Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thailand 2010 (Bangkok & Pattaya)

" A clear sense of purpose in LIFE gives birth to courage & wisdom "

" Retirees can choose a LIFE of monotony or one of personal growth " 

" Without risk taking, we would find ourselves safe & secure, but lacking in personal lustre, spark or a sense of accomplishment " 

" My 5 days package tour with my wife to Thailand (Bangkok & Pattaya from 11-15/11/2010) - A short & fun filled vacation in a Land of Smiles. No UNESCO sites, No free & easy travel - a lot of No No (no straying, no extra sleep in the mornings) but a stress-free package tour; so just sit, relax and enjoy the sight seeings & the yummy Thai food ! Let the blooming orchid flowers brighten up your days in Bangkok & Pattaya "

2010 is indeed a year of travelling for me, having visited Europe (40 days), Japan (14 days) & China (30 days). My wife and myself had an enjoyable time in Japan during the Sakura season (April 2010). What a hectic year for me as a traveller as I was away from home and out of Malaysia for three months in 2010 !

Before saying good bye to 2010, both of us were looking for a short vacation in a nearby country and guessed what, Bali was on our top priority list. But we changed our mind later after seeing a local Chinese newspaper ad offering a 5 day 4 night tour package to Bangkok & Pattaya for RM798 organized by Golden Deluxe Travel Service Agency Sdn Bhd, Kuala Lumpur ! A real bargain as the price includes a return air ticket (Lufthansa German Airline), all meals, 3-4 star hotel accommodation, & all ground transport arrangement accompanied by a local tour guide.

Our group tour (departing 11/11/2010) had 50 people signed up but was splinted up into 2 group. We were placed onto a small group of 15. This tour package is ideal for families with children, young, elderly people and first timers. We were the last two persons to fill up the vacant seats in this group. Lucky me & my wife !

Plenty of fun awaits us as soon as we land in this country popularly known as a "Land of Smiles" : white & sandy beaches, water sports, animal & cultural shows, Alcazar (transvestite) show, Safari, floating market, shopping and more shopping in MBK - you will see and experience all these when in Bangkok & Pattaya !!!

5 day Tour Package: RM828 (Euro$190) (inclusive of airport tax, tipping & travel insurance); Lufthansa German Airline B747
Travel Agent: Golden Deluxe,Jalan Imbi,KL Tel 03-21446888
Entrance fee (own expense): Floating Market (250Bht) + Alcazar Show (600Bht)
Exchange Rate: RM1.00=Bht9.43

Travel Highlights:

1) Damnosaduak Floating Market, Bangkok

2) Spriracha Tiger Zoo & Crocodile Farm, Bangkok

3) 4-Face Buddha, Bangkok

4) MBK Shopping Mall, Bangkok (NaRaYa Hand Bags !)

5) Patpong Night Market & Red Light District, Bangkok

6) Safari World & Marine Park, Bangkok

7) Alcazar Show, Pattaya

8) Pattaya Beach

9) Coral Island (Koh Larn), Pattaya

10) Laser Buddha, Pattaya

11) Nong Nooch Garden Resort, Pattaya

The Secrets of Life: Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present "

D1- Bangkok Thursday 11/11/2010

My wife and myself were in a holiday mood and we were eagerly looking forward for a relaxing vacation in Bangkok & Pattaya. I had visited Bangkok about 4-5 times in the past (both leisure and official) but this was a first trip for my wife. Pattaya was my first visit.

At 17.30, my elder son drove us from Subang Jaya to KLIA and we arrived at the airport at around 18.30. On arrival, we met up with our Malaysian tour guide, Mr Tan who assisted us in our luggage check-in etc.

Our Lufthansa German Airline flight departed KLIA on time (21.45) and arrived in Bangkok airport at 23.15 local time. The big jumbo Boeing 747 flight took approx 1 hr 30 mins from KL to Bangkok.

After the immigration clearance and luggage collection, we boarded an airconditioned 30 seater bus and throughout the next 4 days, a local tour guide had been assigned to look after our entire tour activities in Bangkok and Pattaya.

For the first night in Bangkok, our tour group stayed in Ratchada City Hotel. After a warm shower, I retired to bed as a morning call had been set to wake us up at 05.00 ! A real torture for late night owls & party goers !!! I can't say No No to the early wake up call as for the next 4 days, I had to live with taking orders from our local tour guide, Mr Yang (nicknamed by me as Billy the Goat as he "yak" a lot in the bus throughout the 5 days - we all really enjoyed his dirty jokes !) who overnight became our Commander in Chief in our tour group. As a free & easy traveler for the last 5 years, I had to tolerate and adapt to this change - team work and spirit were the order of the day !
" Amazing to hear that the new dragon shape Bangkok airport building took 44 long years to build and complete. This mega project has seen eight Thai Prime Minister's come and gone so to the Thai people, all that was expected from them was to be patience, patience and more patience !

To all the people from the Land of Smiles ! I salute you. Like Malaysia, you too can walk tall as Thailand has one of the tallest buildings in the world.

The Secrets of Life: Relationship works best when they are balanced "

D2 - Bangkok / Pattaya Friday 12/11/2010

Our tour group had a solid tour program on the 2nd day.

Floating market in the morning, Spiracha Tiger and Crocodile Farm shows in the afternoon and Alcazar (transvestite) show in the evening (21.30).

