Far East 2016 – Chapter 1 (Bangkok)

There is just something exciting about a sudden spur of the moment decision to go off on vacation. So was the case with my visit to Thailand and Malaysia. It so happened that I had been getting fidgety – I mean mid-August already and no concrete plans for my annual vacations. As luck would have it, opportunity struck when a group of friends going for some professional training in Bangkok asked me to join them.

With less than 5 weeks and so much to plan, I analyzed the visa processing time for countries in the Far East and eventually decided to include Malaysia in my vacation plans. Advice – when booking a hotel always do your research through the travel websites but for the actual booking itself approach the hotels directly; you will always get better rates.

On 2nd October 2016, my friends and I took the flight to Bangkok, Thailand landing late evening at the Suvarnabhumi Airport. We took a cab to the Hostel 24, a nice cozy retreat in Sukhumvit Soi managed by a friendly Belgian couple. Highly recommended for those who are looking for clean, convenient and budget friendly accommodation.

AYYUTTHIYA

I had pre-booked my tours through the Sun Leisure World Corporation and as per schedule left for a full day visit to Ayutthiya early on 3rd October 2016.

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Stu pas and statues of Buddha

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I personally loved the combination of old structures and Buddha statues that were sometimes covered up in vibrant gold. The energy in these areas is quite distinct; to fully understand what I am referring to, you will have to personally visit.

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Reclining Buddha, Ayutthiya
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Buddha in a Tree, Wat Mahathat, Ayutthiya
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Delicious coconut pancakes (a local delight). Advice – If you have a Thai sitting next to you on the flight, get a list of the local delights.
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Couldn’t resist a click with the elephant who loved being photographed.
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Embellished statues of Buddha at Ayutthiya
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Embellished statues of Buddha at Ayutthiya

SAFARI PARK

Day 2 of vacations, my friends decided to skip their daily shopping spree to join me for a tour of the Bangkok Safari Park. If you like animals or have kids or enjoy the circus then this is a good place to visit. It is however, somewhat disheartening to realize that the animals are not well treated; some of the elephants even had broken tusks.

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I did however volunteer to have a 2.5 ton elephant walk over me; after all life is too short not to experience. Check the video below for proof of my antics.

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CITY TOUR – TEMPLES

The one thing I have realized through my travel expeditions is that the architecture at every country has a unique personality. Thus was the case in Thailand as well, unlike what I had seen of the European historical buildings that were more sober, and the remnants of Mughal architecture back home that were decorated in glass, the Thai temples are done up in bright golds.

Since I was due to take the evening flight to Kuala Lumpur, my last day in Bangkok, I decided to take a half day tour of Bangkok focusing mainly on the famous Royal Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn).

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The Grand Palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam (and later Thailand) from 1782 to 1925.
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The famous and truly beautiful Emerald Buddha – housed in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) on the grounds of the Grand Palace
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Monkey guarding the Ubosoth, Wat Phra Kaew
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Kinnorn at the Wat Phra Kaew has the top half of a man and the lower body of a bird and is often considered to be a musician.
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A visit to Thailand is incomplete until you have tried out some of the exotic fruit – dragon fruit is highly recommended
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Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) near the Chao Phraya River. To reach the temple one must cross the river on a ferry.
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Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) – part of it was being renovated
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If you make a wish whilst hitting the bong 3 times, your wish will come true

After an exhaustive trip, I returned to the Hostel 24 to check out and take the flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia… and that is another chapter.

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