The invitation from Tourism Authority of Thailand came quite close to the actual trip. I have piles of work on my table to finish if I wanted to make that trip. I managed to finish every bit of it as the motivation was great, if I completed everything I would get to enjoy the Amazing Thailand for second time! Plus, I would come to more or less clean table as it is summer vacation time in the college. No, the college for me doesn’t close but it is easier to take leave when the classes are off.
When I told my family I was going to Thailand no one other than my father batted an eyelid. He was not too thrilled with my decision but now even he is convinced that it was fine that I went.
I took the Thai Airways flight TG 316. Due to some reason the web check-in was not working. There was an update to this effect on the website that they are upgrading and on certain routes one may experience difficulties in online check-in till mid August. My flight was one of those flights. I managed to get an aisle seat. On a night flight aisle seats are looking attractive to me now. Let us see what I opt for when I go someplace next.
In this post I give a summary of things I did, almost all the events and places will become a full post later on.
I watched The Monuments Men on the flight and then fell asleep after that glass of wine with dinner. We were hosted at the Imperial, Queen’s Park hotel in Sukhumvit. We had free time till lunch. I decided to close my eyes till lunch, a sure sign that I am going old. There have been trips where I would run out to the city if I had even a few hours free. I had a good stay at the hotel, absolutely hassle free. There was a bath tub and plenty of tea in the room.
Our first stop after the lunch was the newly opened Central Embassy Mall. It is a place to go for high end shopping. If you like to shop for brands like Gucci and Versace and more like that, this is the place for you. If it is not the kind of shopping you do (like me) check out there eating place Ethai. It has been set up in street food fashion and offers great Thai food from all the regions of the country. They have a special shop for vegetarians like me as well.
I was part of the media group attending TTM Plus 2014 (Thailand Travel Mart) from New Delhi. The event was attended by 403 sellers and 314 buyers from 45 countries. I found the wedding and adventure themes quite attractive. I am told that many Indians now go and get married in Thailand at the exotic locations.
In the evening there was a gala dinner with cultural performances but that is part of a separate post.
You might have noticed that I hardly ever mention shopping on my blog. Well, Bangkok changed it! There was a shopping festival going on in the Impact Arena itself which was the venue of TTM as well. My friend Maansi who was traveling with the Mumbai group introduced me to it. I shopped so much that I marginally exceeded the 20 kg weight allowance for the first time in my life. Next time when I visit Thailand I am going to be very selective in what I pack so that I can shop without worrying about excess baggage.
The second day was spent at TTM and its media briefing. Later we went for a dinner cruise with Grand Pearl at the Chao Phraya River. It was an amazing experience to see Bangkok at night. And yes they managed vegetarian food for two of us with prior notice.
The next day we headed to Khaoyai region which is about 2 hours plus drive from Bangkok on good roads. We stopped at Sala Khaoyai Resorts for lunch. It was a beautiful property with 7 exclusive rooms in all. It is the place for a romantic holiday with rooms built for privacy. In the month of June they are running a promotion too.
We were hosted by the Greenery Resort at Kahoyai. It is a huge place with water rides for kids! It was one popular section. I had a comfortable room and plenty of tea supply. The staff was exceedingly courteous. I also found time to take a dip in the swimming pool at the resort! It was a toss between the spa and the swimming pool and the swimming pool won!
Khaoyai has many places with a cowboy theme. Thongsomboon Club was one of those places. It is an adventure park which offers trailer style accommodations. We didn’t had much time here but I still did an ATV ride which was great fun, only I drive an ATV like a bicycle!
The visit to PB Valley was my first visit to a vineyard. It is a great place for dinner and wine tasting. It is very scenic too. They do not have accommodations as of now, but they plan to add accommodations as well. I bought a bottle of wine for home. We have yet to open it.
We visited the Khaoyai National Park on two occasions. One was a day trip to see the waterfalls within the park and the other was a night safari. I was not lucky with sightings (when have I been?) but I love being inside a jungle and this was no exception. Khaoyai is the oldest national park in Thailand.
Palio is an Italian themed shopping complex near Khaoyai. It has beautiful buildings, cafes, restaurants and shops. It is a photographer’s delight. I did shop a few dresses from there as well!
My last stop on the trip was Chockchai Farm which is once again cowboy themed and it makes sense as it is a dairy farm. We had to cut short the tour of the farm as we had an evening flight to catch.
I managed my usual window seat on the return flight. I watched The Wolf of the Wall Street and by the time it was over I was about to land in Delhi which had a night temperature of 40 degree Celsius! So, this in nutshell was my amazing trip to Amazing Thailand. Detailed posts will follow now, alternating with Jordan!