Flying internationally for the first time is always exciting. I decided to go on a backpacking trip with my friends and it was probably one of the best decision I have taken lately. All I have to say is that backpacking trip to a foreign land is necessary for everyone once in their life. You get to learn a lot about so many things which you wouldn’t learn otherwise while staying in luxurious hotels and travelling via cabs. Also, backpacking is a great idea, but backpacking with a group is a more fabulous idea. Solo backpacking is not something I would recommend as of now. I travelled to Thailand – Pattaya, Phuket, Phi Phi Island and Krabi Island – with this very young and dynamic travelling community called Tripver and again, it was one of the best decisions I took in the recent times. I don’t wish to cover the whole of Thailand in one blog post and hence, please expect a lot of written and visual content from me in the days to come! One thing – if you are used to calming beaches of India (both eastern and western coasts), Thailand is going to be a surprise for you. The sea here is very wild and turbulent and thus a li’l scary. Except for the bays – the bays are the quietest and the calmest places you will ever visit.
Before I start to talk about Pattaya in an overly excited manner, let me share a few travel tips before you plan a trip to this beautiful land of Thailand.
- Best time to visit Thailand is from November to February.
- On arrival, visa is a good bet if you are okay to spend INR 2000 on the processing fee of the visa.
- If you plan to take a visa from India, it is free of cost (with a service fee of INR 350). It takes around four working days to process the visa, only if you apply 15 days before your travel date. DO follow the guidelines correctly to get the visa on time
- If you plan your trip around June – July, beware of the sun. Carry a good sunscreen, though most likely, it won’t work but still to be on the safer side
- If your trip is planned well in advance during June and July, do visit your dermatologist and take the sunburn tablets, one month before the date of travel. Sunburn is a serious issue
- Always wear a hat or carry an umbrella and cover yourself up with a shrug or scarf when you are not in the water. No matter how enticing the suntan might seem, in July you are most likely to get burns rather than any tan
- Carry an after sunburn lotion and aloevera gel and apply it as soon as you can after getting exposed to the sun
- Respect the culture and rules of this place. People are very soft-spoken here, but you might not want to test their patience
- Language is going to be a barrier – use Google translate for “safely” putting across what you want to say
- Food might be a problem if you are not open to experimenting with your food – but do not worry. The retail chain called Seven – eleven which will come to your rescue
As you can see that my itinerary consisted of places having a coastline, it becomes all the more important to warn you about the crazy sun, and the sunburn!
My first stop of this ten days long trip was Pattaya. We took the city bus from Suvarnabhumi Airport (Bangkok International Airport) to Pattaya. The distance is around 130Km, which takes roughly approximately 90 minutes to cover. The roads are super amazing, and the drive is very peaceful and relaxing. We had taken the early morning bus, so the views were even more beautiful.
|So when I say views, I also include some super weird buildings!|
We reached our hotel pretty early, so there was still sometime before we could check-in. We decided to chill in the swimming pool. Li’l did I know that I would have too much water in the following one week.
The hotel, Hotel Zing, where we were scouting for the night, situated in the Chonburi province of Pattaya, turned out to be a pretty relaxing one and after having a quick nap, we went out to explore the city. The first stop was the Ocean road. Going from one place to another is pretty easy in this city. You can take a shared semi-closed tempo trucks which are called Baht Bus for short trips for just TBH 10 (approximately INR 20).
But before that, we made li’l halts for having some good food. I could spot a street food cart selling some fantastic fried chicken, and that was the high point of the day till now! This thing, whatever it was, was no competition even to KFC.
After that we spotted a french restaurant(for the other ladies who were not really open to experimenting with their food).
|The buildings in Pattaya, in general, are pretty cute!|
So yes, we had some noodles and curry at this place. The curry probably had all the varieties of mushrooms available:
And then, this was the place where I had the first beer in Thailand and eventually go on to use it as my shampoo for the rest of the trip!
The beach road was very close to our hotel and is the hub for the road side bars and street shops. The beach was serene with fine sand and clear water. Also, beach road is full of cheap hookers and you might want to be very careful while walking here, unless you have some other plans for yourself.
We took a long walk on this road, had our dinner, window shopped a bit (because, hey, you cannot buy on the first day of the trip!) and then proceeded towards the walking street.
We came across loads of fascinating things along the ocean road.
For example, the cocktail truck:
Or the road side bars with live music on the road itself :
Or the sea food heaven:
Since I was already warned not to try loads of street food, so just clicked the varieties available :
Then you come across some super cute stuff, which is so typical of Thailand!
Then, there is the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Building. I am not sure what I am trying to believe in this picture!
Then there was this place called the Hooters about which I had heard a lot. I leave it to you to do a li’l bit research about this place:
And finally, there it was – the passion of colourful paradise!
All the jazz that you must have heard about the walking street is just so true. It was a cultural shock for me at first but eventually I could take it in and started to enjoy the views (just the views, thank you!).
|When they say “We will rock you”, please take them seriously.|
Sex and sexuality is an open market in this commercialized city of Pattaya. The walking street is almost 1.5Km long and every inch of it succeeds in surprising you.
Walking street was all about drinks with my girls and a short and accidental stint at one of the strip clubs.
And this is me after the tour of the walking street. I am just shocked(and famished) but still trying to look happy!
The high point of the first night in Pattaya was the foot massage which proved to be more relaxing that I could have ever anticipated.
Please take me back – only for this massage!
This day was not about any authentic Thai food and it ended with a quiet drink at a local street bar along the beach.
The next day started with a quest for some good food and massage. We were lucky to find a great massage place with some very great ladies(motherly figure, if I have to describe them). We took a Thai massage which was heavenly. I have no words to describe it!
This was followed by a hearty American breakfast at a local cafe. I decided to go for some sweet brunch of pancakes because it was going to be a long day full of travelling and only sugar-high gives me the high that I need to keep up with that!
Just like India, Thailand also has worshiping places anywhere – any roundabout or any street! The only difference? They are clean and well maintained.
And here is my happy face – after a great massage, amazing meal and having found a cute li’l red Volkswagon to pose with:
The next stop was Phuket. So, we traveled to Suvarnabhumi airport from our hotel and then from there we took another city bus to the DMK domestic airport as we had our flight to Phuket from there.
This is the last picture of the city and skyscrapers. Because I was heading for some great surprises now!
Pattaya was very exciting as it was the first day of the trip. But now when I look back, every day the excitement level kept on increasing exponentially. Pattaya is a commercialized city and a lot cleaner than any city that you might come across in India.
Next up – Phuket!