As I was staying at the Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside in Bangkok, the Asiatique was a short walk away. I spent two nights walking around the place and I quite liked it. This was my second stay at Ramada Plaza but I could not go to The Asiatique on the first visit. On that trip we could come back quite late at night and simply go and crash. The Asiatique is open from 5.00 pm to 12 .00 midnight.
As I was there at Songkran, the water festival was in full flow around Asiatique. But people don’t splash water in the malls so my camera and I was safe inside Asiatique.
For me the prime attraction was the Asiatique Sky, the giant wheel which completely dominates the skyline. The ticket cost is 300 baht which is roughly 600 rupees. I went for a spin and I had the whole cabin to myself.
It was the standard procedure to give the camera to the cabin attendant for a picture. I too happily posed. I was happy to see the night lights of Bangkok from the sky wheel. I was also happy to photograph Songkran Festival from the safety of my car!
If you like to click street pictures you will find Asiatique a happy place. Everyone clicks pictures so no one will take any particular notice if you too took out your camera!
If you are craving for Indian food there are Indian restaurants within The Asiatique. There are regular big fast food chains present as well. When I visited, there was a street food festival going on and I tried that for my dinner on both the nights!
There was a stall devoted entirely to vegetable fries and that was an obvious choice for me. It tasted good as well.
Green Papaya Salad can be another option for vegetarians. I would just tell the vendors not to use anything related to fish in my portion.
And if everything else fails, there is always mango sticky rice! I ate it after the fries. On the second night I ate noodles where I told the lady not to add any fish or meat to it. She was happy to prepare one for me only with vegetables. And then I followed it up with mango sticky rice again!
If you can eat eggs you will have even more choice! A vendor used the discarded egg shells as a decoration for his stall as he would go about making the egg dishes.
The street food stalls were doing brisk business! I was happy to stroll around and click pictures!
The more organized side of Asiatique has a lot of shopping but I didn’t buy anything from there. At the entrance there were some street musicians playing beautifully. At one point I found this curious place where people placed their love locks! I enjoyed myself thoroughly on both the nights I went to Asiatique. I anyway love walking. It was also a lot of fun because I could walk back to my hotel Ramada Plaza from Asiatique!
PS. I was invited on this trip by TAT New Delhi!
Koh in Thai means ‘island’. Lanta is a beautiful island in the Krabi Province. I would recommend both Krabi and Koh Lanta highly for a vacation. The beaches are divine and the crowd is not that thick! I also feel not many Indians go there, which is a pity! Let me take you through my seven favorite things to do in Koh Lanta!
The Beautiful Beaches
Koh Lanta is blessed with many beaches that are truly beautiful. I spent most of my time at Kantiang Bay Beach as it was next to the Pimalai Resort where I was staying. Not too crowded at any point of time, sunsets were special!
Mu Koh Lanta National Park
Mu Koh Lanta would work for you if you are looking for peace. I almost had the entire beach that you see in the picture to myself. I went walking along the length of it and saw just one couple! There is a path leading to a lighthouse, which gives the fabulous view of the park!
You can go kayaking along the mangrove channels. I didn’t had the time to do it, but I can imagine what fun it would be. If you are fond of eating fish I was told that the fishermen cook the fresh catch in the local restaurants that dot the walkway of the mangrove area.
There is a quaint fisherman’s village in Koh Lanta which is worth exploring. You immediately get a feeling of stepping back in time. The inhabitants are said to be sea gypsies and they hardly interact with tourists. But one is free to roam around and walk through the village.
Lanta Old Town
The old part of Lanta town has fascinating architecture. You can walk across the main street end to end easily. The wooden houses are a feast to the eye. There is a pier to walk through as well. It is a place to sit down at the restaurants and take it slow.
After five trips to Thailand i would say the whole of Thailand offers great shopping. The conventional wisdom says the shopping is great in Bangkok. Initially I would also leave stuff that I liked, thinking I would pick it up in Bangkok. But then I would never find the same stuff in Bangkok, or I would not have time! My new shopping mantra is that if the price is reasonable, and if I like it, I would not wait for Bangkok. I buy it then and there. I picked up my favorite t-shirt in this shopping complex at Koh Lanta.
