The year 2009, August, Bangkok, when our college organized a group trip to Thailand’s capital, is a large city known for ornate shrines and vibrant street life. We were so excited and pumped up for our first ever overseas college trip that we packed our bags with the best of party wear clothes and travelled to Delhi. We boarded our flights from IGI airport and it was my first encounter with the newly built, fully equipped, ultramodern, high-tech airport.
The first time feeling of an international sojourn, surreal dream-like vivid fantasies of far-off travel abroad, a virtual reality of up-in-the-air, and flying through cottony clouds is something I experienced for the first time ever, literally.
As we approached near Hindu-Buddhist golden kingdom and our plane touched down at Suvarnabhumi Airport, covering an area of 8000 acres, which makes it one of the biggest international airports in South East Asia. We could experience the rich culture and its tourist-friendly approach at the airport made our arrivals much easier than we expected.
We boarded the buses which took us directly to Pattaya.
South of Pattaya, beyond the hill, in Jomtien, a much longer, stretch, a beach slightly deeper than Pattaya, is very popular with Thai’s. All the major water sports are on offer along both Pattaya and Jomtien beaches. There’s windsurfing, scuba diving, jet and water skiing, deep sea fish diving are readily available near the pier.
Parasailing is one of the most enjoyable water sports that you can experience. You are tied to a harness and hoisted into the air like a kite while being pulled by boat running at a high speed. It is a pulse-racing and adrenaline pumping commotion in which you enjoy flying up in the air and view the thrashing waves with turquoise blue ocean beneath you.
I was totally on for parasailing and I really enjoyed as I experienced blissful silence in mid-air and I saw a full aerial picturesque view of holistic Pattaya beach and the city for few minutes and it was one of the most amazing and breathtaking moments of my life and had this sentient impact for rest of my life.
It was really sweltering hot out in Pattaya but still as we were in a big group, we were enjoying our fullest, we went to the beach and rode on the banana boat. It was nerve-wracking for all of us when our boat took a turn and slid and in no time we all were floating on the sea. A change which occurred so dramatically and to watch myself and my friends were enjoying this roller-coaster wetness, was something to remember by as we were all amused in the end.
The Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden, 500 acres of landscaped terrestrial, also dedicated to a prehistoric cycads gene bank or conservatory, is quite a popular tourist attraction, in Bangkok. You get the spellbinding hypnotic feeling when you enter the park with beautiful sculptures, filled with this colourful camaraderie of flowers, well-maintained plant turfs, meadows of green pastures, and standing tall trees as if narrating there chronicles to the onlookers visiting the park daily.
In the park itself there is a Butterly hill, a must traverse to grasp the realm of butterflies, you will find rare species of beautiful winged creatures hide out within the dome, so if you are really quiet and still, you may be able to lure one out of hiding, a captivating day of butterfly spotting. Some of the striking eye-catching include the Siam Tree Nymph, Golden Birdwing, and the Giant Silkworm Butterfly, with animated, vivacious, vibrant colours. I haven’t seen unlike these kinds anywhere and such a beautiful creation by mother nature and we all wanted to click pictures but at that time due to some whys and wherefores, we were not allowed to take photographs.
We came back via bus and on our way back we asked our guide to sit with us and tell us a starting point for Thai currency which was quite a fruitful conversation and perhaps we didn’t realize we reached our hotel in the evening and just retired to our rooms and took rest for the day.
On the 4th day, we just went shopping and went berserk while making purchases at the mall for our near and dear ones as we had just three hours to shop. We all rushed to the mall and wanted to explore every single corner and acquire the best of the best. It was a shoppers paradise and I just shopped and shopped and shopped and bought a lot of souvenirs and keepsakes for my family.
Some of my mates were buying electronics like televisions and mobiles as it was cheaper at that time to bring in to India and no import duty was levied on one consumer durable goods. Everyone was full of gifts and shopping bags and were super-energetic to share the gifts with our families soon.
After lunch we headed to “The Diamond Factory”, there was so much of high security and too much interloping of guards, police and commandos. There were real-time jewellery makers and craftspersons who were sitting behind the mirrors cutting, crafting and polishing diamonds and we went bonkers while admiring the diamantaires. No one was allowed to even whisper or make hand gestures etc. On display was one of the biggest and the costliest diamond and we all went like wo…wie. After experiencing the rhombus, equilateral, princess cuts in diamanté world, we all went back to the hotel and had some good Thai food from local dishes served at humble street stalls to haute cuisine, at the restaurants.
The Chao Phraya River nurtures and sustains its grid network of canals, flowing past the Rattanakosin royal district. It is home to opulent Grand Palace and its sacred Wat Phra Kaew Temple, an architecture, shining with the gold style of spires, just adds sparkle to the city, adjoining, is Wat Pho Temple with an enormous reclining Buddha statue. On the opposite side of the shore, Wat Arun Temple with its steep steps and the Khmer-style spire was our last day and site to visit in Bangkok.
As we were heading back to the pavilion, we boarded our flights on day five, packed our bags and left for India.
Bangkok will always remain super special to me since I travelled abroad for the first time. In just five days I learned so much about the country, their culture, their food. Bangkok welcomes more tourists than any other city in the world and is a city of contrasts. I always will be in awe with luminous glistening temples, riding tuk-tuks along the bustling streets of city bazaars or take a long tail boat through floating markets … my first ever … foreign escapade.
It was such an amazing journey and my most strikingly memorable spree of the entire life.