“I Will Always Remember Thailand”

I’ve never been to other foreign country before except my homeland Philippines. Therefore, I really have no idea if you were to ask me on how it feels like. Now that I’ve tried once, however, I can say then that the feeling is different. The indulgence to keep on going to explore more is unstoppable. No wonder many people love to travel, for they are aware of these potentialities.

When my sister Felisa, who works as an English teacher in Thailand, invited us to go there I didn’t hesitate to grab the opportunity, for I believe that the door of information will inevitably unfold to me as soon as I start to step out from my doorstep and embark on a most glorious and exciting adventure. Can you imagine my friends, the depth and vastness of this world which we could roam fruitfully and everlastingly through the magic key of travelling?

Thailand is certainly an interesting place to visit. Therefore, my mother, our youngest Kirk and I left for Manila using a commercial airline at past nine in the evening lately. It was a smooth flight and we arrived in Bangkok at midnight.

I like the Suvarnabhumi Airport for it has an embedded screen monitor at the meeting place where the waiting welcome party can view the status of the arriving passengers inside. Therefore, even if we were still inside the terminal building my sister had seen us ahead. The taxi drivers too are well disciplined, for the latter itself would wait at the driver’s queue section religiously until the dispatcher will endorse the passengers to them. From there the driver will bring the passengers to the parking area a few steps away from where the queue driver’s section is located. It’s indeed systematic and not chaotic.

Bangkok is a modern, exciting and sophisticated city. It offers to visitors not only the cosmopolitan amenities they would expect from other big cities, but also a unique treasure trove of cultural attractions. Thailand, in the heart of Southeast Asia, was never colonised and thus kept its unique culture and heritage intact. Bangkok offers visitors the opportunity to experience fascinating glimpse of Thailand’s gentle culture amidst the bustle of a great and dynamic metropolis. This great city has had astounding success in combining the ancient and modern world.

Our one week tour had led us to many tourist destinations. Riding a Tuktuk (3-wheelers)we were able to visit some of the major attractions in Bangkok. One thing I like about Bangkok is that you seldom see a black smoke emission from the vehicle’s nozzle. That’s how nature friendly they were. Therefore, Tuktuk is a convenient way if one loves to take pictures for short journeys. Moreover, unlike in Manila, you can’t encounter Thai taxi drivers charging the passengers a fixed rate trip. Therefore, what you see in the meter machine is the exact fare rate which you have to pay for. There’s nothing more, nothing less.

Bangkok takes great pride in its large number of fascinating temples around the capital. The major ones can be found in the Rattanakosin area on the western side of the city. The Rattanakosin area is called an island but has been incorporated into the city. A trip there will allow visitors to see many attractions within a short distance of one another.

 The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo

(The Temple of the Emerald Buddha)

The splendid Grand Palace enclosure is home to many ornate temples and buildings with a variety of architectural styles. Gold leaf, reflective tiling and Buddha images are to be seen everywhere. The magnificent Wat Phra Kaeo, a treasure trove of Thai arts and home to the Emerald Buddha, Thailand’s most revered Buddha image, is at the heart of the complex.

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Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall

Located on Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue, this beautiful Throne Hall was built in the reign of King Rama V using marble for construction in the Italian Renaissance architectural style. The ceiling of the dome is highlighted by exquisite fresco paintings of important royal functions during the reign of King Rama I up to King Rama VI of the Royal Hours of Chakri.

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Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn)

This famous Bangkok landmark is on the Thon Buri side of the Chao Phraya River, directly opposite the Grand Palace complex and easily accessible by boat from Bangkok side. The temple dates back to the Ayutthaya period. The temple was enlarged by King Rama II and King Rama III. Renovations were completed in the reign of King Rama IV.

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Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)

Neighboring the Grand Palace enclave, this temple is considered the largest in Bangkok. The famous Reclining Buddha, constructed in 1832, is enshrined in this temple. The 46-meter long and 15-meter high gold-plated Reclining Buddha, the eyes and feet inlaid with mother-of-pearl brings to mind the Lord Buddha’s entry into Nirvana. The sole also shows 108 auspicious characteristics of the true “Buddha”.

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Delicious Dining at Baiyoke Tower

We were booked by my sister for a dinner at this hotel. Thai cuisine, so delicious and varied in its piquant tastes, is a true gastronomic art. Creativity in cooking stems partly from the Thai’s love of good food, and partly from the wealth of ingredients available. The country possesses an abundance of vegetables and fruits, herbs and spices, succulent seafood and fresh farm produce, and all are wonderfully used in tempting recipes.

