Exploring Thailand: A Eurasian’s Show!
On my first trip to Thailand, one very special thing which caught my fancy was the blend of civilization and a huge preservation of culture. Of course, this first trip came on the heel of visiting my extended family members still living in China. I am a Eurasian; half British and half Chinese and I have always kept in touch with my Asian roots but never visited Thailand before that trip. Even though my fiancé and I were only able to spend a weekend there, the trip provided an eye opener that we knew we had to visit again.
Fast forward to several months after and a lot of proper preparation this time, we embarked on that beautiful journey which will remain in our memories for a very long time. On arrival at the Suvarnabhumi Airport, also known as the Thailand International Airport, we were greeted by the warm weather which contrasts sharply to the cold and rainy autumn weather in the United Kingdom. It was late in the evening, so we only boarded a taxi to our hotel, had dinner and retired to bed to recover from the effect of the long-haul flight. We already had our plans mapped out for this trip, so I was excited about getting under the skin of this country to discover the beauty which it really had to offer.
The next day, first on our agenda was returning to visit the Grand Palace. No trip would be complete without a view and feel of this magnificent work of art, culture and architecture. From the perspective of two worlds; it really holds a special place in my heart. This is because the design and architecture reels of an Asian masterpiece, yet it is still in my opinion the number one tourist attraction in Bangkok for tourists from both far and near. I am sure even the world’s greatest of architects would doff their hats.
For virgin travellers to Thailand, I would simply say a trip to Thailand without visiting the Grand Palace is an incomplete one. Please note that it is very important to dress appropriately even though the weather might not be too receptive of this idea. However, if you forget this tip, do not worry; there is always a chance to get appropriate dressing for a refundable deposit. This landmark sits on a vast expanse of land and was built in 1782. It was home to Thai Kings and the Royal Court for about 150years and now houses government offices and the Chapel Royal of the Emerald Buddha in the form of several complexes and temples. For me, the grand palace does not only embody a stunning design and architectural masterpiece, it also signifies a place of historical significance, tranquility, peace and spirituality.
Also, one thing I really enjoyed in Thailand was hoping on and off the local tourist boats; the ones in the form of a water taxi and also the long tail boats. They are not only very affordable but they also offer a faster form of travel; away from Bangkok’s traffic gridlock and chaos. Next was a boat ride to the floating market. As the name suggest, this is a market on water where you can purchase just about everything. From fresh fruits and vegetables to souvenirs, plus guess what? There are also floating restaurants where you can order a freshly prepared Thai delicacy. Since I am not the one to pass the chance at trying a new cuisine, we comfortable settled down for a delicious meal of Thai barbecue and deep fried tofu. All of this while floating on water.
After this, we continued on our trip and what better way to explore the rest of Bangkok than journeying around on the famous Tuk-tuk. We decided we will get a tuk-tuk tour and it was a decision well made as we were fortunate enough to hire an expert tuk-tuk guide who not only showed us the beauty of Bangkok, but also did so while making us experience it as a local. In all, we were able to explore the Phra Sumera Fortress, Amulet Market, Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, Thieves Market and the colorful flower market at Dheves. At the end of a long day of sightseeing and really taking in the beauty of some of the best Bangkok had to offer, we settled for a round of Thai massage. My expectations were far exceeded. I have had the best of massages in the past, but this was different. First, you had to lie on a mattress, relax and let the practitioner work magic. I would recommend the Thai massage to anyone visiting Thailand, as it not only refreshes, it is also known to provide a lot of other health benefits too.
Koh Phangan & Koh Samui
The next day, waking up refreshed and full of energy, we took the long trip to Koh Phangan. We had highlighted this beautiful paradise as one of the places to visit not only because of the stunning natural beauty of the Island, but also because we had heard a lot about the full moon party. I would say we weren’t disappointed. We spent the day enjoying the view of the island, relaxing on the beautiful beaches and swimming in some of the most crystal clear waters I have ever been in; it was nothing short of a paradise on earth. Then at night, it was time for the main event. We couldn’t have hoped for more. Even though my fiancé and I are not the ones for the wild parties, this was just different as we were able to unwind and have fun, while meeting lots and lots of people from around the world. We made a few friends and we all made a pact to keep in touch and arrange another visit.
We spent a few more days in Koh Phangan, exploring the beauty and what the island has to offer. We did it all! From walking through the jungle, to visiting the waterfall and having a swim, to watching a bout of Thai boxing. We even rode on elephants, which got me really scared and my fiancé decided he would go diving which I kind of passed on. We returned to Bangkok again for our flight back home and we had a day of another round of sightseeing. This time, we visited temples which gave me the kind of feel I felt when visiting some of the oldest Churches in Europe. It is amazing how such structures could be preserved and made to stand the test of time. We were also able to visit the Jim Thompson house. Jim Thompson was an American who worked in Thailand, promoting the silk industry and the home he used to live in has been converted to a museum. It’s really a place worthy of a visit while in Thailand.
Overall, my second trip to Thailand was an amazing experience and one thing is certain, we would be returning again. In Thailand, the show always goes on…
About the Author:
Monica Leslie is a graphic designer as well as a part-time blogger at http://myoverseasadventure.com/. She enjoys travelling, as well as writing, art, cooking, fashion and learning about new cultures. You can find more of her work on her blog.