It’s day 14 of our lockdown and no end in sight. The weather too is so uncooperative!
But memories bring warmth and so once again, I’m down the memory lane to enjoy our memories of Tropical Thailand.
Thailand, known for its turquoise waters beaches, palaces, unbelievable sunsets (we don’t do sunrises, lol), and shopping, has been a tourist’s dream for decades. But it had never been on my vacation list because of its long distance from the US (17 plus hours of flying time).
Suddenly and very spontaneously, our wonderful trip to Thailand came about during our recent trip to India. [A shout out to my American Express Platinum card for the easy-peasy, last minute, travel planning.]
Our trip started in the capital city of Thailand, Bangkok.
It took us 45 minutes to reach our hotel via taxi. You just never know what to expect when you book a hotel in a foreign country, even after reading all the reviews. So I’m always a bit apprehensive about what I’m going to find. But upon reaching The Avani Plus Riverside, all I could say was: WOWZIE!!!
The exterior of the Avani Riverside Hotel, Bangkok
This high-rise hotel sits on the western bank of the Chao Phraya River. Our room was on the top floor, on the 25th floor. The 26th floor boasts an infinity pool and a rooftop bar.
Its brunch buffet was impressive with its variety and choice of foods.
The chefs had no problem making eggless fried rice and stirfry vegetables for me. The taste of their guava and passion fruit juices still linger in my memories.
The hotel boat is included in the cost of the stay and departs every 30 minutes. On the opposite side of the Chao Phraya River was the grand Asiatic market with restaurants and shops where we spent our first evening. We’re very laidback travelers – we like to sleep in and take a leisurely breakfast. We go where we want to go when we want to and we don’t mind skipping some of the attractions. But I think we could have used another day or two in Bangkok to do more.
The next day we took the ferry to China town and did some more sightseeing.
Bangkok: Outdoor Asiatic Market
We almost missed our flight to Phuket because I told the driver to take us to the wrong airport, duh! A timely look at the boarding pass allowed me to divert the cab to the correct one, lol.
Bangkok – Phraya River
“Complimentary” neck & head massage at the Don Mueang International Airport (& beer)
I had decided on staying in Patong Beach as all my research indicated that was the place to be. The “beach-front” hotel is literally that – it’s IN FRONT of a beach BUT across the street, lol. Who knew, lol… It was nice but quite a step-down from the Avani.
Patong Beach is a long sandy, crescent beach lined with cafes, restaurants, and bars. It’s lively all day long but especially at night – with go-go bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and more massage parlors than I’ve ever seen in my life overflowing into the street along a neon-lit road.
Enjoying Patong Beach
Just look at the colors of the sunset on Patong Beach!!
Bangla Walking Street – lively with lots of shops, restaurants, bars, and people
Corn on the cob – reminded me of India
Surprisingly good Indian food found in abundance along Patong Beach
We spent the next five days in Phuket visiting the Sleeping Buddha, the Phang Na Bay, the Big Buddha, and the Phi Phi Islands.
The cashew factory on the way to Sleeping Buddha
Sleeping Buddha – Wearing a shawl to hide my sleeveless arms
The amazing interior of the Sleeping Buddha
Phang Nga was one of the most amazing experiences, ever. I’m plenty courageous but not when it comes to jumping off planes and zip-lining types of adventures. So I had never imagined canoeing in the calm waters of the Andaman Sea, ever. Let me tell you, it was an experience worth doing, period. Seeing the hidden caves and lagoons in a tiny canoe was beyond exhilarating.
On the way to Phi Phi Island
In a tiny canoe in the middle of the Andaman Sea
The Big Buddha was even more enchanting in person – the 45-meter tall white marble statue sitting at the top of a hill looking majestic in the afternoon sun. What is impressive is that this statue was entirely funded by donations. Here too, dressing appropriately is important -after all, the Buddha is a revered spiritual leader.
The “Phuket” hat came in handy to protect my face in the scorching sun at Big Buddha
The road to get up there is a little steep but well-paved and the panoramic view from the top is priceless.
That’s Chalong Bay all the way to Phang Nga
The Tiger Sanctuary
Who doesn’t want to have the opportunity to pet a tiger? I finally got the chance. But I was also extremely sad to see such magnificent animals caged and tranquilized so that tourists can touch them and take photos with them.
One of the few “truly once-in-a-lifetime” experiences
After that though, I scrubbed our visit to the Elephant Sanctuary, knowing the plight of those amazing mammoth animals would be similar and wanting no part of it.
Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed the journey to Thailand (or again, if you’ve already been) through these photos. Would you believe it, I have 500 more photos and videos (total) that I wish I could share with you.