A land where history and culture blend seamlessly with modernity. A country whose traceable history dates back to over 40,000 years. A land that was known to the outside world for long as Siam. A place that boasts of exotic islands and virgin beaches. Cities and villages that reverberate to the hypnotic gongs of spirituality and are home to magnificent palaces and exquisite temples. Landscapes ranging from verdant rice fields to pristine silver sands and people who are the epitome of warmth and hospitality.
No wonder this country draws over 27 million tourists every year and features in the list of the top 10 most visited countries in the World.
Yes! Thailand is the country we are talking about. A country which has so much on offer to visitors that they leave with a feeling that, “once is not enough”.
Why You Must Visit Bangkok & Pattaya in Thailand
Given the hypnotic appeal of Thailand, it was no wonder that we found ourselves researching into various Thailand Tourism packages with a view to solidify our Thailand plans. We did a lot of research into the best and most cost effective flights available, accommodation, vegetarian food options, the best time to visit Thailand, etc.. We had a time constraint and of course, it was not possible to do justice to the beautiful land with the time at our disposal. We had to sadly prune our itinerary and finally decided on focusing on Bangkok on our first visit to Thailand. We, however, did manage to squeeze in a couple of days in Pattaya too. We share here a slice of our experiences in Thailand.
The Best of Bangkok
The Grand Palace
We began our exploration of Bangkok in right royal style with the Grand Palace. This historic palace dates back to the year 1782 when it was constructed and has since been the home of the Kings of Thailand. The palace complex is huge and spans over 218 thousand square meters. The Palace is partially open to the public and consists of a series of buildings and gardens. The lush gardens, the golden domes, and the spectacular architecture had us amazed as soon as we set foot in the palace complex. Though there is something unique and dazzling in every turn of the Grand Palace, the most resplendent jewel in its crown is undoubtedly the temple of the Emerald Buddha or Wat Phra Kaew.
The temple is the home of a 26 inch standing Buddha statue made from a single stone of Jade. The statue is considered very sacred and revered and worshipped as the protector of the land. The color of the robes of the statue are changed with the change in season, thrice a year and this is done by the King. This is a very important ceremonial ritual of the place.
Wat Pho, the temple of the reclining Buddha
After spending a scintillating time at the Grand Palace we moved to the nearby temple of Wat Pho, only to be further bedazzled by the lustre and beauty of the reclining Buddha.
The temple itself is a big complex and houses the largest collection of Buddha images including the reclining Buddha. We were mesmerized by the beauty of the reclining Buddha, a 46-metre statue covered in gold, of the Buddha in repose.
We filed past the sleeping Buddha as we circumnavigated the statue from head to toe and were filled with feelings of sublime joy at this mystical manifestation of human artistry and reverence. We also were fascinated by the fact that this temple is widely regarded as the birthplace of Thai massage. We definitely wanted to head back again for an authentic Thai massage.
We visited the Safari World, a popular animal and leisure park. We took a 45-minute safari in a special bus that took us across 8 kilometers of wilderness where we had the good fortune of viewing wild animals in a naturally simulated environment.
Lions, tigers, and bears strutted majestically around while a herd of giraffes and zebras cavorted gracefully in the grass.
Pattaya and Koh Larn Island
We took a bus from Ekamai, Bangkok’s Eastern Bus Terminal and reached Pattaya by afternoon after a smooth journey ride across the 147 odd kilometer distance. Pattaya is famous as a resort city and is the second most visited city in Thailand after Bangkok. The Walking Street, which is a red light area in Pattaya lures hordes of tourists, both foreign and domestic with its pulsating nightlife. But what drew us to Pattaya was its beaches and the nearby islands.
We chose to take a quite walk along the Pattaya Beach Front which is lined with shopping malls, restaurants, and hotels, in the evening. As the day dissolved into night, the lights came up and the area was illuminated brilliantly.
The next day found us on a speed boat that drove crazily on the swirling waters of the sea at a dizzying speed. We hung on to the rails as the boat shook as if it was caught in a high magnitude earthquake. Our destination was the island of Koh Larn. A little distance from the sea, the speedboat docked at a pier and we clambered out of the boat. The Pier was where one can indulge in parasailing.
There was also a couple of small shops selling curios and light refreshments. After a 30 minute halt here, we were off again crashing through the waves to Koh Larn.
We reached Koh Larn and spent a couple of hours lounging on the beach and frolicking in the sedate waters and generally had a great time. We did not have much time to explore the island, though. We also had a vegetarian lunch in one of the small restaurants that lined the beach. Soon it was time to head back to Pattaya city and off we went in the crazy speedboat. We got some lovely views of the Pattaya skyline on our way back.
Thailand has so much on offer from palaces to beaches to temples to islands. These are enough reasons to convince anyone as to why one must visit Bangkok and Pattaya in Thailand.
We had a great time in Thailand and were moved by the warmth of the people that we came in contact with including the guides and hotel staff. We stayed at Ibis Bangkok Nana Hotel in Bangkok and Ibis Pattaya in Pattaya. We realize that what we were able to see in Thailand on our first trip was just the tip of the iceberg. This post too as mentioned earlier just skims the surface and we will be back with more posts on our other experiences in Thailand. Do stay tuned for more experiences in tantalizing Thailand. Do check out this mini guide with useful tips and info on Thailand. Thailand has so much to offer and it can be done at a leisurely pace. And if you are planning a trip to Phuket then check out the Best Places to Stay in Phuket.
Have you visited Bangkok and Pattaya or any other places in Thailand? Do share with us in the comment section.
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