The beginning of the vacation is high spirits, upbeat mood, and reasons of happiness for ample family time – from the author
Our sojourn in Bangkok –
We arrived late at night at our air bnb after airport and visa on arrival formalities. The place in suburban Bangkok – a warm cozy extension of a bungalow that opened into a tropical garden was a delight. After a late-night dinner of home-made parathas and leftover food bought at our port of embarkment, all that we wanted was crash the bed.
It was 10’o clock when we woke the next morning feeling completed rested and happy to be on vacation. Of course, the day started with making Indian masala chai for first use of the kitchenette, and for the relaxation feel. We had requested the owners to keep bread, butter, yogurt, and some fruit along with basics milk, tea, sugar, salt, and black pepper.
Except me, the tea drinker, two cups of which is good to be breakfast, it was sandwich, yogurt, and fruit for everyone for breakfast. The view from the living area into the tropical garden was luring, albeit in the air conditioning. The sultry May weather was preventing from going out, but I stepped out into the garden with my little one for a walk and some pictures.
Experiencing transport at Bangkok-
Bangkok has an impressive public transportation sky train, subway, ferry, bus, taxi, tuktuk, road networks, and highways. The trip to the old quarters of the city included a ride on the sky train, followed by a ferry ride in peak heat hours around 1ish in the afternoon. And, the clothes we choose were not comfortable either.
A visit to some of the famous Buddhist temples in the old quarters of the city was firsthand experience with Buddhism, temple practices, religious congregation, and worship. Temple architecture, stone steps, decorations, magnificent deities make for great tourist attraction in this part of the city.
Fresh fruit, pineapple, mango, melon, litchi, and coconut water was it that kept us going in the scorching 2pm sun on a May afternoon. Thailand offers some of the best tropical fruits to choose from – super-sized fruit with the right amount of sweetness.
Saunter in China Town
A food lover’s paradise that sells all possible meats in the world, smoothies, fruits, rice preparations, nuts, and more. For us vegetarians, the options were limited – fruits, smoothies, and the famous Thai sticky rice, a sweet rice preparation in coconut milk served with mango slices. The change was welcome after surviving on seven eleven ready-to-eat cuppa rice and our very-own prepared cheese, lettuce sandwich for most part of the vacation. An interesting site was crepe making – the tool used dispensed right amount of batter to make equal size crepes.
Quick Trip to Flower and Vegetable Market in Bangkok
Narrow lanes lined up with at least few hundred stalls were stocked with heaps of marigold, rose, orchid, and more. A walk in the vegetable market was interesting to watch, super-sized gunny bags packed with vegetables ready to be transported.
Off to the Beach
We chose Railay beach in Krabi, amongst some other famous beach destinations in Thailand, to experience the sea. Railay Beach Resort – our accommodation on Raleigh beach – is a huge complex with varied accommodation, attached cottages, two-floored building accommodation, independent house style units, and more to suit budget, size preferences of travelers. Shops, two swimming pools, restaurants, money exchange, tourist center amidst thick vegetation on an island makes the resort self-contained for solo travelers, couples, families, and group travelers during their stay.
Meals at the Oceanfront
To sit by the sea in the morning in a woody restaurant, to eat complimentary buffet breakfast, and watch vacationers start the day was entertaining. Inside the restaurant, clatter of plates, cups, cutlery as workers were busy refilling food and serving guests, as people of different nationalities, most of them dressed in shorts, tees, beachwear served themselves choice of meats, rice, bakery, tea, coffee for a filling breakfast made the ambience lively.
Whilst, the view outside, was amusing too. Early morning swimmers that included children running in and out of the water, some people preparing for a day on the canoe, some strolling on the beach, sun-bathing, or just sitting on the shore to be swept by the waves was charming to the eyes. Food at the restaurants for other meals was interesting pasta, fried tofu, smoothies.
Day in the Deep Sea
A day trip on the boat in the deep sea had a few stops, but all of them were for swimmers. The view at the lagoon was spectacular, akin to what is seen in pictures – breathtaking view of enclave of crystal-clear water surrounded by high rocks. Bamboo island, snorkeling, and finally lunch at another island were other attractions of the day trip. Interesting part of the day trip was chance meeting with an Indian family from our very own place who shared their vegetarian food with us.
Next Stop, Siem Reap, Cambodia
The next day started early with a flight from Phuket to Siem Reap in the wee hours. On arrival, after immigration, visa-on-arrival, baggage claim, and equipping ourselves with a Cambodian SIM in one of our phones, we were all set. At the gate, a tuktuk from the hotel, we were booked at was waiting to pick us. The hot humid day, dusty road, sparse vehicles, and a few living beings on the road from the airport to the hotel didn’t create a good impression.
Hotel was chic, an old bungalow converted into a hotel, entrance had lots of greenery, thick foliage.
Our tour guide, Mr. T was on time to start the day. A man of short-built, cute as his name, spoke impeccable English, and entertained my little one with his antics throughout the day. His vehicle was loaded with cold water and tissues, much needed for the scorching May heat.
Our first stop for touring Siem Reap was of course the magnificent Angkor Wat Temples. A mega temple complex built in the 13th century, with walls, ceilings have engravings that depict stories from Hindu mythology is an architectural marvel. It was past noon by the time we ended touring the temple. And the sultry weather, perspiration had tired us completely. All that we needed was summer coolers, not just water re-energize. Smoothie, sugarcane juice, and little knick-knacks that we were carrying was mid-day meal for us.
Next Stop – Ta Prohm
Another old temple complex soaked in history, nature’s wonder where large trees have covered temple ruins. The blazing sun had exhausted completely by the time we ended touring Ta Prohm. And we were famished.
So the next attraction of the day, Angkor Thom – the site of 200 smiling faces carved on stone – we viewed sitting inside the vehicle. By then, all that we wanted was good food to eat to our fill. A short drive to the town center got us what we were yearning for – Indian food.
The bazaars of yesteryears that sold spices, condiments, dried meats, and kitchenware are replaced with boutique shops, cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops. Though there still remain few streets that carry the old world charm, street vendors, and haggled buyers most of the businesses today cater to tourists.
After having a satiating meal of dal, sabzi, parathas we headed to the hotel to wrap up the day early.