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Bayoke Tower is also the tallest building in Bangkok. One can witness the plethora of lights of the whole city by simply gazing the view at the revolving roof deck on the 84th floor.

Chao Phraya River Dinner Cruise

Bangkok offers some of the capital’s most superb sights, particularly at night when the weather is cooler and reflections from the water bestow upon Bangkok a magical effect of flickering lights and shadows. An ideal way of combining dining with river enchantments is to enjoy a dinner cruise along the Chao Phraya.

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Express Boat Service

To connect Bangkok with the neighbouring province of Nonthaburi, the express boat service, with fares depending on the color of the flag on the boat, is provided from the terminal pier near Krung Thep (Bangkok) Bridge. It stops at various piers on both sides of the Chao Phraya River to collect many Bangkokians who take the boat for commuting to and from their places of work.

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We’ve got the chance to rent a car for two days while in Bangkok. My sister arranged this service with the help of a friend who also works there. Therefore, we were able to spend and visit the other tourist attractions outside the capital city.

Hua Hin

Located an easy three-hour drive away from Bangkok, Hua Hin is distinguished as Thailand’s oldest beach resort, coming into vogue in the 1920’s as the retreat for the elite of Bangkok society, a status that was enhanced when the King Rama VII chose the site for a summer palace, which he named Klai Kangwon, meaning “Far from Worries”. A fine hotel and Thailand’s first 18-hole golf course, both still existences, further established Hua Hin’s reputation. In spite of moving with the times to offer all modern amenities, Hua Hin has retained their enduring Thai identity, and thus offers an appealing sense of place. Ideal for families, the main attraction of the resort is a peaceful time lazing on the beach soaking up the tropical sunshine.

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The Venezia

The Venezia Hua Hin is a shopping mall with an attraction. The inspiration of this project came from the world’s famous canal of Venice, Italy.

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Hua Hin Railway Station

The Hua Hin Railway Station is one of the most famous sightseeing attractions in Hua Hin with a long cultural heritage and royal connections.

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Huay Mongkol Temple

Huay Mongkol Temple was home to the immensely popular monk Luang Phor Thuad. The statue is set within a park-like setting that attracts many visitors each weekend. Luang Phor Thuad is a legendary Thai monk revered for his enlightenment and ability to perform miracles. Many believe that the amulets created in his image guarantee safety in times of distress.

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The following day at seven in the morning we left Hua Hin and drove again for six hours going to Pattaya. It took us this long to travel for this is the opposite side of the Gulf, but it is only two-hour drive from Bangkok. This once tiny fishing village has developed into renowned international playground. Colorful and alive with activity, it is unrivalled beach resort offering attractions in greater profusion than any other single destination in Southeast Asia.

Nong Nooch Tropical Garden

Nong Nooch is world renowned for its impressive Elephant and Thai Cultural Shows, along with what is largely considered the biggest and most beautiful botanical garden in Southeast Asia. Nong Nooch is also dedicated to education, preservation and research as well as the conservation of the world’s largest palm collection, the largest variety of Orchids in Thailand and other tropical flora and fauna.

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Silverlake Farm and Laser Buddha

The first and only vineyard located in the hills within the district of the very popular beach getaway of Pattaya.

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Night Life at Bangkok

At night, when most of the city’s attractions are closed and visitors feel like the day has not yet been completed, feel free to spend the night time in various exquisite bars in Khao San Road. The Khao San Road is very lively at night. This is also the favourite place for backpackers and budget travellers who have found a home away from home. Although the street is not very long, Khao San Road is extremely interesting with people from all over the world examining the market stalls, looking for accommodation, eating in cheap restaurants and using cyber cafes.

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Shopping

Smart people arrive in Bangkok with empty suitcases and go back with full ones. The reason is that Bangkok is one of the world’s best shopping centres. It has many advantages: quality, cheap prices, skilled artisans and friendly-natured bargaining. Bo be Market, Sampeng Market, Pratunam and Khao San Road are the few places we’ve been to.

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Variety is indeed the spice of life in Thailand. From the golden-inspired temples of Bangkok to the majestic ruins of ancient capitals, from the tranquil charm of rural towns to the excitement of tropical beach resorts, there is no shortage of choice. Our week travel was not enough. Thailand is a magic place where possibilities are limited only by imagination. You’ll marvel at the glories of the past, and delight in the golden opportunities of the present.

Certainly I will never forget Thailand.

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~ by sherwinportillo on March 26, 2014.

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