Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The whole trip to Thailand on the 19th December was better than I expected. With the totally different cultures and lifestyles there, the journey to Bangkok and Pattaya was certainly an eye-opening experience for me.

The itinerary for my 5 days 4 nights trip was the first day in Bangkok, second and third day in Pattaya and the forth day back to Bangkok. The last day was just sufficient for us to have breakfast in the hotel as we departed from Bangkok at 11.05am Bangkok time (12.05pm Malaysia time).

I went with my family of 5 and with my sister’s boyfriend, Jacky. My cousin and his wife came along too as they travel to and fro Bangkok quite often for business purpose.

It was the first time for me to travel overseas as I have not been on board before. The feeling of excitement boosted up when I looked down from the air plane to the tiny buildings below me. The moment we reached Suvarnabhumi (su-wa-na-boom) airport in Bangkok, we were greeted by our tour guide, IU (ai-you). She told us that the airport was named by the King of Thailand himself, King Bhumibol (bu-mi-pun). Suvarna means gold and bhumi means land, it short it is the land of gold. Unlike Malaysia, most of the buildings in Bangkok and Pattaya have the picture of their King in the most eye-catching spot of the buildings. So it is difficult to say that you do not recognize the face of their King. 

First day was free and easy as our trip starts on the second day and we had loads of free time after we had checked-in to our hotel. We went for shopping at Platinum Plaza nearby our hotel. My cousin told me that the chicken rice in Bangkok is better than in Malaysia. The chicken is boneless and the rice they served can even be eaten without any dishes.

My second day started fresh with the journey along Chao Praya river. There are slum along the river as the government have not taken any action against them yet. The tour guide told us that the nicest temple along the river is Wat Arun (Wat means temple) also known as Temple of Dawn. It was build beside the former palace. The whole temple was made of magnificent stones and bricks as you hardly find anything like this in Malaysia. After the visit to the temple, we were brought to a leather factory where it was less popular among our 20-person group.

After that, we went to the world renown four-faced Buddha in the centre of Bangkok. It was believed that the Buddha was build by a local hotel owner and he became successful in his hotel management later on. It was surprising that the Buddha is just situated at the corner of a junction and the number of visitor was greater than hundred in just a small corner.

After our lunch at Red Dragon Restaurant, we went to Sriracha Tiger Zoo. We watched crocodile show and tiger show respectively at different time. The tigers were trained to stand on both legs, jumping across fire rings and performed various tricks to entertain the audience. 

Before we left, we even witnessed pig racing and pigs doing mathematics. It was unbelievable as the mathematics questions were asked by the spectators and the pigs knew which number to choose as the correct answer.

Our destination after dinner was at Alangkarn cultural show. It was a fully furbished air-conditioned hall with a capacity of almost 1000 spectators. The show tells the history of Thailand and how the royal armies fought with the invaders. 

In the midst of the show, they even invited some of the spectators to go up to the stage and dance with them. I was one of the two who were invited. Both of us were made fun by the performers in front of the spectators and we were asked to follow their dance moves.

The final destination of the day was at Alcazar or better known as Tiffany show or Ah gua show. The performers are actually males who undergoes sexual transplant to become females. I can definitely tell that the dancing performance of Alcazar was amazing and of world-class standard as it is hard to describe here in words.

Third day started off with the cold and chilling air of Pattaya beach. We were transferred to an island with a speed boat and it was there where I experienced 5 minutes of hanging in mid air with parachute. I was afraid of dropping into the sea as I don’t know how to swim. I even tried banana boat ride for 250 baht per person which is approximately RM 25.

After a long and tiring morning on the beach, we departed to a local bee farm. There we were briefed about the benefits of honey and royal jelly as well as the methods of consumption and storage of bee products.

We went to Pattaya Floating Market too in the late afternoon. It was just an ordinary kampong style market which was build above a man-made lake. I even saw fried bird eggs in a cute pan specially designed for the eggs.

On the forth day, we visited the Elephant Zoo. All of us were carried by giant-sized elephants from one stop to another. My younger sister and I have to balance ourselves to sit in the middle because the elephant can feel our weight too. After the elephant ride, we were brought to see monkey show.

The final agenda of our trip was in Safari World. In the marine section, we enjoyed watching the synchronized and awesome performance of the dolphins. They were trained to perform multiple tricks and only listen to their trainers' command.

After the dolphin performance, we rushed to another section in the Safari World called the Spy War Zone. It was something similar to James Bond but it involved real live actor in front of our eyes. Initially I thought it was plain boring because I am not a fan of James Bond or any spy movie but the simple plot of the show and the huge actions by the actors amazed me. They used explosives to make the show interesting and I can feel the strong heat for every explosion. At one point the engines of the jet skis even splashed water to the front rows of spectators.

After everything ended, our bus drove past the Safari Animals Zone for around 20 minutes. Some of the animals have not been transported back due to the flood that destroyed the Safari World last month. Pillars of woods and scattered tree branches could be seen anywhere and the place was tarnished by heavy mud. We went back to the hotel after that.

Overall it was an enjoyable trip as the tour guide was good and the things were selling at a relatively lower price compared to Malaysia. I would definitely love to visit Thailand again in the near future. 


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