Vacations In Thailand
Though I’ve been back from my Thai vacation for quite a while, I am still in the mood for making an another trip to this amazing country whenever I have the chance to see the photos.
I first had the idea of traveling to Thailand when I was watching TV a couple of years ago. There was a documentary about Songkran Festival in which people played with the water and merrily got soaking wet. This sort of things is quite strange in Vietnam where I live so I got really excited and decided that I would go there as soon as I could. The opportunity to live my dream finally came this year. I had 2 weeks off in October so I booked flights from September 29 to October 13. Though it was not the best season (November to February) to go and not the time of Songkran Festival (April) either, I had such a wonderful time and would definitely go back there in the near future.
I am a big fan of charity work so I did a lot of research for chances to volunteer in Thai. I was amazed by the website volunteerworkthailand.org. It provides a list of organizations with all the brief information about Thailand you need to know (Thai has a really good information network online which I believe is one of the reason to get people go there) – just what I needed. Within a couple of minutes having a quick look at all the options, I found an American NGO called Isara which provides free accommodation and food for international volunteers coming to teach English at their schools. I was so happy since I thought that was probably the best way to experience Thailand with a small budget but then unfortunately the school is off for a month in October so I ended up flying to Bangkok without having any specific plans for the next few days. It sounds like it was bad luck but it was actually a good opportunity for me to surf around the country, setting foot in different cities and having all the fun a tourist can have in Thai.
This is probably one of the most fascinating Southeast Asian cities I’ve ever been to. In one sense, it is Asianly charming with the look of unique Buddhist temples, dazzling palaces and local floating market. In another sense, it keeps up with the pace of the modern lifestyle. Any first time travelers can easily feel lost in its chaotic streets with heavy traffic and tons of massive buildings, skyscrapers, mega shopping malls.
My first destination in Bangkok was Grand Palace. I had heard a lot of people recommending this spot but it was not until I reached there did I become aware of how spectacular it really is. The palace complex is huge and amazingly beautiful. It cost me 400 baht for the fee which was quite pricey compared to that of other attractions but it was totally worth it. Such an awesome experience for my first day in Thailand!
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My favorite place in Bangkok is Wat Pho. There was something very special and fascinating about the atmosphere there apart from the fact that the reclining Buddha is huge. The staff was very friendly; the entrance fee was also cheap. Plus, it is close to the Grand Palace so it is very easy to reach there after the visiting the other place. I strongly recommend Wat Pho!
I went on to see Chatuchak Weekend Market the next day. It was extremely noisy and crowded but was such a great place to go shopping. You will find everything you need to buy there but it will take you a little patience. Literally, I spent a whole day, from 10am to 4pm, just walking around and bargaining. I got all the souvenirs for my family and friends eventually but was not able to see even half of the market!
Floating Markets are also interesting. I tried the grilled cuttlefish at Amphawa and I have to say, it was incredibly amazing! Not only because the food was fresh and cooked well but also because it was served directly from the floating boat. Everyone was busy but looked very happy, which lights up the market and makes it lively. I truly understand why this kind of things is so popular to both tourists and locals.
I did my first bungee jump ever in my life there in Pattaya (only one place near the town center). I know some of you may find 60 meters not that high but for me it was really scary and took me quite a while to get rid of my anxiety before deciding to do it. It turned out to be quite fun. I even got a certificate for my bravery! The staff was very knowledgeable and professional. They picked me up at my hotel and brought me back there for free. The equipment was also good and they seemed to run a safe operation.
Another good memories Pattaya that would stay with me was elephant ride. I couldn’t believe an elephant can paint, play basketball and ride a bicycle! That was amazing! It looked like the elephants were trained and treated really well. I paid some extras to feed them with bananas and to take some photos but they were worth it. What a great experience! I would definitely go back there for elephant ride if I had a chance to get to Pattaya again.
Tiffany’s Show is not to be missed if you travel there. It was very entertaining with good music and talented dancers dressing fancy costumes. I found it quite interesting to find out that all the dancers were actually boys. They were very professional (especially when it came to lip sync, I didn’t even realize they did it at the beginning!) and delivered great performances. I went back there the second time and was still amazed by how quickly they changed their costumes many times during the performances.
I took a course at Siam Rice Thai Cookery School and learned how to make 7 Thai dishes. I was picked up at my hotel and then was taken to a local market to shop for ingredients. There were 8 more people in my group. Though we chose different dishes to learn, everyone got the chance to get prepared and cook at the same time. We were taught a lot of interesting things like how to chop vegetables in right way etc. The group leader was fantastic – very helpful and super fun. He joked all the time and made sure we enjoyed our class session to the fullest.
I visited the national park called Doi Inthananon. As that is the highest point in Thailand, it can get quite cool and foggy. The nature was gorgeous and the view from the top of the mountain was amazing. The King and Queen temple was very nice with beautiful gardens. I took a lot of photos but still felt like I could not take all the looks and the atmosphere there with me when I left.
I had such a great vacation in Thailand and would definitely recommend this lovely country to any travelers who are surfing around Southeast Asia. For me I’ll just do my best to make an another trip to Thai in April when Songkran Festival takes place!
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