I like Thailand so much that if I could go back right now in the former Kingdom of Siam, I would pack and in two hours I’d be already on the plane flying to Asia. The experience was absolutely brilliant thanks to the greatest circuit made by the travel agency Eturia. After 12 hours of flight with Air France, we landed in the capital of Thailand, Bangkok.
On the bus on the way to the hotel I began to notice Bangkok. It’s a city that has developed in the last 20 years, but has an infrastructure that is 50 years ahead of Bucharest. Here opulence, poverty and culture go hand in hand. Thailand’s capital has highways, thousands of sky towers, a huge airport, big shopping centers and sky trains that are placed near homes of extreme poverty. It’s a crowded city with a unique charm and streets that smell like Asian spices.
Bangkok keeps the Thai traditions with its temples and the Royal Palace. One of the most important Buddhist temples in the capital of Thailand is Wat Pho. The monastery was founded in 1781 by King Rama 1 and hosts the statue of Reclining Buddha that it’s plated with gold and is 46 meters long. Our visit in Wat Po began at 8 am, the perfect timing to see the Buddhist monk morning ceremony.
Near Wat Pho is the Royal Palace, which is the official residence of the King of Thailand. The palace was built in 1782 and comprises several buildings with an impressive architecture. Wat Phra Kaeo being the most impressive of them. Here is the Emerald Buddha statue, dating from the XIV century. The Emerald Buddha is sacred for Thais and can only be touched by the king. Every year at the beginning of the 3 Thai seasons, the king changes the statue’s clothes in a ritual of great importance.
A “must do ” in Bangkok is an evening cruise on Chao Phraya River. We jumped aboard of traditional wooden boat for a dinner under the moonlight and while we were floating on Chao Phraya we admired the temples located on the banks of the water.
After diner we visited Bangkok’s Night Bazaar, the paradise of traditional souvenirs and all kind of fakes stuff. Here you can find from fake designer bags with 50 lei to beautiful handmade objects. Near the Bazaar you can also see the erotic clubs. Here the stars of the nights are the ladyboys. Whether you want to buy something or someone the important part is to negotiate. We didn’t left Bangkok without making a shopping spree in one of the local centers. They have all kind of stuff and very low prices.
From Bangkok we went to Sukhothai. We boarded on the happiest plane that I’ve ever seen and after an hour we landed in Sukhothai airport, which is absolutely fabulous. It looks like a nature reserve which was placed near an airstrip.
Equally beautiful was the hotel where we stayed. It’s called Sukhothai Heritage and looks like the summer residence of the King of Siam. It’s surrounded by lakes full of water lilies, rice paddies, filled with exotic flowers and the rooms are luxurious. The ground floor rooms have green terraces that leads to the huge pool of the hotel. After we checked in we borrowed some bikes from the reception and went for an evening ride.
The next day we woke up early and we were taken to Sukhothai Organic Farm. There dressed up in uniforms and went to visit the papaya and banana plantations. Then we saw the morning bath of the 200 water buffaloes. At 8 AM they jump in the lake and swim to the grassland. Sukhothai’s buffaloes were rescued from the slaughterhouse and now they are bred in peace to provide natural fertilizer for the plantations. They are very nice animals. In fact they are so friendly that we had a buffaloe ride back to the rice terraces where followed the “dirty” part of the day. We learned to plant and harvest the rice, so we sank into the mud up to our knees and elbows. Our work has been rewarded with an amazing lunch in the middle of the rice fields. It was all natural and delicious, especially the rice bread and the mango fresh.
Another treasure of Thailand is the Sukhothai Historical Park. It was the capital of the first Kingdom of Siam in the centuries XIII and XIV and now comprises 193 ruins representing Buddha statues and temples with Khmer and Sinhalese influence, Thai’s unique architectural styles. Historians say that this is the home Thai civilization because in the twelfth century here was the place where a population originating in China established. The beauty of the temples is emphasized by nature, because the park is always full of green grass, trees and flowers. After you see the pictures you will certainly recognize that here is the place where it was filmed Mortal Kombat, or a part of it.
After visiting the historic park we went back to the hotel and on the way we stopped at a food market. How does it look like? Just like a rainbow: dozens of counters in one place, filled with dishes of all kinds and all colors. The strong flavors almost gets you drunk because they are difficult to understand for an European, but they also describe perfectly the fiery or or very sweet taste of the local delicacies. This markets are always so busy that you could believe that Thais never cook at home. This is why the food is always fresh, delicious and very cheap. With only 3 euro I bought half baked chicken, four beef skewers, rice for two and Thai pancakes. Also in such a market I found fried insects. The bugs of all kinds, silk and water worms, the crickets taste all like fries or chicken and I found out that they are rich in protein.
After we discovered Sukhothai, we went to Chiang Mai and on the road we stopped for two hours to enjoy a lunch in the jungle.
After a few hours of bus ride we arrived in Chiang Mai. It’s Thailand’s second largest city and the main commercial, religious and cultural center after Bangkok. The accommodation was again above our expectations. The boutique hotel where we stayed is Banthai Village and looks just like the traditional Thai houses.
Our first day in Chiang Mai was amazing because we went to the elephant camp in Chiang Dao and it was show time. We saw elephants doing the morning bath in the river Kwai Yai, we feed them with bananas and then we watched their show: they painted, they carried and set big pieces of trees, they took out the trash. At the end of the show we went for an hour ride on their through the jungle. It was amazing!
Chiang Mai hosts over 300 Buddhist temples. The most important is Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep which was built starting 1383. The temple’s legend is beautiful. A relic of Buddha was put on the back of a white elephant which was released in the jungle around the city. The elephant went to the top of the mountain, where the temple is now, and when he got there he sat down and died. Just like in the past the elephants have a particular importance in Chiang Mai. Unfortunately, in Thailand there are about 5,000 of them left.
Chiang Mai also has a Night Bazaar, the largest in Thailand. Prices here are even lower than in Bangkok. I looked for the shops with silk and cashmere scarves. I’ve found all colors and models for only 10 euro and after negotiating I bought them for 5 euro each. I also didn’t miss the Thai foot massage in the middle of the Night Market on comfortable armchair. For only 2 euro I had 30 minutes of great massage. When I got up I was so relaxed that it took me a few seconds to relearn walking.
In last night in Chiang Mai we had dinner in an authentic Thai restaurant and we attended a traditional show.
I’m not a backpack tourist so I sincerely advise you to choose a trip in Thailand from a reliable travel agency because this destination is beautiful but can also be dangerous. Below you have some safe options for a holiday in Thailand:
Gulliver Tours http://www.gullivertours.ro/quicksearch?q=THAILANDA
Best Tourism http://circuit.besttourism.ro/Thailanda.html
For the tour of the island and beaches in a boat: http://aventurapeocean.ro/