Not to mention a 9 course set lunch at a mega restaurant awarded by the Guinness Book of Records and a dinner served with king lobster salad, shark fins and bird nest soup. Yummy, yummy …. sound like a happy birthday treat for all our tour members in the group !

Our longest day in Pattaya, a city never sleep ! Night owls, happy hours, dance clubs, sex tourists, live Tiger & 6996 sex show (adults under 18 prohibited but senior citizens are most welcome), Drinking street - all these will energize your souls !

1) Damnoensaduak Floating Market, Bangkok - We paid 250Bht for this boat ride (own expense). Not to be missed as it was quite a fun when our boat maneuvered and bumped into petty traders plying their food and souvenirs on boats and on both side of the river.

2) Salt Farming - Thailand has an established SMI salt industry; our bus passing by some salt farms in Bangkok rural areas. Not surprising, some of our table and industrial salt could probably imported from Thailand.

3) Lunch at Royal Dragon Restaurant, Bangkok - Voted as the world's largest restaurant by the Guiness Book of Records in 1992 (opened in Oct 1991 with seating capacity of 5,000; staff of 1,200 and occupied 8.35 acres). Tom Yam soup, deep fried fish, roasted chicken, stir-fried Kailan, mixed vegetables, taufoo - a 9 course wholesome set lunch to whet our appetite ! The worms in our stomach had a jolly good time !

4) Spriracha Tiger Zoo & Crocodile Farm, Bangkok - Exciting, thrilling and very entertaining - not a dull moment ! Live tiger performance, pig racing, crocodile shows etc. Do you dare to place your head into the crocodile's mouth ? Good luck for those who dare.

5) Dinner time - As featured in Golden Deluxe travel agency's flyer, our tour group had a "grand" dinner served with king lobster salad, shark fin & bird nest soup for this evening - I wondered how much this dinner meal costs ? I did not bother to ask the tour guide, I just eat and enjoy the food ! For sure, this dinner meal could not be served in Malaysia for a 5 day RM800 tour package covering KL & Langkawi (to include 3-4 star hotels and all ground transport) ! Thailand boleh-lah !!

6) Alcazar show, Pattaya - each of us paid 600Bht to see this show (own expense). Highly recommended. Transvestites dressed in colorful national costume of various countries eg Thai, Malaysia, China, Korea, India, Vietnam etc put up their best cultural performances in front of a packed crowd, mainly overseas tourists.

" Oh, I loved Pattaya ! Lonely Planet described Pattaya as a lucrative cocktail of sun, sand & sex. Where have all the American GI's gone ? Gone with the wind ! No worry, we still have the overseas tourists, Malaysians in particular, to support, wine and dine with you !

If you are hungry, not for sex, how about enjoying a drumstick of a new Japanese spicy Tom Yum fried chicken (39 Bht) for supper after burning mid-night oil in Pattaya ?

The Secrets of Life : Be bold when you lose and be calm when you win"

D3 - Pattaya Saturday 12/11/2010

In Pattaya, we stayed in the Royal Pacific Hotel for two nights. After taken our breakfast at the hotel, our bus dropped us at the Pattaya beach to enable the group to take a speed boat ride to Coral Island (Koh Larn). Mid-way. we were taken to a floating jetty where tourists could opt for a parasailing shot (350Bht,10-15 mins) - pretty exciting when you are lifted up onto the air with a colorful parachute dragged by a high speed boat .... a fantasy experience but both of us were non participants in this sport.

We enjoyed our time strolling the white sandy beach in Coral Island. Some of our tour members opted for jet ski and banana boat rides & diving (own expense). Indeed , Pattaya has a lot to offer in water-sports facilities and for those who love outdoor water sport activities, this is the right place for you to hang up. 

In the afternoon, we visited the Laser Buddha and Nong Nooch Garden Resort (cultural and elephant shows). It was quite amusing to watch the well trained elephants showing their skills in playing football, hula hoops, driving a go-kart, balancing acts etc.

At night, we spent our free & easy time roaming the Pattaya shopping district & the beach area. After dark, you could see Pattaya in a different face. The city comes to life, heaps of people jamming the shopping streets, sex workers loitering around the beach areas, the red go-go bars & nightclubs, the Boyz Town, the Drinking street ...... so tempting to hang out in these places till the wee hours but we had a morning call tomorrow at 06.00 ... sigh !

1) Pattaya Beach - ready, get set, go; awaiting a speed boat taking our group to a floating jetty for parasailing and the Coral Island

2) Coral Island, Pattaya - white sandy beaches, water sports, diving, fresh coconut water, seafood , beautiful coastline; so take your sweet time to admire the island's beauty

3) Laser Buddha - the laser sculptured Buddha sculpted on the rock in honor of the Thai King's 50th's anniversary accession to the throne

4) Nong Nooch Garden Resort - very entertaining, a must see elephant show in Pattaya

5) Pattaya by night - Street food, mango rice, Boyz Town, Drinking street ... so much more to explore but I had only 2-3 hours to wander around ! Sigh ! The disadvantage of joining a tight package tour program. In life, you can't win all the time !

" Though our stay in Pattaya was short - only 2 days; but I cherished the sand, the sun and the night atmosphere in Pattaya, this will linger on ..... a toast to Pattaya for making our stay memorable ! Long live Pattaya !!!

To all our B group tour members and tour guides , thank you for the friendship and understanding; I believe all of us had a jolly good time in Bangkok and Pattaya.

The Secrets in Life : Friendship is like wine, it gets better as it grows "