Good Food at the Local Restaurants
I had food at my upmarket resort and I had food at local restaurants. Both were good, but the local restaurants are so much fun. And they always had something for the vegetarian me! I had pizza at the Swedish Pub and Restaurant and veg noodles at Same Same but Different (it was the name of the restaurant) and both were smashing.
So what are you waiting for? If you are thinking Thailand, think Koh Lanta and Krabi. They are great places for a family vacation.
PS. I visited Koh Lanta on invitation of Tourism Authority of Thailand, New Delhi.
I have always declared that I am not much into shopping. I have to qualify that statement now. I am not much into shopping unless I am in Thailand! It is a delight to shop there, be it in malls or at local markets. The night market at Chiang Mai was no different.
It is the combination of reasonable price and fashionable clothes that do the trick. I pride myself at not indulging in impulsive shopping. But in Thailand I failed at the first hurdle. I told myself I have more than enough clothes and I would not buy anything at the night market.
I failed spectacularly at the fridge magnet shop. It helped that my fellow blogger Manjulika was equally crazy about them. So, we could buy them in groups of five at discounted prices and hare among us. So much so for not buying impulsively!
I did resist buying these small baby shoes. They looked incredibly cute but I knew none of them would fit Chhavi.
I also like to roam around and click pictures of things that look interesting. I have seen ‘your name on a rice grain’ stalls in India too. But I was sold on the heart shape arrangement!
I was fascinated by these jute figures. I have not been able to capture the beauty in the picture. The man was weaving them sitting right there, making them into dragons and what not!
The market was quite big. It was my first day in Thailand and I was tired. I could explore only a small part it. In a way I am happy or I would have shopped more.
The markets are popular with locals and the tourists. Some bargaining is expected. Rounding off is a very common game. If a vendor says 120 I would say 100 and I guess it is expected. But I am quite poor at bargaining, have been all my life.
I almost stumbled with the dolls. But then Chhavi is more into outdoors than dolls. Hence I walked off only with the picture!
I met my nemesis at the clothes stall once again. I absolutely do not need any more clothes but I ended up buying two new t-shirts because of their beautiful prints, one has cherry blossoms and another a cute elephant. The good bit is that I wear them both!
The prices for the clips and not for the baby! The baby was quite oblivious to the surroundings! After roaming for about two hours, it was time to head to dinner and then back to the hotel, The Balcony in Chiang Mai. I was so looking forward to lying horizontally and go to sleep.
PS. I was invited by TAT New Delhi on this trip.
When I visited Leh in June, 2005 the primary reason was to trek. It could not be as I developed a bad stomach after a few days. We suddenly found a lot of time to spend in the city, and it was not in our original plan. So, we ended by shopping in Leh.
The markets in Leh are colorful and I often found myself gawking at various display windows or roadside stalls. The problem was, we had made no plans for any significant shopping so we had no proper budget for it.
The thing that fascinated me most was the display of jewelry at the roadside stalls. As a rule I hardly wear any, apart from earrings, but I found the designs and colors so beautiful that I ended up buying two pendants and a pair of earrings. I also had a chat will the ladies selling the jewelry. I feel the prices in Leh are a bit high if you earn in Indian rupees as, they decide it by the value of dollar. If a thing is priced at Rupees 500, it is actually less than $ 10, and this pricing makes sense as there are so many foreign tourist in Leh.
I guess the local Moti Market beats the Main Market Leh hollow in terms of colorfulness. The above photograph was taken there. My husband bought a second hand ‘down’ jacket from here, which we hope to use in our next trek.
The other thing I fell in love with is T-shirts. Without a prior budget allocation I managed to buy four. I am wearing one right now. It is green in color and has two Lamas saluting each-other, depicted on it. My nephews have one where two skeletons are dancing together. I got one for my brother-in-law Amrit that has a dragon on it. My husband has one with the slogan ‘Yak Yak Yak YakLadakh’ with lot of Yak faces on it. For my sis Alka I got a shawl. All this shopping was done in main market Leh. Prices vary from shop to shop, so do not rush into buying.