Of Siam, Sea and Food: Thai Musings

I was finishing first year of management studies when I made my clandestine visit to the littoral land with my love of life. Probably that added to the visceral feel for the country I am cherishing till date. That story can wait, lets hone in to the quick pointers…

Reasons to visit “The land of Free”

Major Places

  • Bangkok: Capital of Thailand
  • Ayutthaya: Ancient Capital of Thailand, one day trip is possible
  • Phuket: Beach city of the western coast, beautiful
  • Krabi: Beach city on the eastern coast
  • Pattaya: Beach city near Bangkok, suggested only if you are hurricane touring
  • Chiang Mai: Northern Thailand ( I have not been there yet)
  • Koh Samui: A beautiful island (Must do in my bucket list)
  • Hua Hin: A relatively new destination, near to the capital, not as crowded as Pattaya

(Feel free to add more suggestions, I will try to cover all of them and share my story)

How to reach Bangkok

  • Flights: Air-Asia operates multiple flights every day from all major cities of India. Generally cheapest flights are from Kochi. Indigo operates from Kolkata and flies multiple times. It takes 3.5 hours to reach Bangkok, DMK airport
  • By Road: Words of a 11 day road trip is doing the round. Start from picturesque Manipur and proceed through Myanmar. It sure is an experience.
  • By Sea: Swim!

Visa

  • Pre-book through Visa office

Pro: Hassle free arrival, smooth transfer from Airport

Cons: Invest a bit of time before travel

  • Visa on Arrival

Pro: Flow of the process

Con: Crowd, Queue, People (if you are an Indian Passport holder, remember we                  count in billions)

How I did it??

I was lurking behind Airasia website for a cheap cheap deal. As soon as it came out, I jumped out to grab it.

On a serious note, First time I traveled to Thailand (my first ever foreign trip), I got a deal for INR 7000 with return ticket. September, end of monsoon season and Airasia promotion: all things gentle added up. I traveled from Bangkok. For the second trip, I was charged INR 12000 for round trip, end of January season.

AirAsia flies you till Don Mueang International airport(DMK). All you see around is Indian faces speaking your native language. For Subarnabhumi, which essentially is the new and biggest functioning international playground of the city, you should rely on other carriers.

From DMK, I use Uber, Airport Shuttle or domestic flights for internal travel.

Pro tip:

  • Travel on weekdays, at odd time. Weekends are expensive. Also a 3 work day week is a treat, trust me.
  • Thailand internal travel only permit 1 ltr of alcohol in flight, so splurge responsibly at the duty-free store. (for the alcoholics)

Where and for how long?

Now this is tricky. I know how difficult it is to say goodbye to the places you have discovered virtually, researched on and stayed. At least a stay of a couple of days is recommended to feel the pulse of a land.

I met people on the road backpacking SE Asia for 3 months at a go. Indians are sans the luxury of suck prolonged vacay in general. In my opinion, one should extend their stay in the below mentioned places as per the activities they are taking up.

  • Bangkok: 5 nights (Shop: I shopped for 3 days at a stretch, China Town, Ancient capital, City tour, Safari World, Shows)
  • Krabi: 3 nights ( Railay, Ao nang, Emereld Pool)
  • Phuket: 5 nights ( Island tours for 3 days, Karon beach, Kata beach, The big Buddha, Patong beach, Water sports, endless leisure actually)
  • Pattaya: 1 night is good enough for exploring the Walking Street

I will be talking about each place and experiences in detail in the following blogs.

Both of my trip-itinerary

  • 5 days: Bangkok 3 nights and Pattaya 2 nights in September 2015
  • 11 days: Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi, Pattaya in January, 2017 (It rained a lot, unusually)

a sumptuous seafood spread from Bangkok’s floating market

Take a day tour on the Chao Phraya river when in Bangkok

Remember the famous James bond stone!

From Thailand:

If you have the luxury of slow paced travel, you may consider exploring following countries nearby. Airfare is cheap and they offer their own share of arcane culture.

  • Laos, the landlocked country
  • Cambodia, the land of Angkor Wat
  • Vietnam, ARCANE
  • Myanmar
  • Indonesia
  • India (My native)

Budget

Capping travel budget is entirely private choice. If you decide to cruise through Andaman Sea, pocket pinch will be uber cool where as a hostel stay will cost you less than $3 in BKK.

I prefer comfortable travel with a dash on luxury once in a while. A 11 day Thailand stay came to be INR 50000 ( $700) for me sans shopping.

