April 11, 2007

All Thai'd Up!

My expectations of Thailand were sky high. How could it not be with all the fuss about 'Asia's top tourist destination' all over the internet and travel magazines? What makes Thailand so unique and so alluring? I believe that this can be attributed to the fact that it is the only SE Asian country never colonised by a foreign power, leaving it with a culture so pure and a nationalism so omnipresent. Thailand's culture is the espresso to our café latté, undiluted, strong and robust.

Bangkok is a sensory hurricane. If you can look beyond the scorching heat and humidity and insane traffic, you'll see what all the fuss is about. Where else can you find multi-colored tuk-tuks racing past bright pink taxis, gold chedis (or stupa) piercing the skies juxtaposed with hawker carts selling toe-curlingly delicious street fare, and sleazy girly bars flanked by curious farangs (foreigners) alongside a market where one can buy items such as children's clothes and bags, fiery hot curries tamed by sweet mangoes and sticky rice.

Top: Tuk-tuk , Wat Traimit
Bottom: a spirit tree, Elephant guides in Ayuthaya

There were 6 of us, long-time girl friends travelling together as a group for the first time, and we had only 3 full days. We stayed at the Arnoma Hotel which is centrally located and within walking distance to the Sky Train. The hotel package came with hotel transfers, daily buffet breakfasts and a free half-day city tour, a really good deal!

Because we had such a short time, I drafted a flexible itinerary for the three days. I tried to include something for everyone in the plans: the shoppers, the culture vultures, the budget travellers and the fragile city slickers. We ate from the street and we ate at fashionable restaurants; we haggled in hot and crowded markets, and we browsed designer shops, we rode airconditioned taxis, and we choked on smog as we sped along on tuk-tuks, we rode on elephants and we dined on a cruise ship, we drank coconut juice with a straw and we sipped on Frapuccinos. At the end of it all everyone was happy!

I had been looking forward to this trip for so long. And I feel really blessed, as I always feel when I travel, to have had this opportunity to go and with great company too! But someday I need to come back, I am not done with Thailand, not even with Bangkok. There is still so much to see, do and taste, so much still left to discover and revel in. Maybe next year. :)

Over the next few days, I'll post about some of the things we did and of course the food we ate. Stay tuned!


Katrina said...

Oh, I'm so excited to hear all your stories! My own trip is looking more and more real, so I hope you don't mind if I steal some travel ideas from you? :-)

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for your kwento! :) Sounds so exciting! Sigh...one day I will go too...maybe we'll go together :) And you can make us a "flexible itinerary" too! Everything looks so vibrant!

Socky said...

Welcome back!!! Sounds like you had a grand time. Details, we want details!

christine said...

Katrina, not at all, are you kidding! I'm so excited for your trip!

Hi Jo! Yes, you will go soon, I'm sure. It's become so easy and affordable now no? I love it! I'll be happy to help with your 'itinerary'. :)

Hi Socky, it's coming soon I promise! I'm just still trying to get out of Dumaguete-mode. My brain is still on the beach there. :)

Hope you all had great Easter breaks!

Watergirl said...

Welcome back (from Bkk and Dumaguete), and so looking forward to hearing your trip. I love bkk, the food, the sights, the shops. I'm hoping two friends relocate to bkk soon so I can go visit them again (and avoid hotel fees!). Great place for all budgets.

32 flavors said...

nens, you need to blog more often! i'm so bitin with your kuwento. although i saw glimpses of bangkok through michelle's photos, i still need to hear about the food you ate, places you saw and the bargains you made. hurry, hurry!

Anonymous said...

hi, randomly found your blog from a Pinoy blogger's links ;) Sounds like you really had fun in Thailand, now I am itching to go back. I've stayed at Arnoma before, and had a good time. The hotel had a good location and good service ;) Will bookmark your blog so I can read more of your Thailand stories.

christine said...

Thanks Mila! I'm actually so excited to post about Dumaguete too, that's why I want to rush the whole Thailand trip hehe. :) Yes, it would be great not to have to worry about paying for accomodations so you can spend more time going around and taking in the sights.

Hi Kat! Good thing you mentioned Michelle, or I would have thought you were the other Katrina hehe. Ok ok, I will post as fast as I can. I've just been battling a head cold so I'm kinda slower than normal nowadays. I see you moved your blog! I can't wait to read it. :)

Hi Yam! Glad you found me and led me to your own space. :) Yes, I was very happy with Arnoma and wouldn't mind staying there again the next time I go. Thanks for dropping by! :)

Didi said...

Hi Christine! I can't wait to hear your stories! I was able to visit Bangkok two years ago and I had such a blast! I love the food there. I had a terrible time in Chatuchak though because of the heat! Might go visit October this year, yey! I hope the weather this time will be much more tolerable.

christine said...

Candisshhh,good idea! I also promised myself when I do go back it will definitely not be between March and June. I wished I was able to stay in Chatuchak longer, and see those other wats, and eat more street food, but really the heat made all that difficult, even impossible. You'll enjoy it so much more in October for sure! :)

Sidney said...

Oh, you are back already!
Wow! You did a lot in 3 days!

christine said...

Sidney, yes we did actually. Had to make the most of it right, but it was not enough. I want to go back, but definitely later in the year when it's not as hot.