some interesting religious places on the way there, both Hindu and Christian. There is also a lighthouse, and as far as I know, this is the only beach in Ernakulam district to have a lighthouse nearby. It is also closer to Cochin and also close enough to Cherai Beach, which means that a connection can be made as a group of tourist destinations.

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Chavakkad Beach
District: Thrissur
We travelled all the way just to visit this beach. It is only five kilometres from Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple, the most famous Hindu temple in Kerala and just three kilometres from the oldest church in India, the Palayur Saint Thomas Church. So, spirituality is surely not that far away. This is one of those bigger less explored beaches, and the number of tourists present there when we visited there was absolutely zero. Someone seemed to be coming by the time we were leaving though. There is something like a peaceful beauty related to this beach, and you can add this to your list of lesser known beaches to visit.

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Andhakaranazhi Beach
District: Alappuzha
For some of the beaches, the name itself gives a thrilling effect. It has recently acquired more tourists, but when we visited Alappuzha some years ago, that was not the case. It can be easily accessed from Cochin, Kottayam and Alappuzha, and the place is a clean as well as having more natural beauty than a regular beach because of the presence of the backwaters side. Movies like Idukki Gold were shot here and there are some very old churches and temples around. This one actually has a lot of scope due to its location and how beautiful it looks during a sunset with some tourist support already there. This one can inspire a poem on a beautiful day.

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Snehatheeram Beach
District: Thrissur
The shores of love? Insteresting name for a beach. As you enter, you can see a stone which says that this place was the winner of Best Tourism Destination in Kerala for the year 2009-2010. It seems to have lost some of its power, and there was hardly any visitor there when we were there. There are some raised platforms around, and the place has the serenity to make us feel better. The maintenance is good. More than a beach, it provides a lot of options to spend time on. It can be enjoyed as a park, and may be an interesting place to sit and write a blog post.

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***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot Camera.

TeNy

Romance and the Sea

I had thought that the first movie that I would watch this year was to be Mili of Nivin Pauly-Amala Paul pair, but that didn’t happen. Then I thought that it could still be the first Indian movie and then I hoped for it to be the first Malayalam movie. But no, that is not going to happen soon as it seems. So, I choose another movie to be the first Malayalam flick that I watch in the theatre – it should be Mariyam Mukku as far as things don’t change as of now.

Coming from LJ Films who rarely go wrong, Mariyam Mukku is something that raises the hopes for almost everyone. There are other superstar movies with the same release date, which raises a big challenge for January the twenty third. But this movie’s visuals and some of the songs have created a nice feeling which makes one highly inclined towards watching this flick. ***All images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of the movie: https://www.facebook.com/MariyamMukkuOfficial

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With sincere hopes and prayers than this wouldn’t be the slowest movie of the year like Annayum Rasoolum managed to be in a terrible January. From what it seems, this movie has got the strength to do another one of such romantic stories, more beautiful and a lot faster, without all the uninteresting things that clouded Annayum Rasoolum. Mariyam Mukku could be the best love story featuring Fahadh Faasil. Romance should be at the core of the movie according to what is known, and there is always something about sea and romance.

Coming back to our main actor, I think that this a character which can fit for him so well, even as he has been doing so many characters to perfection, bringing variety like no other young star in Malayalam cinema. I would say that this is another role which opens up yet another opportunity for him to show his calibre. This should be his movie of the year, just like his last year’s movie of the year Iyobinte Pusthakam was also the best of the year.

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Meanwhile, Sana Althaf seems to be a nice choice as she makes her heroine debut here. She was a very interesting anchor in Surya Music; I haven’t been much a follower of music, so what I remember about her is “sadness of not going to Ooty” related to that My Show programme which I have never completely watched. I think I mostly just saw those ads which came in between. I guess I am not that “cool”; and yet that is a lack of title that I shall always be proud about. But the fact remains that she looks very suitable for this character from the teaser and the trailer.

The music is pretty good from what I have heard and visuals of the sea are also captivating. The movies based on sea has a good chance of bringing the best of out actors and making an impression on the viewers, and I am keeping my expectations high with this one. This is also the season Kochi Biennale and therefore the coastal areas are the more attractive things around this time. The force is surely strong here, and the romance should be of a higher level; there is the feeling of high intensity in serenity – as beautiful and as powerful as the sea itself.

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The choice of this weekend should therefore be this movie for me, and a possible release of Mili would make me confused between the two. I shall wish these two movies best luck, and I hope Mariyam Mukku is as good as I feel it to be, and turns out to be an interesting movie for the audience. May the love story of Felix and Salomi be remembered forever. I will leave you with a teaser of the movie, as the trailer might only give a mixed feeling:

TeNy