Where I could save more?

  • A late heavy breakfast instead of three meals
  • Streamlining day’s visit, prior planning
  • Refusing to take Tuk Tuks altogether, they are costly
  • Trying Charcoal icecream (yes, I did that)
  • Not plunging into the sea with my camera (basically avoid risky moves that may entail an accident)

Suggested read:

I strongly recommend to read a book or two before you set your feet on a new country. One wisely written book can play the part of conditioner for the culture and practices prevalent in the land. I was hooked to the book “Sightseeing”by Rattawut Lapcharoensap for days before I reached Thailand. It is a brilliant combination of eight short stories that depict life of Thais beyond tour packages, city tours and hustles of massage parlours.

Good to know: Khabon Kha is “Thank you!” and “Soi” is Lane. All the tour operators, the boat companies, have two sets of guides, one speaks english, other one speak English and Chinese


How many of you have decided to visit Thailand while embarking on the first ever foreign trip? Do you love Thailand the way I do? Do you have a suggestion for the next must visit place for me in Thailand? Please suggest…

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54 thoughts on “Of Siam, Sea and Food: Thai Musings

  1. Very comprehensive post! I’ve been to Thailand a couple of times. I do like Railay Beach, very laid back. Some suggestions for next time you go to Thailand? Try visiting Khao Lak national park, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai or Sukhothai.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I have a plan to do Thailand and Cambodia together, sometime in next 2 years. Will be visiting North soon. Chiang Mai is a must, have been hearing about Kaho Lak quiet a lot, will try to cover that.

      Railay was pretty amazing, It rained for 2 days we stayed at the island and how romantic the place was. will be blogposting Railay soon. Thanks 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would give Pattaya a miss. Phuket and Koh Samui are better options if you want sun, sand and sea. Go to Chiangmai if you can. It’s completely different from Bangkok.

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  3. If you go I put north, yes. When I’m there, I’m in Helsinki, so not that much. I kind of split my time between Helsinki and Budapest (complicated story). In Hungary, northern lights are but a distant dream. 😃

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      1. That’s funny! I’m part French, and growing up my parents’ best friend was Portuguese. I think she was largely responsible for making me speak French, since we were all over the place (Germany and various U.S. states). India’s been on my radar since I became obsessed with it when I was thirteen. My then crush’s family had adopted a girl from India, so I wanted to know everything about the country. Then, I had friends from there, got into Bollywood movies in England, when I was idly watching TV, and it was somehow always around. 😃 Point is, I’d love to come to India and check it out! Thanks for the invite! And you have to see Finland!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, we have plan to see the northern lights by next year, Finland is in bucket list. Do lemme know before you visit India, I will host you in Kolkata if it is a part of your itinerary.
        Great to know you are multilingual. I just speak Bengali, English, Hindi and elementary French.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You’re so sweet! I will make Kolkata part of my itinerary. And if I’m in Finland when you guys are there, you will of course be my guests.

        That’s about the amounts of languages I feel comfortable with. I have to confess I’m not that familiar with Hindi and Bengali. Is Bengali to Hindi as English is to French (where you can often guess at the meaning), or is it more like Spanish and Portuguese where, depending on the region, you can carry out a conversation in your native language and be understood? I’ve witnessed some friends do it, and it was so much fun. Or, are they completely different, with maybe five words that are similar?

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  4. I love Rattawut Lapcharoensap’s collection, Sightseeing, too. I also recommend Pira Sudham’s short stories, People of Esarn, too — and, of course, my own novels! The first one, Behind the Night Bazaar, is set in Chiang Mai.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was reading the excerpt of behind the night Bazar yesterday. This has been listed in my bucket list. 🙂
      Few stories from sightseeing have touched my heart. Pira Sudham’s book I am gonna google now.
      Thank you for all the suggestions!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Your sunset photo is absolutely stunning! Thanks for following Oh, the Places We See. Although we haven’t seen what you’ve seen, we find that the beauty of reading blogs is in the sharing. We look forward to having you travel with us!

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    1. Thank you :). Please take reference for this is what I felt while traveling in Thailand with my own itinerary and feel should help anyone crafting a DIY plan for their own 🙂 I have tons of article related to Thailand. Hope they are helpful for you 🙂

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  6. Beautiful post, thank you for sharing! Thailand has always been high up on my list of places to go, it looks gorgeous! Not to mention the food, especially the seafood.. You’ve got me thinking about lunch already! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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